Need information on the performance of cast bullets on big game. All of my big game hunting has been with jacketed bullets. I have worked up a flat nose 180 grain bullet ( that is what it weights with gas check ) load at just over 1600 fps that is grouping at one inch at 100 yards. Do I need more speed or is this good for 150 yards or less? This is for a Marlin 336 in 30-30. I have no experience on the killing power of cast bullets and the 30-30. Your help would be appreciated.
G'day Dag. I'm no expert but I reckon you need to get that bullet up to around 2000fps. At 1600 you are not getting the best from that combination.
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DAG460, I'd like more information about your cast bullet before I venture an opinion. I've never shot any thing bigger than deer with cast bullets . I've used 30-30,300 Savage,32 Special, and 35 Remington all with flat nose bullet. General consensus among cast bullet shooters I know is flat nose bullet kill better because they will expand at lower velocity than a round nose. Expansion depends some on striking velocity and more on the alloy of the bullet. I've used mostly wheelweight alloy which will vary in hardness but usually is 12-13 bhn. I've also shot them at higher velocity than 1600 fps, 1900 fps and up. I've only recovered two bullets from the 20 deer I've shot with cast bullet bullets and both have been expanded. I have also cut and wrapped all my deer myself and the wound track showed some expansion. One common characistic of cast bullets is complete penetration so be carefull you don't get two deer with one shot especially if you only have one tag. Send a pm and I can give you more details. Catskinner
For TONS of great info on using cast, you should mosey over to the Castboolits forum. You'll find nearly everything you want to know and then some. Here's a good article on using cast as well:
Chapter 8.5 Hunting With Cast Bullets - Cast Bullets For Beginner And Expert
DAG460 My experience revolves around the big BP 44's + 45's .The bullet config and alloy is more important than screaming velocity.Most Buffler cartridges operate at about 1350-1450 fps and bullets with proper design/alloy without gas checks make them killing machines...sure you can gas check and bump up the velocity no problem but then as was previously stated you can punch right on through.I'm not saying I don't believe in two holes but also having the pill upset and deform is definitely a good thing.Personally I think 1600 fps,a good flat nose design and proper alloy will get it done for you.
Last edited by FlyboyFlem; 01-20-2012 at 06:34 AM.
DAG640, glad you asked the question. I have not taken the plunge from jacketed to cast for deer hunting but am interested in learning more about it. I have been told, don't know if it is true, that breaking bone is more critical to a fast kill than with a jacketed bullet. In other words, shoot for the shoulder joint rather than lungs/heart. Again, I personally have no expereince with cast bullets other than from muzzle loaders where they work great with very soft lead.
I have shot deer with cast bullets out of my .45-70 CB and .444 and every one hit the ground dead. Not a one of them ran off let alone take a single step. Best thing about using case bullets is that there is usually very little if any meat lost. I have shot them through the ribs and shoulders and besides about 1/2 inch of blood shot meat around the wound I dont lose much meat. I plan on shooting cast out of my .308 MX and .338 MX once I get home. Manufacturer of choice....Beartooth Bullets; I am bias because their bullets were the first gas checks I loaded up and since then have had absolutely no reason to change....plus Marshall is such a great guy to work with. In reality if I wasnt so attached to all my other rifles I would sell them all off, keep only my Marlins and shoot nothing but cast bullets. Cant wait to return home to my native Idaho some day and try out the cast on mule deer and elk.
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l've had success with cast dead soft up to 22 bhn ,swc or a flat nose of sort,BP was usually round ball ,dead soft for years , 1300 up to 2600 fps and they all work as long as there is proper bullet placement. l've heard all the arguments over the years and while they sound good the bottom line is you have to interrupt the blood pressure or the cns . Cns is generally quicker ,neck shot is my preferred but isn't always an option. lf "you " make a good shot on cns or drop blood pressure with "your" load, it will put meat in the freezer.
Thanks to everyone for your help and information. I can increase the velocity of the bullet, but haven't because I was getting such good groups and no leading. I will cast some more real soon and see if I can get 1800 or more without leading. The bullet I am using is an LBT LCFN 170 grain sized .310 inch. Load is IMR 4198 at 20.0 grains and goes across the chronograph at 1630 fps average. Bullet weights in at 180 grains with gas check and is cast of wheelweight metal and water quenched out of the mold. Lube is LBT soft blue. I just inherited the rifle from my father this Christmas and want to take it hunting here in Washington. Rifle is a Marlin 336 in 30-30 and was made in 1948. We have white tail and mule dear. Mostly white tail and they are in the yard almost every night but can't hunt them here because of housing. Will have to go up the mountain. Hunting opportunities are usually 150 yards or less, and I want to make sure my load is up to the task. Thanks again for your input.
I have had very good luck with cast bullets and hunting. 265 and 300 grain ranch dog bullets between 2000 and 2200 out of 444 marlin. And 190 grain 35 cast at 2000fps , also ranch dogs. With the 265 and 300 grain bullet I got very short blood trails( if animal did not drop) with very ample blood leakage . We shot a pig with the 35 ,shot clipped bottom of spine and did damage to top of heart, both lungs and liver. Bullet did exit. Am very happy with all my ranch dog molds. Mike has figured out how build a great mold for marlin lever action guns .