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Basic
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Posted: 3/21/2012 2:41:41 PM EST
I'm interested in casting and loading bullets for a 16" AR. To make it worthwhile, I'd want them to feed reliably from the magazine and cycle the action; they don't need to go full-speed (maybe 1600 - 2000 fps?). 2 - 3 MOA at 100 yards is fine... I get that casting something that small is tedious, and quality control on a small / fast bullet is critical. Not interested in paper patching...

So I started searching. I found two threads - here and here. Also searched around over on castboolits. It seems that there are just a couple of people reporting success; lots of speculation about leading, not cycling the action, fouling the gas ports, etc.

Are others finding success with this? If so, I'd love to know!

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Posted: 3/21/2012 2:57:24 PM EST
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Posted: 3/21/2012 3:30:50 PM EST
The time , effort and cost put into trying to get cast bullets to be of use in an AR would be better spent on laying in a bulk supply of jacketed military bullets.

Go for it if you want to mess about for the heck of it but don't count on getting much in the way of results.

Cast bullets can be a hoot but they don't start getting good usable results generally untill you get up to 30 cal and up.

I once spent many hours trying to get some use out of cast bullets in a bolt action 25-06 (with poor results)
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Posted: 3/21/2012 4:28:01 PM EST
Originally Posted By ricklaut:
I'm interested in casting and loading bullets for a 16" AR. To make it worthwhile, I'd want them to feed reliably from the magazine and cycle the action; they don't need to go full-speed (maybe 1600 - 2000 fps?). 2 - 3 MOA at 100 yards is fine... I get that casting something that small is tedious, and quality control on a small / fast bullet is critical. Not interested in paper patching...

So I started searching. I found two threads - here and here. Also searched around over on castboolits. It seems that there are just a couple of people reporting success; lots of speculation about leading, not cycling the action, fouling the gas ports, etc.

Are others finding success with this? If so, I'd love to know!



If it ain't at the Cast Boolit website, then it ain't...

I'm a cast bullet fanatic, but limit mine to .30 caliber and above including handguns. I have a Mini and an AR, but wouldn't bother with either. A buddy gave me some 55gr. .224" bullets he'd cast and without any load development, they shot pretty decent (5 shots in about 1" @ 50 yds.)out of an old beat up, heavily neglected Rem. 788 in .223. The same guy loads them in a Mod. 70 .223 that's set up for High Power and they shoot pretty decent in it; 2" maybe a bit more @ 100 yds.

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Posted: 3/21/2012 6:21:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/21/2012 6:21:55 PM EST by Jailer]
OP, you might want to take a look at the thread below. It's a group buy that is running right now for a 22 nato 64gr cast boolit.

It has been specifically designed for a 5.56 chamber for an AR.

It's going to be a bit before it sees production but so far it looks promising.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=144981
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Posted: 3/22/2012 5:06:47 AM EST
Originally Posted By Jailer:
OP, you might want to take a look at the thread below. It's a group buy that is running right now for a 22 nato 64gr cast boolit.

It has been specifically designed for a 5.56 chamber for an AR.

It's going to be a bit before it sees production but so far it looks promising.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=144981


Ah - thanks! I hadn't seen that one.
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Posted: 3/22/2012 5:29:49 AM EST
Then there is the other way of home made bullets; brass jacketed lead core swaged bullets.

We had a post here in the past about them. IIRC the accuracy was ok but not match by any means.

The bullets were made with a cut piece of lead wire in a spent .22 rimfire case that had be reformed to remove the rim then the case and core swaged into a bullet. I have also seen casting molds for the lead core in my reading.

Interestingly a retired co worker came into a lot of neglected reloading gear and in the boxes of stuff were bullets made from rimfire cases and some lead wire. I got to handle some of the bullets and they seemed ok but hardly commercial grade. As an accuracy oriented bug I don't think it'd be something for me to persue.
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Posted: 3/22/2012 2:57:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By SteelonSteel:
Then there is the other way of home made bullets; brass jacketed lead core swaged bullets.

We had a post here in the past about them. IIRC the accuracy was ok but not match by any means.

The bullets were made with a cut piece of lead wire in a spent .22 rimfire case that had be reformed to remove the rim then the case and core swaged into a bullet. I have also seen casting molds for the lead core in my reading.

Interestingly a retired co worker came into a lot of neglected reloading gear and in the boxes of stuff were bullets made from rimfire cases and some lead wire. I got to handle some of the bullets and they seemed ok but hardly commercial grade. As an accuracy oriented bug I don't think it'd be something for me to persue.


This is something I'm also interested in - there is a guy at Castboolits that is making the swaging dies... For my purposes, they'd probably be accurate enough. I like the idea, but IIRC, the dies run somewhere over $400. I'd probably do his 9mm brass + 124 gr cast = .40 S&W bullet first - they're a couple of hundred dollars cheaper.
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Posted: 3/22/2012 3:39:38 PM EST
bullshit.. i have run 10000.s of rds of rcbs 55gr gas checked thrue 4 of my ARs with out one ftf or fte .the gas tube did not fill with lead like every one sead. 2 to 2.5 moa with win 748..don,t let the haters fool you..smiley
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Posted: 3/22/2012 5:19:05 PM EST
Originally Posted By txsmiley:
bullshit.. i have run 10000.s of rds of rcbs 55gr gas checked thrue 4 of my ARs with out one ftf or fte .the gas tube did not fill with lead like every one sead. 2 to 2.5 moa with win 748..don,t let the haters fool you..smiley


Great to know...! Out of curiosity, did you test without gas checks?
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Posted: 3/22/2012 5:32:30 PM EST
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Posted: 3/22/2012 7:10:26 PM EST
As a cast bullet lover, I'd like to hear details about your loads. I don't worry about the gas tube stopping or any other such nonsense, but I'm afraid that in order to build enough pressure/velocity to cycle the action, barrel leading would be inevitable.

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Posted: 3/22/2012 8:01:45 PM EST
somebody did this a little while back, here is the link
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Posted: 3/22/2012 9:38:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By ggibbs:
As a cast bullet lover, I'd like to hear details about your loads. I don't worry about the gas tube stopping or any other such nonsense, but I'm afraid that in order to build enough pressure/velocity to cycle the action, barrel leading would be inevitable.

GG

Port pressure to cycle is 12,000 PSI. With a gas check, this is an easily tolerated pressure with hard bullets. Figure on a compressive yield strength of 16,000 PSI which means peak pressure with gas check in the 30,000 PSI range. With bare based bullets, peak pressure must be kept under the compressive yield point, otherwise the lead tends to obturate into the bore, increasing the contact pressure on the bore. Couple this obturation force with velocity and you get leading.

This phenomena was discovered by Richard Lee and it was floating around in my head for a while before I realized how simple it is. For the longest time, reloaders had been experimenting with light charges of very fast powder and often, getting leading even at low velocity.

The new thought is not matching bullet alloy hardness to velocity but rather hardness must be matched by peak pressure. Or, in other words, use slower powder. For .223 Remington, a good choice would be IMR 3031. To assure function, slower powder in the 4064 range may allow for higher charges which will make port pressure.
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Posted: 3/23/2012 3:02:50 AM EST
Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By ggibbs:
As a cast bullet lover, I'd like to hear details about your loads. I don't worry about the gas tube stopping or any other such nonsense, but I'm afraid that in order to build enough pressure/velocity to cycle the action, barrel leading would be inevitable.

GG

Port pressure to cycle is 12,000 PSI. With a gas check, this is an easily tolerated pressure with hard bullets. Figure on a compressive yield strength of 16,000 PSI which means peak pressure with gas check in the 30,000 PSI range. With bare based bullets, peak pressure must be kept under the compressive yield point, otherwise the lead tends to obturate into the bore, increasing the contact pressure on the bore. Couple this obturation force with velocity and you get leading.

This phenomena was discovered by Richard Lee and it was floating around in my head for a while before I realized how simple it is. For the longest time, reloaders had been experimenting with light charges of very fast powder and often, getting leading even at low velocity.

The new thought is not matching bullet alloy hardness to velocity but rather hardness must be matched by peak pressure. Or, in other words, use slower powder. For .223 Remington, a good choice would be IMR 3031. To assure function, slower powder in the 4064 range may allow for higher charges which will make port pressure.


Interesting stuff. I may try some as I have a few .224" RCBS bullets.

Regarding the "new thought", it's really not new at all. Veral Smith of Lead Bullet Technology wrote a book (JACKETED PERFORMANCE WITH CAST BULLETS
) years ago, I think back in the 90's, where he describes in detail how to calculate the necessary bullet hardness with regards to chamber pressure so that a bullet will obturate fully and properly. I have the book somewhere and it's an "must read" for any bullet caster. Mr. Smith also makes moulds that are extremely well designed and of very, very high quality.

Thanks for the responce.

GG
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Posted: 3/23/2012 9:00:06 AM EST
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