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Old August 22, 2011, 03:06 PM   #1
Rustle in the Bushes
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How a noob builds a cast load?

Hey all

I've decided to go the cast route for loading my k31 for economy. I won't be casting ill be buying them but I'm a bit overwhelmed about how to make up a load. I'm looking at the 165 gr 30 cal bullets and there are so many different types!

How would one go about tackling this seeing as how I've only reloaded using book data so far.
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Old August 22, 2011, 05:41 PM   #2
hornetguy
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I'm not familiar with the K-31's, other than what I've heard. Great accuracy, finely made, etc....
I don't know how consistent their bores are, so this is what I'd do...

Slug the bore at least twice, and compare measurements to make sure you have an accurate dimension for your bore size.
I'd then find a bullet manufacturer that can get you some bullets that are at least .001 larger than your bore measurement, .002 is probably better. Depending on the velocities you are wanting to achieve, make sure it's a gas-checked bullet. If you are going to keep velocities down below about 1800 fps, you can probably get by with a plain base bullet.
I would also clean the bore THOROUGHLY, to make sure all the copper and gilding metal fouling is removed before starting shooting the cast bullets.
Depending how the bore looks after removing all the copper, I'd consider lapping the barrel before shooting strictly cast. The smoother the bore is, the better luck you are likely to have with lead.
I'd start off with some moderate loads... see what kind of accuracy you get. USUALLY you get your best accuracy well below "max" loads.

good luck... hope it works out.. don't be afraid to experiment with different powders, and even bullets. If you can buy them 100 at a time to find out which style and weight your rifle likes, that would be a big plus, before you buy them in quantity.
If all else fails..... start casting your own!
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Old August 23, 2011, 01:50 AM   #3
Rustle in the Bushes
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must I slug the bore or can I just buy 30 cal cast bullets?
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Old August 23, 2011, 02:00 AM   #4
studman5578
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you don't really NEED to slug the barrel, but because the K31 is an older gun (I'm assuming yours isn't new production if there are any), you're more likely to have variations in the bore diameter. These variations will accumulate lead and hurt accuracy. If you find that your bore theoretically should prefer an uncommon diameter bullet, you should cast them yourself, that way you can also play around with the hardness, bullet weights, etc etc. Join the casting addiction!

bottom line though, is no. BUT you'll get better results if you do.
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Old August 23, 2011, 10:24 AM   #5
hornetguy
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studman is right...
Notice I said that this would be how "I" would do it..

However, you certainly can buy some .30 cal bullets and load and shoot them. It is likely you will get acceptable accuracy with little to no leading.
However...you will want to be on the lookout for leading in the bore, or erratic accuracy... those things which indicate poor bullet/barrel fit. If that happens, THEN you will need to go through the slugging/measuring routine.
Generally speaking, if you are .002 over bore diameter, with a moderately hard alloy (wheel weights and such), gas-checked and good bullet lube, you should be able to produce some very good groups.... perhaps not quite as "hot" as jacketed bullets, but that's not a bad thing.
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Old August 23, 2011, 11:46 AM   #6
hornady
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It sounds to me economy in shooting your rifle is your goal, casting your own bullets is the cheapest, but just like reloading there are some basic procedures to follow, and start up expenditures.
Lyman has a very good Cast bullet manual that covers the procedures and provides cast loads.
But if you have no interest in becoming a bullet caster, I would suggest you check into plated bullets, you would be limited in bullet selection price would be 1/3 the price of Jacketed bullets.And you would not need to get into all the extra steps of casting. In casting fit is the major concern, however, Alloy, Bullet lube, powder, and even your rifle plays a part in shooting an accurate cast Bullet. Also if planing on shooting cast rifle bullets you will need a neck expander die, I like the Lyman M-Die for this, others use the Lee universal expander, my personnel belief is the Lee Die is prone to Bullet run out.
Good luck with which ever you decide on.
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Old August 23, 2011, 11:48 AM   #7
Rustle in the Bushes
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Let it be known the folks on the casting forum are true gentlemen!

From what yall said I think ill slug the bore just so I'm aware of any variations in diameter. Then prolly go ahead and buy 30 cals- casting is not in my time budget right now, neither is shooting!

Still, ill prolly manage to get out and give some of this vast canadian wilderness some lead poisoning.

Thanks guys
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Old August 23, 2011, 11:59 AM   #8
IllinoisCoyoteHunter
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K31 and cast...where to start! LOL!

I will give you 2 pointers that are basically common knowledge among seasoned k31 reloaders:

1.) k31's have short, very short throats. You will want to be aware of how deeply you are seating the bullet. Some bullet profiles will force you to seat them deep into the case. As you know seating a bullet deeper into the case raises pressure. Adjust powder charge at your discretion.

With a given bullet you will want to know what COL will get the bullet seated to where it touches the lands, and then seat it a bit (maybe .010") deeper to avoid initial pressure spikes.

2.) I think most k31's slug at or around .307". A .308" or .309" cast bullet should work fine, so long as the alloy is not TOO hard and you have GOOD lube in the grooves.

Good luck!
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Old August 23, 2011, 03:24 PM   #9
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Looks like you're already getting pointed in the right direction. Old Mil Surp's are a real hoot to shoot once they're dialed in with cast... This was my Mosin 91/30 this morning after getting the new scope dialed in. The details: Lee TL 312-160-2R sized at .311 over 13gr. Red Dot at 50 yds. Final group--10 shots. I think it works out to about $.08 a pop for this. Can't beat it with a stick.

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