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Old 09-27-2010, 01:35 PM
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Default Hard cast vs swaged bullets

I have used different brands of "hard cast" 158 gr .357 swc bullets in my s&w 686 and Mod 19, both w/6" bbl and in good condition. These ought to produce decent groups from sand bag, which for sake of argument I'll call 2" at 25 yd. Powders range from Tite Group, 231, Universal, Auto Comp, up and down the scale. Never able to achieve better than 5-6" consistently. A change to copper plated or jacketed bullets brought my groups down to an acceptable level. Then I "accidentally" bought a 500 box of softer swaged bullets by Magnus. A phone call confimed these are 9-11 hardness whereas hard cast are 18-19. Another source had suggested Solo 1000 for lead and target use. Having very little published about Solo 1000 in .38 spl cases, I made a horseback guess at 3.0 gr of Solo and made a few. (Found another source that said min of 3.1 gr with 158 gr lead - good guess!.)

Bottom line: These loads will drive nails! Impact is centered with even .357 loads; recoil is lighter than store bought .38's; 5 shot groups 1-2" from sand bag is no problem.

Someone(s) have already said to check the barrel and cylinder bore diameter on my guns, as maybe hard cast bullets are leaking gas; but I figure S&W has had more experience in making gun barrels than I have in measuring, so I'll forego that. Barrel leading seems not to be an issue so far, but we'll watch out and just keep on lobbing those soft bullets into the 10-ring.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ncbengal View Post
I have used different brands of "hard cast" 158 gr .357 swc bullets in my s&w 686 and Mod 19, both w/6" bbl and in good condition. These ought to produce decent groups from sand bag, which for sake of argument I'll call 2" at 25 yd. Powders range from Tite Group, 231, Universal, Auto Comp, up and down the scale. Never able to achieve better than 5-6" consistently. A change to copper plated or jacketed bullets brought my groups down to an acceptable level. Then I "accidentally" bought a 500 box of softer swaged bullets by Magnus. A phone call confimed these are 9-11 hardness whereas hard cast are 18-19. Another source had suggested Solo 1000 for lead and target use. Having very little published about Solo 1000 in .38 spl cases, I made a horseback guess at 3.0 gr of Solo and made a few. (Found another source that said min of 3.1 gr with 158 gr lead - good guess!.)

Bottom line: These loads will drive nails! Impact is centered with even .357 loads; recoil is lighter than store bought .38's; 5 shot groups 1-2" from sand bag is no problem.

Someone(s) have already said to check the barrel and cylinder bore diameter on my guns, as maybe hard cast bullets are leaking gas; but I figure S&W has had more experience in making gun barrels than I have in measuring, so I'll forego that. Barrel leading seems not to be an issue so far, but we'll watch out and just keep on lobbing those soft bullets into the 10-ring.
Measuring the throats in your revolver would be where I would start, not ignore. It has been my experience that accuracy is a function of fit and so is leading. Most commercial casters don't have a clue about what gun you might be shooting their bullets in so, they make them hard so as not to have problems with soft ones being driven too hard causing leading.

There are a bunch of commercial casters that will work with you to tailor a bullet for you gun/load combination.

Here is the problem that I see with your situation. You don't cast so you have to rely on someone else that has never shot your gun to give you bullets that fit it perfectly! How is that going to happen? It can't.

That dear friend, is why I cast my own. I can make them big enough and soft enough or small enough and hard enough for whatever my guns and loads require.

I have yet to shoot the first swaged bullet and doubt I ever will. My target loads run straight wheel weights from 700fps to 800fps. With just a tad bit of tin or Linotype, I can run them all the way to 2000fps in a pistol caliber carbine (44Mag 210gr LRNFP) with no leading and accuracy is acceptable.

Oh, the two biggest things about casting though: I have what I want when I want, no shortages affect me; The cost of equipment has long ago been paid back and my bullets now cost me hundredths of cents to make. Imagine a 1000 158gr LSWC for $2!

I think I will cast my own, thanks.

p.s. Glad you found a solution to your problems though, that is what matters most. Keep shooting and be safe!
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:36 PM
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There is nothing wrong with swaged bullets as long as you don't try to attain magnum velocities with them. In fact, at low velocities in the 700-900 fps range, I have found them to be just like you describe.

Winchester used to sell swaged bullets as components. I don't think they do any longer and that is a shame. I bought a bunch of 158 SWCs and 148 HBWCs and they shoot really well out of all my guns and do not lead at all.

But for heavier loads, I usually stick with my own cast bullets. There are some good vendors out there but there are a lot who sell one-size-fits-all junk.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:53 PM
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Imagine a 1000 158gr LSWC for $2!
Skip that sounds good to me. I'll take a hundred thousand a month
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:56 PM
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Skip that sounds good to me. I'll take a hundred thousand a month
Jes,
Since I don't have to support my family doing so, I don't have to have my time paid for, that is taken care of on another job!

If it was my livelihood, the price MIGHT go up a bit!
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:04 PM
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Skip you can keep your day job and cast me a hundred thousand bullets a month, just working at night.

Even if you only worked at it three nights a week you wouldn't have to cast and size but just a wee bit over 8,000 bullets a night
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:05 PM
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I really enjoy casting bullets. Personally I have found that leading is more a function of a properly sized bullet, rather than the hardness of the bullet. A good properly sized and lubed bullet does not lead the barrel. So as Smith Crazy says you should measure your revolver and cast your own, or have a custom caster size them for you. a good reputable caster will do that for you. Try casting, just be careful, it is very very very addictive. You will soon have a mess like me. Tom.

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Old 09-27-2010, 10:34 PM
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I'd almost be willing to say Tennessee Valley Bullets could make the size bullets you need in an alloy that would work in your guns. Check Jessie out and see if that isn't the case. TVB - Bullets
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:41 PM
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Skip you can keep your day job and cast me a hundred thousand bullets a month, just working at night.

Even if you only worked at it three nights a week you wouldn't have to cast and size but just a wee bit over 8,000 bullets a night
Jes,
You have my phone number, go ahead and ask the missus if she will go for that!

'Course if she does, I suppose I can move in with my daughter and son in law! (JK!)

OK, 100,000 a month and let's take the price to 5 cents each, that would include shipping, would bring us to $60,000 p/yr. I will need that in advance, please!
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:28 PM
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The check is in the mail
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Old 09-27-2010, 11:33 PM
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The check is in the mail
Jes,

I get started as soon as it clears the bank!
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:09 PM
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okay this is the first time hearing of swaged bullets can anyone tell me what the deal with the bullets is are they consistant.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:31 PM
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Swaged bullets are formed under pressure from lead wire. The wire doesn't have to be pure lead and can contain 3% or so antimony. In the 1970s, Speer offered cast bullets and had them with loads in their manuals. But that changed in the middle 1970s to swaged bullets which made the data drop to 1000 fps or less to allow for the softer bullet and keep leading to a minimum.

Home swaging used to be practiced, with C&H making many dies for bullets using an O frame press CH4D :: 101 Bullet Swaging Dies. Corbin also makes swaging equipment. Corbin Home Page Most home swaged bullets are half jacket at the minimum, but many are made with fully jacketed designs.

Casting is cheaper in the long run and doesn't depend on wire or jacket material from outside sources.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:06 PM
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I put a lot of swaged SWCs downrange. My favorite these days is the Zero 158 grain SWC hollow point. I load it over 3.5 grains of bullseye in .38 cases and over 4.0 grains in .357 cases. It is very accurate in my guns and no lead problems. And the Zeros are very competitively priced. I also buy their 148 grain HBWC. If you're not familiar with Zero bullets, they are available through a company called Roze Distributers. Fast shipping also, and while I'm at it, I'll mention that I also like their jacketed bullets; they shoot well and are cheaper then many others. Just be aware that Roze is sometimes out of a particular bullet type when you want it so you need to check back frequently.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:44 PM
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Hornady specifically recommends that their swaged bullets be kept around 800 fps, but also specifies their 148gr HBWC at 800 fps as their most accurate .38 Special load.

I've worked up a decent .38 Special load with Hornady's swaged HBWC and am close to a good .357 Magnum target load (IOW under 900 fps) with their 158gr swaged LSWC.

However, some hard cast bullets from Penn are on their way. I'll report here on which is most accurate in my revolvers.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbengal View Post
I have used different brands of "hard cast" 158 gr .357 swc bullets in my s&w 686 and Mod 19, both w/6" bbl and in good condition. These ought to produce decent groups from sand bag, which for sake of argument I'll call 2" at 25 yd. Powders range from Tite Group, 231, Universal, Auto Comp, up and down the scale. Never able to achieve better than 5-6" consistently. A change to copper plated or jacketed bullets brought my groups down to an acceptable level. Then I "accidentally" bought a 500 box of softer swaged bullets by Magnus. A phone call confimed these are 9-11 hardness whereas hard cast are 18-19. Another source had suggested Solo 1000 for lead and target use. Having very little published about Solo 1000 in .38 spl cases, I made a horseback guess at 3.0 gr of Solo and made a few. (Found another source that said min of 3.1 gr with 158 gr lead - good guess!.)

Bottom line: These loads will drive nails! Impact is centered with even .357 loads; recoil is lighter than store bought .38's; 5 shot groups 1-2" from sand bag is no problem.

Someone(s) have already said to check the barrel and cylinder bore diameter on my guns, as maybe hard cast bullets are leaking gas; but I figure S&W has had more experience in making gun barrels than I have in measuring, so I'll forego that. Barrel leading seems not to be an issue so far, but we'll watch out and just keep on lobbing those soft bullets into the 10-ring.
I use Magnus or Zero bullets exclusively on my bullseye competition guns because of what you've also experienced. If I was able to cast my own bullets I would certainly do it, but don't have the time (or understanding enough wife) to allow that. Shooting the 158 SWC bullet, for Distinguished Revolver competition, either manufacturers bullet performs wonderfully. My stock 14-4 will put 10 shots inside 3" at 50 yards. I've been shooting 3.1 gr. bullseye but have also recently been playing with 3.8 gr. 231. Both loads are running 750-775 fps average.
I've also purchased several brands of cast 45 185gr. SWC bullets to compare to their swaged counterparts and experienced the same thing. The cast bullets couldn't hold a candle to the swaged ones. I saw group increases of 1-2" at 50 yards. I'm certain some folks who cast their own, and even some manufacturers, can produce bullets that perform equally to the swaged but I haven't found them yet.
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:47 PM
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With risking sounding like I'm attacking the OP (and I'm NOT!!!)...

This is the kind of thread that screams why so many people are moving away from lead bullets!!! Too few take the time to figure out what they are doing either right or wrong and just move to jacketed bullets. Worse, S&W seems to be fully pandering to this crowd with the use of the new rifling they are putting in the revolvers. But the few that figure out how to slug the bore, measure the throats in each chamber, and can match alloy, lube, and pressure find that LEAD STILL KICKS BUTT!!!

AND YOU CAN MAKE THEM YOURSELF!!!

Sorry for the all caps rant. A nerve just got tweaked there. It still burns me that 158 gr LSWCHP's lead the heck out of my 637...
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:58 AM
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I like the Hornady swage 158 lswchp . They cost more than cast but are cheaper than the jacketed. For an indoor range the smoke is about half of the cast bullets. To me cast is fine outdoors but not for indoor ranges.

If you've never used a swage bullet I'd highly recommend try some of the Hornady swage bullets.
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357 magnum, 637, 686, bullseye, carbine, commercial, hornady, universal

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