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gas checks?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by plumberfishes, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. plumberfishes

    plumberfishes Gresham oregon Active Member

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    I am casting my own .38/.357 slugs, in fact i have already cast almost 1000.... loaded a slew of .38's and they are awesome...... loaded some .357's and leaded the heck out of my barrel...... so i need to do some gas checks... just wondering, who out there is using them, and how do you like them,,, i have been loading my cast .38's and buying(please god do not let my wife find out) slugs for the .357 but being able to use some of my cast rounds in the .357 would be nice.... how much more gear will i need to buy to add these little buggers? is it going to be worth the cost to use my cast as opposed to buying just for the .357. i mean i am already buying for 3 other calibers, ... reloading is expensive!!!!
    Doug
     
  2. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    it takes a special shaped bullet for a gas check sometimes just hardening,or even softenig the alloy will help with a leading problem.Leading is a topic that can go on forever on boards like the Cast Boolit board.
    I"d read that a Lee luber can apply a check as the bullet is pushed thru ,into the hopper.Some can be hand applied,snapped on, I"ve also read that most luber/sizers can apply them while sizing.
    hopefully someone more knowledgable than I will come along and be a LOT more help,lol.
    this is one time when Google just might be your friend.
     
  3. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    What alloy are you casting with? Most leading problems can be resolved without resorting to gas checks (which add considerable expense IMO) by adjusting your load to the hardness of the bullet.

    I reload lead bullets in .357Sig. The bullets I use have a hardness of BHN 18 typically and I'm able to use my pet load in 4 different pistols without leading at velocities of 1350-1430fps (depending on the pistol).

    As mentioned previously, you will need a specific bullet mold to cast bullets that accept gas checks...so more money again.
     
  4. plumberfishes

    plumberfishes Gresham oregon Active Member

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    see this is where it get sticky.. my "alloy" is old plumbing lead, pulled out of old houses, off old roofs... pretty much the softest lead there was what they used back in the day... now i have added some wheel weights to try and stiffen it up a bit, but I do not have a hardness testing kit... so i really have no clue.. but i can really tell a hard batch from a soft one... my new furnace , instead of my companys old lead pot helps, gets much hotter. I have noted hotter melt seems to make for harder bullets.. i would assume due to more alloy melt.
     
  5. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Well.....I don't see how a hotter melt will make for a harder bullet when pure lead melts at a higher temperature then lead based wheel weight alloy.

    If you can find some information on cast bullets by E. H. Harrison I think you will find it an informative read. C. E. Harris is another good source.

    You can make your own bullet metal hardness tester using a muffin pan and a steel ball bearing.

    As far as wheel weights go their composition has changed over the years; some wheel weights are now made of zinc and not lead alloy: do not mix the two.

    If you have time I strongly suggest that you read up on the subject.
     
  6. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    Without a consistent alloy and hardness, it's impossible to address the barrel leading ssue. Pure lead has a BHN=5 +/- which is too soft for anything but the slowest velocities. Measuring hardness (or at least relative hardness from one batch to the next) is pretty simple...steel ball bearing as mentioned above. Standard #2 Alloy runs about BHN 15-18 depending upon whether or not you quench harden your bullets after casting. If you're just gonna melt junk lead and hope for the best, I'm sure you'll disappointed with the results. Personally, I don't cast my own bullets because it takes too much of my time IMO (sold all my casting and lubri-sizing equipment)...I'd rather be shooting than casting, so I buy cast bullets for my reloads.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all the comments on hardness being an issue and not being able to get hard enough lead from "scrap" alone.

    That said, I used to have a SW 686 that I had a leading problem with when loading .357 lead loads. I found that some powders were more prone to melting the base of the bullet than others. I also found that using "Wipe Away" patches not only removed the lead well, it seemed to slow the buildup with subsequent shots.

    Today I load only jacketed bullets for my auto loaders and rifles.
     
  8. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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