To gas check or not to gas check?


November 16, 2012, 11:45 AM
I plan on molding SWC's for my .44 using a 429244 Lyman mold. This mold is made for a gas check. Can I use it without the gas check? I'll be using 2400 at about 1250 fps. I did inherit the Lubrisizer with it and some gas checks but I've noticed GC's are kinda pricy. I have shot some Speer cast .44 SWC's without a GC and they shot fine with decent accuracy and no leading but was worried about trying it with the GC bevel on the bottom of the 429244's. The Speer's were flat based. Thanks!

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highlander 5
November 16, 2012, 12:00 PM
You don't have to use a gas check if you don't want to.

November 16, 2012, 12:04 PM
To get the best accuracy, you will probably need them to be GC'd. But, with cast bullets, every gun and every bullet alloy/powder combination is a unique entity. I have shot them both ways. Lower velocities and softer alloys, no GC was OK. Higher velocity and harder alloys, GC required.

November 16, 2012, 12:36 PM
Think of a gas checked bullet without the check as a boat tail bullet, if that helps. You'll probably want to keep your velocities down somewhat without the checks, though. What the check prevents is gas cutting of the bullet, which causes leading, so for hotter loads, then a check will help.

Hope this helps.


November 16, 2012, 05:41 PM
I shoot gas check bullets, rifle and pistol, without the checks all the time with accuracy the same as with them (at lowish velocities). You should be good at 1250 fps without checks.

November 18, 2012, 01:36 PM
About 70 years ago Elmer Kieth thought gas checks in revolver ammo wasn't a good idea. Any opinions on this?

November 18, 2012, 01:52 PM
70 years ago, Elmer Keith was virtually the only self proclaimed 'expert'.

Thanks to the internet, we have thousands of highly opinionated 'experts'.

It is always best to keep an open mind and experiment with loads in different combos of alloy hardness, velocity and with/without gas checks.

Get back to us with your results.

November 18, 2012, 02:21 PM
I've personally had zero luck with accuracy trying to shoot GC boolits without a GC. But it's worth a try. Worst case is it doesn't work.

Buying a new plain-base mold will be cheaper than using GC in the long run. Heck, even in the short run. Lee 2 bullet molds are less than $20.00. I haven't priced them, but I imagine a box of 44 cal gas checks costs over 30 bucks.

November 18, 2012, 08:34 PM
If its .44 Special gas checks are not necessary, if it .44 Magnum, unless you like scraping lead out of your barrel, use the gas check unless you are happy with .44 Special velocities.

I don't cast bullets, but I bought about 5000 gas check .357 Mag 158 gr hard cast gas check at a gun show many years ago. Wish I could find more, as they shoot 3-4" off sandbags at 50 yards and are very clean shooting.

November 19, 2012, 08:33 AM
The more pressure ya put on em the more accuracy you`ll lose.

November 19, 2012, 08:53 AM
Midway has then for 37.00 per 1000. When you think about it, that's not too bad. But then again I get my lead for free and I only gas check two bullets. The cast bullets forum is full of people who make their own.

November 19, 2012, 09:21 AM
Here's a less expensive option

or check E-Bay for other options.

November 19, 2012, 01:03 PM
If you're already casting you might as well make your own checks as well. You will have to spend money on tooling. You can get a Freechex III for around $100. It's a one step process but you need an arbor press. Or you can buy a CheckMaker and use your reloading press. It's a two step process and I think they cost the same as the Freechex. Yes it costs money for the tools but you aren't relying on anyone for gas checks once you have them.

Brought to you by TapaTalk.

November 19, 2012, 01:46 PM
You don't need gas checks at 1200fps. As long as the hardness and sizing are correct, you shouldn't need them to at least 1400fps.

70 years ago, Elmer Keith was virtually the only self proclaimed 'expert'.
While he was probably the most popular, he was far from the only expert. Google ".44 Associates".

November 21, 2012, 05:36 PM
you do not need to gas check if you really like scrubbing lead out of the barrel.

35 Whelen
November 21, 2012, 08:36 PM
The first thing to learn about shooting cast bullets is to totally ignore people telling you "your barrel will lead with a plain base bullet over 1200 fps" or "your barrel won't lead with a plain base bullet under 1200 fps". There are many, many variable that dictate accuracy and whether or not a particular bullet will or will not lead in a given firearm.

I cast a Lyman 429421, a plain-base 248 gr. bullet out of air-cooled wheelweights. Fired out of my Uberti 1873 SA 4 3/4" bbl., it leads the forcing cone at a measured muzzle velocity of 712 fps. The same bullet/load fired from my Uberti 1873 5 1/2" at 745 fps does NOT lead at all. The SAME bullet fired out of my Uberti 1873 20" carbine at a measured 1235 fps (different load) does NOT lead at all.
Point is, you never know until you try!

CraigC and kelbro have given you the best advice so far.


November 21, 2012, 09:31 PM
35 Whelen. you are absolutly correct.

IMO the size of the bullet and the lube are the most important factors. Speed also within reason.

December 12, 2012, 12:27 PM
Thanks guys, I'm still getting my casting setup bought and up and running. Wife cut off funding due to Christmas!

December 12, 2012, 12:33 PM
"What do you want for Christmas, honey?".. "Lead!".

December 12, 2012, 12:37 PM
Actually a large pot to melt it in, and some ingot molds, and a .45 Colt mold, and a thermometer and a, and a, and a....

10 Spot Terminator
December 12, 2012, 01:59 PM
+1 kelbro

If you shoot them without gas checks the alloy needs to be soft enough for for the cast bullet to seal and reduce your loads accordingly or you will be cleaning high amounts of lead from the bore and accuracy will fall off some as the bore fouls quicker .

December 12, 2012, 03:06 PM
If you plan on magnum velocities, pick up some more checks.

If you can keep the throttle down, open base is fine.

When you size and lube your bullets without the check, you get a fairly sizable lube ring on the base of the bullet. More lube never hurt anything. It can lead to some tricky seating problems if you don't watch yourself though !

If you can spare the extra few cents per bullet, you'll reduce your lead fouling quite a bit... if that matters to ya !

If you are looking for the upmost guaranteed accuracy, use the checks. The base of the bullet steers it, for what that is worth.

Most people who shoot my 44 can't see a difference in accuracy with or without the check... YMMV. With a bag and a table, I can see it. Without a bag and a table, I'm just not that good yet.

I've looked into the check makers listed above. Once you factor in the tooling cost, the copper cost, and the time of manufacture... it wasn't worth it to me for checks that were commercially available. I'm a cheap SOB, and I still wasn't willing to go that far to literally save a penny per shot, at the absolute best. Now, if Hornady goes out of business or something........ With that said, its a personal choice, and hand made checks can be very high quality.

December 14, 2012, 01:49 PM
lee moulds are inexpensive and their tl designs work; no sizing, just a squirt of liquid alox and load. a 2-cavity and bottle of lla costs less than gas-checks.

i prefer the 6-cavity version which increases output without the fatigue from 4-cavity iron moulds.

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