Shooting Gas Check Bullets W/O Gas Checks


John C
January 16, 2005, 05:20 PM

I got a mold for free that casts 158 gr. SWC bullets, but the mold is for use with gas checks. I've read in Keith's Gun Notes vol. 1 that gas checks can be a problem in revolvers, so I don't want to use gas checks.

What will happen if I shoot these bullets as cast, without gas checks? I'm not worried about armageddon, but rather with accuracy suffer?

Also, I've read that bulleted base bullets are the best for accuracy, I wondered wether the Gas Check cutout would act as a bulleted base?


-John C

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Jim Watson
January 16, 2005, 05:31 PM
Elmer Keith was a great shooter, but not always up to date. A gas check bullet will not hurt your gun or cause "problems" It might shoot better with or without a gas check in YOUR gun, you must do it to know.

I don't know what you mean by "bulleted" base. A flat, square edged bullet is nearly always more accurate. I shoot BPCR and we take EVERY measure to be sure of that for shooting at 500 metres with a buffalo rifle. Common commercial cast bullets with beveled bases are for fast commercial loading, not best accuracy.

Shooting a gas check bullet without the check and exposing the cut is swimming upstream. It might be ok, it might not.

January 16, 2005, 05:41 PM
John, back in my main compo' days I ran out of my usual cast plain base 158 swc's but had a load of fresh cast gas check ones .. Lyman mould, nice profile and I still use these even now, with checks for .357 mag.

I did use those gas check swc's without checks for target loads ... in quite some quantity and had no obvious issues at all. Only downside was after lubrisizing, the bases were a bit gunky with lube and during loading there was some surplus lube accumulating in seating die - so had to clean that more often. This was a sorta 2.7 grains bullseye load ... so velocities were very modest.

Much faster than that tho and I think addition of a check would be wise ... and IMO I can see no reason at all to avoid gas check bullets in revo's!

January 16, 2005, 06:17 PM
A friend gave me some hard cast 200 gr. LSWC gas check bullets. I loaded them to do about 670 fps from the 4" barrel of my .38 special. I did not use gas checks. Accuracy was fine, and no other problems.

John C
January 16, 2005, 07:06 PM

Thanks for your replies.


I was mistaken in referring to "bulleted base". I meant to say "bevel base".

I read somewhere (the infamous "somewhere") that NRA tests showed beveled based bullets to be more accurate than flat base, contrary to conventional wisdom. Does anyone have any input for a novice?

-John C

January 16, 2005, 07:16 PM
Bevel base, specifically boattail, rifle bullets are more accurate at long ranges, beyond about 200 yards, than flat base bullets. I really don't think it is going to matter much in a revolver or semi-auto pistol and the bevel base makes reloading much easier.

January 16, 2005, 07:32 PM
My understanding is that boattail bullets retain velocity a little better due to reduced drag, but are less accurate because of muzzle blast. With a flat base bullet, the muzzle blast is diverted 90 degrees by the base of the bullet, and don't interfere with its flight. With boattail bullets, however, the muzzle blast is able to flow around the bullet's base and form a turbulent cloud just ahead of it that the bullet has to plow through, messing up the accuracy a bit.

Not exactly a "rifle," but in that pic you can see how the "bullet" has obviously gone through the muzzle blast.

Boattail accuracy problems can be avoided by either using a muzzle brake, or using rebated boattail bullets, which basically have a semi-wadcutter shaped base, and are supposed to divert muzzle blast to the sides just like a flat base, while having a higher BC, like boattails.

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