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Thread: Challenging calibers to cast for

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    Boolit Master Wolfdog91's Avatar
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    Challenging calibers to cast for

    What are some calibers that are notoriously fairly challenging to cast for ?
    A wise man will try to learn as much from a fool as he will from a master, for all have something to teach- Uncle Iroh
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    .177 pellets! Veral made me a mold years ago and it drives me batty!
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I do not find any particular caliber challenging to cast for.
    I have molds from 22 to 50 caliber.
    On the other hand, certain molds........

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I tend to find anything smaller than .30 cal takes longer and is a bit fussier. Especially if your playing with gas checks.

    So .223, or 5.7 are pretty much off my list.
    I tinkered with 7.62x25 for quite a while then found a good sale on factory loads and stocked up.
    Ending my fussing with bottleneck pistol calibers.

    I've been seeing some fairly interesting guns in 5.7x28 lately. But with the cost of primers being high, cost of brass high I decided I really would not be saving that much over the cost of .22WMR which is more or less in the same ballpark.

    Easier to stick with my .22mag pistols and watch for good deals on .22mag ammo.
    Scored 100 rounds of CCI Maxi mags at gun show last weekend for 20 cents ea. Still in sealed plastic 50 round boxes.
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    Boolit Master

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    The ones for which there are no molds at present...
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    The casting isn't hard but coming up with accurate ammo sometimes is. Personally centerfire 22s have been tough for me, where 6mm is super easy. Lots of folks struggle with 9mm because so many barrels are too big for .355" bullets and they don't know it. So much depends on how your individual gun is built.

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    Boolit Master 405grain's Avatar
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    I agree with Nobade. The actual casting isn't difficult, but sometimes getting good performance is. The particular cartridge that comes to mind for me is 6.5x55 Mauser. Casting bullets for this cartridge is as straight forward as any other, the difficulty lies in getting accurate loads. The fast twist of the barrels in this caliber, coupled with the long for caliber bullets usually used, means that velocities need to be around 1600 fps or less for good accuracy. Because it uses a standard size case you're not going to get good load densities with medium or slow burning rate powders with charges in this velocity range. To get good results and keep the velocity in the acceptable range I've had to use smaller charges of faster burning pistol powders. Using pistol powders in cast rifle loads is nothing new, but most other cartridges are able to retain good accuracy with loads hundreds of feet per second faster. The limiting of velocity and powder choice makes this just a little more difficult than most other common cartridges.

  8. #8
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    9mm Luger
    Even with 40+ years of reloading behind me ... I had never reloaded the 9mm Luger .
    My Dad gave me a old WWII era Walther p-38 ... I had dies and a Lee 105 gr. .358 - swc mould that looked like it would work as a boolit , sized .357" it did just fine .
    Working up a reliable operating powder charge took several tries but wasn't too bad a chore .
    It was when my son and 3 work friends of mine with new compact semi-auto's wanted to go shooting that we started working up one load that all 5 different 9mm's would feed . chamber , fire and eject and be reasonably accurate ...that the trouble started ...
    That was a nightmare and I actually stood there and cursed that Blessed 9mm cartridge out a few times ... we didn't give up , tried 4 different boolit moulds and 5 different powders ...
    And finally came up with a load that shot well in all 5 pistols ... Never doing that again ...
    ... The 9mm Luger with cast boolits ... is just a Stinker !
    In comparison ...
    The 45 ACP and 38 Special are a walk in the park on a sunny day with your favorite girl !

    The boolit that worked in all 5 9mm's , a couple had little or no throat , was the NOE 360-124-TC GC , sized .357" , Lithi-Bee lube
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    Last edited by gwpercle; 09-16-2022 at 11:41 AM.
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    If you have big fingers like I do, anything under 6mm is a hassle when it comes to putting on gas checks. Any of the smaller bores need to have the bullets weighed for best accuracy.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by 405grain View Post
    I agree with Nobade. The actual casting isn't difficult, but sometimes getting good performance is. The particular cartridge that comes to mind for me is 6.5x55 Mauser. Casting bullets for this cartridge is as straight forward as any other, the difficulty lies in getting accurate loads. The fast twist of the barrels in this caliber, coupled with the long for caliber bullets usually used, means that velocities need to be around 1600 fps or less for good accuracy. Because it uses a standard size case you're not going to get good load densities with medium or slow burning rate powders with charges in this velocity range. To get good results and keep the velocity in the acceptable range I've had to use smaller charges of faster burning pistol powders. Using pistol powders in cast rifle loads is nothing new, but most other cartridges are able to retain good accuracy with loads hundreds of feet per second faster. The limiting of velocity and powder choice makes this just a little more difficult than most other common cartridges.
    I found in my military issue Swede, I need to bump the noses to fit the throat for best accuracy.
    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!


  11. #11
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    I found my 6mm Rem extremely frustrating but when my wife bought a 243, it was almost instant MOA. It took me a long time to get my 223 bolt rifle going with CB's but once I got the right mold (an NOE mold), it would outshoot most jacketed. Sadly, neither my Hornet or my 222's like that mold but prefer the old (apparently discontinued) soup can mold from Lee.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I've not found any conventional bullet much harder to cast for than any other. But a hollow case mini-ball mold gives me fits. I would think hollow points might be challenging too.

  13. #13
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    I think I miss understood the question ...

    Let me have a do-over ...

    Anything smaller than 30 cal. and especially long rifle boolits under 7mm .
    A friend had a 22 Hornet and a Lee C225-55-RF and I hated casting those La petite little things ... too small for the fumble fingered .
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    My most challenging are 0.172's for my hornet, then add a gas check and the fun begins. Even loading into a 17HH will make your day. Like playing with rice grains.

    The biggest issue is keeping the mould hot, even a 3 cavity brass, you get about 3 fills then back to the hot plate or they begin to wrinkle, even fast casting.
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    Boolit Buddy wilecoyote's Avatar
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    the smaller the caliber, the greater the difficulties because each imperfection assumes greater importance.
    in the same way that the variation of two tenths of a grain in a .444 charge counts less than the same two tenths of powder in a .25acp, for example
    ...next thing you know they'll want your pistol and your tobacco...

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    I use to have mold cooling issues (wrinkles and poor fillout) with small boolits (I don't cast anything smaller than 37gr 22 cal), but I have since mastered my technique for keeping the mold hot enough, I haven't had that problem anymore and casting the small ones is as easy as the midsize ones.

    BUT, I have issues with large size boolits, like 300 gr and heavier. I get shrinkage spots on the boolits, from the mold not being the same temp throughout the blocks.
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    Boolit Grand Master Harter66's Avatar
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    I've cast from 37 gr 22s up to a .690 ball in singles to 8 cavity monsters in iron , aluminum and brass moulds . The 5 cav 225-37 was hard because keeping it hot was a chore . The 8 cav 196 gr 45 cal mould was hard because it took 2800 gr to fill it with the trough style sprue plate ....Yeah 3 pours per lb of alloy , 40-45 pours and your 20# pot is is down and you have 7-8# of sprues to put back in the pot .
    The brass hollow base 462-420 was horrible.......then the brass got a little patina . It's not bad at all now . M-P brass , I cussed it , alot . Almost to the point of unloading it .

    I have a HB Minie' single Lyman I don't have any trouble with it but like the brass mould above it has to be heat soaked through to run well.

    I will agree that casting a bullet over 3-3.5 dia in length is probably the most challenging sort . 7mms over 160 gr , 30 cal over about 190 gr , 6.5mm 160s , that 690 ball was rough at first but I got it figured out, it was me .
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master 44Blam's Avatar
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    Big boolits are a little challenging because you have to have a lot of flow to fill out the cavities - it is actually easier to use like a 3lb dipper with spout on big 44s/45s, etc.
    Then long skinny boolits (225 30 cal comes to mind) are also challenging because the middle of the mold can get cool and you get voids...
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with above. Took me a long time to become consistent with my 210gn .30 cal mold. Long skinny bullet would get too hot in the middle. Small stuff I have only made for pistols, smallest being .25cal. They worked ok but to me are a pain to reload. One of the reasons I sold off my 1903 Colt was reloading the .32acp.

    I love casting and reloading for the .45acp. Now days I only cast for the .308 and .45acp.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    For me biggest challenge was/is MP-700 mold for my 500 mag.

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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