Author Topic: ITX Non-Lead Field Test  (Read 13173 times)

Offline Larry Pletcher

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ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« on: July 27, 2010, 03:21:04 AM »
Steve Chapman and I finished up a field test of the ITX no-lead ball for .50 caliber muzzleloaders.   Ken Prather, who lives in a no-lead zone in CA, has been in on this as well as Daryl S in BC. 

Steve and I were given the job of determining the accuracy potential for hunting up to 100 yards.

The report is on my web site at: www.blackpowdermag.com

Click on "Feature Articles" and the ITX article is at the top.

Regards,
Pletch
Regards,
Pletch
blackpowdermag@gmail.com

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Offline Larry Pletcher

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 04:11:09 AM »
Thanks for sharing the fruits of your labor so willingly.

One thing I didn't see and may have overlooked is if the ITX is so hard that a 'ball-puller' could not be screwed into it...could not be used?

Also, in your dealings with the company, did it ever come out exactly why the 'belt' in there?
I've always assumed it was a byproduct of the manufacturing process...from photos I've seen, ITX shot pellets have the same belt design peculiarity.

The ball is too hard for a ball-puller.  In fact I tried Dave Crisalli's little drill and had no luck.  I didn't ask about the belt.  I assume it had something to do with the manufacturing process.

Regards,
Pletch
Regards,
Pletch
blackpowdermag@gmail.com

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what can never be taken away.

Kayla Mueller - I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.  Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home.

Offline Curtis

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 06:35:43 AM »
Larry, I would also like to thank you, Steve, and everyone else involved in the testing and publication of the results.  It is great to read unbiased testing reviews about new (and old) products.
Curtis Allinson
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Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

BrownBear

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 07:58:16 AM »
Very nice writing style Larry, and extremely useful info to go with it.  Thanks!

northmn

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 01:03:36 PM »
I am not sure but I believe Federals Black Cloud shot includes belted shot which they claim to have more terminal effect on game.  Manufacturing process is a very likely reason.  Large bores do not really need to expand to harvest game, as many handgun hunters used hardcast.  If one needs to anchor what they hit you break them down with shoulder shots.  Again hard ball do not destroy that much meat, especially at ML velocities.  A deer I shot last year with a cast bullet was hit in the shoulder with not near the meat destruction that one sees with HV jacketed bullets.  As to the greater MV of the ITX ball.  That would be quickly overcome by air resistance as in steel birdshot whcih is launched at higher velocities. 
It was a good test and informative enough to convince me that until MN goes totally lead free, I will stay with lead RB. 

DP

Daryl

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 04:03:24 PM »
Although the ITX balls are much lighter than a similar size lead ball, within normal ML ranges, the loss if sectional density will not slow them appreciably more - not enough to make a difference. Ken did some penetration tests and found the hard balls always out penetrated soft lead balls - by a considerable margin - showing the loss in SDensity had little effect.  If one was shooting at 200 yards, there might be an appreciable difference due to the lighthard ball's velocity loss but within normal ranges, the hardness overcomes this and penetrates more.

I did not test the samples sent me due to their size around the belts and more importantly, to me, the diameter across the corners of the belt, which exceed bore diameter.  I will most heartedly test ITX balls if they are reduced in size to the point of being .015" to .020" under bore size on any measurement. These would allow a thick patch to 'take' the rifling and protect the bore as well.

We are indebted to Fletch and Steve for the work they did.

Offline Ken Prather

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 08:47:15 PM »
I agree. The testing by Pletch, Steve, and Daryl have been really helpful, and they have added greatly to my preliminary experiments. I know that TomBob has expressed their appreciation as well, and are evaluating and deciding the next step. I plan on hunting with ITX locally this coming deer season, and so if I am lucky and the deer cooperate, I will have some practical hunting experience to share.

regards,

Ken Prather
Galations 2:20

Offline Roger Fisher

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 09:31:41 PM »
We are lucky in having guys doing this type of work so we stay ahead of the curve and may be ready for what comes on down the pike (atf) later on...

As far as being too hard for a ball puller -- this may not be altogether a bad thing - I for one hate to see a shooter hanging on a rod to pull a (possibly) dry balled rifle.  

Dribbling in prime be it a flinter or cussin gun is generally successful and the use of a co2 cartridge is also much safer anyway!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 02:23:39 AM by Roger Fisher »

straightshooter1

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 09:51:26 PM »
Thank You for your research.
As a competitive shooter at Friendship in both the cross sticks and light bench matches,and having a couple of records myself, I'm leary of this product. It sounds to me that I would not be able to use a false muzzle rifle as I now do. With the false muzzle I typically use a ball that is .010" oversize, with .023" teflon patch. IE: 52 caliber barrel, I use a cast .530 lead ball with .023 Wayne Lamson Teflon patch (tough ass patch) as he calls it. This to me means that even if they did make a ball of .530 size, it would be too hard to essentially swage it through the false muzzle. This to me means that there is yet to be an acceptable replacement to pure lead round balls for serious competitive rest (bench or cross stick) shooting. Hunting maybe ok. We'll just have to wait and see. Also, the cost I'm sure is way out there. At this time, I'm sure that one would not be able to cast their own with this material.
Just one man's opinion.

Offline Ken Prather

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 10:28:58 PM »
You are correct. ITX is a product has been developed primarily for hunting-- specifically for hunting in lead restricted hunting zones.

www.tomboboutdoors.com

Ken
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 10:31:00 PM by Ken Prather »
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Offline Ken Prather

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2010, 02:02:31 AM »
Actually, ITX in its shot-sized form is also quite soft---it can be crushed easily with a pair of pliers and smashed with a hammer--- just like Niceshot (tried it/done it) When the material is made larger, it requires a proportionally larger force to crush it...

One difference between ITX and Niceshot from what I can gather is that ITX is cheaper than Niceshot.

I would assume that just like ITX, if Niceshot were to be made in a larger roundball size? that it too would be hard--just like ITX is. ITX is still softer than barrel steels (and softer than most all of the other lead substitutes except bismuth)

Ken
Galations 2:20

Offline Larry Pletcher

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2010, 04:39:38 AM »
Thank You for your research.
As a competitive shooter at Friendship in both the cross sticks and light bench matches,and having a couple of records myself, I'm leary of this product. It sounds to me that I would not be able to use a false muzzle rifle as I now do. With the false muzzle I typically use a ball that is .010" oversize, with .023" teflon patch. IE: 52 caliber barrel, I use a cast .530 lead ball with .023 Wayne Lamson Teflon patch (tough ass patch) as he calls it. . . . . .

As you saw in the article we felt the accuracy potential was good enough for hunting and informal target work.  We mentioned that in serious target work including rested shooting we'd prefer lead.  The idea of using a fale muzzle never crossed our minds.  THere was enough loading issues finding a patch that wouldn't cut.  The ball will NOT swage into a false muzzle - nor was it intended to.

We'd like to see the more variations in ball size measured at the belt for hunting.  I'd speculate that we're in early development stages, with future changes in ball size making loading easier.  I'm curious too.
Regards,
Pletch
Regards,
Pletch
blackpowdermag@gmail.com

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what can never be taken away.

Kayla Mueller - I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.  Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home.

Offline Ken Prather

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 08:27:05 AM »
Roundball, when I spoke to the engineer who developed ITX, he was very certain that a shot cup was not needed.  He did say that ITX shot results in higher pressures and that it should not be used in a full choked barrel, but in a cylinder bore he felt comfortable that it was safe. I would encourage anyone interested to email or call TomBob Outdoors direct and speak with their engineer and CEO Tim Smith.

Of course, the roundball is a different issue, and so far I know of no other non-lead roundball option. I know nothing about Niceshot so I cannot comment on it. I personally welcome the possibility of Niceshot offering a roundball option. I'd be interested in trying it out. The more material options we have, the better.

Ken
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 08:30:31 AM by Ken Prather »
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northmn

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2010, 01:54:42 PM »
Bismuth would be another option, but would be in the same class a ITX in that it is lighter.  Bismuth definitely would not harm the barrel.  However it tends to be brittle such that is may want to fragment.  Also, all of the lead substitutes are harder than lead or at least at the level of magnum shot.  magnum shot alloy is similar to the lead ingots they sell called "hard cast".  There is another polymer tungston based shot designed for "classic doubles" that may be nothing more than Nice shot, but again I would bet it would not expand.   While this makes an interesting mental exercise, my choice is still lead or a lead alloy until such time as they make no tox a legal requirement.  At this time I thnk you can still hunt deer in Federal WPA's with a lead shotgun slug  ???

DP 

Offline Ken Prather

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2010, 03:36:29 PM »
I did try Bismuth and you are correct. It was too brittle and crumbled on impact---I also tried adding percentages of lead-free solder/tin to the bismuth and it never got to a point where it did not shatter with an impact.

ITX is very solid... It penetrates deeply and does not crack or crumble... and yes, with no expansion.

Muzzleloading guns were designed to shoot lead. They will always shoot lead better than anything else. But this ITX stuff does work and perform similar to lead in that I got very close to the same point if impact in my tests with the same load I use for lead roundball. I can email you my target photos if you are interested, but Steve's targets indicated the same result.

I would say that until they ban lead in your woods, keep using lead. But if you must, then ITX is an option you can try. Like I said, I'll be out there hunting with it this fall...

By the way, ITX has been certified as a non-toxic lead substitute for hunting Federally in the USA, and it is approved for use in Canada, And the State of CA Df&G has approved its use.

Ken
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 03:41:32 PM by Ken Prather »
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Daryl

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2010, 04:11:59 PM »
I did give an ITX ball a smack with a hamer and a sharp centre punch. The little punch mark 'nick' could be felt, but was not readily visible.  They are quite hard.  That they aren't brittle is a good thing - as their main forte is in penetration.

Offline Ken Prather

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2010, 05:28:19 PM »
I would again encourage anyone that is concerned about ITX shot and its use without a shotcup in a cylinder bore muzzleloader to email or call TomBob and ask them directly. They have been very forthright to me via phone and in person about their stand regarding the safe use of ITX shot. I have never heard of, or experienced ITX shot to "splinter" or "gouge"...

There is of course inherent risk in using or misusing any of these non-lead products... I am aware that the Ballistic Products website carrys a heavier disclaimer. In today's litigation crazy world, some companys are more sensitive than others, and for good reason.

I have shot ITX shot out of my Chambers PA fowler and my bore does not seem to have suffered any scratching or damage. I actually hunted Turkey with ITX last Spring. I have experienced some very good patterns using ITX as well, but I really need to experiment more... It seems to me that both ITX, Niceshot and Bismuth are viable choices to try in a smoothbore.

best regards,

Ken
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 06:22:32 PM by Ken Prather »
Galations 2:20

Daryl

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2010, 07:49:48 PM »
I would have no problem using their shot or round balls in my smoothbores.  Before I use the round balls in a rifle, I would like to see the size changes I described earlier.  Any tipping of the banded round balls as made now, makes them too large for me.  With that in mind, it might be a 'stretch' of too much caution on my part, as the minor diameter of the band will attempt to hold the ball 'square' to the rifling. I found the 2 samples sent to me to be quite hard - and slightly over size to the writing on the bags.
I was able to load the smaller size, the one marked .487" ball in this crown, with a .015" denim patch. Some might measure that as .018" if using calipers, depending on the width of the 'jaws'.  The barrel is a section of a GM .50 cal rifle barrel with slow twist. I was able to push the ball through the bore and out the other end, without cutting the patch.  All other patch material I have, cut at every land.  i should also add that loading this ball was more difficult than any combination I shoot in any other gun, including my .690 bore'd rifle, with a .684" pure lead ball and .030" patch.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 07:59:14 PM by Daryl »

northmn

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2010, 02:17:34 AM »
Somewhere someone decided that the 50 caliber ought to be a standard for a hunting gun.  The modern people standardized it and tried to recreate the wheel that the 58 rifled musket already held.  These would likely be much better in the larger bores also.  Even with pure lead a 60 cal smoothbore probably does not expand, or at least not much, with the normal charges shot in it.  A 54 or a 58 would also be an improvement.  Maybe Daryls 69 would not kick quite as hard with a lighter ball ;D

DP

Daryl

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2010, 03:35:49 PM »
What kick?

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2010, 01:52:15 AM »
A pure lead ball of .735" dia. pushed along by 100 grains of FFg ended up a little larger than a quarter in diameter, and about 3/8" thick, after stopping on the hide of the offside of a moose, at 100 yards.  This out of a Brown Bess musket.  Patch material was denim .020" thick lubed with bear grease.  I suspect velocity was around 800 FPS at that range.  The ball passed through both legs' bones, two ribs, and both scapulae, including the lungs between.

Pure lead expands well even at that low velocity.  It started at the muzzle at about the speed of sound.

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northmn

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2010, 04:23:27 PM »
Given a little thought, smoothbores might adapt very well to no tox ball.  Given the correct size, I could shoot a patched steel ball bearing in a no choke smoothbore with no appreciable damage.

DP

Offline LynnC

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2010, 06:49:32 PM »
Patched Ball bearings would likely shoot fine.  Its the richochette and rebounds that I'd be worried about :-O .....Lynn
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Daryl

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Re: ITX Non-Lead Field Test
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2010, 07:35:41 PM »
When hunting, bouncing around the countryside with large diameter, low sectional density projectiles is a moot point, imho.  Their range is VERY subdued. Steel balls would be very poor hunting projectiles except at very close ranges with large bores. Small bores, ie: 24 gauge would probably only work well on deer or other 'light' game.

The point is, with smoothbores, protecting the bore is easily accomplished with a descent patch - rifles are a different story.  The fit must be tight enough to spin the ball and lubricate as well as soften fouling. They also have cornered lands that might be susecptable to damage from the hard ball due to cut patches, the ball being forced against the cut-side by the other's press fit against opposite lands.  That ball, exiting at velocity has the potential to ruin your barrel.  The material used must be soft enough not to damage.  The ITX ball I centrepunched with a sharp pointed punch, was barely marked and the mark could barely be seen - mostly only felt with a finger (someone else's - mine are a bit toughed for fine observation.  It is possible the ones I received were harder than normal - I don't know - the possibility of those to do damage was not only a possibility - the one I pushed through the bore did in fact mark a land (press/score) and created flattened areas on 2 of the 'belt's' corners when the ball was loaded with the belt running vertically.  It tilted as it was pushed down the bore - which was a major chore, btw.  If it was difficult for my ham fists - as well as for Pletch and Steve - those who like to thumb start will have to learn to put some muscle into loading these as presently made - or simple go without anything more than .005" and wipe between shots.

Fact remains I would most heartedly endorse the 'project.product' if the balls were made smaller and in a size I could test.  I have available for testing, .45, .40, .32, .58 and .69 cal rifles as well as a .62 smoothbore. For the smoothbore, the ball should be .595" at the most, and possibly best at about .585" to .590".  A .675" ball (15 bore) would work well in the .69, with .560" for the .58's, .435 largest for the .45.  A .50 ITX should, in my line of thinking, be about .490" largest - ie; band corner to band corner, instead of .503" and .505" as measured by me.

All measurements I've made are the largest size of the band to allow the bands to be unde bore size, corner to corner.  Having them larger than the bore is an invitation to trouble, I believe.  I've been proved wrong many times, btw - just my gut feeling on size being spoken here.