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Thread: Just a few tips for new rifle casters.

  1. #61
    Boolit Master
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    What is better is calling my wife and starting a conversation with "Everyone is OK" when I went to the range with her father.
    Scared the heck out of both of us. He now weighs every finished round loaded with less than a full case of powder. He has been reloading since the 50s and this happened 5 years ago or so. No telling how many 100s of thousands of round he loaded when this happened.

    Safety can never be taken for granted. Never.

  2. #62
    Boolit Man
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    This has been a GREAT post by the way.
    I have an issue with trust. Even with myself. I take the powder charger, dump it into the pan for my scale. Measure it, an if need be trickle some more or pull some out an trickle again. Then I funnel it into the case, place the boolit into the case an seat it with the press. Always an always when I'm working new loads or ones on the top end of the scale. I Never trusted a powder throw. Never used a loading block. Doesn't matter which powder charger, RCBS, Dillon or Redding. Doesn't matter which press I'm using, whither it's a Lee handy press, or a Wilson/Sinclar, or a Rock Crusher, or a 450 Dillon, or either one of the 550's.
    I think it all boils down to being German an Irish. The German thinks he knows what he's doing, but that Irishman doesn't trust him. Sad part is if I ever get to the point of not trusting my scales, I'm done for.

    Ghost101

  3. #63
    Boolit Master

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    I trust good tools. I have to. However, my use of those tools must be tightly controlled.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

    "He who is enslaved by the compass has freedom of the seas"

  4. #64
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    Speaking of scales, I almost pulled a dumazz move of the highest order by violating one of reloading's most basic safety guidelines: Never reload while "too" tired. I was loading way late one night for the next day, had been on a tight schedule, and set the scale 10 grains too high on 5-something-grain-load. Caught it with the light ("hmm, that don't look right"). Now I double-check my beam scale setting with a digital jobbie, just so my brain gets to confirm the weight numbers in a different visual format that uses a different cognitive area. I've been using beam scales for over 20 years and that one time my brain didn't fully connect. That one time is all it takes.

    Just like with firearm safety, reloading safety routines should incorporate multiple fail-safes when possible.

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  5. #65
    Boolit Man
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    That's why I bought the electric Dillon to check my RCBS balance beam. As for the powder chargers, I haven't found one that will throw a consent charge every time. The new Dillons don't perform as well as the old 450 ones did.
    Although, my practice ammo,which is the bulk of my reloading, is done on a progressive press. Checking the powder every 5 rounds. Some powders just measure better then others.
    I'm not an expert, nor will I ever be. The older I get, the more I relies I don't know. lol

    Ghost101

  6. #66
    Boolit Master



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    Thank you Goodsteel,I am glad you take time to explain these things.

  7. #67
    Boolit Master

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    great sticky i now shoot only cast from my rifles in many calibers thanks to all for the sage advice.

  8. #68
    Boolit Master helice's Avatar
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    Like R5R I too seat my boolit right after I dump my charge. I too had a man at the next table blow up a rifle, a Mosin of all things. It is a sobering thing to see a guy bleeding hand and face while his buddy is picking up gun parts. If they hadn't been so obnoxious we all might have felt sorry for them.

  9. #69
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by helice View Post
    Like R5R I too seat my boolit right after I dump my charge. I too had a man at the next table blow up a rifle, a Mosin of all things. It is a sobering thing to see a guy bleeding hand and face while his buddy is picking up gun parts. If they hadn't been so obnoxious we all might have felt sorry for them.
    Startling how often obnoxious people make stupid mistakes and get no sympathy. Not that they want your sympathy, but you still just shake your head and move on. They all end in the same gutter eventually, wallowing in the fruit of their own stupid decisions, and then they have to find fault with anyone they can (usually the guy trying to be nice and help) to take the focus off their own idiocy. They'll even lie in order to get the spotlight off of them, because in their heart, obnoxious people are cowards.

    I've dealt with a few such individuals, and I have decided to just keep my distance from such people. There's no way to help them.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

    "He who is enslaved by the compass has freedom of the seas"

  10. #70
    Boolit Master youngda9's Avatar
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    ^^ Wise ovservation goodsteel. Bravo!

  11. #71
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have been reloading rifle/pistol for 20+ years and casting some of my own boolits for maybe 10 years. I can't believe how much I didn't know! Thank-you Goodsteel.

  12. #72
    Boolit Mold 45-70Govt's Avatar
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    Seriously, after reading the OP halfway down, my eyes got blurry and my brain seized up. For me that is way way to much trouble. I've got some HC bullets here, some bought some done myself. I diddle with a few different powders and loads. If they shoots.........Good. if not.........NEXT.

    The only cal I would consider to hunt with are 44 and 45.
    In my end of the world we have one deer tag per person/season and I don't like the thought of messing up when I have jacketed stuff that works great. No offfense meant, my hat off to you if you can get what you hunt with Cast.

  13. #73
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 45-70Govt View Post
    Seriously, after reading the OP halfway down, my eyes got blurry and my brain seized up. For me that is way way to much trouble. I've got some HC bullets here, some bought some done myself. I diddle with a few different powders and loads. If they shoots.........Good. if not.........NEXT.

    The only cal I would consider to hunt with are 44 and 45.
    In my end of the world we have one deer tag per person/season and I don't like the thought of messing up when I have jacketed stuff that works great. No offfense meant, my hat off to you if you can get what you hunt with Cast.
    I held the same opinion for years my friend. Now I know better.

    I once knew a man who only ate fastfood. He said he just couldn't see wasting all that time in front of a stove cooking his own meals from scratch. He said "For me that is way way to much trouble".
    Then we had him over for dinner, and he watched Angie prepare the meal in a cast iron skillet and then we ate. Didn't seem like it was nearly such a waste of time when he got to try it, and it beat the heck out of box dinners that he had "cooked himself".
    Anyway, sorry, I don't know where that came from. Brain fart I guess.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

    "He who is enslaved by the compass has freedom of the seas"

  14. #74
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    Okay, stupid question time. Since I'm the designated stupid question guy, here goes. (And before you tell me there are no stupid questions, let me say this: anyone who believes that hasn't met my apprentice. That kid can't tell the difference between... well, never mind.)

    When you say "long range hole punching", how long do you mean?

    I'm a hand gun guy, not a rifle guy, but I'm thinking of getting a rifle. I'm only interested if I can cast for it, and my longest available range is 200 yards. Which is really, really long to me-- I train people to shoot at twenty one feet. I'm not sure I can see 200 yards.

    I was all settled on a .223, until I read this thread, and it sounds like .22 calibers are harder to cast for. Is that so, in your experience?

    Thank you, Tim!

  15. #75
    Boolit Master

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    Personally, I consider 200 yards and further "long range" for cast lead, but there are many who can shoot out to 600 yards and further with cast lead boolits. 200 is my personal limit, mainly because I live in Arkansas and 99% of deer are shot at less than 50 yards away. The guys in Montana and Wyoming and such have a completely different opinion.

    I wouldn't consider .223 a good choice for cast lead, because it's "happy place" is 3000fps +.
    In my mind, the go to cartridges for cast lead are those that operate happily in the 2000-2500fps range.
    Like:
    22 hornet
    7-30 watters
    30-30
    308
    338 federal
    35 remington
    358 Winchester
    375 H&H
    458 Win Mag
    You get the idea.
    Of course, anything less than this is just great, and easy to shoot cast in like 45-70, 30carbine, 357 Max etc etc.
    I see 223 and 300 Win Mag in the same class together. Sure you can shoot cast in them, but you have to hamstring them to do it, and you are forced to run powders that do not fill the case properly, so fillers need to be used etc etc. ie= not my cup of tea. Not when there are options that get you there without all the fancy footwork.

    Of course, I don't know nearly as much about all this as some others. I'm gradually broadening my experience, one caliber at a time. Do not take anyone's opinion as gospel, because there is much to be learned that is not common knowledge.

    I prefer to teach effective methods by which you can observe, measure and test your loads because that applies to any caliber and cartridge. You cant hit what you cant see, and my desire was to teach you a few tips to lift the fog.
    The method I have written about boils down to three things:
    1. Observe
    2. React to the observation in a controlled manner so that you can-
    3. Repeat.

    Unless you are extremely lucky, you will never get or repeat good results barring those three points.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

    "He who is enslaved by the compass has freedom of the seas"

  16. #76
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    I can't help but notice your A list doesn't include 30-06, either.

  17. #77
    Boolit Master

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    I'm on the fence with the '06.
    Not that it can't be very very useful as a cast lead cartridge, but it really wants to run at 2800fps. Ya gotta tie it's shoelaces together for cast, so it's not on my A list.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

    "He who is enslaved by the compass has freedom of the seas"

  18. #78
    Boolit Master UBER7MM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodsteel View Post
    I held the same opinion for years my friend. Now I know better.

    I once knew a man who only ate fastfood. He said he just couldn't see wasting all that time in front of a stove cooking his own meals from scratch. He said "For me that is way way to much trouble".
    Then we had him over for dinner, and he watched Angie prepare the meal in a cast iron skillet and then we ate. Didn't seem like it was nearly such a waste of time when he got to try it, and it beat the heck out of box dinners that he had "cooked himself".
    Anyway, sorry, I don't know where that came from. Brain fart I guess.
    Must be a factory vs. hand loads allegory. My sentiments exactly.
    Uber7mm

    Bambi: The great American hunting story as told through the eyes of the antagonist.

  19. #79
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodsteel View Post
    OK, here's the skinny on lead alloys as far as I am concerned:
    Pure lead will work at the lowest velocities with the gentlest, slowest burning powders. Black powder (which is actually an explosive) is much gentler on the boolits than smokless, so often, that is the place where you find pure lead being used.

    Unless you are paper patching, the alloy does not have enough strength to seal the bore from the gasses and there will be cutting which will cause leading. Also, your boolit will try to strip the riflings witch has pretty much the same effect, unless you have a gas check, but even with a gas check once you strip the riflings, you are pretty much SOL for accuracy.
    Here's a picture of a GC boolit that almost stripped all the riflings:
    Attachment 73769

    So, you obviously need a little more hardness (at least on the surface of the driving bands) in order to drive a boolit like this. That's where antimony comes in. Antimony is your hardener. If you drop your boolits from the mold into cold water, it actually hardens them. The thing you have to remember is that they get harder yet over the next 2-3 weeks.

    Now, again, look at the previous picture. You see how much is left of that boolit? This is what it started life as:
    Attachment 73770

    So, its obvious that the boolit also just didn't have any toughness to it. This is where tin enters into the picture. Tin also adds a small amount of hardness, but its main feature is toughness. It will allow the boolit to bend and twist, but it will hold together much better.

    When you mix tin and antimony together, they will play off eachothers strengths, and act like epoxy inside the boolit. Ie, the whole is greater than the sum of parts.

    However, It is very important for accuracy as well as hunting effectiveness, to match the alloy to the application. Having boolits that are too hard will cause gas cutting as well. That's why wine bottles are stopped up with cork instead of wood LOL!
    You want to play to the alloys strengths and not waste any valuable metal, so use as little antimony and Tin as you can get away with.

    I think that an ideal alloy is 50/50 COWW and pure lead, which gives a really rough approximate alloy of 1.5% antimony, 1% tin, 97.5% lead. That alloy will be the cats meow for everything between 800 fps to 1800 fps with the addition of a gas check.

    You are correct, COWW are getting very hard to come by, so you might as well start looking for other sources. There are still people that are selling Linotype alloy, and if you buy a couple hundred pounds of that, then all you need to concern yourself with is gathering pure lead (which is still the cheapest metal you can buy BTW), and some solder or tin to toughen the alloy (which is actually very expensive but a very little bit goes a very long way)

    I hope this helps.

    i been loading only BP for years. its so simple fill case up seat sofft boolit any way
    this info is great but what is a COWW lead?
    im wanting to cast some boolits for 303 brit & was cofused on lead hardnes wanted
    can meaqsure with the pencil methoid
    is a brass cleaing rod ok for being safe on crown ? i had this rifle recrowned once man it realy helped accuracy dont want to do it again
    thanks for all the info i enjoyed reading it
    NRA Life Member
    learn to make your own black powder collect bp arms as there presently not recorded
    smokless is a fad its fading fast, helped along by obama

  20. #80
    Boolit Master

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    COWW means Clip On Wheel Weights.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-on-This-Forum This link might help.
    Lead bullets Matter

    There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves. - Will Rodgers

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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