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Old January 28, 2013, 10:59 PM   #1
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Cast bullet garand loads

Well I'm curious if any of you guys out there are using cast bullets in your garand. Ive searched the net but I have not been able to gather specific info. I would love to hear any good loads that actually cycle the action. I've read that they function fine, but then Ive heard of leading issues with the gas port also. Also any loads that don't cycle the action? I'm looking at purchasing 165 grain lead bullets from Missouri bullet company soon. I want to be able to shoot with low recoil at reduced ranges for practice, and with the drought of powder at the moment I'm down to my last pound of 4064 I would like to use pistol powder if possible for the cast loads. I got unique, bullseye, 231. I just want to use the least amount of powder that still provides satisfactory results so I can stretch my supply till this panic subsides. Also are gas checks a necessity? I don't plan to hot rod these loads probable below 2000 fps, thats why its not really vital that they cycle the action but that would be a big plus.
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Old January 28, 2013, 11:09 PM   #2
Bart B.
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Cast bullets don't do well above 1200 fps.

Check for Garand loads.

But watch out for gas port clogging and other stuff that may get in the gas cylinder.
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Old January 29, 2013, 02:30 AM   #3
chris in va
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Ditto. I talked with our RO about using cast in my Garand and AR. He's seen a ton of stoppages at the range. One guy's AR was locked up solid and discovered his entire gas system was full of lead.

On a personal note, my AK locked up after 60 rounds using wheelweight gas check bullets. A ring of lead formed around the gas piston.
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Old January 29, 2013, 02:45 PM   #4
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Bad idea ! Gas systems don't like lead at all !
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Old January 29, 2013, 08:10 PM   #5
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Wow--I guess I'll be the lone dissenter here. But then I also appear to be the only one posting who's actually shot cast bullets in a Garand.

Firstly, very few of my cast bullets fly slower than 1200 fps out of the muzzle, even in my handguns. My air-cooled wheel weight alloy bullets run great from about 1600 to 2100 fps out of several Garands and M1903 and '03A3s. Beyond 2100 or 2200 fps I need to go a little harder and water-quench the bullets, which allows me to get up to about 2400 fps before groups start to open up.

I can't speak to other gas systems, but the gas systems in my two Garands do just fine with cast bullets. When I first started shooting cast loads through them I was obsessed with pulling the gas cylinder and examining everything. In the thousands of cast bullets I've fired through my Garands, I have *never* seen anything more significant than a couple of tiny flakes of lead on the piston which readily wiped off.

The only trick with cast loads for the Garand is coming up with a load that generates enough pressure at the port to cycle the action reliably, but doesn't drive the bullet too fast. This requires powders that are normally considered far too slow for typical jacketed bullet loads--powders like 4350 and 4831. Wonderfully accurate cast bullet loads can be developed using 2400, 4227 and others, but they don't generate the port pressure to work the action, effectively turning the Garand into a straight-pull bolt action.

There is some really great info from a guy named BruceB at the Castboolits site in this thread here:

Note that the title relates to the M1A. Bruce started developing for his M1A but also included his Garand.

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Old January 29, 2013, 09:24 PM   #6
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A bud of mine had an out of battery slamfire in his Garand with cast bullets. I believe it was due to oversized bullets and requiring the action to crush the bullet to fit the throat. If there is an interference fit with the cartridge, lets say fat case, long case, or bullet seated to the lands, the bolt has to crush that case into the chamber. When the bolt stops before the firing pin tang is held back by the receiver bridge, that free floating firing pin is hitting the primer at the highest velocity in the bolt cycle, and the lugs are not in battery.

Whatever you do, make sure the case closes without any resistance. Most cast bullets are larger than the bore and some people like to have the cast bullet touching the lands. This is fine in single shots or bolt rifles, but it is very dangerous in a Garand.
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Old January 30, 2013, 12:01 PM   #7
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Great point Slamfire. It's important to realize that some molds do drop oversize bullets by design. If a guy had a mold like that and didn't run them through a sizer, instead just tumble-lubing them with liquid Alox, that could definitely cause problems.

My .30 cal molds both drop .311 diameter bullets with my alloy, and I size them with a .310 sizing die. There are oversize .30 cal molds that drop bullets at .313 - .314, usually intended for .303 British, but sometimes they just come from the manufacturer a little oversized due to poor quality control.

Thanks for pointing that out Slamfire!
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:21 PM   #8
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Myth-internet falsehood

"Lead bullets in semi-auto gas guns will foul the gasports". Wrong!

Lead bullets have been fired in garands, AR-15 .223, and many other calibers for years. Many of the shooters over on , have been and continue to shoot cast in their gas guns with no problems what-so-ever. Normal cleaning of the gas system is all that's needed. AND with minimal leading IF the loads are kept within reason. You DO clean your gas system,,--right?

Internet myth, boosted along by somebody that 1, has never done it, and 2, HEARD somewhere that you get plugged up gas systems.

Have I done it? Yes about 15 years ago, with my M-1 garand and 180 grain cast, gas checked boolits. Worked the action and no leading. Accuracy was acceptable, but not on par with jacketed loads. I lost those notes in a move, but data is in many cast boolit manuals.
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Old January 30, 2013, 07:56 PM   #9
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thanks guys for the advice I'm still shopping around for good priced cast bullets.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:51 AM   #10
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Cast bullets don't do well above 1200 fps.
With gas checks, proper sizing and loading, 2000fps is easily obtainable. And accurate.
Use a 180-200 gas checked bullet of medium hardness (WWs or harder) and sized to .310", over 34 grns of IMR4064, either of the 4895s, or Varget. Safe, accurate, and no leading in the bore or cylinder. I've shot around a thousand of these through my Garand, and abour 600 similar loads through my M1A with zero problems.
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