Making lead bullets for the 8x56R.


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SaxonPig
July 17, 2009, 12:07 PM
After looking at the Steyr M95 short rifles for a long time, and thinking that one would be great fun to play with, I couldn’t resist any longer when they were offered by a large seller for $89. The problem with this rifle is the obsolete 8x56R caliber it shoots.

As if not bad enough that the 56R case is odd and not readily available (ammo and cases are offered but they are not cheap and to me this is a cheap plinking rifle) but it also takes a strange .329 bullet rather than the .323 of the more familiar 8x57 Mauser. Lee makes dies and they also make a .329 bullet sizing die that works in a standard reloading press. I have heard of guys resizing jacketed .338 bullets but these are pricey and not in keeping with my cheap theme for this rifle. I needed to look elsewhere. Some lead .338 bullets can be purchased but they are a little expensive and at 250 grains the recoil will be rather stiff. I wanted a lighter bullet for fun shooting.

Then I thought about the .357 revolver bullet. Could a lead .357 bullet be squeezed through the .329 die to make a cheap plinking load? I had to try. What I wound up doing was rather than using the die as intended, I screwed it in the press upside down from the bottom. Then I took a lead .357 bullet and coated it with the lube Lee includes with the sizer die and dropped it into the die nose down, just as it would pass through the die if it were mounted correctly. Then I used a steel punch that was just slightly smaller in diameter than the base of the bullet and a 24 ounce hammer to tap the bullet through the die. I truly believe this is easier and requires much less physical effort than using the ram to drive the bullet through the die.

I was a bit surprised at how easily it slipped through. I had thought that perhaps going from .357 to .329 would be too great a leap and I might have to buy a custom die from Lee (they will make one in any size you want for $25) in maybe .342 and resize the bullets in two stages. But it wasn’t necessary. Just a couple of sharp taps and it fell out the bottom. The bullet looked perfect, no different than it looked before being resized except for a very shallow indentation perfectly centered in the base where the punch made contact. I don’t think this will affect the bullet’s performance one bit. It just made it a slightly hollow base design. Only now the calipers showed it was .329” instead of the original .357”. Woo-hoo! Cheap plinking bullets for the 8x56R had been achieved!

I think a 158 grain round nose will work fine, but I believe 180 and even 200 grain .357 bullets are readily available if more weight is desired. To me the small amount of time needed to resize the pistol bullets is justified in the cost savings.

Now I need to acquire some cases and actually try these out.

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fatelk
July 17, 2009, 06:59 PM
How about these .329 bullet molds?
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=941952

I've had 100 brand new boxer primed cases sitting around for a couple years now, planning on ordering these molds; just haven't got around to it.

SaxonPig
July 18, 2009, 10:19 AM
I have a morbid fear of being burned so I avoid activities involving fire or great heat (I couldn't eat cooked food until the microwave oven was invented). The idea of working with molten metal would terrify me. No way I could ever do bullet casting.

EMC45
July 18, 2009, 10:31 AM
Cast bullets Saxon Pig!!!!!!! Go to castboolits.com. Someone just did an article on the 8X56.

highlander 5
July 18, 2009, 11:23 AM
Get a copy of Shotgun Newa there are several companies that have both brass and cast bullets. On resizing 357 mag bullets seems to me a lot of work involved there,better off resizing 338 dia. Easier to size down .009 of an inch than .027 of an inch.

SaxonPig
July 18, 2009, 12:45 PM
Again, I looked at 338 bullets and they are heavier than what I wanted and fairly pricey. The effort in sizing the 357 bullets is minimal, taking about 10 seconds for each one. To me this seems a viable way to obtain cheap plinking bullets and I offered my experience in case anyone else was looking for the same. If I was making ammo for a match rifle I would go another route.

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