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Old 10-05-2018, 09:13 PM
Duckford Duckford is offline
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Default Cast Bullets In Battle Rifles?

I've started burning through my three cases of South Korean 7.62 NATO I recently purchased and am making plans for the brass. I see that there are sites selling surplus M-80 projectiles for $0.12 a piece and am thinking about making standard grade ammunition when I reload the brass at that price. But I'm always greedy when it comes to saving money, so I think about my super cheap cast bullet loading and the potential it may have. Which leads to the thread.

Has anyone tried using cast bullets in 308/7.62 NATO for auto loaders? What rifles, what cast bullets, was there leading in the gas systems, most of all what is the minimum load that will cycle reliably? I shoot PTR-91, M1a and FN FAL. The G3 might have potential because of no gas system to lead up, yet the FAL's gas adjustablility might be the key to cheap, low pressure lead rounds to extend case life and less powder.

Any experience and insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:53 PM
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DO NOT use a cast lead projectile in a rifle that has a gas system

I know folks that made that mistake in order to save money

You could get away with it in the G3 family of rifles

But why?

Look into using any of the coated lead projectiles. The polymer/powder coating/Hi-Tec coating keeps the lead out of the system
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:01 PM
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There are diy methods to coat your own cast bullets. Powder coating is one method. Do some searches.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:07 PM
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Velocities are usually a little beyond what cast bullets are capable of, which is usually in the low 2000 ft/sec range. Maybe the coated bullets can go faster. I probably would not use cast bullets in any rifle using a gas port unless it can be easily disassembled for cleaning. At one time I was using cast bullets in a .30 Carbine, it worked OK, but I decided I didn't want to take any changes of clogging the port. Fooling around with a carbine's tappet chamber is to be avoided if at all possible.

Last edited by DWalt; 10-05-2018 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:08 PM
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Come on guys, where's your sense of adventure? They did it for the entire Civil War with very few problems...

Last edited by Toolguy; 10-06-2018 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolguy View Post
Come on guys, where's your sense of adventure? They did it for the entire Civil War with very few problems...
But those guns didn't have gas ports to clog! Works fine for bolt action or muzzle loader.
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:21 AM
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Coated lead bullets are cheap and lots of companies to choose from.
Just buy 100 for a test run to see how accuracy is and if they don't
work out the is always plated bullets to test out as a last resort
to save money on your loads, from the high end real copper bullets.
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:39 AM
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I have cast, loaded, and fired tens of thousands of lead alloy bullets in both handguns and rifles. I also own M1 Garand, M1A, M1 Carbine, and other gas-operated semi-auto rifles. I do not use, and I do not recommend cast bullets in gas-operated rifles because lead particles will pass through the gas port and build up within the mechanism, and disassembly and cleaning of the gas system is likely to significantly shorten the useful life of the rifle, and may result in damage to critical parts.

Other factors may also be involved. Some rifles (particularly the M1 and its derivatives) will function properly only with ammunition performing within a relatively narrow range of pressure and pressure curve that closely matches standard ball loads. Cast bullets are not generally capable of performing within those parameters, and continued use of non-standard ammunition can cause excess wear and/or damage to the gas piston, operating rod, and other critical parts.

I do load and shoot cast bullets in .308, .30-06, and other calibers. Those are used in bolt action, single shot, and other rifles not having gas operating systems. These meet nearly all of my needs for hunting and target shooting.

My Springfield M1A National Match 7.62 and my M1 Garand .30-06 rifles are fed only GI ball or equivalent handloads with jacketed bullets. You are free to use your own rifles any way you wish.
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Old 10-06-2018, 08:01 AM
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I have shot thousands of cast bullets in my M-1 Carbines, but they were gas checked.

I went to start another batch the other day and saw I needed gas checks. The price has skyrocketed from less than 1/2 cent in 1980 to around 3 to 5 cents (caliber matters) each. I just priced Berry's 220 grain plated spritzer boat-tail ($54/200 at Midway). Hech of a better way to go! But the "Pulls" at 12 cents should really be a NO-BRAINER! Order a thousand or other smallest quantity and try them soon, if they work for your style of fun, then buy 20 to 50K you will always be able to sell them!

Back In the early 80's, the Army went from 55gr FMJ/BT lead core bullets to 62 gr steel core. Winchester surplused around a billion 55's for $8.99/K, (.9 cents each!) Retail! To my shame, I only bought 21 K! I am down to last thousand left, and started looking for new stock. Cabela's had Hornady for $17/100, I almost cried right there in the store!

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Old 10-06-2018, 08:35 AM
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I use my cast bullets in my M1 Garands and M1 carbines regularly. Never clogged a gas port.(That's an old wive's tale anyway). Should be the same with your .308.
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan the Butcher View Post
I have shot thousands of cast bullets in my M-1 Carbines, but they were gas checked.

I went to start another batch the other day and saw I needed gas checks. The price has skyrocketed from less than 1/2 cent in 1980 to around 3 to 5 cents (caliber matters) each. I just priced Berry's 220 grain plated spritzer boat-tail ($54/200 at Midway). Hech of a better way to go! But the "Pulls" at 12 cents should really be a NO-BRAINER! Order a thousand or other smallest quantity and try them soon, if they work for your style of fun, then buy 20 to 50K you will always be able to sell them!

Back In the early 80's, the Army went from 55gr FMJ/BT lead core bullets to 62 gr steel core. Winchester surplused around a billion 55's for $8.99/K, (.9 cents each!) Retail! To my shame, I only bought 21 K! I am down to last thousand left, and started looking for new stock. Cabela's had Hornady for $17/100, I almost cried right there in the store!

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You were ready to cry over $8???
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike, SC Hunter View Post
I use my cast bullets in my M1 Garands and M1 carbines regularly. Never clogged a gas port.(That's an old wive's tale anyway). Should be the same with your .308.
This "old wive's tale" is well documented in the work of Colonel E.H. Harrison (NRA publications, 1950's to 1970's). The concern is not so much about clogging a gas port. The concerns are the internals of the gas cylinder and face of the operating rod. When leading builds up on these parts the forces required to cycle increase, applying excessive force to the operating rod and bolt in cycling, and harsh cleaning methods will be required to remove the leading, causing accelerated wear on critical parts.

These issues are more concerning today than 50 years ago. Back in those days surplus parts were readily available at very low cost, gunsmiths qualified to R&R the M1 gas cylinder were readily available for relatively low fees, and the rifles themselves were very common rather than the historical relics they have become. Today's owners of M1 Garands and derivative rifles have far more reason to avoid problems.

Your rifles, your decisions.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:45 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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You were ready to cry over $8???
They went from $9 a thousand to $170 a thousand for a lessor quality projectile! That is a truly tearful change of costs! Basically went up 19 time in 35 years. While the price of gold is up 1.5 to 2 times.

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Old 10-06-2018, 10:55 AM
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They went from $9 a thousand to $170 a thousand for a lessor quality projectile! That is a truly tearful change of costs! Basically went up 19 time in 35 years. While the price of gold is up 1.5 to 2 times.

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Old 10-06-2018, 11:35 AM
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If you cast your own bullets, pc them and blast away.

If you buy cast bullets, buy the $.12 jacketed bullets.

PC'd bullets will not clog anything. They are excellent for things like cans, semi-auto & full-auto (gas guns), ported bbl's, etc. There's no leading with cast bullets that have been pc'd.

Gas checks can be expensive so I make my own gc makers. My 30cal gc maker was lent out and never came back (envelope with $$$ did come back). No big deal, simply made another 1. A can make gc's from al flashing for $2.50/1000gc's.
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:41 AM
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I have loaded and shot cast in my Garand with very little problems, but I clean my guns after each session. You might find info here and try googling "M1 and cast bullets". CB Loads / Military Rifles
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:43 AM
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Many years ago(more than 20) I handloaded 30 Carbine ammo with lead bullets. I had an M1 30 Carbine and a Ruger Blackhawk and my intent was to use the lead bullet ammo in the Ruger. Of course I had to try it in the Carbine too. It was a disaster....I don't remember the details well but the bullets quickly began to fly in what was almost a "pattern". The rifle still functioned but the barrel was leaded up badly.

I bought the 30 Carbine Ruger during winter and took it to an indoor range. The muzzle blast was incredible and caused one group to leave the range. I never did that again.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:05 PM
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I shot a variety of traditionally lubricated cast bullets in two SKSs twenty or more years ago. Nothing clogged up and ammo fed reliably. Cast bullets shot more accurately than the surplus ammo I purchased with the rifles.

The coarse open sights certainly go along with the overall crudeness of these guns, but I was amazed at how well the cast bullets shot. As I recall, bullets needed to be larger than regular .30 caliber bullets, .311" is probably a minimum diameter.

As a side note, anyone handloading for SKSs should have a spring kit (Brownell's) installed. Much safer and the likelihood of slam fires and full auto fire is greatly reduced, maybe even eliminated.
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Old 10-06-2018, 05:13 PM
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Not 7.62 NATO, but I have shot LITERALLY thousands of 158 grain 2R gas checked cast lead bullets through x39 chambered SKSs and ARs. Narry a problem. I use 2400 as propellant.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:14 AM
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Hello to the OP,

The arguments against using cast bullets are just getting silly.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and go to the castboolits website and check out the entire Cast Bullet/Military Rifle forum. You'll find lots and lots of INFORMED data.

Here's the link:
CB Loads / Military Rifles
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:23 AM
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I also fired thousands of traditionally lubed home cast gas checked bullets through gas operated surplus military rifles with out any problems. I shot them in an M1 Garand, Chinese made simi-auto M-14 clones, a Swedish 6.5x55mm Ljungman and some through an 8x57mm Hakim. What is conspicuously absent in this thread is a member writing that firing cast bullets clogged their rifle's gas system or caused any other harm.

Generally, you need a reduced velocity load that produces the gas port pressure the rifle was designed for. Often that means a heavy for the cartridge bullet combined with a slower burning powder than normally used with jacketed bullets. The experimentation finding loads makes a great hobby but is time consuming. I never saw anyone have much success with rifles firing cast bullets they did not cast themselves.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:13 AM
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CAst bullets that are too soft an alloy,,bullet lube not up to the job, wrong bullet dia,, wrong powder choice,,just plain reloading habits,,these can all lead to problems using CB in gas op rifles.
It's not always a simple switch over from jacketed to cast, you have to be somewhat of an experimenter as well as a keen examiner of your results.

If globs of lead are jamming up the gas port or other parts of the gas system, yes there is surely something wrong with your reload.
But with the correct components they will work just as well as jacketed and do you and your rifle no harm nor any extra labor in cleaning & maint.
Even paper-patched cast bullets have been successfully used in the M1. No problems, no scrap paper debris in the gas port or gas system.

I know the traditionalists scream at them,,but an adj gas port for the M1 works wonders for use with cast bullet loads as you can adj the system to accept the less powerful CB loads. I use a Schuster(sp?) and like it.

You won't have to try to exceed what a normal CB load will do just to try and get the M1 action to function and possibly damage it (op-rod).
I'm guessing the traditionalists don't use CB loads anyway and that's OK too.

We shoot cast round ball loads in an M1 CArbine and no damage or plugging up of the gas port occurs. Of course the tiny .310 ball round (Hornady commercial RB) doesn't operate the action, but it is very accurate. Surprisingly even to 50m.
The rounds feed fine from the magazine manually operated with the ball seated 1/2way in the case.
It's accounted for several squirrels and even a couple woodchucks out to 25 and 30m.
The some what less than stellar bore carbine still shoots ball ammo just fine with no problems.

Last edited by 2152hq; 10-07-2018 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k22fan View Post
...What is conspicuously absent in this thread is a member writing that firing cast bullets clogged their rifle's gas system or caused any other harm...
" 'Don't belive everything you read online.
That's how World War 1 started.'
- Abraham Lincoln"

(seen on a bumper sticker)
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:53 PM
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The key to successful shooting of cast lead in any gun is proper bullet to gun fit. If the bullet does not fit the gun (tons of posts/threads out there on the subject) barrel leading an poor accuracy will happen...

I fired a few cast bullets in my Garand, mebbe 50-60, and saw no extra goop, soot, fouling than when I shot HXP surplus...

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Old 10-07-2018, 02:43 PM
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The M1 Garand offers lots of fun and potential for the CB experimenter.
There's some great comments already posted!

Another approach is what I might call the glorified single shot approach.
-Get an old gas cylinder plug and drill a hole out the front to let the gas just blow out (a lathe or drill press is helpful, but not required.)
-Use a single shot adapter in place of the usual 8 rd. en bloc clip.
-Load, shoot, and cycle the bolt for each shot.

This really saves wear and tear on brass, and allows the use of neck sizing if you keep your loads light.
It's also great for low/no recoil practice to learn the trigger.
It's also quick and easy to switch to normal operation.
If you don't cast, this also works with swaged roundball loads or light loads using the Speer plinker bullet.

Enjoy,
Jim

PS: did I mention this method's cheap?
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:47 PM
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There is a brief section entitled "These Loads and Cast Bullets Work the Action of the M1 Rifle" in Lyman's 1958 Cast Bullets reloading manual. IMR 4895 and 3031 powders were used with the Lyman 311334 cast bullet (about 195 grains). No velocities were given. Using this data as a starting point I loaded some ammo (50 rounds as I remember) and shot it in a couple of M1s. The rifles functioned but accuracy wasn't very good - groups were about twice the size as jacketed ammo. (Bullets were sized .309 and .311 and were cast of straight lineotype metal). I don't remember having any leading in the barrel or gas piston.

Some years later I tried developing some cast loads with the 311413 bullet and IMR4895 to shoot in my Match M1A but again, accuracy left a lot to be desired.

I do still cast .30 caliber bullets but reserve them for bolt action rifles like the Krag, Springfield, 1917 Enfield and Lee Enfield. Accuracy in these is better but I dont try to dive them as fast as the ones for the M1.
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6string View Post
Hello to the OP,

The arguments against using cast bullets are just getting silly.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and go to the castboolits website and check out the entire Cast Bullet/Military Rifle forum. You'll find lots and lots of INFORMED data.

Here's the link:
CB Loads / Military Rifles
Amen!

That website has a lot of good information regarding cast and Garands. I shoot cast in my M1 regularly. Done right and cleaned normally there are no problems and accuracy is very close to M2 ball.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
Velocities are usually a little beyond what cast bullets are capable of, which is usually in the low 2000 ft/sec range. Maybe the coated bullets can go faster. I probably would not use cast bullets in any rifle using a gas port unless it can be easily disassembled for cleaning.
powder coated can make 2000+ without leading issues ... accuracy on the other hand may take a little more work.
PC is a good solution, it lets you get away with murder in the barrel, but expect the load to require some reduction
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:37 PM
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At a cast bullet shoot in Nevada the late BruceBB outshot me several times with a Springfield M-1 in 308. This was at a 400+ yard target with iron sights. Bruce shot with home cast bullets, conventional lube and 5744 powder. I have shot my SSK with cast and we are both still functioning.
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Last edited by mtgianni; 10-09-2018 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:11 AM
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People have been successfully shooting cast bullets in gas guns for decades. You will not shoot them at full velocity without a lot of work, but they can easily be made to function semi-automatically with minimal (or no) leading.

Here's a link to a 20-page thread on the subject. Way too much info to try to repeat here:

7.62x51 NATO (.308 WCF) in the Springfield M1A
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:52 PM
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Don't have a M1 or M1A or AR if I did you can bet I would be shoot cast lead bullets in them all, use the right bullet usually a little heavier than normal, proper dia. and BHN gas checked bullet along with a good lube or PC, slower burning powder and your set for lots of cheaper shooting with good accuracy be it at a slower velocity.

I've been feeding my three different SKS rifle a Chinese, Yugo and Russian a steady diet of 155 to 185 gr. cast lead bullets for over ten years with no leading issues before I ever started powder coating my bullets.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
At a cast bullet shoot in Nevada the late BruceBB outshot me several times with a Springfield M-1 in 308. This was at a 400+ yard target with iron sights. Bruce shot with home cast bullets, conventional lube and 5744 powder. I have shot my SSK with cast and we are both still functioning.
Bruce B was a wealth of knowledge, he is surely missed.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for the replies and the leads on castboolits, I know I should probably register there, should have a long time ago I suppose. Lots to think about and try when I get a round tuit. I've got to rebuild my rifle bullet trap to save lead and finally settle on a mold and see what I can't do.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:55 PM
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If I may add my $0.02,I used to have an AR10(of course,an original one in 7.62NATO)I stupidly sold because of the even more stupid laws that were being voted up here!
Anyways,what I wanna tell you is that I had 4X20rds mags and often,I'd fire all 80 rds as fast as I could pull the ''on switch'';I was casting a Lee 180gr bullet out of WW(Wheel Weight)water cooled(didn't have a tester but boy,they were hard!)and I fired them with a full but not exceeding Mr Lyman's recommended charge of IMR 4227.They went at around 2200fps and with the port fully open,I've never had a fail to feed or to eject and the thing was as accurate as with the regular NATO load.
And if this can confort you,I clean my guns after firing between 500 and 1000rds...this rule stands for all my guns.If they jam in less than 500rds,I seriously ask myself if I should keep it.
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