What's the priority in making an accurate cast handload?

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durant7 posted this 21 March 2015

New here but I have an itch to pursue better accuracy at 200y with my one CF gun and thinking it might be educational to shoot a few CBA benchrest matches this summer.  Not to be competitive but to learn and if the bug bights.....

I have a bunch of moulds but my 30 cal list is short, an Ideal 31141.  My bullets have been good enough to be very competitive in CLA (Metallic Silhouette Cowboy Lever Action) but there are times I wonder what went wrong when IMO I had a good break.  Sadly, a 200y range is a 2 hour drive and winter in NH this year has limited outside activity.  So here I am doing what I should NOT be doing, sitting inside, warm, on the computer.

As I do research, there are so many variables that lay ahead, what do I focus on if I want to develop a better 200y hand loaded bullet for a CBA match? 31141 has a BC of .220.  A low value and higher is better.  Browse FleaBay and find other .311 mould such as a 311299 which has a BC of .377.  The bullet can, I would assume, be single loaded to avoid magazine detonation, and would bore ride with correct LOA.  Would this be the first best building block in the foundation of a cast bullet with higher accuracy potential? But, is this the right direction to take?  Yet another mould?  There are so many other variables to explore first with the .31141.  What's first?  I have read so much my head hurts.  Here are a few.<>Manage alloy better, put 20 ingots and melt them to the IDENTICAL alloy, and then pour them to ensure I have one variable eliminated.  Today I use ingots which I have created by collecting range lead to WW to whatever I find and now 300 ingots stashed away.<>Get a higher BC mould.  Higher is better at 200y from a 30-30.<>Using the pencil method, use the hardest ingots I can collect from my stash and melt them to one alloy.  I don't own a hardness tester...read enough on that.<>Sizing.  I have sizers from .310 to .313. yet my current 300 load ready bullet inventory is all sized to .311 and GC.  Bullet drops at .312 to .313 and is not round or perfectly aliened...and I have worked hard on that.  I am told Lyman moulds are not perfect.<>Crimp.  Taper, factory, or don't crimp at all.  Too much crimp negatively impacts the driving bands.  More crimp assures more consistent powder burn.<>Neck tension & turning...sorry, not going there for a 30-30.<>Case prep.  That is easy.  All the same headstamp, trimmed, flash hole deburred, weight sorted...I feel I have that in the bag on a RP case.  Of course a few bags of Factory New...defeats my interest to be frugal but I understand penny wise, pound foolish.<>Powders...Unique has worked, I own it...seems like a slippery slope to start buying a pound of 5+ powders to experiment...laddering each...mix in the above variables...my head hurts....to truly change one variable at a time the testing would be beyond what I have time to accomplish. I find a classic case of analysis paralysis and I spend more time thinking about it and less time doing it.  What would the accuracy veterans work on first?  Should the buy bight, a 30 cal bolt gun could take my efforts with the 30-30 to the next level next year.

JD in NH

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JSH posted this 21 March 2015

You don't mention what the gun platform is. You have a list of things on the bullet which is fine. You can have a perfect bullet in every way, but if it doesn't fit properly it won't shoot in to a bucket. One mans idea of accuracy compared to an others can vary a great deal. There are others here who have forgotten more than I know. I can hold my own against equal guns of my collection but I myself don't have a designated CB bench type gun. I do have a spare xp action that I have given thought of building a 30x221 or 223 case as I have a fair bit of time invested in this size case. If the 3030 you have listed is your platform I would do some measuring. Of the chamber, throat and bore. Keep notes and good notes. Don't hesitate to write things down that seem minute. A chrono is not a have to have item but will sure help sort things out quicker and give you a good idea of what is going on.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 21 March 2015

interesting !! it will be fun to follow your progress .

i understand you are going with a 30-30 ... ?? that is still a good choice for a cast shooter ; especially for a 200 yard rig .

what rifle ( or handgun ... ) are you using ?


as far as accuracy ... at 200 yards , wind becomes a big factor in ” accuracy ” . you will likely be better off with a high-bc bullet that shoots 2.5 moa groups at 100 yds ... than a lesser-bc bullet that shoots 1.7 moa at 100 yards .

assuming you will be shooting the longest bullet your twist will stabilize ...i me myself would be trying a slower powder and aiming for 1600-1900 fps .... 4227, 4198, 3031, 4895 ... range .

your list is pretty good ; i would keep the noise down as much as possible ; for starters if single loading i would not crimp ... then if your early attempts return 4 moa it isn't your case prep . until you get under 1 moa neck turning is not very gainful .

in other words, eliminate the 30,000 things that don't matter a lot, and work on the important 4 or 7 things that might get you down to 2.5 moa ... usually ( g ) .

1) bullet fit before ignition. 2) bullet fit a half inch down the throat . 3) barrel condition ... buy $$$ or hand lap your own barrel 4) powder ignition and barrel vibration . testing loads and good bedding . 5) i forget the next 3 or 44 rules . oh, maybe trigger finger ( g ) .

ken

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durant7 posted this 21 March 2015

JSH, Thank you for the response.  Yes, the signature rifle is the platform for this learning year.  Slugging.  I slug with pure lead from the muzzle, pound in and I find once in, the bullet loses resistance as I push to the breech as if there is some choke in the barrel.  My slug comes out .3085” using calipers, Mitutoyo calipers, not my currently AWOL Starrett micrometer which has me in a bit of a twist.

I have trimmed all 400 pcs of Remington Brass to 2.030".  Chamfered, flash hole deburred and then process a second time with STM.  Looks better than new.  Weighed them all into a 126.0g to 128.9.g group which is about 300.  The light and heavy stuff I will use for load development.

OAL:  After much testing, my .31141 bullet can have a max OAL 2.555” just BEFORE the bullet shows any mark from the lands.  This is my intended and now adjusted seating depth on my Dillon 550.  This depth leaves the crimp groove just a tad high.  Tad high I would define as .030” from the top of the crimp groove which is more of a 90 degree angle than the bottom of s typical crimp groove.  My prior hand loading adviser liked the Lee Factory crimp.  From what I have read, I don't need this.  My RCBS crimp is taper and when I do use it, it does seem to push the brass in a bit around the small portion of crimp grove that it can reach or “lay” into.

Here is my dilemma.  What to load up for testing?

10 without crimp and 8.5 g Unique, 2.555” OAL. 10 with crimp and 8.5 g or Unique, 2.555” OAL.

10 without crimp but shorter, say 2.500" 10 with crimp at 2.500” and see if it benefits from bullet jump?

Then repeat with .312” sized bullets?  Or do I test different sized bullets first without changing the crimp or OAL variable?

This is my current road block that I can't seem to find an answer to.

Yes, I can run them over a borrowed Chrony I have in my reloading room but I need to get after it as I will need to return it in 30 days or so.

I have not gone the route of doing a chamber casting. Cerro Cast? I have read all about it but.....are you telling me that is the next step before anything else? And let's assume I get past my current road block, does a low SD on Chrony results equal accuracy if I were do shoot indoors?  Or does POI and group size outweigh what I see on the Chrony?   I figure shooter error is now in play.

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Ed Harris posted this 21 March 2015

Bullet fit is EVERYTHING! A good mold which casts round bullets, with square bases which fits the throat without requiring sizing is key. Start by casting your chamber and getting a custom.mold cut which fits gets excellent results easily and right away without frustrating yourself in multiple iterations of mediocre mass produced molds which work better as trot line weights.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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onondaga posted this 21 March 2015

http://castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=3454>durant7

Ed makes the point I consider most valuable. Chamber casting and bore slugging are helpful. the result from those is to get a bullet size that fits your rifle.

Bullet to throat fit with a sliding fit gives bullets a stable start that enhances accuracy.

Actually, you don't need chamber casting or slugging if your sense of touch is working and you try a series of bullet size diameters till you find one that fits. Your variety of bullet size dies will cover the range. Find the bullet diameter that slides in the throat. A big mistake is to to this with lubricated bullets. Do this with clean bullets because bullet lube does not ever compensate for bullet size being correct with a bullet  slide fit in the chamber throat.

If your barrel is really screwed with groove to groove diameter that is inconsistent or larger than throat diameter anywhere, dump the barrel and get a now one if you want target accuracy results. G to G and L to L don't matter unless you have a poor barrel. The throat /bullet size fit is the  largest that will function and then the barrel will size the bullets when you shoot. You can do this all by feel chambering a round with an un-lubed bullet.

There are different schools on bore riding bullet noses. Having a nose section that bore rides and a driving band section that fits G to G is two critical fit areas if you allow them to be.  CONTROL YOUR THINKING. You can work on that kind of fit or you can ignore it and concentrate on throat fit with a non bore riding nose bullet design. Personally I choose to have one critical fit area instead of two and get bullets to fit the throat.  That is your choice and your efforts can lead to either being successful.

Not believing that bore condition effects accuracy is an error. The finest match barrels are honed. Learn the difference between honing and polishing by definition. You can do either yourself to a mediocre barrel but I consider polishing the least marring and most beneficial with cast bullets. Honing will lessen tight spots, but I would select a better barrel that only needs polishing to work well with cast.

Consider the polishing method I have posted on this forum: http://castbulletassoc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=8364&forumid=63

It works for me and many others have reported success with the simple method and materials I describe in the post. It takes faith, some people never believe anybody else's success unless statistical analytical scientific research is thrown at it. I am telling you polishing works, if you don't believe that, it won't work as well for you as it does for somebody else that believes polishing does work. Aside from the physics, polishing a bore for cast bullets improves your psychology of shooting and makes the barrel easier to clean too.

Gary

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billwnr posted this 21 March 2015

Check your sizer and nose punch to ensure you are not tipping the bullet when sizing it.

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durant7 posted this 22 March 2015

You have all been most helpful yet more variables have been added. 

Ed, “get a custom mould".  Well, I can see that after year one but is that really how a new caster should/would start?  I understand the issue.  If you want “great” don't fool with junk.  But i can still learn with Factory Lyman moulds can't I?  

Ken, “slower burning powder".  This is an area which I need to read up on.  I don't fully understand the correlation to barrel length, twist, bullet weight and powder burn time.  I will do some reading.  Something NEW on the list.

Garry, I guess you suspect issues with my factory barrel.  Something NEW on the list.  As for feeling for what fits.  Can you expand.  My bullet above the first “band” is .300.  The first band is .303” to .305.  Part of that less than round part.   Then crimp groove.  And of course the next band will be the first sized driving band which is .312” to .313” pre sizing.  I determined OAL by setting the bullet out just far enough to that the lands would not leave a mark on the .303” to .305” band above the crimp groove.  Do I put the bullet in a shell with the first driving bands exposed and feel for fit?  I was not aware that this was the MOST important task.  Although I did not dig deeper, I would be that just two lands of the 6 were leaving slight engraving.  I knew this was not optimal but.....had little idea how to resolve.

Bill then sheds some light on something I may have cut a corner on.  I inherited a SAECO sizer from my mentor who passed.  I use his generic flat top punch on the 31141 since I did not have one.  Perhaps my sizing is slightly off and that is the root cause of only seeing 2 of 6 lands engrave the bullet. Guess I should look into that.

Rimfire is so nice, just chamber and shoot!  Nothing got loaded today.  That was not the plan sadly.

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onondaga posted this 22 March 2015

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=3454>durant7

Feeling what fits has methods that vary with rifle action type. I don't know if you have a bolt rifle, a lever rifle or a single shot break open or falling/rolling block.

Single shot and bolt rifles are easiest to check feel of bullet slide into chamber throat. Gently chambering a round with a bullet that is under chamber throat diameter is effortless and easy. chambering a round with a bullet at equity to throat diameter is felt as a slight resistance when chambering. Chambering rounds with cast bullets  .001” or more than throat diameter gives definite pause to the sliding action. They may not even chamber if they are way too big, but you need to know this. If you ink your bullets, you can see where they contact upon chambering.

Feeling bullet slide in a lever rifle may be challenging but Ink on the bullets of loaded rounds or loaded dummies will tell the story.

"above the first band is .300", that sounds too small to be a bore riding nose for 30 Cal. Generally .302+ is common for bore riders in 30 Cal.  Your driving bands are progressive, that is not odd, however bullets with progressive band diameters are specifically designed to be shot un-sized. You can size them if you need to.  but then you lose the advantage of having progressive band diameters. Research the design reason for progressive band diameters if you need to understand that. But, that design is made to be shot un-sized.

If you have not made a dummy round with an un-sized bullet, I suggest you start right there with an inked bullet and see how it feels to chamber and see how it looks when you un-chamber it. If it chambers/un-chambers easily and it is marked from sliding into the throat, YOU HAVE A WINNER, JUST START SHOOTING.

Regarding the out of round you mention your bullets exhibit: If the small portion of the out of round area allows gas blow by, you have a significant problem and may experience heavy leading no matter what alloy, lube or bullet sizing or load level you try. Leading caused by that is not symmetrical and easily visible and easily diagnosed by an experienced gunsmith with a bore scope after some shooting. You may not catch that with the naked eye at all except that your targets will look like they have been shot with buckshot from a shotgun. (Poor Accuracy)

Keep in mind that a very experienced bullet caster can reliably control bullet diameter over about a .002” range with 30 cal. bullets to great advantage by modifying alloy, thermodynamics and casting cadence. Rookie casters don't even recognize bullet diameter variance as an error or a controllable tool.

Gary

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onondaga posted this 22 March 2015

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=3454>durant7

Your questions about where to seat your bullet:

Magazine length if you have one, if not, 005- .010” engaging the lands if you can. At the most LOA, seat the bullet a depth into the neck equal to the bullet diameter, no shallower.

I seat my cast bullets that are long enough,  to engage the lands .010".  The engagement gives cast bullets a stable start in my Single shot rifles and most of my bolt rifles can do that too.

Crimp when you need  to stop bullet set back from recoil in a magazine. Other than that I don't crimp or will use a measured .003” light crimp with a Lee FCD. I generally use the FCD to also return case mouth flare for seating bullets back to zero when I have no crimp.

Some calibers and rifles have very long chamber throats. Example, I don't have any bullet weights in .458 Win Mag that are long enough to be seated out to engage the lands in my rifle.

Gary

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John Alexander posted this 22 March 2015

Durant7,I suspect you are beginning to feel like you are drinking from a fire hose.  Go back and read Ken's post.  There are only a very few factors that really count for accuracy levels above 1.5 MOA and unless you have a very exceptional Marlin 30-30 it is going to take awhile to get to that level. There are a lot of things that aren't perfect you can worry about but most of them don't amount to a hill of beans. 

As several have already said fit is the most important factor, but bullet design is next. Not all bullet designs are created equal. Ed's approach involving getting a custom bullet for your individual gun is good advice but it is also possible to shoot as well in unaltered production rifles with factory molds of a good design and fitted to your rifle. The 299 is a good place to start if your twist will stabilize it.

 Here are a half dozen things NOT to worry about until you are averaging groups of 2 inches at 200 yards. 

  1. Crimp - crimp can be important for pistol ammunition and  magazine rifles, and in only a few other instances for single loaded rifles.  You can look a long time at a CBA match looking for a crimp. 

  2. Sorting bullets by weight if your 31141 bullets don't vary more than 1.0 grains. 

  3. Weighing powder to the nearest tenth of a grain or to three tenth for that matter. 

  4. Bullets somewhat out of round or mold halves offset a .001” or a bit more. It's not ideal but they will shoot 1MOA if everything else is right. 

  5. Barrel roughness -- very rough barrels will shoot CBs very well if everything else is OK (barrel with consistent dimensions from throat to muzzle.  A little choke is ok and may even help.)  Polishing may make cleaning easier. 

  6. Variation in muzzle velocity -- this has a very poor correlation with group size in almost any reasonable load.  > There are dozens more useless things that that some shooters do that should be on this list but six above are some of the more tempting ones NOT to worry about. 

Two more suggestions -- First, if you haven't already, shoot several groups at 100 yards with good quality jacketed bullets and a load that works to see what is a reasonable goal for you and your rifle with cast bullets.  If these aren't as good as you hoped you may want to try reiieving the forend and magazine tube so they don't bind and mess things up as your Marlin's barrel heats. M.W. Curtess or other, can suggest how.

 Second, join the CBA and examine the match results in the Fouling Shot to see what bullets, powders, and loads work in factory rifles (military or hunting rifle classes) in the real world shooting in front of witnesses. The $17 investment in a year's digital CBA membership will produce a better return on investment than most of the other things you will be tempted to spend money on.  Good luck.  John

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OU812 posted this 22 March 2015

Marlin 336CB in 30-30 mfg 2001 Ballard 6 groove, 12:1 twist, 23.5” barrel Slugged .309ish.

Your Marlin with Ballard Six groove rifling was designed to work good with lead bullets. A good snug fitting bore rider such as 311299,314299 or RCBS 165 Sil mould should work @200 yards. Your 1-12 twist will stabilize these. If your gun has any freebore I would size bullets .0001-.0005 smaller than it's diameter.

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Ed Harris posted this 22 March 2015

Given the high cost of new factory production molds from Lyman, RCBS or Saeco, etc., and considering even with careful selection that chances are no better than 50-50 that your cherry-cut mass-production mold will cast a bullet which will “fit” without resorting to bumping, Beagling or extensive alloy experimentation.

By the time you go through the frustration of trying several production molds without success, you will be money ahead with much less time spent in frustration by simply doing your due diligence, asking questions and taking advantage of the expertise of others to make a good choice and do it correctly the first time.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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giorgio de galleani posted this 23 March 2015

Ed''s advice should be carved in stone .

Fit of the bullet in the throat is everything ,and finding a mass producted  cherry made mould that fits is like drawing the winning ticket at a  big lottery.

After having wasted time and money  I ordered  custom aluminum gang molds from

LBT ,  Accurate Moulds and Ranchdog moulds. The people who makes them know their trade.,and work to satisfy your personal  needs.

If you are clever with  the use micrometers chamber casting and such operations , good for you, I am not, so I shoot the larger bullets that chamber efforlessly in the rifle and get the best accuracy ,that my old eyes can give me.

If your rifle is a standard Marlin 30-30 with a standard throat ,in any type of rifling ,microgrooved or Ballard I would pass you my solutions ,I got two six cavity Lee with Ranchdogs  bullet designs , one is gas checked ,and the other plain based.

And for my intended purpose , that is plinking from offhand at 60 yards, the plain base is enough.

Another bullet ,with a conical nose and relatively short OAL lenght ,that can be easily loaded in many different 30 and 303 rifles is the 168 Harris 762x39 Nei bullet , as made by many mold makers .It should do well in the bolt actions.Fitting the tapered nose in the various throats.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 23 March 2015

durant7 ... slower powder .... this has not so much with barrel length, twist ... or other mysterious factors ... simply that the slower powders give a more gentle push at ignition.

almost ( 94% sure ) that cast bullet problems come from distorting our soft lead bullets in the first inch or so of travel . if the bullet fit is loose, it gets bent, mashed, turned sideways, ...bent during birth ...

plus gas blows by any unplugged spaces even before the bullet has moved out of the neck ... more distortion and the beginning of ” barrel leading ” .


i do like john a. s advice to shoot some high quality jakkted bullets to determine just how good your rifle could be eventually. i would add to soon shoot a few groups with cast to pin on the wall ... then even if your progress goes ( normally ) slow, you can feel good about each step .. as you go along .

further, in playing with cast, it is good to remember that you are really competing against what you did last time out .. not necessarily against some lucky guy who found that one rifle out of a thousand that is a natural one-hole shooter .

oh, rule 6 >>>> have fun !!!

ken

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durant7 posted this 24 March 2015

First, thank you so much for all the info.

Some background.  I am a silhouette shooter.  I have only been doing it for 15 years unlike others who have been doing it for a lot longer so I am still learning.  I got into CLA and last year I was 2nd at all three of our matches.  Prior year I did better.  I have lost confidence in my bullets with just 5 to 6 rams.  I start to guess and things go quickly down hill.  Reviewing last year I decided I need to work on my bullets because I know the gun and I can shoot.  Just not as of late.  Turns out I had both my cast bullets and some laser cast bullets that look the same to the eye but not the micrometer.  Time to start from scratch!

I also enjoy loading...or I was until I started to over think things.  But I don't ever give up.  I am going to figure this thing out and I am going to get 10 Rams!  My plan, learn how to cast and reload for better results at 200y.  So I joined CBA after lurking since 2009.  Yes, I am a member.

I read TFS today and see, just like Silhouette, the equipment issue is a topic.  I will have to say I am still processing the need to have a custom mould cut for my gun.  From this I should conclude I will need to have a 30 cal mould cut for each and every 30 cal gun I may purchase in the future?  One of the reasons I am playing with my Lever 30-30 is if I were to get a 308 or 30-06 bolt gun I would be good to go.  Guess not.  My true fantasy is to see if I can become competent enough to shoot HP silhouette with cast bullets for chickens and pigs and just use jacketed for Turkeys and Rams. (200, 300 385 and 500m)  I suspect it is possible but not with the same caliber rifle.  For now, I rearranged a few of the NH matches with an eye to making some of the CBA Benchrest matches in Bedford, MA with my lever gun and see what CBA is all about.

But time is not my friend.  Nor is the weather.  A new mould will be next year.  I have to make what I have work this year.  Working with what I have today, it would seem I should really play with OAL.  Since my gun slugged .309 +/- is .311 the right decision?  Up, down, stay the same?  

Powder, I am a rookie having only reloaded 30-30 and 44 Rem Mag and having used two powders.  Using a relative burn rate source here is one site's ranking.  

26 - Titegroup (works great in my 44 Mag) 57 - Unique (Std powder for 30-30 and what I have been using)125 - 4227 (suggested above) 140 - 4198 (suggested above) 148 - 3031 (suggested above) 157 - H322 (I own it but it seems to be for .223 small caliber stuff) 178 - 4895 (suggested above)

I don't mind buying a pound of something to try but is this a variable I should fool with first or are there others?  I own what is underlined.

Back using my current 31141 Ideal mould.  

-Power selection....push it slower huh?  Could this be a big gain? -Powder qty...more laddering over the Chronograph -Bullet Sizing....I have 250 sized at .311 with GC and Blue Angel. -Seating depth...go deeper and touch lands -Get a top punch made for the Saeco/31141

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 24 March 2015

by the time the bullet gets to the 0.308 main part of your barrel, it has been flopping around in your 0.313 throat, your 0.314 inside neck ( after ignition ), and has been wrinkled, gas burned, bent, slammed in 3 directions ... and just generally uncoherantated ... so::

it is more important for your bullet to fit the throat snugly ...

than to hope it somehow will rattle into the main barrel ( 0.308 ) the same way twice.


agreed this isn't fair ... chamber necks shoulda be made tight ... throats should be close to groove diameter ... throats should be long and gently tapered ... but production rifle chambers are made to accept a little grit on a hunter's ammo, and besides, jakkted bullets are very very forgiving ...

so we need to find out what each chamber looks like ( ie cerrocast it ) and figure out how to find or make a bullet to fit snugly the best we can . how much fun could a boy have !!

ken

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durant7 posted this 24 March 2015

Fair enough.  I have the 94 page Cast Bullets For Beginner & Expert by J. F. Brennan Jr.  My partner in crime pulls his out and needless to say, his was bigger than mine and I became another insecure male.    Is the "J. How to make sulfur barrel and chamber casting" my go to reference on casting my chamber or is there another source? 

Thanks!  It seems like this is the first step at least.  Ken your summary of the “internal ballistics” is increasingly convincing.

So, a group buy.  Did I miss something?  Everyone gets the same bullet but perhaps in 1 or 2 cavity config, HP, GC, etc.  Are they also getting different specs as to diameter and I failed to pick that up?  My assumption, folks are having a brand new mould custom made and shipped to them......but not custom to their chamber.  Guess I need to have a look at that.  Or perhaps you guys are in pursuit of something more than the guys who jump on yet another group buy.

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John Alexander posted this 24 March 2015

Your understanding of group buys is right.  They get you a custom design not normally available but not custom to your rifle.

As far as powders are concerned I would pick out one a little slower to go with your two fast burning ones AFTER looking at the popular powders used by the military rifle shooters. One of the three will work don't try a dozen powders or other lubes.  I also wouldn't spend a lot of time with the chronograph.  Trying to get knowledge out of what it has to offer is usually, although not always, like trying to tell the future by studying chicken entrails which at one time was the conventional wisdom.

One more comment. If the bullets you are now casting have some small defects do not spend a lot of time trying to cast perfect bullets. Your time can better be spent otherwise. Perfect bullets are pretty but a well fitted bullet of a good design will shoot minute of angle groups even if the bullets have minor defects like wrinkles and rounded edges -- and without sorting by weight. Badly fitted or poor designs will still shoot their lousy groups even if the bullet is perfectly cast and they all weigh exactly the same.

John

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joeb33050 posted this 24 March 2015

Here's my advice.I understand that you're shooting a Marlin 33 in 30-30, with Lyman 31141.Cast some good looking bullets. Inspect them, pick the good ones, don't weigh them.Put on gas checks, size to .310", any reasonable lube.If you're going to load the magazine, you have to crimp. If single loaded, no crimp.Single loaded is mpre accurate.Find the max OAL either way, where a loaded ctg does NOT de-bullet when you remove it from the chamber.Any primer, LP or LR.Load ~9 Unique if you don't have IMR 4227 or A#9.Better with 14.5/IMR 4227.Better with 13/A#9Shoot.Measure groups, WRITE IT DOWN!Change sized dia AND OAL, powder charge in half grain steps.Don't slug anything or measure anything or buy a custom mold or polish the barrel now.This recipe will get your gun shooting <2” 5 shot 5 group 100 yard averages, if anything will.If not, post to this forum and I'll get you there.A Marlin 336 in 30-30 will shoot <2", but not much < ever. (We'll now hear about the 3/4” 336 somebody's aunt's boyfriend shoots.) 

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John Alexander posted this 24 March 2015

As with some of the other good advice already given Joe's recipe is a good place to start -- especially if you don't want to spend any money right now.  

I will add one suggestion to Joe's post. After you have picked out the good bullets from your batch, save the ones that are wrinkled and have rounded edges, not the gross defects of course. After you start getting good groups, load those “bad bullets” and shoot them in alternative groups with your very best using the same sizing, OAL, load, etc. and let us know how the groups compared.  That would be a great contribution to the forum.

I forgot to mention earlier but I noticed that you have a sense of humor -- good. A sense of humor is valuable for anyone but especially for cast bullet shooters. It helps to reduce the chance of hypertension, depression, and possibly apoplexy.  It may also reduce the incident of random damage to nearby inanimate objects and small livestock.

John

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tlkeizer posted this 27 March 2015

Greetings, JD, I agree with writing things down. I keep 2 logs for all my long arms, one for general data and comments, the other for listing particulars on a spread sheet. At the top of my general log I list accurate loads as I go. Also, if you can put in a photo, take photo's of the groups on occasion, good and bad, and put them with the days posting of the shooting. This way, if you don't shoot a rifle for a number of months, you can go back and reference exactly what you did. AND, if someone doubts your veracity, you can call up the photo on the log and show the group. As an example, on my last outing with a 45-70 trapdoor, in my 45-70 Log I entered I shot 20 times, 405 Hollow base bullet, 55-60-65 grains FFG, one set 10 and two sets 5, best group at 200 yards was vertical 3 inches and lateral 8 inches. In my Log 45-70, the spread sheet, I listed the each shot group separately in order shot, gave total shots fired in rifle, each particular of load data, vertical, lateral and CEP measurements, pulled shots if any (and yeas there was one) and comments. A lot of duplicated data, but order presented and ability to recover data differ. As you incrementally reduce the group size you can go back to see where the improvements were made. You can also see your improvement track. I find the data entry and resulting contemplation as intriguing as the shooting (almost). I even list casual shooting with friends with comments about not “serious” shooting (although if it involves who buys the suds it is definitely nearing the serious category). One last thing, if you get one really exceptional group, rebuild the load again a week or so later, and see if you can duplicate it. If not, do it a third time to see what is the norm for the load. I had one load that shot real well, a month later the same load was horrible, but since have shot the same load 2 more times with the first time accuracy. Sometimes my eyes do not like to focus real well on small objects at long distances (type 2 diabetes). So, the load proved good. Have fun.

TK

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durant7 posted this 27 March 2015

Sorry I went dark there for a bit.  Work and now some car trouble have pushed my hobby lower in the priority list.  Darn it!  Do you have to be retired to chase casting as a hobby?  Anyway, I hope to stop typing and start shooting at an informal 100y off hand shoot Saturday.  I suspect mostly Service Rifle folks will show up but I will drag my silly lever gun to the line with cast bullets and see what I can muster.  You learn more by doing and talking to others I think.

As for keeping a log and photos.  I do kinda do that on my blog.  Below is an example of a post with my struggle with my 44 Rem Mag. I had dreams of one gun for both CLA and PCCLA.  I tossed in the towel after the 30-30 demonstrated to me it is far superior for the 200y game and there was no reason to http://durant7.blogspot.com/2013/05/44-rem-mag-take-three-shes-back.html>Struggle so with the 44 Rem Mag.  I will start an entry on my 30-30.

So, need to buy a car, load 60 bullets and be at the range by 8:00 Saturday...oh...and Saturday is my wife's birthday.  I think something may not happen.  Wonder what it will be....life gets in the way of shooting sometimes.

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muley posted this 27 March 2015

unless she really has to go out for breakfast on her birthday, go shoot in the morning

and take her out for dinner. if she doesn't like roses, use the money saved and buy

lead/linotype. enjoy your shooting.

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OU812 posted this 27 March 2015

Today I did a pound cast of my Winchester Model 94 30-30 and Thompson Contender 300 Whisper barrel. I can get a good idea of what type cast bullet will work best by looking at and measuring cast. It looks to me that the Thompson would be more cast bullet friendly. The Winchester may need throating to shoot more accurately.

   

The Winchester 30-30 has a groove diameter of .309 with no leade. Only the neck diameter section was cut .100 longer. Six groove rifling, clockwise 1/12 twist.

 

The Thompson 300 Whisper has a groove diameter of .308 with a leade of  .309 diameter, .200 long . Eight groove rifling, counter clockwise 1-10 twist. 

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durant7 posted this 05 April 2015

Happy Easter or Passover to all.  I have a small window and I wanted to express my appreciation for the input and let you know I do shot my gun.  I am intending to get my lever gun benched at some point but time has not been on my side.  I went to a match last weekend  which was, from what I can tell, an early fun match the Service Rifle types put on to see if they can attract other shooters.  So there I was with my lever gun, new bullets, new front aperture next to AR15s, M14, Springfields.  Not a cast bullet in the bunch.  Ok, there was one shooting buddy there with a 38-55 but he shoots purchased cast bullets!  I had hoped to work on my zero before the match began but that was not in the cards.  The line was cleared and I was called to the line, relay 1, target #5.  I had 5 minutes to find the best zero I could shooting off hand without a spotter.  Them 30 call holes at 100 y in the snow are itty bitty.

I used some 31141 I cast 4 years ago and sized and GC to .311.  My brass was all trimmed to length of 2.030".  Case was not crimped and had an overall length of 2.555".  9 grains of Unique which I accepted drops from a Dillon powder measure which is not very exact.  Safe but not exact.  I have not picked up a slower powder yet. H4198 seems to be popular.  For now I need to pick one slow burning powder and compare to Unique.  I am open to suggestions.  I do see I will run through a pound much faster of a slow burning powder than I will or would with Unique.

So, net net, the bullets are not key holing and seem to show promise.  Then again, BR is an entirely different game from off hand.  Too bad I only put 19 on paper.  Does not compute but it is what it is.  All part of the learning process of counting shots!

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R. Dupraz posted this 05 April 2015

Thanks for posting the results on your first time out. Looks to me like you have things pretty well in hand. Pretty dang good first offhand target I would say.

I like your group in the black. Those few high and low shots in the white indicate mostly just a timing issue which can be fixed with some practice. As opposed to the shots being scattered all over.

And yes, it does help to develop a system to keep track of shots fired. I think it's safe to say that we have all been there at one time or another.

As to powders with cast bullets, I will suggest that some time you take a look at IMR 4227. I have been using this powder for a long time in a 22 K Hornet, Marlin CB 38-55, 30-06 Spring field, .308, 7.62x51 mauser and most recently .30 Herret. All with 12-16 grns with very good results. The exception is 20 grns in the 38-55 which I use for monthly lever action silhouette matches.

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durant7 posted this 08 April 2015

Here is my 2nd attempt at a pound cast on my 30-30.

Groove Diameter .3100" Bore Diameter .3025” (land to land) Freebore length? Freebore diameter .3325" Throat? Leade length? Leade diameter?

Time for more research.  I just wanted to post my pound cast.  My first piece of brass was trimmed to 2.030” RP which is my reloading brass.  The second back up piece of brass was a junk range pick up piece which I had not trimmed to my standard length.  This may have been an error so in full disclosure this picture represents a piece of brass that I measure to be 2.010".  I measure the length of freebore as pound cast to be .115” which suggests one could use brass 2.225".  Not that this would be wise.

My current load is:

Brass TTL 2.030" OAL 2.555" GC & sized in a Saeco sizer to .311” with Blue Angel.

I appreciate that is akin to a 2x4” but I am working on better detailed understanding of my current load with an old Ideal mould.  Let's not even discuss my management of lead alloy.  That is another chapter.

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durant7 posted this 08 April 2015

And my current bullet as cast from an Ideal 31141 single cavity.

It does not drop round until run through the sizer.  The driving bands are .311 to .313 at seam.  The “throat band” varies from .302” to .305” at the seam which is of course only as good as I have the mould set up which I have worked hard on.   The area in front of that is .301” to .298".  Sorry my terminology is not up to snuff.

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highstandard40 posted this 09 April 2015

Based on your pound cast and measurements of the bullet you are using I would suggest trying the following.

  1. When prepping the cases, use a neck sizer die and size just enough of the neck to hold the bullet, maybe half the neck.
  2. Use the bullets as they come from the mold, lubed only.
  3. Since you are not crimping, seat the bullet out as far as you can and still be able to chamber the loaded cartridge, even if s lube groove is partially exposed.
  4. Shoot some groups and let us know how it goes.

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durant7 posted this 12 April 2015

Weather broke and got to the range.

Some of my cast bullets from 31141 mould sized to .313 and seated so as to give me a 2.593 COAL seemed to do the best.  Truth is, I think my technique could be the limiting factor.  So, I will load up what looked the most promising and see if I can do better. Still using 9.5g of Unique.  I own it and don't own the others.  The last relative burn rate I saw put Unique at 26 and H4198 at 58.  Or 4895 listed at 69.  Either way, very different powder than the Unique I have been using.  I will see what is on the shelf when I get to a store.

As for groups, well.  I am cherry picking the best with the intent of loading them up again and seeing it they are reproducible or I was just holding better for these groups.  I seem to have an issue with the shot going high.   I will try some different holds and see what I get. Ok, the Scotch Bright.  I was cleaning up mould seams for fun and did 5.  They grouped the best on this outing.  I do not suggest it, I was just experimenting.  The second group, lower left is the exact same bullet and load but no Scotch Bright. Top group measures CTC 1.5” and the bottom left “non Scotch Bright” measures 2".  Shot at 100y with Scope.  

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 13 April 2015

i am enjoying your reports .. keep 'em coming .

just a couple things :

1) for me myself when playing with cast bullets , i perceive that i am shooting against muself ; as in trying to do better with brilliant insight and ... a little luck . if you get teensy groups right away, it might get boring and you would have to buy another gun .

2) looking at your chamber upsets , i think that the large diameter just in front of your brass is really just a long chamber neck, and not ” freebore . also i think your lead bullet probably expands to fill that space at firing, but then gets swaged back down as it enters the rifling ... hopefully perfectly concentric but ...sigh ... not very likely .


it would seem that this is bad ... but looking over the last 40 years of testing by the CBA and other cast shooters , the list of positively proven facts is a very short one .

it would be interesting if you could pre/breech seat your bullets further down the barrel ... past the chamber neck ... there has been some discussion on breech seating just recently on this forum ; although not sure with lever action rifles ... ( g ) .

just some random thoughts . ken

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durant7 posted this 19 April 2015

Ok, I am drinking the coolaid of neck sizing only and bought a Redding 30-30 Neck sizing die.  My understanding, this would enable me to improve the concentricity of my bullet to the bore of the rifle.  Indeed, when I went to see if my new 2.591” rounds would cycle, it left 5 out of 6 nice land marks unlike earlier tests where just two would engrave the bullet.  

 So, off I went.  9.5g of Unique, neck sized all the fired brass and set the bullet in its new “as far out as it will go and still cycle” length of 2.591.  The photo below shows the first case, as fired from the gun.  Second, post Neck sizing.  A small kiss from a Lee Universal Neck expander case and then, in with a .313 sized bullet and it all looks good!

 See photo below.  What else should I be working on?  I feel like I am changing too many variables.  

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 April 2015

sounds like you are ready to shoot a few to see how you are doing .

it does bother me a bit that you only get 5 nose dents instead of 6 . this could even be that the throat is cut off center ... more common than it should be . i had a rem 40X custom shop chamber with an offset throat . tho i didn't see that problem on your chamber image .

try some loads seated out as far as the throat will take them ...even tho they won't go in the magazine ... just for a reference point .

great to see shooters working with the lever actions !!

ken

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John Alexander posted this 20 April 2015

Sometimes accuracy is good with some  bullet designs when only 3 or 4 land marks appear on a dummy load.  I think this is usually caused by offset mold blocks making two places where a land may fit and not touch the bullet if positioned just right/wrong.

It is amazing what you can see with a bore scope.  The last Savage 12 I bought (and probably ever will buy)  had some tapers to full land height more than a land width ahead of those on the other side.  Amazing that you could get a reamer aligned that crooked without the shaft rubbing on the back of the chamber.  I sent it back to Savage and described the defect. They  deemed it within their spec and sent it back.

In a way they were right the darned thing averages about .75 moa for 5 shot groups with Sierra MKs.  I haven't been able to get it up to speed with CBs.  A candidate for a tad of rethroating if I was in a better mood.

John

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OU812 posted this 20 April 2015

Try sizing bullet smaller .308-.309 . Then seat the bullet “longer” in case and “jam” the crimped case/bullet into rifling when chambered. This will support and center the bullet better. Softer alloys around 12 bhn will chamber more easily and deeper. Your .302-.305 throat band should be fully engraved stoping at front .309  drive band.   A snug fitting and concentric bore rider such as the RCBS 165 Sil. bullet seated long and stopping at front drive band should work better. You may have to lap mold larger to get snug fit on bore ride section. The classic Lyman 314299 is also a good choice...seated long.

  Try different velocities from 1500 to 2000fps. I hope your lube prevents fouling.

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durant7 posted this 22 April 2015

Ok, somewhere in this thread there was a comment about the need to have a sense of humor.  Phew!  I have been looking for it since Sunday but I must have left it at my buddies house because it sure ain't at my house!

There I was, all excited about my first neck sized die, heck, my first virgin die that was not a hand me down or gun show find!  I was seeing much more concentricity and things were looking up!  Load up some bullets, weigh each charge to 9.5g of Unique and start the process.  YIKES!  4” groups and or larger.  Must be me.  Try this, try that, nothing would group.  Exasperated I decided to shoot some of the bullets I made in some haste on a Friday night after work for the St. Patrick's Day match.  Now, these loads were based on FL sized brass.  .311 Bullets with Blue Angel lube.  Expander only flared the top of the brass making for a very high neck tension.  Small bullet, FL brass, seated shallow at 2.555 vs. the max that will cycle which is 2.590".  Not a huge difference but different.  They shot far better than bullets with all the “improvements".  Not that is funny!  Maybe....

The only difference was I used on average 8.8g drop of Unique.  So, I raced home and loaded up 10 8.8g loads in neck sized only brass and upon return to the range my group was now 7” or more!  Hard to tell when 30% of the rounds don't even make the paper.  I knew in my heart that 8.8 vs. 9.5 was not going to make the difference but you just never know.

So, I am back to square one with a match Sunday which I am co-running.  Humor right!  I will do my best to replicate the bottom load which is 2” at 100y.  Drop that high shot and we're down to 1.5” for a 10 shot group.  Go figure!  One x in the win column for FL brass.  Or, I need to step back and reconsider my options after the Sunday match.  I would be interested to see if a 311299 would even extract unfired from a 336 based action.  I have my shorter 31141 so long I had to release the extractor to get the bullet to come off the bolt face.  The 311299 looks even longer.  Certainly not something I could use for CLA.  

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John Alexander posted this 22 April 2015

Yes a sense of humor helps. I have been known to claim that small differences in neck size (tension) don't affect accuracy and I will stick with that until I see the results of a good test that says otherwise.  However, “small” is an important word in that claim.  It is possible for an extremely tight case mouth to “size” a soft bullet as it is seated or the part of the bullet out of the case being upset to a fatter diameter or a long nose even being bent.

I would suggest that you pull a bullet that has been seated in a case you sized with your new neck sizing die (most of which are made for use with jacketed bullets and are too small) and measure the diameters of both the part that was in the case and the part that wasn't and compare it to the original dimensions.

For a rifle and scope that is OK, there are only a few things I can think of to cause total misses -- terrible bullet design, grossly undersized bullet from mold, overly hot load, or a bullet too long for the rifling twist  and none of those seem likely in your case.

If your prized new neck die is guilty it can be lapped out and fixed.

John 

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joeb33050 posted this 22 April 2015

How does this rifle shoot with factory ammunition? If it won't shoot jacketed, it won't shoot cast. (George Schoyen)

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 22 April 2015

for sizing dies that use an expander button, a good place to start is a button the same diameter as your cast bullet ... it is also nice to have a button 0.001 over, and another 0.002 over .


with cast bullets, we seldom get to say ” AHA !! ” ... usually it is ” HMMMM ... ” ... or occasionally ..something closer to what i picked up in the army ... ( g ) .

ken

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harleyrock posted this 28 April 2015

Onondaga, "Bullet to throat fit with a sliding fit gives bullets a stable start that enhances accuracy." What do you mean by “sliding fit"?   Or perhaps I should say,"please describe a sliding fit". Harleyrock

Lifetime NRA since 1956, NRA Benefactor, USN Member, CBA Member

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durant7 posted this 15 June 2015

Thought I would offer and update.  Started with a slower powder and found some 4198.  A place to start and it was one of the suggestions. The starting load is a tad hot for me so I tried 18.0 and 17.5.  17.5 showed more promise so I decided to start there.  My confusion is what variable to attack first?  Today I decided to start with bullet diameter and return to powder qty and FL vs Neck sized brass later. .311 is my standard using a Saeco and Blue Angel.  I used the same set up but with a .312 die I had never used before.  And then my Lyman 4500 and home made lube using a .313 die.  Not a perfect control but what I have. First was .313.  Just was for no particular reason.  I shot 11 shots so as to discount the CBS.  Turns out it was right in the thick of all the other shots except for one which for no obvious reason dropped opening the group from 2” to 3".  The group as shown below was shot at 100y with a scope using my same gun, a 336CB.

Of course one could wonder if the barrel was getting hot.  I had no leading.  I am shooting these GC.  Makes me wonder how I could lube and GC them without going out and buying a .314 sizing die.  As it is I don't kiss all 365 degrees of the bullet. So, what would you do next?  Test the .313 bullets with 17.5 grains of 4198 in both FL and neck sized brass and see if one performs better than the other.  First tests of the neck sized brass were not good.  I stepped away from neck sizing.  Instead I got a universal deprimer and opted to get them all clean and decide later how to size brass before reloading.  That is my plan.  10 neck sized and 10 FL sized, no other changes and see what happens. I attached the .313 target, the best target.  I will figure out how to do multiple post at a later time.  

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joeb33050 posted this 15 June 2015

durant7 wrote: Thought I would offer and update.  Started with a slower powder and found some 4198.  A place to start and it was one of the suggestions. The starting load is a tad hot for me so I tried 18.0 and 17.5.  17.5 showed more promise so I decided to start there.  My confusion is what variable to attack first?  Today I decided to start with bullet diameter and return to powder qty and FL vs Neck sized brass later. .311 is my standard using a Saeco and Blue Angel.  I used the same set up but with a .312 die I had never used before.  And then my Lyman 4500 and home made lube using a .313 die.  Not a perfect control but what I have. First was .313.  Just was for no particular reason.  I shot 11 shots so as to discount the CBS.  Turns out it was right in the thick of all the other shots except for one which for no obvious reason dropped opening the group from 2” to 3".  The group as shown below was shot at 100y with a scope using my same gun, a 336CB.

Of course one could wonder if the barrel was getting hot.  I had no leading.  I am shooting these GC.  Makes me wonder how I could lube and GC them without going out and buying a .314 sizing die.  As it is I don't kiss all 365 degrees of the bullet. So, what would you do next?  Test the .313 bullets with 17.5 grains of 4198 in both FL and neck sized brass and see if one performs better than the other.  First tests of the neck sized brass were not good.  I stepped away from neck sizing.  Instead I got a universal deprimer and opted to get them all clean and decide later how to size brass before reloading.  That is my plan.  10 neck sized and 10 FL sized, no other changes and see what happens. I attached the .313 target, the best target.  I will figure out how to do multiple post at a later time.  


Please tell us what sights are on this gun. Irons? Scope? Power?

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joeb33050 posted this 15 June 2015

If you have reasonable sights on this gun,  I'd shoot a set of 5 shot 100 yard groups with jacketed bullets. If the groups average 2” or less, back to cast. If not I'd look to the gun, at the Marlin Forum, here: http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/336/>http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/336/ The lever guns have accurizing lore that I know nothing about, I do know that Mic Micpherson had a business accurizing lever guns. It's a whole science to itself. Here's a quote from the Marlin Forum:

"I would also suggest looking into tips on accurizing a Marlin lever gun. Having been the owner of a Marlin that gave less than stellar accuracy, I understand how frustrating it can be. Especially when I own others that are incredibly accurate. Common issues are often heat related binding problems. The common culprits are barrel bands, magazine tube or fore ends binding. The easiest way to determine if these are issues is to take them all off the gun. Remove the band's, mag tube and fore end then shoot the gun like that. Rest the receiver (not the barrel) on sand bags while shooting and also use one under the toe of the stock. If accuracy improves significantly you know at least one of the parts removed was causing problems. I won't go into details here on what to do about it but the basics involve relieving stress points. There are numerous posts here on what to do if you use the search function."

I've had a few lever guns, and shot a few more. My impression, and it ain't a fact, is that average 5 shot 100 yard group size under 2” is not common, and that 336 guns shoot way more accurately than 94s. 5 shot groups, not 11 or 7, shoot 5 shot groups.Shoot more, cast bullets and shoot at least 50 at a sitting; 100 is better. You need experience with this gun from the bench. If it won't shoot jacketed, it won't shoot cast, no matter what you do.

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durant7 posted this 15 June 2015

Thank Joeb.

For CLA competition I have 17A and a Marbles rear tang peep.  For ammo evaluation I have been putting a Leupold 36x on a Weaver rail that I leave on all the time.  I have some Leupold “quick release” rings I won and it makes it easier to jump back and forth for ammo testing.

As for shooting jacketed.  I have resisted because that will mean altering my current die settings.  I guess it would just be the seating die and I should be able to make a dummy to get it back to where I am now.

Excluding the flier....which is not helpful in a CLA match, the 10 shot group is 2".  By “not common” does this mean it is much larger or much smaller that what is common among 30-30 lever guns?  My prior testing was all 5 shot groups.  I moved to 10, which is not the norm, because it seemed like a better statistical sample and it is the same number of shots we take in CLA while on the line.

I will look at my jacketed bullet and figure out how to load them.

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Paul Pollard posted this 15 June 2015

Your last photo shows tipping or key holing. If your twist is 1:12, what is causing the instability? The 311041 is about .980” long and should stabilize, according to the Greenhill formula.

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durant7 posted this 16 June 2015

Odd about the less than perfectly concentric holes.  I have attached the least accurate target using the .311 bullets.  These show more concentric holes but are far less accurate.  Counter intuitive.  I love this game!!!!   Or that is what I am trying to tell myself.   True, the bottom left which really opened up the group is showing some keyhole tendency.  Think, Think Think said Pooh.

Here is my current guess, aka stab.  This vintage Lyman/Ideal 31141 mould is not perfect.  Try as I might to adjust pin height, deburr etc etc I have not been able to get the two halves “square” so as to drop a bullet that is 100% concentric.  To the eye pre sizing, looks good.  Post .311 sizing, looks good.  Post .313 sizing, you can see where at the seam, one driving band is kissed and the other driving band formed by the other side of the mould is not.  Blasphemy you say.  Get a new mould you say!  If I could send my pound cast off and ask for the right, best mould, one PB and one GC, I would.  But I really don't know enough to do that yet.  But I am getting closer as days go by.

I plan to shoot some 150 grain Sierra Pro Hunter flat nose in 308 that I have.  Use the same powder?  Go back to Unique? Seat the same COAL as my 31141 w/o crimp? It is also interesting to note Slower Powder so far has not helped the group.  I tried 18g of 4198 and 17.5g.  17.5g was better so I went that direction.  I am reviewing old targets and see that 8.5g of Unique had far better results with .311 bullets than did 4198.

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durant7 posted this 07 February 2016

An update after so many have provided help. 4198 19g, using a Neck Sized piece of brass, no crimp, bullet sized .311” weighing 172g when dropped.  About 15 BHN.  These are a little harder than before.  No chronograph so no idea how fast they are going.  I do put on a GC and use Blue Angel, it is what I have.

 Mould is still a Lyman 31141 which drops .311” non seam, .3125” on the seam.  Sizing I trust helps but does not cure the issue.

I did test jacketed and they out shot my ability grouping quite nicely using H322.  Why this powder works on CJ but is never mentioned for cast I don't fully understand. I think I will produce 100 of these and see how things go for the first match.

Below is 200y group shot on what turned into a windy day.  I had another group with the same range of elevation but it strung out to 8” in the wind.  200y for a 30 cal wieghing just 172g is a challenge.  I picked up a 311299 but it was not the “silver bullet” so I went back to the 31141.  

admiral posted this 07 February 2016

I have never had any luck with either brand 4198 in the 30-30. H322, RL-7, and IMR3031 have worked much better for me and allow full power. I think that's a darn good 200 yard group. I would just size/lube @ .312” with your 311041. Also try a batch of oven heat treated bullets.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 08 February 2016

looking at your chamber upset image , i think a problem exists with that large empty space just ahead of your case neck .

i suspect the bullet to some extent expands into that space when fired and never quite recovers concentricity ...

my fixits are a bit silly and/or not practical :::

make brass on a lathe that leaves no big space there ...a longer neck. 360 brass will work but won't be springy ... not strong enough for warmer loads .

set back and rechamber the barrel to cast bullet chamber ....

throat the chamber so that you can use the longest bullets you can feed single shot ..... the idea is to have a lower per centage of the bullet distorted by that big space ...


then you might consider trading that desirable marlin with 6 grooves to someone for a 308 bolt rifle ...probably go even up .... and your molds will still work ...

if i wuz going to fight it a while longer i would get a mold for a long bore ride bullet ... saeco and rcbs have that style ...and seat it way out ....you could probably get some of that style from some of the members here just to try .

powder choice ... if it ignites cleanly ...won't cut your groups in half ....

just some thoughts

ken

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gpidaho posted this 08 February 2016

Ken: I've wondered about the effect that it has when the bullet bumps up in front of the case neck just to be swaged back down entering the bore. I've been using 357 Max or 360 Wesson brass cut down in my 357 Handi to eliminate this. If I were a little better shot I'd tell you if it helps, as it is it's just one more thing for me to obsess about. lol Gp

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 08 February 2016

gp:: that little space is interesting .... every 22 rimfire rifle has a little ring of lead built up just in front of the case ...it might even help keep further bullets from distorting .... and don't forget they shoot 1/2 moa forever .... dang those things ...

could we cut a little ring of steel and press it in just ahead of the case neck then re-throat to smooth it up ??

my super rook which will set all kinds of records and in which all loads will shoot beautifully ...... will not have that little ring space ... my only worry is that i will be asked not to bring it to a competition event ...

ken

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durant7 posted this 09 February 2016

Thanks all.

I went back and reviewed my posts.  I assume a pound cast is the same as a “chamber upset image"?

I wrote when I posted my pound cast:

"....in full disclosure this picture represents a piece of brass that I measure to be 2.010".  I measure the length of freebore as pound cast to be .115” which suggests one could use brass 2.225".  Not that this would be wise."   I need to remeasure.  2.010” brass plus my freebore measure of .115” would add up to 2.125"...snowing....not heading out to the shop.  Freebore is the not rifled, full diameter of the brass before the cone/transition to the actual rifling.  This “transition area” is called the leade correct?  

That being said, my 2.030” TTL is still too short.  I have gone through all my 30-30 brass in hopes I would find some flavor to be longer.  Not anywhere near as long as I would need but still I have a container of 2.035” or longer brass for some rainy day project.

So, why not neck down some 38-55 brass to get something a little longer?  Starline sells 2.125” long 38-55 brass.  That is getting a little closer and sounds easier than making brass on a lathe.  I read a post about doing just this and WOW what an undertaking.  Not even clear all the effort yielded a tighter group.   Interesting there is demand for longer 30-30 brass.  Starline does not even offer 30-30 brass.

I don't think I will set back the barrel.  I have been looking at other 30 cal bolt guns but figure I am still learning and another gun might take my focus off of this effort.  My first match is the 26th of March.  Somehow the dummy behind the trigger and not the pot will be the weakest link.  Still, it would be nice to know it can hold the 9 ring off the bench.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 09 February 2016

hi durant7 ... i have a winchester brand 38-55 in my hand that has a length of 2.023 .... it has been fired by a customer so not sure this holds true for new y other brands .

please understand that i am not a marlin 30-30 accuracy guy ... i am just looking at it from a point of things that might be of interest .

heh nobody knows what to call that little soace ... how about ” transitional funnel ... ” ...

the leade and throat are the same ... at least in most shooter circles ...

yep, setting back a lever action barrel can be complicated ... ooops ... the magazine fixtures don't line up now ...

one more ” shot ” at the trading option ... how about a rem. 788 in 30-30 ... heh ... btw if you can find a nice one in 30-30 for $300 let us know ...

excuse please my rambling ... my hobby is taking older guns and getting them to shoot 2 to 3 moa with cast ... then i put them up and start on another one ... btw i haven't always won ...

it is not unusual to find a 30-30 that has no throat ..the rifling starts right at the end of the neck diameter . i have a throater reamer for that that starts at 0.313 and tapers to under bore diameter . you might find a local gunsmith with a similar tool, but you need to decide if that would help ... could you chamber that longer round ?

i wasn't clear ... when you are seating way way out, are you single loading ... or are you needing to feed from the magazine ?

i hope you keep experimenting, we can all learn something; keep us informed .

ken

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Ed Harris posted this 09 February 2016

It is normal for the neck portion of the chamber to be about .020” longer than a max. case. While I have seen very long necks more than .050” and in several instances in Krag rifles and Russian M91/30s which were 0.1” longer or more than a max. case, which isn't recommended.

An excessively long neck is NOT the same as freebore. It is just a long neck.  A freebore is a cylindrical ball seat beyond the “second shoulder” or mouth transition between the case neck diameter and the bullet diameter “ball seat” which precedes the forcing cone at the origin of rifling.

Excessively long chamber necks which are commonly found in wartime production .303 British and 7.62 Russian rifles may cause problems with the bullet base upsetting to fill the available excess neck length, and having to be squeezed down again to enter the smaller throat. This can cause pressure spikes. 

When I was at Ruger the company received an order for No.3 and No.1 barreled actions in .303 British.  These were assembled with .30 cal. barrels which had been rejected as air-gaging “oversize” for normal .30 cal. production, the tolerance being +0.0015” -0.0000 on diameters.  This meant that the barrels used for that order ran .,3095-.310 groove diameter, which in fact worked fine. I tested a variety of military and sporting .303 British ammunition in pressure test barrels having normal .303x313 barrels common for the .303 British versus using a pressure test barrel chambered the same reamer in a US Cal. .30 Ball M2 4-groove .300x.308 blank. The pressure rise firing SAAMI Reference and WRA Co. 1943 MkVIIz ammunition in the “.30 cal.” barrel was about +3500 cup, within design limits for a sound No.4 rifle and in fact less than the +5000 cup observed in the SAAMI dimensioned .303 British test barrel after having LENGTHENED THE NECK by .15", about half of bullet diameter, so that the bullet base would likely upset into the overly long neck and then have to be squeezed down again. The MkVII bullet was designed to upset easily to compensate for worn barrels, but this is a two-edged sword if chambers are excessively sloppy.

My own .303 target rifles are chambered to this wartime WRA Co. print as used for Lend-Lease production and later revised 1953, which became the SAAMI-dimensioned chamber.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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durant7 posted this 10 February 2016

I will read and re-read Ed's post.  So far his input is good and someday I will get a mould made.  Until then, I have to use what I have and squeeze the most out of it. I feel the need to update measurements.

Pound cast pictured was in 2.010” brass.  The distance from the end of the case to the START of the forcing cone is .100".   Thus, the max theoretical length would be 2.110".  I have to read about the pros and cons of such long brass.  That said, with my TTL of 2.030” I have .080” of “unsupported” bullet that, as I understand it, may expand into the void and then squeeze back into the rifling.  This creates pressure spikes and a less accurate projectile.  

Since I am 1g above the starting load of 18g of IMR4198 which goes up 4g over what I am using, I don't think my primary area of focus is avoiding pressure spikes.  Sure, I am aware and thank you for the friendly reminder.

If I could get my brass to be just .050” longer, 2.080", would that be a boon for accuracy?  Consistency?  Or skip it and just work on confirming what I have and producing a consistent load?  Distractions just like the 311299 bullet or the 4064 powder are things I need to avoid.  I work 50+ hours a week and I have to set reasonable experimentation time.

Oh, for CLA, I must load via the magazine so these are as long as I can go without feed failure.  I am right at the jiggle and shake to get them all to come on up to the chamber.  There is some effort to close the lever as the bullet gets engraved in the lands of the barrel.  

Hand loading directly into the chamber is not an option for competition so I don't do it.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 10 February 2016

just as a puppy views a new squeaky toy .... there are some of us here fascinated with your accuracy problem ...

first, look at your slug-up of your chamber/throat . visualize that your bullet upon firing looks a lot like that ..... OMGolly !


here are some approaches and my thoughts fwiw ::

1) since hard mj bullets shoot well enough for you, try extremely hard cast >>>>>> zinc bullets are hard enough ... but are a joke to cast and use . if you find them commercially available you might as well shoot mj. you can heat treat lead to 35 or so and that would be interesting to we onlookers but doesn't fall under * fun * for most of us . might try 50 and see what happens . i guess if it improves a lot it would become less hassle .

2) fill in that gap with a bushing and rethroat >>>>> i like that idea except somebody has to pay for 4 to 6 hours of shop time . plus of course we really aren't sure how much better the gun would then shoot .

3) rethroat so that your throat starts at neck od and tapers at 1 or 2 degrees into the rifling ...>>>> this is not pretty but could be improvement enough to reach ” acceptable ” ... accuracy ...

4) should have been first ... >>>>> what is your goal for maximum grouping ? usually 4 moa is possible even with non-optimum parameters .

we never give up .....easily ...

ken

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OU812 posted this 10 February 2016

Maybe a bullet like this one will work (near copy of Saeco mold). I can cast you a few if you like...Linotype (22bhn)or Birdshot (11bhn + arsenic for water quenching). I believe dimensions in picture are using WW alloy, Linotype will cast  about .0015-.002 larger. I would lube first bottom one or two bands only. The entire nose section length of this bullet should be surrounded by rifling marks when chambered (crimping will help chamber deeper). Softer heavier alloy will buck wind better and can be water quenched hardened.

A pound cast if not done correctly will give you false diameter readings, especially if you OVER pound (larger diameter will result).

http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/ByCaliber/saeco315.pdf

...

joeb33050 posted this 10 February 2016

durant7 wrote: f I could get my brass to be just .050” longer, 2.080", would that be a boon for accuracy?    Case length vs. accuracy In the Nov./Dec. 2001 ASSRA Journal article: “The Importance of Case Length in Cast Bullet Accuracy”,  the author stated that short cases yield less accuracy than cases close to maximum length with cast bullets. The mechanism proposed is that the unsupported bullet in the gap between case end and chamber end will be expanded by the firing pressure, then the expanded section will be swaged down as the bullet moves through the throat-and the expansion/swaging will be uneven and cause inaccuracy. This article opened up a potential accuracy-improving easy and inexpensive shortcut. The article did not include any supporting data, so I imagined that what was put forth was a hypothesis.             To test this hypothesis I needed a rifle that shot fixed ammunition at high enough pressures, with sufficient accuracy, and for which extra long cases could be made or found. The only rifle available to me that met these criteria was a Savage Tactical rifle with synthetic stock in 300 Winchester Magnum, fitted with a Weaver 3-9X telescopic sight. I owned this rifle for about four years, and it was reasonably accurate with cast lead bullets at slower velocities, 1200-1500 fps. (We are told, and I believe, that cases that are too long will jam bullet and case neck into the throat of the rifle and cause very high pressures on firing.) Pressure must be sufficient to expand the bullet into the space left by the short case. Expansion of the bullet under the gas pressure on firing is sometimes called “obturation".             In a private communication with the author, he said “”¦ obturation of lead-alloy bullets occurs at about 1500 psi times each Brinnel hardness point, e.g., a Brinnel hardness 10 bullet requires about 15,000 psi peak chamber pressure to achieve sufficient obturation to essentially fully seal the bore”             With wheel weights reported at 9-12 BHN, the pressure required to obturate would be 13,500 to 18,000 psi.  A pressure of greater than 18,000 psi was required. The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, third edition, shows a 187 grain 311334 bullet in the 300 WM with 17.5 grains of Unique at 1605 FPS and 26,400 psi. The load given below of a 208 grain bullet and 17 grains of Unique should produce at least this pressure, which exceeds the obturation threshold. After several weeks of experimentation I found a load that shot accurately at higher velocity:  The 311299 bullet was cast of newly melted wheel weights, weighing 208.5 +/-.5 grains, sized in a .314” die, lubed with the NRA alox-beeswax formula and gas checked (Hornady). This bullet has three bands and two lube grooves along with the gas check shank. As loaded, the first band is out of the case with none/little of the first lube groove exposed. 17 grains of Unique was used with no filler, Remington L.P. #2 1/2 primers, LOA = 3.455”. I loaded one case at the range, sizing the neck in a Lee sizer, expanding the neck in a Lyman “M” die and seating the bullet with the Lee loader. I used this load and loading method for all groups shot in this test. Extra long cases were made from Federal 300 H&H Magnum cases full-length sized in 300 WM dies and trimmed to about 2.660”. The chamber would accept a case of 2.648”, .028” longer than the published case length and .033” longer than the trim-to length. Being chicken, I trimmed the cases to 2.643”. After extensive firing, the cases measured 2.621” to 2.630”. What happened was that the tapered 300 H&H case had blown out to fill the chamber and shortened during firing.   The first test with short cases. On March 13, 2002, using the load noted above and one R-P case measuring 2.605” long, I shot five 5 shot 100 yard groups that averaged 1.132":   The test with a long case made from a 300 H&H Magnum case On March 21, 2002,  using a case 2.630” long made from a 300 H&H Magnum case and the load noted above, I shot five 5 shot groups averaging 1.468". After shooting, the 2.630” case was 2.626”/2.628” long, it had blown out and shortened.  The problem was that the 300 H&H cases were tapered, and a 300WM case formed from them and trimmed to just fit in the chamber, shortened after firing. I needed longer cases.   The test with a long case made from a 375 H&H Magnum case I went to the Internet and asked for samples of 375 H&H Magnum cases, which don't have the taper of the 300 H&H. Alston Jennings was kind enough to send some. I formed three of the cases to 300 Winchester Magnum, leaving the necks long.   On March 27, 2002, with one case formed to 300WM 2.642” long and the same load, I shot five 5 shot groups averaging 1.438” After these 25 shots the case length was 2.646”.   The test with the long 375 H&H Magnum case trimmed short I then trimmed the case to 2.605” and shot five 5 shot groups averaging 1.036", same load as above.  After these 25 shots the case was 2.608” long vs. 2.605” before the shooting.   Lengths of 300 WM cases “Book” case length                                2.620” “Book” trim to                         2.610” My rifle chamber length:                        2.648"             Formed from 300 H&H, case length:    2.630"              after firing, 2.626"/2.628"             Formed from 375 H&H, case length:    2.642"              after firing, 2.648"             Formed from 375 H&H, case length:    2.605"              after firing, 2.608"           Table of group sizes fired with 300 WM cases of different lengths, inches.   Date 13-Mar-02 21-Mar-02 27-Mar-02 27-Mar-02 Case Length 2.605" 2.630" 2.642" 2.605" First 1.378 1.117 0.978 0.880 Second 0.821 1.073 1.497 1.627 Third 1.111 2.224 1.099 1.106 Fourth 0.986 1.653 1.399 0.785 Fifth 1.364 1.271 1.438 0.784 Average 1.132 1.468 1.282 1.036     All these groups were shot at a pace determined by the time required for reloading the one case. No wind flags were used, the rangemaster stopped the shooting after each 15 minutes of “hot line” for target change. The gun was cleaned once at the end of the day.   Comments and Conclusions I don't like to use cases that are close to the maximum possible length. If the case lengthens slightly, then excessively high-pressures will be experienced as the bullet and case neck are jammed into the leade/throat/ball seat.. The average group size for the 20 groups was 1.23”. Six of 20 were under an inch. Pressure was high enough, bullet hardness was low enough (new wheel weights) and the bullet had an exposed section outside the case about 1/8” long ready to expand or obturate. I believe that the results are germane to all cast bullet shooting disciplines. There were no called flyers in 100 record shots from the bench. There was one stranger in the third group shot on 3/21/02. I see no accuracy improvement using longer cases. The hypothesis failed this test. One test doesn't establish the fact, but I have seen no data supporting the hypothesis that longer cases improve accuracy in soft cast bullet shooting. If longer cases do produce better accuracy, I want to know it. I would welcome any other data on either side of the issue.             Since writing the above I have worked with a Savage 12BVSS in 223, forming brass from 222 Magnum cases because the chamber/brass on hand combination resulted in a gap between the end of the case and the end of the chamber. I was not able to detect an improvement in accuracy.             And I've been working with my Martini bench rifle and a M54 Winchester rifle, both in 30/30, both with “long” chambers. Using Buffalo Arms “long” 38/55 brass, I've formed 30/30 brass about right for the chamber.  I was not able to detect an improvement in accuracy with longer cases in either of these guns. I'm still trying. Jeff Bowles mentioned (on the CBA Forum) that he makes (from 30/06) 308 Win cases that are .0015” from the end of the chamber and that this enhances accuracy. Frank Marshall, in “Neck Length and Accuracy In Cast Loads", TFS March-April 2005, page 174-9, mentions seeing substantial accuracy improvements when using cases with “long” necks-not to exceed the chamber case length of course. Here are some other test results with “long” and short cases:    "The rifle was a Winchester Highwall, a hunting weight (8 1/2 - 9 lb with scope), 22” Bauska bbl and a 6x18 Bushnell Banner. The loads and groups were as follows: Sept. 24 '01 - 31141 - 20:1 - 12.5 gr H110  38 - 55 brass                          1.25” 30 - 30 brass as above            2.3", 1.65"   Sept. 25, '01 - Lee 311155 - ww +2% - 28 gr Ammomart #44 38 - 55 brass                           1.3” Called flyer, 4 in 0.75” 30 - 30 brass as above            1.60” Oct. 6, '01 - 311403, - 20:1 - 8.3 gr Unique  38 - 55 brass                           1.37” 30 - 30 brass as above             2.1", 2.8" I started out with only 5 38 - 55 cases, so testing was a little skimpy. These cases were trimmed by trial & error to just fit the chamber length. The 30 - 30 cases were trimmed on a lee case trimmer to their standard length. The length difference was visually obvious, but I have no means of measuring it. Three different loads, different powders, different bullets, different days seemed indicative to me that I should buy brass. It seems to me that similar results were had with my son's rifle, a rolling block with a 4x12 scope, but I'll really have to dig for those results. In a similar vein, there was enough difference to be obvious even with iron sights when I reloaded 30 - 40 Krag with 303 British brass, then acquired 30 - 40 brass later. This was 35 or 40 yrs ago, and I don't have a real record of it. Hope this is of some use to you.” Grouch (Ron Haralson) on the Jouster cast bullet forum   "We have a compromise in dealing with case length in a chamber that appears to be too long. From what I did with making 308 Win from 30-06 brass, I found the max OAL for my chamber that would lock the bolt on firing yet chambered easily without any constriction of the case neck. From that experience only two things could have occurred: one, that the primer strike drove the neck into the transition and increased PSI or, two, that the cases actually stretch temporarily on firing. If there was any other explanation, I couldn't find it. As for accuracy, the factor that makes a difference is the condition of the chamber fouling from low PSI loads. An extra long chamber won't hurt accuracy as long as the extra chamber neck length is kept clear of any fouling that might be deposited." Bill McGraw   "With cast bullets, it is particularly helpful to keep the trim length within about .010” of your chamber dimension so that when the cartridge is fired, the bullet does not enlarge (obturate) to chamber neck diameter just ahead of the case mouth.  Depending on pressure and bullet hardness, the bullet can upset into the chamber neck area just ahead of the case mouth, then the remainder of the bullet will shoot through this ring of lead.  With cast bullets, an indication of this is when a portion of the above mentioned ring of lead sticks to the case mouth and is withdrawn as the case is extracted.  The unwanted obturation damages the bullet's integrity and leaves a varying cylinder condition that, at best, is not conducive to good accuracy.  Under some circumstances, subsequent rounds fired in that chamber could cause increased pressures.  file:///C:/Users/JOEB33~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msoclip1/01/clip_image002.jpgThe above can happen even to jacketed bullets with short necked cases and/or long cylinder necks.      See the photo of the resulting anomaly where there was a .050” space between the case mouth and the end of the chamber neck.  The jacket expanded, and then sheared as the rest of the bullet passed through it.  God Bless!" Norm  Johnson

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 11 February 2016

great stuff joeb; thru the brain throbbing .. ( g ) ... comes 2 thoughts ::

1) if long cases help, how about some tests with cutting the case necks real short ... easier than finding long case necks ... makes me wish i had a rifle accurate enough to test with ... i got a case trimmer tho ...

2) how about the scenario that everybody agrees on ...38 special loads in a 357 magnum chamber ... could it be that if the over all length is the same the accuracy is the same ?? maybe ed harris would know ...

oh, i like to hear the good accuracy with your 300 win mag ... i got a ruger1 in 300 w mag i need to fuel up sometime ..

ken...

oh yeah ... all 22 rimfires have a little lead ring ...and they shoot 1/2 moa .... but not all .. ( g ) ...

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John Alexander posted this 11 February 2016

Joe, Thanks for taking the time to put up your's and other's tests, observations, and speculations.

For a dozen years I have been using a lot of 223 brass made from 222 magnum brass that has only a few thousandth gap to the end of the chamber as my match cases.  I didn't know if it would make any difference but I reasoned that I could do it once and forget about one possible variable, so I did it. Since your tests cast serious doubt on the value of eliminating the gap, I will try some Lapua 223 brass which is more uniform than most, but of course will have the gap, and see if it works as well for me. Maybe the more uniform brass will help a teeny bit. John   

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 11 February 2016

john a. :: oh ye of an accurate rig ..... how about trimming some neck lengths very very short .. just enough to hold the bullet .... that would make a very long ” little space ” and should shoot statisticaly worse . makes common sense .

hey thinking up projects for other people is so much fun .

( g ) .

ken

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Mike H posted this 12 February 2016

From one who doesn't own a 30-30 or a lever action,I would go for a slower powder,H4895 around 25 26 grains.You should get more velocity at less pressure.Even with a long chamber I doubt the cast bullet is going to expand to fill all that space on firing.Personally I think you are doing well.Mike.

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Larry Gibson posted this 12 February 2016

Some years back I was doing a lot of testing of some Paco Kelly loads with a soft cast 311041 (COWWs + 2% tin Mixed 50/50 with lead and AC'd). The measured psi's are right up there with Paco's loads. Standard “trim to length” cases were used. Accuracy suffered greatly and I cleaned more than one alloy ring out of the front of the chamber's neck of my M94 AE rifle. The only way that alloy ring was there was from the bullet expanding into the space left by the too short case necks and the end of the chamber neck.

I had some longer Win 32 SPL cases that had necks long enough to fit the chamber necks so I necked them down to 30-30 Win and used them. That solved the alloy ring problem and slightly improved accuracy which still wasn't all that great. Only when I switched to LeveRevolution powder could I equal Paco's 30-30 velocities and maintain excellent hunting accuracy.

The measured psi of the LvR loads is less than with most factory 170 gr loads yet gives 200+ fps more velocity. I still use the long formed from 32 SPL cases for such loads with soft alloyed hunting bullets such as the 311041.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Mike H posted this 12 February 2016

LMG,Thanks for hopping in with your experience,much better than my guessing.I wonder if anyone has bothered to re barrel a lever action,with a better chamber.Mike.

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durant7 posted this 27 February 2016

The quest continues. Here are the updates. 

I was kindly given some 38-55 brass and I have sized 5 to 30-30.  After a good amount of reading I was nervous on the first one but was able to skip a 32 Special step and just go to 30-30 FL die.  Then I expanded and annealed.  Then my make shift case trimming system ate my first one.  ARGH!  It was one of those moments you put the tools down and walk away and do something else.  I am going to pickup a Forster on eBay I hope.  Over a RCBS based on what I read.

Next.  I have spent a few weekends with my new MYPIN PID which is covered on other posts.  I know more about 3 wire RTD type thermocouples vs. 2 wire traditional thermocouples.....and still, I think my RTD is cooked as it now says 600F when at room temps.  I don't have a true thermometer so....I am pushing the PID to the temp that gives me the best looking bullets for now until I get a better temp input device.  Sigh.

But, have a look at these bullets!  I use a 10 LB Lee bottom pour pot.  Ok, I am starting off.  My alloy was mixed, fluxed, homogenized in dutch oven over a burner.  So I am making progress.  I fear I may still have ZINC in my last batch so I will have to do the sulfur thing.  I get dark gray surface that is not as shiny smooth as the rest of the bullet.

What is going on here?  An otherwise good batch of bullets with this in the bullet?  I have thought this to be the little cooled drop on the the bottom of the bottom pour.  I always knock that off with the sprue plate as I put in the mould for a fill.  I get these...and smaller usually in my bullets which looks as if the mould is not hot.  Any veteran casters out there have any advice?  I appreciate that physical beauty does not an accurate bullet make but....after PID, alloy mgt, etc etc etc I wish I could make a bunch of bullets that all looked good too.

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jeff houck posted this 28 February 2016

I would run both my mold and metal hotter. I cast my gang molds at 850 deg. F. and I use two molds to allow the molds time to cool of and solidify. The mold and sprue stay liquid while I move it over to my hot plate and set it down. The jiggling of the mold while everything is still molten allows for a better fill out and allows the air to escape to avoid voids. I like everything to be just under the frosting temperature when using an antimony blended metal.

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durant7 posted this 06 March 2016

Here is the weekend update.  My trimmer arrived so I took my 38-55 brass down to the shortest of the 5 I had sized to 30-30.  That is about 2.065".  A bit shorter than the target of 2.080".  Oh well.  They are sized, expanded, annealed, trimmed, de-burred, cleaned and then loaded.  What an exercise!  

My pound cast, to the very beginning of the “forcing cone” is 2.100".  2.080” was my conservative length objective.

Then I decided to check what the manuals said.  Hornady 4th Ed says TTL of 2.093”  Yup!  4th Ed, first printing, Vol 1 was printed in 1991.   My new Sierra 5th Ed. says 2.029".    I double checked and that is what the old Hornady says.  Too bad you can't find brass that long!  Lyman 49th Ed. publishes 2.028” yet the drawing shows 2.039".  SAAMI shows 2.0395 -.0200.  I bet the Hornady is a typo and they meant to type in 2.039” to line up with SAAMI.

The flaw in my experiment is that all things are unchanged from my short brass with one exception.  My most accurate recipe at this time uses neck sized brass.  This 38-55 brass is FL sized so....they will need to be shot once before I really can compare to my std 30-30 brass.

I know I am slow.  But I am not giving up.  I think I am onto something using 4198 and .311 bullets.  I will someday drop perfect looking bullets but that will come.  Might just be a custom mould.  I just signed up for 5 year membership with CBA.  I should have it figured out by then.

Image, the left is Winchester Factory 38-55 brass where you can see that is left of the stake crimp.  We'll see what happens after the first firing.

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durant7 posted this 25 February 2017

Believe it or not, I continue to work through the quest for accuracy as well as power for the 200 Yard Rams in the sport of CLA.   

I abandoned my quest for longer 30-30 brass and just live with 2.030” case length.  I still have my 38-55 ready for testing but never did try them.  It just did not seem practical as the solution would be to buy the long Starline 38-55 and turn them into 30-30, anneal, etc etc.  I wrote it off as more $$ and effort than I was willing to pursue for a lever gun at this time.

I did wise up to the math behind the external ballistics at 200 yards.  I was slow to pick this up but rams continued to stand even when hit dead center.  The worst place to hit them!  Experts in the sport say you need a 1.2 Momentum value to knock over a ram.  My 19g of 4198 gave me .801.  Accurate yes, power, no.  In this sport they have to fall down to count.  A new challenge for this new caster and hand loader.  

I had tried the 311299 but that is simply TOO long.  Greenhill says it will stabalize but I had too much of the bullet dangling in the case below the neck.  I had read this was a no no.  I have also recently read this is ok.  Testing for another day as I only just recently saw the opinion about having one's GC below the neck as being non critical to accuracy in the 243 from scratch post.

I did pick up a RCBS 30-180FN mould.  Pretty.  Nice bullet visually but too damn small.  Mine is a .308".  The base band above the GC is .307”  I have Beagled it but to no benefit to accuracy which does not make sense.  I figured if I kept trying powder, Beagling, I would get somewhere.  So far, I have highly non repeatable, inconsistent results which could be me I guess.  But the “control", the 31141 with 19g of 4198, still grouped well.

That is one learning I would emphasize for other new casters/reloaders like me.  Always bring 5 or 10 of what you know works when doing load development.  And at the end of the session, shoot them and see if you get what you expect.  There are weather variables, light, wind, temp, mood, hold, patience, etc etc that can all affect results down range.  As a rule I always bring 5 rounds of my control to confirm the shooter is doing his job.

So, if the 31141 is still king of the hill at 175g and the RCBS at 190g is not an option, how do I get more energy imparted to the ram at 200?  I studied the 49th ed. and decided although 4198 may be the accuracy load, it is not the fastest load.  I decided it was time, to my great disgust, to buy yet one more new powder to the reloading room.  I now see why you guys have so many different powders.  IMR 4064 was a flop.  IMR 4198 was a winner.  But now I was faced with what to try next.  Win 748 and IMR 3031 was on my wish list.  Gun shop only had 3031 so my decision was made for me.  

Did some reading and decided to start with 28g of 3031 to get to the knock down energy I wanted with the 31141.  That may have been careless but the Hodgdon goes up to 29.2g for a 170g Sierra.  Bottom line, it grouped well at 200 yards with a 3” group.  I need to load them up again and see if it is repeatable.  I have had lucky targets which never again could be duplicated.  I hope this time it can.  I don't own my own chronograph yet.  I can see that is in my future.  But, if I get 2,020 at the muzzle that would give me momentum factor of 1.197.  More testing in 2+ feet of snow which today is quickly melting!

This is my first post in the new forum.  Pls excuse an errors.  Sorry the pics in the original post are gone.

Above is a 200y target with scope on my 336CB using 28g of 3031 which is moving faster (more energy) than 4198 AND accurate.  Bullet is a SC Ideal 31141 drops at 175g GC & sized to .311 with Blue Angel.

 

 

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onondaga posted this 25 February 2017

 Durant,

If you can load the RCBS 30-180FN in your 30-30, an inexpensive mold that casts larger in diameter that you should consider is the Lee C-312-185-1R.. It is a nice heavy bullet for knocking down steel, it will easily size/check to the size you need and for me it is my most accurate shooting bullet in 30 caliber:

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/562844/lee-2-cavity-bullet-mold-c312-185-1r-303-british-312-diameter-185-grain-1-ogive-radius-gas-check

Also consider Hodgdon H4895 powder for your application. It is recommended by Hodgdon for it's soft start pressure curve for cast bullets and yields excellent accuracy in the 30-30 with cast bullets.

Gary

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bushranch posted this 26 February 2017

Making long neck 30-30 cases. I have spent time on this and what I did learn is using the 32-40 case is far better than the 38-55 case. With the 38-55 case one side of the neck is thicker and they take more work to make. No such problem with the 32-40 .

32-40's take a bit of doing as the first shot may shorten them too much as they expand to fill the 30-30 chamber. To get by this I left the case long and lightly crimped the excess in the bullet lube groove so it would chamber. I just shot the normal CB target load and it shot a good two hundred yard group. The case neck was left long enough to trim to the desired length. Rifle is a 30-30 Hi Wall. 

FWIW

 

 

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durant7 posted this 26 February 2017

Bushranch,  a single shot 30-30, now that would be a fun gun to play with!  Buying 32-40 to make 30-30 when others are making short 32-40 from 30-30 based on my quick Google of the topic.  If I had a single shot and was doing serious paper work, I would be trying it sooner.  John, yet another mould  True, short money.  I will do some measurements to confirm it will fit.  Google search suggest some can't make it fit.  

I spent a chunk of time yesterday cleaning up the Beagled 30-180FN and put it away. Getting that cooked adhesive off was a task. That mould has been a frustration!  Some initial targets were good but I could not duplicate as hard as I tried.  Today I will load up some more 3031 in hopes for a warm day.  We were 60F yesterday and today it is 26F and WINDY!  All the melt is now ice.  Yesterday was a TEASE!

The photo below is a quandary.  As I tested a number of powders, Win 760 is the slowest burn rate I own.  It is also the most vintage powder but it smells fine.  I tried 33g which seemed like the normal place to start.  It did not do well at 100y relative to IMR4198 so I stopped any further testing of 760.  748 is the right powder for 30-30 I read.   But the 760 had this interesting blow-by of lube.  I don't crimp.  I assume there are some internal ballistics going on here with a slow burn rate that I don't understand.  Nothing important or dire.  I am more curious if it should be telling me something. All four I fired were identical.  All other powders that day did not do this.

 

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shootcast posted this 28 February 2017

I didn't read every response but you have many. John Alexander's, what not to worry about is very good advice. Judging from your 200 yard 3 inch 5 shot group you should feel pretty good. I also enjoy shooting my 30-30 ( T/C carbine ) Remember you are shooting a lever hunting rifle. Not something to expect one hole groups.  You are doing very well. I can't give you the tech end you have already received. Some days are diamonds some days are stones. Cast bullets seem to have a mind of there own. You are narrowing down what works. Have fun and keep shooting.

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Ed Harris posted this 02 March 2017

In transition to the new web site, some of the old photos and drawings were lost.  Here is the WRA Co. drawing which my .303 British reamer was ground to.  Overall a highly successful effort with either cast or jacketed.  I use 30 grs. of 4064, RL15 or Varget with NOE version of .314299 and 40 grs. with Sierra .311: 174-grain MatchKing.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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papertrl posted this 03 March 2017

....303 British ...  I use 30 grs. of 4064, RL15 or Varget with NOE version of .314299...

Ed, I'm curious about the velocity of that combination. I shoot the NOE 316299 in my 303B, but hadn't considered 4064. 

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durant7 posted this 04 March 2017

12F outside and howling.  Not the day to test my new load over a chronograph.  I am tying not to run out and buy the Lee C-312-185-1R mould if my current load of 3031 repeats accuracy and records enough muzzle velocity to suggest a knock down in the spring of those stubborn PA rams.  Ed is right, “Bullet fit is everything” and we lost some useful images when we migrated to the new forum.  I will include a re-post of the pound cast which introduced the issue I have not addressed which is longer, like 2.100” long 30-30 brass.  Best plan is to pick up 50 pcs of Starline 38-55 2.125” brass and size them down.  I did 5 pcs and it is work.  Good project for a day like today.

The distance from the end of the brass to the “corner” of the “forcing cone” when the diameter begins to transition to the bore is 2.105".  Groove is .310” and bore is .3025".  The length of the junk brass case I used is 2.010” vs. the regular 2.030"

 

As for the so far unsuccessful effort to make the heavier RCBS 30-180FN which drops at 190g, there are some measurements.  The photo suggest some alloy swing.  I tried to have one lot but I sinned and tossed in some other “stuff” and if it matters, the ratio of tin to lead looks a bit different.  Let's look at measurements and maybe someone has a Lee they can measure for me.  Lyman 31141 vs. 30-180FN

 

Weight:  177g vs. 190g
Length   0.974 vs 1.027"
nose above first “band": .299” vs .301"
Band 1: .304” vs .309"
Band 2: .311” vs. .307"
Band 3: .312” vs. .308"
Band 4: .312” vs. .308"
Band 5:  na  vs. .307"

The photo is of a Beagled 30-180 so that explains the mould seam a bit.  30-180FN on right.

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JSH posted this 05 March 2017

Wow! I had not visited this thread for quite a while. I have not shot my 30-30 past about 300 yards. Pistol I stayed with SR 4759. In a rifle I had been using AA2520 and H335 with good luck. Did your partial neck sizing work out for you? FYI, I hate to bring it up, but I will. I see you going down the exact same road I did years back. I searched the net far and wide for used molds, priced cheap. Well I got what I was searching for, a bunch of iron block molds or cheap. I have a fair bunch of money in them, yet they drop in various sizes with limited usability in most guns. As I have an empty nest and no house payments, it has loosened up some funds. I find myself replacing molds with customs that drop,fit and shoot way better than the molds made for the masses. I was told many moons ago at a younger age, cry once.

However, if you stay on the same track you are on, don't skip overa mold you already have, as it may drop larger or smaller than the previous one. Thus working better for said application.

I find my mold drawer over flowing, by being filled with NOE, accurate and MIHA molds. I need to clean it out and reinvest.

FYI to those posting,reading and following this thread an Excellent job by ALL. Jeff

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shootcast posted this 27 June 2017

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shootcast posted this 27 June 2017

Don't worry about more energy. Yes more is better, to a point. If the rams are being set correctly they will fall with moderate loads. If you can make out the photo I used two pistols in this match. 32-20 Win. Load was only about 1400fps. With RCBS 165 sil. Bullet. The 30-30 load was 4198@ 20.5 gr.  Same bullet. I haven't shot in a few years but also used a 190 gr. Cast in my 30-30 loaded with Herco. Used it on Rams only. My notes say all rams hit went down. A friend used a XP100 -223 hand loaded with jackets. Seldom missed but with even heaviest bullets would ring rams. He aimed for the horn on the rams head. Hitting them high gives more leverage to knock them over. 

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JSH posted this 30 June 2017

I use the RCBS 165 in my 30-20's and 30-30. I very seldom ring a ram when properly set. Some times they fall forward.

Each range has its own things to consider. When IHMSA was still running pretty strong, I was shooting 3-4 matches a month 8 months out of the year. There were some ranges that had their issues. I shot a fair bit of FP with the 22 hornet and 55 gr bullets. Ring 8-9 out of 10 rams and one will change up. This my going to the 30-20 for a lot of my IHMSA shooting.

If the OP is shooting full footed or some Rams that have years of abuse, he may have to to the heavy for sure. I have seen auto reset BB Rams taken over with a 10" 221 fireball and a 55 grain bullet. I told those Yankees they had better not venture west of the Mississippi with those cap guns, as they will be unhappy with hand set target in this part of the world.

When rams fail to fall with good hits you will hear "more powder bigger bullet" lol. Jeff

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giorgio the slim one posted this 30 June 2017

A well designed  custom gang mold is the cheapest way of getting accuracy .  Years ago I sold  my collection of mass produced iron molds and got LBT gang molds . With good results .

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durant7 posted this 09 July 2017

Since so many folks have helped me in my quest for consistently accurate 200m cast hand loads I thought I would provide an update.  The key update is, I should spend more time practicing on the firing line and less time fooling around in the reloading/casting room.  Hard to admit but true.  I managed a 58/80 for CLA.  Mostly nerves on the line.  I even missed a few pigs which is never a fault of bullet or loading.  As for energy and accuracy at 200m.  I have currently settled on my 31141 GC bullet sized to .311" over 21g of 4198, neck sized only, not a piece FL sized in over a year.  I rotate through about 550 pcs of RP brass sorted by length.  Reload the short stuff first to help them get longer. (I am re thinking my brass mgt)  I tested 22 and 23g of 4198 and my group started to open up.  My brief experiment with 3031 showed promise but was inconsistent with 28g.  This could have been me.  I travel a lot for work and time was not on my side.   The load of 21g of 4198 worked well at Consolidated Sportsman in Lycoming County PA.  Everything I hit fell over unlike the prior year using 19g of 4198.  Out of the 13/20 rams I hit at Bradford PA match, I did manage to ring one.  Hit low rear shank and it just stood there.  Odd.  I had already sunk my own ship so I could not get that upset about it.  

Although not covered previously in this thread, I shoot a 44 Rem Mag for PCCLA using a 429215 mould sized .430" over 5.9g of Titegroup.  Nerves had settled a little by the 2nd day and I managed 18/20 rams.  16/20 turkeys.  So the bullet works, it is the dummy behind the trigger as I managed only 63/80 claiming 2nd AAA, won in a shoot off.  My home made bullet and load found its turkey the first time and that was rewarding as a competitive shooter. Heck, by the afternoon of day 3, when all hope was gone, I managed 35/40 with my 39A.  Go figure!

There is a custom mould in my future someday for the 30-30.  The general consensus on the line is that for big matches with 50+ shooters, one can't afford to take a risk with cast bullets and just use jacketed.  The aggregate winner award did go to a cast bullet shooter so that gives me hope.

Here is an image using my 44 load.  Wanted a good test of 10 shots to confirm all was normal before I loaded 250 of them.  4" wide by 2.25" high.  Lever gun, Iron sights, some wind, I am satisfied and I don't bother with a GC.

 

44 Rem Mag at 100y

 

 

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JSH posted this 10 July 2017

I myself have enough faith in my CB's to not feel handicapped by using them against jacketed. At least out to about 300m.

Your 44 load looks to be working well.

This an exceptional thread a lot of input that I find very useful. Jeff

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M3 Mitch posted this 30 August 2018

Given the high cost of new factory production molds from Lyman, RCBS or Saeco, etc., and considering even with careful selection that chances are no better than 50-50 that your cherry-cut mass-production mold will cast a bullet which will “fit” without resorting to bumping, Beagling or extensive alloy experimentation. By the time you go through the frustration of trying several production molds without success, you will be money ahead with much less time spent in frustration by simply doing your due diligence, asking questions and taking advantage of the expertise of others to make a good choice and do it correctly the first time.
Ed is 100% right here, as usual.  I have lucked out with serial production molds, mostly in terms of molds that cast a bit bigger diameter than I really need, and have done some OK shooting with them.  I have a lot of Lyman and RCBS molds, I'm not going to throw them out.  But I have from time to time had problems that I have learned on here are very likely due to undersized bullets.  The custom makers, many of them are CBA members, some post on here - these guys can make a mold that will fit YOUR gun, exactly right, if you use the alloy you specify when you order the mold.  A lot of us shoot cast to shoot more for the same "pot" of money (guilty) and are kind of natural tightwads (guilty).  A custom mold is one place it's worth it to "splurge".

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