Question about loading cast lead bullets


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BHPshooter
August 19, 2003, 11:44 AM
I had my first "lead bullet experience" yesterday, for loading and at the range. I have the speer handloading manual, in which they have no listing for a 115 grain LRN bullet, so I loaded it with the minimum listed amount for a 115 gr. FMJ bullet.

What got me worried was that there was an entry for a 125 grain LRN bullet, but all of the powder charges were less -- not a ton less, but notably so.

After working up some gall, I went to the range and tried them out, and they worked fine, so I guess I did okay.

My question is: do lead bullets generally require a smaller powder charge than jacketed/plated bullets? Why or why not?

Thanks, guys.
Wes

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Edward429451
August 19, 2003, 12:00 PM
My question is: do lead bullets generally require a smaller powder charge than jacketed/plated bullets? Why or why not?

This is not necessarily true. Maybe generally depending on exactly what you're loading for...If you compare loads in your manual(s) for same bullet weights, you'll see that it goes both ways for different loads.

I've found IME, that weight and velocity range is the more pertinant to the load rather than composition. Generally speaking, lighter bullets take more powder, and heavier bullets talk less powder, within reason.

This is why its a good idea to have multiple load manuals. To do comparative analysis and cross checking when you're ready to load.

Bacchus
August 19, 2003, 12:17 PM
In one of my manuals (either the Lee or Speer), the author notes that it is possible, to use data for the next heavier bullet in the event that specific information is not available for your bullet weight. But I'm not sure that the recommendation covers bullet design/make up as opposed to weight.

I'd second the idea of getting multiple manuals to provide comparison data.

Jim Watson
August 19, 2003, 01:06 PM
Speer data is for Speer bullets. Their lead bullets are soft swaged, not hard cast. Top loads are not necessarily maximum pressure, they are often just the most the soft bullets will take without barrel leading or wild shooting.

If you are going to shoot cast bullets, a Lyman manual will be the most useful.

A cast pistol bullet will usually make a given velocity with a lower powder charge than jacketed, the friction and resistance to engraving by the rifling of greasy lead are less than for jacketed.

Sunray
August 20, 2003, 02:44 PM
9mm? Any load for a cast 115 bullet will do. Jacketed bullets tend to be driven faster so it's not good to use data for them. You should be able to find data online, but don't ask me where.

MoNsTeR
August 21, 2003, 12:38 PM
The lead bullet loads in the Speer book are not necessarily at max pressure.

uglymofo
August 21, 2003, 12:50 PM
One should approach the reloading tables for FMJ differently than for lead reloading; FMJ won't melt, lead will (assuming the requisite amount of powder) and of course, leading is a pain in the can to remove from a barrel.

Here are a couple of online sources for reloading data:

http://stevespages.com/page8c.htm

http://www.reloadammo.com/

http://www.centerfirecentral.com

Slick Pilot
August 26, 2003, 04:35 PM
You should get a copy of the Lyman Cast Bullet Manual. It is a wealth of information by experts concerning cast bullets.

Generally, lead bullets will generate lower chamber pressures than copper jacketed bullets of the same weight. It also matters what size your bullet is, so measure it, or it may tell you on the package if you purchased the bullets vice casting them yourself.

I cast my own bullets, and it is enjoyable to me, but not everyone wants to do that and put up with the process.

The real purists drive a lead slug through the barrel, then measure to determine the actual size of the grooved portion. This is the size you want your bullet to be. But most modern firearms are accurately grooved. That is a whole 'nother subject.

It is very interesting how one cast bullet will perfom well in a specific gun (with a specific powder charge) and very differently in another firearm.

Good luck.

Edward429451
August 27, 2003, 12:36 AM
The real purists drive a lead slug through the barrel, then measure to determine the actual size of the grooved portion. This is the size you want your bullet to be.

I've always heard that if you're shooting jacketed, this is the size you want your bullet to be, but if you're shooting lead then it should be sized .001 larger. Example 44 mag jacketed .429 / 44 mag lead .430

If you cast your own, the actual mixture you use can affect the as cast diameter of the finished slug from the same mould. It is best to slug your barrel. This stuff is a science and the more of the little details you pay attention to...the better and better your ammo gets over time.

Slick Pilot
August 27, 2003, 11:54 AM
I believe you are correct, Edward429451 (no doubt about what you shoot;) ) concerning the sizing of cast bullets, and I will try to remember to check my reference.

I like to use linotype for my cast loads, but wheel weight metal works quite well when heat treated in the oven. They become quite hard.

The low velocities of pistol bullets relative to those fired from rifles make the use of cast bullets in pistols quite advantageous for plinking and even hunting.

I also like to use cast bullets in my rifles, and enjoy compensating for the slower velocities is a challenge. Recoil is very mild, and one learns a bit about trajectories and windage. Although I do not shoot as often I as I would like, I have not yet had any problems with leading in either pistols or rifles.

Edward429451
August 27, 2003, 12:28 PM
one learns a bit about trajectories and windage.

Windage is the challenging one for me. I'm tryin to learn to read the wind by watching the grass and tree branches & so forth, but dang, I never seen the wind change direction so many times, seems like.:p

Another problem I seem to have is remembering to only changing the variables one thing at a time. Doh! I change my ammo somehow, but then I've been reading about positionong or technique so I forget and try something new and I'm like, hmm that worked better, but was it the ammo or technique that did it?:rolleyes:

Good notes help A LOT. I'm making more progress faster since I've been taking better notes. Of course. Doh.

:)

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