More 50 DTC (CA legal 50 BMG)

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by LDBennett, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    For now I gave up on annealing the 50BMG surplus cases and bought some new cases. I sized them to 50 DTC, trimmed the cases to 3.800 inches, primed them with CCI #35's, loaded them with 650 gr bullets and 220 grs of H50BMG powder. So I now have 25 cases ready for fire forming and our first shots out of the BOHICA.

    I loaded them with the RCBS Ammo Master (giant!) press, and CH dies. I made up a small funnel on the lathe and used LEE dippers to spoon in the powder with the case on my Dillon electronic scale (zeroed the scale with the case and funnel on the scale). It went fine but boy is single stage reloading slow!!

    Next is the initial shooting session (fire forming the brass). There was a guy in Los Angeles in Feb this year that managed to blow up a BOHICA (reloading error??? or so says BOHICA). I am a little apprehensive about this first shooting session so I double and triple checked every phase of the reloading just to be sure. I made this ammo as near perfect as I can. It should be OK but......

    LDBennett
  2. USMCSpeedy

    USMCSpeedy Member

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    Good luck. I'm looking forward to hearing about your results and thoughts on the upper. I've been looking at a BOHICA upper as well.
  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Just to clear up any misconception anyone might have about the BOHICA Conversion for the AR, they tell me there was a priming error (??) in the LA BOHICA "blowup". One person there said the shooter may have been forcing the bolt closed but had been having trouble with his reloads.

    When I went to order our 50 DTC from BOHICA they had dropped the 50DTC from the offerings at the lawyers' suggestion and replaced it with 416 Barrett. We had just received our CH reloading dies (expensive!) and were committed to 50DTC. Chris at BOHICA made an exception after I offered to sign a liability release. I found him and his people very helpful with prompt returns of email questions and found it a pleasure to do business with him and BOHICA. I had my BOHICA in less than two weeks from the order date!

    Rather than hide the BOHICA "problem", I feel it wise to reveal what I know and you decide If BOHICA is for you. I have inspected the conversion in detail and find it well made and of an acceptable design. I don't expect any trouble from ours but I have purposely been extra careful to get everything in the reloading processes as perfect as I can (I have been doing reloading for many years and understand the processes whereas the guy in LA obviously didn't ??).

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    LD. its time you learnt to use a digital camera. I wanna see pics of this monster;)
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I DO know how to use a digital camera and here is proof (photography is another long time hobby of mine that I don't practice all that much anymore). Note the "feather weight" barrel and the "tiny" recoil suppressor. :) :)

    As for scale the empty case is 3.8 inches long.

    LDBennett

    Attached Files:

  6. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    LD: Just a thought on the guy who blew up his gun. Several years ago I got my hands some primers that were rounded (not CCI) and there was no way to seat them flush without deepening the primer pocket hole in the case. Also there was no way to seat them without flattening them with a flat priming pin. I called Huntington where I got them and Fred said just flatten them and they will be fine. Nervously I did and they worked great, but I could see how a guy might not do that and could set the primer off while closing the bolt if they were not seated properly. Again just a thought...

    By the way your gun looks great.

    Ron
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    muddober:

    The thought that it was "bad priming" was from BOHICA. I read some post from some on-sight observations and some way out theories at the time and I have no idea what caused it. Some say he had a full sized hammer on the bench. Others say he was jamming the bolt closed. But I have no idea what really happened and BOHICA says they don't either (if they did they sure would not tell me if they followed their lawyers' advice!).

    There are so many pitfalls in reloading a cartridge that has no official reloading data for it; that has no real specs; that takes fire forming to get cases. This is all like doing a wildcat based on an existing cartridge. and that is exactly what it is. I reloaded my first cartridges in the late 1950's and have been at reloading regularly for 25 years or so. Up to this point in time I have never had to fire form brass.

    Now hand this reloading task over to someone who has little or no reloading experience and see what happens (LA this last FEB???). Thanks to the stupid liberals in the CA legislature we have this situation where a well documented cartridge like the 50BMG, with tons of sources for commercially loaded ammo, is made illegal and the rest of us have to skirt the law with a custom cartridge. While not a problem for me, maybe it was a problem for the LA guy(??).

    Just to name a few "decision" I had to make that my years of experience helped with:

    1). Annealing the cases of once fired brass before the first sizing (I haven't yet as I found a reasonable priced source of new brass but will eventually). I have never annealed a case before but I know how to thanks to help here and from my reading.

    2). Removing the primers (I made a punch and anvil) and chamfering the swaged primer pockets. I seated the CCI #35 primers below flush and verified them to be about 0.002 inches below with a dial depth gage.

    3). Trimming the case 100 thousandths of an inch (I made tooling for my lathe and used the Lathe and a dial gage to get them all within a thousandth or so of each other). If the case is too long the bolt will not close because the case mouth hits the end of the chamber or the jammed case will tightly hold the bullet too long making the pressures too high.

    4). Getting 220 grains of powder into the cases (I made a 50 DTC specific funnel on the lathe, placed the case and funnel on my Dillon Electronic Scale, zeroed it, and used LEE dippers to spoon in the powder).

    5). When the bullet was seated to the end of the cannelure it jammed into the rifling (that may change once the cases are blow out to 50DTC chamber size). That most certainly would escalate the pressures so I had to crimp above the cannelure a few thousandths of an inch but I rechecked to make sure the bullet was not hitting the rifling.

    If I had done any one of the steps above wrong then disaster may hit me too. But I knew what to do. The newbie to reloading might not and he would be dealing with literally a bomb (220 grains of H50BMG powder is a lot of powder!!!). There are unknown pitfalls, beyond those above, that I may yet find, but I hope not.

    The bottom line is the 50DTC is not for the un-initiated! BOHICA now knows that and other 50DTC manufacturers are learning that too. I would have gladly chosen 416 Barrett if we had not been committed to the 50DTC by previous purchases. We had spread this gathering of 50 caliber stuff over six months.

    LDBennett
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    thats awesome LD. Pics of the groups???
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    JLA:

    We have yet to shoot it. The first shots will be done in fear, then we'll be fire forming brass and zeroing the scope. Once we have 50 fire formed cases and the gun is zeroed, the task of the gun is to shoot at steel targets at long ranges.

    We will move truck brake drums to various ranges, starting at 100 yds and out to 1000 yds. We have no intention of shoot groups. Our intention with it is to just make god awfully loud reports from bullets hitting steel brake drums at extended ranges.

    My son-in-law and I shoot at his club range that has steel targets out to 800 yds and we try hitting them at all ranges with all kinds of guns but mostly military weapons (Mauser, Mosin-Nagants, FAL, etc.). Shooting steel fascinates both of us and the 50DTC is the ultimate for that purpose. We never shoot at paper at that range, only steel target. My local club range is my "groups" range where they might frown on the report from a 50 CAL gun. The other shooters may object to having to move to a position behind our gun (as recommended in the BOHICA instruction manual). We intend to go to the open desert and make our own impromptu range out to 1000 yds.

    Anyway there are no "groups" in our future, as we see it now. Minute of brake drum is our goal!

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    sounds good to me. Maybe a video then...:)
  11. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    LD: I would like to see a picture of the case after die forming it and then one after firing forming it. I am very curious how dramatic a change you are doing to the case fire forming it. I have fire formed a few different rounds in my life and never had a problem. 30 Herret out of 30-30 or 32 Winchester Special, 257 STW out of 7 MM STW or 8 MM Remington mag and 375 Ackley Improved out of 375 H&H to name a few.

    I would think that if you have a good fit at the case neck you will be fine. My big concern when first fire forming 375 Ackley was that gas might get behind the neck and collapse the case instead of expanding it. So far after a couple hundred of them I have not had one problem.

    Ron
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    muddober:

    I'll try to remember to take some photos of the cases for you once we shoot the gun. No one has expressed any problems with fire forming the 50BMG to 50DTC, that I have heard (??). Some say they loose maybe a case or two per hundred to splits. But they may be using once fired (in machine guns!) non-annealed 50 BMG brass (???). Who knows where that stuff has been?

    It would seem to me a lot easier for the gasses to expand the case than take a devious route out the throat of the case and around the outside of the case to collapse it. Gasses don't like to change direction all that much. I have never heard of cases collapsing during the fire forming especially if held tightly in the chamber. The empties that I placed in the chamber of the BOHICA required some minor effort to close the bolt so the shoulder must have been somewhat tight against the chamber wall (???). But we'll find out, won't we. Fire forming is new to me so I expect anything and everything. If we totally fail I still have 50 MIL Surplus once fired 50 BMG cases. The cases I used this time were new cases (CBC head stamp from Graf & Sons).

    ASs a total aside the CH die set (expensive!) works like a charm and seems very well made. No die set for any other caliber that I have is made better. But for the price it ought to be perfect (and it appears to be).

    LDBennett
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Re: More 50 DTC (CA legal 50 BMG)... FIELD REPORT

    FINALLY got to shoot the BOHICA 50 DTC but not without problems.

    I had lightened the trigger pull by using the JARD trigger assembly and deforming the hammer spring. To be sure the hammer drop was sufficient I set off primers on five empty cases with no problems. In the field we got a couple of failures to fire from light hammer blows. So the hammer spring is going to have to be increased regardless that the trigger pull level will increase.

    On the 13th round the scope broke. It was a 50 Cal Millet but the rings had loosened under the recoil and that may have caused the scope failure (??).

    We were shooting at a measured 215 yds at a pair of stacked city bus brake drums made of thick cast iron (I assume). It was no problem to hit them and a couple actually went through the drum, hit the other wall and fell inside so we could capture them (more on them later).

    The bench setup we had was rickety and the gun wobbled all over the place so hitting the drums actually is a bit amazing to me but once we got the scope zeroed it was no prolbem at all. The BOHICA provided tripod mount gimballs (rotates left and right) making accurate aiming harder. I hope to fix that and buy or make a better portable shooting bench.

    The cases came out perfectly formed with no powder stains or any signs at all of excessive pressure. In fact, they could be pulled from the gun and handled as they were not very hot at all. They looked as if they had never been fired in a gun except they were fire formed to the 50DTC chamber. This is unlike any other cartridge that has come out of any other gun I have shot!

    The recovered bullets or what was left of them seem to be steel cored. Upon re-reading the Graf and sons data on them, they are indeed soft steel cored. I missed that when I order them. I wonder if it is a mistake to use these 650 gr Winchester bulk bullets? I have seen steel cored ammo start field fires but maybe they were hardened steel vs soft steel cored (??). We shoot in what could be termed "Desert" areas most of the time. I really don't know if this a problem or not.

    As for the recoil: Not really sharp at all but it sure pushes you a long way back. The report is more of a swoosh than a crack. My son-in-law shot the most rounds and said that ten rounds left you wanting to stop for awhile and "rest".

    Regardless that we had some troubles, both of us enjoyed shooting the BOHICA. I had fears of the gun since the "problems" at the LA range last January where a shooter (perhaps doing something foolish???) got hurt by the gun. But after shooting it I think the gun to be fine as is the ammo I reloaded for it. I can't wait to go again but the scope has to go back for repairs and the scope mounting has to be made better somehow. Also we need a better shooting platform and the gun's tripod gimbal has to be removed somehow. It will be a bit of time before we get back to the BOHICA, unfortunately.

    Even though we had teething prolbems the BOHICA is a success to us.

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  14. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    LD: I had the same problem with Millett rings. I went to Barrett 0 gap rings and they work great. I then added the BORS. The Barretts are the only way to go. I have an extra set of high that came with the BORS but I used the low I had on my gun. If you want to try them I will send them to you and if you like them just pay me what there worth to you. I also have a used Leupold MarK IV fixed 16 x 40 if you need a scope. The tube got messed up by the Millet rings. I sent it to Leupold and it came back looking brand new and has not been mounted since.

    Ron
  15. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the offer but the scope tube diameter is 35mm. Will the rings you have fit a 35mm tube? This scope is huge and supposedly for 50 cal guns. And it was pretty expensive.

    For years scope rings came with a friction paper that went into the bottom ring. The rings here are the ones provided by Millet with the scope and did not have any of this friction paper. I have seen people use blue LocTite in the ring (messy!) but I wonder if it does any good??

    Another perplexing thing with this is the rings were tighten perhaps 4 months ago and the gun not fired. Yet after we fired the thirteen 50 DTC cartridges the rings appeared to have loosened, both the clamps (six screw each ring!!!) and the Picatinny mounts to the rail. This was not fall off loose but certainly looser than I left them months ago (???).

    Thanks for the offer of rings but I suspect yours are not 35mm rings.

    LDBennett
  16. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    LD: I am sorry, the rings I have are 30mm. Also I have a theory that it is not the recoil so much as the muzzle break that gets the scope on the 50 BMG. Somewhat like an air rifle does to a scope if you are familar?

    Ron
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  17. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    muddober:

    Thanks for the offer but 35mm rings are like "hen's teeth" for rarity.

    On your concern of how well the fire forming of the cases went:

    I was amazed, to tell the truth. The shoulder sharpened up but unless you lay pre and post fire formed cases side by side it is hard to tell the cases were fire formed after their trip though the sizing die. The amazing thing to me is that fired cases don't even look like they were ever in a gun. There are NO burnish marks on the outside of the body, no powder residue on the outside of the case, and they could be handled straight out of the gun (not very hot to the touch). There is of course powder residue inside the case.

    The load is a reduced one for fire forming but both my son-in-law and I decided that max velocity is not in the cards for us in this gun. This load is probably the one we will stick with at about 10% below max. It already pushes you back about a foot and goes though the wall of a truck brake drum at 200+ yds. I think it will reach out to 1000 yds no problem. It appears that it might also shoot "minute of brake drum" at 1000 yds as well.

    After we fire form all our brass, fix the scope that the gun broke, increase the hammer blow to the primers, re-zero the repaired or replaced scope, we'll start going for distance. The place my son-in-law found in the desert for shooting is excellent for that exercise.

    So far, regardless that our investment is more than planned, we are not sorry we did this 50 cal thing. The BOHICA conversion is well made. The RCBS press I bought to reload 50 cal is excellent. The reloading process is not too fiddly, and the gun is fun to shoot. WE WON!

    LDBennett
  18. rgeorge55@me.com

    rgeorge55@me.com New Member

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    I have a 50 DTC I bought from State Arms and have form fired 50 BGM into 50 DTC. I followed the same procedure as you did. Trim to 3.800. In my reloading I now have a rule, never use a powder that can hold two charges in the case I am loading. With my Dillon 550B pistols powder can only fill 1/4 the volumne of the case making it easy to double charge. I am left handed and dislexy, need to check myself always. My powder from GI brass was 220 gr. filled it up to 3/4+ full. I believe to much powder will blow up the gun, I charge light then move up, now at 235 gr, using the 647gr ball, speed 2,850' sec +/-20, need better. I worry about the wrong powder or a double charge mostly. The wrong powder, double charge or a barrel obstruction is what I have watched for mostly with safety. When seating use little to no crimp. Compition shooters will often use no crimp. Crimp is the most criticial for presion. If the brass is to long when fired the brass could crimp the bullet at the crown (Bullet/brass junction) when fired causing over pressure not releasing the bullet causing over pressure and explosion at the worst. I started with .223 then 30.06 and then 50 DTC in rifles. They are all the same to load. A 50 BMG is an enlarged 30/06. Same share ratio of measurments. Another thing is to make sure the bullet leaves the barrel. If a bullet or other obsticial is left in the barrel the next round will be explosive. I am new at this but now feel good about it. My 50 DTC is hands down precision over any of my other guns. Just amazing. I have annealed once fired brass and it has been working. I went to youtube and watched a number of videos. I put the annealed brass in my ultrasonic tumbler to clean. The Walnut vibrator tumbler did not do it. The ultrasonic worked great. Looks like it never was heated. Check out Jeff at GI Brass, sells 4 - 8#'s pound jugs and is very honest. I've bought a lot from him. I have a 338 Edge being build to fill the gap between my 06 and 50 DTC. Good luck and keep your powder dry.
  19. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    rgeorge55@me.com:

    I, of course, load the 50DTC on a RCBS single stage BIG press using C&H dies. When it comes to the powder I scoop powder onto the Dillon digital scale pan and add the last little grain to get it to within a few tenths of a grain. We're still fire forming brass so we are at 220 grs of Hodgdon H50BMG for a 650 gr bullet. We, too, are seeing unbelievable accuracy even with these fire forming loads. We keep trying to reach out to farther and farther distances. We need a range finder to figure out exactly how far out they are (got an old Swiss optical on order but have not heard back yet if they have them in stock). All my brass was either new or once fired LC brass so I did not anneal it, just sized it up. I did not loose one case or have had no brass issues.

    I too buy powder by the 8# jug but I buy all my powder that way as I reload for over 30 different cartridges. My source is wholesale for all the various powders.

    For bullets take a look at this deal ($0.45 each!):

    http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8557&dir=278|281|303

    LDBenentt
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