How to reload cast lead bullets?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by fa35jsf, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. fa35jsf

    fa35jsf New Member

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    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)
     
  2. ACES 6

    ACES 6 New Member

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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!
     

  3. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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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.
     
  4. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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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.
     
  5. Eagle1803

    Eagle1803 New Member

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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.
     
  6. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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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
     
  7. JWagner

    JWagner New Member

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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.
     
  8. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  9. fa35jsf

    fa35jsf New Member

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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?
     
  10. string1946

    string1946 New Member

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    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.
     
  11. fa35jsf

    fa35jsf New Member

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    Yeah I know it is but I will have to find a good source of lead.
     
  12. string1946

    string1946 New Member

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    I don't know how hard it is to find clip on wheel weights now days but thats what I start with. I bought hundreds of pounds years ago. I add 1 pound of 50/50 solder to 9 pounds of wheel weights for something called Lyman #2 alloy. Check at scrap yards and buy in bulk. Some like linotype but I have never tryed it but have seen it on Ebay. Thats where I get the solder too.
     
  13. fa35jsf

    fa35jsf New Member

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    I found someplace online selling 8lb bars of lead alloy but after doing the calculations it was actually cheaper to buy their already cast bullets
     
  14. string1946

    string1946 New Member

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    Do you do business with a tire store? Thats where I got mine. They didn't reuse the weights and when they got a 5 gallon bucket full I would go by and give him $10 and dump them in the pick up.
     
  15. string1946

    string1946 New Member

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    Screwdriver and a bucket in the mall parking lot while the wife is shopping? :D
     
  16. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    Don't overthink this. You already know the process, there are differences, but they aren't so great that you need reinvent the wheel.
    Enjoy.

    *Plunk test - your loaded round should drop with into your barrel, flush with the hood, without any drama or resistance, preferably with a characteristic "plunk" sound. For more details, google it, no shortage of info out there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  17. mseric

    mseric New Member

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    Lots of good advice posted so far, so I will be brief.

    Leading in the barrel can be difficult to remove, it is best to avoid it. Solvents, soaking and elbow grease will work, but they are not my cup of tea.

    I clean my barrels with an Old copper brush wrapped in a little Chore-Boy All Copper Scrubbing pad.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=cho...rum.com%2Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D224889;640;480

    It literally only takes a minute and a few strokes to remove everything from the barrel.

    Lead Bullets can have unusual/different profiles that the ones listed in your manuals. Using the OALs listed in manuals can cause feeding issues.

    OAL is always Bullet and Firearm specific, not manual specific. Here is where you start.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. fa35jsf

    fa35jsf New Member

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    Thank you so much for that picture. I have never seen that before. I need to go home and check some reloads.


    Sent from my iPhone using Firearms Talk
     
  19. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Depending on the gun, any of the listed designs will work. I had a 200gr SWC mold that my Colt 1911 loved, but my S&W 4506 was not really fond of. I now just use a 225gr Round Nose Lead bullet that works in EVERYTHING.

    If I were to buy new, I would look at a 230 flat nose. Easy feeding with slightly better terminal ballistics.
     
  20. passtime

    passtime New Member

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    Don't make the mistake I did when I first saw that image For some reason I focused on the barrel flange instead of the rim (and yes it does make a difference) and I could not get the OAL right to get a good drop test. Then I had an A-HA moment. SSSHHHH don't tell anybody :eek:. I sent an updated pic so it won't happen to someone else ;). The red arrows show the correct reference points.:D

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014