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Old April 19, 2011, 06:57 AM   #1
Mauser Rat
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Adding a Gas Check to a Plain Base Boolit

I was reading a product review over at Midway the other day because I reload to SAVE MONEY so I need to buy all of this stuff to SAVE MONEY. Really it is to save money and I am going to stick with that.

Anyway, probably everyone else knows about this but.....

in this product review, a woman was pointing out that she uses the RCBS Collet Bullet Puller to put gas checks on plain base boolits that she wants to speed up a little without getting a bunch of leading. And I thought of how much money I would save if I bought one of these Bullet Pullers and tried it on some 44 caliber PB stuff that I like to push pretty fast sometimes. Or maybe if a guy likes to shoot 44 Mag out of both a handgun and a rifle?

When I got the Puller I took some 44 caliber 240 grain boolits that I had cast and I put one rear end first into the collet of the bullet puller and tightened it down until I thought that it was about the right diameter for a 44 gas check and viola'!

A gas checked 44 from a plain based 44 cal boolit. The down side is that I was going to have to save some money buying another 429-240 mold WITH gas check and now even I can't justify that. But the up side is that it is a good idea and it works well.

So I started wondering if this little trick is something that everyone else knows about and does when they need to add a gas check to a PB boolit or if there is another way to do it?

Last edited by Mauser Rat; April 19, 2011 at 07:06 AM.
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Old April 19, 2011, 07:23 AM   #2
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So it just squeezes the edge of the base enough for a check? Cool. Is the base still flat when you're done or does it dish in a bit from the displaced lead?

Got a picture of the finished product?
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Old April 19, 2011, 08:04 AM   #3
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I wonder how "repeatable" it will be? Will your boolits be consistent enough?
I understand they will more than likely get shoved through a cylinder mouth and forcing cone at high speed, but I imagine consistency would be a good thing.
I'm also curious as to how they shoot.
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:29 AM   #4
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I can't see how displacing that much lead is going to be a GOOD thing! Also, how are you controlling the depth you place the boolit into the puller? In other words, how consistent are you? Reloading is all about consistency, each bullet the same as the last.

Pat marlin over on the cast boolit forum makes a plain base gas check maker. The gas checks are made from aluminum soda cans, or any sheet aluminum, or even copper. They are OVER size inside diameter, so they slip on the base of a boolit, then are sized in the size die.

I was skeptical about their use, so a member here sent me a few to try out. He advised me to size the boolit first, then put the check on and size again. IT WORKS! They look great, I haven't loaded any yet, or for that fact even shot any of the un-checked boolits for a reference point. These were for .357's.

I'll let him chime in here, then he can explain how the die works, and deal with the requests for some to try out!

http://www.patmarlins.com
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Old April 19, 2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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This is not an instruction, it's an idea...

Let me start out by saying that it is not my intent to convince anybody else to do this. I don't even know whether I will do this for any length of time but that is the point. From the minute that we all sat down with some powder, lead and explosive primers we did something else: we said that we assumed responsibility for everything that we did. Unlike the masses that buy a box of factory loaded ammo, we decided that we were responsible enough to assess a situation and make up our mind that it was or was not safe to proceed.

We do things everyday now that started out as concepts a long time ago and then became "accepted". And I think that one of the BEST things that a forum like this does is to put those ideas out for peer review. I have never known any idea that did not profit from the intelligent consideration of others which resulted in a better, revised idea. I remember reading something about a guy needing some lead boolits and so he drilled a hole in a piece of wood and was off to the races. I cringed a little bit but.....I guess it worked out OK because he was writing about it! But I would not do it except after WW III in the post-apocalyptic world of Mel Gibson.....

Having said all of that, I apologize for the picture quality but I just set up and took this picture to post this answer.

How much lead do you displace when you "size something down" a couple thousand ths? The gas check isn't that thick and I have the advantage of having been able to look very closely at the "swaged" boolit before the lube and gas check went on. If I had seen signs of distress then I would just have had a nice alternative to my kinetic bullet puller and not a potential gas check tool.

But the lead did not look any more distressed than from any of the other things I do to that lead before I subject it to heat and roiling gases and push it down the barrel at sub- and super-sonic speeds.

If you look at this particular Lee 240 grain 44 boolit, you can see the lube grooves that I used as a guide for how deeply to seat the boolit in the collet. It is actually very repeatable; especially if you use a C clip in that groove to act as a "stop" to always stop the boolit at the edge of that lube groove.

Please do not do this if it seems like a bad idea to you. But there is a wealth of knowledge here, at the Firingline, that I look forward to hearing from and the best thing is that the advice will be free. I would have to pay some fancy consultant a fortune to get this kind of advice elsewhere!

I'll load up a few and turn my head away and pull the trigger and let you know what happens! If'n y'all don't hear from me in a couple of weeks then I would definitely shelve this here idear.......
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Gas Check on a 44 PB.JPG (24.3 KB, 124 views)

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Old April 19, 2011, 06:45 PM   #6
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Hello, Mauser Rat. I don't load for .44 G.C., but I did some checking:
for a .30 gas check..G.C. I.D: .318..nominal cast dia. .310.. .008".
7mm G.C. I.D.: .250" Nom. cast dia. .278 .. .028" ( I have a pre WW1 German sporter which takes a .288 cast, with this it would be .038" difference)
.22 G.C. I.D. .215" nom. cast dia. .225... .010"
That metal must go somewhere, I believe if you look at the base under magnification, you will see puckering around edge. The old master H.M. Pope said the bullet base was the "steering end". If any fins or non-uniformity present, this will cause fliers. I have heard about the aluminum slip-on checks, perhaps being so thin, they displace less bullet metal. However,being so thin, they probably lack the ability to be a good bore scraper as the thicker, sharp edged gilding cups. Best of luck!
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Old April 19, 2011, 08:39 PM   #7
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Ideal Tool,

Thanks for the input. The aluminum thing was brought up by someone else. I posted the pic of the copper standard gas check on the 44 cal boolit. I was also the one that posted the pictures of the Lee molds taken through a stereo microscope that, since my eyes ain't what they used to be when I was a young punk...er....pup, I use to look at stuff in the shop all the time. Like this 44 cal lead boolit. What happens to "all of that lead" when you size a boolit down .002 inches? Maybe I'll take some pictures of the base with the stereo microscope so that you all can see what I saw. Good Point.

I told you that I am not trying to convince anyone. I looked and measured and held straight edges across the bottom, ad naseum before I seated the gas check. I am not foolish. Not when I am going to be in the close vicinity of the thing when it goes Boom.

I think the answer to the "pusher plane" thing is going to come when I put some of these things down range and see if they hit the big side of the barn or the knothole. Jury is still out on that one! If I survive I'll let you know. Otherwise donations can be sent to the NRA in my name and I want a wake not a funeral!
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
How much lead do you displace when you "size something down" a couple thousandths? The gas check isn't that thick and I have the advantage of having been able to look very closely at the "swaged" boolit before the lube and gas check went on. If I had seen signs of distress then I would just have had a nice alternative to my kinetic bullet puller and not a potential gas check tool.
Well, I just miced a .44 cal gas check. The Hornady crimp on type. It is .018 thick. That means you had to squeeze that bullet base down at LEAST .036 thousandths to get that check on. If it can be done consistently without distorting the base, then it should work.

The alloy I make my boolits from would not be easy to swage that much. I think it would crack before moving that much. Because I make them that hard, I don't need a gas check. I do have a GC mold for 44's, mostly because of the weight and nose shape, NOT because I wanted or needed a GC.
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:52 PM   #9
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Thanks Snuffy,

I used the Lyman GC because they were out of the Hornady's when I ordered but I will check them. I imagine that they are similar to the Hornady's but do not know until I measure them. I am just heading back out to the shop to try and make up 20 or so of these and then go shoot them and see if they can hit what I point them at! I may have just gotten lucky with that first one. It's not like it was a burning issue with me. I had been thinking of the RCBS Bullet Puller anyway and when I got it I just tried it one evening.

That is why I just made the one so far. But the proof is in the pudding as they say. I cast the 44 boolit that I put the GC on from a 92-6-2 mix that I have had pretty good luck with so far. I am not sure what you usually cast with but I am sure that a harder mix would definitely NOT be a good candidate for this technique. Even my "frosties" will probably not like the deformation. I'll find out in a few minutes and see if I can repeat the first attempt.

But when I was slugging the barrel and throat of the M48A I was initially using the same 92-6-2 mix and was deforming it more than .036" with no problems. Perhaps it has to do with how slow and even the pressure is applied?

I will take measurements before and after the deformation and I should be able to tell where the extra material is going. I sized that boolit to seat the GC so I may have hidden where the extra lead is going. I need to get an old metallurgy book out and see if I can tell something about the crystal structure of the lead. I'll try to find air dropped and water dropped and frosties etc to see how they all react. If I remember correctly, the crystal lattice in a metal can take some deformation by "slip dislocation" I think was the fancy term. When that happens, it is a lot different than a fracture or brittle failure and does not necessarily involve any kind of failure zone.

Anyway, I'll let you guys know if you want to hear but you can also tell me to shove it and I'll keep my trap shut! Out to the shop!

Last edited by Mauser Rat; April 19, 2011 at 10:58 PM.
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Old April 19, 2011, 10:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
The old master H.M. Pope said the bullet base was the "steering end". If any fins or non-uniformity present, this will cause fliers.
So are we saying that the gas check separates from the bullet before it exits the bore?

I thought they stayed together at least until the bullet cleared the muzzle. If that's the case then isn't the gas check acting as the bullet base in terms of Pope's quote? Or is it so thin that the gas pressure will cause it to conform to any deformities in the base of the bullet?
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Old April 19, 2011, 11:48 PM   #11
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Hello, JohnKSa. The G.C...crimp-on type anyway, usually can be found on bullets in backstop..What I ment was, if there is metal being displaced rearward, it probably wouldn't do so 100% evenly around base..and so G.C. will not be square to base. In reading original Ideal catalogs of first quarter of 20th century, I think that was the original intent..to fall off after exiting bore.
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Old April 20, 2011, 02:15 AM   #12
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I'm gonna state that I didn't read all the way through, but guess what this is about---putting a check on a PB boolit...... I've done it, it's not a problem. It's a PITA, but not an issue.. Cut a disc slightly larger than boolit diameter, shove the boolit through a lee sizer point-down with the disc over the base, and there ya go. I wouldn't rely on long range accuracy,. BUT, it checks as non-check boolit just fine. So long as you aren't seating below the shoulder so it blows off, it should ride the bore all the way through and out just fine.
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Old April 20, 2011, 05:45 AM   #13
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AAAACCCKKKKKKKK!!!!! PITA is the understatement of the year! I agree 100 percent Rangefinder. I think that its possible and that it'll shoot OK

IF

your eyes are not all red and swollen from staring at the stupid things while you try to seat 20 of them to prove a point! Twenty???? I should live so long!!!! Put it in and take it out and then put it in some more and adjust and fit and adjust a little more and did I say that I'd make 20 of them??? Shoot me now with one of them so I have an excuse not to make any more!

I must have been really lucky with that first one. I had it done in under two minutes and it looked good and I would shoot it all day long. But I have seated gas checks on boolits cast with a gas check seat and.....I'll take that one and leave the hand fit ones to someone else.

It was sort of interesting though. I started to go from that 92-6-2 mix to progressively softer and softer boolits until I even oven annealed some and the softer they got the more cupped the bottom got during the "displacement" with the collet of the bullet puller. In the end, the soft ones had this pretty uniform hollow, cupped base that I am sure will shoot pretty well when my eyes recover enough to actually shoot again. It was just as you said JohnKSa: the copper covered the hollow base and conformed to it so that it was something like a jacketed hollow base on the "pusher side." At least until after it left my barrel and I don't have to worry about leading anymore and need to start worrying where the stupid thing is going to hit!

The harder boolits remained pretty flat on the base. They just got longer like they were being extruded which, I guess, they were. There is a company (is it Ranier?) that makes their boolits from lead wire and cuts and swages it into shape. The collet on the bullet puller exerts a very uniform pressure all around the base and just makes a skinnier cylinder with some very minor but symmetrical distortion.

I did not have an alloy as hard as what Snuffy was talking about but I am sure that he is right - that it would reach a certain hardness where swaging it with the collet would just crumble the lead. I don't know if that really hard alloy could be heated enough to make it take the distortion without cracking or not but I will never find out because I am NEVER going to do this again unless that Mel Gibson thing happens and I am using a hole drilled in a board for a mold and having to apply gas checks by hand with a knife and hammer!

Last edited by Mauser Rat; April 20, 2011 at 05:52 AM.
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Old April 20, 2011, 08:17 AM   #14
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Get a hold of Pat Marlin over at castboolits and see if the 44 PB check makers are done. I dont think they are quite yet, but should be close.

I have the 35 PB check maker Snuffy was talking about, and it does work very good. Make them from aluminum cans or you can but the material if you want. I aint tried these on a hot 357 load, but I have tried them with hot 9mm's that leaded the barrel full length with PB boolits. After putting on the PB pop/beer can checks, the leading was no more and they shot accuratly from the pistol and carbine both.

The tool is about $80, but it dont take long to pay for itself if you do much shooting and you can use it on ANY 35 cal boolit, from 380 on up.

I think the 44 PB would work great to, and will probly buy one myself in the near future. But, since I am out of 30 cal gas checks I'm going to order a 30 cal check maker first.
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Old April 20, 2011, 12:25 PM   #15
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Mauser rat..
Don't worry about what we all think.. personally, I applaud people that are willing to think outside the box, and try new techniques..
In my opinion, from what I've read about seating checks on plain based boolits... I'd much rather spend 50-75 bucks, max, on a new, gaschecked mold, and just shoot the plain based ones as plain based ones. Sounds like you may have come to the same conclusion?
Experimenting is FUN, though. I've tried some pretty goofy stuff, myself, but we won't talk about that here..
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Old April 20, 2011, 12:41 PM   #16
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Mauser Rat,
I gave up sharing ideas (mostly those I had seen or heard about from other sources) on forums like this. Either you are told just how idiotic the idea was ("It'll never work". "Can't be done", etc) or you become "The Most High Lord Advocate" of the idea and are resented for "pushing" such drivval on unsuspecting minds. So, if I see something intresting, like installing gas checks with a collet type bullet puller, I will just post it and go away for a week until al those criticics find another person's ideas to "discuss"...
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Old April 20, 2011, 08:54 PM   #17
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I love a good experiment as much as the next guy. I also love to pick apart someone elses experiment. Call me a cranky old man, or some other name, but it's fun!.

MR, I too used the Hornady puller to help with a problem GC mold I have for .44 mag boolits. The shank where the gas check goes casts too big to simply slip the GC onto. By about .003. I installed the Hornady puller upside down in a lee 4 hole turret, threaded up from the bottom. Then I simply slipped the GC shank into the collet up to the base of the first driving band.

A quick squeeze gave me the needed clearance. I think a softer alloy would cast a bit smaller so I wouldn't need to do that.

I have some old Lyman GC's here, they're made of thin brass. They're too small,(30 cal), to measure with my mic, but they feel thinner. They're also what's called "slip on" so they don't crimp on like Hornadys do.

They were all I used to use, but I switched to Hornady as soon as they came out. I was mystified by impacts on the target @ 100 yds, some were slits in the paper, some were dents. It dawned on me that what I was seeing were Lyman GC's that had come off boolits, the GC's were hitting the targets. Not every time, like about 10%, the rest probably either stayed on the boolits, or sailed off target. Having a GC come off a bullet in flight can't be good for accuracy. If all it did was drop straight back, no harm, no foul. But coming off crooked, has to kick the bullet sideways.

JohnK, what pope meant was the base of a bullet HAS to be as perfect as it can be. Any nick or off square defect will make for poor groups. This has been demonstrated many times. Points or the front of super-sonic bullet can have serious dings and still shoot well. Subsonic bullets will show poor groups if the front or nose is not perfect. But the base has to be really consistent.
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Old April 21, 2011, 12:12 AM   #18
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Hello, Just curious..Has anyone used the Wilke type gas checks..these have the center punched out..you place them in hot mould with tweezers & pour as normal..before these there was the tubing cutter method..copper rings that fit in lube grooves..one or two..or more & lead poured as normal? Never tried it myself. Write ups claimed jacketed bullet velocity.
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Old April 21, 2011, 02:25 AM   #19
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See all of this grey hair on my head?

mikld and hornetguy,

Thanks for the kind words. I got my first grey hair a long time ago when I worried about what somebody else thought of something I had said. Then I got another grey hair for the same thing and another and now I don't have any brown hair left. Its all grey. That means that I no longer stress out when folks get all over me for something that I said that was not offensive. Now, when someone over reacts to some innocent statement, I sort of sit back and try to figure out what it is that is stressing them out that they are jumping all over me.

Also, I like trying things out. I like the world being round instead of being flat. I am not going to change that just because someone gets bent out of shape by something as innocent as a well intentioned post about something interesting that happened to me. I prefer to live my life without drama these days and I try to be pleasant and friendly. Some people mistake that for weakness or lack of confidence but I ignore that stuff too because I really don't care what other people think anymore because of that grey hair thing.

But I do like to talk which I am sure that everyone that has ever read one of my posts knows. And I do enjoy sharing ideas with folks that like to do the same and that is a good thing! But using the bullet puller to install gas checks is an idea that I have visited and left!! Not because of anything that anybody said but because it was a ROYAL PITA!

One final confession I keep my already cast boolits in plastic bags until I can put some powder under them because I haven't found them to be all that delicate . And now I will load up my few belongings and head to the leper colony! Take er easy.....
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Old April 21, 2011, 03:50 PM   #20
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Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

I'm not big on old sayings or quotes (maybe because I like the sound of my own voice far too much you say?? )

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

In 10 years the kids are going to look at us in disgust or awe or something and say, "You used to use COPPER for gas checks? At $1000 an ounce? How could you?" and Mr. Marlin is going to be the new Bill Gates. And more power to him! I wonder how many folks told him that there was no way his idea would work? Congratulations on your idea for aluminum gas checks sir.

How long was it before the "heresy" of a round Earth turned into joy that no more sailors were going to "sail off the edge of the world" into the fearsome maw of the monster?

The most incredible one had to be the first guy to say, "I bet if I put up a web site dedicated to shooters that they will come in droves" to trade lies and thoughts and new ideas? And someone said, "No way! Them good ole boys don't do computers and they are all out in the woods shootin anyway!"

My point is this: Change needs BOTH parties to flourish. There have to be skeptics to spur the dreamy eyed inventors on (Mr. Marlin, not me - I just borrowed an idea from a bright woman).

I come here to relax and NOTHING that happens here changes that for me. No harm no foul (or around here that might be fowl?) Have a good day everyone and here's to shooting and bright little projectiles for all of us to covet and make!
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Old May 22, 2011, 03:07 AM   #21
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Pat Marlin's plain base gas check maker, and the Lee bullet puller are both very clever ideas. Both make it possible to fit gas checks to plain base bullets. That opens a much bigger choice of bullets for gas checking. That's stating the obvious, but the advantage of the bullet puller is that you don't have to make the gas checks. I saw the article written by the lady who figured out the idea. Kudos to her.
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Old August 26, 2011, 10:23 PM   #22
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Sorry to revive a thread...

In my quest to find some kind of GC system that I think will suit my needs, I called Charlie Darnall, who makes a tool similar to Pat Marlin for about 20-30 more though. The difference between the two is that Mr. Darnall's gas check maker (latest gen. is called FreeChex III) can produce an entire gas check (cut and shaped) in a single stroke, but requires an arbor press rather than a hand loading press.

video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSljV8ZrTSQ

Its pretty nifty and I am considering getting one for myself in the 35 cal region. When I was talking to him on the phone earlier this week, he said that he has used gas checks with an OD at the same size as the boolit, and seats the upside down (so the cup of the check faces inward) and shoots them that way, with good success! How's that for innovation and a new idea for how to use a GC. It kindof makes sense if I think about it. Any thoughts on the idea?
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