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Friiguy
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Posted: 1/29/2009 11:47:08 AM
[Last Edit: 1/29/2009 12:14:02 PM by Friiguy]


This mold likes to be HOT. Here it is preheating on the edge of the pot.
The gray bottle to the left is anti-seize to lubricate the sprue cutter and alignment pins. The baggie to the right of the pot has remnants from one of my wifes scented candles (citrus pine) that I use for fluxing.



Here is the mold with a fresh pour cooling. With this particular mold, allowing the iron to cool too much causes wrinkly bullets.



Fresh cast bullets. These were dropped straight from the mold into a five gallon bucket of water. I had to be careful to not let the water touch the molds as it would have cooled them too much as well as many other potential issues.
Excuse the blurry pictures, this particular camera does not have a macro setting.



Size reference. As you can see these are tiny (imagine that) and difficult to work with.



Here are a few sized, lubed and gas checked. Final average weight is right at 62 grains (55 advertised) with straight wheel weight alloy. Note the lack of lubrication on the top lube grooves. This particular bullet is designed as a 'silhouette bullet and lubrication is supposed to be applied by hand before entering the chamber. Again, these are tiny and applying the gas check is tedious work.



Here you can see the OAL when seated to the first lube grooves. I also applied a fairly firm crimp at this point to help prevent set back.


For some reason the pictures I took at the range were data corrupted.
I loaded 10 rounds ranging from 18.0 grains of H335 to 24.0 in 0.5 grain increments. I chose H335 because I have over 20#'s on hand and will be the easiest for me to go with. My goal for this session was to look for leading and determine the maximum pressure before issues arose.
I shot them out of my 16" Barreled AR as this will be the gun to see these the most for training and general plinking.
The 18.0 grain charge cycled the bolt just fine and accuracy was around 2" @ 50 yards.
No signs of leading were found after the 10 shot string. All rounds fed and cycled flawlessly.
This story remained the same until 22.5 grains of H335. At this point the group spread to about 4" @ 50 and slight leading was evident. I continued on to 23.0 grains of H335 just to see (after cleaning the barrel of course) and found that none of the first three shots were on paper.
One of the old timers of the range came over to see what I was doing at this point and we discussed the possibility of the bullets exploding due to too much spin. I do not know if this is what actually happend, but you could see a little grey cloud about 10' in fron of the muzzle after each shot. Very interesting.

I settled on the 20.0 grains of H335 to begin further testing from as these had the better accuracy of the groups fired. I intend to load up about 100 and go for an extended range visit to see how much leading may build up over time.

As a side note, no signs of lead were found in the gas tube upon cleaning and inspection. I do not feel this will be a major issue but I have been wrong before!


ETA: Pics fixed?
Aggie_Gunner
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Posted: 1/29/2009 12:07:10 PM
[Last Edit: 1/29/2009 12:09:38 PM by Aggie_Gunner]
Arrrgh!!! Need to see the pictures!

BTW, who makes the mold?

- AG

ETA, I can see the first pic, rest are red x's... is it a lee custom mold? Couldn't be... you said it was cast iron...
"If Obama is the new Jesus, when can we nail him to a tree and then stick him in a cave?" - hourglassing
Friiguy
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Posted: 1/29/2009 12:12:13 PM
Originally Posted By Aggie_Gunner:
Arrrgh!!! Need to see the pictures!

BTW, who makes the mold?

- AG

ETA, I can see the first pic, rest are red x's... is it a lee custom mold? Couldn't be... you said it was cast iron...


Lyman 225646 If I recall correctly.
Aggie_Gunner
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Posted: 1/29/2009 12:20:41 PM
I can see all the pics now...

- AG
"If Obama is the new Jesus, when can we nail him to a tree and then stick him in a cave?" - hourglassing
Avit187
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Posted: 1/29/2009 12:27:22 PM
I am interested in casting for .223 but had heard that it was not worth it....

something about casting bullets that have such high velocity...

Please set me strait!!

Have you been casting .223 for a long time? Ever had and problems?

Is it worth it financially or is it more of a hobby without cost benefits?

Hows accuracy compared to factory bullets?

Any info you can provide may help influence me to start or stay away from casting 223

thanks and sweet looking bullets!!!


sigsauer_pdx
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Posted: 1/29/2009 12:57:56 PM
What are the specs on the AR you were shooting these out of?
homeyclaus
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Posted: 1/29/2009 1:04:42 PM
Originally Posted By Avit187:
I am interested in casting for .223 but had heard that it was not worth it....

something about casting bullets that have such high velocity...

Please set me strait!!

Have you been casting .223 for a long time? Ever had and problems?

Is it worth it financially or is it more of a hobby without cost benefits?

Hows accuracy compared to factory bullets?

Any info you can provide may help influence me to start or stay away from casting 223

thanks and sweet looking bullets!!!




Right, but if you notice, he's using a gas check, which is a copper base for the bullet. That makes life a great deal easier, since you don't have hot gases in direct contact with the lead...
Friiguy
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Posted: 1/29/2009 1:58:37 PM
Originally Posted By Avit187:
I am interested in casting for .223 but had heard that it was not worth it....

something about casting bullets that have such high velocity...

Gas checks are the key, but they do not create miracles. Proper sizing, hardness of the bullet (mine were around 24 BHN by the way) and reducing the load all contribute cast bullets.

Please set me strait!!

Have you been casting .223 for a long time? No.
Ever had and problems? Yes. I broke a bullet in half during seating. I also have 'exploding bullets' at normal FMJ velocities.


Is it worth it financially or is it more of a hobby without cost benefits? Yes and No. I am able to get my lead for free. My final cost per bullet including the lube, gas check and electricity/propane is probably less than .05 per bullet. I enjoy doing something after work outside for at least an hour or two just to unwind, so this hobby helps me with that. If I were to count time needed to smelt wheelweights, convert to bullets, lube and size and then reload I doubt I would find it worth it. So I lie to myself and in the end look at all the bullets I made and pretend I just ordered it in for pennies on the dollar.

Hows accuracy compared to factory bullets?
Not great. 2 MOA does not cut it in my book but I have just started experimenting with this. After some tweaking and experimintation I am sure I can achieve 1 MOA. Whether that will hold true past 200 yards will be another experiment.

Any info you can provide may help influence me to start or stay away from casting 223

thanks and sweet looking bullets!!!

Really? I think they are ugly!




Friiguy
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Posted: 1/29/2009 2:01:13 PM
Originally Posted By sigsauer_pdx:
What are the specs on the AR you were shooting these out of?


Pretty basic. DPMS w/ a 16" 1:9 barrel. Eotech sight.
I imagine that 'exploding' bullets will happen at a lower velocity with a faster (1:7) twist.
I also would have better accuracy y if I were testing with a magnified optic.

Ill see if I can find a picture of it and post it.
Avit187
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Posted: 1/29/2009 4:16:27 PM
Originally Posted By Friiguy:
Originally Posted By Avit187:
I am interested in casting for .223 but had heard that it was not worth it....

something about casting bullets that have such high velocity...

Gas checks are the key, but they do not create miracles. Proper sizing, hardness of the bullet (mine were around 24 BHN by the way) and reducing the load all contribute cast bullets.

Please set me strait!!

Have you been casting .223 for a long time? No.
Ever had and problems? Yes. I broke a bullet in half during seating. I also have 'exploding bullets' at normal FMJ velocities.


Is it worth it financially or is it more of a hobby without cost benefits? Yes and No. I am able to get my lead for free. My final cost per bullet including the lube, gas check and electricity/propane is probably less than .05 per bullet. I enjoy doing something after work outside for at least an hour or two just to unwind, so this hobby helps me with that. If I were to count time needed to smelt wheelweights, convert to bullets, lube and size and then reload I doubt I would find it worth it. So I lie to myself and in the end look at all the bullets I made and pretend I just ordered it in for pennies on the dollar.

Hows accuracy compared to factory bullets?
Not great. 2 MOA does not cut it in my book but I have just started experimenting with this. After some tweaking and experimintation I am sure I can achieve 1 MOA. Whether that will hold true past 200 yards will be another experiment.

Any info you can provide may help influence me to start or stay away from casting 223

thanks and sweet looking bullets!!!

Really? I think they are ugly!





Thanks for the heads up....any reason to hide from the women is good for me...so a few hours a day and some lies told to myself may be right up my alley!!!
nmwaterfowler
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Posted: 1/30/2009 5:59:55 PM
I am able to get my lead for free.



Where in the world are you getting free lead?
Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't.
Friiguy
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Posted: 1/31/2009 5:00:36 AM
Originally Posted By nmwaterfowler:
I am able to get my lead for free.



Where in the world are you getting free lead?


Thankfully I have a good source!

nhsport
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Posted: 1/31/2009 8:40:07 AM
Interesting project . Your coment that it is something you enjoy doing is the key here. Enjoy!


Something that I have come across over many years of messing about with lead bullets––-
When giving lead a try it is quite importaint to start with a very clean barrel. By very clean I mean
soaking with a good agressive copper solvent to get every trace of jacket copper out.
My experience shows that in many cases of leading of a barrel is due only to this trace amount of copper in the barrel
and with a truly clean barrel leading is a non issue.

I may have missed this info but is the gun you are useing chrome lined or straight steel?
GaryM
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Posted: 1/31/2009 8:52:07 AM
Very interesting. I shoot a lot of cast, I even shoot cast in an AR15 but it is chambered in 300 whisper. I have thought about trying cast in a .223 but I figured the velocity would be so low it wouldn't be worth the effort.
It seems you are doing fine with higher velocities. Can you chrony your loads? What kind of lube are you using?
I think I might have to get a set of .223 molds now.
abpt1
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Posted: 1/31/2009 1:07:20 PM
[Last Edit: 1/31/2009 1:15:37 PM by abpt1]
OK how hard are you bullets? You may want to add some tin,adamony,linotype ... if you alloy it correctly you can achieve a 26 bnh with out it getting brittle ......and actual will find little to no leading and ad achieve a good deal of FPS with no worries ..... The way I cast is in a much larger pot and one drop of water would be BAD...SO I AM JUST SAYNG BE VERY CAREFUL !

Also this does happen even with regular JHP bullets.......






Originally Posted By Friiguy:
http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/910/im001099bn2.jpg

This mold likes to be HOT. Here it is preheating on the edge of the pot.
The gray bottle to the left is anti-seize to lubricate the sprue cutter and alignment pins. The baggie to the right of the pot has remnants from one of my wifes scented candles (citrus pine) that I use for fluxing.

http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/2748/im001100ef0.jpg

Here is the mold with a fresh pour cooling. With this particular mold, allowing the iron to cool too much causes wrinkly bullets.

http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/4679/im001101zj8.jpg

Fresh cast bullets. These were dropped straight from the mold into a five gallon bucket of water. I had to be careful to not let the water touch the molds as it would have cooled them too much as well as many other potential issues.
Excuse the blurry pictures, this particular camera does not have a macro setting.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/5982/im001105nd8.jpg

Size reference. As you can see these are tiny (imagine that) and difficult to work with.

http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/1629/im001113se7.jpg

Here are a few sized, lubed and gas checked. Final average weight is right at 62 grains (55 advertised) with straight wheel weight alloy. Note the lack of lubrication on the top lube grooves. This particular bullet is designed as a 'silhouette bullet and lubrication is supposed to be applied by hand before entering the chamber. Again, these are tiny and applying the gas check is tedious work.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/2970/im001114rt3.jpg

Here you can see the OAL when seated to the first lube grooves. I also applied a fairly firm crimp at this point to help prevent set back.


For some reason the pictures I took at the range were data corrupted.
I loaded 10 rounds ranging from 18.0 grains of H335 to 24.0 in 0.5 grain increments. I chose H335 because I have over 20#'s on hand and will be the easiest for me to go with. My goal for this session was to look for leading and determine the maximum pressure before issues arose.
I shot them out of my 16" Barreled AR as this will be the gun to see these the most for training and general plinking.
The 18.0 grain charge cycled the bolt just fine and accuracy was around 2" @ 50 yards.
No signs of leading were found after the 10 shot string. All rounds fed and cycled flawlessly.
This story remained the same until 22.5 grains of H335. At this point the group spread to about 4" @ 50 and slight leading was evident. I continued on to 23.0 grains of H335 just to see (after cleaning the barrel of course) and found that none of the first three shots were on paper.
One of the old timers of the range came over to see what I was doing at this point and we discussed the possibility of the bullets exploding due to too much spin. I do not know if this is what actually happend, but you could see a little grey cloud about 10' in fron of the muzzle after each shot. Very interesting.

I settled on the 20.0 grains of H335 to begin further testing from as these had the better accuracy of the groups fired. I intend to load up about 100 and go for an extended range visit to see how much leading may build up over time.

As a side note, no signs of lead were found in the gas tube upon cleaning and inspection. I do not feel this will be a major issue but I have been wrong before!


ETA: Pics fixed?


Lost in PA ....


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B44T
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Posted: 2/1/2009 6:08:10 AM
[Last Edit: 2/1/2009 6:14:32 AM by B44T]
Friiguy, Now that you're having fun casting and shooting bullets wait til you try different lubes and eventually discover heat treating your cast bullets not to mention half jackets and swaging.
Friiguy
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Posted: 2/3/2009 4:00:30 PM
Originally Posted By nhsport:
Interesting project . Your coment that it is something you enjoy doing is the key here. Enjoy!


Something that I have come across over many years of messing about with lead bullets––-
When giving lead a try it is quite importaint to start with a very clean barrel. By very clean I mean
soaking with a good agressive copper solvent to get every trace of jacket copper out.
My experience shows that in many cases of leading of a barrel is due only to this trace amount of copper in the barrel
and with a truly clean barrel leading is a non issue.

I may have missed this info but is the gun you are useing chrome lined or straight steel?


Straight steel. I also did clean exceptionally well to help elimante the jacketed bullet fouling based on recommendations I read elsewhere.
I also scrubbed the barrel out before shooting jacketed bullets.
Friiguy
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Posted: 2/3/2009 4:02:06 PM
Originally Posted By abpt1:
OK how hard are you bullets? You may want to add some tin,adamony,linotype ... if you alloy it correctly you can achieve a 26 bnh with out it getting brittle ......and actual will find little to no leading and ad achieve a good deal of FPS with no worries ..... The way I cast is in a much larger pot and one drop of water would be BAD...SO I AM JUST SAYNG BE VERY CAREFUL !

Also this does happen even with regular JHP bullets.......






Originally Posted By Friiguy:
snip




I am water dropping wheel weights and they ar pretty hard, but I do intendt to play with the alloys at some point.


Friiguy
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Posted: 3/17/2009 3:32:38 PM
[Last Edit: 3/17/2009 3:39:21 PM by Friiguy]
Bump.

Bet this will look more appealing now since bullet costs are so high.

Edit:

My cost to shoot 150 rounds this last weekend, $1.485

Primer: $0.02
Brass: $0
Powder: $0.054
Gas Check: $0.025 (Going to start making my own to be even cheaper!)
Lead: $0
Total per round: $0.099


Keith_J
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Posted: 3/17/2009 6:11:27 PM
Great job! Yeah, them little bullets are a PITA to cast, size, lube and seat gas checks.

Quantum Mechanical Engineer

Ars sine scientia nihil est
dryflash3
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Posted: 3/17/2009 10:01:07 PM
Good post Friiguy I enjoyed reading it.

Can't wait for warmer weather to start casting again.
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david_g17
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Posted: 3/18/2009 10:18:31 AM
Originally Posted By Friiguy:


My cost to shoot 150 rounds this last weekend, $1.485



very nice!
kevins_garage
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Posted: 3/18/2009 12:24:11 PM
Originally Posted By Friiguy:
My final cost per bullet including the lube, gas check and electricity/propane is probably less than .05 per bullet. I enjoy doing something after work outside for at least an hour or two just to unwind, so this hobby helps me with that. If I were to count time needed to smelt wheelweights, convert to bullets, lube and size and then reload I doubt I would find it worth it. So I lie to myself and in the end look at all the bullets I made and pretend I just ordered it in for pennies on the dollar. [/span]



Originally Posted By Friiguy:
Bump.

Bet this will look more appealing now since bullet costs are so high.

Edit:

My cost to shoot 150 rounds this last weekend, $1.485

Primer: $0.02
Brass: $0
Powder: $0.054
Gas Check: $0.025 (Going to start making my own to be even cheaper!)
Lead: $0
Total per round: $0.099


Not that it matters that much, but apparently your calculator "lies" to you also.

$0.099 x 150 = $14.85, not $1.485
Friiguy
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Posted: 3/18/2009 2:00:47 PM
Originally Posted By kevins_garage:
Originally Posted By Friiguy:
My final cost per bullet including the lube, gas check and electricity/propane is probably less than .05 per bullet. I enjoy doing something after work outside for at least an hour or two just to unwind, so this hobby helps me with that. If I were to count time needed to smelt wheelweights, convert to bullets, lube and size and then reload I doubt I would find it worth it. So I lie to myself and in the end look at all the bullets I made and pretend I just ordered it in for pennies on the dollar. [/span]



[span style='font-weight: bold;']Originally Posted By Friiguy:[/span]
Bump.

Bet this will look more appealing now since bullet costs are so high.

Edit:

[span style='font-weight: bold;']My cost to shoot 150 rounds this last weekend, $1.485 [/span]

Primer: $0.02
Brass: $0
Powder: $0.054
Gas Check: $0.025 (Going to start making my own to be even cheaper!)
Lead: $0
Total per round: $0.099


Not that it matters that much, but apparently your calculator "lies" to you also.

$0.099 x 150 = $14.85, not $1.485


No, I just cant type...

AeroE
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Posted: 3/18/2009 9:54:27 PM
BTT, just because
It's true, Obama is the Leader of Fools deluded to believe, "Everything is going to change now".
As for me, I will embrace what is Right more tightly than ever.


1 lbf = 32.174 lbm-ft/sec^2
Keith_J
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Posted: 4/8/2009 11:31:29 AM
Richard Lee's Modern Reloading, Second Edition, covers cast bullet alloy and leading relationship. He found that as long as the peak pressure is kept under the ultimate stress of the alloy selected, leading will not be an issue. This was contrary to the old wisdom of using light charges of fast propellents to keep velocity down. Well, fast powders CAN generate pressure fast enough to exceed the pressure limitation of the bullet, causing leading.

But a normal powder, charged at reasonable levels, can be under the critical pressure and still have plenty port pressure to cycle the AR action. Now you probably won't get but 2600 FPS from a 20" barrel but they will still make it to 200 rards or more, easily. And because the peak pressure is lower, the barrel will last much longer. Less powder will be used. More ammo, less money. And that is a great thing.
Quantum Mechanical Engineer

Ars sine scientia nihil est
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