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    Cast Bullets for Military surplus Rifles

    I have been a gun collector for a long time. I never thought of collecting surplus rifles, until I found an article in G&A Surplus Magazine called Slingin' Lead, by Daniel C. Chamberlain. Cast bullets for surplus rifles. That got the ball rolling. I now have a Lee melting pot, Lyman 314299 mould, Lyman lube sizer, and a bunch of wheel weights. I now use moly lube to coat the bullets. The article shows how you can get into castin bullets at very low cost. I went a little over board. I now have 2 lee Enfields #4 & 2a, Russianicon 91/30, Russian 44, and SKS. I very,very, highly recommend this. It's cheap to do and you cannot believe the accuracy. And you will never wear the barrel's out. Now I am collecting surplus rifles. I will need another gun safe.
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    A Collector's View - The SMLE Short Magazine Lee Enfield 1903-1989. It is 300 8.5x11 inch pages with 1,000+ photo’s, most in color, and each book is serial-numbered.  Covering the SMLE from 1903 to the end of production in India in 1989 it looks at how each model differs and manufacturer differences from a collecting point of view along with the major accessories that could be attached to the rifle. For the record this is not a moneymaker, I hope just to break even, eventually, at $80/book plus shipping.  In the USA shipping is $5.00 for media mail.  I will accept PayPal, Zelle, MO and good old checks (and cash if you want to stop by for a tour!).  CLICK BANNER to send me a PM for International pricing and shipping. Manufacturer of various vintage rifle scopes for the 1903 such as our M73G4 (reproduction of the Weaver 330C) and Malcolm 8X Gen II (Unertl reproduction). Several of our scopes are used in the CMP Vintage Sniper competition on top of 1903 rifles. Brian Dick ... BDL Ltd. - Specializing in British and Commonwealth weapons Chuck in Denver ... Buy-Sell-Trade .. Guns, Cars Motorcycles Your source for the finest in High Power Competition Gear. Here at T-bones Shipwrighting we specialise in vintage service rifle: re-barrelling, bedding, repairs, modifications and accurizing. We also provide importation services for firearms, parts and weapons, for both private or commercial businesses.
     

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    Sounds fun! Are they light loads? Gas checked? I don't know anything about using lead.

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    I have started with light loads, the Lyman 314299 mould is a gas checked mould. Its also a 200 grain speer point, so it is long. Lyman did good on this one. Works great for 303 Britishicon, and the 762x54r Russianicon. The lyman 311299 is also great for these and the 30 calibers like 30/06. I have also been looking at working up light loads for small game.

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    D´you use wheel weights? Why do so many people advise against using them? (I´m planning to start casting as soon as I get the moulds).

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    Quote Originally Posted by villiers View Post
    Why do so many people advise against using them?
    There are several reasons:

    1) Wheelweights have a (usually) unknown composition. You have no idea what is really in them. Which means that you have no idea how hard the final bullet is going to be.
    2) If there is, for instance, any zinc in the mix, then the filling of the mold will be poor.
    3) There may be hard particles in the mix (from the road, brake discs, brake pads) that will wear or even scratch the barrel.
    4) Specifically for your BP cartridges, Patrick: all you need is pure lead and tin. Any alloy with antimony is likely to be harder than you need in an original BPCR.

    Which all adds up to: If you really care for your barrel and really want consistent performance, then it is a false saving to use what is in effect foundry scrap.

    Just my 2 cents, of course!


    Patrick
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 12-13-2011 at 02:31 AM.

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    How about air rifle pellets? (can get loads from the club).

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    Cast Bullets in Military Rifles

    Cast bullets can be used quite successfully in Military rifles. It is better to use a round nose design with a lot of bearing surface, rather than a Spitzer type of bullet.

    As mentioned, wheel weights are not really good the way they are, and shouyld be alloyed with lead to give a softer mixture. Get a copy of Lyman's "Cast Bullet Handbook" and read up on lead bullets. Proper safety precautions should be followed to avoid burns and breathing in lead fumes, along with safety glasses.

    Some bullte moulds are designed for gas checks. I prefer the Hornady crimp on type. If you keep your velocities under 2000 fps, then you should not get barrel leading provided a good lubricant is used.

    During the 1960s, C.E. Harris of the NRA Staff did a lot of experimenting with cast bullets. For most Military rifles, he used what he called "The Load". This is 13.0 grains of Red Dot Shotgun Powder with an appropriate weight bullet. In the case of the .303 Britishicon, the heavier bullets above 150 grains work well. It can be used for 30-06, .308, 8mm Mauser, 7x57 Mauser and many other Military rifles.

    There are also so many variables in shooting Cast Bullets that it makes the average reloader using store bought components look like they are in Grade One and just learning.

    And then there are paper patched bullets, where your earn your Graduate Degree. (Yes, the Swissicon in the late 1800s used paper patched bullets in the Schmidt-Rubin rifle.)
    .

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    Airgun pellets? - Worth investigating

    Quote Originally Posted by villiers View Post
    How about air rifle pellets? (can get loads from the club).

    That is an interesting idea. That would be using an alloy with some consistency. I suggest you ask Haendler & Natermannn about the typical hardness of airgun pellets.


    Patrick

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    I suppose it is true that you can never know the exact make-up of wheelweights. However, I have been using them for years and have had great results with them. Now, I don't shoot competitions, and I wouldn't with these bullets. But, for paper-punching at the local range I love them.

    I get them free from my local tire shop in ten-gallon buckets (very hard to lift ten gallons of wheelweights!). I melt them in my pot and flux and stir really good. I scrape lots of trash out of the mix along with the clips. I then pour the mix into a muffin pan making nice little muffin-sized ingots. I then re-melt the ingots later when ready to make bullets. I drop bullets out of the mold into water. This hardens the alloy even more. I install gaschecks on the bullets and they shoot great. Alloy is too hard to expand (paper doesn't care), but easier on the barrel than a copper jacket.

    This has worked great for me for many years. Also, do modern handgun loads the same way, including magnums. Others may have different results.

    daveboy

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    BPCRs require softer lead than misurps from the nitro era

    Just a bit of clarification to help Patrick Villiers in particular:

    I know that many people are happy to cast wheelwight material, and even harden it, and it max go well in their nitro-fuelled milsurps. But Patrick's latest reloading problem was with the Werder Carbine of around 1867. Such ancient BPCRs are metallurgically equivalent to the percussion muzzle-loaders they replaced, and have deep grooves intended for lead bullets. Jacketed bullets came much later, with nitrocellulose powders, when it was found that lead bullets caused bad fouling/leading at the previously impossible high muzzle velocities achieved with nitro powdes.

    The metallurgy and groove depths of something like a Werder are thus not suitable for the much higher pressures generated by ramming a jacketed (or hard cast wheelweight) bullet of groove diameter down a barrel. The grooves are so deep that the gun has no chance of squeezing the metal down to bore diameter at acceptable pressure levels. Black powder rifles of that vintage should be fed with bullets having a Brinell hardness of no more than 15, unless you want to simulate proof loads with every shot.

    So be careful guys! It's horses for courses, and there is no "One hardness fits all" solution.


    Patrick
    Last edited by Patrick Chadwick; 12-16-2011 at 06:09 PM.

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