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Thread: AR-15 500 Round Cast Bullet Test

  1. #161
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Peoples Republic of Kalifornia
    Interesting read. Thanks.
    NRA Patron Member; SCI Life Member; RMEF Life Member; NSRPA Life Member; NAHHC Life Member; HHI Member; Cast Bullet Association Member

  2. #162
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Holland europa
    The voodoo i use for GC....Is my wife! and she does a great job. She does also the lubing/sizing for all the boolits, resizing and primer the cases, I do casting, the powder and the seating, we shoot both.

    First run for the GC: She put in the GC in the lube/sizer and then the boolit on top of it, when she did a couple of 100("dry sizing"), then they go back in for a second run in the lube/sizer, this time with the heating plate and pressure on the lube.
    With this trick, (we found this trick somewhere on this site), some problems where "melting like snow in front of the sun".
    Sinds then, we had no more GC that where lose and/or had lube under the GC.

    So with the AR i do the "prone" shooting with a fixed site, with the Parkerhale I "sit" (not on a chair), how is this called?, I use a jacket with a belt and glove.
    And yes some times I use a bench.

    My groups are indeed 3,5 to 4 inch, 8 cm to 10 cm, but i still have to shoot some more boolits with differend loads, to fine tune. Yesterday it was 65F/20C colder then it was normal, so this test was not good for summer boolits, temperature has indeed a big affect on the boolit behavior, it really matters.
    They told me several years ago and i thought it was a "wax nose", but no....its dead serious!
    In my "resulting tables" i am going to add temperature.
    The smallest group i had yesterday was 2 by 2,5 inch with 15,5 D060

    Back to GC...You really need GC above speeds of 1500 fps, to controle obturation of the boolits base.
    With gasport systems you can not get lower speeds, or the gun will not function properly.

    With bold action rifles you can get as low as you can with out GC.
    If your alloy is really hard 30-35bhn you can shoot without GC, full jacket loads.
    For normal use, normal bhn(18 in this case) needs GC. No matter what brand mold you have.

    GC type from what i understand, they are coming from the same factory now.
    In general I dont think (I think this) it matters withs type of check you are using, commercial or homemade.
    At least in my Parkerhale1200 i did not notice any difference between commercial checks and my own home made, not even copper or aluminium.

    I wish i could obtain one in 223.

  3. #163
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Holland europa
    I hope this is of some help, I think my translations are correct, feel free to correct me where i am wrong.

    I would like to have the file in this post, but I failed to figure out how.

    Dia best 8
    Powder residue
    Gun powder
    Amount powder
    Bullet type
    Bullet weight
    Number loaded
    Brand and length case
    Sized at

    I think that those subjects are important to keep on track for those kind of things, for load developments.

  4. #164
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    This is a great thread. The OP did a great job on getting real data. I am glad to see others continuing the discussion with their load development. To that regard, I am planning on working up some loads for my 5.56 NATO (AR-15 style) and 223 Rem (AK style). I have CFE223 and BL-C(2) powders. I can get other powders locally, those are what I use for jacketed bullets and have on hand. I have the 55 grain 6 cavity Lee mold for cast bullets. I will be using Smoke's Bacon Grease for powder coating. Looking at Bama's post for the 308 load, I will first apply a gas check, then powder coat followed by sizing.

    Does anyone have any suggested starting loads for cast bullets with one of those powders? Or should I use a different powder altogether?

  5. #165
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by Arson View Post
    Does anyone have any suggested starting loads for cast bullets with one of those powders? Or should I use a different powder altogether?
    I am working along some of the same lines as you are. Somewhere along my research I found someone's load for CFE223 which is 19.6 grains. I plan to start my load development there.

    I was supposed to do my initial firing today but things didn't work out. As soon as I get my initial testing done I plan to publish a report here.



  6. #166
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Great write up! I use lyman 225415 gc bullet over 20 gr h335. gun functions great, no leading. chronoed this load in 26 in barrel at 2772 fps. getting 2.5 in groups with both rem 700 and ar 15. water filled milk jugs explode at 100 yds like they were hit with jacketed loads.

  7. #167
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Goodhue County, Minnesota
    Good read! Thanks to all who contributed good info!

    And I am still wondering why no AR15 sub forum... Unless it is hidden somewhere. I did not see it..
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "A man ought ta do what he thinks is best" - "Hondo" Lane.(John Wayne)

    "If ya don't like my gate, ya don't have to swing on the hinges..." - L. Ackerman ( RIP)

  8. #168
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Project report: Cast slug in 5.56/.223 AR rifle.

    Goal: Realize reduction of costs, (estimated to be about 36%, from $.2930 each to $.1882 each) while maintaining full function of rifles and adequate accuracy.

    Goal Modifiers:

    1. Be reasonably as accurate as factory and other handloads with little or no change in point of aim (No sight adjustments needed).

    2. Require little or no adjustment of Dillon 550B head to change from cast to jacketed slugs.

    {My apologies to my metric friends for my lack of conversions. I am certain that your conversions from English to Metric will be much more accurate than mine. If you are ever in Kansas, I will buy you a beer.}

    The slugs:

    Mold: Lee #: 90459, 6-Cavity Bullet Mold C225-55-RF 22 Caliber (225 Diameter) 55 Grain Flat Nose Gas Check.

    Gas Checks: Hornady #: 7010 Hornady Gas Checks 22 Caliber Box of 1000

    Sizer: Lee #: 90036 Bullet Lube and Sizing Die Kit .225

    Metal: straight linotype. I have to say that using clean ‘virgin’ metal to cast with was an unexpected delight. (I usually us reclaimed wheel weights.)

    It was strange casting slugs that were smaller than the sprue. Lee’s aluminum molds worked well. Per my usual procedure I run my pot on the hot side and dropped them from the mold approximately 12”-16” into a bucket of water.

    I had to put on my Optivisor to see to start the gas checks onto the heels. I then put them through the sizer to set them.

    I know I said that I wasn’t interested in powder coating, but that changed. I got set up to powder coat using shake-n-bake Harbor Freight powder and did my learning curve on some 158g semi wadcutters at .358.

    Once I had seated the gas checks I did a visual sort to cull out the less than perfect from the much less than perfect and used red for my ‘good’ and white for my ‘plinkers’. I then went ahead and tumble lubed them with Lee #: 90177 Lee Liquid Alox Bullet Lube. It isn’t expensive or time consuming and the extra lube can’t hurt, (right?).

    With this process I ended up with an average weight of 54.5 grains each plus or minus about .3 grains. That is a wide spread for the match grade projectiles I usually weight so I don’t know if that is good or not for cast.


    I had about 400-500 fired cases. I deprimed them and put them in a tumbler with walnut hulls for several days. I then sized and trimmed them on a C-Press with a Dillon Rapid trimmer. If you reload for semi autos in quantity these are well worth the investment. I trim all my rifles to exact book length, (in this case 1.760”) and trim after each firing. This maintains consistency from lot to lot and also keeps me from having to adjust my Lee Factory Crimp, which I intend to put on every rifle I have set up on the Dillon.

    I sorted cases by head stamp and ended up with 126 pieces of Lake City brass. I have more Federal, but in my experience Lake City is heavy/thick. If it is a safe load in LC, it is safe in other brass. Once we have a working load we will double check it with the FC.

    Reloading machine: Dillon 550B

    Since I size in the trimmer, I placed the Lee #: 90798 Universal Neck Expanding Die in station #1 of the Dillon tool head and belled the case to accept the cast slug. I am lucky that the belled case will still fit into the powder die in station #2. Station #3 is an RCBS #: 11138 .223 REM Seater Die. Station #4 is my trusty Lee #: 90817 Factory Crimp Die.

    Test Fire Day: 3/17/2018. Altitude of the range is 2011 feet above sea level.
    Beginning End
    Humidity 70% 51%
    Temperature 38 Degrees F 46 Degrees F
    Barometer 30.04 rising 30.02 dropping
    Visibility 10 miles 10 miles

    I planned on two test rifles, three bench mark loads and one test load.

    Rifle #1 = My own Stag Model -15, M-4 config, 5.56 1/9 twist w/ > 1K rounds, with a Center Point (Wally World?) 3-9x40. Has ~8" gas tube. Freshly cleaned and lubed. I fired 10 factory loads before testing to foul the system.

    Rifle #2 = My son’s new Del-Ton DTI-15 M-4 config, 5.56 1/9 twist w< 200 rounds. With a Tasco 3-9x40. Has ~ 8" gas tube. I did not clean and lube this personally which may have been a mistake.

    1st benchmark load = Factory Federal American Eagle Tactical AE223J 55 grain FMJ

    2nd benchmark load = Handload: LC Brass; 55g Hornady FMJBT, CCI 400 SR primer, 25.6 grains Varget.

    3rd benchmark load = My current standard handload: FC Brass; 68g Hornady BTHPM, WSR primer, 23.5 grain CFE223.

    TEST load: LC Brass; 54.5 Hard Cast Lee w/GC and PC. WSR primer, 19.6 grain CFE223.

    Test rifle #1’s results were encouraging. I fired 5 shots for speed and accuracy at 25 laser measured yards.

    1st benchmark averaged 2860 FPS, 1.125” group; 6 o’clock from Point of Aim (POA) and 2” low.

    2nd benchmark averaged 2857 FPS, .75” group; 6 o’clock from POA and 2” low.

    3rd benchmark averaged 2823 FPS, .75” group; 6 o’clock from POA and 1.5” low.

    TEST LOAD averaged 1874 FPS, 1.75” group; 6 o’clock from POA and 1” low to covering the POA.

    While expected the low velocity I didn’t expect the POA to be as close as it was.

    Test rifle #2’s results were dismal. To keep moving the chronograph to a minimum I fired my test shots in backward sequence to #1.

    5 shots of benchmark #2 went off without a hitch. However, when I went to fire the TEST LOADs I ran into trouble. The first shot fired fine, the second one only went ‘click’. When I went to rack the action it was stubborn, but the shell finally came out, no dent on primer. Loaded the next round in the magazine, ditto.

    I switched magazines and ran about 15 or so rounds of factory through Rifle #2 without a hiccup. Went back to the TEST LOADs, first one fired, and then we went back to ‘click’, sticky extraction, no primer dent.

    I put the three shells that didn’t fire through Rifle #1. One of them went click one time, but all eventually fired. I don’t know if there is a cleaning/lubrication issue, perhaps Rifle #2 has a slightly tighter chamber than #1 and my reloads are slightly oversized, Rifle #2 isn’t completely broken in yet or some combination of things but I quit testing Rifle #2.

    In fairness to me, all TEST LOADS were run through a Dillon head space /case length gage before I took them to the range.

    At this point I had 15 rounds of TEST LOADS. I put them in the magazine and fired them rapid fire from the bench @ at 12” gong 100 yards way. 12 of 15 rang the gong and I suspect that had I fired them slowly that might have been improved.

    So far the project appears to be successful. I haven’t run enough loads to evaluate cleanliness so that will be left for later tests. It will be at least 2 months because the range I use is closed for the duration of Turkey season.

    I do have some questions for the list:

    1. I am surprised that 55 grain loads at 1874 FPS are shooting the same point of aim as those at 2800 FPS. Is this normal or a fluke that I can’t count on?

    2. What should I look for when I move testing from 25 yards to 100 yards?

    3. Any comments on Rifle #2?



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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check