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Thread: Experienced reloader, new to cast bullets, help

  1. #1
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    Default Experienced reloader, new to cast bullets, help

    I am not sure how many questions I have. I have been reloading jacketed pistol bullets to the cannelure for years. I have a comparator so I can set rifle bullets with no cannelure wrt to the rifling rather than relying on COAL.

    I got no idea what best practice is for cast bullets.

    1. Where do I put the crimp? Down into one of the grooves? At the top of one of the shoulders? In the middle third of one of the shoulders? I just have no idea.

    My first foray was 158gr LSWCs in .38Spec, 7.0 grains of HS-6 put me right in the middle of the .38Spec range, halfway from .38 "un" special to .38Special +P. Seated to COAL ~1.475" IIRC~ my roll crimp with virgin brass was right at the top of a groove or just barely into the primer end of a shoulder. Should I have seated a little deeper to get the crimp up onto a shoulder?

    2. What about this lube? Most of the bullets in the box I bought have a string of lube completely filling one of the grooves near the bullet base. Some of them are 80-90% full; some of the are only 50% filled, the lube belt only reaches halfway around the bullet - and I found one with no lube in the groove at all. So how important is this stuff? I figure it is pretty important, because it sure is a pain the tuckus to deal with. We wouldn't be fooling with it if it didn't do something for us. What does it do? When is 90% good enough? Will my hand fall off if I let one fly every once in a while with no lube at all on it? Can I make my own lube at home to fill in whatever gaps are worth filling? Will mechanics hand cleaner clean this stuff off my hands or do I need something stouter.

    Thanks. I am sure I will think of more questions.

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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    Most cast bullets have a crimping groove in the bullet (or boolit as some people call cast bullets ). When I was shooting Bullseye and loading lead wadcutters I didn't crimp at all. To my way of thinking, crimps are to keep the bullet from 'jumping' during recoil.

    A really good site for casting bullets is http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Some of my Brooks moulds have crimp channels in them and some don't - he will make them to your particular specifications. I use the channels if available. I try not to put too much of a crimp in them even for my "bear" loads. The ones without I put it on the shoulder. I don't like to work that precious brass too much - it is the most costly component when you pull the trigger. I only have 6 shooters for the most part.

    I didn't mess with making bullet lube - I bought a couple pounds. A little goes quite a ways.


    The lube helps to prevent leading in your barrel. Not having it will make your shooter harder to clean. Properly sizing of the newly cast boolit is also key to lead prevention. I use a lubersizer - if you are going to do much of it you will too. I like my loob to be in the groove - all of them and all the way around each. If I get a 3 groove boolit and part of one is not completely filled sometimes I will relube it, sometimes I won't.

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    Ok, I am off and running. My first batch I could have used a little mroe bell, but I got my bbullets seated., and thtn turned the seating die down to 1/4 turn below touching the bell, and those rounds showed creep walking around my revolver cylinder.

    So I recrimped some more to half a turn, and those creeped, and i recrimped some others to 3/4 turn total crimp, and they are staying put.

    I am up to visible crimp, I can see the brass folded over into the crimping groove, but demonstrably this load requires that much.

    I may have to take up annealing soon, this does seem to be working my brass some.

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    You have to put as much crimp on as it takes. Light loads like 38spl and 45acp, I use very little crimp. 357 some crimp, heavy 44mag and 454Casull I crimp pretty good. With lube, the bottom groove is the most important but I like them all full. But it's kind of like crimp as the hotter the load the more important the lube and the more important it is to fill all the grooves. On a cast boolit, where you crimp is up to you as the lead is soft enough to crimp where you want. I want to second the "cast boolit" web site as there are a bunch of very knowlegeable folks hang out there with answers to anything you could want to know about cast boolits.

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    On lighter loads, consider a taper crimp or the Lee "factory" crimp die rather than a heavy roll crimp. The brass lasts longer for me that way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swmn View Post
    Ok, I am off and running. My first batch I could have used a little mroe bell, but I got my bbullets seated., and thtn turned the seating die down to 1/4 turn below touching the bell, and those rounds showed creep walking around my revolver cylinder.

    So I recrimped some more to half a turn, and those creeped, and i recrimped some others to 3/4 turn total crimp, and they are staying put.

    I am up to visible crimp, I can see the brass folded over into the crimping groove, but demonstrably this load requires that much.

    I may have to take up annealing soon, this does seem to be working my brass some.
    It sounds like your getting it figured out. I've got 45 Colt starline brass that I've been loading for several years with both light and heavy loads. All with a good crimp. That brass holds up real well. I use a Lee Factory Crimp die and I go 3/4 of a turn with those 255ers and a full turn for my heavy 355gr loads.
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