Help with .308 cast loads

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Help with .308 cast loads

Post by goldiexxxx » 10 Jul 2019, 1:14 pm

Hi Folks,
I have a couple old military rifles in 7.62x51 and thought I might explore the idea of loading some cast bullets for them. I bought a box of Hawkesbury River 165gr SIL .308 powder coated bullets and commenced researching some info about loads for cast bullets.
I have poor results so far in three different rifles with some hopeful groups that couldn't be replicated the following weekend.
1. m1895 Spanish Cavalry Carbine
2. FN manufactured Israeli K98
3. Ruger Gunsite scout with a scope as a control to eliminate poor accuracy due to open sights
I used AR2206H powder ranging from 26-36 grains and had really no conclusive results, nothing I would call accurate considering there was no guarantee all five rounds would group, often one not landing on the paper at 50m.

So my research leads me to believe that these HR projectiles are never going to work because they are not oversized to .310 - .311; which I don't understand why they are even sold by HR. Strangely, the projectiles are labelled as .308 165gr; they are indeed .308 on the driving band, but are all 170gr.

I have got hold of a box of Hornady gas checks but I'm not confident these will help if the projectiles are not the correct diameter anyway.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Goldie
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by bladeracer » 10 Jul 2019, 1:25 pm

goldiexxxx wrote:Hi Folks,
I have a couple old military rifles in 7.62x51 and thought I might explore the idea of loading some cast bullets for them. I bought a box of Hawkesbury River 165gr SIL .308 powder coated bullets and commenced researching some info about loads for cast bullets.
I have poor results so far in three different rifles with some hopeful groups that couldn't be replicated the following weekend.
1. m1895 Spanish Cavalry Carbine
2. FN manufactured Israeli K98
3. Ruger Gunsite scout with a scope as a control to eliminate poor accuracy due to open sights
I used AR2206H powder ranging from 26-36 grains and had really no conclusive results, nothing I would call accurate considering there was no guarantee all five rounds would group, often one not landing on the paper at 50m.

So my research leads me to believe that these HR projectiles are never going to work because they are not oversized to .310 - .311; which I don't understand why they are even sold by HR. Strangely, the projectiles are labelled as .308 165gr; they are indeed .308 on the driving band, but are all 170gr.

I have got hold of a box of Hornady gas checks but I'm not confident these will help if the projectiles are not the correct diameter anyway.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Goldie


.308" would be very small for a .308" bore, try some .303/7.62x54R .312" bullets.
I don't understand why a cast bullet manufacturer would even make .308" bullets, make them over-size and size them down to what your firearm wants.
Berry's copper-plated .311" 123gn bullets shoot very well in my '03-A3.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by in2anity » 10 Jul 2019, 1:56 pm

I've also experimented with those very bullets in my 308 bolt gun. In fact, the HRBC 165gn rnfp-bb 30/30 projectiles shot measurably better out of the same bolt gun over the same load. So I put it down to the lack of a gas check; as you mentioned the driving band is quite minimal on that particular projectile, so I speculated there was probably a fair degree of gas-cutting happening (without the GC). Basically, I reckon they're designed to have a GC.

Nonetheless with HRBC checkless bullets in general, you can only drive them so fast, beyond that you run into stabilisation issues. Even your starting load of 26gr of 2206H seems a bit hot to me - I think around 60% fill of AR2206H is about right for HRBCs. I'd experiment with 24grs and chrono it if possible. Without a GC you probably don't want to go too far beyond 1500fps.

Also I feel a slightly faster powder like AR2207 is better suited than AR2206H for lead loads. Also it's worth trying some TB loads if you have it.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by Oldbloke » 10 Jul 2019, 7:42 pm

Hi,
I suspect the speed is too fast. Lead bullets strip in the rifling once they move above about 1600fps.

Often fast powders such as pistol or s**t gun powders are used along wuth a gas check.

I use AS50N for my 30-06 with 180 cast bullets.

This link may get you started.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthr ... -cast-load
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by Oldbloke » 10 Jul 2019, 8:02 pm

ADI manuals (6th & 9th ed) tell you the following. (aprox)

AS30N = RED DOT

AS50N = GREEN DOT

AP70N = UNIQUE
Last edited by Oldbloke on 10 Jul 2019, 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by gunnnie » 10 Jul 2019, 8:39 pm

Have you tried slugging the bore? I'd try pushing one of those HRBC pills through the bore to see what rifling engagement you get. If its very light & the projo passes through the bore easily then ditch those pills as they're not the right diameter.
From what I've read & been told, for 30cal you need to run projo's at 1-2thou over the bore diameter.
The gas checks are not to stop leading or because you want to push velocities over 1200fps (nominal figure).
You might have to look for projo's of .309-.310" diameter. AR2206H powder is a good start, as too is Reloader 7.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by hunting99 » 10 Jul 2019, 10:16 pm

I use at leas +2 thou over bore. And AR2207 or reloader 7 for the powder.
I find trying different powders faster or slower can make a big difference to stop gas cutting.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by goldiexxxx » 12 Jul 2019, 7:30 am

I did slug the bores on both rifles and they came out identical.
.300 bore diameter
.308 groove diameter

So when I'm reading on various American forums that people are achieving around 2300fps speeds, is this just total BS? I was hoping to achieve something that could shoot relatively flat out to 200m and hit a 14" steel plate consistently. Are my expectations with cast bullets too high? Will this endeavour only achieve plinking ammo at 50m; which I can do with a .22?
Hawkesbury River have a bullet listed for 303 which their website has it as .310 yet the same projectile is advertised on Rebel Gun Works website as a .311 diameter. I emailed HR a few weeks ago and questioned why all the listed diameters and weights for their products was all different across different suppliers (including themselves) and I received a call from them. The guy said that they size the .308 SIL bullet at .309 for RGW, which I then thought why the hell are all of your product not oversized anyway??? Same obviously goes for the oversized 303 bullet they provide to RGW. As suggested, it appears even these bullets are still not oversized enough.
Would I be better off trying the HR 180gr .310 bullet listed as for 303 instead?
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by bladeracer » 12 Jul 2019, 10:24 am

goldiexxxx wrote:I did slug the bores on both rifles and they came out identical.
.300 bore diameter
.308 groove diameter

So when I'm reading on various American forums that people are achieving around 2300fps speeds, is this just total BS? I was hoping to achieve something that could shoot relatively flat out to 200m and hit a 14" steel plate consistently. Are my expectations with cast bullets too high? Will this endeavour only achieve plinking ammo at 50m; which I can do with a .22?
Hawkesbury River have a bullet listed for 303 which their website has it as .310 yet the same projectile is advertised on Rebel Gun Works website as a .311 diameter. I emailed HR a few weeks ago and questioned why all the listed diameters and weights for their products was all different across different suppliers (including themselves) and I received a call from them. The guy said that they size the .308 SIL bullet at .309 for RGW, which I then thought why the hell are all of your product not oversized anyway??? Same obviously goes for the oversized 303 bullet they provide to RGW. As suggested, it appears even these bullets are still not oversized enough.
Would I be better off trying the HR 180gr .310 bullet listed as for 303 instead?


For 2300fps they must be powdercoating?
You can certainly shoot cast bullets out to long ranges, but getting then to shoot as accurately as jacketed bullets can take a great deal of trial and error. I shoot cast subsonic in 8x57mm that holds 1MoA to 100m.

Yes, I would certainly be trying. 303 bullets.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by xcb » 12 Jul 2019, 12:13 pm

goldiexxxx wrote:So when I'm reading on various American forums that people are achieving around 2300fps speeds, is this just total BS?


Apparently not with the right mould and techniques:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9VDouNYi7A

The 30 XCB is a nickname for this mould:

http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/index.php?cPath=30_343

I can't see the listing for the .311 version, but I think if you ask the manufacturer then they may have some in a nominal .311 size, that drops bullets at .3108-.31085.

Hopefully that is a good answer, however please note that I'm a newb. I have cast some bullets (not in this mould yet), but I'm not very good at it.

I'll probably have the mould soon, but it will take months for me to receive the die I ordered to make the gas checks:

http://patmarlins.com/product-category/checkmaker/

This alumium flashing is annealed and works great:

https://www.bunnings.com.au/consolidate ... h_p1100453
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by bladeracer » 12 Jul 2019, 3:27 pm

goldiexxxx wrote:I was hoping to achieve something that could shoot relatively flat out to 200m and hit a 14" steel plate consistently. Are my expectations with cast bullets too high? Will this endeavour only achieve plinking ammo at 50m; which I can do with a .22?


You should have no problems at all consistently hitting a 14" plate at 200m with a .22LR, that's only 6MoA.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by goldiexxxx » 12 Jul 2019, 8:59 pm

I picked up a box of the Hawkesbury River 303 cast bullets today. These are measuring .3115 - .312". New learning curve tonight as these wont go up through my .308 seating die, so have had to develop other techniques including using the rifle (closing the bolt) to complete the final seating depth.
Other issues I now have are with the Gas Checks expanding the case mouth on their way through, so losing the neck tension. I suppose I will have to buy a sizing die to size the Gas checks on the projectiles too. Lee only make a sizing die in either .309 or .311.
What are others using to size their bullets and gas checks to shoot in 308 rifles?

Goldie
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by bladeracer » 13 Jul 2019, 3:04 pm

goldiexxxx wrote:I picked up a box of the Hawkesbury River 303 cast bullets today. These are measuring .3115 - .312". New learning curve tonight as these wont go up through my .308 seating die, so have had to develop other techniques including using the rifle (closing the bolt) to complete the final seating depth.
Other issues I now have are with the Gas Checks expanding the case mouth on their way through, so losing the neck tension. I suppose I will have to buy a sizing die to size the Gas checks on the projectiles too. Lee only make a sizing die in either .309 or .311.
What are others using to size their bullets and gas checks to shoot in 308 rifles?

Goldie


I haven't tried checks in .30-06 as I've been powdercoating the bullets, but you could try seating in a .303 or 7.62x54R seating die, or just use a vice. Probably worth getting the Lee Factory Crimp Die in .303 or 7.62x54R as well. Check that your chamber will accept a cartridge with an over-size bullet though. If the chamber accepts the round I try to avoid having to size bullets, just shoot them as dropped from the mould.
You can make sizing dies from 7/8"-14 bolts. Drill an undersize hole through the bolt, chamfer the inlet, counterbore the outlet, and hone the middle bit out to the required size. Size bullets and test shoot them, if they're not working hone it out a little more and test shoot again.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by goldiexxxx » 15 Jul 2019, 3:40 pm

Thanks to everyone that has contributed with learning and experience, your help is very much appreciated.
This weekend I have finally had some success. I wanted to learn a bit more about how Gas Checks are installed and what affect they have. Lets just say the results were fairly conclusive, my loads were never going to have a chance without the GC installed.
In2anity, you were spot on mate.
"So I put it down to the lack of a gas check; as you mentioned the driving band is quite minimal on that particular projectile, so I speculated there was probably a fair degree of gas-cutting happening (without the GC). Basically, I reckon they're designed to have a GC"

With all my previous load development, the only load where I got something close to a decent group was with 28gr of AR2206H powder, but was not repeatable. So I used 28gr again across this weekends load development, but threw in AR2209 powder also. All targets fired at 50m, using only my Israeli Mauser K98
Load 1
Hawkesbury River 170gr .308 SIL powder coated hard cast projectile
Hornady gas check (not sized or crimped)
28gr AR2209
COL 2.7"
Result: 1.84" group with open sights set on 200m, POI still 2.5" low, and slight unburnt powder coming out the case on extraction.
IMG_0114.JPG
IMG_0114.JPG (104.94 KiB) Viewed 420 times

Load 2
Hawkesbury River 170gr .308 SIL powder coated hard cast projectile
Hornady gas check (crimped on using Lee FC die)
28gr AR2206H
COL 2.7"
Result: 0.9" group with open sights set on 200m, POI still 1.75" low
IMG_0115.JPG
IMG_0115.JPG (105.23 KiB) Viewed 420 times

Load 3
Control load to see what would happen with an oversized projectile but still without a gas check
Hawkesbury River 180gr .3115 powder coated hard cast projectile
28gr AR2206H
COL 2.48"
Result: much the same as all previous loads without the GC. Rounds lucky to land on the whole target confirming GC is essential.

Load 4
Hawkesbury River 180gr .3115 powder coated hard cast projectile
Hornady gas check (crimped on using Lee FC die)
28gr AR2206H
COL 2.48"
Result: 1.22" group with open sights set on 200m, POI still 3.5" low
IMG_0116.JPG
IMG_0116.JPG (97.9 KiB) Viewed 420 times

Summary:
[*]results are positive for both types of projectile in this rifle (lets see if those groups are repeatable though)
Requires a sizing die to crimp / swage the gas checks correctly onto the projectile to prevent issues with neck bulging and loss of neck tension
I suspect that the .3115 projectiles maybe too big for the throat of this rifle and keen to see if the Lee sizing die will help

Will keep working on my sizing and loading techniques as it was a bit shabby till now.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by bladeracer » 15 Jul 2019, 5:20 pm

Those are outstanding results! Standard issue Kar98 sights?
I think you should be teaching us :-)
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by Oldbloke » 15 Jul 2019, 7:49 pm

What a fantastic result. :thumbsup:
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by goldiexxxx » 15 Jul 2019, 8:35 pm

bladeracer wrote:Those are outstanding results! Standard issue Kar98 sights?
I think you should be teaching us :-)


Thanks bladeracer. Yeah just standard Kar98 sights, but I have a little helper with my eyesight not as it once was.
IMG_0117.JPG
IMG_0117.JPG (75.2 KiB) Viewed 400 times

Standard pinhole eye test like the optometrist will do to see if you just have old eyes or maybe something more serious. I find I have trouble focussing on the rear sight notch, but the pinhole brings that into clear focus along with the foresight and the target. You need to experiment with the size of the hole, but for me, the smaller the hole, the better my eye can focus, but less light comes in during low light conditions.
They are just cheap safety glasses and I used a ground off nail to make a flat edged punch. Just put some electrical tape onto a plastic lid and punch a clean edge hole. Then just adjust on the safety glasses so it lines up with your normal line of sight of your dominant shooting eye.
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Re: Help with .308 cast loads

Post by in2anity » 16 Jul 2019, 9:21 am

Well done goldiexxxx that's some impressive shooting, not to mention an informative conclusion! Thanks for sharing.

With a nice bit of glass, you'd surely bring her into sub 2moa territory (@50m). And in my experience, a consistent sub-2moa lead-slinger is a rare and beautiful thing!
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