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I thought I would cast some lead bullets for my 338 Win Mag to save some money on practice.

The result was a dismal failure.

I sorted out the best looking bullets from my casting efforts and sized them using gas checks. I used Red Rooster lube when I sized the bullets.

The pattern, and I will not glorify it by calling it a group was all over the target at 50 yards and all over the berm at 100 yards.

This is from a custom Mauser that usually shoots just over minute of angle with Speer bullets.

Any suggestions for improvement would be welcome.
slow them down for starters.if you have an old lyman book. it will give you accuracy loads with cast bullets.i also cast for my 338 built on an p14 winchester and it shoots almost as well.try 46 grains of imr 4895 with a 249 cast, be aware this is the maximum for this load. and try 203 grain cast w/gas check imr 4198 31 grains ,this load is at the bottom end.
Cast bullet performance depends a lot on alloy... While I would _NEVER_ recommend shooting cast bullets out of a magnum rifle in this way, if you were intent on doing so, I would recommend using pure linotype which is a much harder tin-antimony-lead alloy. Most lead bullets are number 2 alloy. Some people use Wheel Weights which are great for pistol bullets, and old black powder loads, but fall face first when used for any kind of mid-velocity rifle cartridge.

Rooster is a great lube, and will cover up a lot of sins when casting (it's what I use), but lube is not a sufficient replacement for a jacket.

If you are really intent on carrying this hobby as far as you can, you may want to try the castboolits forum (Cast Boolits - Dedicated To The World Of Cast Bullets!) which has a wealth of information on bullet casting and what you can and can't do with it.

At this point, you have probably rather heavily leaded your barrel... I suggest using water and white vinegar for a cleaning solution... not pretty, but it really gets the lead out. You may also want to look into swaging your own bullets. I know there are a few people on this forum, as well as a lot of people on the castboolits forum that swage.


Cast bullets require much attention in manufacture, and more attention in loading. If you have the time and effort, they can be a great cost savings. If you are not able to grant this extra time, they can be a source of great frustration. Leading in the barrel, experimentation with gas checks, etc.,etc., etc., can be a real chore. Your best resource would be a buddy who has had success.

I would recommend with a highpower rifle to obtain a modest amount of very hardcast bullets from a reputable manufacturer (lasercast, etc), to see if you can make them shoot well enough for practice. Then, if you choose to go in to the casting effort, you can approximate the hardness necessary for them to perform as well as those bought. Bullets cast by hand properly will almost always exceed the quality of what you can buy.

I admire your bravery in jumping in to casting so quickly. I have every reason to do so (multiple reasons, actually, considering all my guns that might digest cast bullets favorably), and yet I have not taken that leap. I am fortunate in that I have two buddies that do this regularly, enjoy having me over for an afternoon of casting lessons, and I go home with good bullets.

Velocity considerations are very important to avoid leading in your barrel (another horrible chore to completely remove), gas check options, hardness mixtures with tin, antimony, nickel, lube formulas and so forth.

Even the best casters will admit that jacketed bullets are a lot less trouble to achieve good accuracy results. You have the choice to go into this with much time and effort necessary to get what you want. Good casters love their bullets and take extreme amounts of time and experimentation to achieve excellent accuracy that often can rival (or exceed) that found with jacketed pills.
When I started out, I just wanted to be able to practice more with my rifle. What the nice people here have made clear is that bullet casting for big bore rifles is not something to be taken lightly, and every detail is important. Thanks for your input.
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