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Thread: so tell me...

  1. #1

    Question so tell me...

    To those of you who still shoot and load for one of those belted magnums, how many times are you able to reload your brass for hunting rounds? How about for sighting in or practice with your hunting load? Do you think only new or once fired bras should be used for a big game hunt?

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    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    I sort all my reloads based upon my personal experience with the gun and what I've managed to get overall from that particular case design. Sticking to your question of belted magnum loads though...


    I load my brass four times for load development and hunting purposes. After that, it gets set aside to another pile that I use for practice over another 4-6 reloads. After I've loaded a particular batch of cases 8 or so (but never more than 10) times, I take 'em to a recycle center, collect the cash (minimal) and start over.


    I figure the price of a hunting trip and all the associated equipment is so great, it's not really worth saving 32cents by reloading that old case one more time and having a failure when it really matters.

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    I keep a box of 50 for each rifle for hunting. I once fire them all with a medium load for off hand practice first and then load up 15 for sight in. Use the one's for sight in till the primer pockets are stretched and then discarded. The other 35 are stricking for hunting and once they are fired they go over to the sight in section. It will take you a decade or more to use the 35 up.
    Also keep a box of 20 for each rifle that are only used for practice.
    Tennessee

  4. #4

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    I buy my belted cases every 4 or 5 years in lots of 200 or 250, depending on where and how I buy. I load all those with cast bullets and shoot to fireform, then resize to just touch the shoulder and test load 20 with my favorite load. If all is well at the bench, I set those fired cases aside and load the rest. I generally go through 40 or 50 of the hunting loads a year, hence the larger buy every few years. As I go through them in practice and hunting, they immediately go onto a second shelf for use in full-power practice loads rather than being loaded again for hunting. I shoot around 200 a year of those for practice leading up to the hunting season, marking the box with each loading and expecting to have to recondition them after 5 or 6 loadings. After reconditioning they go onto another shelf for use with cast bullets and neck sizing only. I shoot a mountain of them, but have cases that are probably 15 years old mixed in and still going. As they individually develop problems (usually incipient neck splitting), I dump them.

    Don't know if that makes sense after reading through it. Here's a quicker summary. Fireform with cast bullets, load and shoot once for hunting, then half a dozen full power practice loads, followed by as long a life as possible for frequent cast bullet practice. I have to "recharge" that cycle with a couple of hundred new cases every 4 or 5 years.

    It may sound odd to load up all those full power hunting loads and let them sit around for a few years before hunting with them, but remember, only 20 go into the field at a time and the rest are stored in dry, stable temps. No probs or duds in close to 40 years of doing it this way. In the meantime I'm probably putting close to 1000 rounds a year through the rifle, with most of those (around 800) being cast bullet loads.

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    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    ...I'm probably putting close to 1000 rounds a year through the rifle, with most of those (around 800) being cast bullet loads.
    Are you running high velocity/pressure with the cast loads? Gas checks (I'd guess so, but want to verify)? How difficult is it to keep clean?

    With the spike in material costs, I'm looking for anything to reduce my practice costs, and cast bullets look like one way to do it.

    Thanks,

    -Adam

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel Nut View Post
    Are you running high velocity/pressure with the cast loads? Gas checks (I'd guess so, but want to verify)? How difficult is it to keep clean?

    With the spike in material costs, I'm looking for anything to reduce my practice costs, and cast bullets look like one way to do it.

    Thanks,

    -Adam
    Mostly no. There's no reason when I'm also shooting a couple of hundred rounds a year of full power loads in addition to the cast. I'm using the Lyman #2 alloy or equivalent of wheelweights with gas checks and hitting the 1500-1600fps range with my cast loads. They're all about the mechanics of shooting and developing field shooting skills. I never go near a benchrest after initial sight-in, and use the cast bullets for lots of small game shooting with my mags. News flash: The 375 and 458 are unbelievably accurate with cast bullets, making them ideal for head shooting snowshoe hare.

    With a good lube, cleanup is really no different than using jacketed bullets. Easier in fact because there is no leading and no buildup of copper fouling to deal with. For best accuracy with cast though, you do have to get every last spec of jacket fouling out of the bore, so the cleaning prior to shooting cast bullets can be troublesome. I tend to shoot cast bullets for most of the off season, only switching to the full power loads in the last month or so before the season. After ten months of shooting cast bullets and a month of full power loads-- all from field positions-- marksmanship on hunts really isn't an issue.

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    Member Diesel Nut's Avatar
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    Thanks BrownBear. I'm going to look into cast reloads in a few months when I'm done with hunting season and the wife wants me out of the house again.

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    BB:
    I'm shooting Cast Bullets myself, but never to the extent you apparently do.


    I've heard it before, but I can't figger out why copper fouling would effect Cast Bullet accuracy.


    Also, assuming your cast bullet load doesn't lead, can you switch from cast to jacketed bullets without effecting the accuracy of your jacketed bullet hunting loads?


    Thanks

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  9. #9

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    I'm guessing, but I've always thought that heavier jacket fouling must somehow affect the "grip" of a cast bullet in the bore, but that doesn't explain it. Because even a little is detrimental. Any metallurgists or advanced ballisticians in the crowd?

    As for going the other way, lead to jacketed, I've never had the least bit of trouble. Normal cleaning after the lead, then move on to the jacketed. Truth be known, I've moved from lead to jacketed in the same range session without cleaning and haven't had any noticeable loss of accuracy in the jacketed.

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    Thanks BB:
    I like my cast loads in my hunting rifle, but sorta worried about how it would effect my hunting loads.

    That's good news actually.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  11. #11

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    Actually, you can get away with shooting cast after jacketed to a degree because we're not talking a huge increase in group size. Enough to be an issue when you're striving for smallest groups. I am in the habit of carrying a few rounds of cast on big game hunts for head popping small game. At the ranges we're talking for that, I never felt any degradation of accuracy.

    In truth, since I'm only shooting the cast for offhand practice, I kinda wonder if the fluff about getting all the jacket fouling out of the bore is worth it. Benchrest, yeah, but 16 ounce drink bottles of water at 50 yards? Hey, I'm a man. I can take the blame for misses rather than blaming my rifles! ;-)

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    Thanks again BB:
    I'm shooting Cast Bullets for the same reason. Off hand practice, and carrying a few for small game when I'm hunting beeg game. And, I like the fact that they don't wear out your barrel.


    I hope to develop cast bullet loads for most all of my hunting rifles.


    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  13. #13

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    I've kinda fallen out of the saddle in the last couple of years Smitty, being completely overtaken by traditional muzzleloaders. But I can sure encourage you to develop the cast bullet loads for all your rifles. In my hands anyway, anything from 25 caliber on up is well worth the effort. The 25's are about as small as I can go and get consistently good bullets and accuracy. For some reason the 24 calibers are just that much harder to turn out, and 22 cals are maddening.

    I just finished casting some .730 diameter 75 caliber round balls, and holy cow were they easy! Kind of daunting to watch the level in the pot drop so fast, though. While I never bothered to recover lead alloy from cast bullets in my cartridge guns, I'm recovering and reusing the pure lead from my muzzleloaders. Kind of wish I'd done it all those years with the cartridge guns, and will certainly do so once I get back into them.

    BTW- Easiest recovery means I've found is to line the front side of a 5 gallon bucket with a piece of truck innertube, then fill it with sand. Tape the target directly to that side of the bucket and fire away. Sift the sand through a 1/4" screen to recover the lead. The innertube acts like a "gasket" to keep the sand from dribbling out the bullet holes in the bucket. Interesting enough, even my 58 caliber and 75 caliber don't come close to fully penetrating the bucket. Out of curiosity I whacked the setup with a 7 mag at 50 yards with a 160 grain Nosler partition. Even that didn't manage to penetrate the bucket, but the sand sure flew! Think of Old Faithful in gray.

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    This is just an opinion, so take it for what that's worth. Lead solders itself to copper much easier than steel so the lead buildup could be much quicker with a copper fouled bore than a clean steel bore. I personally haven't seen any real difference between squeeky clean and a bore that has plenty of jacketed shot through it with normal cleaning. But I'm not a BR type shooter.

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    rbuck351:

    I've done a lot of soldering in my day, and that sounds like a distinct possibility to an Ole Hillbilly like me.

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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