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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to cast bullets, and was wanting to know if I need to use Gas Checks on cast bullets for my 450 Marlin w/ports to get the best accuracy.  I am wanting to load some 400-440grn. loads in 1700-1800 fps. range.

I have heard that the porting will flame cut the base of the bullet and cause accuracy problems and didn't know if this is true.

Thanks
 

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What you have heard is absolutely true!  For the .450 Marlin, especially with your 1700-1900 fps loads you'll absolutely need gas checks for servicable loads.  In fact, anything over about 1100 fps with that ported barrel will require gas-checked bullets for optimum performance.

Also, be aware that best performance will reult from using .460" diameter cast bullets.  We've tested many bullet diameters in these new Marlin ported barrels, and have found that although the Ballard style barrels have .4585" diameter bores as an average, the throats, while being short, are rather generous in diameter, running .4605"-.461", consequently a .460" diameter bullet fills the throat and prevents the bullet from tipping in the throat before entering the rifling.  This greatly enhances accuracy as well.

Hope you enjoy that .450M!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks again Marshal,

Can I shoot a bullet as cast, or do  I need to resize.  I dont want to spend another 150 dollars for a resizing press that will take up more of the space on my reloading bench that i am rapidly running out of?  I heard of a fellow that can make resizing dies for use in a reloading press. If you have heard of him could you pass on his info( I think in TX).  I just need something to crimp on the gas checks because from what NEI says on their web page the bullets come out .002 over anyway.

Thanks Marty.
 

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Marty- Welcome to the world of cast bullets! Don't worry, it's not as tough as you may have been lead to believe. First of all, how are you planning to lubricate your cast bullets? Sizing and lubrication is usually (not always) done at the same time. As far as sizing goes, you can use an inexpensive LEE sizing kit to both size the bullets and crimp on the gaschecks. The bullet must be lubricated before using the sizer die. You can either pan lube, or tumble lube the bullets beforehand. If you'd like more clarification on lubrication, please just ask. I'm assuming you've already planned this out. Used lubrisizers usually run about &#3650-&#3675.00 on e-bay if you are interested. If you want to crimp gaschecks without sizing the bullet, simply select a sizer that is about 1-2 thousandths over your as-cast bullet diameter. These can even be custom built to a diameter of your choice.
 

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Marty,

It all depends upon the size that your mold throws with your alloy.  Alloy content can make a considerable difference in the "as-cast" diameter of your bullets.  If over, you'll certainly need to size them.

Now, about the sizing equipment.  What pourboy suggested is exactly what I am going to suggest to you as well.  Lee Precision has an excellent sizing setup that screws into your reloading press and sizes your bullets.  The neat part is, that it takes up no more space to store than a set of sizing dies, and it works superbly!  Also, if they don't have the exact size you need, they can make them to your specs and have a reasonable turn-around time, or do as I have done in the past, and simply lap them out to your desired diameter.  Nice thing about these loading press mounted bullet sizing dies is that they size the bullet nose-first, so they self-center in the die, virtually eliminating the possibility of an eccentricly sized bullet, and the gas checks are seated squarely before getting crimped, all in the same step!  Too, you don't have to buy separate nose punches for every mold you buy!  

Check them out here:
While it is true that you can buy used lubrisizers that both lube the bullet and size it in one operation (and also take up lots of loading bench space) from the online auction sites at about half of retail prices, don't be tempted to buy the Lyman 450 Lubrisizer just because it is cheaper... they are cheap... they haven't done a redesign of the basic lubrisizer in many decades, and the design has some serious weak points... evidenced by the number of Lyman 450's that you will see used with brazed or rewelded handles, linkages home-made that are beefier than the factory ones.  If buying a run-of-the-mill lubrisizer, get the RCBS machine, or if you want to add another 50-75 dollars to the acquisition cost, buy the best and get a Star, available from Magma Engineering.

Check it out too!

For now however, the Lee Precision unit will do many, many thousands of bullets, and the quality won't be one whit better than those done on a Star Machine!  You will need to either hand lube or pan lube, as mentioned earlier.

Another method that I used extensively in my earlier hobby-casting days (read tight budget casting/shooting in high-school & college) for lubing, was to have a shallow pan of lube melted, (usually over the top of my lead-pot), then dip my room temperature bullets into the lube, quickly, holding on to the nose, and dipping the bullet to a depth equal to the crimp groove on the bullet.  In this fashion, the lube stayed on the cold bullet, much like making a candle, then when I put the bullet down, I stood it nose-up in a shallow metal box, then when I was ready to size them with the Lee Sizing unit, I simply scraped the base of the bullet on the semi-sharp edge of the metal box to remove what little lube remained on the bullet base, applied a gas-check and ran the bullet through the Lee sizing die.  Worked like a charm, filled the grooves and they shot wonderfully!  I never did like the cake-cutter method, although scores of casters swear by the technique, I was always too impatient for that, I wanted to get volumes of bullets done so I could go shoot my sixguns!

Hope these few ideas help... casting should be enjoyable.  It needn't be expensive nor complicated unless you choose to make it that way.  Excellent bullets can be cast and sized with only a fifty dollar investment, if one is frugal, thrifty and watchful for deals!

Hope we can be of help to you here on the forum!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Marshall makes an excellent point about the lubrisizers. I started out with the old LEE sizing kits that you use a hammer to drive the bullet through a sizing die. What a pain. It's a wonder I didn't give it all up then and there! I finally bought a Lyman lubrisizer. It leaked like crazy. I later picked up a used one at a firesale price and have used it for years. Those two are gathering dust since I bought my Star. If the new style LEE kits were available then, I would probably be using them instead, except I too have a rabid dislike for pan lubing. I've also never developed a taste for liquid alox either. I normally juggle my alloys until I reach an average bhn of about 15 and cast bullets about 1-2thousandths over throat diameter. This is much easier to do than it sounds. Then I order sizing dies a little larger than that even. This allows lubing and gascheck crimping without sizing. A big advantage to the Star is that custom sizing dies cost no more than the standard sizes. Prepare yourself to become addicted to casting. It's probably more like hiccups, you just don't seem to be able to stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info guys.

I think I will try the Lee Sizer method.  Do you know how much they charge to "overbore" the die? Or will I get acceptable results by lapping the die myself with oversized lapping bullets coated with lapping coumpound?
 

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Marty,

If you decide to lap the die out yourself (which is faster and easier to do than to explain), you'll have complete control over the finished size, and can stop at even half-thousandths increments!  You can't really go wrong.

Oh, too about your signature:
<!--QuoteBegin--></span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"><!--QuoteEBegin-->"There are not to many things in this world, that One well placed bullet can't fix" [/quote]

Reminds me of a local elderly friend living on the farm his father homesteaded, who had upgraded to a satellite dish for his television viewing shortly after they became available.  About a year later he remarked that he surely hated that eyesore (meaning the four antennas comming off the main mast on the top of his roof) up on the roof since he had gotten the satellite dish.  He had an older two story house with a roof pitch that rivaled any "A" frame homes I've ever seen, but the lower edge of the eves were at least thirty-feet high, and the roof was corugated steel and very slick!  A real pain to take down the out-dated antennas... then with a twinkle in his eye, an ancient Winchester '86 takedown came out of the house with a big, flat nosed lead bullet load (what I'm not sure), and that whole antenna mast came down, sheared off at the base with one well placed bullet!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This came about on a camping trip, when one night a storm came up and broke some limbs which were swinging precariously close to our tents.  Before the wind blew them on to our tents, I took my .22 and did a little "tree trimming".  When every thing was OK I just happened to make that statment and It stuck.

Thanks again for all the information, I know you are busy,  So get back to work and make my lapping bullets. (just kidding)

Thank you,
Marty Brown

(Edited by Marty Brown at 5:32 am on July 24, 2001)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
About lapping sizing dies, I have heard of using emory cloth on a slotted rod and I don't think that will be to hard to do. Another thought was to take a lapping compound coated bullet on a  screw, turned by an electric drill(any thoughts).

What I was wondering about was the size of the punch, would it be to small to work correctly?  Since  I think I will be lubing the bullets using the dipping method described by Marshall, I don't see the need for a lube tite seal, just to crimp on the gas checks.

Thanks
Marty
 

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I wouldn't try putting a screw in a bullet and turning with a drill.  It would be nearly impossible to center the screw and then you'd have an out of round lap and make a big mess.  Turning by hand - maybe.

The emory cloth on a split rod works fine.  You can also use wet-or-dry sandpaper.  I've done several revolver cylinders this way.
 
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