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Old February 14, 2006, 10:40 PM   #1
cobra81
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Lee Cast Bullet Performance

I have been working on cast loads for my Marlin 336 .30/30. I recently recovered one of my gas-checked Lee 150 gr. bullets after going through several layers of wood, an old tire, and some corrugated plastic drain tile at 100 yds.
I was shooting a reduced load of 15.5 grains of IMR 4759 around 1600 fps.
What started out as a 150 grain bullet now weighs 148 grains, so it retained almost all of it's inital mass. The alloy was about 70% wheel-weight/30% linotype. Here is a picture of before and after. Expansion seemed to be pretty uniform, and the gas-check is still on. I was pretty pleased!

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Old February 14, 2006, 11:06 PM   #2
Rodger Peterson
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Looks great. I think you have nailed it. What type of grouping do you get as far as accuracy and do you you have any lead in the barrel?
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Old February 14, 2006, 11:27 PM   #3
Leftoverdj
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That's gorgeous, but I don't think you are going to get that kind of expansion on game unless you hit heavy bone. I occasionally recover one of my bullets of somewhat softer alloy from soft loam and all I ever find are various degrees of flattened nose.
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Old February 15, 2006, 10:04 AM   #4
cobra81
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I need to work some on this round in the accuracy department. My Lyman cast manual suggests keeping cast rounds under 1600 fps when using Marlin rifles with Micro-Groove rifling (which is what I have.) So far, at this velocity, I have not observed any significant leading. But, the accuracy has not been stellar. (Groups are inconsistent, and are about 5-6" at 100 yds.) Not happy with this.
So, I loaded up some with 22.5 gr. of ReLoder7. Lyman's says I should get around 2000 fps with that, and I can't help but think accuracy should improve, but who knows? I guess I'll work my way up until I get leading. Any input on what to expect?
I'll get to the range soon with this load.
Yeah, I agree, DJ as gorgeous as that expansion is, I'm not expecting that on game.
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Old February 15, 2006, 10:34 AM   #5
Leftoverdj
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Cobra, the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook has not had a major revision in many years. If you have a copy of Lee #2, read chapter 10. It covers a lot of stuff that was not known when the Lyman Book was written.

You haven't mentioned what diameter you size to. Microgroove barrels notoriously prefer oversized bullets. If you are sizing to .308, I'd expect a major accuracy improvement from crimping the GC on with a .311 die. This leaves the bullet as cast. That was .309 or a bit over from the two of those moulds I have owned and may still be a bit small.

I've had excellent results from that bullet in a series of conventionally rifled .308 Win.
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Old February 15, 2006, 04:01 PM   #6
cobra81
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You've touched on an issue I had not yet considered.
I am sizing with a Lee .309 die. Bullets drop from my Lee mould at .310-.311.
I wasn't aware of MicroGroove's penchant for oversize bullets. Maybe I'll pick up a .311 sizing die; they're cheap enough. Just get the GC crimped on and leave 'em as cast. It would be great if I could keep the velocity around 1600 and improve accuracy through oversizing. And who knows, it may be good medicine for my Savage 110 .30/06, too! I never have been thrilled with the accuracy of cast bullets in that rifle, either. Thanks for the ideas....also, I checked the print date on my Lyman cast bullet manual: circa 1980 although in it's 12th printing.
~cobra
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Old February 16, 2006, 09:38 AM   #7
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As long as the finished GC is not larger than the boolit diameter. That will cause excessive stretching of the case neck on loading, and if the stretch does not spring back, the boolit will not have consistent round to round neck tension. A couple measurements with a micrometer and you should be okay. I have only one MG bbl, a 35 Rem, and it shoots cast really, really good. I don't remember right now which sizer I use -- .359 or .360 --, but it just barely makes a bright spot here and there on the boolit, leaves it essentially untouched other than high spots. Good accuracy at 2000+ and no leading. Can't ask for much more than that. sundog
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Old February 16, 2006, 09:53 AM   #8
Powderman
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Here's an idea...

I would personally go with straight wheelweight to save money; however, if you want a good hard bullet, drop your bullets from the mold straight into a bucket of really cold water. After that, you can crimp the gas check on, and then lube using the cookie-cutter method; set your bullets up in a small pan, and pour melted lube in to cover the grooves. Cut them out with a case that is chamfered well, and don't size any further.

Either that, or from what I understand you can cast an undersized bullet and paper-patch it. It is my understanding that this method can yield super accurate loads that can be driven at almost regular rifle velocities. Of course, YMMV.
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Old February 16, 2006, 11:26 AM   #9
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Oversized bullets...

And if you cast enough of them for the cookie cutter method of lubing to be a PITA for you...there's a guy on http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ that will make you an oversized sizer die for easy & fast lubing. He goes by Buckshot and made me a .460 die for my Lyman 450.

He can open up your die or make you one from scratch either way. I'm very happy with mine.
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Old February 16, 2006, 12:20 PM   #10
Leftoverdj
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Sundog, ime, a slightly oversized GC does not cause problems and may even make up for a bullet that is a thou or so less than ideal. The springback in the neck seems to be enough to compensate a thou or two. I'd agree with you were the difference any larger.
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Old February 16, 2006, 06:16 PM   #11
cobra81
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Judging from the appearance of the bullets after being sized in my .309 die, the .311 die won't do much more than take off a few high spots and (hopefully) seat the GC. I'm looking forward to seeing how loading them basically as-cast will affect accuracy.
Thanks for all the helpful input.
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