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Thread: cast bullets and high velocity cartridges

  1. #1
    Boolit Master xdmalder's Avatar
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    cast bullets and high velocity cartridges

    Is there a point to using cast with cartridges such as 308 win since it is capable of so much more velocity than what can be utilized with cast hunting velocities. I know people have gotten velocities with bullets that match jacketed velocities but in hunting wouldn't they just fragment heavily on impact

  2. #2
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    Range is the only tradeoff for using cast for hunting. The cast bullet holds together and penetrates rather than expands. Flat noses provide the trauma needed for killing. Velocities can be achieved close to 2500 fps but I imagine leading becomes a problem. Best, Thomas.

  3. #3
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    There are no set rules or limits on a particular rifle until you find them.
    What I mean is that you have to find the right alloy for the velocity that you want to achieve in your gun and still perform well as a hunting boolit.
    A good velocity to start with is 1800fps with a boolit BHN around 12-15 for hunting. (I'm assuming you are hunting thin skinned animals like deer or elk.) Lead and tin with a small amount of antimony will give the best expansion and hardness. Too much antimony may cause the boolit to fragmentate on impact.
    Once you find a good accurate load at 1800fps you can work up from there. As long as there is no boolit leading and the accuracy is good you keep going up in velocity until accuracy deteorates or your gun starts to lead the bore.

    There is a good chance that you may not get much velocity past 2000fps in the average gun, but, all guns are different and one gun should not be a standard for or against another.

    Part of the reason the 30-30 is such a good cartridge is that it can reach its velocity potential with either cast boolits or jacketed bullets.

    This is the fun part of reloading, and using cast boolits for hunting or target work is finding the sweet spot that make your gun shine.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    The advantage of 2400 fps is drop. Consider terminal fps for what you shoot. If cast doesn't 'explode' 1800 @ 100 yds, 1800 @ 200 yds won't either. I shoot 308 @ 2700 without leading.
    Whatever!

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    I have used the .308 at 2450 fps, and it worked fine on deer. Velocity was actually higher than I like for cast, but it was what I had at the time.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  6. #6
    Boolit Master xdmalder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I have used the .308 at 2450 fps, and it worked fine on deer. Velocity was actually higher than I like for cast, but it was what I had at the time.
    Which mold were you using

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    Boolit Master xdmalder's Avatar
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    Is there a possibility of using a spitzer style bullet for hunting and shooting at a velocity of 2400 fps to get the range and the bullet to perform terminally and down range

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdmalder View Post
    Is there a possibility of using a spitzer style bullet for hunting and shooting at a velocity of 2400 fps to get the range and the bullet to perform terminally and down range
    I have spitzer molds in both 25 and 30 calibers and after doing terminal ballistics tests in soaked phone book media, I wouldn't use them for hunting. I got better hunting performance with either round nose or round nose with a small meplat. The spitzers were unpredictable often either breaking up or veering off out of the media prematurely. Round nose with a small meplat gave best penetration and good expansion depending on the hardness of my alloy. Bruce B had a method for doing a soft nose for bullets that would improve hunting characteristics for a spitzer but I have never tried it.

  9. #9
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    This is just my opinion so take it for what it's worth. That some people shoot hunting suitable alloy well above 2000 fps with good results I have no doubt. What I think you'll find is these people have considerable experience. Getting good cast results below 2000 fps is fairly easy, above that things can get more complicated.

    All of my cast boolit rifles could be called a 30-30 or 35 rem. Regardless of cartridge they all push a 170-200 gr boolit to 1700-1900 fps. These work very well at woods ranges.

    All rifles are different but my 700 Rem in 30-06 when lined up 2" high at 200 yds with 168 triple shocks for elk hunting shoots about 1" low at 100 yds with the 311041 at 1800 fps. IMO this is a very usable combo.

    Some of my guns require some sight adjustment between cast and jacketed. These are generally dedicated cast or jacketed rifles.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  10. #10
    Boolit Master tdoyka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickory View Post
    There are no set rules or limits on a particular rifle until you find them.
    What I mean is that you have to find the right alloy for the velocity that you want to achieve in your gun and still perform well as a hunting boolit.
    A good velocity to start with is 1800fps with a boolit BHN around 12-15 for hunting. (I'm assuming you are hunting thin skinned animals like deer or elk.) Lead and tin with a small amount of antimony will give the best expansion and hardness. Too much antimony may cause the boolit to fragmentate on impact.
    Once you find a good accurate load at 1800fps you can work up from there. As long as there is no boolit leading and the accuracy is good you keep going up in velocity until accuracy deteorates or your gun starts to lead the bore.

    There is a good chance that you may not get much velocity past 2000fps in the average gun, but, all guns are different and one gun should not be a standard for or against another.

    Part of the reason the 30-30 is such a good cartridge is that it can reach its velocity potential with either cast boolits or jacketed bullets.

    This is the fun part of reloading, and using cast boolits for hunting or target work is finding the sweet spot that make your gun shine.
    i agree with that.

    i use a 30-40 krag that does about 1800fps using a 165gr ranch dog. i have used three different powders(h4198, rel 7, and varget) and i never went above 1900fps. i could have, but i didn't even try to. i only go above 2000fps in my 444 marlin. this year i want to see if i can take a 280gr wfn gc down to 1800fps.

    1800fps seems to be a real good spot for a rifle cartridge. except for my 45-70, it only goes a whopping 1300fps with a 405gr fbfn!!!
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  11. #11
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    I settled on the 165 gr Sierra GameKing for my .308. It is an extremely accurate bullet and will perform well at any range under 400 yards. The 500 I have will last a lifetime

    Cast bullets do not offer any advantages in the .308 so I see no point to using them. And at about $.30 each for the GameKings, not worth the effort. And they are less expensive to shoot than cast......WHAT YOU SAY!?

    Yes CHEAPER.....

    There is a lot of load development that normally goes into finding an accurate cast load at 2500 fps. Different alloys, different bullets, different sized diameters, different lubes, different powders....That all costs money.

    With a good jacketed bullet you will have an acceptable load after testing 100 rounds. In both my .308 and .300 Win Mag, I had a very good load after shooting 50 bullets. Try that with a cast bullet.

    For me, cast rifle bullets used for hunting have their place in slower and heavier applications. Where a long shot is 200 yards. Limit the range with your .308 if that suits you, but you will regret it the first time you have a 350 yard shot down a power line or across a corn field.

    Don Verna

  12. #12
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    Cast bullets will increase the .308's versatility. If Nebraska allows rifles for hunting Turkey you can use cast and not blow a fist sized hole through the bird like a high velocity jacketed bullet will. I've used cast in my 25-06 but I would limit range to 100 yards. I will continue to enjoy using jackets for high velocity cartridges and cast & jacketed for rounds that operate between 2000-2500 fps. Best, Thomas.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master tdoyka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    I settled on the 165 gr Sierra GameKing for my .308. It is an extremely accurate bullet and will perform well at any range under 400 yards. The 500 I have will last a lifetime

    Cast bullets do not offer any advantages in the .308 so I see no point to using them. And at about $.30 each for the GameKings, not worth the effort. And they are less expensive to shoot than cast......WHAT YOU SAY!?

    Yes CHEAPER.....

    There is a lot of load development that normally goes into finding an accurate cast load at 2500 fps. Different alloys, different bullets, different sized diameters, different lubes, different powders....That all costs money.

    With a good jacketed bullet you will have an acceptable load after testing 100 rounds. In both my .308 and .300 Win Mag, I had a very good load after shooting 50 bullets. Try that with a cast bullet.

    For me, cast rifle bullets used for hunting have their place in slower and heavier applications. Where a long shot is 200 yards. Limit the range with your .308 if that suits you, but you will regret it the first time you have a 350 yard shot down a power line or across a corn field.

    Don Verna
    i limit my range whenever i go to hunt deer. its is 150 yards using cast boolits and it will go 300 yards using a jacketed bullet. i have had the chance to shoot a six point whitetail while using my 444 and a 275gr ranch dog. i didn't shoot it because it was 187 yards away(laser range finder). i told my dad to go ahead and shoot it and he did, it was drt. it was shot thru a field. could i have shot it? yes i could have. but i CHOSE the 150 yard limit. if it was 330 yards and i was carrying a jacketed bullet(2900fps for my 270 with a 130gr bt) i would not shoot it. because i CHOSE the 300 yard limit. years ago, i did shoot a doe, 365+/- yards away. that has been my furthest shot on a deer.

    i don't regret nothing.
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  14. #14
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    Dunno what drives folk's ambition and don't care a lot actually, but I'm of a mind that one can do anything with lead that can be done with jacketed bullets with very few exceptions. Terminal performance is largely irrelevant if one is shooting prairie dogs or like vermin. Precision is key, thus it becomes the Holy Grail for that pursuit. Elk, bear, moose and the like are a different story.

    Lot of folks stress over drops and think that velocity is the cure, even while paying scant attention to drift. BC is the devil in that detail and drift is the wild hare. End of the day, the fellow that knows the capability of his rifle/load and self will find success if determined. As example, some time back there were some Indian chiefs overlooking affairs at Adobe Walls. Crazy Billy Dixon sent them packing. Well, all but one of them. With black powder and lead.

    Simple way to go fast with lead is the paper jacket. Applied properly to a proper bullet of proper alloy, loaded in a proper case, it will meet all performance objectives, assuming one does the homework. It will mushroom and kill stuff dead.

    Tdoyka, wasn't too long ago I was shooting a Marlin 1895 CB in .45-70. 510 grains paper patched, 20:1 and 1800 fps out the muzzle. It shot MOA 7 days a week. There was no confusion about whether or not it had gone off when you jerked the trigger.

    I would not be inclined to shoot paper patch from a .308 myself, mostly because it has a short neck and I don't own one. OTOH, I have shot paper patched round balls, so who knows???

    Dan

    PS: They shot really well by the way. Right up until around 2400 fps (chronographed), but I have no idea where they went. Down below 2200 fps they were hovering around MOA at 50 yards. Pure lead it was.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master ammohead's Avatar
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    The point why a man would use a cast boolit to hunt is pretty much the same as using archery equipment. It adds another dimension to the pursuit. Antelope is considered to be somewhat of a long distance situation out west and yet Nevada issues archery and muzzleloader tags to take antelope and they all get issued with none left over. A 308 with cast boolits has it hands down over any compound bow and has an advantage over most muzzleloaders as well, in accuracy, trajectory and lethality. If only the method with the highest firepower was an option we would all be hunting with 338 Lapuas. Vive la difference!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master xdmalder's Avatar
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    I have a serious case of Marlinitis. Right now I am shooting cast bullets in:

    Marlin 1895 : 45-70
    Marlin 1894 : Custom 45 Super
    Marlin 336ER. : 356 win
    AR-15. : 300 Blackout

    All of the guns shoot their cast loads sub MOA. I also have a 30-30 I may cast for but have around 1500 jacketed bullets to go through. What I am trying to do is make the best bullet I can for each gun. And then stock up. I have been saying 308 all along but really am wanting a dedicated load for my custom 336 in 307 Win. I had the action lengthened to 2.69" to accept a longer bullet. Problem is with tube safe ammo I can't push it to its max. Bullets will blow up. I can use the 160 grain FTX bullet for the 308 Marlin Express but if I push it past 2650 it wants to blow up on impact. My best groups happen around 2750 and I have gotten it to 2800 with great accuracy. I may just end up go with a Hawk bullet for it.

    Right now I am in the beginning stages of developing a cast load for the 300 Blackout. 147 grain hollow point, cup point, or solid. Has a .200 meplat. Should be able to push it to 1900+ fps but I know with cast I won't need to. As soon as NOE get their 247 grain hollow point back I will get it for subsonic use also.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Paper patching will allow much higher velocity than normal lubes. It may give excellent accuracy also.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    I've got the 30 xcb boolit(166 gr.) running 2,447 fps. in my .308 12 twist 23.5" bbl.
    Also have the 311299 noe boolit(202 gr.) running 2,300 fps. plus and plan to run it faster at around 2400 fps when i get some more range time this spring.
    Only very minor fragmenting on nose tips sometimes when recovered from hard packed red clay and gravel dirt banks @ 105 yds. I do ht the boolits.
    1.5" groups,usually much less @ 105 yds. with unweighed boolit...weighed boolits shoot a little better, usually well under an inch for 5 shots at the same range.

    I did have a stock problem with this rifle, but once that was fixed, load developement went about as quick as with jacketed for me.

    For speed and accuracy with cast boolits, i've found the slower powders that fill the case to be the ticket for easy load developement.
    For the ranges i shoot when hunting...0 to 300 yds., there wouldn't be much of an advantage in going back to jacketed. Plus i like the
    'no bloodshot meat" effect i get with cast.

    Don't get me wrong, i've got nothing against jacketed, it's just that i've found i can get enough speed and accuracy with cast to flatten the trajectory enough to make me happy and have experienced no negatives in doing so.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by xdmalder View Post
    Which mold were you using
    It was a Lee, I think 170 gr.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


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    Something to keep in mind in the search for speed. Look at ballistics tables. Once you find an accurate load, you need to increase the speed by 300 fps to make any appreciable flattening of trajectory. Not worth the effort, unless you just really enjoy load development like some of us do. If you can get to 2200 fps, you are pretty maxed out for performance requirements, unless you want to go post-graduate level.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


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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