A little about myself first: I grew up shooting bushels of .22 LR. First with my grandfather, then boy scouts, afterwards Jr. ROTC. Later, in my twenties I shot some bullseye matches indoors with the .22 LR where I did fairly well. I moved on to .38 Special, .357 Magnum and .32 H&R Magnum. I had a wonderful mentor who had an encyclopedic knowledge of firearms, casting and reloading who helped me get started back in the late eighties and early nineties. I didn’t have the internet, but I had James and a Lyman manual and my results were satisfying. When I began reloading years ago my means were limited and my setup was minimal. I started with a Lee Loader and a mallet and eventually moved up to a Lee hand press and a “Speed Die”. (I don’t think they even make those now). Casting a 105 SWC from wheel weights scrounged from all over, never sizing them and tumble lubing in Liquid Alox I was shooting groups out of my revolvers that I could cover with my palm at fifty feet.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago and I had been away from my shooting hobby for twenty years. I was gifted a lovely Remington 700 chambered in 22-250. Initially I didn’t even know what I had. I began researching and learned a bit about the cartridge and that my gun was made in 1966, making it an early production version. I knew right away that I wanted to reload for this gun and use cast bullets if at all possible. It has been an interesting journey and it was what led me to find and join the CBA. I have very much enjoyed lurking and reading the posts of others and my only complaint is that the forum isn’t more active. Well, I’m making a contribution here that I hope will help a bit.
This is my first foray in to reloading for a rifle. The following is what I’m doing. I know that most of you in this group are much more experienced and knowledgable than myself and I welcome your insights and observations. Understanding that I am likely a bit vain, insecure and neurotic I trust that you will be gentle in your criticisms.
Lyman #225415 mold. This is a 55 grain bullet
Bullets cast in #2 alloy, tumble lubed in 45/45/10, gas check applied, sized .224 and lubed again.
Norma Brass with flash hole cleaned with unifying tool
Cartridge overall length 2.214 (Lyman manual calls for 2.325, but I used a gizmo on my cleaning rod and one of my bullets to come up with the above measurement.
15.3 grains of 5744 This was the starting load with a listed velocity of 2.032 fps
Lee Factory Crimp
My first trip to the range was a disaster. I made multiple mistakes. My scope was badly out of adjustment and I was never going to get any bullets on target at the ambitious 100 yard distance that I was starting from. After digging worms somewhere midways down range for twenty rounds I shook my head and went home. My barrel was an evil mess. I have never seen such fouling. After a week of alternate soaking and scrubbing with brushes and patches I went to work with Kroil and JB Bore cleaner before worrying the hell out of it with JB Bore polish. Candidly I don’t know if I ever got it perfectly clean but it’s certainly shiny.
During a subsequent trip to the range I got my scope adjusted for fifty yards using factory ammo. If I had been holding well enough I think that it could shoot one hole groups at that distance.
For my second attempt with hand loads I cast in straight Linotype and followed the same lubing, sizing and loading procedure as above.
This time I was peppering the target in groups that were about four or five inches across (too poor to bother measuring in my opinion) This time I had a Chronograph and was able to check my velocity. The average was 2,240 fps. They only varied by fifty fps except for one wild shot that was 2,290. I was pleased with this and felt that I must have done something right to have my spread of velocity be that close. When I got home the gun cleaned up with just a few patches after soaking with Kroil.
I’m now wondering if this is going to work or not. I am forming the opinion that in the mid sixties when this cartridge / rifle combo was being developed that no one was thinking of doing what I’m trying to do. This thing was meant to shoot fast and flat, period! I attempted to determine my rate of twist using masking tape and my cleaning rod. I came up with 14:1 twice in a row. Since my velocity is a tad more than the manual listed I’m thinking that I will reduce the load to 13 grains of 5744 and see what they clock and if my groups tighten up.
On another forum I read where someone else wanted to do the same thing. One person responded asking “why would you want to emasculate such a fine cartridge?”. That’s a fair question and my answer is that I was given a nice rifle that I would just like to enjoy shooting. I didn't get to select the cartridge that it was chambered in. I usually only have access to a 100 yard range and I know of no reason that I need a 3,500 fps screamer. If I can get good target accuracy at 100 yards while making it easier on myself and my gun then that’s the reason.
I have not as yet slugged my barrel. I probably should.
I now offer this up to the brain trust to see what else I need to consider. Thanx in advance!