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Discussion Starter #1
Supply and demand (availability or lack of) has created a new reality for me as a big bore reloader. I have been loading jacketed only in .458 diameter for my 45/70's & 450's. At least the bullets haven't dried up yet for the 444.

Here is the issue I'm facing and am sure you are also.

Remington stopped selling their components (especially the 300gr JHP that I loved to load and shoot) and Hornady just dried up on their 350gr JFP Interlock until fall of 2012. Now I like to shoot around 100 rounds each at least every other week so I can burn through a lot of bullets.

I'm rambling here,....................... guess what I'm asking is - you fellas that shoot nothing but hard cast or lead boolits, what are your favorites for paper and favorite for meat? I'm so put off by major suppliers (Hornady/Remington/Winchester/Etc.) of reloading components that I'm seriously considering the switch to lead.
  1. Do you ever run into low - to no availability of lead bullet suppliers like I do on the jacketed suppliers?
  2. Do you shoot as much as I do or more and if so what kind of leading issues do you experience?
  3. Does hard cast really eliminate need for gas checked bullets?
I do read a lot on casting threads and there is a ton of good info there but I'm not sure I'm ready to start that up just yet. What I'm really wanting to understand is the cast boolit supply chain for uninterrupted availability - is there such a thing?

P.S. I haven’t seen an availability issue for small/medium bore jacketed yet….

Frustrated reloader in central Florida...........

1895gunner
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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I like buying my cast bullets from the smaller manufacturers, and place orders directly with those companies. Lead is available to them no matter if it is an election year or not, and dealing with Oregon Trail or Dardas directly eliminates the middleman and any shortages on their part rather than the manufacturers. My guess is that Midway and the others buy in large bulk orders and thus might run out of some weight and caliber before they are ready to place another mega order and thus certain bullets run out of stock. I have never had to wait fore than a couple weeks tops for shipment to arrive in Alaska. Oregon Trail includes free USPS shipping, and the others give a good rate on USPS as well. Couple that with the cost savings of cast over jacketed and I am sold on non- gas checked lead bullets which are great for what I shoot, straight walled cartridges at speeds to 1500fps.

As for leading, my 45/70 has settled down to just a little bit about 1" from the chamber and my 1894 in 45 Colt and Micro Groove barrel doesn't lead at all. I have never gotten around to slugging the barrel on my 45/70 and have just been shooting Lasercast .459, so perhaps if I went up to .460 it would lead less, but in reality just a couple quick strokes with chore boy completely removes it so it hasn't been a concern.

As for the need for gas checks, I have yet to try them, but I tend to keep the velocities under 1500 fps. I think for faster velocity you will probably want GC no matter the hardness of the lead.
 
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Hey there 1895Gunner -- There is no shortage of lead bullets. Outfits like Laser-Cast, Missouri Bullet Company, and quite a few others seem to have them any time you want them. There is no voodoo here. Order up a box, or three, of a couple different bullet weights, clean the copper out of your bore, and go to town. Look to 1100 to 1400 feet per second for speed and you're good to go. I've been shooting close to 500 rounds in the last three weeks with no cleaning and no leading. Get the load right and it is not an issue. If you need something kilt, they will do that trick well. You might consider that you're long over due for the change!! Best regards. Wind
 

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1895Gunner,

I know how your feeling, I couldnt stand the price though. I was shooting factory at about 30.00 a box of 20 so I figured I would reload but they are like 28.00 a box of 50. I figure I would spend the money upfront to purchase the equipment to pour my own and now I am going to be pouring 50 350gr hard cast flat nose bullets for 2.50, add 0.035 for each if I want to add a gas check and maybe about the same for some pan lube. Yeah the molds are expensive depending on what you like to shoot and you would need the pot a ladle, a propane burner and such things but most people have those laying around. After you get everything you need then you just pay for lead wheel weight ingots or wheel weights and melt them yourself and start pouring your own. you can stock up on lead and always have the ability to pour your own.

I have 600lbs of wheel weight lead ingots stored waiting for my molds. If I poured nothing but 350gr bullets with it I would have 12,000 bullets for the 600lbs.

Just something to look at, I figured it was worth the initial cost


Doc
 

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Manage all bullet supplies by casting your own.

I like the RCBS 405 FN for all high velocity work when in need of a gascheck design to make high velocities possible. I like Lee's 405 grain flatnose for lower velocity work, and to save the cost of a gascheck, but I specifically asked Lee for one that cast to a larger diameter (.460-.461"). Their in stock designs, save for the 405 hollowbase, cast too small for most 45-70's.

Even purchased lead 45-70's are too costly in my opinion. I couldn't shoot like I do buying my bullets.

Leading is a very oversold topic. It's easy to make loads that have little leading and good accuracy.
 

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Hey 1985G

Over here we have a worse continuity of supply problems, particularly during your federal elections, I remember during the last one getting primers meant ringing around the gunshops to see who had any... I can understand your frustrations in trying to maintain supplies.

But for a regular bullet supply casting your own might be a good backup, a small investment in equipment will easily and quickly pay for itself. Take a trip over to Ranch Dog Outdoors site, he makes reasonably priced molds designed specifically for Marlin rifles, they come in a 6 cavity config and you can make a lot of bullets quickly. They are designed to make 'bigger' bullets, .460 diameter so leading generally is very minimal. You can even get a half gas check and half plain base in the same mold, very convenient if you have a plinking load and a zombie load. A few people on this site use these molds, so might be worth a search here.

regards

Rich
 

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Hey 1985G

Over here we have a worse continuity of supply problems, particularly during your federal elections, I remember during the last one getting primers meant ringing around the gunshops to see who had any... I can understand your frustrations in trying to maintain supplies.

But for a regular bullet supply casting your own might be a good backup, a small investment in equipment will easily and quickly pay for itself. Take a trip over to Ranch Dog Outdoors site, he makes reasonably priced molds designed specifically for Marlin rifles, they come in a 6 cavity config and you can make a lot of bullets quickly. They are designed to make 'bigger' bullets, .460 diameter so leading generally is very minimal. You can even get a half gas check and half plain base in the same mold, very convenient if you have a plinking load and a zombie load. A few people on this site use these molds, so might be worth a search here.

regards

Rich
Hi 1895G, I have to agree with Aussie Rich, you think you have troubles getting bullets, that's why I cast. Ranch Dog's molds are excellent and are a purpose made mold for Marlins. If you don't want to cast yourself a few of the better known bullet casters who sell have already been mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yepper I'm headed to lead. I'll continue to buy jacketed when they become available to keep some on the reloading shelf for each caliber but I'm going jacketless! The price is certainly a lot better and hopefully availability stays strong. I sure appreciate everyone's response - things I guess I knew from reading threads here but you have confirmed my thoughts.

Guess I'll have to re-think my powder too, I've been using H4198 with my 444, 45/70 & 450. Gunna have to check out what everyone is using in these three calibers with lead.

1895gunner
 

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H-322, IMR 3031 and 2400 are good choices!!


Doc
 

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Hey Gunner, If I get my molds before you get some cast I will ship you off some if you give an address... That way your not getting too much money into it to test them out.


Doc
 

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To add to Doc's generous offer Scott, PM me your address and I'll send you some 405gr Laser Cast bullets to try out. They are .459". You've helped me a thousand times or so, so let me return some of the favors ...
 

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Don't forget about Beartooth Bullets. Sometimes they can be a little backed up. Remember they really are a bullet worth waiting for. The shipping is the same for one - five boxes. USPS priority box.

Good luck

Mckmain
 

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Dang Doug, I sure appreciate it. Guess I better get to cleaning that copper out........

PM sent

1895gunner
Hey 1895,

I use Penn Bullets, as I drive by his shop, on occasion. Welcome To Penn Bullets INC. Have known Bob for 25+ years, and he ships quick. The West Coast fellows seem to like Laser Cast. Have been using Universal Clays, in 45/70. Universal and Unique have similar burn rates. What I really like about the Penn Bullets, is that with the 350 and 405, the weight is added on the tail end. Nose to crimp groove dimension is same, no resetting dies. And the generous drive bands.

You will like the lack of recoil, and the accuracy. Universal Clays works well in 38/357, 41, 44mag, and 45LC.

Welcome to the world of cast bullets.

Later, Mark
 
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Gunner,

I shoot lead almost exclusively in both my 1894 and 1895. Like others said, the Oregon Trail Laser Cast (21 BHN) shoot really well, and I'm going to place an order with Missouri Bullets this evening. They are cheaper, but slightly softer (18 BNH) than the LC. I send them down range at 1000 - 1600 fps without any serious leading. Sometimes (probably due to the slow Trail Boss loads @l050 fps) I get a touch of leading in the chamber, but nothing that a few extra strokes of the brush doesn't take care of. You can get LC for about $65 + shipping for 250, 405 gr. (@.30/round) and the Missouri Bullets in 405 gr. go for $39.50 for 200 + $13 flat rate shipping up to 65 lbs (@.21/round for a thousand). That's about 1/2 the price or twice the shooting, compared to jacketed bullets.

Not being satisfied with that cost, I have ordered 65 pounds of smelted lead ingots and soon intend to start making my own bullets. With a little bit of effort and YAH (yet another hobby) I should be able to get the price per round down to .05-.10 cents a round for the 45-70 bullets, maybe even less if I go around with a bucket panhandling wheel weights from the tire stores.
 

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The main reason I own the Marlins I do, is to fed them home made boolits.

A lot of firearms and ammo companies have been bought out by lefty holding companies.

Which means, when th etime is right, they will simply stop making sutff.

Oh yeah, it seeems that has already started.

Ammo companies have been pushed off shore, So they wont last long either
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Pard, I would agree the best way to control availability is to own the tools and the process (casting). I want to get into this badly but short of buying lead I don't have a source. Is buying lead for smelting make it more affordable over buying cast boolits? If it does,… I'm in all the way. If it isn't I'll go down the path of buying hard cast boolits.

Weigh in and let me know your opinion please….

1895gunner
 
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