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Any one use cast bullets for hunting?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by HANDLOADER, Sep 16, 2008.

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    Jun 3, 2008
    This is going to be my first year of deer hunting using a cast bullet. All the other years I have used jacketed bullets from the different manufactures of bullets. I have a few questions regarding the ammo.

    1. Do I need to seal the ammo?
    2. Should I use a heaver powder charge that is safe instead of the starting or middle loads listedin the books?
    3. Should I expect a dead drop when I make contact with them or should I expect a 200 yard tracking session into the thick bush.
    4. Should I load this ammo up before the hunt in advance or should I load it up the night before the hunt to ensure I have fresh ammo?

    If you can help me out I would be most grateful. Thanks


  2. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Flagstaff AZ
    I haven't used cast bullets for hunting, but I would recommend loading and practicing with it before you try and kill something with it. It is quite possible that it will shoot differently than the ammunition you have been shooting. Making sure that your rifle is sighted in with the loads you will be hunting with is probably the most important part of your hunting preparations, for both you and the critter. Also, there will be no difference in the performance of your ammunition whether you shoot it tomorrow, next month, or many years from now. Good luck this season!

    P.S. It is always a good idea to start with light load data and work up.
  3. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

    Jul 4, 2007
    NAS Pensacola
    What are you hunting, what caliber? I'll be using 44 mag for deer and black bear, with 240g LSWCs. I went with a relatively hot load, but one that groups very consistently. so:

    1. You could use clear nail polish around the primer pocket, but I don't think it's neccesary. If you crimp, don't worry about the bullet end.

    2. I'd work the load for accuracy. Start low, if it's accurate, maybe ladder up a few grains and see if it holds on. For my SBHH 44mag, 13.5-18.0 grains of 2400 does very well under a 240g LSWC, as I increase and near 22.0, the accuracy falls off sharply. I stick to 17.5 for the most part. I'm sure it has enough punch.

    3. Depends on your shot placement. The deer isn't going to get hit by a hundred or two grains at 1000+ feet a second and wonder what the alloy is. Depending on your shot, it will push his "off" button or it won't.

    4. I load way in advance to ensure a healthy supply and plenty of practice. You could probably load now for the 2016 deer season and be just fine.

    Best o' luck, make them shots count!
  4. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Orange County, CA.
    I don't think it's possible to discuss it logically without knowing the caliber. Cast bullets are, IMO, the best possible projectile for big handguns. They are also extremely effective from large bore rifles. In typical rifle hunting calibers -- .308, 7mm, etc. -- it can be a bit different.
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    proud to be in AZ
    A hollow point mould would be useful, but they are expensive, and a PITA to use, so I've been told. I am actually planning on trying one for my 38 sometime soon.
  6. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    Lexington, IL
    I do . ..but we're limited to 12 gauge slugs here. I wouldn't worry about hot vs mild charges but rather the one you can put on target everytime. (Assuming your rifle/handgun has sufficient oomph to be used for deer)

    Just my .02

  7. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

    May 20, 2006
    SE Michigan
    I've used cast bullets while hunting in a variety of handguns, and with some rifles. With big caliber rifles such as the .45-70, this is not unusual, but I've shot deer with the .30-'06 and cast bullets.

    Lead bullets are softer. If you are going to get anything close to jacketed bullet velocities in .30 caliber rifle cartridges, you have to have a gas check design, a bullet that fits the bore and throat, and you need a good lubricant. Medium speed powders avoid Secondary Explosion effect with reduced loads.

  8. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    South-Western North Carolina
    I use cast Lee mold slugs in my BP revolvers for hunting - soft lead. 3 shots - 2 dead hogs. the one that took 2 shots I shot little too far back but still drilled both lungs. it went over 1/4 mile before it gave up and layed in thicket, I gave it another one as insurance
  9. wyocarp

    wyocarp Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    Laramie, Wyoming
    I have cast and reloaded for some time. I haven't tracked an animal in many years. The ammo I used this year was loaded several years ago. I label every box with the load used and date it.
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    I used to use Remington 240 Gr gas checked LSWC factory ammo in my .44 Winchester 94 Carbine. I have run out of those, but they worked great. They were some of the highest velocity factory loads available. They could have stood to be a bit harder alloy for better penetration, but they worked great on thin skinned Alabama deer.

    If I wanted to use a lead bullet today, I would use a hard cast WFN design originated by LBT. Jacketed bullets will not kill a deer any better or faster.
  11. Ranger J

    Ranger J Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I used a 300 gr Oregon Trail hard cast bullet in my 45/70 to take a white tail last year. Even if the bullet does not expand it's exit hole will be as large or larger than a lot of soft nose 30 cal bullets. Accuracy is always the most important thing in whether a deer drops or runs a couple of hundred yards. The drop in tracks deer is usually shot somewhere in the spinal column while a lung shot deer may run until it runs out of blood. If you are using a 44 on up bullet hard cast are fine, for anything else get something that expands.

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