Marlin Firearms Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I just tried my first attempt at reloading for .35 Remingon. I reload for 45-70, and I use RCBS dies. I just got Lee (full length) dies for .35rem and had two questions:

Does this semi-wad cutter seat look right?

How does my first attempt at a Lee Factory crimp look?



Also, When seating, I didn't flare the bell. The bullets sat on top and I just kind of 'helped' them into the die. They seated fine, but the pistol bullets seemed a little loose. Problem seemed to correct itself on crimping.

The bullets are Hornady 200 RN and Meister 158 SWC cast (low velocity).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
Seating looks good on both bullets. You don't flare bottle neck cases like the 35 rem, just straight wall cases. You may want to cycle some of the cast loads through your gun and make sure they work okay. I own two 35 rems and one will cycle short pistol bullets and one wont.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
I have used SWC's in my .35 and found my rifle has a non-existent throat and need to seat them deeper to fully chamber. The Lee FCD is perfect for this. I crimp into the front driving band. You DO need to flare the case mouth slightly when loading lead bullets. If you do not generally some lead gets shaved off the side of the bullet when you seat it. This is why they make M dies and expander dies for rifles. I don't load many of these and just use a pair of needle nosed pliers. Push them into the case and twist for a slight flare. You do not need much just enough to prevent accuracy killing damage to the lead boolit.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bman said:
You DO need to flare the case mouth slightly when loading lead bullets. If you do not generally some lead gets shaved off the side of the bullet when you seat it. This is why they make M dies and expander dies for rifles. I don't load many of these and just use a pair of needle nosed pliers. Push them into the case and twist for a slight flare. You do not need much just enough to prevent accuracy killing damage to the lead boolit.
So my question about flaring is a YES and NO anwer. I didn't notice any problems with the jacketed bullets, but I did with the lead. There were fine metal shavings on most of the 10 that I did. I'll try the needle nose trick. I won't change a thing for the jacketed boolits. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,073 Posts
My experience supports what Bman said. Those little shavings tend to end up as lead smears in my barrels. :x Even with gas checks I think it helps to bell the case mouth slightly. Otherwise there is a tendancy for the lead to be shaved as you have described.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I went to pick up my gun today. The shop is a reloader shop. The guy at the counter and I were talking about the shavings and he suggested using a deburring tool (like the one that came with my Rockchucker) to shave off a bit of the inside of the shell opening. Just enough to make it shine.

He said he had the same problem with SWCs and that was how he solved it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,565 Posts
I ditto what Wyo and Bman said, but as usual I have a few other comments to make.

Your reloader shop needs to load lead bullets more often. If they did, they wouldn't give out such advice without mentioning other and better ways to skin the cat. Beveling the case mouth with a tool is called "chamfering."

This only takes the square edge off the case mouth and is needed when loading jacketed bullets to help ease the base of the bullet into the case mouth without snagging, which usually damages the case more than the jacketed bullet.

Lead bullets, and most especially plainbase lead bullets, need a bell on the mouth of the case, not chamfering. Remember you're trying to force an oversized soft lead bullet into a hard brass tube that is smaller in diameter. Tough go. If it's a straight hard brass tube there is nothing to help guide the bullet into the case-"funnel it in", in effect.

The case mouth tends to dig into the base AND sides of the lead bullet when seated. Also keep in mind that you're loading a soft, oversized bullet into a case neck that has been sized in dies intended for loading smaller diameter jacketed bullets. Thus it is possible that a case neck prepared for jacketed bullets will damage and squeeze the lead bullet excessively. Ever pulled a carefully sized bullet of soft alloy from a case to discover that your carefully sized .360" bullet is now .357" due to being squeezed by a force fit into an undersized neck?

I have.

Now, don't get me wrong. It is possible to load gaschecked lead bullets into cases that have been chamfered only (jacketed dies) and cause no harm. I've done it myself many times. The hard leading edge of the gaschecked bullet is more resistant to damage than a plainbase bullet. But this necessitates careful handling and straight line seating dies, such as the standard RCBS type or Hornady, for instance. Even then, you will often get shaved bullets (gouging the sides), especially if you're in a bit of a hurry. Some dies are worse than others in this regard. The needlenose pliers thing works if you understand proper neck tension through correct sizing, which is an important issue that must also be addressed. Bman knows this and doesn't need to hear that from me, but you do.

Flat plainbase bullets must be used with belled cases. Forget only chamfering-you'll damage the bullet, period.

Most reloaders that shoot lead get a Lyman M-die to complement their standard dies. This not only bells the case, but opens up the neck a bit so it does not squeeze the lead bullet excessively. It uses a two step expander ball to accomplish this. Make sure your flare only the minimum amount.

The Lee Collet die is in my opinion one of the best ways to load lead bullets, as you can size the neck (gentle like) the minimum amount that will give adequate tension and minimum lead bullet deformation. Then you use the needle nose pliers or the Lee Universal Expander to give the case a bell, and you're all set.

Most times anything you can do to keep the more fragile lead bullet undamaged when seating it in the case is worthwhile.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow, lots of great info:

35remington said:
Your reloader shop needs to load lead bullets more often. If they did, they wouldn't give out such advice without mentioning other and better ways to skin the cat. Beveling the case mouth with a tool is called "chamfering."
To be fair he did call it chamfering, that was my own ignorance. And he did mention another method...more on this later...
35remington said:
Lead bullets, and most especially plainbase lead bullets, need a bell on the mouth of the case, not chamfering. Remember you're trying to force an oversized soft lead bullet into a hard brass tube that is smaller in diameter. Tough go. If it's a straight hard brass tube there is nothing to help guide the bullet into the case-"funnel it in", in effect.
My lead bullets were .38 caliber SWC. The exact caliber is not on the package. Probably why they were a bit loose. Again, my own ignorance. What diameter lead is best for .35 Remington?
35remington said:
Most reloaders that shoot lead get a Lyman M-die to complement their standard dies. This not only bells the case, but opens up the neck a bit so it does not squeeze the lead bullet excessively. It uses a two step expander ball to accomplish this. Make sure your flare only the minimum amount.
This was the other method the shop guy mentioned. I figured I'd try the chamfer 1st, then get another die later. I'm used to this process from 45-70 reloading.
35remington said:
The Lee Collet die is in my opinion one of the best ways to load lead bullets, as you can size the neck (gentle like) the minimum amount that will give adequate tension and minimum lead bullet deformation. Then you use the needle nose pliers or the Lee Universal Expander to give the case a bell, and you're all set.
I saw the collet dies and the full size dies at MidwayUSA and picked one. I read about collet dies a few days later. I'm only finding out now that they may be the better choice. Oh well :roll:

By the way, I tried cycling the SWC loads in the new gun. They seem to be cycling OK. I'll try them out next time I go to the range.

Again, thanks for the great info!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,565 Posts
What diameter is best for the .35 Remington? Sorry, no one can answer that exactly for your gun, but I'll give you some guidelines.

If the bullet does not bump up on firing, diameter is very important. Usually, for reasons that have something to do with barrel dimensions and a lot to do with throat dimensions, a bit bigger is better. Ideally, the bullets would measure around .361" for a 336 .35 Remington. Short of buying a custom mould, you're not likely to get something off the shelf that would produce a bullet of that size unless you modified your mould with aluminum tape. Beartooth offers larger sizes to .3595" the last time I checked their commercially produced bullet diameters. Most commercial casters offer .358" to suit pistols. Often this is in a hard alloy, and in light loads accuracy may be poor. Usually this is a bit undersized, but you never know.

All you can do is try what you've got and see how it shoots. If groups are poor, you might figure that you're shooting plainbase bullets too fast or the bullet is undersized. Then try something bigger in diameter and see how that does.

Cast of straight wheelweights and used with gaschecks in near full power loads, the bullet may enlarge upon firing to take the rifling and diameter will be less critical. It's still better to have a bullet at or near the proper diameter so upset does not deform the bullet much. This helps accuracy, but bullets that are undersized and obturate on firing can shoot very well.

If you're going to cast your own I might suggest the RCBS 200 FN gascheck. Good bullet.

Is your gun Microgroove or "Ballard" type? It really doesn't matter that much as long as the bullet fits, and that has a lot to do with how the gun is throated. A throat can make or break cast bullet accuracy, much more so than rifling design.

Did you chamber the SWC pistol bullet in your 336 to make sure it functions? Does the rifling grab the bullet? My older .35 will not chamber a bullet seated like yours, so it has something in common with Bman's gun. My newer 336 .35 would likely accept it.

If it's a plainbase bullet, consider working with dacron filler to prevent gascutting and eliminate velocity swings due to variance in powder position, which can help improve accuracy. With plainbase bullets in most loads I use it more often than not. The dacron filler sometimes helps slightly undersized plainbase bullets shoot better, whether they be soft or hard. It may help gascheck bullets as well if the powder used does not fill much of the case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,073 Posts
Here is my sincere question, in search of whatever experience others might wish to share:

Why bother with lead bullets at all in rifles (handgun ammo is another issue altogether)?

I ask this because it seems that the extra attention and "sweat equity" involved in getting good loads that don't result in excessive leading of the bore far outweighs any dollar cost savings.

I haven't been willing to do what it takes to delve 101% into cast bullet loading, I'll admit. What little I have done with commercial lead bullets has been such a hassle that I decided jacketed bullets are the best choice for me.

What is it about cast bullets that attracts and satisfies those who use them?

Just curious...
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,565 Posts
Well, my own motivations go something like this:

I'm cheap, and on some days my time is worth zippity doo dah. Did you ever have occasions where there's nothing on the tube, and it seems more worthwhile to be productive? At those times I'm casting bullets. I enjoy the craft and skills required to create something and do it well. Making accurate bullets is an exacting hobby that rewards the participant for his efforts.

When punching holes in paper, full power loads are unnecessary, especially for marksmanship practice. Using a jacketed bullet intended for hunting while plinking or target shooting offends my miserly specialist proclivities. I'm also one of those kooks that shoots cast lead out of my .22 centerfires. They're very accurate (how's 1" @ 100 yards grab ya?) and I can shoot all I want without worrying about throat erosion. Why burn 35-40 grains of powder when 15 will put the same size hole in the target? Reduced lead bullet loads are perfect for most of the shooting I do. As for usefulness, a .22 centerfire shooting cast bullets makes one hell of a squirrel gun, and more accurate and effective than a .22 long rifle without blowing the critter to smithereens.

Some calibers just seem made for cast bullets. My .25-20 is a good example.

I like scrounging lead, lead alloys and wheelweights. Free if possible, very very cheaply if not. I like having a big stash of lead and bullets laid by. I'm not worrying about an apocalyse, but if The Night Of The Living Dead occurs worldwide, I can head shoot brain eaters until my powder runs out. Having a big supply of accurate, cheap home cast bullets can come in handy some day. Don't say I didn't warn you.

If you're getting leading or inaccuracy with cast bullets, something is wrong. Find a load that doesn't lead, which is easy. Then you will likely also be accurate. Accurate lead bullet loads can be both easy and difficult to accomplish depending upon how far you want to push the envelope. That's why it is so damn interesting for some of us. There's always some new variable to adjust for better results, and we exert more control over the outcome, since we craft our own projectiles.

Working with cast bullets can also be KISS easy if that appeals to you. Example: 35 Remington. RCBS 200 FN gascheck. 33-35 grains IMR 3031. Wheelweights. Almost any commercial lubricant. Any .35. It's just that simple most of the time, especially if you've done even a minimal amount of research beforehand.

Conversely, cast bullet loading is way more sophisticated than loading jacketed bullets. Hell, it's not even close.

What does a jacketed bullet shooter do? Primer, powder, bullet, case. That's it. That's the extent of the variables to work with.

The cast bullet shooter can work with varied alloys and can craft bullets with two alloys or hardnesses within the same projectile, gascheck bullets, plainbase bullets, fillers (dacron, shotshell buffer), wads of fiber or wax, variances in bullet diameter, variances in shape due to the wide variety of moulds available, extra extra light or heavy bullets, variances in lubricant type or quantity, brewing up homemade lubricants, etc, etc. It's fun and informative to run down all the possibilities. Or at least try.

Lead bullets are excellent game bullets in the calibers that are popular in out favorite 336's and 1894's-.30-30, .35 Remington, .45-70, .444, etc. etc. In most cases the velocities of these cartridges are exactly in the range of best results with lead bullets. I could swear off jacketed bullets and deer hunt exclusively using lead bullets in my .35 Remington and never feel the loss.

Jacketed bullets are a passing fad. I'm not a slave to the whims of fashion just because something shinier came along to put over the outside of the bullet. I say go with the all original bullet material, which is lead. (Rocks don't count. They're hard on barrels). When even the lead core, gilding metal jacket bullet is replaced by Hillaryantium because Ms. President Clinton decides that no one should own bullets that can harm the environment or be capable of injuring anything, you'll change your tune and rue the day you questioned our zealotry.

Lead IS bullets. Cast lead bullets are the most bullety of 'em all.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My own reason for shooting cast was originally expense (and I don't cast my own), and because I have a revolutionary war reenactor friend that casts all his own stuff. He is certain that I will eventually be casting - it is inevitable.

I wasn't too impressed at first, because I was loading too hot. Then I slowed down, and even looked into pistol powders for 1000fps loads, and my accuracy really took off. http://www.gmdr.com/lever/lowveldata.htm

There has been a facinating discussion on Big Bores about penetration of cast bullets (fairly hard ones, I believe) at 1200-1500 fps. The penetration is nearly double that of faster bullets, including even the Safari class calibers. http://www.marlinowners.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=119

I think the best part for me is the fact that is vastly increases your bullet choice possibilities (ref store-bought cartridges; "would you like the 200grRN or the 200grRN?") Variety is the spice of life, no?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Fargus, I tried to respond earlier but for some reason my internet service was acting flaky and I couldn't get a response posted, then I was out of town for a few days. I'm glad 35 Remington and others chimed in they do know much more about this stuff than I do.

Wyo, I started casting to make cheap practice boolits and for my ML. At last count I have 5 moulds in .452-4, 2 in .30 and one in .358 and several more I'd like to get. Like most things related to shooting sports if you get into it, it becomes addictive. There is also the 'I made it myself' mentality that appeals to me. The up side is that for most levergun calibers you can usually find a full power cast bullet load that is cheap, accurate and deadly on game. Based on my shooting budget if I had to buy jacketed bullets for all my shooting my skills would be worse than they are today.

35Remington, Have you been over to www.castboolits.gunloads.com ? There is a ton of excellent information and experience over there. by and large they are a great bunch of guys.

BTW and slightly OT-- Later this summer I hope to give my new 6 cavity custom (for Lee Precision)Group Buy Lyman? 311041 a good work out. In a leisurely hour of casting I had a bout 400 good boolits waiting for lube and checks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,565 Posts
Bman, yes, I've been on castboolits-I'm a member there. I've bought a few of the group buy moulds myself-the latest is the 7mm Soup Can (on the way) for my 7-30 Waters. I agree, great site. Probably the best, IMO.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top