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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone tried reloading 5.56 with wheel weights? I did with 8mm mauser round nose 180gr with a gas check, and there all over the paper if it hits at all. I'm going to buy jacketed and try that.
The point being, is wheel weight lead hard enough for the 22 and it's velocity? Pack less powder? Semi point,round nose, flat? They sell the molds but i don't want to buy one if it shoots like crap.
I only been reloading a couple years, pistol mostly.
 

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So I haven't actually started experimenting with them yet, but I expect to start doing that very shortly. From my research, it has all to do with the hardness of the lead. While most of the wheel weights I've found are fine for pistol rounds, they are not hard enough for rifle rounds, especially the high muzzle velocities of 5.56mm. For that, you really need to take the time to make sure your lead has a brinnell hardness of 18 or so at the absolute least, and I would prefer to be up around 20. Most of the wheel weights I get are around 15-16 at the most.
 

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You just cant push cast like you can jacketed out of something like an 8mm. You wont really find cast velocities in the lyman manual to be the same as jacketed in a reloading manual, and often use different powders. So for the 8mm try backing off on the powder, and yea probably gonna want to try a harder alloy.

Only thing rifle wise I mess with cast, is 45-70 tho works really well in that. My 577/450, but was never designed to shoot jacketed and my 30/30. All lower pressure weapons. Gonna start messing with paper patching the 170 gr 308 I use in my 30-30 in my 7.62x54.
 

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I'm thinking that lead bullets would be fine at lower velocities, especially subsonic. Maybe a small game load, short range plinker. Wheel weights would be fine for this. As you push the velocities, the quality of your alloy, known hardness and hardness tests start to become much more important.
I have just started loading lead sub-sonics for my .308, but I have only used commercial bullets so far.
Lots of lead loads for .223 in my lyman manual.
 

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check out cast boolits.....
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

they have a lot of good info, with .223 you want to limit velocity... if you plan to load to over 2400 fps gas check them, and that will help to reduce lead fouling in your bbl.

WW lead is generally pretty soft and you can slightly increase hardness by water dropping them (quenching them directly in water from the mold), but they are still decently soft at 16-17 on the brinell hardness scale.

accuracy will be affected by several factors, seating depth, crimp, casting quality (mold temperature), sizing, in addition to all of the normal internal ballistic factors like charge weight and primer.
 

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+1 on the recommendation for http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

There are folks on CB that were selling linotype if you want to boost the hardness of your lead. You can get into a variety of group buys on CB as well

Gas checks are a good option for this and are not overly expensive. Heck you can make your own with a press/die from Freechex.net (as an example) using aluminum flashing or even pop cans. GCs are cheap to buy and several thousand of them don't take up much room in the drawer.

What twist rate is your barrel? I picked up the 55gr GC mold from NOE but haven't had time to do much casting with it other than a some samples. MiHec (mp-molds.com) makes some great molds if you can get into one of his group buys!

Depending on your twist rate you might be able to use a heavier bullet which might make it easier to work with. The 55gr ones are a bit small (yet alone those 45gr for the Hornet). Hopefully in Feb I get the time and above-freezing temps in the garage :)
For lube I like the Carnauba Red and their 2500+ stick lubes when running them through the sizer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
+1 on the recommendation for http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

There are folks on CB that were selling linotype if you want to boost the hardness of your lead. You can get into a variety of group buys on CB as well

Gas checks are a good option for this and are not overly expensive. Heck you can make your own with a press/die from Freechex.net (as an example) using aluminum flashing or even pop cans. GCs are cheap to buy and several thousand of them don't take up much room in the drawer.

What twist rate is your barrel? I picked up the 55gr GC mold from NOE but haven't had time to do much casting with it other than a some samples. MiHec (mp-molds.com) makes some great molds if you can get into one of his group buys!

Depending on your twist rate you might be able to use a heavier bullet which might make it easier to work with. The 55gr ones are a bit small (yet alone those 45gr for the Hornet). Hopefully in Feb I get the time and above-freezing temps in the garage :)
For lube I like the Carnauba Red and their 2500+ stick lubes when running them through the sizer.
As a matter of fact i'm a member,i haven't been there for awhile. Time to go back. ammosmith as well.

I did ad tin and alittle arsenic to the ww lead and waterdropping them,it seemed pretty hard . but i don't have a brinell tester. Not sure of the twist for the 5.56 its an ak-47. I use bees and johnsons wax.


Thanks for all the reply's,I got some experimenting to do. :cool:
 

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You can also add 95/5 (tin/ antimony) solder to increase hardness. But I've yet to find a good combination that will work when pushing to over 2600 fps. Wheel weights alone and I'm good up to 2000fps.

So for 5.56 I really need to keep the speed down. No way to push it as hard as FMJ.
 

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With a good bullet design, gas checks and an appropriate powder why would one really need to push the 5.56 over 2000fps for most use? Most of my plinking with cast bullets is under that and I'm at less than 10¢ a round not counting the original price of the lead (much of it was scrounged or recycled).
The paper or pop cans that are my primary targets still have a nice hole punched in them, the steel gong still pings when I hit it and that woodchuck just as dead as it would be if I shot him with a specialized varmint round. I use the cast boolits to save money as well as save the stash of jacketed rounds for other, more specialized purposes.
 
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