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Cast vs non-cast bullets

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Blackfox893, Jun 26, 2012.

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  1. Blackfox893

    Blackfox893 Member

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    I have thought about casting my own bullets eventually, but I have a few questions:

    Can cast bullets handle high velocities that regular bullets can?

    What are cheap sources of lead. Wheel weights or what?

    Are there spitzer style cast bullet molds available?
     
  2. texas chase

    texas chase Member

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    I've started casting in the last few years but only for low velocity pistol bullets so far. You definitely cannot push cast bullets as fast copper jacketed bullets but you can do a lot. Especially with gas checks. I'm sure there will be some experience thrown in here in a bit...
     
  3. Blackfox893

    Blackfox893 Member

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    I totally forgot about those. I am still new to the cast bullet subjects and I forget it has stuff like that.
     
  4. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    First, absolute BEST source of info is castboolits.gunloads.com. Great guys, helped me out a lot.
    Second, cast doesn't go as fast as jacketed, no go. However, cast loads can be made to go decent velocities if you want to make hunting loads, other wise load to recommended speeds for paper punching.

    Wheel weights are starting to dry up, ecoterrorists have made it a crusade to get rid of them, saying they are ruining the water supply when they fall off a car, and rain takes the lead into the ground. Also, wheel weights come in two types, clip and stick on - the stick on tend to be dead soft lead, really suitable for muzzle loader stuff only. Clips on are harder and better all around. You can still get wheel weight ingots from individuals at CB, which is what I usually do - I don't smelt.
    You can also get certified bullet metal, but it can cost if you don't have a supplier close. I do, Seafab Metals, and recently helped a buddy out getting a 61 pound pig of 92/6/2 metal for him for $115. That's a lot of bullets. ;)
     
  5. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    As soon as you ask about spitzer shapes I suspect you're looking at trying to cast for faster cartridges. If so then you'll likely find that it doesn't work. So if the idea was to use cast boolits in something like the .224 Swift rounds then it ain't gonna work out well.

    Now if you're looking at casting for cartridges that typically fly at under 2000fps then that's cast boolits sort of territory. The higher end of the 2000 and under spectrum will likely demand gas checked options but if you're at or under around 1500 to 1600 then simple hard cast lead can work well. Or if you're looking at really pumping hard on heavy bullets at lower speeds with lots of pressure then again gas checks can be helpful.
     
  6. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    By and large, the upper limit for velocity in a rifle with cast bullets is around 1,800 ft/sec, and even this generally demands using the copper gas checks. Otherwise, rapid leading of the barrel occurs. With hard lead and gas checks, maybe 2,000 ft/sec.

    But I've used the Lyman 169-grain lead gas check as a mid-range or "plinker" load in my '06 and been pleased with them. Twenty to twenty-five grains of 2400 meant reasonable groups and negligible recoil. Adequate for deer, FWIW, at anything inside 150 yards.
     
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I am not going to be popular saying this, but casting is for people with lots of time on their hands.

    You have to find the lead. I went to local scrap yards and bought lead. Most of the lead I found was dead soft, which is great for Minie balls but too soft for centerfire.

    You have to buy the equipment, sizers, lube sticks, casting pots, molds, mold spray, dippers, ingot molds, thermometers, copper gas checks, expansion dies and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember.

    After smelting ingots of the proper hardness, (now where do you find antimony and tin now that wheel weights are zinc?) which takes time, you can then use those ingots in your casting pots to start casting.

    It takes a lot of time to make decent bullets, there is a learning process and it was not quick for me.

    Then you have to size, lube, and seat the gas checks. I had zero accuracy with 30 caliber bullets without gas checks. Gas checks are made from copper and they are not cheap.

    Then comes load development and that takes time. Cast bullets are a totally different thing than jacketed.

    I recommend, buying already made cast bullets and playing with those. If this is your life, then you are on your way, if it is not your calling, at least you did not buy hundreds of dollars of equipment.

    I like AA5744 with cast bullets .

    It does not take much work to find vendors who cast rifle bullets, here are a few I found with a couple of clicks:

    http://www.montanabulletworks.com/308_Rifle.html


    http://www.laser-cast.com/30Cal.html

    http://www.missouribullet.com/results.php?category=6
     
  8. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Casting your own is really no more time consuming than reloading itself is, and some of moulds available now produce some really nice bullets that are simply not available from commercial casters. As to the gas checking issue, I avoid them altogether. They bring the cost of a bullet up substantially, and I have had no problems using hard cast, plain base bullets in my .30 Carbine, which is my fastest shooting cast load. Like reloading, you look at it as a hobby, and the time spent on a hobby is not wasted time. Just MHO.

    Don
     
  9. colonelhogan44

    colonelhogan44 Member

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    I bought 100 bucks of lee casting equipment, and have made probably 1000 bullets so far. It took me about 30 minutes to start casting good bullets, and now I throw out 1-2% of all I cast.

    I find casting relaxing, and it has brought my cost for a .357 mag down to ~5 cents. You can't beat that!

    Unfortunately, I've been so busy with other things, I haven't cast or loaded in almost a year.
     
  10. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Can cast bullets handle high velocities that regular bullets can? 2000fps with gas check, maximum.

    What are cheap sources of lead. Wheel weights or what? There is none, thats cheap, for the alloy you will need. Linotype. But you can oven treat, water cool, harden alloy with 2% antimony content.

    Are there spitzer style cast bullet molds available? A bore riding bullet is as close as you will get.
     
  11. max it

    max it Member

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    **********, are we done yet?
    Fox, see other posters, add linotype to other lead and it gets it harder. RotoMetals has it.

    also wear good mask Niosh 95 to remove lead from breathing it in. And wash up well, dont eat or drink too.

    Max
     
  12. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    Short answer, yes. Long answer, so long as one is willing to invest the time in learning how to correctly paper patch boolits, but it is very satisfying once achieved. Paper patching boolits for high velocity and accuracy with, is almost a subculture of the reloading world.
     
  13. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    Keep casting temeratures at or below 700 degrees F and lead will not give off harmful fumes.
     
  14. Hanshi

    Hanshi Member

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    Plain base bullets work fine if held under 1400fps. GC bullets do very well up to 1800 fps and a bit over.
     
  15. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    So, for you guys in the know, how much would I realistically expect to spend to set myself up for casting (excluding components)?
     
  16. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Member

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    THE most accurate bullet in my 308's and 30-06's (except for one) is the Lyman 311334

    IMG_2557.jpg

    GREAT fun on paper and steel.

    IMG_2545.jpg
     
  17. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

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    Contrary to a lot of what's been stated herein, you CAN push cast bullets to jacketed velocity..........the caveat is that you need to be a relatively experienced handloader and bone up on the technique methodology that enables you to do so.

    Overall, what's been stated here about the 2M limitation is true, for gas checked and lubed alloy bullets, what hasn't been touched is the use of paper patching. I have easily achieved 2700 fps and very acceptable accuracy in my M/70 in '06 using Lyman's 311041, patched with stock computer copy paper.......the downside is that it's a somewhat tedious endeavor, but it does work and well at that. I'd suggest that you check out the discussions on Castboolits.com. If you're still interested then get a copy of Matthews book on the subject.
     
  18. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob Member

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    Im with Slamfire1 on this one, its alot of fun, but MAN does it take up your time!

    Plus by the time you invest in molds, handles, a melting pot, a sizer and luber, lube, gas checks...what else, oh yea different metals other than wheel weights. You really dont save that much money. You could just buy cast bullets, which cost less than copper jacketed or copper solids.

    Dont get me wrong, its alot fun, but it is time consuming. I currently only cast for .44 magnum,.45 ACP and just got a mold for .45/70. I did it as joint project with my father in law. There is alot trial and error when you first start off and learn the basic of how to cast, the Lyman book on casting with intro and how tos by Mike Ventrino is a really good start.
     
  19. Uncle Grinch

    Uncle Grinch Member

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    Most reloaders will agree that it rarely saves you money. You keep investing in more equipment and gadgets. It takes time to do it properly and to be safe. Experience is the best teacher along with established procedures since reloading, especially cast boolits (as we call them) sometimes takes a lot of trial and error.

    All that said.... It's fun, relaxing and gives you a sense of accomplishment. And best of all, you get to shoot more for the same money!
     
  20. oldpapps

    oldpapps Member

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    'Blackfox893'

    "Cast vs non-cast bullets
    I have thought about casting my own bullets eventually, but I have a few questions:

    Can cast bullets handle high velocities that regular bullets can? Yes.

    What are cheap sources of lead. Wheel weights or what? Yes.

    Are there spitzer style cast bullet molds available? Yes."


    Velocities - hard lead, heat treated, gas checks, properly sized with good lub or paper patched. Unless you make up some of those double alloy bullets (body and butt very hard, nose of soft lead, glue? No I don't and haven't, just saw them listed several years ago), you are in the realm of target/paper puncher's only.

    Lead is a natural metal and is everyplace. Recyclers have it, junk yards have it. The problem is getting the alloy correct. That can well get expensive.

    Bullet shapes, check the listings from Lyman, RCBS, Lee and others. There are some. Most are designed for hunting and don't have the nice pointy ends you are asking about.

    Loading is fun for many. Casting is fun for some. Some don't like either.

    As stated above, the guys on the 'cast boolet' Forum know their stuff and can give much better answers than I.
     
  21. popper

    popper Member

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    Doesn't make much sense for < 30 cal due to fps limits. Bottom of the $ scale, ~$60 for basic tools, hot plate, SS pot, ladle, etc. You'll probably have to buy the lead anymore. Timewise, ~ 200 / hr. Should be able to keep the cost < $18/100 for about anything. Check that against WW prices.
     
  22. colonelhogan44

    colonelhogan44 Member

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    The cost of startup depends on what you want to do. I cast almost exclusively for .357 mag, which is forgiving. I shoot plain base at moderate velocities, and I got into it for less than 200 bucks.

    a $60 lee 20lb bottom pour pot, and moulds at $20 a pop.

    A few pie plates, a jar of vasoline, two candles and some motor oil and I was in business pan lubing. Maybe 10 bucks. I use a coleman stove to heat the mixture around the bullets.

    I'm cheap. It works. It's not going to get you up to 2k fps, though. Maybe 1600 out of a 357 carbine before leading starts to show up big time.
     
  23. Dthunter

    Dthunter Member

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    Well a few guys are giving good info!

    Yes you can reach jacketed performance with. Cast bullets.
    Yes, its allot of work,time,experimentation, and a small investment in gear/tools.

    Paper patched bullets can reach incredible Speeds! But allot of load development to create an accurate load. Once this load is found, the cost of shooting will go WAY down.

    I have spent a considerable amount of time developing a high performance/velocity load for my 308win.
    After all of my work I have wound up with a load that shoots a 200grain bore riding design (semi-pointed) "Lyman #311299.
    this bullet has a COPPER gascheck(Hornady, or my own manufacture).
    A high quality Moly Lube(Lyman super moly).
    I have sized the bullet to .310".
    My powder is either IMR 4831,or IMR4350.
    My bullet alloy is simply: 18lbs cleaned wheel weight alloy + 8 feet of 50/50,lead/tin solder.
    Air cooled. Thats it.

    The bullet is seated firmly into the rifling. The noses of the bullet have a coating of Lee Liquid Allox. I personally believe this lube aids in hydraulicly centering the nose.
    I Have reached velocities of 2425 fps. And accuracy around 1-1/2 to 2 MOA out to 200-250yards. I have shot 2MOA groups out to 600 yards with loads that travel at 1600-1750fps. Funnnnn stuffff!!!!!!
    Velocities are at full jacketed Performance levels (2425 fps with a 200 grain bullet).

    This loads accuracy (at 2425 fps),will last for 8-10 rounds. After this it starts to decay a little.
    If I push a few patches through the bore, that restores the accuracy for another 8-10 rounds.
    Just so its clear, I have/am experiencing little to no leading.

    If I back down my velocities to the 2200 2250fps range, I can shoot more than 20 rounds between accuracy maintaining cleanings.

    If I shoot below 2200fps, I have shot upwards of 50-75 rounds without any appreciable leading.

    One thing that has shown itself to make a big difference in potential accuracy at different velocity levels with cast bullets, is the rate of rifling twist.
    1:10" barrels tend not to reach as high of a velocity (with acceptable accuracy), as a 1:12" or 1:14" twist rate.
    There seems to be a limmit to where cast bullets cannot withstand the accelleration,torque applied by the rifling, and pressure of combusting powder gasses. The challenge is to see how far we can go before we experience a load component failure. ( alloy yields and gasses push past the accellerating bullet causing things like leading, inconsistant velocities, bullet damage and therefore gyroscopic instabilities,etc.
    The castboolets site helped me learn huge amounts in this regard! I cant say enough about it for. Cast shooting!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  24. Dthunter

    Dthunter Member

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    243Winxb:

    Try looking into the cast boolet site, if you dig deep and research this, you will be astounded by what these guys can do!

    I know I was!!!
     
  25. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    It's my understanding that the real limiting factor with lead is not velocity, but the pressure required to generate that velocity. I"m having way more problems with my high pressure low velocity 9mm loads than I ever had with my higher velocity, low pressure 357's and 44's. Both lyman and lee have good information about reloading lead.
     
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