Bullet Castin and Cast Bullets


September 8, 2011, 12:09 PM

I was gone for a minute and returned only to find some of us are in desperate need of the following information:

Cast bullet weight depends on several factors: Alloy composition (the more lead in the mix the heavier the bullet), mold cavity size (obviously), and this little thing we all know as consistency. How tight the two halves of the mold are held against one another affects the size of the cavity which in turn affects the size of the bullet which in turn affects the bullet weight. So, if you hold the mold real tight, the bullet will cast smaller if you hold the mold loosely.

This also applies to automated casting. While mold pressure is prolly more consistent due to the mechanical leverage of the machine, sometimes a piece of lead gets stuck inbetween the two mold halves causing a gap between them. This will cause the mold to cast large bullets. When this happens, often we will see fins on the bullets. But sometimes the gap is so slight the defect is undetectable, visually anyway.

You cannot expect a commercial caster to weigh every bullet, not for $80 per thousand. That's our job as reloaders.

Finally, having the latest copy of QuickLoad and 18 years of reloading experience I can assure everyone that a 10% weight variance will not cause any pressure concerns. Bullet weight means nothing in the greater scheme of variables. Seating depth, case volume, powder charge weight, and bullet jump are far more important.

I have bought some bullets from Missouri. They are good bullets. I have weighed them and observed 7-10 gr variance, but I also know it means absolutely nothing. Not on paper and not internally. I purposefully assembled the heaviest and lightest bullets and shot them for groups off the bench. There was no difference on paper, and this was from a match grade 1911.

If you want perfection for $80 a thousand, get a single cavity mold and cast your own. Otherwise, find a different planet to live on.

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September 8, 2011, 12:21 PM
Exactly. Of course, its worth arguing about and making accusations if you are in the pocket of a commercial caster and want to tear up the reputation of another caster. Its a shame they cant all be as above board as Missouri Bullet. The thought of sending people into threads on message forums to bash is incredible. Food for thought, read up on the last threads "activist". See if you notice in the previous posts a pattern. Its awful familiar to an incident that occured a few months ago involving a caster that shall not be named(just cause I dont want to give them free advertising).

September 8, 2011, 12:40 PM
I look for consistency in cast bullets that I buy. I purchase currently from 3 sources as I am conducting my own tests and have some conclusions about the various bullets. I will be ordering more from different sources to see if what I suspect to be true is true. When I am done I will post my detailed findings here.
None of the bullets I have purchased from any of the sources show that much variation in weight in any of the bullets I have purchased. Normally I see 2 grs or less in the samples I have randomly weighed.

I would suspect that 7-10 grains variation would have a effect on group size. I know several Bullseye shooters that swear that the reason they use swagged bullets is for the very tight weight variations.

Good for some may not be good enough for others. Only your gun and shooting and your demands can dictate what you consider acceptable.

September 8, 2011, 03:04 PM
I have weighed out boxes of bullets, both cast and jacketed, taking length and weight measurements. The best are 6mm benchrest bullets from custom makers. Regular production bullets are a crap shoot.

Striving for consistency is admirable, but unrealistic expectations are not. Your expectations and claims are unfounded. First, consider the price. Next, consider the real world influence of a 5% weight variance. Then consider the application.

What you're doing is talking about taking a Glock to a benchrest match (this is an analogy). You are expecting the Glock to shoot .3 MOA. It ain't gonna happen.

What gun are you shooting? I'm shooting custom shop Springers, Performance Center revolvers, and Freedom Arms single actions. All my accuracy testing is done off a bench rest. You talk about people who shoot Bullseye. Do you? What gun are you shooting???

FWIW, I have found LazerCast to be most consistent with a 4gr variance, but LazerCast does not offer 12BHN bullets either and they cost as much as jacketed.

September 8, 2011, 03:52 PM
I don't strive for consitency I just get it from the bullets I purchase. I don't shoot bullseye but I have several .45s from Les Baer and a custom built Series 70 that has a .40 Super conversion as well as a .45 Super.
I have Contenders with custom barrels and a Freedom Arms .454 as well as a .475 Linebaugh. various custom shop S&Ws in various calibers and the list goes on.
You claim my expectations are unrealistic and unfounded? By what standard? Yours? My standards are different.
Why would they be unrealistic when those expectations are being met by the suppliers I purchase from.
After several purchases from all three I can tell you that is what I get from them. I am also going to expand my testing to include others because I have been finding some interesting results that I did not expect and want to verify what I have been experiancing.

You state that you can assure that a 10% weight variance won't cause any pressure concerns.
Sorry,unless you have the equipment and means to pressure check all loads with a 10% bullet weight variance I cannot take any assurance from you and some quick load computer program.

Some loads that are running at maximum levels could be pushed well over safe pressure specs by bullets that are 10% out of wack. That's not a chance I am willing to take.

I have shot Laser Cast and found them to be good and also expensive. I have found other bullets as good and in some cases better for less money.
I have found softer cast bullets that fill my needs for target shooting as well as hard cast ones when I am pushing my loads. I shoot from a bench as well as shooting off hand and for the volume of shooting I am doing I can tell differances among the brands I have tried so far.
This process is akin to the same way many highpower shooters settled on the 168 gr. Sierra match grade bullet over the Hornaday match bullet and the same way the Nosler 185gr. 45 bullet is tops at 50 yards in Bullseye matches.

I am on a cast bullet quest to see what bullets perform best in MY guns.

My research is ongoing and I am enjoying the process of discovery.

September 8, 2011, 03:54 PM
I don't buy cast bullets, I cast my own. I'm fairly critical of weight variations in my bullets for a different reason. I know that I'm not perfect, and I can make mistakes (I know, hard to believe isn't it!). I suspect that when I have weight variations, I could have voids in my bullets. Since I didn't intentionaly put them there, and don't know exactly where they are, it introduces another unknown variable into the equation. If a void is in the center of the bullet it won't make a lot of difference, but if it's off centerline it will cause the center of rotation to shift when the bullet leaves the barrel. It's not hard for a guy that's doing his own casting to melt the suspect bullets back down, but I don't know what's best for those of you who buy your cast bullets. Just thought that I'd muddy the waters a little, you may now return to your regularly scheduled discussion.:D

September 8, 2011, 04:21 PM
Years ago in an old NRA publication a test was done with cast 148gr wadcutters. It was found that once weight variance went past about 2.5 grains accuracy was lost and continued to get worse with higher variations.

I have been loading long enough to know that one of the cardinal rules in making good ammo is consistency. That means not only consistency with your components but your reloading procedures as well.
That rule has served me well.

September 8, 2011, 05:38 PM

September 8, 2011, 06:33 PM
That's with 148gr wadcutters in the 38 Special. The 45 ACP is different. You can't just throw out these blanket statements because these variables are specific to a certain cartridge/ load combination.

My experience in this area is sufficient to justify my response in the above posts. I don't need pressure testing equipment to know that weight in itself is not a crucial variable. This is common knowledge in ballistics.

You are making a big deal out of a trivial variable. The amount of weight variance we are talking about will not raise pressures to a dangerous level. You are wrong.

September 8, 2011, 06:43 PM
I cast my own, and holding the mold does make a difference. I also had to throw back a bunch when a lead splatter got in the vent lines and made the thing cast wide. Oh well. For me it's nothing more than 20 minutes wasted on a weekend, time I would have spent playing games or drinking beer, so no loss. :)
I have never tried MBC bullets, but haven't heard anything bad about them. The people running the place sound like very nice people.

September 8, 2011, 06:53 PM
You are wasting your time arguing with this guy 918v. He is another of (edit)'s plant accounts. He has been taking every chance he can to badmouth MoBullet. Take a look at his post history, it wont take to much to figure it out. After getting shown the door here he took the war to every other forum he could find. Nothing new, no one really cares, as the truth is in the loading.

BTW, Missouri Bullet has never taken money and not sent bullets for over a year or just not sent bullets at all, like Super 45's guy has.

September 8, 2011, 07:19 PM
Ljnowell, you have no grounds for making any such statement about me.
In all my postiings I haven't ever badmouth MB with the exception of one recent thread in which I raised a legitimate concern about bullets that were mislabeled and mispacked and could have resulted in a dangerous overload condition.
I stated I was leary of such a problem and instead of the owner trying to put my concerns at rest he chose to crack jokes.

Not very professional. I would have expected at the least not only an acknowledgement of the problem ( which he did) but some assurance that steps would have been taken to make sure such a problem would not happen again. No, I got wisecracks instead. Ok, if thats the way he wants to be so be it. I don't have to accept it.
MB was on my list of mfg to try due to their excellent rep here but after his response to my concern that was not going to happen. I am moving on to other companies now to test their wares.

To 918v; your broad statement that I am wrong on the basis of your expierance is insuffcient for me to accept that the weight variance is trivial.
If you have more specfic information to back that claim up then I will look at it and reevaluate it at that time. I'm not going to take your word on it.

September 8, 2011, 07:33 PM
I cast my own and have no dog in this fight. But it seem to me we have someone here thats VERY opinionated and thinks they're very learned about casting/cast bullets.

September 8, 2011, 07:33 PM
<redacted - owen>

All I'll say is "Those that can, cast their own - those that can't, preach". Cast your own and get EXACTLY what you want.





September 8, 2011, 08:01 PM
USSR, those are gorgeous castings. A posting like that makes me want to cast my own. Unfortunatly I barely have enough time to load and shoot.
So for now I have to buy. Want to sell some of those?

September 8, 2011, 08:50 PM
Wellll, if we're showing pics, it's my turn!:D

An example of Miha Prevec's excellent brass cramer style molds.





Those are 200 grain .452 hollow points. You choice of the penta point or round hollow point. Turn the HP pins upside down makes a 215 solid. Do they expand? As curly would say COINTENLY!


Plain Hp left, penta right.


That's the bullet test tube expansion system, a sticky wax medium.

As for the main question, consistency is the name of the game. If that means you weigh every bullet you cast, or buy, then do that.

Casting is part art, part science. The right alloy, consistent temp of that alloy, good lube and quality control. I visually inspect every boolit I cast. Then I lube/size them. I do NOT weigh every one, just a couple to determine if they cast to the weight they should be. Alloy has the most to do with the weight, and a lot to do with the size that they drop from the mold.

I'm going to run a test with a normally accurate 45. I'll cast a bunch of boolits, then purposely use some that fail inspection for fill-out. Compared to some that pass AND I'll weight sort them as well. The target should tell the tale. Also check the velocity at the same time.

Art Eatman
September 8, 2011, 09:32 PM
Generally, ignoring is better than squabbling. No point to Low Road stuff...

September 8, 2011, 09:36 PM
USSR and Snuffy...

man those are some fine lookin' slugs guys! I cast .45Colt, .357, 12ga slugs, and several roundball sizes.You guys have it figured out for shore.

September 8, 2011, 09:46 PM
USSR, those are gorgeous castings. A posting like that makes me want to cast my own. Unfortunatly I barely have enough time to load and shoot.
So for now I have to buy. Want to sell some of those?

Would not really be economical to sell them. First, they are hand cast using Miha's brass cramer style moulds as opposed to machine casting by the thousands. And, secondly, unlike the alloy the commercial casters use, to get hollowpoints to expand like in snuffy's pics, you've got to keep the amount of antimony very low, and add a lot of expensive tin. Using an alloy like the commercial casters use, the bullet nose would either fracture or not expand at all.


September 8, 2011, 10:24 PM
Damn Snuffy every time I see those pictures of that mould and bullets I want one of those moulds bad. I'll get one some day.

Brian Williams
September 9, 2011, 01:32 AM
I love the look of this bullet, what are the specifics?
If it is a 357 I would love to have this mold.

September 9, 2011, 08:52 AM
For those posting pics of the bullets ... excellent and thanks for sharing. Just looking at the photos is an education.

I got into the casting game late in the reloading cycle and use a Lee commercial 6-cavity 175 grain truncated cone mold for my 40 S&W. I'm still drinking from the firehose in the learning process but my bullets are coming out nice and uniform and they shoot accurately in my Taurus. I got into it because I wanted to be self reliant. Now I'm looking for a suitable mold to cast bullets for my 45-70.

September 9, 2011, 08:59 AM
Good morning
My dad was involved with casting & so am I & I am now 60. Quality control in reloading is always very important. I stive for as little variance in my cast boolits as possible. Bullet base condition is far more important than the nose but any variance affects accuracy past 5 yards. Having shot "Silly Wets" for some time you learn real fast the only way to win is being very careful about weight variation & base condition.
Mike in Peru

September 9, 2011, 10:32 AM
USSR, I understand the work and cost involved and know that wouldn't be practical for a volume of them. But they sure are pretty.

Missionary , I quite agree. as I load I see wider variance among the brands and much of that is weight related. The cheaper grade .45 bullets that I buy from Mastercast shoot ok but the higher grade bullets I get from Dardas and Penn are definitly an improvement. All the bullets shoot well but if you are going for the best in accuracy the better bullets shoot tighter groups and do so with more consistency than the others.
Of the three so far MasterCasts 9mms shoot better than the other brands. I am still figuring some of this out.

Jim Watson
September 9, 2011, 10:46 AM
Once upon a time, I took a box of bulk commercial cast .452" SWCs and weight sorted them. I then loaded and shot them from Ransom Rest in three lots: Those of the lightest weight that looked well filled out, those of the heaviest weight that did not have fins, and a control run with unsorted random draw.
The random batch shot the smallest groups. Not a lot smaller but definitely smaller.
I quit worrying about weight variations in pistol bullets.
I don't THINK they had as wide a weight variation as 7 grains but I do not have the data any longer.

On the other hand, when I cast my own BPCR rifle bullets, I sort them into a .7 grain spread. The ones I buy are in one grain spread. And I am paying for Mr Jennings' time casting and sorting them, too. But I do not at present have a casting setup.

September 9, 2011, 07:30 PM
I love the look of this bullet, what are the specifics?


Yes, it is indeed a .357 (or .38 Special) bullet. The sized and lubed weight cast of 25-1 alloy is 166gr, and of course, it's got a hollowpoint that looks like the Grand Canyon.:D


September 16, 2011, 01:17 PM
Thanks for the timely post. I just reloaded my first set of LSWC's and was concerned about the variance in bullet weight. In my box of 500 these varied from 201.1 - 207.6. Thankfully most of them were between 203.5 - 205.5. So my first group of reloads was a control set of bullets; 204-205, using Bullseye. I was a little surprised by the difference in accuracy between the different sets of powder drops.

1 noob question, boolits, instead of bullets?

Thanks, Mike

September 16, 2011, 01:27 PM
noob question, boolits, instead of bullets?
"Boolit" is an endearing term used to describe the lead bullets casted by the reloader - http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=40260

September 16, 2011, 01:29 PM
Mike, take a look at this thread on cast boolits .com


It pretty well explains it's a different spelling to differentiate between cast (boolits) and jacketed (bullets). Some died-in-the-wool- english perfessers can't tolerate a little diversion from their english.

BDS beat me by two minutes, same thread though!

September 16, 2011, 06:11 PM
Learn something new everyday...Kool

September 16, 2011, 06:28 PM
Some died-in-the-wool- english perfessers can't tolerate a little diversion from their english.

At first, I thought people were misspelling the word intentionally but have grown to like the term, like ammo (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ammo?show=0&t=1316211855). :D


noun \ˈa-(ˌ)mō\


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