This is a discussion on Cast Bullets in Lever Guns within the Lever Action forums, part of the Gun Forum category; Hello, I recently acquired 3 different lever guns, my first in pistol calibers. I have a JM Marlin 357, a Rossi 44 mag, and a ...
Hello, I recently acquired 3 different lever guns, my first in pistol calibers. I have a JM Marlin 357, a Rossi 44 mag, and a EMF 45 Colt. I have hand loaded hard cast bullets for years in my pistols, usually using H110 and a gas checked bullet, but I have never loaded a reduced load with a non gas checked cast bullet. I have been doing some research online and keep reading the following: Titegroup burns too hot for cast bullets, Trail Boss is somewhat corrosive, and one should use a "cooler" burning pistol powder with cast bullets (except they never mention which powders are "cooler" burning). I don't really know if any of this is actually true.
I would like to come up with some loads my kids would enjoy shooting without leading the guns and draining my wallet. Most of the cast bullets I have been looking at have a BHN of 12 - 14 so I should be good up to 1200 or so fps out of the rifles, I think.
What are the "cooler" burning pistol powders that would work well with these types of bullets? I would prefer one that is relatively clean burning unlike Unique or Bullseye.
What are your pet loads for your lever guns in 357, 44 mag, and 45 Colt?
Has anyone ever used the difficult to attain Moly coated Bear Creek Supply bullets and if so, did you like them and how did you load them?
Is Trail Boss really mildly corrosive?
Right now, the pistol powders I have on hand are Trail Boss (although I have not used it yet), H110, Titegroup, and AutoComp. I am putting together an order for Powder Valley soon, so I could easily pick up something different if need be.
Many years ago I went to Herco and never looked back. 9mm, .38/.357, 44sp/.44mag and .45 acp. I even use it for 45-70 plinking loads in a replica 1874 Sharps. Herco requires about 1 grain more than Unique to get the same velocities but has a milder recoil in my opinion. This also keeps my loading bench clear of different powders to screw up with.
Go to the "castboolits forum" website. It is loaded with info and great people that shoot and load every caliber and every powder made. The info on this website got me started casting my own.
I haven't used Trailboss, but there is no such thing as mildly corrosive.
Either it is or isn't.
Been running a 45 colt load of 9 grs. unique with 250 gr RNFP through a uberti 1873 and a 1892 for quite a while. Dont really have any problems with either. I use a lot of trail boss in 2 1876's, a 4560 and a 4575, and in my wife's 1873 in357. I havent noticed any corrosive properties in any of the three rifles. I havent heard anything about the corrosive issues with trailboss. I use trailboss in my prize Shiloh sharps 45-110 also.
Last edited by hammer 1; September 14th, 2012 at 02:31 PM.
My brother and I have put around 4000 of 45 LC each through our colt saa's with a load of 8.5 gn's of unique and 250 gn. Rnfp bullets.We started with 1000 rounds of Winchester brass and have only lost a handfull. Nice load. Dan
Thanks everyone for the info! I might give Trail Boss a try. The last can of Unique I bought was around 1984ish and man...I remember it being very dirty in my 44 mag pistol. Have they changed it in any way so it is less dirty? I know a lot of people use it, but I remember it being a pain to clean up.
Speerchucker....thanks for the "castboolits" forum recommendation....wow, it's going to take a few weeks for me to look that one over....lots to read...I don't know how I missed it in all my searches.
I grew up on cast bullets for my lever action 357mag and 30/30. My dad said they were not the most accurate so he would only load the home poured bullets in the 38spl and 30/30. But let me tell you, I would shoot them just as well as the ones that dad loaded with factory bullets.
I would shoot ravens on the wing with the 357 rifle at about 80 yards out. Poof nothing but feathers falling from the ski. I used the 357 because the .22 rifle ammo would just bounce of the birds. They were very large ravens in north idaho, they killed calves.
I would use home casted bullets any day, everyday.
Unique is great but dirty when shot. Titegroup is also very nice and cleaner burning. Both feed very well. Plus titegroup is cheaper.
I agree about Unique. I have produced very good loads with it for various calibers, but it is a nasty powder. My guns are absolutely filthy after only a few shots.
As far as leading, you could try crimping a gas check onto your cast bullets. They are relatively inexpensive or you could buy a gas check punch and make your own. I know a fellow that punches his own gas checks from aluminum soda cans abd it works great.
I owned a Marlin 1894CB, sold it and picked up a Hartford 1892 rifle with 24" barrel. Both rifles are .357. The best load out of either rifle is a Remington 158g SWC bullet loaded in a .38 Special case with 4.0g Unique powder. Out of the Hartford it groups under 1-1/2" at 50 yards and 4-1/2" at 100 yards. The 100 yard group was 2-1/2" wide x 4-1/2" high. The load chronographs at 923 fps with the chrono set up 15 feet from the muzzle.
I had to run bullets sized .358 in the Marlin to get it to shoot. It would not shoot bullets sized smaller. The Hartford is not as picky. Go to the Beartooth Bullets website. There is a lot of useful information about handloading for lever guns, etc. Here is a link to Marlin lever gun barrels that I found very helpful.
I shoot a hard cast 335gn FP .44 bullet in my .444 Marlin, I dont shoot them fast about 1600-1800fps. They are very accurate and penetrate like a armor piercing round, if you are shooting cast bullets in a Marlin with a "Micro Groove" barrel you dont want to shoot them to fast or it will strip the rifling off the bullet.
Thanks for all the great advice. I might give Vihtavuori N320 and N32C Tin Star a try; thanks budster. They are very expensive but supposedly they are also very clean burning and consistent. N32C might also work for 308 subsonic loads.
The other two powders I will try are American Select in the 38/357 and Trail Boss in the 44 and 45. My plan is to have some lighter loads for fun using plain based bullets and then have some gas checked bullet heavy loads using H110 for serious work. I also will slug the bores of each rifle to make sure I buy the correct diameter bullets for each gun; from what I have read, this is really important if you want to get it right the first time especially with the Marlin Micro-grove barrels and especially with lighter loads.
Two of my neighbors, who saw my lever guns several days ago, said they now have lever gun lust and they just might have to pick up one themselves......this illness, evidently, is contagious.
I used Trailboss alot when I was Cowboy Action Shooting. I don't think it is corrosive at all. Meters well, does not seem to be position sensitive, and does a better job at filling a .45 Colt case (without overcharging it) than other smokeless powders. Ofcourse, I drive my cowboy bullets a bit slower than 1200 fps.
I run 300gr hard lead bullets in my Marlin .444 at about 2100FPS. No leading and a sub 2 min. grouping rifle. It's also an older Micro-groove which others have told me shouldn't shoot lead bullets this well.
do your 300's have a gas check? The 335gn's I shoot do not have a gas check groove. It a J D Jones [SSK] design bullet in a NEI mould, I cast them in 100% Linotype and they are very hard and very accurate. I will get a picture of the bullet when I can get to them.