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Thread: Loading cast bullets...

  1. #1
    Moderator JDM's Avatar
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    Default Loading cast bullets...

    I have a number of cast/lubed 45-70 405 grain bullets...but having never loaded cast bullets before, need to know if they require gas checks, and where to find data or instructions specific to cast bullet reloading.
    Thanks for putting up with my ignorance!

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    if they didn't come "checked" it is a BIG deal to do so, and if not designed for a gas check it may not work anyway. HOWEVER for many loads the gas check is unnecessary.

    start with a clean barrel, and use cast (not swaged) lead. oregon trail "silver bullets" are great and don't lead my rifles.

    remember, with heavy bullets velocity is of small concern. check a good loading manual that uses lead bullets. lyman manuals have lots of lead bullet data....and i've found them to be helpful.

    happy trails.
    jh

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    Default gas checks

    if you bought the cast bullets in question and they came without gas checks then they are designed to be used as a plain base bullet, these will be driven slower than those that use a gas check. look at beartooth bullets you will find loads there. i just cast some for my guide gun they are a plain base bullet, lyman mould 457193 i havent shot any yet but they look like a good bullet.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    JDM,

    I am looking at a “one book / one caliber” that you can buy at Sportsmans’ Warehouse for about $8

    Its got tons of data for each cartridge for minimal expense. Go get yourself one and load away!

    I am not comfortable posting loads for fear of a typo or something weird, but if you cant come up with data locally, shoot me a PM and I will pdf some stuff and e-mail it to you.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDM View Post
    I have a number of cast/lubed 45-70 405 grain bullets...but having never loaded cast bullets before, need to know if they require gas checks, and where to find data or instructions specific to cast bullet reloading.
    Thanks for putting up with my ignorance!
    Not to insult your ignorance but, your bullets may be hard or soft, cast or swaged (soft lead) and they may be sized at .457", .458", .459" or even .460". If they are just off the shelf bullets they are probably sized .458".

    One of the things that make a cast bullet really shine is that it is sized properly sized to fit the bore. Normally a 45-70 rifle bore will be between .4570" and .4580", this bore would use .458" or .459" bullets. A tight fit is not as likely to lead. Secondly, the hardness rating of the bullet is important. Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) is a measure of how hard the surface of the bullet is. {Lead is BHN 5, Linotype is BHN 22}

    Good hard cast bullets will be between 18 and 22 BHN and if gas checked they can be driven to 2500 fps or more. Lyman #2 alloy is BHN 15 and properly sized bullets at that hardness can be driven at 1500 fps without gas checks and not lead or loose accuracy. If a bullet is made for a gas check a gas check should be used. The base of a gas check bullet is tapered or recessed at the heel and that tends to start leading quicker. The tapered heel of some bullets do very well if they are hard enough. The Oregon trail bullets have tapered bases but work to about 1400 or so.

    Also with rifle bullets it seems to make better loads with the slower burning powders. When using gas checks, powder selection doesn't make much difference.

    The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook is a wealth of information about cast bullets and casting with load data for most calibers. It is a wise investment. More that enough info to keep you busy on even an Alsaka interior winter evening.
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  6. #6
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    Default Slug your bore

    If you have a foreign or older gun it is adviseable to slug your bore with a soft lead ball. Some of the modern Italian .45-70s have over sized bores and require larger bullets to shoot accurarely- a friend has one that required a .462 bullet! The Lyman cast bulllet manual and others have instructions for sluging the bore and measuring the slug to determine bore diameter.

    Try to size your bullets as little as possible. The old rule of thumb was that for every .001 you had to size the bullet you lost about an inch at 100 yds.

    The real fun and saving with cast bullets start whn you start making your own.
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    It's easy to tell. If they have a step on the base for the gas check, you can put'em on.

    I got some 30-30 bullets from Oregon Trail (Cabelas) one time that were lubed, and were designed for gas checks but didn't have any. I didn't count on that. I thought they would come with gas checks.

    I already had some gas checks, so I put them on, and then I ran them through a sizer. Not a Lubrisizer, but a sizer. I still have some left. They seem to be Lyman 411031 s.

    BTW, they're too hard for anything but plinking. If I shoot them through anything tuff, like magazines they will shatter.

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    Moderator JDM's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for the info/advice from all who have replied so far!

    I obviously have some more homework to do and likely lots more questions to ask. I think I have found a new hobby in reloading...not too sure if my wife is thrilled tho!

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