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Old 10-30-2011, 10:37 PM
Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 268
Rifle Bullets and Gas Checks?

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I have acquired a Gewehr 88 in 7.92x57J.

It takes 0.318" bullets.

Folks keep urging me to try cast bullets in it. I've resisted this because I like to use what a particular firearm was designed for -- in this case, jacketed. (If I were shooting .45-70, I doubt it would see anything but cast!).

Now, realistically, the 0.318" bullets come at a custom price and I'd like to shoot it more.

I've zeroed it for a 150 grain spitzer at about 2500fps. This is not as easy to zero as my Mosin-Nagant as I've not made up a finely adjustable sight for it, but used a tall front sight from Brownell's.

That means a cast load moving fairly fast to hit the same point of aim -- or close to it, at least on elevation.

That means gas checks.

I know nothing about gas checks.

I cast for the .45acp and for my muzzleloaders. I use my own dry lube on the .45 bullets and nothing on the lead round balls (they are patched).

This means I tend to like the Lee tumble lube bullets when dealing with conicals, and I do not resize. They drop out the right size most times and the ones that don't just go back into the pot.

So, this all relates to gas checks for this reason: I don't know how to put them on! Everything I read says to put them on with a lubrisizer.

How fast can I push a 150 to 170 grain gas-checked bullet?

I'd like to make this come together, but I don't want to tap in the old sight (put up in storage should I ever sell this thing) each time I want to change from jacketed to lead bullets!

Bottom line: How fast can I push a gas-checked bullet, and do I need special equipment to put the gas checks on?



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Old 10-31-2011, 05:03 AM
MikeG's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2001
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First, did you slug the barrel and throat? If not, this will all be a complete waste of time.

All of the 88's I've seen were in fact .323" groove diameter; however, the key dimension is the throat, anyway. Cast bullets must be sized to fit the throat and if the throat was opened up for .323" jacketed bullets, then that is the correct starting point for cast. Anything undersized will be a horrible mess waiting to happen.

If you can easily chamber a .323" jacketed bullet, then start with that size for cast and see how they do. 0.324" or 0.325" may even end up being correct. You will be much better off and make progress faster if you just order some bullets from Beartooth bullets, at least a box to start with. That way you have a control to compare your own (or anyone else's) bullets against.

You won't likely make any useful progress till you get some measurements on the gun, though.

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Last edited by MikeG; 10-31-2011 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:49 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: S.E. Lower Mich.
Posts: 942
To install gas checks you put the gas check plate on your lubrisizer, then place the bullet on top, then simply crimp them on using the force of the lubrisizer to accomplish that. Its really simple.

As to how fast you can shoot them, I think 2500 fps would be doable, but you may need solid bullet lube applied with the lubrisizer.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:17 PM
unclenick's Avatar
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Location: Hilliard, Ohio
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Moderator (though not around often these days) Ranch Dog has a 170 grain gas checked .323 tumble lube bullet mold available. It has a flat meplat, so I believe you can install the checks by running them backward into a Lee sizing die. You could then push them all the way through and re-lube for firing or push them in just far enough to crimp the gas check on, then tap them back down with a dowel and a mallet. Your choice. His load data is for .32 Win. Special at about 2200 fps. That may not impact much differently for you than the bullets you have now. Heavier bullets often impact a little higher because they let recoil raise the muzzle more before the bullet exits, but that's consistently true only in handguns and at modest handgun ranges (tens of yards not hundreds). A rifle barrel's flexing coupled with drop at longer range can reverse the effect, so you'd have to try it to be sure.

Another thing you can try are poly wads. NECO sells them. No cheaper than a copper check if bought through them, but they seem to work well at stopping leading. They can be used with a flat base bullet.

I agree with Mike you need to slug the bore first to learn what you really need to be shooting. If you cast with a hard enough alloy, though, I think the TLC bullet will work out.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:38 PM
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I put a dab of lithium (wheel bearing) grease on the base of my lead rifle bullets. I don't use gas checks and load velocities 2000 - 2100FPS with no leading problems.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Northcentral Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,668

Since you said your M88 was .318", I assume you have a .318 rifle. I cast bullets for all my military rifles. I use OLD wheelweights, add a dash of tin and drop all my bullets from the moulds into a bucket of water to double the hardness. I gas check all rifle bullets except for the 130grain semi-spitzer M1 Carbine cast bullet. I lube with Aalox.

Installing gas checks properly is best done with a luber/sizer like my Lyman 450. It is easier than it takes the time to tell. I place a gas check cup up into the bottom (sizer) die install a cast bullet, base down, pull down the handle and the bullet is sized and gas checked. I would not be too concerned with how fast you can send a cast bullet down range; I prefer to load for accuracy and all my cast loads are slower than jacketed bullet loads. In my 98 Mausers I shoot a cast 8mm 215 grain bullet ahead of 25 grains of IMR 4198 that clocks about 2,000 fps. I move the rear sight to "500" to get the same point of aim/point of impact at 100 yards I get at the "100" sight setting with jacketed bullets. If you want high cast bullet velocity, you better stay with jacketed bullets. I suggest you buy and read the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook.

Hope this helps.


Last edited by Webley; 03-22-2012 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:44 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,014
If you get a gas-check and a bullet in the same room Joshua, I think you will understand how to use your tools to make it work.
Just need to look at them and think about the "how it works thing".

I prefer to not use them at all if I can get away with it (for whatever application).
Just adds steps to re-loading ammunition (and cost).

Bottom Line: Start your bullet at minimum suggested load and see if it works? If you like it? STOP! You are there!
If not, change one thing only.

Work up if needed and see if it still works? If not, install a gas-check and start over at minimum charge weight. Work up again and see if you like what happens?

Change only one thing at a time.

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