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Thread: Newbie at slug casting

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Newbie at slug casting

    Hello, I'm new to the group. I used to cast a lot for handgun and rifle but gave it up years ago. My youngest boy is interested in reloading so I've been showing him the ropes. We ended up getting into shotshell reloading. I've just purchased a Lee pot, a 7/8 oz slug mold as well as a .690 Lee round ball mold. I intend to cast some buckshot as well. I obtained a large amount of #7.5 and 8 lead shot for very little. Slugs and buck for reloading are rare in Canada or very expensive. I was wondering if I could cast slugs, round ball and buckshot from the birdshot. I have also ordered some pure lead. Any advice would be appreciated.
    The old men are dead, the old ways are dying and the young men don't know what it means to be free

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Soft stiff for the slugs and RB, hard stuff for the buckshot. Welcome!
    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
    Leonard Ravenhill

  3. #3
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Potato boy; Welcome along. These guys will have you addicted to this shotgun stuff before you know it. Gp

  4. #4
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Hal: I made up a few of the three inch slug loads. Everything went together real nice. Perfect crimp. I'll post when I get a chance to try them. Thanks Gp

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks, for the advice and well wishes. Some folks tell me the Lee buckshot mold won't fill properly unless you use pure lead. I was hoping to use the birdshot to make buckshot, do you have any experience casting buckshot?
    The old men are dead, the old ways are dying and the young men don't know what it means to be free

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    I haven't been shooting a lot lately but have had reasonable results with both the Lee 1oz. slug (sized though then paper patched back up) and the Lee 7/8 oz. slug cast from wheelweights. Lee and Lyman both recommend soft lead for slugs but I have much more wheelweights than soft lead so tend to use that. I don't think it matters for round ball.

    If you want to cast round ball I'd be hard pressed to recommend one better than 0.662". It is undersize in most standard wads but can be cloth patched to snug fit in the bore and shoots very well. Exactly 1 oz. in pure lead and a little lighter in wheelweights. I use about 0.015" cotton cloth for patching and that compresses down to about 0.010" with not a lot of force. That works well for me with Winchester 1 oz. and 1 1/8 oz. plastic wads.

    0.678" RB's work well too but I find they are very slightly small in my Winchester shotcups. A slightly thicker petal would make for a perfect fit. I've had good results with them but not quite as good as patched 0.662" RB's.

    The next is 0.735" RB's which have also given me some very good groups but this is for cylinder bore only! I used Blue Dot mostly and some SR4756 but prefer Blue Dot.

    Properly loaded the round ball should produce groups of about 4" or less at 50 yards. I use a 15 or 20 ga. nitro card wad or two in the bottom of the shotcup then a small scoop of Cream 'O Wheat on that then the patched ball. The nitro card wads keep the shotcup from trying to wrap itself around the ball which will cause gas seal and wad failures and the Cream 'O Wheat provides a nice seat for the ball as well as raising it up to fill the shotcup... depending on what shotcup you use.

    You do not want to be shooting a tight fitting round ball through a choke though! Lee Drive Key slugs and the Lyman Fosters and sabot slugs can all be shot through chokes but not sure a guy would want to try it with hard cast slugs especially in a full choke. I have not tried that. TO be safe use soft lead if you are shooting through a choke much beyond I/C. Maybe someone here has tried hard cast through a tight choke so can advise.

    I am in Canada too and in a small rural town so know all about the lack of reloading components and especially shotgun reloading components! I used to drive to Colveille Washington to do my shopping for reloading equipment and components but Homeland Security put a stop to that after 9/11! Now I order in. No choice.

    As you may be aware, Lee publishes decent load data for their slugs plus you can use birdshot load data for equivalent weight payload. The birdshot data will not be as high velocity as true slug data but is easier on the shoulder and lots of load data to be had which is not the case for slugs. Load data for slugs is fairly limited though much more available now than when I started. I like Blue Dot for heavy payloads like the 0.735" RB's or slugs of 1 1/4 oz. and up then Unique or Green Dot for lighter payloads. There are other powders but those are what I have and can usually get.

    Use published pressure tested load data! Shotshell reloading is not like metallic cartridge reloading as all the components play a part and can affect pressures quite significantly. For a given powder charge and payload, primers and hulls have the most significant effect. A simple primer change from one brand to another can change pressure by up to 3000 PSI so LOTS! Hulls also vary in volume and internal design so can have significant effects on pressure.

    The Lyman Shotshell Reloading Handbook has pretty good slug loading data, BPI sells a slug reloading handbook and Reloading for Shotgunners has a decent slug section in it. Also, powder manufacturer's sites have slug reloading data.

    Play but play safe!

    Good luck.

    Longbow

    PS: And welcome to the site!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    I find the Lee 18 cav. buckshot moulds to be a little hard to deal with. You need to pour pretty hot to get them to fill out and then there is the cutting the shot apart with nippers. It's slow but I find it easier to by the Lee two cav. round ball moulds of a size close to your choice of buck. I cast .311 RB and use it as O buck or #1. Gp

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    If you cast hot with the Lee 00 buck mould using wheelweights or range scrap and cut the sprue while the lead is still a bit soft most of the buckshot will break apart as cast and dropped. Works for me anyway. Keeping things that hot also helps with fillout.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    If you're not shooting bears or moose with buckshot I submit this again that mentions a great buckshot mold....it may be available in some other size. I have one of the 18 gangers I used exactly once and never again. Cutting those sprues is beyond tedious.
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...hot-PERFECTION
    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
    Leonard Ravenhill

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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