Why shoot cast bullets ? Besides being inexpensive,fun, easy on the barrel, satisfying to make, great penetrators, more different styles available than jacketed, easier to clean up after, I don't know why ? Then again, why not !
Cast n Blast,
I have been casting bullets for about 50 years,and I have'nt saved a dime. I did shoot a heck of a lot more then if I had stuck with jacketed bullets.
I cast bullets for the same reason that I handload ammunition. It's a challenge;an oppertunity to get more involved in my favorite sport.
And don't be afraid to hunt Whitetails with cast bullets. This past Fall,I flattened a buck at 50 yards,with a Shoulder shot! I ate both shoulder roasts,Too.
Greetings, sir ! I have been been casting for only a little over 10 years myself. Hope I can make it another 40 to match your record <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo-->.
You hit the nail on the head when you stated you wanted to get more involved in your handloading by casting your own bullets. Nothing is more satisfying than getting a bunch of dirty, nasty old WW (or other choice of alloy) and turning it into nice, shiney, well filled out bullets. And then to have those bullets reloaded by yourself and see them chew up the X-ring, or pulverize a rock, or drop a game animal, hoo boy!, we're talking poetry in motion.
It feels good to be self sufficient and tap into our roots as riflemen, and do as our forefathers did. If only there was a way to make primers.....
Take care Kragman71, your a man after my own heart.
Besides all the above mentioned reasons I started casting because in the late 70's there were NO factory made cast bullets available for the .45 Colt.
And darn near anything else either.
Tons of .45 ACP bullets, mostly the 230 gr RN, or the Saeco 200 LN SWC. But for the .45 Colt, virtually nothing.
I wanted to shoot two basic loads. One a factory equivelent load, and two a Keith bullet load. So, I bought moulds. Some used, some new. And I cooked my own.
Wheel weights mostly, but ocassionally other alloys.
The great part about it is that I can cast and size my bullets to correctly match the chamber throat dimentions of my revolvers.
Even with the good cast bullets on the market today, this is sometimes hard to do.
When I move West again I think I will set up and start casting my bullets again.
Casting your own bullets is one way to get more deeply into the shooting hobby because it gives you a greater degree of control over the final product and it certainly gives a sense of satisfaction and pride knowing that you did it yourself.
Doing away with primers and going the blackpowder flintlock route is an even greater expression of the hobbyist's art. It brings you back to another, bygone era along with all its challenges and rewards.
For some of us who want to really get back to basics nothing quite beats the thrill and sense of accomplishment that goes along with mining your own lead. Studying the geology, staking a claim, sinking a shaft, following a vein, smelting and refining the ore...
I know it takes a little doing to get started, but hey, it's an activity that can bring the whole family together and isn't that what it's really all about?
I bookmarked his site and will definitely get back to him.
Just sent for some 220gr from Midway, got some BlueDot, then started papers on a .32 mag Vaquero on the way home!
Sheesh, who said reloading was cheaper?
You people are talking about the ultimate challenge of using a flintlock. I felt my life would not be complete until I owned and became proficient with a flinter. Two years of agony later I found a sucker and traded it for a TC Cherokee.
Do you know why the pictures of mountain men with flintlocks always have two horses?
The second horse carries all the equipment that it takes to keep a flinter shooting.
As they used to say on Monty Python, "And now for something completely different."
A number of arguments in favor of cast bullets have been made so far in this thread that are hard to dispute. The sense of personal accomplishment in taking game or a match win with bullets you personally created is quite satisfying. As several have mused, probably only surpassed by the muzzleloading hunter or the archer who makes his own bow and arrows. I would also agree that cast loads are generally easier on the firearms as well. Moreso in rifles than handguns but I do agree it is there.
All that said I would disagree with several points made in support of cast bullets. Please don't think my comments are in any way disparaging to anyone or their opinions. I'd just like to add my own personal beliefs to the mix so that anyone contemplating casting or extensive cast bullet use understands both sides of the story. I think my own experiences in casting have shown that for many shooters jacketed loads are superior to cast.
I do not believe there is a significant cost savings in using cast versus jacketed in most cartridges.To get above average accuracy, consistency in same, and minimal barrel leading requires very high quality cast bullets purchased from outfits like Beartooth or careful, time consuming home casting. In either case you will be paying indirectly for the time it takes to create quality cast bullets. Time is the most precious commodity there is. If you don't have enough to dedicate for everything casting requires then all the actual per bullet "savings" are meaningless. The commercial caster is faced with similar problems of time and the related expenses. Those are of course passed on to the consumer. This is significant and in the long run will pretty much equal or possibly exceed the cost of bulk jacketed and plated bullets. I did a cost comparison years ago of my own home cast .45-caliber Keiths versus jacketed bullets procurred from a leading mail order outfit. If I excluded my time the cost savings was great. But when the time used to gather raw materials, alloy and cast ingots, actually cast the bullets, and then "lubrisize" them was factored-in at even a minimum wage per hour basis the savings quickly disappeared. I don't know how valuable your time is but I believe mine to be much more so than the going Federal minimum wage, so just from this standpoint alone I haven't melted a pot of alloy in a very long time. We can then add the cost of specialized equipment, lubes, and alloy components and I believe you can see that quality casting isn't as cheap as it first appears.
A second point I would disagree with is performance of cast bullets compared with jacketed. I do not think that there is any improvement when using cast. This may sound like heresy but only to those accustomed to comparing "apples to oranges." An example would be something like "My 325-grain, 21 BHN .45 Colts blew through my last three deer like they were made of butter. My old .44 Magnum with 180-grain Sierras never did that!" Well Duh!, they shouldn't and couldn't on their best day. But compare that cast .45 ammo to similarly loaded 300-grain FA, XTP or FMJ rounds and you have no difference at all. When really big or dangerous game is hunted the same applies. In fact excepting visiting American sportsmen with a penchant for big bore lever actions and revolvers I don't think there are more than a handful of hunters in Alaska, Asia, or Africa that would consider cast bullet loads in any cartridge for dangerous game if jacketed rounds were available. No less a heavyweight cast bullet notable than Ross Seyfried has doubts about using such loads to "fight wars" with Cape Buffalo. Let's face it, hard alloys are nothing new at all. (What is in the shooting world?) Yet the professional hunters of Africa and bear guides in Alaska I've read about almost never use anything but jacketed regardless of cartridge, nor have they for generations. If their heavy lead loads did the job better they would have kept them. But almost to a man every single one switched to jacketed cartridges like the .338-calibers and up. I think that's significant from a pure performance standpoint.
I hope no one takes offense from my opinions as there is none intended. I simply believe that from performance and cost standpoints quality cast bullets are not superior to similar jacketed or plated bullets.
I agree with you,100%!
That's why I noted that I never saved a dime by casting bullets. If I were to figure my time into the cost of shooting,I would never cast bullets or handload ammunition.
The good news is that most of this "work" is enjoyable for me.
It's the same deal for hunting.I enjoy eating venison. I also like most kinds of meat,but nothing that I ever ate is any better then prime beef,and I can buy it a lot cheaper then it costs me to bag my own venison. The good news is that I enjoy all that sweat and strain,that is called "Hunting".
Whenever I hear someone complain that hand loading or hunting is too much work,and they are thinking about quitting,I answer:"there's no money in it,so if you don't get any enjoyment from it,don't do it".
Maybe I'm a cousin to the folks who wear sackcloth and flog themselves with a whip.
You make some exellent points but particularly for those of us who launch pistol caliber bullets from carbines with stout loadings there is nothing jacketed that can do what a premium LBT cast bullet can do in terms of combining deep penetration, wide meplat for cailber, and high velocities.
This is one area where the cast heavyweight has some advantage on the whole, but even with this application one can use the excellent Nosler Partition, Hornady XTP, Swift, and others that will perform as well and possibly better for two reasons. First you will get "more meplat" because of expansion. They won't compromise penetration due to the controlled expansion provided by partitions, bonded cores, etc. You can also use a somewhat lighter bullet for added velocity and reduced recoil compared to heavy LBT's. For example, Rifle magazine had an article a couple of years back on hunting big feral donkey in Australia with a Winchester 94 in 444. The guy used the lightweight for application and cartridge Nosler 250-grain Partition. He could only recover a couple of bullets. All the rest fully penetrated these zebra-like critters with a large amount of internal damage. What more could you realistically ask for?
That said, in all fairness, for this application the cast heavyweight will probably be cheaper simply because we're talking about premium jacketed slugs. But for most American carbine hunting you don't need premium cast or jacketed. Even somewhat "pedestrian" bulk bullets like Remington's 180-grain .357 work very well in Marlin's carbine for deer.
I'm not qualified to speak to the question of cast versus jacketed when hunting game. But I can speak to the question of cost for the target shooter, who I suspect use a large percent of the cast bullets sold. I don't go out once or twice a year to sight the rifle/revolver in for hunting, I go out five times a week and shoot a minimum of 100 rounds a day. I also pay 1/2 the price for my cast bullets compared to the XTPs I buy on occassion. If you want Nosler, then it's 1/4th the price. And it doesn't require 500 rounds/week to notice the price difference. It would be interesting to know the percent of rounds spent plinking/etc. versus actual hunting, but not knowing, I will suggest a significant percentange of the bullets going down range every day are lead and are saving the shooter money. Beartooth/Cast Performance LBT bullets are outstanding, but costly. I develop my heavier loads with them, but for 95% of my shooting, I buy, either via the web or off the shelf, some very accurate lead bullets at 1/2 the price of jacketed.
I'll also throw my two cents worth into this arena. From a hunter's point of view, and one that the Lord has allowed to be tempered with more than just a few harvests.
When traditional handgun cartridges and calibers are considered, it only takes once when shooting an adredalized wild hog, coming at you with malicious intent, and having emptied your six-shooter into the beast at bad-breath range only to have him continue on for you with those razor sharp teeth to make you reconsider your ammo selection. This actually happened, and the ammo used was loaded with Hornady 300g XTP's in a .44 mag, the gun a SBH. Range began at less than twenty feet... final range eight feet, the old bar-hog was killed by a friend with a .45-70 shooting cast bullets. What happened? two shots had missed the hog, and four had found their mark squarely in the center of his chest.... the grissle of that armor he had stopped those XTP's cold! The bullets never penetrated to the vitals. Had these rounds been loaded with a hard-cast wide meplat bullet any one of the connecting shots would have been fatal.
Case two was an Oregon spike bull elk. A long story, but suffice it to say that through the course of some strange events, this spike bull was on a collision course with me through a very narrow game trail through some extrememly thick willow, alder and chinquapin brush. My tool of opportunity a Ruger Security Six .357. Range again tweny feet, to six feet, emptied the gun, elk's head stopped sliding on snow less than one foot from my feet. Load: Hefty charge of Blue Dot and Speer 158g Half-jacket hollow-points (this nearly 20 years ago), again two rounds missed the animal, four hit, one finally hit the soft spot in the brisket where the wind-pipe goes through, and it penetrated the top of the heart. This animal made one pass at me, turned around ran down the trail towards my partner who missed it, and the spike bull returned down the trail to me once agian where I finished working on him with my handgun. Post mortem showed the one round piercing the heart was the only one that made it past the brisket on the critter. The mortal wound was made in the first three shots I fired, it just took him about two minutes to die. Again, had I been shooting a hard-cast wide meplat bullet, any of the frontal shots would have been fatal, for they were well placed.
Another place that I wouldn't substitute a good hard cast bullet is in fall bear hunting. When those blackies have been fattening up for hibernation all fall eating berries and acorns, an entrance wound alone isn't enough for a blood trail when things go wrong and you have the unfortunate mis-placed shot. That hide and fat shift around, and in short order will plug-off an entrance wound so that it quits bleeding entirely. A spine shot is about all that will positively anchor these tenacious critters with regularity. Their will to survive is amazing, and if I have to track one through the fall woods, I want him leaking profusely on both sides. A hard cast wide-meplat bullet will accomplish this goal from a handgun, and do so with certainty, every time.
Bill, I'll agree that for most hunting applications, when using a centerfire bottle-necked cartridge, that jacketed bullets are the best option when full power loads are needed. I shoot quite a few Barnes X in .30 caliber for the hot loaded '06 and '06AI hunting ammo used in our family.
However, most of the deer hunting done around here, even with those '06's is accomplished with aplum using somewhat reduced (.30-30 type velocities) velocity ammo, and the loss of venison to bloodshot is nil. When loading for .35 caliber and up, I've found nothing better than cast.... of course I'm a cast bullet junkie, I'll be the first to admit that one.
Given traditional caliber hunting handgun ammo, I'll take hard cast wide-meplat bullets every time. The same holds true in all straight-walled rifle cartridges as well.
I'm with Bill on rifles - love Nosler Partitions in my '06. And have even gotten very good results with 'off the shelf' (not premium) jacketed bullets in other calibers like .257 Roberts and .338.
But... for my handguns, I don't think any jacketed bullet can touch an LBT-style cast. Just not enough velocity to drive all the way through IF it expands well. Not referring to whitetails, but hogs which I hunt a lot. JHP's in a .44 mag certainly work on deer, but so does a WFN and as a bonus, the WFN kills bigger, meaner, stuff too.
Haven't tried the new Nosler handgun bullets, but if they fulfill their promise, then just maybe they will be a viable substitute for LBTs.
I will note that if a jacketed bullet is available for a handgun that matches the LBT profiles and performance, I'm happy with that. In some calibers it's hard to find good jacketed bullets.
Cast can help make up for odd dimensions in a gun because the sizing can be varied somewhat.
Well, Bill, you sure have stirred the pot on this one! Good discussion, though.
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