View Full Version : Anyone casting for 223 or 308?
03-22-2010, 08:45 AM
I'm new at loading cast bullets. Was wonderin..Has anyone had success with 223 or 308 cast loads? Or is it better to stay with big bore?THANKS! GOD BLESS! Hawk.:smiley_doh:
03-22-2010, 11:28 AM
It's been many years since I cast for small bore (smaller than .375 caliber). My experience was not that rewarding as these cartridges were really designed for high pressure loads. You can shoot lead, and you can get on paper, but I really think you will be disappointed in the end for all of the work you put in.
That said, I would focus on the .30 caliber stuff. I would use a gascheck mold, cast with hard alloy that can be chilled/hardened and use top of the line lubricant. The best alloy I've found is wheel weights and tin to mimic Linotype with the understanding that wheel weights have a small amount of arsenic in the mix to harden when chilled. The tin is necessary to fill the mold and maintain crisp edges. The more money you spend on your molds and lead pots, the better, within reason. Chilling your bullets in the freezer for 48 hours can dramatically harden the finished bullet, resulting in less leading and higher velocities.
Weigh everything. Discard anything outside of your tolerance band. Visually examine and discard as appropriate.
For optimum results it would be a good idea to slug your barrel to determine its bore size. This will allow you to size your bullets to a nominal .001" over that dimension.
All of this is very general and there is a wealth of information out there to be found. Lead has been shot for a loooong time and it is, or was, pretty well understood. Most of this however was done in .40 caliber and larger bores with somewhat different rifling depths, I believe. Paper patching was popular. Again, large bore, straight or minimum taper stuff.
The below group was shot with an 1874 Sharps 45-70 (repro) and a cast, 515 gr. plain based bullet sized to .4585" and lubed with T/C high temperature lube in a Star luber/sizer, using smokeless powder and sandbags at 100 meters with a peep sight. Velocity was 1,320 fps.
03-22-2010, 08:01 PM
myfriend! Looks like 45-70 works just fine! My 223's were all over the place today .The 308's were 5"s @ 100 yds. no gas checks, 14 grains unique. I WILL SLUG MY BORE. My recoil today was that of a 22.Economy good .FUN ,excelent.ALL IN ALL, A GREAT DAY. I'm wonderin,...What is the recoil on that sharps with a 500 grainer?I know it's a blast...but how's your arm at the end of the day?Can you still lift it to ,to put it around a good lookin lady, if one would happen upon the range?HA! HAVE A GREAT DAY myfriendis410.Shot a 410 t/c pistol today .NICE TOY!
03-23-2010, 06:12 PM
Have not porcured any rifle molds at this time. Hope to soon to be able to give it a try. Alot of guys on castboolits.com do and have good luck.
03-24-2010, 08:12 AM
472x1A/B! THANKS FOR THE INFO. I'm pouring 223/59 grainer, and 308's /170 grainers .Loaded a dozen of each last night.Shooting these with my son and his 762x54R on saturday.I will let you know what we came up with.Have a great day.!!!
03-30-2010, 04:56 PM
The rem. 700 likes 9g. and 13g. of UNIQUE behind a 170g.LRNGC.(.309 unsized).The223's would not chamber.Probably need to size them.My 308 is a PSS model 1-12 twist .The rem 223 is an ADL 1-12 TWIST.Back to the drawing board.Be blessed MEN!!!!!HAWK.
04-05-2010, 11:22 AM
Hey, thats good news about your .308 rounds jchrist1. Keep working at thoes .223"s, you'll get them strightened soon enough. Got my new Lee .45 :200gr swc mold, last week , from my gun shop guy. Cast about 100 boolits a few nites ago so have to get'em loaded up and see how they preform. I think my next mold will be a .311 boolit to shoot out of my Enfield, we'll see.
04-05-2010, 11:31 AM
rather than re typing the same thing, read here:
Low Pressure & High Velocity with Cast Bullets - Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors (JHO) (http://www.jesseshunting.com/articles/guns/category16/9.html)
Andy has probably forgotten more than most know about shooting cast bullets at high velocity. And yes, his method works and makes complete sense. Cast bullets are limited by pressure and lead hardness, not velocity (which is not always the same)...
04-05-2010, 01:53 PM
Interesting. I'm not sure I agree with everything said; and he glosses over some awfully important steps in developing any accurate cast bullet i.e. weight tolerance, use of gas check, type of lube, sized to ? with respect to bore etc.
Another theory I've heard advanced was the faster powders caused excessive amounts of erosion of the base of the bullet thereby destroying accuracy. One author recommended painting white acrylic paint on the bases of the bullets to eliminate erosion. Nobody to my knowledge has ever adequately explained just exactly what bullet lube does in the barrel of the gun.
Interesting none the less.
Didn't work with my Sharps.
04-05-2010, 05:27 PM
Yes, he does gloss over some of the basic theory/principles of cast bullet loading (slugging bores, GC's and annealing them, bullet sizing, custom top punch fitting etc.). The article was written for those who already had the basics down pat, and we're looking to go beyond what conventional mainstream knowledge says is possible.
I would have to say I'm a bit surprised it didn't work for you in your 45-70, as that is a fairly basic and easy caliber to get to shoot bug hole groups.
I think the only thing I wish he had gone into more detail about was the heat treating process, but actually, if memory serves right, he did. But, it was editted onto the floor, as were a few articles both he and I had written for this web site years ago. They were editted with no malicious intent, merely out of ignorance, where many of the articles had key points that were dropped as the editor didn't always grasp the significance of the points. Such is life, eh? It's an imperfect world. :D
The excessive erosion you referred to in the other theory is what Andy was referring do as "gas cutting".
BTW he did write for and was published several times in "The Fouling Shot", the Cast Bullet Association's periodical, so I take it for what his advice is worth (worth enough to be published in pulp form). The CBA's journal doesn't publish tripe like a lot of the normal pulp rags, as they have a small but dedicated following, who's members would never put up with it. Be that as it may, this is the internet and folks are free to take his advice or move on...
It did work well in my .223, .22 Hornet as well as a .300 Whisper, using this method. Nothing quite like rolling PD's over with a sub sonic (and supersonic) 180gr GC cast bullet. :) Kind of like shooting cows with fire hydrants...
04-05-2010, 09:18 PM
My 45-70 creedmore bullet is cast with wheel weights and tin to make up to about 3% tin. As wheel weights contain about 2% arsenic, the alloy is ideal for heat treating by freezing. 48 hours in the game freezer raises the hardness dramatically; to the point that it is noticeable when running 'em through the Star luber/sizer. (Around 22 Brinell)
My powder choices have been somewhat limited due to the fact the bullet takes up so much cartridge space, but I have been working with (relatively) slow burning powders i.e. benchmark, 4895 and 4198 (IMR). Velocities above 1325 fps cause the bullet to become unstable and fly wild. Below 1325 and I'm getting groups in the 1 1/4" range. As this is done with a peep sight and 52 year old eyes, I'm actually pretty happy. Pressures must remain low due to the action design (below 29,200 cup).
I played with a gas checked 125 gr. plinker bullet for the 30-06 many years ago, and frankly I was a pretty ignorant kid at the time of this. It might be fun to revisit that set up as I still have the mold and rifle.
I did not mean to sound condescending or ? regarding the article: it was interesting. It is interesting how different people obtain different results trying to do the same things.....BTW, the gas cutting is a different phenomenon. What I was referring to is the erosion of just the heel of the bullet. Painting with Titanium Dioxide was supposed to stop that from happening. Pain in the ass, and no obvious improvement.
I think though, the last word on cast bullets was from the late 1800's when the schuetzen rifles were so popular and if I remember correctly those insanely tight groups were shot with a paper patched bullet--obviating the necessity for alloying, hardening etc. Too bad that isn't around any more.......
04-06-2010, 04:35 AM
LOL! Oh, it's still around (paper patching). I watched Andy work up loads with his paper patched rifle (through necessity. since the bore was an oddball dimension and the rifle really didn't quite warrant a custom mould yet). Pretty interesting watching someone make the paper and such. I believe it was a linen paper soaked in a solution of nitrate (of some sort) that was then air dried on a clothes line. I also sat with him as he worked on his BP double rifle/business rifle with paper cartridges. Surprisingly accurate, though a little messy. :)
One thing Andy has always harped on about shooting cast bullets was the fact that most folks did not get the copper out before shooting them. Under a bore scope copper fouling builds up and looks surprisingly similar to concertina or razor wire. If it's not cleaned out, doesn't matter what pressure you're shooting cast bullets, they're going to lead the barrel. A reverse electroplating method of getting the copper out is best (something like the "Foul Out" system, or a home built version), just to remove all doubt.
1 1/4" groups with a peep and 52 yr old eyes is a pretty respectable group! I have to say, my eyes are a few years younger, but can understand as reading glasses are now becoming necessary at times for me. Getting old can suck sometimes. :D
Take care and best regards,
04-06-2010, 07:59 AM
I will try a copper removal project on my rifle, thanks for the suggestion! I find making target loads for that rifle to be really very satisfying and the gun is perhaps the most fun to shoot of any of my long guns. Scoped rifles are fine, but mine are tools to be tuned for killing stuff rather than punching holes in paper.
With regard to paper patched bullets: a special underbore size taking into account the diameter of the paper requires a custom mould, obviously not something you can order from Midway USA, you know?
I am fortunate to have a slowly aging crowd of dedicated shooters invested into the arcana of long range rifle (they have a 1,000 yard range in Cuyama), black powder cartridge, and small bore prone rifle. At times I have sailed over their collective horizons with some of my projects, but there are still valuable nuggets to be gleaned from these guys.
Unfortunately there are very few of us left interested in all of the work involved in casting for a particular rifle (or pistol). Too bad. My .45 acp sees nothing but home cast handloads and I'm able to shoot it more cheaply than my .22 now that ammo has gone up so much in price.
Thanks for the response. This is a thread that deserves attention, and is almost as entertaining as Cowboy CS's big bore builds. (at least to me)
04-07-2010, 05:43 AM
Yes, this has become a pretty interesting thread to me as well. I've never heard of freezing bullets to harden them before, at least not permanently. That's a new one on me, how cold are you getting them?
For heat treating, they go in the oven at 460* for about an hour to hour and a half. Basically, you're looking for them to be shiney, i.e. heated up to, but before slumping. Then they get quenched in a sinkfull of cold water. I use a cookie sheet with the appropriate caliber holes punched in to allow the bullets to rest, but not pass through. A couple of carriage bolts and nuts make the legs that hold the cookie sheet up off of a second pan that they sit in, while in the oven. The added benefit of this process, is that if the bullets have gas checks, they get annealed. This can lead to a tighter seal at the base of the bullet, as the brass is much softer now. Once quenched, they are about as hard as lead can get, and will stay that way for some time.
All this can be done in your kitchen oven, though the misses might get a little miffed about it (I used to do this before I remarried a second time, so it wasn't a problem then). You can also use a toaster oven in the garage, just stack fire bricks around it, so it doesn't kill your electric bill trying to keep it that hot.
You know, one of these days I'm going to have to drive up to V-berg. I have lived here in SoCal for 15 yrs now, and have never been up there. Been to Tejon Ranch, camped and fished up in the eastern Sierras (Twin Lakes area) and been all through the deserts of El Centro/Borrego area. I hear that you guys have some really good quail hunting up there...
04-07-2010, 07:27 AM
Supposedly the freezing trick works for any alloy that contains arsenic, so wheel weights is ideal. Your freezer at it's current setting is sufficient and 48 hours is all you need. You can also cast into ice water but that is less convenient than just putting a batch in the freezer for a couple of days. It's also less stressful on your home life.
I've never really cared for gas checks and have tried diligently over the years to avoid them due to my extreme aversion to spending unnecessary money on shooting. Mind you; I said "unnecessary". That doesn't mean necessary stuff like guns, powder, scopes, and other essential tools of the sport.
You should come up and see it. It is a wonderful resource. There is a nice fam camp and a campground off cantonment. There is almost 100,000 acres available with miles of beaches. The quail hunting can be good, but it usually rains about three days before season opener, scattering the little bastards.
The hog hunting can be spectacular and a lot of guys come up from down your way to partake of it. Our gun club is also worth the look with a 100, 50 and 25 meter range, two overlay trap/skeet fields, indoor archery, indoor game cleaning/butchering area and pro shop with meeting facilities. Nice setup.
04-08-2010, 01:23 PM
MarinePMI! I love your quote at the end of your messages.I do believe that there are still many more Americans in this great country than I last thought!GOD bless America and all of us!Thankyou very much for your info.Saves us time and money.This means "change"$$$ to me, for more reloading components!myfriendis410!Im using wheel weights dropping bullets into cold water ,out mould.Now I will also try putting them in the game freezer.I'm 45 in JUNE.My eye sight has gotten blury in the last year.And I hear I'm in my prime! Prime what...I don't know.Thanks for the info 410! BE BLESSED!472x1A/B!I'm leading more toward flat base bullets . No gas checks,low velocity low recoil.Gas checks are just another expense.Why use them ,if you don't have to?Hey 472! Are you loadin 45 long colt ,or what ? I'd be happy to send you any brass I'm not using.The same goes for MARINE & 410.If I'm not goin to use it ,it's yours.My lyman .311 is a pointed (spitzer?)GC mould.It is for my sons 303 brit.I'll let you know how they shoot.Slug your bore.Try for a mould 1 or 2 thousandths over.Just a reminder .Take me for instance.I wish I would have spent the money on flat base moulds before gas check moulds.UNTIL NEXT TIME 472!! BE BLESSED MEN!!! HAWK.
04-10-2010, 09:04 AM
472x1A/B!Save a buck..Buy a two cavity gas check mold for your ENFIELD(LYMAN
).Drill out one cavity ,just to remove the gas check area material OF ONE CAVITY.This will give you a mold that pours gc and plain base bullets. SPEND THE MONEY SAVED ON A POUND OF POWDER .BE BLESSED 472!!
04-10-2010, 12:39 PM
myfriendis410! Are you up around SANTA BARBRA?I'M IN SAN DIEGO. The reason I ask is, I'm going to be in your area on a family reunion july 9-18.Shure would like to visit one of your shoots at the range.You men have a match or day of lead shooting(BIG BORE)?Could you give me location and times for these days ,if you guys have something going on? It would be much appriciated!THANKS MY FRIEND!!!!
04-10-2010, 04:08 PM
You would be better off to check out the range at San Luis Obispo/Morro Bay; they have some shoots you are interested in up there. I don't have a phone number, but you should be able to locate it. The Hogue range is there too and the International Revolver Championships are held there (in fact, this weekend).
04-10-2010, 05:45 PM
Thanks 410!:smiley-mouse:on with the hunt!
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