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Thread: cast bullet questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    cast bullet questions

    I am casting a 405gn .458 bullet from a single cavity steel RCBS mould. The bullets are dropping at 419 to 420gn and are around an 11 BHN. I am using 9 lbs wheel weights and 1 lb linotype for a mix. The bullets come out of the mould with a little frost on some, any that gas checks fit loose are discarded. I will powder coat once the gas checks and sizing is done. I am using a .459 NOE sizing die.
    My questions are, will the frosting affect the ballistics. Should I use the loading data for a 405gn or the data for the 420gn lead bullets listed in the Lyman or the Lee manuals. Will adding 2 lbs more of linotype bring the bullet weight down. I am planning on loading a mild load to use in Sharps, Remington Creedmore and TC Contender, so hardness is not that important with the PCing and gas checks.
    I have read some about frosting not being a big deal, but one person that has done extensive casting and competition shooting told me to remelt any that are frosted. Thank you for any answers.

  2. #2
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    Lakehouse2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by odette View Post
    I am casting a 405gn .458 bullet from a single cavity steel RCBS mould. The bullets are dropping at 419 to 420gn and are around an 11 BHN. I am using 9 lbs wheel weights and 1 lb linotype for a mix. The bullets come out of the mould with a little frost on some, any that gas checks fit loose are discarded. I will powder coat once the gas checks and sizing is done. I am using a .459 NOE sizing die.
    My questions are, will the frosting affect the ballistics. Should I use the loading data for a 405gn or the data for the 420gn lead bullets listed in the Lyman or the Lee manuals. Will adding 2 lbs more of linotype bring the bullet weight down. I am planning on loading a mild load to use in Sharps, Remington Creedmore and TC Contender, so hardness is not that important with the PCing and gas checks.
    I have read some about frosting not being a big deal, but one person that has done extensive casting and competition shooting told me to remelt any that are frosted. Thank you for any answers.
    Frosting isnt a show stopper. If using coating like hitek, can actually help bonding. Try air cooling empty mold for some time longer between casts, you maybe just over the sweetspot. Try slowing in 5 second increments and see if results improve. Other item could be pot is too hot.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I get my best fill out and most perfect boolits when casting just at the light frosty temperature.
    Frosty boolits are not deal breakers.
    Imperfect bases and incomplete fill out are my reasons to go back into the pot.
    Gary
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    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    That's the .45-70 mold I use.
    For mine to fill out just right, and my casting rate, using wheel weights and a handful of shot gun shot,
    I always seem to end up with a tiny bit of frosting too. I haven't found it to be an issue.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
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  5. #5
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Frosting is OK, just make sure to slug the barrels and get the right diameter.
    you'll need to size the boolits again after you PC (unless you calculate the added diameter of PC before you size the first time.

    I've helped several people with 45/70 accuracy issues because their boolits were too small.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
    I get my best fill out and most perfect boolits when casting just at the light frosty temperature.
    Frosty boolits are not deal breakers.
    Imperfect bases and incomplete fill out are my reasons to go back into the pot.
    Gary
    Me too, pretty much. I like 'em a little on the frosty side.
    Regards, Woody
    ---------------------------
    Take a kid along.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Nothing wrong with frosty bullets and once you powder coat youll never even know.

    If for some reason you need to cast Instagram picture worthy silver bullets you can try dialing back your alloy temperature

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    I have been casting for about 10 yrs. I shoot BPCR ,csharps 535 gr bullet @ 20 to 1 mix. At 500 yds+ wheel weight just consistent enough for that type of work.

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  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    I just did another small batch of the RCBS .458 bullet. I changed the mix, adding 1 more lb of linotype and trying to keep the pot at 650 degree. I did as LakeHouse suggested, dropped the bullet and held mould open for the count of 3 then cast another, etc.... they appear to have less frost and more shine, nice bases and crisp edges on the grooves. I will weigh them and see if changing the mix dropped the weight.
    I will load them with 25.3 gn AA5744 using a Lee Disk Powder Measure with 2 disks stacked. I tried loading a few rds and they were 25.3 to 25.5, close to the starting load in the Lee manual. All the other manuals I have don't list AA powders. All are from late 70's early 80's. Hoping to find online loading data before I go any farther. My Sharps and Marlins love the Speer 400gn JFP, so I hope this lead bullet comes close to the Speer. Seems like companies like Speer and Winchester discontinue the stuff my guns like the most.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy Tom_in_AZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakehouse2012 View Post
    Frosting isnt a show stopper. If using coating like hitek, can actually help bonding. Try air cooling empty mold for some time longer between casts, you maybe just over the sweetspot. Try slowing in 5 second increments and see if results improve. Other item could be pot is too hot.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
    This exactly


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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Your speer bullet is back in production and available on their website.

  12. #12
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    I personally cast to get frosted bullets. Fewer inclusions that way. I think you are wasting your lino, wheel weights do fine.
    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!


  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    Thank you Mica for the info about Speer's 400gn .458 bullets, my 45-70's will be happy. Now if only Winchester would bring back 785 powder so I can feed my .270 what it likes

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Frosting is caused by high mould temperature. Naturally, high alloy temperature causes this, but it is easily controlled by cooling the mould. I keep a cake pan with 1/2" of water nearby, and when the frosting becomes too heavy or the sprue is taking too long to set, I touch the filled mould to a cloth or sponge placed in the cake pan.

    Any time you're casting big boolits in a single cavity mould, it's going to overheat if the alloy temperature is high enough for a good casting. It's much easier to control mould temperature than melt temperature.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I kept the pot at 650, cast same as usual but once the mould was casting nice bullets, I would leave the blocks open and count to 3. Then I closed the blocks and cast another, no frost spots. I have a Saeco .458 semi spire mould and will cast some for my Sharps and Creedmore, I will repeat this method, but will try straight wheelweight. Never cast without linotype before, I hope the bullets are full and no rounded corners.

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by odette View Post
    I kept the pot at 650, cast same as usual but once the mould was casting nice bullets, I would leave the blocks open and count to 3. Then I closed the blocks and cast another, no frost spots. I have a Saeco .458 semi spire mould and will cast some for my Sharps and Creedmore, I will repeat this method, but will try straight wheelweight. Never cast without linotype before, I hope the bullets are full and no rounded corners.
    Quote Originally Posted by 454PB View Post
    Frosting is caused by high mould temperature. Naturally, high alloy temperature causes this, but it is easily controlled by cooling the mould. I keep a cake pan with 1/2" of water nearby, and when the frosting becomes too heavy or the sprue is taking too long to set, I touch the filled mould to a cloth or sponge placed in the cake pan.

    Any time you're casting big boolits in a single cavity mould, it's going to overheat if the alloy temperature is high enough for a good casting. It's much easier to control mould temperature than melt temperature.
    Don't know how far you expect to shoot out to but at the ram line (550 yds) wheel weights just we're not consistent enough. I know lots of shooters use them but when you consider the time and effort that goes into trying knock that ram down I don't want to do any shortcuts or cost savings.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 454PB View Post
    Frosting is caused by high mould temperature. Naturally, high alloy temperature causes this, but it is easily controlled by cooling the mould. I keep a cake pan with 1/2" of water nearby, and when the frosting becomes too heavy or the sprue is taking too long to set, I touch the filled mould to a cloth or sponge placed in the cake pan.

    Any time you're casting big boolits in a single cavity mould, it's going to overheat if the alloy temperature is high enough for a good casting. It's much easier to control mould temperature than melt temperature.
    This is a very good explanation. but instead of a wet sponge or pan of water, I use a small fan to help regulate the mold temperature with molds that tend to get overheated due to having a large cavity/cavities.

    I will add, uniformity is what you want for best accuracy. But using the term "frosty" doesn't tell much of a story, just like saying "hard-cast" doesn't tell us much about what an alloy actually is.

    How the boolits look, can tell you how you are casting:

    Shiny with wrinkles, mold too cold
    Shiny with no wrinkles, mold in the lower portion of correct temperature range.
    Partially shiny and partially light grey, mold nearing ideal temperature.
    Uniformly light grey, Ideal temperature
    somewhat frosty, mold in the higher portion of correct temperature range.
    Very frosty, almost look galvanized, Mold too hot. At this point, you may experience boolits bending/breaking when dropped from mold.

    Whatever mold temperature level you cast the best boolit at with a specific mold, is the mold temperature you should cast at...and for the very best accuracy, I would cull all the boolits that don't look uniform in appearance.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Light to mild frosting is OK but the high Sb and mould too hot will leave pits in the cast. That is BAD. When the alloy cools it alternates between Sb rich and Pb rich, hot mould allows the surface to be Sb rich alloy and it cools that way. Any tin in the alloy makes it worse. Usually the middle frosts first, base last.
    Whatever!

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    I cast a new batch using straight wheel weights and what little that was in the bottom of the pot from the last time. I tried to keep temp at 650 with some success, but thermometer flops around too much to stay accurate. Back to the cast bullets, They all dropped out of the mould looking nice, no frost, shiny and good bands and grooves. I checked hardness a day later and they are 9 BHN according to my STS dial tester. I gas checked and sized them and noticed that they were under sized, .457 instead of .459. Is this normal with straight wheel weights? I have always used Lyman #2 as a starting point , but am not very experienced. This is the first time under sized bullets came out of this mould for me. I powder coated them and will size them again, hopefully they will have better contact with the .459 sizing bushing.
    What causes a casting to be under sized? Is it the mix?

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Try raising the melt temperature to 700-725. As previously stated, it's easier to control mould temperature than melt temperature. I have three Lee bottom draw pots, and all three will maintain a set temperature within 25 degrees. The adjustment knob is only a reference and doesn't correspond to an actual temperature, and also varies from pot to pot. What I've done is to write what number corresponds to 700 degrees on each pot, using my RCBS temperature gauge.

    If you're using a tin poor alloy (like wheel weights), you need a little more heat to cast boolits that are filled out well and full diameter. One of the problems with that is the "frosty" appearance. The frosting doesn't bother me a bit, and can actually be buffed off after the boolit is seated in the case. Antimony does increase the as cast diameter, so it's normal for straight wheel weight alloy to cast slightly smaller than it would with a little type metal added.

    My wheel weights are all fairly old, and they hardness test at 12 BHN. If yours are newer, they may have less antimony resulting in the reduced hardness.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

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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