View Full Version : Preaching to the Choir

08-04-2006, 03:13 AM
I can't help thinking of the opening scene of the movie "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" that has Clint Eastwood delivering a sermon in a small rural church when George Kennedy kicks open the door and starts shooting at him.......I know I'm going to get shot at, but there's a convenient window to make my escape and a fast Firebird waiting to get me out of harm's way. Sooooo.........

A couple of days ago, I started a thread titled "Guiding the Unenlightened" in an attempt to answer a question I read on another forum. To my consternation, the thread didn't really answer the guy's question, it just opened the door for a discussion of the merits of cast bullets, a discussion that is repeated here on a regular basis.

One thing that quickly became obvious is, there are many different levels of dedication to the cast bullet. Because of your membership on this elite forum, it is evident that your interest in the subject is far ahead of the individual who posed the original question.

I intend to post a link to that thread on the IPSC list so the "Unenlightened" can find some "Guidance" to make their decisions concerning lead bullets and maybe get some more people interested in the finer points of casting your own.

However, there were some issues I'd like to address that I don't think are appropriate to that thread, so, here we go.......

First, I know that Dan at the Bull Shop doesn't agree with what I have to say about commercial casters. But Dan, please understand that the service you provide has very little resembalence to the service that I provide. I offer the option of one or two thou. different than my standard sizing dia. on special order; whereas you offer exactly what the customer wants, no matter what, right from the start.
If you don't find what you want on my list, you're welcome to go somewhere else to find it. Dan will make whatever you want. The difference is in the price. The bottom line is, what is it worth to you? Vive la difference!!!!!!

I'd like to have a dollar for every time I've seen the phrase "when I dug the bullet out of the berm, the lube was still on it."........Where would you like for it to be? If the bullet fits right, there's not enough room in the barrel for all that lube, so if its not on the bullet, it came off after it left the barrel! So what did that do for the bullet's ballance?
I've tried lots of different lubes, some were OK, some sucked! (for different reasons) As a commercial caster, my needs may be vastly different than yours, but, if a lube will perform satisfactorally from 600 fps. to 2200 fps., what else do you need?
Well, my preferred lube, Dave Thompson's Blue Angel, may have some temperature related issues which first became evident on my first attempt at a cast boolit deer harvest.......no blood, no hair, no venison!!!! Went to the range and the first shot from a cold barrel was 16in. high. That might explain the miss! The third shot was back at POA. So I reasoned, if you want cold weather lube, go to the guy in Alaska! Bull Shop Dan!!!!!
My point is, every problem has a different solution. I'm still testing the lube, I haven't used Dan's lube above 95* and I still need to test Dave's lube at low temps.
Why don't I just use Dan's Speed Green for everything? Cause I buy Blue Angel 25lbs. at a time. I bought two lbs. of Speed Green to test and it was waaaaaay more expensive. AND...lots of my customers buy bullets 5-10K at a time, so they want to simplify their reloading. A soft, sticky lube gets on everything, boolits, fingers, cases, dies, everything. Its a PITA to clean up and if there's a better alternative, use it. If my tests confirm my theories, I'll use Speed Green for my hunting loads and Dave's Blue Angel for everything else. Different strokes for different......uh.......things?

So, what do you say to these guys that ask about lead vs. "that other stuff"? Can I refer them to BobS? Seems like he does very well shooting lead against those HEATHENS! Or BruceB? His results with his M1A rival anything I've seen with those j-word things. Or 44Man? I'd like to shoot groups like that with a rifle! YOU DA MAN!!
And Deputy Al, StarMetal Joe, Wayne The Shrink, Broomhandle, all you guys that work with that wierd $#!+, you're keeping the classics alive. When all the surplus ammo is gone, you guys will still be enjoying your VINTAGE toys.

Point is.......well, I don't know for sure what my point is.:confused: Too many opinions to reach a consensus, too much info to give the FNG without going into sensory overload, So, whatcha gonna do? The guy I coppied in the original thread, PVRAONE, gives lessons to IPSC wannabees at the rate of forty bucks an hour. So...how do I compete with that? There's so much misinformation out there, that we'll never catch up.

One last rant... I was at a gun show in Indianoplace a few years ago, guy stops at the table and starts into a rant about how lead bullets ruined his Colt Gold Cup cause they were so hard, stripped the rifleing right out of the barrel. I took a look and, sure enough, it looked like a .44 cal smooth bore. Lead filled up the rifleing from the chamber to the muzzle!


Bass Ackward
08-04-2006, 08:37 AM

I try to look at things in a practical manner and hate generalizing which sometimes can't be helped. For hundreds of years we shot nothing but lead. Many books have been written on the subject. Therfore, if there was any shooting subject that we should have a handle on .... it's cast. And still problems and disinformation exists. Why? Because there are so many levels of success .... and failure.

I have generalized to three shooters:

One shooter that is very competent tries cast and leads and says jacketed is the only way to go. What that means that it is the only way for him. He will voice his opinion and try to make it yours. He is not interested in compromise or learning. This guy is definately a shooter, he can be a competitor, but maybe not too.

The next guy is a shooter that locks on to hard bullets because they are the simplist way to have success. He is focused on simple results. This can be a rifle or handgun. For him, he is glad to have one general path to success so he can get shooting. He could care less about options. This guy can be .... a competitor because his interest is still basically in a cheap way of shooting so he can shoot more. But the key word here is cheap.

Then you get down to the experimental shooter or caster that finds ways to make more options work. He spends his time and focus on experimentation more than shooting. Often when success is found for that guy, he loses interest and moves on to something else that ISN'T working quite so well. The challange for him is the word "can't" or the group that is a little too large. This guy is cheap and may fool himself that he is saving money, but he isn't. This guy would never be a good competitor because of the dedication required to compete with himself, the gun or cast in general.

Often these three guys don't get along which is the beauty of this forum. Often one person can be all three guys. If I was a bench rest shooter I would be number one. But for a seldom used handgun, I might fall into catagory two and buy some bullets. But I know that I am stuck in group three for most of my shooting.

The first guy is never going to be interested in cast. The second guy can be sold on competing with cast only if success is guaranteed under a wide range of conditions that don't take too much time from his schedule. He expects to load but without hastles. He expects to clean, but if it takes much more time because of leading, forget it. The third guy is a masocist and doomed. He may attempt to compete informally, but in truth the game for him is with himself. He often realizes his disease and tries to divert his interest into other areas like machining stuff for casting. Better guns, molds, sizers. This guy it terminal.

Your market is basically the second guy. Out of them, how many compete? Often, he is basically cheap and will want to do things himself which hurts your market. That's your real dilema.

08-04-2006, 10:18 AM
One last rant... I was at a gun show in Indianoplace a few years ago, guy stops at the table and starts into a rant about how lead bullets ruined his Colt Gold Cup cause they were so hard, stripped the rifleing right out of the barrel. I took a look and, sure enough, it looked like a .44 cal smooth bore. Lead filled up the rifleing from the chamber to the muzzle!


If you were a really "nice" guy, you would have purchased his useless gun from him for $50 and sent him on his way (quite happy for selling his "smooth-bore") to some rube. . . :roll:

I'm very new to casting and find it extremely helpful to read the comments of those who've been doing it for a long time. Thanks to all for sharing their insights.

08-04-2006, 01:05 PM
I'm here to be enlighted!!
I can honestly say that I will be into cast 100% in a year or two with my 30-30 and a 44 mag I will be getting.
Cast is great, I'm hooked.:Fire:

08-04-2006, 01:21 PM
I guess I am a #2 . I don't cast, but I shoot nothing but cast. I reload my own and the cast I shoot gets the job done for me at half the price of factory bullets. I would like to cast but bad lungs keeps me from it. If I lived in a cooler climate I would sure give it a try. All I can say is keep casting and enjoy it.

45 2.1
08-04-2006, 01:36 PM
John hasn't listed all the options yet, I guess he will eventually discover the others.

Larry Gibson
08-04-2006, 03:54 PM

I think you answered your own question; "it's what's in the box" or something to that effect. My discussions with numerous commercial casters is they use the hard wax lubes (like you) because it stays on the bullets during transport and other contitions. The hard wax lubes aren't the best lubes in the barrel but they are in the box. Well, I guess that's ok for a lot of shooters. Many who except "some leading". That's ok for them. Same reason for the use of BB bullets from several commercial casters is the BB bullet falls from the mould better and causes less production stoppages. I guess that's ok too. However I dislike the propaganda that commercial bullets don't lead and the BB is for "easier and more accurate in seating and just as accurate" as flat based bullets. Both are not correct and in many cases blatent falsehoods.

With regards to lube;
It does make a difference if the lube sticks to the bullet. I too have recovered numerous commercial bullets with lube still in the groove. Most only had some of the lube. If part of the hard wax lube flew off when the bullet left the barrel then you have an unbalanced bullet and an inaccurate one. If all the lube spins off the bullet on barrel excit the bullet remains balanced (same as with sabots coming off).

I've yet to find a hard wax lube on commercial cast bullets that gives no leading at velocities of 600-2200 fps. As you mention the hard wax lubes cause serious point of impact changes from cold or clean barrels.

One commercial caster (Liberty Bullets - unfortuneatly retired) would provide cast bullets unsized and unlubed. That was quite nice as I could size to my desires and lube with Javelina. I did shoot those bullets (of various designs and caliber) from 500 fps up through 2200 fps without any leading or point of impact changes. It is the same with my own cast bullets.

Again I will state I have ran numerous tests with flat based cast bullets agains the same design bullet but with a BB out of revolvers and semi-autos and even some rifles. In every single instance the flat based bullet was the more accurate given the same load out of the same gun. Given a proper lube (Havelina not the hard wax types) there was no leading with either type bullet. This test was inclusive of some of my own cast bullets and also commercial cast bullets of several makers.

Commercial cast bullets, for the most part, are cast hard, have hard wax lubes that will lead to one degree or another, come in standard sizes and weights and will provide a generic level of accuracy with a proper load. That is ok with me. However, users of commercial cast bullets should understand that. Unfortuneately they do not. Many think that what ever level of accuracy and leading they put up with is "normal" for cast bullets. It is not.

Somehow I have lost sight of the point here the same as you so I shall back on out.

Larry Gibson

08-04-2006, 07:33 PM
I am in lockstep with Larry Gibson's take on the issues you raise, Caster. No slam intended, but to REALLY maximize accuracy with cast boolits the projectiles need to be tailored to the platform being used, and there is something of a disconnect between what is ideal for accuracy and what is necessary for commercial purposes.

I applaud your desire to close the gap within that disconnect, but a lot of the fault for cast boolits falling short accuracy-wise has to do with the platforms being fired and the operators of those platforms not being willing to put in the hours to maximize performance. Plain fact--cast boolits are not as forgiving and obliging as j-words, but customers want j-word ease and cast boolit economy. Presently, that is not readily obtainable without doing the homework.

Bass Ackward
08-05-2006, 06:50 AM
Plain fact--cast boolits are not as forgiving and obliging as j-words, but customers want j-word ease and cast boolit economy. Presently, that is not readily obtainable without doing the homework.


That says it all.

08-05-2006, 11:11 AM
.................Lottsa times commercial (vice 'Custom Commercial) does work and work well. A couple of the Burrito shooters use commercial cast, the lazy bums :-) I have shot both their rifles they favor them in and they do very well indeed. One guy uses Leadheads and I disrecall the other. One guy and his wife are avid cowboy action shooters and they shoot a TON of commercial lead. Quite literally.

On the other hand sometimes commercial cast can present issues for the user. Sometimes if perchased directly from the source, but it seems more often if they're from a middleman or retailer. The cowboy guy had a good load he liked and the caster he was buying from discontinued that boolit design because he said he didn't sell enough.

He'd also been buying 45 cal 405 gr slugs from Dillon with naturally a pretty blue lube in 3 grease grooves. One time his order came and the 405's only had one lube groove and it was filled with (I guess) the same lube as it was blue. I got the balance of the box to melt down as I was told they shot bad and leaded even worse.

The point is that if you buy and shoot only commercial cast, you're at the mercy of the guy supplying the boolits as to what you get, so far as design, size, lube and alloy. Sometimes it works and sometimes it don't. With those limitations in place you have to work within them if you can.


tom barthel
08-05-2006, 12:24 PM
I make all my own mistakes. I'm hard headed and don't allways follow instructions. When I screw up, I alone am to blame. It seems the more I learn, the more I don't know. People on this forum seem to know what they are talking about. I do TRY to think before I act. As for advice, I am amazed by how much I don't know. I appreciate ALL tips from those who have been there and done that. I'm sure I will make a lot more mistakes and bad decisions before my time is up. I DO think you for all the good advice you have freely given to this novice directly and indirectly.