Lead projectiles?


November 8, 2013, 12:07 PM
This will be my first time at using lead for a modern rifle cartridge so I need some advice please.

I normally use dead soft pure lead for my muzzle loaders & a few BP cartridges but since I have a huge supply of both pure lead & clip on wheel weights I thought to give it a try.

The calibers I'll be working on is the 30-06 & 7.62X54R & my thoughts are a 180 - 185 grain round nosed pill ofcorse with smokeless powder like H414.

Thanks in advance.

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November 8, 2013, 02:04 PM
I'm not any help!

I don't/never did or will do 7.62X54R (or 7.62X39) with lead or jackets.

I have done .303 Brit, .308 and 30-06 with lead.

Looking at my old Lyman book, specifically at bullets in the range you picked. I don't see any listings for H414 powder. This doesn't mean that someone doesn't have a loading.
I do see: Red Dot, 700X, Green Dot, PB, Unique, SR7625... 2400, IMR 4198, IMR 3031, 748 and H4895.

I would think that you would want to NOT re-invent the wheel and start with what has been proven. Later on, experiment as you like.

For higher velocities out of a rifle, hard/er bullets, gas checks, moderate velocities (when compared to jacketed) to start.

I used 748 with hard 172/178 grain gas checked bullets in all three of the calibers listed above. The .308 loading worked out better for me. But then I tend to baby my dad's SMLEs and my 03A3. Never got to the point I wanted to try my loads in a M1 Garand or M1A. If my old mold threw something other than the fat round nose flat point that it does, I would try some in my BlackOut. Wishful thinking on my part.

Load with care, get a book or two or three.

Lee S. Forsberg
November 8, 2013, 06:09 PM
H414 is to slow for lead. Lyman gives cast bullet loads.

November 8, 2013, 09:31 PM
Win 748 and IMR 4895 work real well for me behind a 180 gr bullet

November 8, 2013, 09:58 PM
Well, here we go with the MYTHS again.

EXAMPLE: One very successful cast-bullet load for the .30-06 in an M1 Garand rifle uses H4831 powder. The accuracy and functioning is superb. There are few hard-and-fast "rules" that can be transposed from conventional jacketed loading to cast-bullet loading.

"Cast bullets are DIFFERENT!"

H 4831 is too slow for the Garand rifle with jacketed bullets, but it works beautifully with cast projectiles.

Clip-on wheelweights can be used for virtually any practical-level cast-bullet load, meaning that good results up to about 2000 fps are relatively easy to obtain even for new casters. (Note that VELOCITY is easily obtainable, but ACCURACY with cast loads is harder to come by.)

Loading good cast-bullet ammunition is far more complex than reaching reasonable accuracy with jacketed bullets.

If you are seriously interested, come over to


where we have over THIRTY THOUSAND friendly members who will be pleased to help you along.

November 9, 2013, 12:14 AM
BruceB covered the bases pretty well in his post, the rules for cast ARE different and generally speaking, accuracy IS harder to obtain.
On the other hand there are huge bonuses aside from cost, for instance I've got an old Russian M44 that has a groove diameter of .316, it won't even shoot patterns with jacketed bullets, but with properly sized cast bullets, I can get inch and a half groups.

You might want to start out by reading this:


It's geared toward casting for handguns, but there's a lot of general knowledge there that should be helpful.

You might care to check out this mould, I've had pretty good luck with it in subsonic 7.62x39.


At under $25, what have you got to lose?

November 9, 2013, 03:42 AM
Heavens.....I hope my comments weren't too negative!

If they were, let me just say that I've been a hopeless devotee of the cast bullet for almost fifty years, and there are over 100 moulds taking up space in my shop as I write.

Up until severe medical problems arose, I was firing between five thousand and ten thousand cast-bullet RIFLE rounds per year, in pursuit of various research projects as well as just plain fun. This total did not include the handgun calibers, for which I have cast (and loaded!) probably several hundred thousand bullets over the decades since 1966. Most of the handgun stuff was loaded for Bullseye competition, which eats ammunition like there's no tomorrow.

I believe I'm almost ready to get back into casting, loading, and shooting; at least, I surely do hope so.

Just as reloading is a fascinating extension of the shooting hobby, so is bullet-casting a fascinating extension of the reloading hobby. "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here" might just as well have been written to warn those thinking about getting into bullet casting.....

November 9, 2013, 02:40 PM

Thanks for the link. But my health doesn't let me do all that much anymore. I've determined I will forgo casting for shooting. I haven't been able to use any of the 80 or so molds I have in way too many years.

As one of my granddaughters lives about 5 miles NE of Missouri Bullet, when the bug bites, I'll place an order and pick it up when I go see/pick up the granddaughter.

Thanks again,

November 9, 2013, 03:13 PM
I believe that all 'MYTHS' have a basis in actual occurrences. The problem is to determine if those occurrences were properly observed and analyzed.

Jumping directly to the M1 Garand as a primary example.
The weak point of the Garand is the operating rod. Others may have other views and name other points, for my discussion, this is my view.
That operating rod was designed for use with a smaller caliber/lighter bullet round. After the conversion from the 30-06 Spfd was rejected, the Garand was re-engineered to the '06 and the problem with the operating rod problem came to light.

For the proper function, a balance of pressure and timing and length of that pressure at the gas port. This is accomplished by juggling the bullet weight, powder burn rates and amount of powder. Yes, many other mechanical alterations and adjustment will also serve the same effect. I have and use and like the variable gas plugs :)

For our subject, cast bullets with H414 powder, all we need to do is find that balance. This could be a very small or wide window of function-ability. Now it comes down to the evaluation, is this expended effort better expended in other perhaps more beneficial endeavors?

To the OP, "I'll be working on is the 30-06 & 7.62X54R". This makes the process much simpler, no gas/recoil energies to balance for operation, well for the Russian round anyway. So, finding a balance isn't all that difficult. Again, is it worth the effort to start loading lead and re-inventing the wheel all at the same time?

To the OP, look, read, study and read some more. The options are extreme, paper patched bullets, multiple hardness composite bullets (zink washers).

Start small and work into it, it's fun.

November 9, 2013, 05:04 PM
BHN of 15. Bullet diameter .310" for 30-06. Put a gas check on it. Use IMR 4895 or H4895. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/Firearms%20%20and%20%20Reloading/th_AlloyBlending1.jpg (http://s338.photobucket.com/user/joe1944usa/media/Firearms%20%20and%20%20Reloading/AlloyBlending1.jpg.html) Use a Lyman "M" die.

November 9, 2013, 07:47 PM
With regard to the Garand:

As I stated in my earliest post in this thread, "cast bullets are different".

I am VERY well aware of how the Garand works, and all about the "weak point" operating rod.... which is NOT a weak point if we take due care. I've been shooting my Garands (and many other types of gas-operated rifles) with cast loads for many years, and none have come to any harm whatever. Forty years of living with and loading for a variety of M1 rifles have taught me a good bit about the design.

The Garand requires a certain level of gas-port pressure to function correctly. HOW we obtain that level of pressure is not important, as long as it stays within limits, both for port pressure and chamber pressure. There is now a large body of experience which PROVES that the Garand can thrive on a diet of slow-burning powder WITH CAST BULLETS. The precautions against using slow-burners with jacketed bullets are correct, but they DO NOT apply to correctly-assembled cast-bullet loads.

The slow-burning powder allows a "gentler" start for the more-fragile cast bullet, followed by a more-gradual acceleration down the barrel. At the same time, it will maintain an adequate pressure level all the way down the barrel, so that the bullet arrives at the gas-port with sufficient remaining pressure behind it to operate the action correctly....WITHOUT "over-driving" the operating parts.

I suggest that anyone interested go to the Cast Boolit site and do some reading in the forum titled "CB Loads: Military Rifles". Also, do a search there for "BobS load", which has considerable detail about the use of 4831 in the Garand.

Incidentally, 4831 also works well with cast bullets in the M1A, FAL, AG42B, FN49 and others..... repeat: WITH CAST BULLETS.

There's a LOT of information on the CB site which appears in no manuals at all. Extensive experimentation is carried on by many members there, and some very valuable data has come to light. If this bothers anyone, consider that we handloaders of today are still dealing with much the same principles and components that our pioneering brethren used back in the earlier years of the 20th century... but we have better tools and instruments to help us along.

Rifles and cases have not really changed all that much, and even many of our powders are the same as they were in the '30s and '40s. Our fore-runners in the hand-loading hobby did plenty of experimenting without the guidance of handbooks, and I must point out that in the case of these auto-loading rifles, we generally STOP increasing a load level as soon as the rifle begins functioning correctly. At that point, we begin tweaking the loads in search of accuracy.


November 9, 2013, 08:48 PM
Sorry I guess I should have mentioned the rifles.
7.62X54R is a Mosin Nagant M44
30-06 is a Springfield 03A3

Reason for the H414 is I have plenty of that to work with & the other powders are a little tough to get around here.
I was thinking of a fairly light load of possibly 45-46gr. To work with & maybe reduce it if need be to get at the 2000fps range for a 100-150 yard plinker round since we have brass for both.

November 10, 2013, 02:49 AM
Make sure you slug your bores before you try loading any lead, particularly the M44 as Mosins are known to have a lot of variation in both bore and groove sizes.

I haven't done any work with H414, but I've had decent accuracy and good function in my M1a using powders as diverse as H322 and IMR-4831.

Before you decide on any loads, I'd urge you to do as BruceB recommended and look around in the military rifle section at Castboolits, there's no point in trying to reinvent the wheel when others have already done the groundwork.
I believe that a few hours spent reading there will save you a LOT of time and frustration.

Good luck!

November 10, 2013, 07:42 AM
I did.
Using my Lee .312 185gr. Projectile molded wide with soft lead then run through the bore of the M44 I get .314 & .306 for my measurements with clear obvious marking on all surfaces.

November 10, 2013, 08:13 AM
I"m sure you know to slug your bore first. The 7.62x54r will probably measure at .311-.313. (just saw where you did that). That M44 has a large bore. How's the rifling?

The key is to use an appropriate alloy, the correct lube, and probably a gas check.

I use straight wheel weights and have had good velocities in the 7.62x54r and .30-.30 up to 2200fps. If you push that bullet faster than 1200 fps in those longer barrels, I'd gas check the bullet.

Store bought lube will eliminate the guess work for you, but if you want to make your own, beeswax is an essential ingredient.

I'm currently working up a load for my .30-.06 with 177 grain bullet (flat nosed) and IMR4895. In my .30-.30, this was the powder that gave me 100 yard 1inch groups. I'm hoping for similar results in my .30-.06.

For a light Gallery Load in the 7.62x54r, try 10 grains of unique. It will be a good practice load for young children.

If you have time on your hands, check this out: http://www.lasc.us/indexBrennan.htm

November 11, 2013, 11:41 AM

Tried 10 rounds that were just all over the place & talking to a fellow at the range he gave me some thoughts to look at.

(1) I kinda knew this one, I need a expander die for the brass so the projectile isn't shaved as it enters the case {on order.}
(2) with the wheel weight lead he suggested trying some .308 gas checks & if needed after that to harden with some liniotype {sp.}
(3) being that they did hit paper just all over "he even said that H414 is slow for lead but he said that it may be okay for what I'm looking for" he said to try those first & then maybe tweak the load to keep it under 2000.

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