Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > >
Forum Register Expert Commentary Members List

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-01-2012, 12:28 AM
crsides crsides is offline
SWCA Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: upstate SC
Posts: 2,478
Likes: 739
Liked 1,645 Times in 517 Posts
Default Flat base vs Bevel base

I last reloaded in limited quantity 30 yrs ago. All the cast bullets we bought then was flat based, SWC. I read that alot of bbl erosion and leading in magnums (357, 41, 44) was from bullets that did not fit the bore (001+) and bevel based bullets that allowed hot gases to get by the base. Most of the commerical cast bullets I am looking at are bevel based.

What is the scoop on Bevel based bullets?

Can you recommend a flat based bullet commercially for top end mag loads in 357 (27-2), 41, and 44. Looking for Keith type, SWC bullets in all three.



Last edited by crsides; 12-02-2012 at 08:52 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 01:11 AM
Titegroups Titegroups is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,338
Likes: 65
Liked 235 Times in 156 Posts

If you look around enough you can find kieth style bullets for sale, automated casting machines release "Blob" bullets much easier so that's what youll find for sale for the most part. I cast my own sharp edged keiths. There's many schools of thought on bevel bases and everybody is sure their opinion is right. I agree they go in the cases a little easier.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 02:43 AM
Steve C Steve C is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 691
Likes: 0
Liked 112 Times in 79 Posts

I read that alot of bbl erosion and leading in magnums (357, 41, 44) was from bullets that did not fit the bore (001+) and bevel based bullets that allowed hot gases to get by the base.
I think you are mixing up LEADING with erosion and the things you list causes leading in revolver barrels. Erosion is caused by the blow torch effect of powder gasses and solids striking the barrel. Erosion is found in rifles and rarely in handguns as the powder used in handguns is a lot faster and of smaller amount. If you are seeing barrel erosion in your handgun its due to your powder selection and not your bullet.

If you are pushing the bullet hard you will generally produce pressures that bump up the base to fill the bore even with bevel base bullets. How much pressure you need will depend upon the hardness of the bullet.

Personally I don't use a bare base lead cast bullet for any top end load and if loading hot with slow powder I use jacketed or gas checked.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
Old 12-01-2012, 04:14 PM
mikld's Avatar
mikld mikld is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: S. Orygun
Posts: 897
Likes: 496
Liked 347 Times in 229 Posts

Actually, gun barrels will last much longer shooting cast bullets. Bevel based bullets were designed to drop from the mold easier with the advantage of being inserted into the case easier than flat base. As you mentioned, leading is caused by hot gasses getting past the base of the bullet and depositin melted lead in the barrel. Bevel based bullets don't seal the bore as good as flat based bullets and allow easier leading the barrel. Most commercial cast bullets are too hard and many too small and it's a good idea to measure, with a micrometer, any bullets you buy just to make sure what size they really are. Fit is key to shooting cast lead bullets so you gotta know the dimensions of your gun (slug the barrel to find groove diameter and slug the cylinder throats). Good fitting lead bullets can reach magnum velocities without leading; I've shot slightly over max loads of True Blue under a 358" cast SWC, wheel weight alloy, in my Taurus 357 Mag. with no leading and often shoot 245 gr SWC plain base in my .44 Magnums at over 1200 fps with no leading.).

I cast, but when I want some bullets that I don't have a mold for I buy from Beartooth Bullets Beartooth Bullets > Home. Beartooth makes sever different diameters for each caliber so you can buy bullets that will fit your gun (they supply .357" bullets from .356" to .358" and some rifle .357" bullets to .360").

Last edited by mikld; 12-01-2012 at 04:19 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
Old 12-02-2012, 01:34 PM
358156hp 358156hp is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 707
Likes: 90
Liked 193 Times in 134 Posts

Bevel based bullets are much easier for automated casting machine to cast bullets with fully filled out bases, and the bevel helps protect the base from shipping and handling damage. However,in some shooting disciplines like bullseye shooting, some competitors don't resize their cases at all, preferring to leave the case at it's fired dimensions for greater consistency in chambering and chamber alignment. Often, the shooter will simple bell the case mouth slightly and seat their bullet (commonly a bevel based wad cutter), which is also unsized, and of a slightly oversized diameter. This way the brass is worked less than normal, and the finished cartridge is really pretty consistent dimension wise. A slight taper crimp finishes everything off.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
Old 12-03-2012, 11:26 AM
fltbed's Avatar
fltbed fltbed is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 63
Likes: 146
Liked 30 Times in 16 Posts

Generally speaking, if the bullet diameter is correct for the bore, and the bullet hardness is correct for the pressures your loading to, and the lube is up to snuff, bullet base will have little effect on accuracy, leading or wear.

Iíve only run across one revolver that would not shoot bevel base bullets well. Itís truly the exception rather than the rule.

That said, for velocities over 1200 f.p.s. Iíve had better results from gas checked or jacketed bullets.

Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
Old 12-03-2012, 01:00 PM
ArchAngelCD's Avatar
ArchAngelCD ArchAngelCD is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: PA, USA
Posts: 4,415
Likes: 194
Liked 1,058 Times in 688 Posts

If I were getting leading in my barrels I would look at several other causes before I turned to the bevel base of the bullet.
Freedom is never free!!
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 01:27 PM
Robert Palermo Robert Palermo is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 80
Likes: 14
Liked 35 Times in 19 Posts
Default Bevel vs Plain Base

The common misconception that bevel based bullets were developed for easier automatic casting has been a misnomer for as long as I have been in the business. Bevel base bullets were developed for use for commercial loaders to make loading cartridges easier.

Automatic casting machine molds can be made plain or bevel and makes no difference in the casting process.

Molds that were hand cast molds and then adapted for automatic use gave problems when such designs were not made for such use and had nothing to do with the base design.

The accuracy issue should be laid to rest as bevel based bullets are just as accurate or even more accurate than their plain base counterparts if all the other design parameters are good such as driving band length and nose profile and weight balance to the design.

A properly designed bullet with low weight deviations fitted to the gun will yield the best results for accuracy.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
Old 12-03-2012, 06:26 PM
amazingflapjack amazingflapjack is offline
US Veteran
Join Date: May 2010
Location: North Central Florida
Posts: 2,986
Likes: 8,216
Liked 1,597 Times in 767 Posts

mikld-thanks for the link-looks like nice stuff.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 06:33 PM
4barrel's Avatar
4barrel 4barrel is online now
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: OVER the hill in TEJAS
Posts: 828
Likes: 3,580
Liked 977 Times in 454 Posts

I DO NOT like slugs .001 over unless they are 38 hbwcs 750 fps & under. I like flat base wad cutters-- swcs-- all pistol calibers-- but u have to make them yourself if u wont to go faster--Its like hot rodding--If you push it faster one thing aint gona work. Stick with your original thinking. I shoot any speed I like up the max with wheel weights & 15% lino. Casting aint that hard & no lead problems. SKIP has the prettiest boolits.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 07:39 PM
ChuckS1's Avatar
ChuckS1 ChuckS1 is offline
US Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Stafford, VA
Posts: 1,207
Likes: 62
Liked 634 Times in 295 Posts

I don't like bevel base cast bullets only because it makes a mess when I run them through my lubesizer. There are some bullseye shooters that will tell you that a flat base bullet is more accurate at 50 yards than a bevel base one, but I can't shoot well enough at 50 yards to tell the difference.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
9MM "hollow base" vs flat base 1sailor Reloading 6 08-28-2012 01:26 AM
38-44, bevel base Tenn. Val.? beagleye Reloading 11 06-16-2012 12:38 AM
Bevel base bullet accuracy. Smokepole60 Reloading 12 12-03-2011 02:29 AM
148 bevel base wadcutters dkp9782 Reloading 11 11-27-2010 07:45 PM
flat base or hollow base MWAG Reloading 2 11-21-2009 11:38 AM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3 tested by Norton Internet Security tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:46 PM.

© S-W Forum, LLC 2000-2015 is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)