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  • Load Data Suggestions, Possible Short Rifle Throat / Freebore

    Posted by james on November 8, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Hello to everyone.

    I’m new to reloading and casting. I was hoping for a quick-start, but given the situation with the pandemic and lack of products it has been difficult. I managed to cast my own bullets, powder coat them and resize them.




    Rifle: **FR16-5.56SOC-15RPR (AR-15 Platform)**

    Bullet Mold: **225-61 Elvis – Arsenal Molds**

    Projectile Weight: **61 gr**

    Powder: **IMR-4198**

    Lead Type: **Lyman #2**

    Load Manual #1: **Lyman 50th Edition**

    Load Manual #2: **Lee Second Edition**


    I would like to reload my cast bullets, but there are some concerns:

    (1) Load data – Since there is no load data for the specific projectile and weight the consensus in the reloading community is to utilize load data of the next weight class. Lyman has load data for a cast bullet of 55 grains, while Lee has no data for cast bullets for a 60gr bullet. Given the bullets are powder-coated is it ok to utilize Jacketed bullet load data?

    (2) OAL – This one concerns me the most because of pressure. Below I have a comparison table between my rifle (**Rifle #1**) and my friends rifle (**Rifle #2**). Both same make and model. Using Hornady’s O.A.L gauge with a sample of 20 cast bullets, my friends rifle (**Rifle #2**) has a longer OAL with respect to the bullet than mine. My rifle’s OAL with this bullet doesn’t make it to load data’s O.A.L of 2.250 – 2.260.

    I’m not seeking perfection, just safety. But there certainly is a difference between my rifle and my friends rifle I believe deserves attention and caution when charging cases.

    **Summary**: Loading suggestions? What to do with the OAL since mine seems shorter than my friends? And is it possible the freebore of my rifle may be short?

    james replied 9 months ago 2 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • marcuccione

    November 8, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    possibly check at r/castboolits as well

  • coriolis7

    November 8, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    You aren’t going to get anywhere near jacketed pressures or velocities starting out. Pretty much all load data for cast is going to be way lower pressure due to the limitations of cast bullets in 223.

    I don’t understand what the OAL thing is. Are you seeing how far out you can have a bullet before it hits the lands? In an AR-15, especially chambered for 5.56, you’re not going to touch the lands with anything that fits the mags.

    So you know how everyone says to follow loads given in published manuals? This is one of those situations you don’t, given what you are trying to do.

    Take a suitable powder (IMR-4198 and Re7 are about perfect, IMR-4895 or H4895 will work too). Load some rounds with your chosen powder starting at around 12 grains (any powder where this is ANYWHERE CLOSE to jacketed min loads is not a suitable powder for this) and the bullet seated to the crimp groove. Don’t overdo the crimp, just a tiny bit is fine. Starting at 12 grains load the rounds in a mag and shoot slowly one at a time. Make sure the bullet actually leaves the barrel after each shot. You will almost certainly need to cycle the bolt every shot at this point. Keep going up on charges by 1 grain at a time (do NOT exceed jacketed min charge yet) until you get cycling. This is your new min charge. It will likely not lock the bolt back. Based on my experience cycling will happen around 16-18 grains.

    Check the velocities with a chrono. Make sure they are nowhere near jacketed velocities for the same or slightly heavier bullet weight. Keep increasing charge by 0.5 to 1 grain until the bolt will lock back on an empty mag, or you start getting close to jacketed velocities at their min charge, or your accuracy goes to hell. Once you get close to jacketed velocities, work up in 0.5 grain or smaller increments.

    You will almost certainly not be able to get jacketed velocities without losing accuracy. Even if you do, the pressures will be lower, since a cast bullet can get the same velocity as a jacketed bullet for the same or less pressure. Unless you are really set on a science project, your goal should be to get cycling, locking back on an empty mag, and plinking accuracy.

  • NWReloadN89

    November 8, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Try 2.200 OAL and work up by .010 to 2.250. Also use a chronograph to tell you where velocity is at. It will help be a good indicator on what the pressure might look like from these as well.

  • DonBosman

    November 8, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    OAL for a rifle or pistol, using magazines, is the length or width of the magazine, not the chamber. OAL or COAL more matters for bolt action or single shot rifles.
    Jacketed bullets can be harder to measure due to how the metal is folded to finish the point. Sometime measure the lengths of a box of jacketed bullets and write those down. Only very fine quality, or tipped projectiles will be identical in length.

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