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I've been reloading many different handgun loads (ex. Glock) and .45/70 and .30-30 rifle using commercial cast bullets for many years. I do it mainly because they're less expensive than jacketed. However I don't have any idea regarding "soft" vs "hard" or lubed or gas checked bullets etc. I just buy whatever fits. I've never had any problems, however I just don't know anything about those things. Can anybody give me course in bullet hardness 101? (Or point me to a good reference.)
 

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I'll move this to the cast bullet forum for you.
 

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Here is some info links
From Fr. Frog web site Miscellaneous Questions http://www.frfrogspad.com/miscellm.htm#Brinell
From the Antimony Man web site http://www.theantimonyman.com/testingmetals.htm
From R&C Cast Bullets http://www.rserv.com/Alloy.html
A great resource is the FAQ section of this web site read down a little bit and there is some great information
http://www.beartoothbullets.com/faq/index.htm
This is where I go for "hardball" alloy which I think is perfect for all around use http://www.rotometals.com/Bullet-Casting-Alloys-s/5.htm
Lyman sells a Cast Bullet manual which is good. That is the best all around resource in book form. As for molds they are all good but here is where I would go for molds http://www.lbtmoulds.com/
 

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Slugging your bore is the #1 most important thing in shooting cast bullets. Once you know what your barrel measures at the grooves, then most anything you try that is .001-.002" over your groove diameter should shoot well (within reason).

After knowing your bore size and shooting the correct diameter bullet, then making sure your bullet carries enough and the right kind of bullet lube is the second most important thing.

Most people overestimate the importance of the hardness of your bullet alloy. A full power .30-30 should be fine with water quenched wheel weight alloy. (20-22 BHN) If you're using full power loads, then you'll probably want to use a gas check design for that application.

Regarding a .45-70, there are many different levels of power and therefore bullet hardness, that you would need to use for that.

I have shot .460" lead bullets out of my .450 Marlin up to 1800 fps. The alloy I use runs 16-18BHN (I use 50% WW and 50% soft lead and water drop). Fit and proper lubrication is way more important that alloy harness in most applications.
 

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I've been told that one of the Lee books goes into great detail about matching bullet hardness to the speed you want to shoot but have not seen it personally. I think it may be called something like "shooting cast bullets at jacketed speeds" but I'm not sure.

Remember, all things relative to shooting are tradeoffs. Nothing is free and most gains come at the expense of another factor. At moderate speeds, properly sized bullets don't need to be super hard or have gas checks. The faster you go, the more you need that stuff. A lot of the rifles people commonly shoot cast in don't push the velocity fast enough to matter but some do. The old western calibers are generally pretty easy to shoot with plain bullets. If you wanted to shoot a 30.06 at jacketed speed, you'd need to gas check them and probably adjust to a harder bullet.
 

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Second edition of Richard Lee's book, Modern Reloading has that information. There are differences of opinion, but Lee gives some group size effect that make you think he's on to something.
 

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At moderate speeds, properly sized bullets don't need to be super hard or have gas checks. The faster you go, the more you need that stuff. A lot of the rifles people commonly shoot cast in don't push the velocity fast enough to matter but some do. The old western calibers are generally pretty easy to shoot with plain bullets. .
There is an exception to this rule. That's barrel length. With the longer barrels. the bullet spends enough time in it to allow the burning powder to deform the base of the bullet and this will throw off the accuracy at the moment the bullet leaves the barrel. A gas check will cure this. As will an over powder wad. I found this out in shooting both my 26" barreled Browning 86 and my 32" barreled Sharps. The plain base bullets were fine in the 26" bbl. But were all over the place with the 32" until I started seating a gas check under the bullet. ........................................................................................As for hardness, I've never checked my alloy, but I mix 1.5 to 2 lbs 50/50 barsolder to 10 lbs wheel weights. Never had leading problems.
 

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Get the Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook. LOTS of info (mostly facts and not opinions), and considered the "Bible" of bullet casting by many. Explanations of alloying, gas checks, sizing and lubes all covered...
 
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