James Calhoun Bullets - Reloading Experiences?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by OFADAN, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. OFADAN

    OFADAN Well-Known Member

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    I was just given some James Calhoun .22 cal 37 grain dbl HP bullets and was curious if anyone had any loading data? Or at least a place to start.

    I'm going to load up some in a .223 bolt gun for a test drive on Coyotes.

    Any suggestions?
  2. RockKrawler

    RockKrawler Member

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    I have used them in a .17 Remington and terminal performance was quite interesting,or should i say devistating :D
    They are a very explosive bullet designed for varmint hunting.
    Sorry no help on the 223 though.
    I may have some info in one of my Varmint Hunter mags though,i will take a look this weekend and see if any load data is listed.
  3. OFADAN

    OFADAN Well-Known Member

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    That would be awesome...or any load data on the 36 Barnes Gernade also...I have access to the on-line Barnes data which is limited to only two propellants.
  4. RockKrawler

    RockKrawler Member

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    Maybe these will help,came from the manufacures web site.



    [​IMG]
    (first printed in Varmint Hunter Magazine October 1995)
    By James Calhoon


    Or is it nobler to shoot the 223 as a Bee, could THAT be the answer?


    Hunting coyotes, rock chucks and prairie dogs usually means a good stiff load when you're shooting the popular 223. When hunting these varmints, you are usually well away from areas where noise is of much concern, other than maybe to the ears of your hunting partner. As we 223 shooters are aware, the 223 performs admirably out to approximately 300 yards with a whack of good stopping power.

    However, every now and then it would be nice to have a .218 Bee or a Hornet. I've shot fox with the 223 loaded with 50 or 52gr. bullets and it's usually the same old story; the hide gets blasted. Quite often, while hunting gophers (ground squirrels), I'm shooting amongst cattle and sometimes right into farmers' yards. Unless your landowner/host is an accomplished varminter himself, the blasting of a 223 in the yard can be unnerving, especially if they are expecting only a rimfire. Besides, pursuing gophers with a fully-loaded 223 at ten feet has always seemed over-kill to me, although my shooting partner, Barry, would disagree.[​IMG] [SIZE=-1]The Author's rendition of Barry[/SIZE]

    All this got me to thinking, "Why not work up a reduced-charge load for the 223?" As reloaders we have this wonderful option. The idea here is to reach velocities of approximately 3000 fps, with maximum expansion to keep ricochets and noise to a minimum. Oh yeah, cost would be reduced with the smaller amounts of powder used. Less powder also means more shooting before your barrel overheats. A real plus when there's a varmint charge!


    [​IMG]
    I chose to use the James Calhoon 37gr. Dbl HP bullet (designed for the fancy .22 Cooper rifles) which work around 2300 fps (the James Calhoon 37gr. Dbl HP bullet will actually stay together up to around 4000 fps). If I want more weight in windy conditions, I use a James Calhoon 42gr. Dbl HP bullet. I started out using 296 Ball powder, but I was not impressed with the grouping and noted the odd hangfire at reduced loads. I came to the conclusion that the preferred type of powder for a reduced load in a 223 would have to be a flake powder. Ball and even stick powders are much too dense to be considered for reduced loads in the 223. With the case only half charged or so, a bulky fluffy powder guarantees ignition to be consistent.

    Further tests did prove IMR 800X to be the best reduced-charge powder for the 223/37gr. Dbl HP combination. The 800X works well right down to three grains of powder and does not require a wad to maintain good ignition. Two grains of powder will cause the bullet to stick to the barrel. The three to four grain load also makes a good "basement" load for a contender, basically duplicating a .22 rimfire load. No wadding is required. Other pistol/shotgun powders can be used as long as it is a flake powder, but 800X works well, right from a minimum of three grains up to a twelve grain maximum.

    To us rifle shooters, 800X is peculiar-looking stuff. It has to be the largest-looking flake (around 3/32" in diameter) powder I've seen. I can't say it meters real well, well enough though, but it sure bulks up. For example, with my measure set of eleven grains of 800X, the measure threw fifteen and a half grains of 2015BR (short stick rifle powder). That comes out to 41% more bulk.

    When using 800X, I've found the powder to leave quite a bit of "Muzzle Mud." That's the black cake stuff you get on the crown after fifty or sixty shots. I'm presuming that's a graphite or carbon buildup from the powder. I've used Unique and have had virtually no "Muzzle Mud," but the barrel fouls twice as fast as with the "dirtier" 800X. Maybe overly clean burning powder is not necessary, or even desirable. Powders that leave a good deposit of graphite should, and appear to, dry lube the barrel and reduce fouling. I'd like to hear from powder makers out there on this theory.



    [SIZE=+2]CHART A -- GOPHER LOADS
    [/SIZE]
    Reduced Charge Loads for the .223
    Using a 37-Grain Calhoon Double HP Bullet[SIZE=+1]800X[/SIZE][SIZE=+1]Blue Dot[/SIZE]Powder ChargeVelocityPowder ChargeVelocity3.0 gr
    4.0 gr
    10.0 gr
    11.5 gr1,250
    1,350
    2,900
    *3,1254.0 gr


    14.0 gr1,275


    *3,240
    Using a 42-Grain Calhoon Double HP Bullet[SIZE=+1]800X[/SIZE][SIZE=+1]Blue Dot[/SIZE]Powder ChargeVelocityPowder ChargeVelocity3.0 gr
    4.0 gr
    10.5 gr1,170
    1,270
    *2,8504.0 gr

    13.0 gr1,165

    *3,000
    *MAX LOADS
    Velocity
    : In feet per second
    Test Rifle: Remington 700 BDL Varminter, 24" barrel, LC brass, CCI 400 Primer


    As most of you know, graphite is a super slippery black powder which is added to grease to improve performance under extreme pressure. Isn't that what we're after; improving performance under extreme pressure? How about that fella from Silver Eagle Machine in Glendale, Arizona, who makes the graphite wax wads? I'd like to see some test results. Groups before and after the wads; how many shots before the groups go. The graphite to use for bullet application should be "colloidal graphite" which is made electrically and is the purist form of graphite. It looks like tiny ball bearings (under a microscope) and does not break down into carbon as does regular graphite under high heat and pressure.

    Anyway, good accuracy is achieved across the loading range using 800X, with exceptional groups as loads reach maximum (under 1/2") - groups as good as your regular 50/52gr. loads can be expected. With eleven grains or more of 800X and the 37gr. Dbl HP, elevation at 100 yards is roughly 1/2" low from your normal 223 load. Windage should hold. As expected, this light load will be pushed around by the wind, about twice as much as the 50gr. standard load. I usually limit my shots to 100 yards in strong winds. On a calm day, 150 yards is not difficult.

    For distinguishing, your reduced loads, a dab with a blue marker (blue for cool) on the primer makes them easy to pick out from your regular 223 loads. Barry uses his crayon.

    If you load your cases one at a time into the chamber, all you have to do is make a choice. For a magazine gun, I keep the mag loaded with regular loads, minus one or two. This gives me the option of feeding a regular round from the mag or inserting a reduced load into the mag.

    My favorite reduced load for my 223's is eleven and a half grains of 800X behind a 37gr. Dbl HP. This load [​IMG]produces recoil similar to the .17 Reminegton, has a report like a Hornet, and hitting power that surprised even Barry. Barry says "I DO like that load!"

    I prefer a NECK sizer only. The Forester/Bonanza seater is very good.

    The 221 Fireball and 222 Remington also work well using reduced-charged loads. For reduced loads in the 222 Remington, reduce maximum load by one grain of powder from the 223. For reduced loads in the 221 Fireball, reduce maximum load by two grains of powder from the 223.

    Shooting reduced load 223's makes two rifles out of one. Instead of bringing along two rifles, I now just bring another bucket of ammo. I certainly have no need for a rimfire anymore, especially considering the accuracy, versatility, cooler shooting, and convenience of a reduced load 223.

    For further discussion, call James (406)395-4079
    [SIZE=+1] [/SIZE](Mon. through Fri., 8-5 MST). If you call, you won't be talking to Barry. He's too shy.
  5. RockKrawler

    RockKrawler Member

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    More.

    [​IMG]

    (Reprinted with permission from The Varmint Hunter Magazine, July 1999)
    by James Calhoon


    Or is it nobler to shoot a 223 as a Bee, could that be the answer?
    [​IMG]Back in the October 1995 issue of the "Varmint Hunter Magazine", Barry and I did an article on reduced loads for the 223. In that article, we discussed both the standard load and the reduced load, or "Gopher Load" as it has become known. By using the gopher Load in a 223, one can easily duplicate the performance of the 218 Bee, an all time favorite. Your trusty 223 varmint rig can now become two entirely different rifles, simply by changing ammo.
    Using Gopher Loads, twice as many rounds can be fired before barrel over-heating. This is most important when gophers mount a vicious charge! Other than being a lot of fun to shoot (recoil and noise levels are like the 17), the Gopher Load costs the same to load as the 22 Rimfire Magnum costs to buy, and [​IMG] believe me, the 223 Gopher Load runs circles around the 22 Rimfire Magnum both in accuracy and range. With the Gopher Load, 1/2" groups are the norm at the effective range of 200 yards. Finally, because of the greatly reduced powder quantities, expect barrel life to increase by several thousand rounds. (I guess this doesn't excite Barry, as he belongs to the Gun-a-Month Club.)
    When we wrote the original article, IMR 800X was considered the champion powder of the gopher load. The 800X Gopher Loads were: 11.5gr with a 37gr bullet (3150 ft/sec), and 10.5gr with a 42gr bullet (2850 ft/sec) all in a 24" barrel. (For more detailed loads see chart.) In 14" barrels, such as the Super Contender, deduct 200 ft/sec respectively. The 800X loads have proven very reliable, accurate and, some say, the best loads in 223 Contenders and XP's.
    Drawbacks of the 800X loads are the amount of powder fouling and the lack of meterability. 800X leaves a black soot residue that needs to be brushed out every 75 rounds to keep top accuracy. This is not a big problem since barrels should[SIZE=-1] [/SIZE]see a cleaning every 75 rounds anyway. BUT.....
    Just discovered.... a NEW old powder. "Blue Dot"! Blue Dot is an old tried and true powder, used for years in 357 and 44 Mag pistol loads as well as magnum shotgun loads. Blue Dot is a product of the Alliant Powder Co. I spoke with Ben Amonette of Alliant powders (1-800-276-9337, ext. 3) and they still produce the same line of tried and true powders. Only the name has changed (formerly Hercules). Ben is a very friendly fellow who is very happy to tell you all about Alliant powders.
    Blue Dot is superior to 800X because it meters better and burns cleaner (about half way between 800X and 4895). Blue Dot is also capable of producing higher velocities although slightly more powder is required. The actual volume (bulk) of Blue Dot comes out to be the same as 800X at their respective maximum loads.
    The reason we are using 800X and Blue Dot for our Gopher Loads is that these powders are flake powders that are bulky and fill the case to around 75% capacity. Also, flake powders ignite very easily and therefore, reduced quantities ignite reliably and efficiently. Blue Dot, by the way, has a burning rate slightly faster than 4227. Gopher Loads using Blue Dot are found in the chart below.


    [SIZE=+2]CHART A -- GOPHER LOADS
    [/SIZE]
    Reduced Charge Loads for the .223
    Using a 37-Grain Calhoon Double HP Bullet[SIZE=+1]800X[/SIZE][SIZE=+1]Blue Dot[/SIZE]Powder ChargeVelocityPowder ChargeVelocity3.0 gr
    4.0 gr
    10.0 gr
    11.5 gr1,250
    1,350
    2,900
    *3,1254.0 gr


    14.0 gr1,275


    *3,240
    Using a 42-Grain Calhoon Double HP Bullet[SIZE=+1]800X[/SIZE][SIZE=+1]Blue Dot[/SIZE]Powder ChargeVelocityPowder ChargeVelocity3.0 gr
    4.0 gr
    10.5 gr1,170
    1,270
    *2,8504.0 gr

    13.0 gr1,165

    *3,000
    *MAX LOADS
    Velocity
    : In feet per second
    Test Rifle: Remington 700 BDL Varminter, 24" barrel, LC brass, CCI 400 Primer

    Upon sighting, you'll find the point of impact to change little when changing from your regular 223 loads to the 800X or Blue Dot Gopher Loads, especially with a heavy barreled rifle. The probable reason for such little change is that the Gopher Loads produce "firm" pressure (40 - 45 thousand psi), similar to a full load, but they don't produce the volume of gas.
    Blue Dot is primarily a pistol/shotgun powder and is practically burnt up in 16" of barrel length. This explains the excellent performance in T/C's and XP's. The Blue Dot Gopher Load also makes a great load for a 20" barreled walking gun.
    The Gopher Load is mild on brass and all that is needed is a neck sizer. For this job, the Lee Collet Die is wonderful. No lube is needed and bullet run-out is practically non-existent when coupled with a Benchrest seater from Bonanza or, now, Redding.
    So, now there are two powders to make "Gopher Loads" for your trusty 223; 800X or Blue Dot. For comments or questions, call 406-395-4079[SIZE=+1] [/SIZE](Mon. through Fri., 8-5 MST).
    Goodnight Barry!

    *****UPDATE, FEBRUARY / 2001*****
    Until the development of the 19 Calhoon (Hornet), all I shot gophers with was the 223 GOPHER LOAD (Blue Dot). Ask Fred! That little "Pop-gun" sound used to bug him! Now I have to honestly admit that the 19 Calhoon (Hornet) has become my mainstay gopher gun (and that's not just because we sell them). Advantages of the 19 Calhoon (Hornet) over the 223 Gopher Load: the 19 Calhoon (Hornet) shoots 3 times more rounds before a barrel cleaning, has about 75 yards more range, and a "pocket full" of ammo holds three times as many cases. The 19 Calhoon (Hornet)
    even has less recoil. It truly is the best squirrel/gopher cartridge!
  6. RockKrawler

    RockKrawler Member

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  7. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Ah RockKrawler, ;)

    These posts have brought a tear to my eye and a pain in my heart, pinning for my old K-Hornet :((Small Martini w/ a .223 bull barrel) Many a Sabre Toothed Ground Squirrel and maurauding Jack-a-Lope were brought to ground by that iron.;)
  8. gunsmith007

    gunsmith007 Member

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    start with a loading for 40 gr.hollow point you should be able to use up to and including tha max charge listed in your books for various powders my experience is that the lighter the bullet the more powder is used in the loadings