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Thread: My very first cast. Lee REAL 250g and round ball.

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    8

    My very first cast. Lee REAL 250g and round ball.

    Just joined the forum after lurking for a few weeks. Looks like a great place with a lot of knowledge. I am from Iowa and most interested in muzzleloaders, though I do have other guns for the ladies in my house really enjoy shooting.

    With advice from this forum and youtube I dove into casting this week. It went very well IMO but room for improvement no doubt. Here is my experience so far.

    I am using what is pure soft lead from an ebay seller. May not be 100% pure but it is certainly very soft. I picked up two Lee molds. A Lee R.E.A.L. 250g and a roundball in 50 CAL. Both are double molds. After a few pours the bullets appear "correct" 90% of the time. My ladle technique isn't perfect yet. I cull everything that doesn't look excellent. After they cool, I mic them and it seems I get two sizes. About 60% of them seem right according to what I have read on forums. First land about .501-.502, last land about .510-.512. The smaller bullets are several thousands smaller though they appear nice. First land at .499 or it hits the remelt pile. The roundballs are consistently at .489 to .490. I use some DIY bullet lube, (Paraffin wax, toilet bowl rings, a bit of Johnson paste wax). I added some olive and veggie oil to thin it down a bit after a few tests. I definitely free styled the lube recipe a bit. It kept the fouling down so I am good with it as is for now.

    So off to the range to the range I go for a test fire. A Traditions Pursuit rifle, and a couple 50 cal pistols. My first impression was these REAL bullets load way too darned easy in all my guns. Nothing like I am used to. The round ball shoots just like any store bought RB I have ever used. The REAL 250g were respectable with my limited experience. I only shot about 15 rounds with the rifle and I am playing with the powder charge still . Groupings were typically about 2-3" at 50-60yds with an occasional flyer. I'd like to tighten that up a bit. Inexpensive playing at the range is my intent for these bullets. We don't have wide-open range spaces I can shoot in Iowa. My intent is to use sabots for longer ranges and hunting. If I could eventually cast my own for longer ranges that would be great, but it's not required for this to be a success.

    I am getting a little windy for my first post so I will stop typing now. Any advice welcomed and ask away if I left out any critical info.

    P.S. I have a powder coater to include the spray gun. I can make these bullets a little larger if it will actually help.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
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    IA Smoke - welcome to CB. If you decided to start casting to save money, forget it. You won't, you'll just shoot more.
    Casting boolits (lead bullets) properly is a science, once you know the basics, not a hard science.
    There is a lot of good information on CB. The Google search (top right of every forum page) is a gateway to all the knowledge on this forum. IF you can’t find your answer there ask the question (Please be as detailed as possible, pictures help http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...g-screen-shots I would be very surprised if there wasn’t someone on this forum that could answer ANY (firearm related) question you might have)
    http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm
    1. Boolits need to be cast .0005 to .003 (normally .002) over the slugged diameter of your barrel for accuracy and to avoid leading. If the fit is wrong nothing else will work right.
    a. slugging a barrel (it is safer to use a brass rod or a steel rod with a couple of coats of tape to avoid damaging your barrel http://7.62x54r.net/MosinID/MosinSlug.htm
    b. chamber casting https://www.brownells.com/guntech/ce....htm?lid=10614
    or pound casting http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...rifle-chamber)
    2. the right alloy needs to be used for the velocity and purpose of the boolit (don’t fall into the trap of going with too hard an alloy
    Economical way to easily test lead hardness
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...rdness-testing

    Some alloys harden over time
    http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chap...Metallurgy.htm
    different alloy’s different end sizes

    Lead alloy calculator
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/atta...4&d=1341560870
    3. velocity the bullet needs to be pushed hard/fast enough to get the proper spin, have the proper velocity to accurately reach the target but not so hard as to be dangerous or strip the lead off in the grooves instead of spinning the boolit..
    The boolit needs to be the right weight for the riffling/twist rate of your barrel
    Powders range from fast to slow, you need to choose the right powder for your barrel length & application.
    Loading manuals list the best powders for certain calibers and boolit weights.
    NEVER use any posted noncommercial load data without first checking commercial load data to see if falls in the safe parameter for your firearm!! There are several firearms out there that can handle much higher pressures than others!!
    Link to free online load data
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...online-sources

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    8
    Appreciate the quick response and data. I did start casting because I wanted to shoot a lot more and dial in several guns which requires a lot of experimentation with different powder charges. Conical bullets are very expensive locally, and the selection is horrible. $100 investment and I have muzzle loader projectiles to last the rest of the year already, and plenty of lead left. Seemed financially reasonable to me. I guess we'll see over time.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    IA S, A couple of things: Since I don't know how powder coated bullets will react to BP, I don't think I'd recommend that route. However, you can increase the diameter of the REAL by either paper patching or by Beagling (use this site's search engine for Beagling a mold). Btw, 2" - 3" groups aren't bad for a too easy to seat bullet! As for patch lube, toilet bowl rings aren't what they used to be (beeswax), but a petroleum byproduct (slack wax), which isn't the best choice for BP lube. However, Stumpy's Moose Snot (google it, but not necessarily on this site): Easy to make and you can use canola, peanut, olive, or vegetable oil instead of the specified castor oil.

    Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    8
    Quote Originally Posted by Maven View Post
    IA S, A couple of things: Since I don't know how powder coated bullets will react to BP, I don't think I'd recommend that route. However, you can increase the diameter of the REAL by either paper patching or by Beagling (use this site's search engine for Beagling a mold). Btw, 2" - 3" groups aren't bad for a too easy to seat bullet! As for patch lube, toilet bowl rings aren't what they used to be (beeswax), but a petroleum byproduct (slack wax), which isn't the best choice for BP lube. However, Stumpy's Moose Snot (google it, but not necessarily on this site): Easy to make and you can use canola, peanut, olive, or vegetable oil instead of the specified castor oil.

    Hope this helps!
    Thanks, that was useful. I really have no idea how tight the shot group should be. We yelled at people for 2-3" in the military lol. It wasn't BP though. I'm not quite that old. I am on a mission to not accept mediocrity until I have done a little work. My initial thought is best BP lube sounds like Grandma's cookie recipe. I know many oldtimers use Crisco and call it a day. The store bought stick lubes seem a little scammy at retail price. I need to try some different DIY things over time. For the moment the guns are simple to clean on the range every few shots. No idea what ingredient in my mix is causing that. I think Johnsons paste wax may have some petroleum distillates as well. I know it is simple to light with a match. Who knows what is in a modern toilet ring?

    Powder coating is OK for muzzle loaders. Many do it and I think it is mostly because the bullets look flashy. I prefer the Davy Crockett mood personally, but black or metallic would be OK I guess. I do know for certain it would add a few thousandths to the bullet OD. I may give it a whirl. IMO the #3 land on the REAL is fine at .510-.512. It just seems the bottom two lands are too small with soft lead that gives up as soon as it hits the barrel. I think wider lands would feel more correct during loading. I am speculating though. I try to not act like I am smarter than Lee, because obviously I am not.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
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    I read on a thread recently that PC and BP (powder coating, black powder) was OK. Smoke 4320 (powder coating vendor on this site) coated boolits for some of his BP guns.

    Try the search box in the upper right of each page and see what you can find. There is a ton of information to be found there.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy stubert's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    Wappingers Falls, Ny
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    Put a fiber wad under the bullet, your accuracy should improve.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    Jul 2018
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    A wad sounds worth a try. I have never used one before. Lessening my powder charge hasn't been fully explored yet either. Most of my shots were with 80g of 777. More than that was certainly of no benefit, which I expected for a relatively light bullet.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


    richhodg66's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    The REALs are good bullets. For deer, I always used a heavier conical with a big meplat, the Lyman Plains Bullet, but I think at sane ranges and with proper shot placement, that REAL should work great. They do load easy, it's a very innovative design.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Sounds as though one of those cavs may be dropping a little small for the REALS. Beagling will open it up, very easy.
    A few little strips of aluminum AC tape on the block faces and off you go. The adhesive will burn off so you have to replace the tape each session, but it will add .001"+ for no effort or cost. I know my 320 gr. REAL loads pretty hard and shoots very accurately. I've never miked them, but I assume they're to spec. Keep those molds (and melt) toasty hot and your boolits will drop clean and pretty almost from the get-go. That's what works for me. Welcome to the forum.

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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