do you cast and hunt with bullets you made


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
have some 405 grain Magma bullets I bought from a caster in Montana.

Loaded them above 36 grains of 5744.

They go through the target sideways at 25 yards. Kind of worried one might circle back and get me.
Rifle is a Miroku 45-70 Winchester.

At the range this afternoon this rifle would put the 300 grain Hornady hollow point into two inches at 100.

Cast bullets are a mystery to me.

Why are they tumbling?

if the bullets not stabilizing the bullet may not be cast with an alloy thats hard enough,to firmly grip the rifle lands,
try a 95% WW and 5% pure tin alloy
they may be sized under bore diameter , generally youll want a .459 min, , or the rifle twist rate may be too slow too stabilize the projectile.
obviously it helps if you verify what your dealing with.
verify the rifles twist rate is compatible, if possible get a chronograph to verify velocity
never guess deal in known facts

measure the projectile length and diameter after its sized and lubed
gas check bullet designs tend to produce better accuracy
bullets pushed too over about 1900 fps have a greater tendency to strip in the rifling , some bullet designs are inherently a bit less stable
the properly cast 405 grain bullet in a 458 caliber matched to most common twist rates are stable to well past 400 yards
this non-gas check design from NEI has a good track record

as does this similar
gas check design

many guys have good luck with this heavier 475 grain cast gas check bullet

yeah thats one reason I bought a cz 458 lott.
I load and shoot mostly hard cast bullets and seldom exceed 2200 fps regardless of bullet weight,
it handles both the 350 grain and 400 grain hard cast bullets ,
but its longer case length, allows use of the longer 500-550 grain hard cast bullets
much better than the 458 win.
a whole lot of guys can,t seem to mentally come to grips with the idea that the vast majority of deer and elk are shot at well under 250 yards,
and a reduced load with cast bullets in a 458 caliber rifle easily handles that limitation


even the hard cast 350 grain gas check bullet at only 1900-2000 fps does impressive damage to any deer or elk, if properly placed
if you get bored... put a cartridge holder stock sleeve on your 458 lott and fill it with the 550 grain bullet hard cast hand loads... it tends to start a few conversations


Bullet Casting is almost a hobby and skill set on its own,
yes its closely linked to hand loading without any doubt,
but most people never look at it as anything but a way to reduce cost,
they don,t get into understanding blending alloys and the difference in quenching, and lube formulas
thats a damn shame as there are advantages to cast bullet use and in the correct caliber, weight and design they can perform,
very well on either target or game.
Ive purchased and use at least occasionally, at least 100 plus custom and 40 plus commercial bullet molds
most from NEI, LYMAN, LEE, a few older RCBS, and HUNTINGTON
many people have had less than stellar or praise worthy results, and give up,
many people not fully realizing,
the casting alloy, casting temp, sized diam and lube being used,
must be compatible with the rifle bore and powder charge to maximize the accuracy,

and the impact velocity and bullet design,also must match the application.
some designs are very versatile,
example the lee 310 grain 44 caliber provides excellent results in my 44 mag revolvers and marlin 44 carbine and a buddies 444 marlin
the NEI 175 grain works well in both of my S&W revolvers and my brother-in-laws marlin carbine.

theres also the advantage in some cases of allowing the use of a more powerful rifle ,
at reduced velocity and reduced recoil levels
I have a couple friends that have purchased and use 458 win and 416 rem rifles,
that are regularly used for deer and hog hunts
pushing bullets of significantly lighter weight at reduced velocity... yet ..
they still provide a devastating punch at the 50-150 yard ranges they get used at.

this NEI mold get a rather regular use.(45/70, 450 marlin,458 win)
rarely pushed to over 1900 fps

when casting bullets , keep the frosted ones and shiney lead bullets separate, load them with the same load, and test them at the range. (Opinions are nice - but testing is proof)
light all overall frost on the bullet surface usually indicates the most complete mold fill. A high porosity and excess finning, means you are way too hot in thermodynamics.
Shiny means your thermodynamics are tending to be too cold and prone to wrinkles and flaws and inconsistent weights
keep in mind a 350-405 grain cast bullet from a 45/70, 450 marlin,and reduced loads in a 458 win or 458 LOTT rifles, pushed to about 1600fps-2000fps are very deadly on deer or elk out past 200 yards in the hands of a consistently accurate shot that knows the games anatomy and can place his shots well.

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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
if you have a marlin 45/70 you certainly will benefit from casting and reloading your own bullets and ammo,
you can reduce the cost of ammo by over 60%, this rapidly pays for, or amortizes the cost of the molds and other components

I can certainly recommend, you do so and use a lead alloy of 95% wheel weights and 5% pure tin,
and use gas check bullets in the 300-400 grain range, with the 300-350 grain being the preferred weights for deer hunting in my experience.
I think youll find 45 grains of imr 4198 to be a very decent load, I used that with a 350 grain 45/70 for decades in my marlin for deer hunting
you might also try 45 grains of RL7 another well known accurate load with the 350 grain cast bullet

start with a 40 grain powder charge , and work up with either powder used 1 grain at a time,
a couple guys I load for both found the 40-41 grain powder charger more accurate in their marlin 45/70 rifles
with that bullet and unlike my marlin,
they got better accuracy with the lower powder charge.
don,t worry about power or penetration even at a 40 grain charge it zips through deer effortlessly, even with velocity in the 1400-1500 fps range
all of us generally sight in to hit a couple inches high at 100 yards making hits on deer out to 150 yards very easy.
Id point out that worrying about long range trajectory is wasted time its been decades since Ive shot, or had the opportunity too shoot, a white tail deer at over 150 yards,
keep in mind hunting in florida may differ from other areas,
but around here shots over 100 yards are rarer that honest politicians that never break a promise






theres also a 300 grain mold that works rather well with similar charges of those powders in a 45/70 if reduced recoil is preferred

back when I was far younger we would load up some ammo,
we could get scrap lead a dozen places for 5-15 cents a lb,
and it was very easy to find a large open rural area to go shoot.
this made working up loads and finding what worked well,
thus gaining valuable experience, far easier than it is today,
when even finding a decent outdoor range can be difficult.
back in the 1960s-70s Id be out at the local dump or out in the rural everglades,
and shooting a few tin cans, cops might show up, they might watch or,
even join you in punching holes in a few tin cans, on a canal bank or berm.
now if you even try to shoot a few shots to check out your handloads,
at anyplace but a recognized rifle range the local cops treat you like a budding terrorist.

Quick Reply
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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
IF you want to use cast bullets in a marlin 45/70,
Id try dropping the charge of powder to 40 , 43 and also try 45 grains of IMR 4198,
( or try RL7 with similar charges,also works in many cases)
with a 350 grain cast bullet, gas check designs in my opinion and experience tend to provide better average accuracy,
use of a wad over the powder loaded firmly against the gas check, may provide some extra accuracy potential,
you may be amazed at the difference in accuracy.
yes Ive used at least 7-8 350-405 grain cast bullet designs.
the 400 grains are good the 350 grain cast gas check designs tend to be more accurate in my experience in the marlin 45/70 rifles
and magnum rifle primers are not always as accurate as standard rifle primers
you may be amazed at what a bit of experimentation in bullet seating, depth,
projectile sized and lube diameter ,and power charge can accomplish
( bullets sized and lubed .459-.460 tend to work rather well)
Ive tried many combos but in my experience , your generally not going to get anywhere near max accuracy at near max velocity
but you you can get impressive accuracy through careful experimentation and taking accurate notes on results


yeah, your correct, bullet casting costs you time and it requires rather expensive one time equipment cost and some on-going
expenses for lead, gas checks and electricity, lubes etc/
if you don,t go through several hundreds of rifle cartridges in 45 caliber every year,
the cost of a good quality rifle bullet mold, and casting your own projectiles is prohibitive. I guess I was lucky,
that I purchased most of mine, decades ago when most cost $60-$80 back then.
keep an eye out on the local bargain trader magazine and ebay, craigs list etc,
you occasionally see deals on reloading and casting equipment listed,
Ive purchased reloader presses, dies, molds lead scrap, at yards sales for pennies on the dollar

but keep in mind, you can fabricate your own bullets for under 7-10 cents each,but you could
purchase similar bullets cast/gas check or jacketed for 25-40 cents each minimum,
and in many case pay shipping charges, most will be considerably softer alloy
so lets say you can save 20-25 cents a bullet casting your own,
if you don,t shoot too much your time and cost is minimal, and not worth the effort,
but if you shoot a good deal the cost is rather quickly off set or amortized.
that and the higher quality projectile is, in my experience, more accurate.


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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member

btw when I cast bullets, I try to run the lead temps up where I get a bit of a frosted,

surface on the bullets, this requires the lead to be a bit higher temp than that temp,
which leaves a shiny surface, but it also tends to result in more uniform size projectiles that fill the mold out uniformly and more and harder
I generally drop the cast bullets into,
a taller than average 7 gallon water filled bucket thats filled,
to about 4" from the rim,
doing that tends to provide a slightly harder,

cast bullet that will reduce or prevent leading the rifling as long as a good lube is used,
in any handgun or rifle ,
thus improving accuracy consistently.
I generally size and lube cast bullets within an hour or so of being cast, and store them in old plastic 3 lb coffee containers

Id suggest use of a
Plastic Pail - 7 Gallon, White


Lead-antimony alloys with low to moderate amounts of antimony can be precipitation hardened. As they solidify the antimony becomes less soluble in lead, and precipitates out. Antimony precipitating into a matrix of solidified lead stresses the crystal matrix of the lead. The prestressed lead is harder than unstressed lead. Because lead is subject to creep, or stress-relaxation over time, the hardening process reverses itself very slowly.

When you size a bullet the alloy has to flow into a new shape of smaller diameter. Depending on the amount of sizing and the bullet design, some of this deformation happens close to the surface, especially through lead flowing into the lube grooves. However the bullet also becomes longer - a process which deforms the alloy all the way to the center. Deforming prestressed lead relaxes the prestress and makes the bullet soft wherever it was deformed. So, if you just size a heat treated bullet without lubing it first, the deformation is concentrated close to the driving bands, which deform into the lube grooves. If you lube the bullet first, the lube grooves become just about incompressible and the deformation reaches deeper into the bullet. Thus heat treatment benefit is largely lost if you size the bullet after it has hardened. (But remember it takes days to weeks for the precipitation to occur after quenching, so you can lube after quenching so long as you do it within say 2 to 4 hours.)

If technical discussions bore you, skip this post
What hardens Lead when quenched is just that there are lots of incorrect Tin and perhaps Antimony atoms lost in the crystalographic latice of the Lead, plus some small islands of various precipitated compounds around the boundaries of or in Lead crystals. Both the incorrect atoms and the small islands of various Tin and Antimony compounds restrict deformation of the Lead lattice at room temperature. If quenched quickly, more of the incorrect atoms will be trapped in the lattice, and the islands will be small. The effect of aging on precipitates is for them to grow. My observation in the Lab 30 years ago was that over time, precipitate effect on resistance to deformation grew for a while until the precipitates reached an optimum size, then gradually fell off.

The effect of rapid freezing should be strongest at the edges, and lesser in the interior of a casting, but I don't know how you would get at the interior of a casting to determine what the property gradient was, because of the Recrystalization effect I mention below.

During the high temperature period of cooling right after freezing, those incorrect Tin and Antimony atoms migrate to Lead crystal boundaries. The incorrect Tin and Antimony atoms distort the Lead crystal lattice, and it is a lower energy state for them to be at the crystal boundaries.

All the metals I am familiar with have some Recrystalization temperature at which they spontaneously reorganize their crystalographic lattice in order to reduce stresses in it. For purposes of Cold Work and elimination of the effects of Cold Work by Recrystalization, Lead acts as if is at high temperatures. That temperature for all the metals I am familiar with is about one-half of the melting temperature, expressed in degrees absolute: degrees Rankin or Kelvin. Lead and its alloys are about at that temperature when at room temperature. That which fuels the recrystalization is the stresses in the lattice. Supply any Cold Work, and the recrystalization should take off, and you will lose most of the effect of improper atoms, plus precipitates, plus cold work.

There are other hardening mechanisms at work in many other metals when you quench them, such as in the Iron-Carbon system, but none of them are useful in Lead-Tin-Antimony.
Lead freezes into a closely packed 3-dimensional pattern.
Alloying elements, either through getting lost in the pattern or forming compounds, stress the pattern.
Stressed patterns bend/stretch/twist/compress less easily.
Metals patterns spontaneously reorganize at a temperature known as the Recrystallization temperature, and lose most stresses.
The Recrystalization temperature for most Lead alloys is about room temperature.
Cold Work of a metal at its Recrystalization temperature should make Recrystalization happen immediately.
Other metals have hardening mechanisms that do not happen with Lead.
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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
a damn good video to show the advantage of using a hard cast bullet in a 45/70 , 450 marlin or 458 win , I'm not impressed with the guy doing the video,
but the results are rather instructive and educational.

while the lever actions are fast handy and accurate and have all the power required,
the rifle twist generally works best with the 400-430 grain hard cast bullets,
a step up and more power and measurably deeper penetration is available,
with a 458 winchester or 458 LOTT rifle downloaded.
for use with case gas check bullets for deer and elk, with a heavier cast gas check bullet.
as theres zero advantage in loading either big game cartridge chambered rifle to the cartridges full power level.
over a typical hollow point when you want to punch deep and break bones in larger game.
one of the guys I hunted with for decades used a ruger 458 win ruger #1 in 458 with these bullets
we have yet to recover one of the 470 grain bullets from any game shot
,but the 350=375 grain hard cast are typically expand to about .70-.76 caliber and if you shoot a large hog in the chest these occasionally are found in the hindquarters.
(even most of those exit)
53 grains of imr 3031 produced an accurate load, in his ruger, 458 win mag
that load was at about 1800 fps in his rifle with that cast 470 grain bullet in his 458 win.

theres several good lighter .458 diam. bullets in the 330-370 grain weight range that reduce recoil fully adequate for hunting in the lever action rifles,
most are easily pushed to 1800-1900 fps or a bit more in the 45/70--or--450 marlins
and 458 win or 458 LOTT rifles are easy to load to this velocity and allow reduced recoi

I've found the 405 grain bullets, either cast or jacketed,
can easily use 50 grains of imr 3031 in my BROWNING BLR 450 marlin caliber rifle,
and the marlin lever action rifles like 45 grains of imr 3031 in a 45/70 with a cast gas check 405 grain bullet
keep in mind a hard cast gas check bullet like these is already larger and diameter and will penetrate far deeper than most smaller faster expanding bullets will be after hitting a target,
like for example a 223 rem or 243 win. and theres plenty of examples of those rifles killing deer and hogs.
I've seen several of the hard cast larger bore bullets shoot clear though deer and hogs lengthwise


now obviously you don,t need a 458 win to hunt, but many guys enjoy hand loading and casting their own bullets and a 45 caliber rifle is ideal for that purpose., and while Jack resisted buying a heavy caliber , rifle for years,
he bought a ruger 458 falling block a few years ago after he got more familiar with bullet casting and hand loading.
and hes been very impressed with the rifles effect on the game.


the butt stock cartridge sleeve that holds 8-9 cartridges is almost a mandatory accessory like a sling on most rifles in my opinion
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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
heres a darn interesting video:D
, notice the heavy hard cast bullets consistently out penetrate the commercial jacketed bullets
I can assure you that a 310 grain hard cast bullet from a 10" barrel 44 mag revolver,
zips through an elk or deer shot in the chest,
and Ive tested the 440 grain hard cast .500 mag bullets in a 500 S&W loaded over 21 grains of BLUE DOT POWDER
and they out penetrate the 44 mag in wet phone books,
hollow points at high velocity dump a good deal of energy, in soft mediums
but if you want to bust bone and muscle and penetrate deeply in game,
you'll have difficulty besting the performance in a heavy for caliber hard cast bullet in a hunting revolver or carbine
don,t underestimate even a 357 mag revolver ,
Ive shot completely through hogs and deer with 170 grain hard cast bullets, Id be 100% confident using one even on ELK at under 50 yards
and yeah, as always proper shot placement, and a good knowledge of game anatomy, is critical

suggested hard cast hunting bullet weights for cast bullets

357 mag .357 diam......170 grain projectile at 1400 fps 750 ft lbs

41 mag....410 diam.....210 grain projectile at 1400 fps 914 ft lbs

44 mag....430 diam.....310 grain projectile at 1300 fps 1160 ft lbs

these last five will take a great deal more practice as muzzle blast,
and recoil levels are noticeable, the 480 rugers a great compromise between power and recoil

445 DWSM mag....430 diam.....310 grain projectile at 1570fps 1690 ft lbs

454 cassul....454 diam.....335 grain projectile at 1500 fps 1675 ft lbs

460 S&W......454 diam. 360 grain projectile at 1600 fps 2046 ft lbs

480 ruger.....476 diam......325 grain projectile at 1375 fps 1365 ft lbs

500 S&W.....500 diam. 400 grain projectile at 1600 fps 2274 ft lbs



The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
true, but the 50AE has a noticeably shorter case length, limiting bullet selection,
and a requirement to maintain loaded ammo within a very narrow overall length,
and requires both, a certain pressure range and bullet nose contour if its to feed and function reliably,
especially in a magazine fed semi auto, pistol.
now you can certainly make powerful and accurate handloads to use in a 50AE,
but its not nearly as versatile as the 500 S&W revolver
that in no way makes it ineffective,
a 50AE could easily kill anything walking in north America,
but so can a properly loaded 44 mag

50 AE: 12.7x33mm - 325 gr bullet @ 1,305 ft/s 1,229 ft/lbs of energy

500 S&W: 13x41mm - 350 gr @ 1,800 ft/s 2518 ft/lbs

500 S&W 500 grain @ at 1400 fps /2174 ft lbs
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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
that cartridge, in that photo
even ignoring the split/crack case mouth,
is that even the correct magazine for that cartridge


solid fixture here in the forum
This is one reason I don't like to reload.
Blind in one eye-can't see out of the other. Deaf in one ear and can't hear with the other. Speak to much and don't like explosions near me. All can ruin a good day.
Buy my ammo or pick it up from the dead.
Only had one bad box of Remington that was loaded HOT from the Factory and it Ruined my Belgium 7mm Remington rifle and they would not replace it. Replace all but the reciever which was swelled but still fired.


solid fixture here in the forum
that case looks like its really bulged out at the case mouth also and if you need an arrow on your ammo so you know how to load/shoot it maybe a change in hobbies will grant you a longer lifetime


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I think the bulge is a mostly optical illusion due to black marker lines on case sides


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member


The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member
I get guys frequently, asking if a 10mm handgun is adequate for hunting or bear defensive work?
well heres my opinion based on 30years of hunting with various handguns
in my experience a 10mm is about like a 357 mag revolver in power,
a handgun like a 10mm glock is easy to carry and use!
its about ideal as a defensive handgun with human adversaries
its certainly lethal in skilled hands but there are better cartridges if your life depends on rapid kills,
and your using it for close range hunting , or defensive against bears.
yes if you shoot well it will , in well practiced hands with proper loads,
kill almost anything you might hunt!
Id also point out that most 10mm handguns use red dot or iron sights ,
and have reasonably short (under 6" barrels) thus longer range velocity and accuracy may be a bit restricted.

I've watched the videos , where several guys used a 10mm,to hunt
and I was not very impressed with the 10mm, results!
yes its certainly lethal, but so is a 357 mag or a 41 mag.
yeah a 10mm will kill bears, elk etc.
yes it works, but its no magic death ray!
if you watch carefully the results with a 10mm handgun,
tend to be similar to game hit with archery ,
I/E the game bleeds out internally after a decent hit but it takes time
now I've personally used a 10mm on deer and hogs several times, and it works reasonably well,
but, in my personal experience there's been a significantly better result,
in most cases, while using a 44 mag and 300 grain hard cast bullets
and its certainly not a 445 DWSM or 460 or 500 S&W MAG

btw bullet weight in grains x velocity x velocity / (divided by)450240 gives energy
you can do the calculations but there's a significant advantage, in heavier cast bullets,

used in the larger mag cartridges
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The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer.
Staff member

obviously a 6" aftermarket glock 20 10mm barrel ,
designed for better accuracy and higher velocity,

with cast bullets, in a 10mm had advantages over the stock polygonal rifling barrel,
and having a barrel designed with better case head support,than the stock glock has

while the glock 10mm may not provide the same peak power / penetration a 44 mag has,
it has enough power to be lethal in trained hands,

the undeniable advantage that a glock semi auto has...
faster reloads and higher capacity magazines


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