WHY DO WE SHOOT CAST LEAD BULLETS? - Posed as a question by a Jeff Brown blog article.

  • 534 Views
  • Last Post 2 weeks ago
David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 3 weeks ago

For me, it all started as a need to be able to practice more. At Stephen F. Austin State University, I helped to organize a shooting team to compete in a law enforcement professional fraternity. Although recognized by the school as a fraternity, they didn't recognize or support the shooting team. Being all poor students with no financial sponsors, we learned to cast .38 special wad cutters by the thousands using two bottom pour pots and 4 Lee molds. There were 4 of us who would get together and have casting parties, while other students were partying of a different kind.

After college I continued to cast on my own, participating in local law enforcement matches. It continued to evolve into casting for rifle cartridges and the rest is history as they say. With dies to load more than 100 different cartridges, I have now over 300 molds to accommodate them. There is just not one gun / cartridge that I don't cast for. I would not have it any other way. Casting is a way of life. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
99 Strajght posted this 3 weeks ago

Back in 1959 I was 12 years old. My uncle gave me an 03 Springfield rifle with a hand full of cartridges. I shot those up in about 3 minutes and went looking for more. The next trip to town I found a box of 30-06 but the store wanted $3.37. To much for what I could afford at the time. I was only able to make $1.00 an hour cutting grass or peeling pulp. A farmer friend down the road said he would show me how to load my own. We cast about 100 bullets in a Lyman single mold. Then sized, primed and charged all 16 cases that I had.  I went a shot those up in another 3 minutes and I needed more. I don't remember how many times I went back to reload those 16 cases but it was a lot. He did not seam to mind and after a while I started to buy my own reloading supplies. I was hooked. I shoot cast in every rifle, pistol and shotgun I own. Most guns have never seen a jacketed bullet. I am 71 years old and shoot every day at the range. I am the Range Safety Officer at out range. I guess you could say I have had a life long hobby. 

Glenn

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
Dale53 posted this 3 weeks ago

I went to work for my father in 1949. He was a high end tool maker (jig and fixture man at Wright Aeronautical near Cincinnati, Ohio during WW II). After the war he started his own business (a Hardware strore but mainly an appliance repair business). I was fourteen and was making the great wage of $20.00 per week. Dad became interested in NRA Bullseye shooting. The saga started. He gifted me Elmer Keith's 1936 "Sixgun Cartridges and Loads". He encouraged me to start casting bullets at the shop for us to shoot. We started with a Colt 1917 revolver that had a custom ribbed barrel. I was casting from a Lyman single cavity mould for the 452374 bullet in a Lyman cast iron pot on the gas range. If I cast fifty bullets at one session, I felt like I had really done something. This went on through my father's acquisition of a Smith .357 and a 1950 Target .45 ACP/Auto Rim, then a 1955 Target.

About this time I was of drving age and met a older guy (married with a child) at a nearby gun club. He invited me out to his small place in the country and showed me how to cast in quantity. He and his brother shared a Lyman 11 lb. electric bottom pour pot and several Lyman four cavity molds. He flat out "ruined me". We had an FFL and were selling guns and ammunition from a corner of the hardware store. I ordered out a new Lyman bottom pour and the saga started!

I became a competition shooter at age 19 that lasted about all of my adult life. NRA Bullseye, smallbore, bigbore, PPC, and IPSC. I even became a "commercial caster" for a number of years. It is safe to say, that the "leaden stream" has been a BiG part of my life. I am now nearing 84 years of age and am still shooting, casting and reloading. It has been a GOOD ride folks and itsn't over yet!

FWIW

Dale53

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
cfp4570 posted this 3 weeks ago

For me, it started as a way to save money so I could shoot more. I started out casting for .38 special with a 2 cavity Lee 150 swc, and found that I liked casting so much that I soon quit using jacketed bullets altogether. Now I have a 15 year old son and a 15 year old step son, and my wife shoots. Thank god I'm casting because those 2 boys can make a LOT of empty brass in a day! My wife enjoys running the moulds as much as I do, and casting has allowed me to experiment and do things that I would never have thought about with jacketed bullets; like 5 grains of bullseye in .30-06 with 90 grain 32 swc's. I now own just shy of 50 moulds, and there's no end in sight!

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
Ross Smith posted this 3 weeks ago

If you have the money, accuracy with jacketed bullets is a "cut and paste" affair. Not so with cast, this is a real challenge.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • harleyrock
RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Making cast bullets has become a major part of my shooting hobby. Forty years ago shooting NRA Bullseye pistol, it was necessary because of the cost savings. But being forced into retirement at age 49 and only working part time after that, I had lots of time to cast and do experimental reloading projects. And that lead to writing articles about casting and shooting lead bullets. So researching what others are doing and have done, testing different parts of cast bullet shooting is a major part of my life now.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
Tom Acheson posted this 3 weeks ago

Ross,

I'm guessing you meant cast not jacketed is a real challenge. That's what got me going, having fun making my own bullets, experimenting to see what I could do to improve the accuracy of my loads and saving money. Three kids, a house, cars etc. didn't keave a lot to burn on store bought bullets!

The challenge is fraught with a ton of variables, making this (at least for some of us) a life long quest. Make something with your own hands that performs well.

Tom

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
frnkeore posted this 3 weeks ago

I'm a late starter to casting. I started reloading in 1968, when I fell in love with the 6mm Rem and 3000 fps. But, I started RB muzzle loading in 1982 and then single shots, in 1985 and that's when the stars and moon, aligned!!!

I've dabbled with competitive GC shooting but, my love is PB matches and the challenge that comes with it.

Frank

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
  • JeffinNZ
BudHyett posted this 3 weeks ago

In 1983, I had a severe concussion. I had to learn to walk again. As strange as it sounds, I woke up one morning and had forgotten how to walk. This lead to an aversion to recoil. I had just bought a Marlin 1895 in .45-70 which shooting gave me headaches.

At the same time, Ed Doonan was shooting cast bullets in his 40X and pointed to the lessened recoil. Two Lee .45 rifle molds and one-half the powder charge, the Marlin and I were now again friends.  Next a RCBS 30-180-SP for my .30-'06 and shooting cast bullets became an avocation.

Eventually, the effects of the concussion went away, but the challenge of accurate cast bullets remained. The camaraderie of the shooters, the travel across the Northwest, the fellowship of the Nationals are all part of the allure.

In addition; Warren Page wrote of benchrest shooting, "It takes so much effort and concentration, that for a few hours out of the week; I forget who all I owe money to and when the next payment is due." 

Country boy from Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
  • JeffinNZ
M3 Mitch posted this 3 weeks ago

I got started, mentally,  reading Lyman ads in gun magazines as a kid.  When I first started to shoot centerfires, living in Texas, I made friends with a guy who cast, he sort of "turned me on to" cast bullets as a practical thing, my first loads were made up in a Lyman 310 tool in 22-250.  I was shooting 225415 flat nose bullets he cast, then he loaned me the mold, taught me to cast those little .22 bullets.  Thank You, Louis LaFerney, wherever you are!

 

The idea of nearly free bullets, and reduced barrel wear, appealed to me.  Still do.  Beyond that, I like the satisfaction of the "I made it myself" factor.  Some of my favorite rounds, like the 30 Luger, are a lot more practical to cast bullets for as opposed to trying to find store bought bullets.  The more I get into guns and shooting, the more I prefer old traditional calibers, like the 32-20, 25-20, etc. and these are best with cast.  The fact that Elmer Keith, Phil Sharpe, etc. were casters also encouraged and encouraged me to get into this.  The reduced power loads allow me to shoot for example my 1948 MY Model 70 30-06 a lot more than I ever would with full-power loads. 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
Ed Harris posted this 3 weeks ago

The first rifle I learned to shoot was a .36 cal. patched, round ball, percussion muzzleloader bought mail order.  My brother Rick and I cast balls for it over a Coleman stove in the barn, using the mold which came with his Navy Arms copy of an 1851 Navy.  Later my brother and neighbor kid Harry DeButts found an original 1860 Army Colt in an old barn which had been marked for demolition for the construction of I66.  The Colt was still loaded and went BANG~! all siz times!  Harry's Dad then showed us how to take the Colt apart, clean, oil and reassemble it.  From then on we boys were well armed and became serious game poachers!  

When I turned 12 I learned to cast Minie' balls and shoot an original W.J. Jeffery 2-band .577 volunteer rifle which belonged to our Home Room teacher Mr. Humphrey.  "Hump" was a WW2 vet and former Marine Corps GySgt.  Took my first deer with it.

Never had a cartridge gun until high school when we shot .22s in ROTC at the indoor range at Ft. Belvoir.

Graduated to an 03A3 Springfield my "rat" year at Virginia Tech and bought an M1 Garand at Camp Perry in 1966. Frank Marshall showed me how to make cast loads which would function the Garand, and those experiences became the first article I ever sold to the NRA.  

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

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • M3 Mitch
loophole posted this 3 weeks ago

I met Ron Kiser in 1976 or thereabouts when I was developing an interest in guns.  I believe he was a early member of CBA and  a collector of Sharps and Winchesters, a black powder shooter, and a highly ranked sheutzen competitor.  He helped me learn to cast round balls for a muzzle loader I built and later when I bought a Ruger #3 in 45-70 he helped me cast bullets for it.  I had gotten interested in original 45-70 loads and I found that they require lead bullets.  Ron also got me started shooting lead in my .357 Ruger pistol.  Ron was the most knowegible shooter I ever met and a great friend.  I suppose I became a cast bullet shooter not so much to save money, as because I learned to love the type of firearms which originally used cast bullets, and I was lucky to have such a great friend to teach me.

Steve k  

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • M3 Mitch
Ross Smith posted this 3 weeks ago

Thanks Tom,I corrected my post.

Attached Files

BigMan54 posted this 3 weeks ago

I grew up thinking that only Poor people bought factory ammo. My Entire Family cast & reloaded ammo. Factory ammo was some thing you purchased just to get the cases. My DAD shot NRA Pistol, so 45auto, 38special practice cases were kept in big wooden crates .30 Carbine & .30-06 too. I was pulling on a press handle at 2-3yrs, priming cases with a Tong tool by 4yrs and casting RB over a Coleman Camp stove at 8yrs. My MOM was less then pleased about that. 

My Family bought, sold &  traded guns monthly. Dies & most molds were hoarded. 

By the time I was out of the U. S. NAVY(1975), things had changed. So I started my own set up. My DAD gave me a few single cavity molds & a couple old sets of dies to help me get started. I was stationed on the East Coast for a bit, so I drove up to LYMAN and bought all I could afford.

I shoot cast bullets simply because I don't know any better. And it feels good to hold/shoot a round of ammo you created with your own hands. 

The only things I've learned that my DAD didn't teach me about casting and reloading,

I've learned from you Guys here.

 

I really hate this blasted auto-correct tablet thing.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • M3 Mitch
gunarea posted this 3 weeks ago

My first competitive shooting match was NRA Bullseye in 1964. For me, no manufactured projectile ever matched what I was taught how to produce on a repetitive consistent basis. I win tournaments. Ammo cost and supply never figured into the equation. The correct pronunciation of my handle says it all.  Gunarea, not Gun Area, gunorrherea. (A serious social shooting affliction).

                                                                                                                                                                      Roy

                                                                                                              

Shoot often, Shoot well

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • M3 Mitch
Dukem posted this 3 weeks ago

When I was a kid, my uncle Bub came to live with us for awhile. Bub, (Elmer), had been dragged away from behind a horse drawn plow and sent into the Battle of the Bulge in a glider. Some how he managed to become a gun crank despite that awful experience. He and my Dad and their little brother grew up on a small dairy farm and hunted small game as there were no deer in the area. In 1941 they saw a deer track in an oats field and it was the talk of the local folks. So deer rifles were just not needed. A twenny two and a shotgun was all that was necessary, and handguns scared the bejeebers out of the women.

Somehow uncle Bub got some military surplus Mausers and an Enfield and maybe a Springfield. The Mausers got sporterized and were exotic creatures to my young eyes. My Dad got the cartridge collector bug, but Bub started reloading, and then casting bullets. He used a Coleman stove, a cast iron pot, and a dipper to fill his single cavity moulds. He did this outside our old farm house and cautioned me to only try this on sunny days without a chance of rain. His most exotic attempt was to drop a air rifle BB in the nose of a spitzer 30 caliber mould. I was fascinated.

A few years later, Bub had a friend I always thought was just a bit odd. Hank was his name, and he a full military Model 1891 Argentine rifle. He was a hand loader and a bullet caster, and to my young and naive eyes, an expert. He told stories about loading lead bullets so fast in that Argie that when he shot a red tailed hawk off a pole over his chicken coop, he blew it to bits. That same load he claimed was so hot, that if he fired 10 shots, liquid lead would run out of the barrel when he tipped it muzzle down. As I said, I was young and ate up that BS with rapped attention.

Time passes and the moment I turned 21, a Ruger Super Black Hawk was bought. Oof dah, that thing was loud and kicked! An acquaintance told me to hand load for it with cast bullets. I was dumb lucky smart because I read Dean Grinnell's "The ABCs of Reloading" before I bought any reloading stuff. The only mould in .44 available at the local sporting goods store was a Lyman .421215. I bought that single cavity mould, a box of Lyman gaschecks, and sticks of that black Lyman lube, and a grey Lyman 450 Lubrisizer. 

The next phase was getting hired on a fair sized municipal police department and being issued a rebuild Combat Masterpiece. The department maintained a bullet casting and reloading room. I wanted to do that but only guys with enough seniority got that job as it paid over time to cast with the H&G 10 cavity gang moulds and load on a big Star progressive. I could have all the .38 spl. wad cutter ammo I wanted to shoot, and that Smith was loose as a goose in a couple of years.

Today, I find myself nearly overwhelmed with the number of moulds, dies, sizers, lubes, calibers, brass and other detritus of this hobby/passion. Milsurp, black powder cartridge rifle, schuetzen, classic lever guns, other single shots, revolvers, pistols, all fed with cast. I scrounged every ounce of lead I could find. Taking to heart Dean Grinnell's admonition that he would make a bullet out of it if it were vaguely plumbous, I never foresaw a day when wheel weights and linotype were going to become scarce. So the thousands of pounds of lead in various permutations are a great comfort.

Now aren't you sorry you asked?

Duke

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • M3 Mitch
mashburn posted this 3 weeks ago

Hello to all,

You guys have no way of imagining how much I enjoyed reading your posts about why you shoot cast. It brought back so many fond memories to me about of a lot of people that I knew when I was a little kid growing up. Most of these people were influential on me as to my love for firearms-reloading-shooting-hunting and etc..A lot of people that you described seemed to be ringers for the people that I grew up around. There was a lot of people responsible for me wanting to shoot cast. But get this: the first person to show me how to cast a bullet was one of my college professors. He gave the casting demonstration in his classroom. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD GO OVER ON TODAYS COLLEGE CAMPUSES. I was a student aid for him and did maintainance work on his apartment buildings. HE SOLD FIREARMS-AMMO-RELOADING COMPONENTS IN HIS LIVING ROOM AND ALSO Did  FIREARM REPAIR SOMETIMES HE WOULD HAVE TO GO USE THE COLLEGE MACHINE TOOL LAB FOR EQUIPMENT HE DIDN'T HAVE.. The first reloading components I ever purchased was from him. The Powder was in a plastic bag that was inside a brown paper bag that was folded over a couple of times and stapled. What a nice fellow. Of course you know that when I took one of his classes I was going to get an A. Again thanks for bringing back to me so many fond memories of people and places.

Mashburn

Attached Files

Shopdog posted this 2 weeks ago

40 sumthin years ago.....

429421,an RCBS pot and ladle,and a Coleman stove. Cookie cutter lubed. There wasn't anything jacketed that could even come close to the accuracy,shooting in a cpl #29's. Just kept getting deeper and deeper.....

Pythons,a cpl 1911's,wasn't any turning back.

Then a backhoe showed up,cause this "hole" wasn't being dug fast enough when the cast rifles came into focus.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • M3 Mitch
beagle6 posted this 2 weeks ago

I started casting in 1966 for a 45 caliber muzzle loader that my father gave me for a graduation present. the only thing I ever did with it was to hunt woodchucks and believe me a soft lead round ball is destructive. Vietnam was on my horizon and then a wife and children so I didn't get back to casting anything until 1974, for a 30/30 and 38 SPL. 

Today I cast for about 15 different calibers. There are a lot of casters on this website who are concerned with putting all the bullets through the same hole and I admire their dedication and precision. I cast for fun and am perfectly content to hit gong targets hung at various ranges across my property. I live in upstate New York and am lucky enough to have a range in my backyard, but I also have some neighbors, so shooting reduced lead loads is just neighborly.

I really love this forum and the CBA, so thanks to all for your comments and sharing of information.

beagle6

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • JeffinNZ
  • M3 Mitch
Eutectic posted this 2 weeks ago

A high school buddy came up with an offer. The local gun shop had 71/84 11mm Mausers for 25$ and they were unissued! My dad had the casting equipment for making fishing sinkers. We would split the cost of a mold and be shooting big bore for 30$ each. Then my brother-in-law bought an 8mm Mauser and offered to buy a bullet mold.

Our local scoutmaster was a bullet caster and reloader and set us down the right road.

Later I fell into shooting rifle and pistol matches, and bullet casting was the only way I could afford to shoot.

Steve

Attached Files

JeffinNZ posted this 2 weeks ago

I am really enjoying this thread.

Cheers from New Zealand

Attached Files

Show More Posts
Close