How to reload cast lead bullets?
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Old 04-27-2014, 10:30 PM   #1
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Default How to reload cast lead bullets?

Well I have been reloading for awhile now and mostly only reloaded 45 ACP. Usually I load Rainer plated bullets although I have reloaded some nice FMJ and hollow points before.

So I was looking to buy some more bullets recently and I have found that cast lead bullets are up to 50% less than even the plated bullets I have been buying. So I was wondering, is there any special considerations I should take in reloading cast lead versus plated?

(And before someone says it, because there is always that one person, no... I am not shooting lead or plated out of a Glock! Don't even own one)

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Old 04-27-2014, 10:51 PM   #2
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I love loading lead rounds but the two things that really standout in my mind as far as key differences are 1) you will need to flare the case mouth a bit more than usual, otherwise you may wind up shaving the bullet when seating, and 2) you should cut back on the jacketed bullet load by 10% as you begin to develop your lead load data. Otherwise, it’s a great – and MUCH cheaper – alternative. I actually cast my own (.44MAG) with a Lee smelter. I have found a pretty good mix of soft and hard lead that gets me where I want to be on paper. Good luck!

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Old 04-27-2014, 11:00 PM   #3
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The coated bullets that S&S Casting are producing gives excellent clean results in all of my guns. They load well and run clean. Pick up the Lyman Cast book for load data. Lead runs on the lighter side for powder charges versus plated. An added benefit that you're bullets are cheaper and your powder goes further.

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Old 04-27-2014, 11:25 PM   #4
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Only thing to really watch for is leading issues. Be sure to thoroughly clean the barrel before switching back to jacketed rounds.

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Old 04-27-2014, 11:47 PM   #5
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I have loaded 9mm, .45 with lead bullets, IMO they really dirty the Auto's up, not so bad with revolvers. they are cheaper and I have thousands set away for emergencies. I like the plated bullets because they are less fowling.

As far as loading them, dillon has dies that the seating die reverses on the inner tube so you won't shave your loads.

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Old 04-28-2014, 01:59 AM   #6
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All of my hand loads are cast lead bullets for hand guns. I load 45 acp, 9mm, 380 and 38/357. Keep your velocities down and there won't be a leading issue. good luck

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Old 04-28-2014, 07:50 PM   #7
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If you use a die that both seats and crimps you may have problems in feeding. Use one die to set the bullet depth and a separate crimp die after that.

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Old 04-28-2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fa35jsf View Post
Well I have been reloading for awhile now and mostly only reloaded 45 ACP. Usually I load Rainer plated bullets although I have reloaded some nice FMJ and hollow points before.

So I was looking to buy some more bullets recently and I have found that cast lead bullets are up to 50% less than even the plated bullets I have been buying. So I was wondering, is there any special considerations I should take in reloading cast lead versus plated?

(And before someone says it, because there is always that one person, no... I am not shooting lead or plated out of a Glock! Don't even own one)
Not sure what manual you are using, but first of all, you will want to hunt one down that has some cast bullet data in it.
I have the Lyman 49th. It's a decent mix of jacketed and cast data where applicable.
The other is the Lyman Cast Bullet handbook. This will cover just about any question you have.
The Lee 2nd edition is worth an honorable mention as well, if for no other reason than they have some of the odder weight bullets listed in their data.

That said, loading cast after Rainier plated isn't much of a leap, since it's recommended that one use cast data with plated for the most part. Add to that the fact that .45 acp pretty much cries out for cast bullet use. Low pressure/ low velocity means leading is nearly a non-issue. I shoot very little jacketed or plated through my .45s. Cast works really well.
As for special considerations...:
You may find that expanding the mouth a bit more makes things slightly easier when seating cast bullets.
They are generally speaking, a bit messier. You will need to clean your dies now and again. The lube does tend get free now & again. Also, since your handling bare lead alloy, you will want to ensure you maintain good hand washing habits.
Bullet diameters matter. If it's not right, you will get more leading than if its just right. Not a big deal w/ .45 acp. .357 mag can be a bit annoying though. With this in mind, a Factory Crimp Die may be worth looking at at some point. Slightly larger diameter bullet + a thicker batch of brass can = entertainment on occasion with match chambers. Opinions vary on this. Many will say that it shouldn't be necessary. Shouldn't... to each their own on this subject.
While they are, admittedly a bit self serving, it's good info nonetheless and they explain it better than I can: http://www.missouribullet.com/technical.php
FWIW, have a look at their products when your done reading their little tutorial. I have had good luck with their bullets.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the great advice. To answer a few questions:
1) I am using the Hornady reloading book that has both jacketed and lead load data.
2) I don't believe my Kimber has a match barrel so hopefully the larger diameter bullets won't be a problem.
3) My 45 dies are also Hornady so I do have a bullet seating and crimping die all in one.

Now some more questions for ya'll.
1) Do all cast bullets come lubed and if not do you have to lube them? What with?
2) As far as cleaning goes, usually I just use Breakfree CLP. Does using lead bullets necessitate using a solvent?
3) For a 1911, would you recommend round nose, round nose flat point, or semi wad cutter?

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Old 04-28-2014, 10:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fa35jsf View Post
Thanks for all the great advice. To answer a few questions:
1) I am using the Hornady reloading book that has both jacketed and lead load data.
2) I don't believe my Kimber has a match barrel so hopefully the larger diameter bullets won't be a problem.
3) My 45 dies are also Hornady so I do have a bullet seating and crimping die all in one.

Now some more questions for ya'll.
1) Do all cast bullets come lubed and if not do you have to lube them? What with?
2) As far as cleaning goes, usually I just use Breakfree CLP. Does using lead bullets necessitate using a solvent?
3) For a 1911, would you recommend round nose, round nose flat point, or semi wad cutter?
All commercially cast bullets I've bought were already lubed. Most cast bullets are not loaded as cast and are run through a sizing die to squeeze it to the correct diameter and they get lubed during that step. Btw not all lead bullets are casted. Some are swagged. There is a difference. Swagged is a much softer alloy. As far as cleaning I would just clean as usual and watch for excessive leading and if you detect that clean more often and as someone else said, clean before switching back to jackets. I like swc's because of the nice round hole in the targets. Just try and see what your gun will feed and have fun. Casting your own is next.
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