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Casting 223 From Molds?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TheSaint, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. TheSaint

    TheSaint Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    The People's Republik Of Kommiefornia
    I've been doing a lot of googling on making my own bullet from lead casting molds. It seems that it is fairly common for various pistol calibers, but not so common for rifle ones. One of the concerns I read on some other web forum is that 223 bullets created from lead molds can often be very brittle and can perhaps cause leading issues in the internals of your gun.

    Is this largely the case that creating your own 223 from a lead mold is to be avoided? Or, is it okay to make your own 223 bullets, but you have to be cautious in making sure that you use the proper mix of alloys to ensure a quality bullet that will leave your barrel in one piece? For instance, on MidwayUSA, I couldn't even find a bullet mold for 223, but have found them on other sites.

    I've read a LOT of conflicting information on this and before I do anything even remotely close to dangerous, I'd love to have someone school me on this subject. If making your own 223 bullets is fine, under what circumstances do you need to be aware of to ensure that safety can be assured (as much as possible)? If making 223 rounds from a cast mold is ill-advised, what 233 bullets do you gentlemen prefer for your cheap plinking rounds? I'm looking to buy in bulk if I can't cast my own, and want to know what a reasonable price per round should be, what vendors you've used in the past that have worked, general thoughts on the matter, etc.

    As always, your veteran experience is most welcome.
  2. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Mentor

    Dec 7, 2008
    Mount Desert Island Maine
    For most rifle bullets that are cast you would need a gas check to get reasonable speed with them. Add to that most lead rifle bullets will not reach the speeds that .224 varmint bullets need to go without stripping the sides off in the barrel and filling the grooves with lead and you see why there is not a lot of interest in doing what you are inquiring about. The old timers used cast lead bullets in a lot of calibers and they worked well, but at much lower velocities and closer ranges than most varmint arms are used. If it was no big deal the usual vendors of lead bullets would be pumping them out to fill the need that is evident today. When I purchased some years ago (from IIRC Huntingtons) that were 40 grain gas checked I got them for cheap shooting in my Hornet.

    Moyers Cast bullets makes a 55 grain GC hard lead bullet. When they resume making them you might try some before you go all in with getting equipment to do it yourself. Also use a slower propellant like 3031 for them as this will yield better results. The older Lymans lead reloading books showed some reloads that were like this.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  3. 45_auto

    45_auto Senior Member

    Jan 3, 2011
    Southern Louisiana
  4. 7.62 Solution

    7.62 Solution New Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    Buffalo NY
    I have been casting and reloading for many years and now shoot about 90% cast. I think its interesting, adds a lot more to learn when reloading and can save money once the initial cost of equipment is overcome. In addition, in light of recent events it gives an alternative source of bullets assuming other components are available.

    The obstacle you may face with a cartridge like 5.56 / .223 is, as other have said, velocity is not kind to cast projectiles. It's by no means impossible, it just requires some compromise and thought. Factors like casting alloy, hardness, gas checks, bullet diameter matched to barrel and a really clean bore and reasonable expectations of velocity all matter.

    I mostly use cast projectiles in larger slower cartridges for all these reasons. Pistol for sure and in rifle mostly 30 30, 45 70 and 308 slowed down.

    Between the Internet and manuals like Lyman's cast bullet handbook, there is a ton of information out there and that's where I would start.
  5. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Participating Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Hansen Idaho
    I just started casting for the 223 and so far it is going well. In fact so far the most difficult thing has been learning to use a 22cal mold. I have been casting with larger rifle and hand gun bullets for a few years now, but learning to use such a small caliber mold took a little patience.

    Until I get a scope for it (should be in the mail) I am just plinking with the minimum charge of H-335. As soon as my scope arrives and I find some rings for it I plan on testing some loads on paper. But so far no lead or lube build up.
  6. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Senior Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    North Texas
    This is a general reloading formula. Head over to the Cast Boolit website, do a search and you'll find a mind-boggling amount of info on the subject. HEck, most times you don't even have to search to find info on the subject at hand. Good luck!

  7. RustyFN

    RustyFN Senior Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    West Virginia
    I cast my own bullets but don't have any experience with 223. I have a couple of friends that shot cast bullets in their AR 15's and said the gas system got plugged up pretty fast. If I was going to shoot lead in 223 it would only be in a bolt action rifle but that might just be me.

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