Friday, August 13, 2010

Praxis: castng hollowpoints

I have been casting my own handgun rounds for quite some time now.   I got really excited when I read about Lyman's Devastator mold.  Everyone should like the idea of a 180 grain non-gas check mold that is hollow point for their 1911's.   When I got the mold, I found the casting to be much different from the other rounds I've cast in the past.   After creating over 72 non-bullets, I decided to change things.    The first thing I changed was a cranked up the temperature on the lead.   This started getting me half bullets, so I knew I was on the right path.    Having the lead as hot as I'd comfortably want it, I found that unlike my other bullets, to get the lead down this mold with the hollow point spire in the middle, I needed extra pressure from above.   The easiest way to increase pressure, is to drop the lead from a higher height.   I found about 4" to be sufficient with no splashing.   Be sure to wear gloves and goggles when trying this, although splashing seemed rare, it would only take one bad drop to cause permanent damage.  If you have a melter that drops lead from the bottom, this mold has a large wood handle on the bottom, it may not fit. 

After creating a batch of 100, I tested 10 of them sized to .451 using a charge of 6.5 grains worth of Unique powder, and wolf primers, they were not as accurate as I had hoped.   My theory was that the shortness of the portion of the bullet that touches the barrel was not biting enough to spin stabilize properly.  I tested a 2nd batch at .452, and they flew straight and true.  The bullet seater also seems to round out the front of this bullet a little bit, having a desirable effect on feeding.

Loading your own cartridges and casting your own bullets takes time and practice, but it is well worth it to have the knowledge and tools to make your own bullets.

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