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Thread: Reloading hardcast bullets for 44 mag. Help!

  1. #1
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Default Reloading hardcast bullets for 44 mag. Help!

    So I'd like to get work up some hardcast loads for my Ruger Redhawk 44 mag. So far all of my reloading efforts have been spent on standard 240 gr copper jacketed and copper plated bullets for plinking practice, but I'd like to work up some good hunting and bear-defense loads.

    I don't know a lot about hardcast reloading. I'm planning to start with some bullets from Cast Performance and/or Oregon Trail: gas-check bullets ranging from 260 to 310 grains.

    I've seen a lot of discussion on lubing hardcast bullets - is that something I need to do with these bullets or is that just for casting your own bullets?

    Any other thoughts, suggestions, cautions? Any good manuals/references/resources you'd particularly recommend with regards to load information?

    I've handloaded rifle ammunition for years, but am still fairly new to loads for my 44. Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Ok. First, hardcast is a term that is thrown about rather loosely and can mean anything from about bhn15 to over 30 and many folks are shooting bullets much harder than needed. I don't know how hard Cast Performance or Oregon Trail bullets are but there is a lot more to this than just shooting hardcast. There is a couple of reasons to want to shoot hardcast. One is for penetration as the hard cast doesn't expand much if any and penetrates like a fmj. Another reason is to prevent leading however hard cast can cause leading as easily as prevent it. When shooting cast the first thing to consider is bullet size, throat size and groove size. There is a very good discussion in the handgun section about this. Bacically, if the cast bullet goes into the barrel any smaller than groove size it will cause leading and inaccuracy will follow. A bullet can bump up to fill the grooves, but only if it is soft enough and has enough presure behind it. As far as load information, Hodgdon has a lot of info on cast bullet loads and I think can be found on the web. Without measuring the gun, I probably would start with bullets of .430 or .431. Shoot some and check for leading. If they lead, you may have to ream throats and/or go bigger bullets. The bullets you buy should already be lubed although the lube they use is harder than I like. If you get into casting, and I would strongly recommend it,you will need to lube them. There is a number of ways to accomplish this as well as a wide variaty of lubes. I would strongly recommend going to a site called " castboolits " for more information than you can imagine on cast bullets and casting bullets. Often times you can just work up a load and everything works fine but if you get leading or inaccuracy it will take more work.

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    Everything rbuck351 said. I do not yet cast my own, but have loaded the Cast Performance WFNGC bullets in my Redhawk with very good results. I am not sure how hard the lead is in these, but suspect it if fairly hard plus the bullets are gas checked. I have read that gas checks can eliminate, or at least greatly reduce leading when shooting cast bullets at higher velocities. As rbuck351 has rightly pointed out, there are a lot of variables with loading and shooting cast bullets, especially in magnum loadings.

    I think for the average Joe just wanting to buy and load heavy hard cast bullets for his 44 mag, he would be well served by the Cast Performance variety and several others to be sure. My Redhawk loves the 320 grain Cast Perf with Hod 110 powder and can shoot suprisingly tight groups when I can do my part. I am also planning on buying a batch of the Penn bullet companies brand of heavy 44 mag bullets to try. If you have the time to dig through and read old threads here, there are many good threads on heavy hard cast bullets, meplats, SD, ect...ect...

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    I would contact Lee Stoner in Wasilla for some excellent bullets at fair prices, as good as Cast Performance but much cheaper. Lee knows all about hardness and its pros and cons. He can be reached at (907) 376-9488.

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    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    Wyo, I like Cast Performance or Beartooth Bullets. Beartooth has more diameters to chose from as well as different weights. Here's the link.

    http://www.beartoothbullets.com/

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Hey guys - thanks for the input! That's a lot to think about rbuck - I appreciate you taking the time. As I dive into this more, I'll likely be back with more questions.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    I would contact Lee Stoner in Wasilla for some excellent bullets at fair prices, as good as Cast Performance but much cheaper. Lee knows all about hardness and its pros and cons. He can be reached at (907) 376-9488.
    Thanks for the suggestion. When I get a chance I'll get in touch with Lee. It's always nice knowing there's a local I can turn to for discussing options and getting a quality product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Armymark View Post
    Wyo, I like Cast Performance or Beartooth Bullets. Beartooth has more diameters to chose from as well as different weights. Here's the link.

    http://www.beartoothbullets.com/
    Thanks for the link - hadn't seen these before. They look pretty sweet - I may have to do some experimenting. At least until I get into casting my own. Great... another "hobby" is just what I need.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyo2AK View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion. When I get a chance I'll get in touch with Lee. It's always nice knowing there's a local I can turn to for discussing options and getting a quality product.



    Thanks for the link - hadn't seen these before. They look pretty sweet - I may have to do some experimenting. At least until I get into casting my own. Great... another "hobby" is just what I need.

    Yea, that is me! I can't wait to start making my own bullets though as it is something I have always wanted to do. I think I may get in touch with Lee Stoner as well since the Cast Performance bullets are really hard to find up here. There was a dandy article in Handloader Magazine within the last year or so on 44 mag +P loads for the Ruger Redhawk or Super Redhawk with load data on heavy cast bullets. I think I clipped it out and saved it, will have to look it up.

    I know my Redhawk out shoots me with heavy cast bullets compared to jacketed.

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