Cast bullets

Discussion in 'Reloading Talk' started by Andy52, May 8, 2015.

  1. Andy52

    Andy52 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,693
    State:
    Winfield, Mo.
    Name:
    Andy
    I've always shied away from cast bullets due to the smoke and leading except in the mildest .38 spl loads.
    I've been looking into some of the newer coatings like Hi-Tek and powder coating. It's being said you can push the bullets to much higher velocities without leading, that would be great in my 9mm's which I like to keep about 1200 fps. Just thought I'd throw this out there and see if any of you had tried these type of coatings.
     
  2. derbycitycatman

    derbycitycatman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,297
    State:
    Kentucky
    Name:
    your first name
    No help here, I feel the same way about cast bullets as you. Itd be nice to shoot cheaper lead just dont know if itd cost me more down the line?
     

  3. plainsman

    plainsman New Member

    Messages:
    7,187
    State:
    minnesota
    Saw an article on barrel leading recently, but I think it will take more than 1200 fps to get real bad, but I"m not positive. Never tried that coating, I have only used bought bullets, and not for 20 years. My brother used to cast his own, tried some different mixtures, some got so brittle they broke apart on shooting, before hitting the target.
     
  4. BrassFinger

    BrassFinger Member

    Messages:
    50
    State:
    Illinois
    1200 fps in a 9mm should be a piece of cake with lead. That's slower than most .22LR rounds. I cast and reload for .45ACP which doesn't have much velocity but can still lead like a mother if all your ducks aren't in a row.

    There are several things to know going in. First, harder bullets aren't better. Elmer Keith (read up on him if you haven't) ran 10% tin/90% lead as his favorite alloy for full-house .357 and .44 magnum loads with no leading. That's a rather soft alloy compared to "Lyman #2" and especially pure Linotype. Too hard is usually worse than too soft (in bullets, that is...)

    Second, size is critical! Usually lead bullets run .001" larger than jacketed bullets to start with. Sometimes .002 or even .003 works better. Too small will not allow the lead to "obturate" and fully seal to the bore. This allows hot gas to bypass the bullet and leading will result. This type of leading occurs in the first inch of the barrel.

    Third, lubrication is important, but at pistol velocities almost any good quality lube will work. I don't care for the Lee tumble lube system, but it works for some quite well. A Lyman or RCBS lube-sizer is a must, IMHO.

    Lastly, a proper powder and powder charge will allow best accuracy and minimize fouling and leading, although if all the other requirements are met, powder becomes very non-critical from a leading standpoint.

    With loading .45ACP I had some minor throat leading that I determined was my seating die being too small (or I should say set up to seat .451 jacketed bullets instead of .452 lead) and as the bullet was seated into the case the die was actually squeezing down the case mouth and sizing the bullet to .451 or less at the base. Once I figured this out, I then lapped the die with 600grit and some oil to allow seating without sizing the case down. Accuracy went up and leading disappeared.

    I also cast and reload for .30-06 but those bullets use copper gas checks on the bases, which allow velocities approaching 2200 fps with the right alloy. Here you DO need harder alloy if pushing upper levels of velocity to handle the acceleration, both down the barrel as well as the rifling twist. I load to kill paper targets at 1600fps or less so I just use the same alloy as my pistol rounds. With those loads I never have to clean the barrel. No copper fouling, no leading. Just leftover bullet lube and some powder residue that continually gets blown out and replaced.

    Chris
     
  5. plainsman

    plainsman New Member

    Messages:
    7,187
    State:
    minnesota
    I just rechecked the article, and a 9 mm will lead the barrel at 1200 fps or so, maybe less. Sorry for the bum info.
     
  6. canebreaker

    canebreaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,494
    State:
    Southaven,MS
    Name:
    Jimmy
    Leading will depend on the hardness of the lead and the amount of powder. I don't have a hardness tester. I cast some of my bullets with soft lead, mostly for light loads in a 38spl. A light load in my 9mm and 40 sw will be half lead and half wheel weights. We have a few different brands of 9mm pistols in the family. Mine shoots the light load without a problem. One will have a little leading and another will have a lot. For harder bullets I'll cast wheel weights. Adding tin and a few other metals will make them harder.
    Need a lead mix chart, hardness tester.
    One entry on castboolits a guy will trade your zinc wheel weights for good wheel weights, that's all he shoots.
     
  7. BIGMIKE1957

    BIGMIKE1957 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    State:
    Gainesville Florida
    Name:
    Michael
    try some Aluminum Gas Checks I buy 44 Caliber Bullet Gas Checks 1000 for $22.50 on eBay I Cast bullets coat my Cast bullets with Moly and a coat with Lee wax and last resice with a Lee Precision 430 New Lube and Size Kit and resize 44 mag Caliber Bullet at 430 you need 430 Gas Checks, I load my 44 mag with 9.1 gr of unique 1100 fps no leading at all,
     
  8. Andy52

    Andy52 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,693
    State:
    Winfield, Mo.
    Name:
    Andy
    unfortunately my Lee 124 gr(9mm) round nose mold isn't a gas check type. I did try some of the new coating type and they seems to work pretty well no signs of leading even in a 9mm carbine at 1300+fps.