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Thread: Questions about cast bullets in 308 Winchester

  1. #1

    Questions about cast bullets in 308 Winchester

    Been lurking for years, finally was able to get registered, stupid computer, anyway, I have been casting my 45acp and 9mm rounds for years. Recently, started casting for my 45LC, so I am not unfamiliar with the casting process. So here we go, I wanted to cast some rounds for my 308 Win bolt action rifle, Ruger American, just for practice. I researched extensively with several other casters and the internet, Youtube, etc... Was able to put the rounds together and everything seemed great. Until I took them to the range for testing. I was shooting at a 9" target at 75 yards. Out of 16 shots, I only hit the paper 5 times. I was stupified!!! I thought I have messed up my scope, so I tried 2 factory rounds. Put both of them within 1" of the bullseye. So It was not the scope. Am very frustrated!! The rounds themselves are 160 grains. sized to .309, tumble lube design, using 41.5 grains of IMR4064. They chronoed at 2534 fps. I can't think of what might be the problem. The factory rounds that I used were also reloaded by myself using factory bullets. I did notice that when I tumble lubed them the 2nd time, some of the gas checks came off. I am wondering if perhaps the gas check is coming off in flight, causing the inaccurate hits. Would it be better to slow down the rounds and go without the gas check?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    petroid's Avatar
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    More info, please. Did you slug the barrel and throat? What mold? What alloy? Hardness? An accurate high velocity cast load doesn't come without some experimenting but the details have to be covered. I'd start by slugging the bore and throat, measuring with a micrometer. If you can, cast a bullet that fills the throat. Seat out to the lands. Start with a little lower charge or try the Ed Harris 16gr. of 2400.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    You are starting out by jumping into the deep end of the pool! Start at 25.0 grains of 4064 and load 5 rounds in one grain increments to see where accuracy starts going south with the alloy you are using. I believe you may find it somewhat difficult to obtain accuracy with velocities anywhere close to 2500 fps without very close attention to details; some of which are mentioned by petroid. Your experience reminds me of me when I first started using cast boolits. There is a learning curve involved.

  4. #4
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    I'm more surprised you hit the paper at all.
    try the above load about 28 to 30 grains should have you on paper and the holes should be close together.
    about 6-8" low, but all together.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

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

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wmitty View Post
    You are starting out by jumping into the deep end of the pool! Start at 25.0 grains of 4064 and load 5 rounds in one grain increments to see where accuracy starts going south with the alloy you are using. I believe you may find it somewhat difficult to obtain accuracy with velocities anywhere close to 2500 fps without very close attention to details; some of which are mentioned by petroid. Your experience reminds me of me when I first started using cast boolits. There is a learning curve involved.
    Hey wmitty, I see you are in Sulphur Springs, I am down here in Longview

  6. #6
    Boolit Master



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    It would help if you tell us the allow or BHN too. Do you have any other powders beside 4064?
    A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that. - Shane

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  7. #7
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    Good advice I think you just over ran your sweet spot,I'd check the bore size and slow it down abit and try again you'll get there and welcome aboard,I'm a bit to far south of you to meet ftf,lot's of good help right here ..
    I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master





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    Btw what mold are you using?
    I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    You have to get your speed down a bit. Cast bullets can't be shot as easily as jacketed at jacketed speeds. You have to start low and work your way up. Please remember that from a hunting standpoint, cast bullets are extremely effective at 2/3rds the velocity of jacketed, so there really is no reason to shoot faster unless you're just doing it for the fun of it (which I have once or twice). Take a look at the link in my signature line.
    This might also be a helpful read:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...velocity-chart
    and this
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-rifle-casters
    and this (Pay attention to lube)
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-that-may-help

    Matter of fact, you should take time and read all of the stickies in the main cast boolits forum that pertain to shooting cast in rifles. I have one there on how to do a pound cast and there are others that will help you understand what is happening as that bullet leaves the neck of your brass and gets shred...... that is, engraved by the rifling.
    Not only that, but many of the Stickies are not locked, so after reading, if there's something you don't understand or needs to be clarified, you can just post in that thread, and help will be forthcoming.
    Just stay with it, and keep shooting and ask pointed questions about what your rifle is telling you. After all, it's opinion is the only one you should really be concerned with, and this place is very good at helping you get past the language barrier.
    Good luck and enjoy!
    Last edited by goodsteel; 10-21-2015 at 12:34 AM.
    Tim Malcolm
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    "He who is enslaved by the compass has freedom of the seas"

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    In addition to the good advise you've already received, having an absolutely clean bore is also something to keep in mind when switching from jacketed to cast.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    Some points to consider
    1/ The barrel must be COMPLETELY clean of copper fouling (use C2R from the Shooting Shed).
    2/ The boolits must be hard and durable BUT not too hard Suggest range lead/ Linotype/ Pure lead 1/3rd each.
    3/ Size in a RCBS lubesizer to .310 and fit a decent gas check
    4/ Use a GOOD lube - I use Carnauba lube.
    5/ Use the correct powder - do not reduce slow burning powder loads - I use Accurate 5744 (D060 from Lovex) - try 25 gr
    5/ When casting I drop the boolits into a bucket of cold water straight from the mould - beware of keeping any water getting near your lead pot
    pm me if you want to have a chat

  12. #12
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    You need 4-5% Sb and some As to water drop those for that speed. Size after GC, probably 310. You can run them slower with 2400 or Unique, decent to maybe 75 yds. What mould and alloy?
    Whatever!

  13. #13
    Wow, definately got more help than some other forums I have tried. Let me add some info:
    1. Mold is a Lee double cavity ctl312 - 160-2r
    2. Diameter is .312 from the mold
    3. Weight is 160 grains
    4. I do expand the case mouth to accept the bullet
    5. I also do drop the rounds directly from the mold into a bucket of water
    6. Powders I have available - Bullseye, Unique, Blue Dot, Green Dot, Power Pistol, IMR4064, IMR4198, have a good supplier so a different powder is available, if needed
    7. Alloy is 75% Wheel weight lead, 25% pure lead

    Hope this additional info will help. Appreciate all the help and suggestions

  14. #14
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    they will all work, the easiest to get right now would be the 4064.
    start at 28 grs and work towards 30.
    if you see vertical stringing a 1 gr tuft of Dacron seated between the powder and the bullets base will cure that and add a little more speed.
    make damn sure the Dacron is lofted up and pushing down on the powder, leave it up even with the case mouth and let the boolit squish it down in the neck.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

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

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I agree with R5R, but would also add that if you just want to have some fun with cast in your rifle, go ahead and load up some with 13.5 grains of Unique. It's not a very powerful load, but funner than anything, and it will actually kill deer deader than a hammer. Unique in a rifle with cast = cheap trigger time and lots of it.
    Also, you gotta check out 45-45-10 lube in tandem with the Unique loads. Helps get your bullets in play faster and it beats the heck out of Lee mule snot lube.
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

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

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by carstensxd45 View Post
    Been lurking for years, finally was able to get registered, stupid computer, anyway, I have been casting my 45acp and 9mm rounds for years. Recently, started casting for my 45LC, so I am not unfamiliar with the casting process. So here we go, I wanted to cast some rounds for my 308 Win bolt action rifle, Ruger American, just for practice. I researched extensively with several other casters and the internet, Youtube, etc... Was able to put the rounds together and everything seemed great. Until I took them to the range for testing. I was shooting at a 9" target at 75 yards. Out of 16 shots, I only hit the paper 5 times. I was stupified!!! I thought I have messed up my scope, so I tried 2 factory rounds. Put both of them within 1" of the bullseye. So It was not the scope. Am very frustrated!! The rounds themselves are 160 grains. sized to .309, tumble lube design, using 41.5 grains of IMR4064. They chronoed at 2534 fps. I can't think of what might be the problem. The factory rounds that I used were also reloaded by myself using factory bullets. I did notice that when I tumble lubed them the 2nd time, some of the gas checks came off. I am wondering if perhaps the gas check is coming off in flight, causing the inaccurate hits. Would it be better to slow down the rounds and go without the gas check?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by carstensxd45 View Post
    Wow, definately got more help than some other forums I have tried. Let me add some info:
    1. Mold is a Lee double cavity ctl312 - 160-2r
    2. Diameter is .312 from the mold
    3. Weight is 160 grains
    4. I do expand the case mouth to accept the bullet
    5. I also do drop the rounds directly from the mold into a bucket of water
    6. Powders I have available - Bullseye, Unique, Blue Dot, Green Dot, Power Pistol, IMR4064, IMR4198, have a good supplier so a different powder is available, if needed
    7. Alloy is 75% Wheel weight lead, 25% pure lead

    Hope this additional info will help. Appreciate all the help and suggestions
    DO you have the lyman castbullet handbook 4th Ed. ?
    Look at the load data, you will not see loads as hot as you loaded.
    I bet you'll find a load for IMR4198 for 308win and I bet it'll be in the 1800 to 2100 FPS range.
    Good Luck.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    You have received a great deal of good advice already. Might I further emphasise the importance of lead hardness. (BHN).

    It is important that you test the hardness of your bullets. Wheel weights may or may not contain the expected ingredients. Your formula is not one to produce Lyman #2. In fact, if your 'pure' lead source is stick-on wheel weights, there is no telling what your water-dropped bullets are going to be.

    That said, I would suggest that if you are not certain what you are working with, you'll save yourself a lot of time, trouble and expense by testing it and finding out what you have.

    Also, unless you have considerable casting experience already, might I suggest you look at some of the 'XCB' threads under the 'Special Projects' forum. Going high speed with a cast bullet requires methods that seem extreme under other conditions. Those threads offer excellent advice on what has worked well for others in the speed range you're looking at.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Hannibal; 10-22-2015 at 03:44 AM.

  18. #18
    Casting bullets since '66

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    I have been shooting Lee 150 grain cast gascheck with powder coat in several 308 rifles. I have sized the bullets to 0.311 and checked to see if they chamber easily.
    A bullet a 0.311" will get sized by the bore. The savage bolt action in 308 will give 1" groups with 23 grains of WC735 (WC735 is 5% faster than H335).
    A savage 99 in 308 will give 3" groups. and my Remington 700 heavy barrel police special requires a 0.309 bullet in order for the case to chamber easily - and it gives 1.5" groups.

    I have found that the speed limit on wheel weight bullets with a alox lube in 30 caliber is about 1800 fps depending on the power .
    I have gone to powder coating and that seems to have a) tightened my groups and b) allowed me to shoot at higher velocities without a fall off in accuracy.
    I shoot 0.225" 55 grain cast GC bullets out of my 223 at about 2200 fps with groups that average about 1.5 inches.
    Go now and pour yourself a hot one...

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


    Kraschenbirn's Avatar
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    I notice you have 4198 on hand and that's pretty much my 'go to' powder for .308 WCF with lighter boolits. I shoot the Lee 312-155-2R, sized to .311, over 25.5 gr. 4198 for about 2050 fps from my M700 (24" barrel). The 312-155 is the lube-groove version of the boolit you're using. Didn't take any pics but, this morning, I had that rifle at the range and finished off a box of ammo tagging a suspended 1L Gatorade bottle 8 out of 9 at 200M. Off the bench, 5-shot groups on paper run 2 1/2"-3" at the same distance.


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  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I would, with your boolit, size to .311 and start with:

    10 gr. Unique
    21 gr. IMR 4198
    28 gr. IMR 4064
    25 gr. Varget

    With any of those loads you may stop right there. They have all been good in my Rem 700's in .308 Win. I know you didn't list Varget, but if you could acquire some, that load is outstanding! I'd try the Bullseye too, about 4.0 gr. and work up or down 0.1 gr. at a time.
    Last edited by oldblinddog; 10-23-2015 at 12:38 AM. Reason: More info is better than less

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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