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Thread: Plain base cast bullets for .50 Beowulf

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Jumbopanda's Avatar
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    Plain base cast bullets for .50 Beowulf

    I've been shooting gas checked cast bullets for a while now, but since gas checks are so expensive, I was wondering if it would be possible to use plain base bullets without sacrificing performance. As far as I know, the maximum pressure for 50 Beo is around 35,000 psi (correct me if I'm wrong) and a bullet cast from linotype (roughly 18-19 BHN) should be able to withstand that much pressure without a gas check. Has anyone done this before? I suppose if 18-19 BHN isn't hard enough, I could always water quench the bullets or even heat treat them in an oven for maximum hardness.

  2. #2
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    I would think using cast in a gas operated gun would be a concern with cast boolits, gas check or not.
    That given water dropped ww boolits should be plenty hard and work.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master sagacious's Avatar
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    I don't load for the 50BW, but either straight linotype or quenched ww's should be plenty hard enough. Both work very well for 400gr plain-base bullets in the 480 at that pressure or higher. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Moonie's Avatar
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    Bwana, actually that is incorrect. Lots of people shoot cast in the DI AR-15 system with no issues and no buildup (other than the normal carbon)

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Glen's Avatar
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    Moonie -- I suspect those folks are using GC bullets, not plain-based. When a PB bullet passes over a port the hot gases ablate lead off the base and into the port. A GC protects the base and prevents this. This question is specifically addressing PB cast bullets.
    Glen

  6. #6
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    You ask this over on the Beowulf forum also.

    I shoot Plain Base cast air cooled WW 400gr. in my wulf - No Trouble. The part about blowing lead into the gas port is pure unadulterated BS.

    I've even worked up a load for a 325gr. HB in Pure Lead - it doesn't lead either.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Frozone,

    Your mileage may vary in the .50 wolf, as this effect is dependent on pressure and powder speed along with gas port diameter and location. However, when I shoot plain base boolits in my .450 B I get lead plating build up on the back of my bolt, in the same place that the carbon builds up,and recovered boolits all show a small notch out of the base. I'm running around 40,000 psi and using powders like Lil Gun, H110 and 297. I didn't get as much of this using WC680, but I got so much unburned powder in the receiver and crud in the bolt that I gave up on the WC680 for now.

    Gas checked boolits will go into 2" +/- @ 100 yards. Plain base boolits closer to 6". I'm currently waiting on a check maker from Pat for taller checks to see if they will improve things.

    BD

  8. #8
    Boolit Master trk's Avatar
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    So what loads are y'all using? (Now that I have a 50 Beowulf.) Which (cast) bullets?
    trk
    aka Cat Whisperer
    Chief of Smoke, Pulaski Coehorn Works and Skunk Works
    N 37.05224 W 80.78133 (front door +/- 15 feet)

  9. #9
    Boolit Master trk's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. Two of the three times I met Bill Alexander were at the range. He was testing the Beowulf for accuracy, pressure and velocity for a wide variety of loads - FOR CAST bullets. This was over 10 years ago.
    trk
    aka Cat Whisperer
    Chief of Smoke, Pulaski Coehorn Works and Skunk Works
    N 37.05224 W 80.78133 (front door +/- 15 feet)

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Trk, right now I am using the lee 440 grain boolit, and a custom 335 grain mold Tom over at Accurate molds made me. So far accuracy in my Wolf hasn't impressed me, but it stays on a 10" target at 100 with cast. I have been sizing with a gas check to .501. Today I sized, then powder-coated to bring it back up to .5025. I hope that helps.

    Much better results today! I think the powder coat thickness helped, and had two groups of three touching at 100 yards that were only an inch and a half apart. This was with new brass, but the ones I loaded with brass that was fired several times were spread out about 6 inches. Looks like I need to find a way to trim and anneal these big cases.
    Last edited by xacex; 10-19-2013 at 11:42 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Jupiter7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen View Post
    Moonie -- I suspect those folks are using GC bullets, not plain-based. When a PB bullet passes over a port the hot gases ablate lead off the base and into the port. A GC protects the base and prevents this. This question is specifically addressing PB cast bullets.
    Both GC and PB bullets in 300BLk and at higher presures than 50beowulf. Run 247gr accurate 31-240e in an AR hundreds at a time. Actually cleaner than running factory jacketed ammo, especially on the bolt and carrier.

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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