View Full Version : Greetings, and a question! (or 3 or 4......)

NW Redneck
04-11-2005, 11:53 PM
Hi all! Just recently found this forum (actually, the old site) and love it! Reminds me of the atmosphere in an old scuba shop I used to frequent and eventually work at. It was almost more of a 'lounge' than a shop. You could allways drop by just to hang out with people with similar intrests, have a coffee and ** a while. And lots of knowlegeable people too. If you needed an answer (sometimes even a straight one ;-) :) ) someone there had it.

I have been into shooting and casting off and on since I was about 5 (as time and money allowed). Far more of the former while I was in the army cadet shooting program as a kid, but now I find I'm at least as intrested in making the ammo as I am shooting it! I have cast/re-loaded for .38/.357 pistol and .30-06 rifle so far. I have a mould for my .243 (lyman, 90 grn I think?) I'm itching to try out and am fishing for powders/loads to try. I have heard that cast in under .30 cal can be finnicky so I'm open to any tips/advice anyone has.

I also want to try casting for my .303. It is a #4 mk1 longbranch with a 2-groove barrel. It has a bubba'd stock, but none of the metal was touched. What would be a good mould/bullet style/weight to get? Any particular ones to stay away from?

The .243 will just be for targets/plinking. The .303 I would like to find 2 loads for. One for targets and one for hunting. (deer and black bear.) Will one bullet style/weight cover both?

Thanks for the help, and for the great place to hang out!


Gunload Master
04-11-2005, 11:58 PM
Great to have you on board Redneck! [smilie=w:

04-12-2005, 01:52 AM
NW Redneck---Welcome aboard. What town BC? Reason I ask here we have a hockey team and lots of players from B.C. I shoot the 95 grain RCBS with gas check in .243 and have great results. Dep Al also does the same. Heck aint nothing to casting them,I do the .22's too.

04-12-2005, 08:54 AM
NW RN, Before you consider a bullet type/mold for the .303 2-groove, it would be better to slug the bore to determine the diameter of the cast bullet you'll need. This step will weed out the no. of mold choices. As a possibility, Lyman's #314299, which casts ~.3145" - .3155" may be of interest. If not, Jim Allison of Cast Bullet Enterprises (AU; link to follow) has lots of designs to choose from. As for the .243Win., unlike Carpetman & Dep. Al, I've had terrible results with RCBS 105gr. & Lyman 95gr. spire points in my rifle. On the other hand, I've had ~1 m.o.a. results from Ly. 245496 (Loverin) and its hollow-pointed cousin. Hope this helps, ...Maven


04-12-2005, 09:33 AM
Welcome aboard, NW. Ditto to Carpetman's comments on the 243, and I have hime to thank for the jump-start on that caliber with the RCBS 95 grainers. They shoot VERY well for me with 12.0 grains of 2400. The same load did nearly as well with the Lyman 83 grain Loverin, provided by Duke if I recall correctly.

I have a No. 1 Mk III Lee-Enfield/BSA 1918, and its wide dimensions posed a challenge with most boolits made for the "Fat 30's". I had Mountain Molds make up a 190 grain ogival flat point that falls out at .3155" when cast of Taracorp, and shoots rather well when sized at .314". Loads have been 16.0-18.0 grains of 2400, and a full case of surplus WC-860. The rifle's bore is a little "iffy", but I suspect the rifle has seen some actual service--and it has class that compensates for its mechanical shortcomings. I think the 70% meplat on the Mountain Molds design and its weight would do well as a hunting bullet for the game you specify in 303 British--or any other fat 30.

NW Redneck
04-12-2005, 08:46 PM
Thanks for all the great info guys!

carpetman- I'm in Powell River, a small coastal town a couple of hours (and two ferry rides!) north of Vancouver.

maven-I plan to slug the bore, just haven't got to it yet! I figure it'll be around .312-.313. It shoots factory stuff into just under 2" at 100 with the iron sights so I don't think it's too large.

Deputy Al-Is that 190grn. mountain mold a stock or a custom job? And forgive my ignorance, but what is taracorp? I was thinking of using an alloy in the 12-15 bhn range (lyman #2?) as from what I have read it will perform well as a hunting bullet. Sound right to you? Will I need to use a different alloy to get target accuracy? What velociy are you getting with 16-18 grn of 2400? That seems to be a popular powder for alot of calibers with cast! Any others I should look into?

I know, answer 1 question, and I think of 5 more! I don't want to be like the fly: [smilie=f: but I can't help it! :)

Thanks again!

04-13-2005, 12:20 AM
.............Questions from a new or seasoned boolit caster is what keeps us ALL thinking. Sometimes even new things result, and other posters can benefit from the "Why didn't I think of that"?


04-13-2005, 01:53 AM
I "drew" the boolit on the Mountain Molds site software, which allows you to design your own boolit. If a computer-illiterate codger like me can do it successfully, someone with real computer knowledge can pick it up easily. www.mountainmolds.com

"Taracorp" is an alloy name given to a mixture of 92% lead, 6% antimony, and 2% tin. This is not a "wonder alloy", it's just a mixture of 50/50 Linotype and pure lead--Lino is usually 84/12/4. Taracorp BHn runs about 14 or so, and it's a good general purpose alloy for rifle and pistol boolits.

18.0 grains of 2400 is running about 1650 FPS in my rifle. Elsewhere on the board is a discussion of "16.0 x 2400" and the utility of this power/weight in a host of military rifle cartridges. 2400 powder seems to be a lot less position-sensitive than other powders often used in cast boolit rifle applications, although I have noted improvement in group sizes and slight velocity enhancements (an increase, and shrinkage of variance) when dacron filler is employed.

NW Redneck
04-15-2005, 11:26 PM
Well, since Buckshot is eggin' me on... :wink:

The problem is not the ability to use the software, but how do you design something when you don't know what you need? It's not like just putting tail fins on a car just 'cause they look cool! Reminds me of the story about the 2 blind men at either end of an elephant trying to decide what it is! [smilie=l: I don't have enough experience or knowlege in cb's to design my own at this point (maybe after another 10-20 yrs when I finally reach 'Novice' caster! :) )

I understand the mechanics of casting and loading bullets, but I'm still at the stage where I do A-B-C 'cause that's what the book says to do. I'm slowly coming to understand the differences in alloys, hardness, etc. thanks especially to Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook and the excellent articles on metallurgy. Some of the science is still over my head, but I'm reaching! :grin:

So far I'm thinking that a bhn of 12-15 should work with the velocitys of the 2400 loads (16-1700fps?) and one of the 'standard' lubes. OK so far?

Will I need a harder alloy to reach 1800-2000fps for a hunting load? Will I need to use a different lube? I've been thinking of making a batch of the Felix lube. Will that work for one or both? Thanks for puttin' up with another newbie!


04-16-2005, 06:57 AM
Welcome NWRD- It appears you are a bit put off by trying to design a bullet, and rightly so. Thers some $$ involved and as you very wisely stated, you don't know what you want yet. Probably the easiet place to start for your 303 would be the Lee recommended 303 bullet. For less than $20.00 ,I believe, you can at least try casting and shooting your own. Lyman has a stock mould in 314 as does Saeco/Redding and pretty much every other mould making concern. The 2 grove barrel presents both a positive and negative aspect. The 2 groove is reputed to handle nose riding bullets, ie- most Lyman and Saeco designs, very well. The downside is that it's reputed to deform bullets somewhat more than multi groove rifling, ie- it "squishes" the bullet oblong so the claims go, and 2 grooves have a rep of being a bit rougher in interior finish. You'll note I stress the "reputed" part, not just because I enjoy finally having the chance to use the word "reputed" in a sentence, but because like so very many things in the cast bullet world what we've been told for decades ain't necessarily so. I see a bit of this some of your questions concerning bullet hardness. You heard you need a "hard" bullet for hunting. Nope. Wrong. 95% chance plain old wheel weights just as they come off the car will satisfy your alloy needs both for hunting and target shooting. You may have to add a shot of tin or a jigger of antimony to fine tune things but chances are good you'll be quite happy with WW. If you have a freak rifle you may need a hard bullet and then you carry yourself down to the gun shop and pick up a bag of magnum shot (Taracorp makes shotgun shot) whatever size is cheapest and either add some to the pot or try casting with straight magnum shot. Trust me, it'll make a hard bullet. Still pretty simple though. Hit a few yard sales and you may find some there too. You'll find you spend mnore time juggling loads and sizing diameters and playing with seating depths than you will with exotic alloys and ultra hard stuff. You may find yourself haunting Ebay looking for those elusive older Lyman moulds that we all seek. The mythical magic boolit. Give it a try with the Lee first or see if Mountain Moulds has a stock design if you want to seand a little more but get a very much nicer mould. Don't over look Saeco and RCBS if they have a 314 design. Most of all, have fun.

04-16-2005, 07:40 AM
..............First comes slugging the barrel. Once you have that data you're set. You will know what you can and cannot live with. Does your rifle have that rather odd (to me) 2 groove rifling with the narrow grooves? Had a shooting buddy offer me a rather nice US Property marked Savage and when I looked down the barrel and saw those 2 skinny grooves I thought there'd been a mistake made somewhere!

Like Tpr Brett says, if you design your own I'd go with a good bore riding design. Check out the Saeco designs for ideas. If the grooves do come in at a solid .314" or larger, you're going to want a .315" slug. No guarantees you'll find that in any of the commonly available 314*** designs.


04-16-2005, 10:09 AM
NW Redneck, Besides slugging the bore, one of your first moves should be trying samples of various boolits. Let me be the first volunteer. I can send you a sample lot of boolits from my Lyman 314299 mould, as cast, .314", or sized .314", gas checked, and lubed with Javelina NRA formula Alox. This boolit is well-known for accuracy in many .303s, and Javelina is a proven lube for most purposes. I got away with sending a sectioned .303 case across the border to Steve Redgewell of "The .303 Page" by listing it as "brass tubing." If you can use a sample of "lead wire," E-mail or PM me.

NW Redneck
04-16-2005, 03:51 PM
Bret- Thanks for the 2-groove tips and confirming my reluctance to try designing my own bullet at this stage. I am more intrested in getting experience (and having fun along the way!) with existing designs and keeping costs down to start with. As to your comments on hardness, let me expand a little on my prior questions. It's not that I heard that you need a hard alloy for hunting, in fact I learned from the Lyman CBH that too hard an alloy will either give no expansion or possibly shatter on hitting large bones. My question was more on the correlation of hardness and velocity. From what I have read, as velocity increases, you need a harder alloy to reduce leading. Most of the info I have come accross seems to reccomend 1800-2000 fps as optimum for .30 cal cb's (for hunting loads). This should be good for ranges of 100-150yds? The larger the caliber, the softer the alloy and slower velocitys are required to do the same job. Am I correct in this line of thinking? It seems that for good on-game performance I should use the softest alloy possible for that desired velocity. If I do need to go harder, would it be better to use a harder alloy (such as linotype) or use a hardening method (water quenching) on the original alloy?

Buckshot- I plan on slugging the barrel in the next few days. I have some fishing weights that are about .316-.320. Will these work OK for that?
Also, what makes a bullet a 'bore riding' design? Are these pointed or flat-nosed? What about the 'loverin' (sp?) styles I've heard mentioned? Same thing? I'm still trying to figger out the correct terms for the different designs. The wheels grind slow, but at least they turn! :grin:

NVCurmudgeon- Thank you for the generous offer! I know a couple of guys in town that may have suitable moulds, so let me see what they have first before you go to the expense of shipping cross-border.

I have to say again that this site and it's members are absolutely incredible in their willingness to help out others. Even newbs like me! :grin:

04-16-2005, 09:53 PM
On the .243, I am looking at a target I shot last week or so, using the Lyman# 245496, cast of ww's with 2% Tin and gas checked, comes out 91gr with gc and lube.
14gr IMR4227, 1500fps, 3 shots at 50 yds , .3"
16gr IMR 4227, 1680fps, 3 shots at 50 yds, .5"
24gr IMR 4198, 2300fps, 3 shots at 50 yds, .6"
26gr IMR 4198, 2550fps, all 3 shots missed the paper.
I intend to try again with water dropped bullets and heat treated bullets and see what happens above 2300fps.
All bullets were lubed with Lee liquid alox.

04-17-2005, 07:40 AM
.........NW, " I plan on slugging the barrel in the next few days. I have some fishing weights that are about .316-.320. Will these work OK for that?

............Sure! All you need is a 'slug'. If the weight is long you can take a side cutter to nip the tapered ends off. If too small in OD put lengthwise between the jaws of some pliers and squeez'em fatter. They sure don't need to be pretty, just fat enough! Be sure to run an oiled patch down the barrel first.

Also, what makes a bullet a 'bore riding' design? Are these pointed or flat-nosed? What about the 'loverin' (sp?) styles I've heard mentioned? Same thing?

............These are a "Bore rider" type:

On the seated slug you can see how the lands (BORE) have marked the nose of the boolit? It rides on top of the lands. This is the Lyman 311284 BTW. It's a good balance of nose and drive band surface. A fine old slug designed in 1905. Some have up to 75% or more of their length as bore riding noses.

............These are both a "Loverin" type:


One on the left is a .336" diameter and the ones on the right are 30's. A Lyman 311407 to be exact (picture has their GC's cut off). I consider any slug having a series of drive bands and lube grooves making up the bullet's major OD for the majority of it's length to be Loverin types. Designed by Saint Guy Loverin.

Either design has pro's and con's. Major positive for the BR is that it can be seated out and well engraved (see top left photo). Major negative is that if the nose doesn't ride, chances of good accuracy are slim.

Major positive for the Lovering is that it has pleanty of bearing surface to fully engrave the lands (Bore). Major negative is that it may have to be seated deeper into the case.


NW Redneck
04-17-2005, 03:10 PM
drinks- That looks like the mould I have! Mine says Ideal 245 496. On the bottom right of each half is the number 399. What does this mean? THanks for the load data! I think I'm gonna have to pick up a pound of 4227 to try! .3-.5" @ 50 sounds pretty darn good! These are just for paper punching, so I don't think I need too much velocity. Have you tried these loads at longer ranges? Our range goes to 200 so that's the max I'd be shooting them at. What rifle are you using? Barrell length/twist? Actally now I think about it, these might be perfect for a grouse/rabbit load for while I'm out deer hunting! Hmmmmm.... :grin:

Buckshot- You da man! Those pics were perfect for showing the differences in styles! The cb's I loaded years ago for a .30-06 were of the loverin style (bottom pics). They worked fine for the plinking loads we made at the time. In the top pic, middle cartrige, are the rifling marks just from loading the round into the chamber or did you use a fired bullet just for demo purposes? Are those .308's? Will I be able to seat a bore rider deep enough to cycle through the mag and still engrave, or are they a single shot proposition? Just wondering for hunting purposes. How about pointed vs. flat nose on game? I've been reading that a big meplat (right word?)/flat nose is better as the pointed designs may just 'poke though' like an arrow, especially if the alloy is too hard?

Thanks again for the excellent info guys! Reading books is teaching me lots, but there is no substitute for talking to people with actual experience!

May all your Blues be Labatts and may all your Buds be Weiser!


04-17-2005, 07:57 PM

I did a bit of shooting--and teaching--today with the 243. The rifle did its usual fine work, and gave a ten-year-old boy his first centerfire rifle experience. He did right well with the old 788, all the shots hitting paper at 50 yards. As the shooting continued, he started cutting some decent groups at that distance--1.5" to 2" five-shotters from the bags. The early problem was getting his eye centered in the scope reticle--once that was learned things tightened up and continued improving. He went through 50 rounds of ammo in a couple hours, and the grin on his face at the end of the session was a thing to behold. He DID NOT want to leave the club--he had a birthday party he committed to attending, and his Dad insisted that he honor his commitments. All the way home--"We gotta do this again"--"When can we go again?" "That 243 was cool!" A great day, made possible and a lot more enjoyable for a youngster thanks to cast boolits.

04-17-2005, 11:03 PM
.........NWredneck, that boolit was chambered and extracted, not fired. Long ago I found out that tumble lubeing BR's before lube-sizng sure made chambering easier. I like the lands to not just touch, but to lighty engrave the surface. Sometimes extracting such a loaded round left the slug stuck in the barrel:roll: If you held your mouth right you could stick the case back in and close the action on it and remove it through the muzzle. Otherwise it was tap it back out with a rod.

The negative to this practice is that the tumble lubed boolits have to be stored in a closed container to avoid abrasive crud, and that there will be TL on the base. It's easily wiped off, but it IS there and something else to do.


04-18-2005, 12:46 AM

" That looks like the mould I have! Mine says Ideal 245 496. On the bottom right of each half is the number 399. What does this mean? "

Those numbers are a "match number" to keep the two halves of the mould together through machining, finishing and packaging.


Bass Ackward
04-18-2005, 07:08 AM
My question was more on the correlation of hardness and velocity. From what I have read, as velocity increases, you need a harder alloy to reduce leading. Most of the info I have come accross seems to reccomend 1800-2000 fps as optimum for .30 cal cb's (for hunting loads). This should be good for ranges of 100-150yds? The larger the caliber, the softer the alloy and slower velocitys are required to do the same job. Am I correct in this line of thinking?

It seems that for good on-game performance I should use the softest alloy possible for that desired velocity. If I do need to go harder, would it be better to use a harder alloy (such as linotype) or use a hardening method (water quenching) on the original alloy?


Velocity seldom is a problem. Metal hardness is required because of pressure. Not velocity. I can get 14 BHN to 2700 fps if my bullet weight doesn't go over 160 grains and I use RL19. The pressure peaks out at @ 34,000. Or you can go with 4895 that produces 34,000 psi and only go 2100 fps. Or you can go with 2400 and get 1700 fps. Or you can go with unique and get 1300 fps before leading starts. Catch the pattern?

If you need to go harder for mix, it is always preferable to heat treat. The problem is in getting control to stop where you want. If you add 50% pure lead to WW and then water drop it, you get about 16 BHN new and about 14 after 1 year. It helps if you add tin to maintain bullet weight because it make the bullet more ductile.

The trouble with recommending a certain hardness for game is which game? What range? For what angle shots? And the questions can go on and on and on. Get some milk jugs and wet newsprint placing enough in front that about covers the amount of soft tissue to possible bone contact. 5 or 6 jugs should stop your slug so you can see whats happening. Once you catch on to this process, no further questions will be necessary and you will shorten that maximum distance down to around 100 yards from my experience. If you need more to stop your bullet than that, you are way too hard for deer, but you can use more wet news print behind the 6th jug so you can see.

Happy experimenting.

NW Redneck
04-19-2005, 11:05 PM
Bass- Thanks for the insight on pressure/hardness relationships. Most of what I have read seem to suggest that it is velocity that determines hardness requirements. I guess it is just an indirect relation. Not so much the speed, but the size/duration of the 'kick in the pants' to get it there.

I love this hobby. Always so much more to learn. And with places like this, I'm gonna be learnin' for a loooooong time!

04-24-2005, 03:39 AM
Redneck, didn't know Canada had rednecks, or that the govt would allow such language! I'm a proud RN myself.
243 W with the Lyman 90, is that the loverin design? If so, check to see if it fits the chamber without the gascheck crowding the shoulder(not good). Size(full length of the bullet) and seat the GC to .001 over groove and measure the groove with a bumped bullet or chamber cast. Then heat treat the alloy(WW+Pb)at 450F for 45 min and quickly quench, age for 1-3 days, then lube it, 2 grooves is usually enough. The hard bullet will shoot much better in the smaller bores, target or hunting, and foul less. Work up a load of 4350, 4831, AA3100 until you find a decent hi-vel load. For hunting, anneal the nose after aging the HT alloy by heating the nose with a torch, propane or alcohol flame, for a few seconds, the base of bullet in water(I use a metal bottle cap, 1 bullet at a time). This gives a soft nose with hard base, a CB "partition." For target or plinking loads, start with 5 gr of BE, AA#2, or similar powder until you get the results you want.
The #4 LE LB has a .316+ groove, 2 groove. Check it to be sure. There are no standard moulds to fit it, but the 314299 is about .313 as cast and it will shoot without much trouble. I shot mine with COW filler with 18-20 gr of medium rifle powders(AA2230-S to 4895-S)for 1400-1500 MV with better accuracy. I had a custom mould made for .318" bullets and had a .318 size/lube die made at same time. Lee made a .316" bullet(maybe)?