Casting lead bullets

Whilst many of us obtain perfectly good results from shooting off-the-shelf jacketed bullets, there are occasions and reasons to consider shooting cast lead bullets, amongst which are:

  1. The ability to tailor the bullet to suit exactly the gun from which it is fired
  2. To save money – cast lead bullets and homeloading can be considerably less expensive than factory ammunition (and just as accurate)
  3. To produce ammunition for use in older firearms where factory ammunition is no longer available, or
  4. Where it is desirable to use reduced power loads so as to  reduce the wear on an historic firearm.

Over the course of a fascinating two hour presentation, Griff Elliott, no stranger to winning historical rifle competitions at Bisley with lead bullets against opposition using jacketed bullets, explained in great detail the finer points of making and using cast bullets and developing appropriate powder loads for them. Fuller details of his presentation are available for members to download from the members’ pages, but to summarise:

  • Use as heavy a bullet as you can, bearing in mind your rifling twist
  • You’ll get good 100yd groups with light bullets but wind spreads them at 200yds
  • Use cast bullets 2-3 thou fatter than bore groove diameter
  • Seat the bullet out to touch the lead
  • Check loading manual and choose round about mid range powder load but don’t use slower burning rifle powders
  • Don’t use low power gallery loads, at 200 yards a windy day will spread them all over a four foot screen

Cast bullets