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Cast bullets

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by tikka-guy, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Well-Known Member

    I've read several recommendations on here for using cast bullets in a handgun for hunting. What is the advantage? Do they offer much expansion? How well do they stay together?

    I've only had exposure to jacketed bullets in my hunting career, so I'm trying to learn a bit more about it.
  2. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Cast bullets usualy don't expand much if any. The advantage is penatration. They usualy make much more soft tissue damage then an fmj or RN because of their large meplet causing a substantial outward pressure wave. High SD bullets do not benifit any form cast bullets on deer sized game but low SD handgun bullets or large caliber rifle bullets (45-70, 444....etc) do.
    Their wound tract is much more consistant as compared to a HP or SP bullet which tend to dump most of their energy into a smaller portion of the wound tract. Cast bullets are not usualy needed on deer but people who hunt tougher game like feral hogs tend to perfer hardcast since it won't dump energy into their tough hide.
  3. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Well-Known Member

  4. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Yeah they use a high zinc lead alloy for cast bulllets. Remember that not alll flat points are made the same, larger meplet designes do more soft tissue damage. Genral rule is a min of 71% meplet for hunting hardcast. Hardcast bullets have superb penartation, since they do not expend any energy on deformation, through and through is the rule around here even on the feral hogs. I would personaly stick to bonded HPs for whitetail and use hardcast on anything that would require 20+" of penatration. I have seen a cast bullets tested on BG and penatrate 46" at handgun speeds.....impressive.
  5. Cob

    Cob Well-Known Member

    The details need to be addressed, and all perinent information should be analyzed before hunting with cast bullets. Here's what you want to determine:
    What game species do you intend to hunt?. What pressure is safe for your selected bullet weight? How many FPS is the bullet traveling at? At what point does the lead bullet become a mass of molten lead in near liquid state charging out the end of the barrel upon firing? ( EX: you would not want shoot pure lead bullets at 3,000 FPS out of a 7mm mag for instance, though you could hunt with cast bullets of the right lead/ zinc consistency out of a 30-30 at 1000 FPS.) Do a bit of research on the caliber you intend to shoot, the velocities, and the powder load before hunting with your selected load.

    Cast bullets are popular for reloaders, mainly because they are cheap. Tire weights are an example that are popular materials for relaoding, as they are made with a combination of lead and zinc that is suitable for shooting, and they are often cheap/ even free if the right source is available.

    You can use a gas check with cast bullets that will assist in maximizing velocities and reaching higher velocities than cast bullets alone. I have shot cast bullets before, and recently aquired materials and equipment to produce some. When using spent brass, a proper powder load, a new primer, and cast bullets- the cost of shooting goes down. If a large number of bullets are made in a batch at one time, then the idea of hunting with them eventually arises.

    Handguns shoot at lower velocities than rifles, and cast bullets are more commonly and safely utilized. Often lower powder charges are utilized here.
    I'm not an expert though, but efficient.
  6. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Well-Known Member

    71% diameter or area?

    Thanks for the info Kachok and Cob. I'm not going out hunting with a handgun tomorrow... more of just a curiosity. I do have a .44 mag lever action I've just been using LeverEvolution rounds in, but admit I hadn't put much thought into the selection beyond knowing it's suitable for whitetails. If I ever do any hog hunting with it, which I'd love to do, I'll look into cast bullets a little closer.
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Caution and correction:

    You do not want zinc anywhere involved with lead for anything more precise than a fishing sinker, and not that if you can help it. Bullet casters go to a good deal of care to get zinc wheel weights out of their buckets of lead wheel weights, something that is getting harder to do now that we are so environmentally conscious.

    Antimony is what is alloyed with lead to harden it. Tin hardens only a little but helps the casting. Commercial pistol bullets are normally 92% lead, 6% antimony, 2% tin. Old style wheel weights were said to be about 4-5% antimony, .5% tin but can be about anything now as they are cast from scrap lead. There are still decent bullets being made from straight wheel weights, though.
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    +1 on Kachok's post. I've shot multiple hogs and several deer with hard cast gas checked Lee SWCs of the Keith style. They work quite well. I load a 180 XTP to 1400 fps in my Blackhawk, but I've not shot anything with it. Hard to figure how it'd work any better and I cast my own SWCs.

    And, too bad they don't print with Linotype anymore. I have a part time job at a news paper. Bummer. LOL
  9. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    71% of the frontal area. Most FN FMJs don't have that much. There have been a few really good studies on hardcast bullets and their terminal effects.
  10. RevGeo

    RevGeo Well-Known Member

    Hunting with cast bullets will show you how much velocity you don't need.

  11. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Well-Known Member

    Hunting what and with what caliber? Deer size and smaller animals, including Black Bear, I prefer a JSP or JHP in my handguns. For hogs, elk and dangerous game, I'd rather use hard cast.
  12. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Well-Known Member

    You should really visit castboolits.gunloads.com for some more advise. As I understand it, I have only been casting a short time. But zinc is a major no no in casting your bullets.

    My straight wheel weights weather water dropped or air cooled are still pretty hard and deform very little when shooting odd targets like pine logs and the such.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  13. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Well-Known Member

    I dont know of anyone that casts a bullet with high zinc content. Ive played with it a bit myself and its real touch to get a pure zinc bullet to cast well and an lead/zinc alloy is even harder to deal with.
  14. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    No not significant amounts of zinc, though it exists is trace amounts of casting lead. I did mix up guilding metal with casting lead, zinc is added to copper to make guilding metal, harder then regular copper to reduce fouling and preserve structural integrety on impact.
  15. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Search "From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners" and read it.
    It can be saved also. It's a pdf.
  17. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Well-Known Member

    No, no, no. Zinc is bad stuff in bullets. Even a little will wreck mould fillout.

    I process WW's in bulk in a cast iron pot on a large burner. To keep the zinc out, I keep the alloy temp at about 725° which is a good 50° lower than the melting point of zinc (787° F). The zinc simply floats to the top where I scoop it out after fluxing.

    Regarding bullet types for hunting, you have to remember that there are sacrifices with any bullet type. An expanding bullet will typically make a larger wound channel, but penetrates less than a flat point bullet. Conversely, the flat point bullet, while creating a smaller wound channel, penetrates much more deeply.

    Personally, I'll take pentration over a wide wound channel any day because a hole through the lungs, is a hole through the lungs, be it 1/2" in diameter or 3/4" in diameter.

  18. Alexeyneu

    Alexeyneu New Member

    To cast something from combination of lead and zinc)
  19. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Well-Known Member

    Every one that I have ever talked to takes a lot of precaution to make sure they do not get zinc in their alloy. That is why we flux it when smelting down wheel weights.

    35whelen is spot on for every thing I have ever read. Again http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ web site is a wealth of good information on casting. When I started casting this place was all but a necessity, and they still provide tons of useful tips to the art of casting.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  20. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    I guess that it was maybe 25 years ago that Ross Seyfried wrote of hunting Australian water buffalo with lead bullets in his .454 Casull. 300 grains? Something like that. Cross-body shot, one-shot kill and I believe an exit wound. As I recall, he mentioned "large meplat" in the bullet design.

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