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Old September 3, 2000, 05:48 AM   #1
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Just wondering?
I prefer a hard cast slug for just about everything. I'm not really sure why, but it seems like a hard cast is a bit more accurate in the majority of my guns. Usually I reserve the jacketed for really heavy magnum loads and shoot the cheaper, but seemingly more accurate cast loads for everyday. As a for instance. I have a pet .45acp load for my Kimber that uses a cast lead 230gr that I can't come anywhere near with a metal patch. Anyone else use cast for accuracy or even results instead of cost savings?
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Old September 3, 2000, 06:57 AM   #2
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I have to different pet loads for a 185 grain LSWC and one for a jacketed 185 grain SWC. The jacketed SWC is an attempt to dupe the Federal Match load. Either will shoot very tight groups. Since I can not notice any difference in performance, I use the cast bullets more often for cost savings.
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Old September 4, 2000, 01:05 PM   #3
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I have a love/hate relttionship with hard lead bullets, like the excellent Oregon Trail laser-cast bullets.

But I have recently given up shooting lead altogether.


1. Lead is dirty to work with. It gets everything dirtier and harder to clean: dies, barrel, lungs, etc.

2. Summer specials of plated West Coast Bullets is fairly equal or just slightly more than lead in bulk.

3. My personal tests have shown that West Coast plated bullets are just as accurate as lead.

4. The plated bullets only require an extra 1/10 grain or so of powder.

5. The plated bullets are totally plated so there is no exposed lead, which cuts down on air born lead exposure by over 95%.

6. Some indoor ranges don't even allow lead anymore.

I just can't think of any good reasons to use lead anymore.

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Old September 4, 2000, 02:44 PM   #4
Johnny Guest
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I, too, am partial to lead bullets for most of my handloading. One main reason is expense. Lead bullets by the 500 or 1000 are a lot less money than jacketed, or even Rainier plated. You can make a pretty good case for them being easier on barrels than jacketed, too, though I have never personally done a side-by-side comparison. I lack facilities and money and the inclination, when it comes right down to it.

I am always interested in a better way to do something, however, so,
I've heard about West Coast Plated bullets before but never say any link for them. Do you have one, or a link for the place where you order them. If all else is equal, or even nearly so, I'd like to try them.

There is no question that shooting lead bullets is somewhat more dirty than shooting jacketed or plated bullets. you should have been around Dallas Indoor Pistol Range in late 70s and early 80s--I was casting my own .45 RNL bullets and lubricating them with the old Lyman black lube, and then loading them with Unique powder. There's just SOMETHING about that combination--
Soon thereafter, alox lube from RCBS became common, and things got better.

Too right about some indoor ranges not allowing lead bullet loads. I think that if I shot indoors more than a couple of times a year, I'd voluntarily go with plated, just to be nice.

I will research the West Coast bullets, soon as I can, but will continue to shoot lead for outdoor use for the foreseeable future. There are just some things I can do with lead bullets I can't with jacketed or cast. I also find it easier to shoot more accurately with lead loads, but I thought that was just me.


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Old September 4, 2000, 07:34 PM   #5
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Here you go Johnny G, . As for hardcast vs jacketed, all I shoot anymore, with one exception, is Oregon Trails LaserCast in my reloads. The cost is right (read CHEAP ) and good accuracy without any significant leading seems to be the rule when loading 38/357, 44mag and 45ACP.

The exception is my use of factory loaded JHP ammo for self defense/home protection.

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Old September 5, 2000, 04:39 PM   #6
Jack Straw
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I use cast bullets for magnum hunting loads in 44mag. They are just as accurate, they don't lead, and I get the satisfaction of hunting with something that I poured myself. I also use cast bullets for general shooting in 45Colt, 9mm, and 45acp. One other fine use for cast bullets that I have tried over the last year is reduced loads for rifle practice. Its amazing how fun it is to shoulder a .308, squeeze the trigger and get a mild "POP" (instead of "BOOM!") then watch a tin can bounce around.

Casting and shooting lead bullets just adds another layer to my reloading enjoyment.

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Old September 7, 2000, 10:34 PM   #7
Kenneth L. Walters
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Truth is that I've never owned a gun that limited my accuracy. Said the other way around I'm not much of a shot.

Still I have been wondering which would be more accurate, my cast bullets or factory bullets. I'm trying to find out by shooting equal numbers of each in my 45 Colt 30 inch barrelled Uberti 1873 five days a week. So far, much to my surprise, my cast bullets are clearly outperforming the factory bullets. That's certainly not what I expected.
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Old September 8, 2000, 07:08 AM   #8
Bud Helms
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I've been watching this thread for a day or two, hoping I'd discover something ... so, I'll just ask. I seek advice on choosing a brand of lead bullet.

I love the cost of cast bullets and I have never been disappointed in the performance of lead, but I really get aggravated at the gunk (lead and lube) that gets into my dies. Do you have to live with the mess or have I not looked hard enough for the answer?

What type or brand of cast bullet would you recommend for .45 ACP and .357 Mag? Is there a type or brand that can withstand, say 1200 fps, without lube? If I could find a lead bullet that wasn't sticky/gooey or all covered in that fine silvery powder (like the last Hornady cast I bought), I would love to save some money.

I shoot outdoors. I am using Rainier right now, but since their introduction, the price has drifted upward. I load and shoot enough that bullet costs are starting to affect my reloading allowance . It's the single most expensive component anyway.

'Just a simple hard, shiny 230 gr ball pill, for the ACP and a clean hard shiny 150-160 gr rounded flat nose for the .357. Any suggestions?

I have considered casting for a few years, I know that is the correct answer, but I just can't get excited about it. In this case, I'd rather find a good value and buy them.

[This message has been edited by sensop (edited September 08, 2000).]
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Old September 8, 2000, 08:58 AM   #9
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I use these folks as my cast bullet supplier:

Silver Bullet Indoor Range
4079 Van Deren St
New Berlin, IL 62670-6750

(217) 483-3948

I just received my latest order last week. 2K 200 grain LSWC cast in .45 caliber, for $75.50 delivered to my door. They charge actual shipping charges, and I'm about 500 miles away for their shop.

Nothing fancy, no unsubstantiated claims of accuracy or hardness. Just a good honest value. They don't lead my barrels as long as I keep the load under 900 fps. They use the hard wax red lube (Red Rooster?).

I also shoot Rainier restikes, and have found no difference in accuracy between the two.

Good Luck...


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Old September 8, 2000, 09:20 AM   #10
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Cast bullets, like all politics, is local. By that I mean that there are commercial bullet casters all over the country, and there'll usually be at least ONE good one near you. They will usually be very visible in the local gun shows, which is the best place to buy 'em, since freight charges are BRUTAL. It may seem obvious, but you buy them LAST, just as you leave, and if you're lucky, they'll let you borrow their handtruck to haul off your loot.

Regarding lube and leading: The big-name lead bullets (Speer, Hornady) are not actually cast, but swaged. 3-D and Zero ammo also use swaged bullets. These will have a sticky all-over lube, but they are SOFT!!! Don't expect over 900fps w/o LOTS of leading. Hard cast bullets absolutely require lubing of some sort, whether a wax like Allox in the lube groove, or some dry powder. Without these, leading will be at a DANGEROUS level fairly quickly. Hope this helps.
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Old September 8, 2000, 11:13 AM   #11
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How about GA Arms? Any of you guys use their pistol bullets?
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Old September 8, 2000, 12:58 PM   #12
Paul B.
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The only jacketed bullets I shoot in any of my handguns are in factory loaded ammo for defensives purposes. For everything else, I shoot my own cast lead bullets. That's for handguns. In rifles, I shoot cast lead most of the year in relatively light loads for practice. In most calibers, I shoot jacketed buley only in the rifles I plan on hunting deer and larger game. The only exception is, I shoot cast lead for deer hunting when I use my 30-30 Win. It's no trick to get factory spec velocities in the 30-30. Just try to get fairly broadside or frontal shots and things work out fine. No Texas heart shots though.
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Old September 8, 2000, 02:49 PM   #13
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I'm like Paul, the only clad stuff I shoot is factory loads for personal protection (marked "For Personal Protection") and M1 loads for high power. Everything else, including 7 Mag, is cast. As soon as a new barrel in a Swede 'settles in' its back to cast in it, too! Hard to beat the satistaction of knowing you had a direct hand (casting) in performance.
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Old September 9, 2000, 03:35 AM   #14
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Pretty much what Hutch said. I buy my hard cast bullets from "the guy at the gun show with the wheelchair" The box says Americast Hardcast Bullets on it. From what I'm told, Americast makes these to his specs in lots of 100K. Yep, they are gunky and gunk up the dies. I usually dunk the dies in paint thinner, then dry them out for a few weeks to get the gunk out.So far it seems to work OK. I AM open to any other suggestions as to clearing the gunk.
For milder loadings in the .44Mag, at the 700-900 fps Cowboy range, I like the Hornady. The Hornady's use a dry lube that doesn't gunk up the dies. Best advice I can give is to find a local caster and use them. From what I've found, it's really a matter of trial and error. I have my share of *stinkers*, like a box of 500 .451 SWC cast that don't work worth a good shake in anything I own. I had a box of .358 cast SCW's I bought 10 years ago that were like that, but found them to work super well in a gun I picked up a year ago. <---'cause the place that made em went under.

As an aside:
Is a lead slug really eaisier on the barrel, or is that an old wives tale? I mean if I would shoot the same quantity of metal jacket rounds and lead rounds at the same velocity, would the lead wear down the barrel less?
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Old September 9, 2000, 12:45 PM   #15
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Rae. Is lead easier on the barrel than jacketed? Yes it is. Lead is softer than any copper or copper alloy. Therefore, it should wear less on the barrel than copper. I've fired thousands of cast lead bullets at full power in a 30-30 Winchester, and the bore looks as if it had never had a bullet through it. This is based on my personal experience.
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Old September 9, 2000, 04:18 PM   #16
Peter M. Eick
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I have two lines of reasoning on this topic. On my old Diamondback revolver (38 spec) I have never fired a jacketed bullet out of (over the last 20 years) because for the bulk of the time I owned it I could not afford jacketed.

Now (except for the Diamondback) I am mostly to exclusively shooting jacketed bullets because I get very little time to shoot, so the cost differential is small (effectively) and I do not like the lead around the kids. Lately I have been shooting FMJ's or TMJ's in most of my guns except for XTP's for my 357 sig (very accurate bullet).

P229 Sport and 357 SIG, H&K P7PSP and 9MM, Dual Perfection!!
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Old September 9, 2000, 06:49 PM   #17
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I remember an article in Handloader written by John Zamanek about this subject and if I remember correctly, he had two handgun barrels side by side in a picture and you could see the incredible wear of the one fed a diet of jacketed bullets compared to the one used exclusively with lead bullets. I believe they were 45 ACP barrels(?)

John wrote some great handgun articles in that magazine. Very thorough and informative. Sorry he is gone now.

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