Lead bullet loads for rifle cartridges

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by stoatman, Jan 14, 2009.

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  1. Hello all,

    Anyone had any experience with loading lead bullets in their rifle cartridges? The reloading data does not appear to be readily at hand...

    I'm specifically looking for a 123 grain gas checked lead load for 7.62 x 39 at a reasonable velocity, and also a plain lead 95-100 grain load at pistol velocity.

    My initial thoughts are, for the 123 grain load, something of the order of 15-20 grains of vit N110 (I think in vit powders), and for the pistol bullet something of the order of 10 grains of probably anything between N320-N350, maybe even as fast as N310. Vectan AS might be a good one since it is quite bulky.

    American powders are more or less unavailable here, so it's got to be vit or vectan really so that I can guarantee supply...
  2. I lie -- I can get "accurate" powders.
  3. 7.62 x 39? Speer do a 125 grain bullet. 22g of Viht N120 should give about 2206fps and a max of 24g for 2350fps. Out of the Hornady book, they show a 7.62 x x 51 nato 7.62 x 54 russian but nothing in x39.

    Have you tried the hunting nut website? Lots of data there.

    Farmer B
  4. Speer do a lead bullet? I thought they only did jacketed...
  5. Sorry, my mistake - lead, jacketed - it's all the same. does sorta raise the question as to why you want to shoot them through a x39 in the first place though.
  6. Several reasons: I only have access to 100 m, and Jacketed bullets in .311" diameter in sensible weights with sensible quality are quite difficult to find cheaply. I do have a whole load of Czechoslovakian M43 bullets that I have pulled from steel cases, but they are not really very accurate, and I am likely to have the rifle re-barrelled this summer with a stainless 308 barrel and I don't like the idea of oversize steel Jacketed bullets in it. Oversize lead, yes. I have been doing a little reading around of the subject online, and it appears that cast bullets actually perform better than Jacketed (frankly, they can't perform worse!) in this calibre. The 160 grain Lee .312" apparently does very well. Even once I've done the re-barrel, FMJ and match bullets are still somewhat expensive.

    Second reason: because I'm dismantling (yes it's legal where I live) a whole load of cheap steel cased military M43 ammunition, I am left with bucket loads of primed steel cases, and I'm looking for a light load using a pistol bullet essentially to get some worthwhile training use out of these. After a few shots of full power loads with these cases, they stick in the chamber and have to be pried out, which can't be good for my extractor.

    So there is method behind the madness!
  7. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Milsurp after hours has a good section on cast bullet reloading for rifles. I have a 7.62 x 39 and although I use soft points It isnt easy to get deer legal velocity from that cartridge. You would need gas checks I would have thought and most lead .303 bullets would do. I think Lyman do a good range of moulds as well.
    I only mentioned the hunting angle to show how low powered the round is compared to medium length cartridges.
    Seriously though I'm not sure I would even swage them knowing that the MV is going to be low and that the US die makers put both expander balls (.308 and .311) in the kits and my load manuals state that although not a great idea no pressure signs showed up and accuracy was unnafected feeding .308 bullets out of a Europen .311 barrel and .311 bullets out of a US .308 barrel.
  8. I shoot quite a lot of "puffer" rounds out of my collection, economical and great fun at 30m and puts negligable wear on the barrel. Really worth doing. I shoot mostly .303 and 7.62x54 which have the advantage of using the same bullet. I am just in the process of working up a load for the 8x50 Lebel...

    There are a number of moulds designed for 7.62 x 39...

    The Lyman 311410 throws a 130gn bullet that can be used without a gas check
    The RCBS 3022 will throw a 130gn gas check bullet.

    As to loadings, Unique is the classic powder for cast bullets, and the one that I use. Be very careful about using small amounts of slow burning powders in large cases. There is a low, but recognised risk of something that looks like detonation in some cases. I have never got down to a clear and provable reason for the effect, but it does apparantly happen. This does not seem to happen with fast burning powders (which is strange...)

    Have a look here...

  9. I have used small loads (6.5G of Unique) in the 44M lever action for the gallery shoots. Due to the potential of 'detonation' I have always used cotton packing to keep the powder tight against the primer. To date this has not had any detrimental effects to the best of my knowledge.
  10. the closest in burn rate to unique that I can currently get is Vectan Ba9, which is cut tubular. What is the granular form of unique?

    The "detonation" problem with slow powders occurs if you have less than a full case and it is lying more or less evenly in the case. Instead of burning from one end of a cylinder to the other, the primer ignites the powder over its whole upper surface and it then burns downwards, giving an enormous peak of pressure. this is also known as "flashover"

    The fast powders don't do this because they burn so fast anyway and produce a relatively small amount of gas because you are using less of it. In fact, if you think about it, most revolver cartridges loaded at normal velocities have a tiny amount of powder for the case volume, so every single one flashes over.

    HE117, what loads are you using?

    .338 - don't bother, not a problem with a powder that fast. If you were doing hot loads using N110 you might have a problem, but not tiny loads of unique. Just to put it in perspective: 5.7gn Ba10 or 6.9gn Ba9 in .45 Colt with a 250 grain bullet is perfectly fine. The "detonation" is not a problem in pistol cartridges with pistol powders.
  11. Unique is a flake powder (double base I think)...

    I use 12gn (well actually 11.9 gn - the nearest Lee scoop to 12!) behind a 180gn GC bullet in .303

    The Lyman book suggests a 5gn starter for a 120gn bullet for the .30 carbine... looks like a reasonable starting point, and will give you LOTS of shots from a tub of Unique..

    The "detonation" thing seems to be something to do with the breakup of the propellent grain in slower powders. All the propellent in a case surface ignites almost instantly so this is not the cause. The best theory is that the shockwave form the primer reverberates in the cse, pulverising the propellant grains and rapidly increasing the surface area leading to "burn to detonation" conditions. Nobody seems to have been able to replecate the effect in test so far..
  12. Something of the order of 7-10gn Ba9 will probably do OK to start with then with around a 100gn lead bullet. 5gn is probably too light for the case capacity.

    Might give it a go tonight if I can get a box of 32 cal RN at the 'smiths tonight.
  13. Nah, he's only got 86gn teflon-plated-copper-plated bullets from H&N. Bit light, and I've not had any real luck with the H&N teflon-plated-copper-plated bullets in either 38spl or 45ACP, so I'll order me a couple of molds and some lead. EUR41.- for 500 is a bit much for an experiment!!!
  14. result from castboolits:

    I shoot lots of TL314-90-SWCs and Lyman's 311227 in my Mini MKX 7.62x39 over 2.7 gr of Bullseye. Velocity is 850 fps and accuracy is excellent to 100+ yards. I'd suggest you start at 2.7 gr and work up to maybe 3.5 gr in .2 gr increments testing for accuracy. Should find happiness in there somewhere.

    Larry Gibson

    I'll be starting with Ba10 then, I think!
  15. Let us know how it goes...