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Thread: FYI This is how I do a pound cast.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    FYI This is how I do a pound cast.

    What is a "pound cast" you might ask?
    A pound cast is a way to produce an accurate rendering of the shoulder, neck, throat, lead, and rifling of your barrel.
    This information is key for choosing a boolit design that fits your particular chamber properly. In fact, there is no other way that gives an accurate enough rendering of these key areas.
    The down side is that if you do this wrong, you are going to be talking to your local gunsmith, or performing operations to get the slug out of your rifle that could really mess things up!
    As it happens, I have a rifle that needed a pound cast to be performed and I took pictures of the process so that you can see how to do it, and not jack up your rifle in the process.
    Pay attention to these instructions carefully, and don't cut corners! The first time I did this, I used what I had on hand, and stuck the slug in my barrel and ended up having to drill it out in order to prevent turning my rifle into a really heavy boat paddle.

    The materials needed are as follows:
    1. pure lead
    2. a piece of brass
    3. a common hammer
    4. a steel rod slightly smaller than your bore
    5. a gas check
    6. a boolit mold a little on the heavy side for caliber
    7. a propane torch
    8. a ladle
    9. patience and common sense

    The first step is to clean your chamber and barrel, and oil it lightly.
    Next, you select a piece of brass that you don't mind losing. Melt some pure lead in your ladle, and pour it into the piece of brass up to just past the shoulder.
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    Take your propane torch and heat the neck of the brass till the lead melts and forms a clean, level surface. This does two things, first, it aneals the neack of the brass, and it also gives a good level stop for the slug.

    Second step is to preheat a mold, and cast a boolit out of pure lead. Take your needle nosed pliers and flare the case mouth so that you can easily seat the boolit in the case with a couple light raps from your favorite problem solver.
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    Next, slip the "slug cartridge" into the chamber and close the bolt on it.
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    Now, set the rifle aside, and grab your steel rod. In this case I was doing a 30 caliber pound cast, so I was using a 1/4" steel rod.
    Wrap masking tape around it thusly to protect the bore and the crown of your rifle:
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    make sure that the end of your rod is square and has no chamfer on it. You want a sharp, square end on the rod.
    Grab a dab of grease and wipe it on the tip of your rod like so:
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    This will keep the gas check in place and insure that you get it started correctly.
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    Next, place the GCed tip of the rod on the muzzle of your rifle, and tap it past the crown and down the bore til you feel it contact the boolit.
    Now, this is critical. I don't know if you can see it here in this picture, because I have a flash hider on this rifle, but there is a band of tape, perfectly positioned to protect the crown of the rifle from damage as the rod is being pounded. You might want to make sure that you have this right.
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    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

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

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Goodsteel-Great pics-Thank You-Is the mold pictured one you made up-have never seen one like it ? tia

  3. #3
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    That is an old school Lee single cav mould.

    Nice write up and photos Tim. Got photos of the finished pound cast?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Now, set the but of the rifle on a piece of rubber, or carpet (I use my foot) so that the but is not damaged, and start pounding the end of the rod with even, measured strokes. You want the energy to go straight down the rod and into the slug.
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    Once the rod bounces and you feel that the metal has moved all its going to (takes practice to get this "feel"), start to open the action. You will find that the action doesn't want to open. This is because you have made such a perfect rendering of everything forward of the shoulder, that the cartridge is stuck in place like a morse taper.
    You need both hands for this, and I certainly couldn't hold the camera and do this at the same time, but you want to keep light pressure on the bolt/lever/pump/charge handle as you lightly tap the end of your rod. You will feel the action start to open, little by little, and then it's going to give way all of a sudden. Be very careful not to go too far at this point! You can damage your chamber slug so easily when it's no longer supported! As soon as that bolt gives way, use finger pressure on the rod to push the slug out and follow the bolt.
    You do not want the boolit to separate from the cartridge savvy?!?!
    Carefully extract the cartridge and lay it aside.
    Carefully remove the rod from the barrel.
    Finally, carefully inspect your bore to make sure there was nothing left in it! often the bottom of the GC will be punched through leaving the sides in your barrel in the form of a copper ring. Be very careful to make sure there is not copper ring left in the bore, or lead, or any other foreign matter from this process. Do not go one step further till you have brushed, cleaned and inspected your bore to be clear.
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    Now, you can take your pound cast and get accurate measurements of the neck, freebore, lead, throat, and groove diameter, and it will not shrink, and it's solid enough to take real measurements off of. It also shows you how much gap there is between the mouth of your brass and the end of the chamber, which is very useful information for paper patchers.
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    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

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

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Sorry it took so long to do this! I promised this thread months ago, and I finally got around to it!
    Hope it helps booliteers everywhere to understand how and why we do this.
    There are quite a few moldmakers that will design you a boolit mold based on a poundcasting like you see up yonder.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

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

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Beautiful description and photos.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Aunegl's Avatar
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    Cool...

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Tim, this needs to be a sticky.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    I want to give it some time to be shot full of holes.
    Like the title says, this is how I do a pound cast.
    Like I always say, it's not the only way, but its a way that might work for you.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

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

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have only done a couple, they were essentially the same way you did it. I haven't used the gas check trick but will in the future.

    I don't see a better what of seeing what the throat and neck dimensions really are in a rifle without doing a pound cast. It also stay the same size with time, unlike cerrosafe.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Veral Smith of LBT molds used to require this of you from your gun to make the mold for your gun. After he was released from prison he went to more of a standard design and dimensions.
    It does give very precise readings as goodsteel said.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master WILCO's Avatar
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    w0w Tim. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    very nice, thanks!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Pb2au's Avatar
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    Very nicely done sir. Many thanks for the work.

  15. #15
    Thanks Tim, great write up !

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    goodsteel, i like the gas check trick and will also use it in the future

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    anybody thinking of exceeding the rpm lim err umm threshold needs to learn to do this.
    I have had to do some rifles 3-4 times to get the correct measurements.
    don't be afraid to do this, this gives you the exact measurement you need.
    picking or having a mold made to the correct dimensions will pay off in flexability and better accuracy.
    veral asked for this because he was expecting you to use the rifle at/near it's intended velocity's.

    Tim go ahead and nominate this for a sticky, it's gonna be linked to mine anyway.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    The talent blows my mind, Why not a sticky ?
    Hate is like drinking poison and hoping the other man dies.

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    WOW!!!! I read your other tread, no pictures, and had to read it 5 time but still didn't quit get it. Like they said pictures are worth a thousand word.

    Thanks Tim.
    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

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Nice work Tim. I feel pretty educated now on the "pound cast" technique. I really had no idea of it or how to go about it. I have done cerrosafe and thought that was a pretty good way to get the info, but I now see that this is much more accurate and provides a permanent rendering of the chamber/throat/ and bore dimensions. With your instructions and pictures it is an awesome bit of information. I also see it as a sticky for future reference. Thanks.
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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