Down Low on Hard Cast Bullets


BJ Orange
June 7, 2012, 04:17 PM
What are the advantages and disadvantages of hard cast bullets, especially compared to FMJs and HPs. Thanks, THR!

If you enjoyed reading about "Down Low on Hard Cast Bullets" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
June 7, 2012, 04:20 PM
1) Cost


June 7, 2012, 04:28 PM
Shattering bone is always a plus.

June 7, 2012, 04:31 PM
Cost and if you handload you can specify the dia. so it matches your bore and gives greater accuracy. You don't end up saving money but you get to shoot a lot more ammo for the same dollars. And a good hard cast SWC will do anything you need to do.

BJ Orange
June 7, 2012, 04:36 PM
Shattering bone is always a plus.

What do you mean?

June 7, 2012, 04:43 PM

June 7, 2012, 04:47 PM
A lot more cleaning time with revolvers.

June 7, 2012, 04:48 PM
i cast my own--45 acp and 45-70 and the lead used is anything i have handy. i do keep velocities on the 45 to 850fps and the 45-70--no more than 1300fps-no gas checks and no leading. the 45's--target gun. the 45-70--used in a contender carbine--no need for hardcast bullet--soft lead in a 405 grain bullet will drop anything that i hit.

load cost--cheap and i shoot more.

June 7, 2012, 05:16 PM
A lot more cleaning time with revolvers.
I've always spent MUCH more time getting copper out of barrels than lead out of cylinders.

June 7, 2012, 05:32 PM
They are a sort of middle ground between FMJ's and JHP's/softpoints in lower velocity pistol and rifle cartridges seeing as they offer better penetration than a JHP because the lead they use in the core of JHP's and soft points is nearly pure and very soft whereas hard cast bullets are generally cast from an alloy that includes a bit of tin and antimony and other metals in the mixture and is generally harder while giving more in the way of expansion compared to a FMJ while they can't be used at super high velocities they offer a great deal of performance given their inexpensive price.

June 7, 2012, 06:14 PM
In any of my guns where I've been able to compare lead rounds to jacketed rounds I found that the lead bullets shot noticably tighter groups. So there is some accuracy difference. And the long time shooters I've told about this agreed like EVERYONE should know this. So I'm not alone in this finding.

Yeah, the lead rounds do tend to dirty the gun up a bit faster. But as mentioned I found that any lead and lube fouling seems to clean away easily. So it's a bit of a wash... if you'll excuse the pun... :D

June 7, 2012, 11:01 PM
Hardcast is great in a ballard type rifled barrel.. good coarse rifling that will grip the round. In some places a lead bullet is considered 'expanding'. Most hunting regs require an expanding bullet. In a smaller cal like 357 can give a bigger whoop to standard handgun round.

In a big pistol ie 44 mag, 45 Colt you can het a big heavy penetrating bullet that isn't generally available unless you buy Garret 'hammerheads".

In a rifle you can get a nice tight shooting hard hitting load that penetrates like a monolithic solid at a very low price. Great in 44 mag, 45/70 rifles.

Also hard cast doesn't lead the barrels like soft lead does. It's cleaner.

June 8, 2012, 01:15 AM
Cast my own SWC for years shooting 38 and 357 handgun. I used a gas check for hotter loads from the 357 .

They are known for good penitration, and holding together well when hitting bone . No jacket to seperate . Cost was near nothing at thetime I loaded as wheel weight lead was either free or cheap.

June 9, 2012, 12:22 AM
What do you mean?

Like mnriv said, they tend to hold together when hitting the bones of an animal or assailant. Bones can put a stop to penetration of even the best JHP. But that's an age old debate...

June 9, 2012, 12:28 AM
awesome penetration plus you get to use Beartooth bullets.

June 9, 2012, 12:28 AM
big cost savings is the biggest advantage. they are about all i shoot anymore.

June 9, 2012, 01:50 AM

June 9, 2012, 03:29 AM
I've been loading 200 & 250 gr. Oregon Trail Laser Cast bullets in my .45 Colt Blackhawk at Jacketed data +/- a smidge. Supposedly they sit at about 22 on the Brinell scale. I tried straight Lead data, but the powder wasn't burning cleanly till I stepped up the load a touch.

No HUGE +p's but enough to wake you up. I really need a Chrony.

No flecks of Jacket splashing off the berm and bouncing back, Cleanup with a flannel patch, Hoppes #9, and inconsequential effort.

They've been great for pinking, and once my brother in law gets himself moved into their new property, I look forward to seeing how they do on Game.

June 9, 2012, 08:39 AM
Advantage: Little to no lead deposits at higher velocities.

Disadvantage: Lead deposits at lower velocities.

June 9, 2012, 08:44 AM
The bullets themselves can be finely tweaked to match your bore, they penetrate deeply and have great stopping power, they can be loaded to much lower levels and not stick in the bore of the gun as bad, they're cheaper as well. What more do you want? Now if I could just find the time to cast the darned things I would, but that's a negative about cast; they take a while to produce.

hang fire
June 9, 2012, 03:38 PM
Lee two cavity mold. 19 bucks, Lee push through sizing die, 20 dollars, if Mold is for tumble lube boolits, sizing die can be omitted.

Advantages of casting , can shoot much more cheaper. So long as chamber size allows, an oversized bore is no problem. Cast boolits over time have come a long way. Still read and hear the old horror stories of leading, inaccurate, no good for CF rifles, can’t push them at high velocities, etc, etc, etc ad nauseam, and all pure BS.

IMO, undersized boolits are the biggest culprit when it comes to leading. If the high pressure gas can get past the boolit, the cutting action will almost guarantee leading. Hard or soft alloy, I always go for at least .002" over slugged bore size. if the round chambers without pushing boolit down into case or can be extracted without boolit sticking in bore and pulling out when ejected, they are good to go for me.

Quick check for me as to largest diameter boolit can be used, measure inside diameter of neck on a few fired cases, that determines it.

Some milsurp and sporting rifles will have tight chambers and oversized bores, for such a rifle, I would not even attempt shooting cast boolits. Impact slugging or making a cast of the chamber and throat and slugging the bore are two of the most important things to be checked for accurate cast boolit shooting. These two factors will determine boolit seating depth and sizing of boolit diameter.

June 9, 2012, 03:50 PM
Actually, the hardness of the lead can be tailored to the velocity you intend to produce in order to minimize leading. I could attempt to explain it, but the good folks at Missouri Bullet Company have a pretty good explanation on the Technical page of their website:

By the way, these are good folks. Their prices are very reasonable, and my latest order was shipped the same day I placed it, and delivered forty-eight hours later. I have no connection with them other than as a customer. Check them out.

June 10, 2012, 02:58 PM
1) cheaper
2) tailor bullet for optimum fit of throat, bore
3) use less powder to achieve same velocity
4) almost impossible to wear out a bore with cast boolits
5) can make them yourself, how YOU want them

Vern Humphrey
June 10, 2012, 03:56 PM
What are the advantages and disadvantages of hard cast bullets, especially compared to FMJs and HPs. Thanks, THR!
First of all, we have to define "hard cast." Bullets advertised as "hard cast" are usually too hard. The caster is using an alloy that fills out the mould nicely and produces few rejects, not an alloy that produces best accuracy.

A bullet that is too hard will not obturate well, allowing gas blowby, with resultant gas cutting and leading of the barrel. Softer bullets will usually shoot better.

A cast bullet of the proper hardness (usually somewhere around 10 on the Rockwell Scale for most cartridges) will usually shoot at least as accurately as a jacketed bullet, and will kill game just as well.

June 12, 2012, 06:28 AM
A bullet that is too hard will not obturate well, allowing gas blowby, with resultant gas cutting and leading of the barrel. Softer bullets will usually shoot better.


Long ago...when I was a younger lad...I came up with my own little wheelweight based recipe for casting alloy. I think it tested at 10.5-11 BHN and I haven't tested it again. Since wheelweight varies, there's no way to nail down exact percentages, but it seems to have worked well over the decades. With commercial cast bullets, I always get lead fouling...sometimes heavy. With mine, there isn't any leading beyond a light wash that removes easily with a couple passes with a dry brush.

I use the same alloy for .45 Auto and .38 Special, up to 1350 fps in .357 and .41 Magnum. Accuracy is good across the board. I got no complaints.

For .308 and .30-06 up to 2500 fps, I use gas checks and adjust the alloy, cutting back on the pure lead for harder bullets...not to prevent leading, but to make sure the bullets don't strip when they hit the rifling. No lead fouling and good accuracy.

June 12, 2012, 10:30 AM
The advantage to cast bullets, if you cast your own, is you can tailor the alloy to your needs. I do not need hard cast bullets. From the 45 long Colt, a 260 grain bullet, cast from 30/1 alloy, will completely penetrate a Virginia White Tailed Deer from sternum to ham. The same bullet, from 16/1 is capable of complete pentetraion on a buffalo. This is at black powder velocities, roughly 950 fps from a revolver.

For me, binary alloys have worked for nearly 5 decades. And prior to me, they have worked for centuries. Jacketed bullets haven't yet caught up with what can be done with lead.

June 12, 2012, 11:21 AM
1911TUNER----and the alloy mix is????

June 12, 2012, 02:21 PM
16 pounds wheelweight alloy to one pound pure lead...stick-on/tape wheelweights are close enough...and 1/2 pound 63/37 bar solder. 60/40 will also work.

June 12, 2012, 06:22 PM

Vern Humphrey
June 12, 2012, 10:51 PM
Wheel weights are close to the ideal hardness for most uses. Like you, I get good results with gas checked bullets in my .30-06s. For higher velocity loads, I like to drop the hot bullets straight out of the mould into a bucket of water, which hardens them a bit.

If you enjoyed reading about "Down Low on Hard Cast Bullets" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!