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Cast loads in the 30-06
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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res45
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Joined: Jul 09, 2007
Posts: 72
Location: China Grove North Carolina

PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:28 am    Post subject: Cast loads in the 30-06 Reply with quote

Ever since the 165 gr. 30 XCB bullet came out several years ago I always wanted one for my 30 cal. rifles especially my 30-06 an 300 Sav. It's been a great cast bullet accuracy wise an for longer range shooting as well as a hunting bullet but the initial run of molds got scooped up before I could purchase one and the recent group buy over on Cast Boolits I didn't find out about till it was closed. I know Al always has some overuns so I've been keeping a close watch on his site an sure enough they showed up and I ordered mine. I've waited about two years to get one.

I ended up buying the 3 cavity gas check version for the price of a two cavity and threw in a top punch as well for my RCBS lube sizer if I want to use it at some point, I mostly shoot powder coated bullets in rifles and handguns but I always test both with identical loads and shoot whats the most accurate. Al had his molds on special during the July 4th holiday week plus I had a 10% off discount code. After all was said an done I paid $78 shipped to my door.

I'm using H-4198 to start with an see if I can hit the 2500 fps. velocity range in my 30-06 and just go from there if the accuracy hold up. Lots of powders to work with in the slower burn range and alloy combinations to get some excellent results.

310-165-FN-H3 3 cavity GC (30XCB)





I ended up casting about 150 of the 30 XCB bullets, I only had a limited time to work with them so I just coated about ten each using Super Durable Clear and Popping Silver Vein gas checked and sized them to see how they would turn out. I cast a random set of samples during the casting process and after they cooled I measure and weighed each set. The bullets across the sampling weighed between 167.0 and 167.3 grs. Two bullets from the mold using my micrometer measured .311" while the third bullet measured .311.5" After powder coating I ended up sizing the bullet to .309" so it would easily chamber in my tight chambered rifle.



The backyard test with the 06 and the 30 XCB was a bit disappointing but I learned a couple things and there is a bright side to the testing. The bad news is I'm not going to hit 2500 fps. with this powder bullet combination an end up with good accuracy, it just want stabilize at that velocity in MY rifle but that's not so bad. The good news is that at 2300 fps. using the 35.0 gr. load of H-4198 I shot 5 shot groups that you could cover with a dime.

I also discovered that the traditional lube bullets left my cases filthy an more crud in the bore but the powder coated bullets left me with nice clean cases and a shiny bore so I'm going to call that good enough. For around here and with the short ranges you can actually shoot at the above load is more than enough for anything I need to do. I will eventually get some dope on that load out to 300 yds. for just in case moments.

Granted this is only at 50 yds. but from experience if they shoot this well at 50 yds. the shoot really well at 100 yds.


Chrono Data for the above load.
Low: 2277
High: 2309
Average: 2292
Spread: 31.71
SD: 15.39
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slimjim
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Joined: May 16, 2009
Posts: 7953
Location: Fort Worth TX

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: Cast loads in the 30-06 Reply with quote

res45, very nice write-up and pictures. Wow, you have a passion for this. Glad it is starting out well for you.

Are these bullets soft enough to expand when hitting game or do you modify them to have a hollow point?

Do you get your lead from the local tire store?

Do you buy the copper bases separately? how are they attached?

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Vince
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14212
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast loads in the 30-06 Reply with quote

Slim, Hornady make gas checks in various calibres.

Hornady Gas Checks

The gas check is swaged onto the bottom of the bullet by the sizer either during the sizing/lubing process or you can add an attachment to the sizer that allows you to swage the gas check without sizing and lubing the bullet.

There are also tools available that allow you to make your own gas checks from thin sheet copper or aluminium. My mate and I use aluminium stripping designed for use on house roofs.

Making Gas Checks

Make your own gas check maker

I don’t get lead wheel weights from tire shops anymore...you don’t know what’s in it these days. It’s not uncommon to find zinc in the mix. I buy pure lead and also Linotype from my local scrap yard and mix to produce the hardness I want for cast bullets...usually around 16-18 BRN. I then load these with an appropriate load of powder according to the information in Robert Lee’s Cast Bullet book. Note that I generally only use cast for range plinking to ease the cost, although when loaded right down they are still very suitable for small game...you just can’t drive them real hard at the level of hardness.

_________________
Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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res45
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Joined: Jul 09, 2007
Posts: 72
Location: China Grove North Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 3:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast loads in the 30-06 Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
res45, very nice write-up and pictures. Wow, you have a passion for this. Glad it is starting out well for you.

Are these bullets soft enough to expand when hitting game or do you modify them to have a hollow point?

Do you get your lead from the local tire store?

Do you buy the copper bases separately? how are they attached?

Slimjim, reloading, casting an shooting are my hobbies, it's what I do when I'm not working on the honey do list or working for the man. I enjoy the process and the detail that goes into making your own ammo and bullets and getting the best out of my handguns and rifles while having fun doing it, plus I get to shoot more.

As to the bullets I cast I have molds for around 30 different rifle and pistol bullets. I have a mixed bag of mold types, some are just strictly for target shooting, others such as a couple of my 38/357 and 45 ACP pistol molds are of the HP design while most of the bullets I cast an load for hunting have large meplats.

The meplat is the flat or open tip portion of the bullet. For target or long range shooting with cast lead a small meplat is desirable due to its aerodynamic properties for SD or hunting purposes a Hollow point or a bullet which has as large a meplat otherwise known as a flat nose that will reliable feed is desirable to cause tissue / organ destruction. In general the larger the meplat the larger the air pocket that is created in front of the bullet as it passes through tissue this in turn create the shock wave that transmits the energy of the bullet to the surrounding tissue and organs. Veral Smiths book "Jacketed Performance with Cast Bullets" is a good must have book for any bullet caster and will explain in detail how cast bullets work.

As to bullet hardness I basically tailor my alloy to what I'm going to do with the bullet. For the most part these days I cast all my rifle and pistol bullet out of 50% pure lead and 50% wheel weight plus about 2% Tin. I also powder coat all my bullets which basically give the bullet a polymer jacket and acts as a lubricant. During the powder coat curing process the bullets reach around 400 degrees, if I remove the bullets from the toaster oven and allow them to air cool they are the same hardness as when they were cast which works great for plain base or gas check HP bullet in handguns or upper mid range velocity gas check rifle bullets I want to expand. If expansion is not an issued or very little is needed and the larger meplat is going to do most of the work I water quench the powder coated bullet right out of the toaster oven and let them age harden for several weeks before loading. I've shot the about bullets in the post at up to 2300 fps. with no accuracy or leading issues.

The copper bases are called gas checks, they can also be made from aluminum but I mainly use the ones made from copper as there isn't much différance price wise if you buy them instead of making them yourself. If my machine shop buddy gets things going I gave him some plans for a gas check makes and I will start making my own and use aluminum as I have access to high quality aluminum plates used in the printing process. Gas checks basically serve a couple purposes. They seal the bore and protect the base of the bullet from high pressure gasses which can cause gas cutting which lead to leading and poor accuracy especially if you're using a softer alloy that could not normally withstand those high velocity / pressure loads, they also give the bullet extra grip on the rifling so the lead bullet under high velocity an pressure doesn't skid or slip on the rifling. This is especially useful if you have a rifle with micro groove rifling like that found in many Marlin rifles.

Gas checks are basically attached to the base of the bullet during the bullet sizing process. One method uses a Lube Sizer which can do multiple things with one pull of the handle. The gas check if needed is place in the sizing die mounted in the lube sizer, the bullet is then set on top of the gas check base first and a ram presses the bullet down into the sizing die and the gas check is crimped onto the base of the bullet. The lube sizer can also lubricate the bullet as well during the gas check seating and sizing process. Some individuals that powder coat which is a form of lube just use the machine to set check and size the bullet. When I used to use my RCBS Lube A Matic that is how I seated most of my gas check.

The other way is to use a push through sizer die I have one from NOE that uses interchangeable bushing for different dia. bullets. The bullets can be body sized to the correct dia. and you can even buy bushing that will size the nose portion of bore rider bullets as well. Lee also makes different size sizing die each one being a fixed size, both the Lee and NOE will seat and crimp gas check when the bullet is pushed through the sizer.
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Vince
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14212
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast loads in the 30-06 Reply with quote

Great explanation res45...and some good ideas as well for those of us who cast rifle bullets.

_________________
Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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res45
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Joined: Jul 09, 2007
Posts: 72
Location: China Grove North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast loads in the 30-06 Reply with quote

Vince wrote:
Great explanation res45...and some good ideas as well for those of us who cast rifle bullets.

Thanks Vince, I enjoy shooting cast lead in all my rifles especially all my old war horses like my Mosins and SKS rifles. I started out using Hornady gas checks but changed over to the copper Gator Checks many years ago as they are cheaper and work just as well.

I haven't started making my own gas checks as of yet although I have given the plans which can be found in a link to a friend that has the equipment and can make one in 30 cal. from me. Here is a video on the gas check maker thereloadersnetwork.co...read-this/

There isn't as much free lead around as there used to be but it is still out there, it's just harder to find. Being a bullet caster for a long time I got to take advantage of all the free wheel weights, Linotype and scrap lead and I have a decent stash that I'll probably never use up plus I recover around 75% of all the bullets I shoot in the back yard. I have a friend that owns a tree cutting / firewood business and ever couple years he brings me a couple large slices of the base of an oak tree that are about two feet thick and four feet wide which I stand up in front of my dirt berm. When I get the new one I push the old wood chunks to the side and let them finish rotting and sift out all the lead and jacketed bullet I can recover.

As to Zinc wheel weight I've been saving mine, I have several friend casting Zinc bullets and shooting them in rifles and handguns. You pretty much have to dedicate a pot to casting with the Zinc along with Iron molds which work the best for casting. Bullets are gong to come out weighing about 60% of their original mold spec. weight when cast with lead based alloys. Here is one of my friends casting and shooting Zinc bullets thereloadersnetwork.co...d-in-zinc/
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Vince
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14212
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Cast loads in the 30-06 Reply with quote

I’m lucky in that my local scrap metal merchant is also a shooter, and he has a small commercial casting operation setup in the back corner of his shed. Consequently, he always has a supply of pure lead, 92/6/2 (near enough Lyman No2) and Linotype on hand at reasonable prices.

I like the single stage unit on Cast Boolits...very easy to use and it makes a nice gascheck from the looks of things.

I cast rifle bullets from the 92/6/2 for standard type velocities, and for plinking, I cast to around 16-18 BRN and download with appropriate powders, sometimes to subsonic velocities. I gascheck most of my cast bullets, but not all, depending on the velocity I want.

Currently I have a stock of .224 (.223 Rem), 6mm (.243), and .308 (30.30) and find I get very acceptable accuracies. I also cast the 1oz LEE Keyway 12g Slug and also a mix of different size larger shot. In addition to this, I cast all of my #7.5 shot for my shotguns with a small Shotmaker rig. I use a mix of 2 parts lead to 1 part Linotype, dropping into slightly watered down fabric softener, and get near enough to perfectly spherical shot...so long as I do my part. This is where I first encountered zinc.

I bought some lead from a different supplier and amongst it there was a quantity of small ingots that turned out to be zinc. It took me quite some time to clean out the drippers in my Shotmaker because the zinc really clogged things up and stuck to the insider of the drippers. Luckily I hadn’t mixed the zinc with the lead so it was relatively easy to separate it for return.

_________________
Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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