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Probably a stupid question

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Honkytonk View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 20 2018 at 10:08am
I've seen people on this forum talk about cast bullets. I'm assuming these are lead? Are they used for target shooting? Thanks!
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Stanforth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stanforth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2018 at 12:30pm
I have used a lead/ tin alloy. Lead on it's own is too soft. My usual mix is 10% tin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2018 at 1:04pm
Just for targets and plunking?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2018 at 1:41pm
Nothing stupid about it, cast bullets have a lot of good things going for them.

Cost (once you amortize the cost of the tools to make) them they're relatively inexpensive.

Sizes, with lubricator sizer dies & all the available molds you can make diameters & weights that don't exist commercially.

Reduced velocity plinking or pest loads. You use small volumes of pistol powder & a light bullet. Quiet, cheap, you can even use some in places like barns for pest control.

With hard alloys & gas checks (little cups that crimp to the base of some bullet designs) You can drive them faster than you'd think.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pukka Bundook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2018 at 10:18pm
A mate in NZ takes all his deer with cast and Blue Dot, Honks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 21 2018 at 7:35pm
only time a talk about cast bullets i am talking my cowboy action 45colt and 4570gov both wstrickly for that purpose , my friends doing the same cast 38/357 as well for this , 

others might cast for other reasons , but not me 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 42rocker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2018 at 8:42am
So what weapons can you use lead bullets in? Or type of weapons?
I was reading about "wax" coating the lead bullet to prevent lead build up in the barrel, any more thoughts on this one? Had a friend that used to cast his own lead bullets and use them in his Full Auto Thompson submachine guns, seemed to work for him. Wish I owned a FA Thompson.  
 
Later 42rocker
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2018 at 11:20am
I have seen commercially made cast bullets for .303 at a dealer in France. These have a thin copper electro plate covering the lead.They are cheaper.
 I have not tried them myself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2018 at 1:43pm
A#1 rule of cast boolitts: Don't use lead bullets (UN-jacketed) in anything with a gas port. The lead shaves & plugs the port.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote A square 10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2018 at 9:18pm
good to know ....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2018 at 7:14am
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

A#1 rule of cast boolitts: Don't use lead bullets (UN-jacketed) in anything with a gas port. The lead shaves & plugs the port.
 
I've heard this too.  But I know many have successfully shot cast bullets from the M1 and AR-15.  I've done so, with no issues.  I think the port pressures are high enough to prevent this from happening.  Maybe someone has had problems, these things have a tendency to get exaggerated on the net. 
 
The bigger problem is getting the rifle to cycle reliably and not deform the bullet at the velocities required.  I was able to do this with my AR using IMR 4895, but accuracy was poor as compared to jacketed bullets. 
 
So, I just stick with jacketed, and save the casting for the Martini Henry, Snider and Springfield Trapdoor; the rifles that were intended for black powder and lead bullets. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 3006guns Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 04 2019 at 10:08am
Good morning everyone....

New member on this forum, but by no means new to reloading and the use of lead bullets in rifles. Let's get a few things straightened out here.....

First of all, check out the "Cast Boolits" website. There's a wealth of knowledge and experience that is yours for the asking. Also, any good Lyman or RCBS cast bullet book will get you started.

Before anything else, cast lead bullets will NOT lead your barrel if the bullet is slightly larger than the groove diameter AND properly lubricated.

Cast bullets do NOT plug the gas port on a semi auto rifle. I use .311 hard cast in my SKS with no problems. I DO coat the gas piston with a tiny amount of automatic transmission oil before shooting, so any fouling wipes right off. I use the same technique in my M1 carbine also. Lots of people are shooting cast in AR15's, M14's, Garands, etc., etc.

To cast bullets for your rifle, you will first need to know the GROOVE diameter of your barrel. Cast (or borrow) a soft, oversize .30 caliber bullet....even a lead fishing sinker will work. Use the raw casting and do NOT size it. Oil the bullet and start it in the muzzle, using a brass rod and small hammer to start it in the bore. With a longer brass rod, drive it completely through and catch it on a soft cloth. Now you have an example you can measure with a micrometer to determine what the groove diameter is by  measuring the raised portions of the rifling....a "mirror image". I usually tape the bullet to a 3 x 5 card, with the rifle's information on it for future reference.

However the Enfield rifling has five grooves that are not directly opposite each other, so they're difficult to measure accurately. The solution is a "V" anvil micrometer.....but they're expensive. At this point I'm going to make a statement: Virtually all Enfield barrels I've measured are between .312 and .316, so there's a baseline. I've found that .315 is a pretty good starting point for just about any Enfield.

Lead: Tire balancing weights used to be available for the asking, but that source is drying up due to the law now requiring steel weights. Any scrap yard should have soft lead for sale. A caution here...DON'T use zinc tire weights, identified by the letters "zn" cast on the surface. Zinc contamination in your lead will ruin the entire pot for any practical use. If you're lucky enough to find a bucket of good 'ol lead tire weights, they're hard enough to use as is and won't need to be alloyed with anything.

You'll need a mold. Lee (also Lyman, RCBS, etc) makes a good mold for the Enfield and it's not expensive at all. You'll need something to melt lead in and dip it out. Again, Lee makes an electric pot and dipper that are reasonable. Follow the included directions until you get fully filled out castings.

Now pure, soft lead is suitable for muzzle loaders but not for bottle neck rifle cartridges and you'll have to blend it with something to make it harder. I use Linotype metal, available from many online suppliers, using a 30% Linotype to 70% lead mix. After the lead has melted, add the Linotype metal to the pot and stir with an old spoon. At this point, drop a small bit of wax or sizing lubricant into the pot and light the smoke with a match while stirring. This is called "fluxing" and blends the two metals, which will not separate again. Lighting the vapors reduces the overall smoke. Using the spoon, skim any impurities off the top of the metal. You now have nice, clean lead alloy.

Scoop some lead, fill the mold. By the time you put the ladle down, the metal will have cooled enough to open the mold, dropping your home made bullet on to a folded towel (they're delicate when hot and easily bruised). Your first bullets will likely be wrinkled and ugly. That's normal until the mold comes up to temperature, then the mold will fill out properly.

After casting a quantity of say, 100 or so, unplug the pot and let everything cool. You will now need to "size" the bullets to fit your barrel, and lubricate them. A general rule of thumb is to size the bullets to at least .001" LARGER than the groove diameter. It's been discovered that even a grossly oversize bullet, say .006", will easily pass through the bore with no problems. It's lead, so it's a LOT softer than the barrel or a jacketed bullet. Again, Lee makes a dandy little sizing kit that works in a standard reloading press. Lee also makes a lubricant called "Alox" which is a simple dip and dry liquid, good for up to at least 1600 fps. Coat the bullets with the Alox, allow to dry, then size them.

I usually fire one round, then take one of my unfired bullets and try it in the mouth of the fired case. If the bullet goes in easily, I know that the case neck is opening and releasing it with plenty of room. If that unfired bullet does NOT go in the fired case, there isn't any room for neck expansion and the bullets will have to be sized smaller. This is strictly a pressure/safety issue, but also affects accuracy.

Gas checks: These are little copper or aluminum cups that are pressed on to the bullet base during the sizing operation and are required for optimum accuracy, HOWEVER, you can still shoot the bullets without them. Accuracy will suffer, but only a tiny amount.

Loading: Assuming your cases are processed and primed, charge your powder and seat the bullet. Now, lead bullets do NOT need ordinary rifle powders as it doesn't take much to get one moving. The use of any progressive burning powders is a waste really, because the bullet has already left the barrel while the powder is still burning. Instead, you use a faster powder that will completely burn before the bullet exits the barrel. I use a charge of 16 grains of 2400 powder for bullets in the 175 grain range. This provides what is called the "200 yard target load" and is quite accurate. You'll find that you have to elevate your rear sight to almost 600 yards to accommodate the bullet drop and lower velocity (around 1400 fps with this load). Never use "regular" rifle powders, such as 3031, 4895, etc. in reduced charges, especially with jacketed bullets. This can create a nasty situation.....proven by ballistic labs....wherein the bullet is released then stops for a millisecond in the barrel throat while the rest of the powder burns. If the bullet sticks....boom. Barrel blowup. Most of the time you will never notice, as the gun goes "bang" normally. But it only takes one time to create a man made "barrel obstruction". This is the reason that reduced loads of rifle powders are discouraged. But back to cast.......

All of the above may sound like "too much trouble". Really? Trust me, it's fun, productive, accurate and cheap. There are a whole host of loads and bullets that will function accurately in modern rifles. The benefits are greatly reduced recoil, virtually no wear on the barrel and very low cost. Again, I highly recommend the Cast Boolits website.

Edit: I thought I'd better explain about fitting one of your new cast bullets into a fired case mouth. Again, the whole idea is to check whether the case neck is expanding enough to release the bullet. Ordinarily, a JACKETED bullet in a "too tight" case mouth would cause pressure problems. However, we're using lead and powder charges that are more in line with a .357 magnum cartridge. That rifle action will easily allow even a tight bullet to exit the chamber, however it can affect accuracy. It's better to have a proper fit.

Having said that, there have been cases where the neck portion of the chamber will not allow a bullet that fits the groove diameter correctly. In that case, you have a jacketed bullet rifle ONLY.

Shooting cast is a ball. I have literally hundreds of jacketed bullets to choose from, but I haven't touched them in years. My bores are still in excellent condition and my 69 year old shoulder is still in good shape too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pisco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 05 2019 at 12:33am
hi from australia i use a lead mix of 7 pound w/w 1 pound scrap solder i get from the radiator repair shop.
27gr ar2206h in my smle,s and 16gr ar2205 in my martini enfield
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