Hunting with cast lead bullets

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by njc110381, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    nic,,
    Over ten years ago, I participated in a bullet testing project where we loaded .458 commercial hard cast, Nosler protected point, FMJ Kodiak heavy jacket, NF Mono FPS, and Punch solid brass with lead filled base. Using Miroku/Winchester 1886 rifles (45-70 and 45-90),we test fired all these here in Texas(Punch shot through 5/8 inch steel plate) and then took them to Africa and used them on plains game, leopard, buffalo, and ele. The project was a lot of fun , but for any experienced big bore shooter, the results were no great surprise.
    Results were:
    -Nosler PP at 2200 fps MV dropped all PG and Leopard in their tracks from either rifle; with devastating entry and exit wounds.
    -Hard cast killed all up through buffalo BUT on buff, some smeared, broke apart , and deviated course. Therefore we did not try on ele.
    -Kodiak FMJ at 2150 fps MV from .45-90 was wonderful on buff, shooting through many. BUT. on ele frontal brain shot at 20 yards, it mushroomed and did not penetrate the brain, knocking the ele to its knees, but not killing it. Not recommended for ele!
    - Monolithic solids shot through all animals but ele; On frontal brain shots, they shot through head and on into body beyond. Highly recommended for ele and hippo, but use great care on lesser animals as they usually shoot through two buff or more.

    At no time was the cast bullet challenged by anyone.

    The total report was updated daily from Africa on Leverguns.com. Upon return, the results were summarized with many pix of bullets.

    This was all the bullet research any of us needed to decide what bullets to use in Africa. All ammo was either custom loaded by Grizzly Cartridge or hand loaded by our team. None of that was questioned either.
    Nuf said.
     

  2. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Legend

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    I used lead alloy Bullets for various hunting. For dangerous and “tough” African game the question I would ask is whether the lack of expansion coupled with relatively slow moving Bullets would be sufficient.
    There’s no way, for example, that I would use the lead alloy Bullets on say an Australian buffalo.
    I have a lever action 45/70 and if I felt inclined to load some lead alloy Bullets I’d use them on wild pigs for example.
    I have used lead alloy Bullets in a 270 many years ago and it was fine on small animals.
    Suggest you don’t for African animals though!
     

  3. 5shot

    5shot AH Senior Member

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    Ross Seyfried took a Cape Buffalo with a 45 Colt handgun and lead bullets way back when, and I am sure many have done it since. They were, however, backed up by a large bore rifle.
     

  4. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    i can vouch for a cast 400gn bullet in 45/70, driven at 2000 fps out of a marlin 95 by ar2201 back in the day, taking an asiatic buffalo with a body shot.
    the rifle had a willians peep sight with the insert removed and the curved buttplate replaced with a recoil pad.
    it was a savage beast to shoot.
    cast bullets is ALL about alloy when it comes to terminal performance.
    too soft and bullets can rivet into a big thin flat disc, and too hard and they will bore straight through.
    get it right for the game intended and there might be no better bullet available.
    i remember an article by seyfried about casting dual alloy bullets like the ones already mentioned here.
    the ones here look a bit tidier than ross's did.
    bruce.
     
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  5. 5shot

    5shot AH Senior Member

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    Yes, I don't think Ross put the mold back in the melt, which is really a great idea. I have that article, and many more if anyone wants to read them.

    Also, Linebaugh did a bunch of penetration testing and the 45-70 with hard cast is right up there with some of the big guns.
     
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  6. perttime

    perttime AH Veteran

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    I'm sure I have a Guns&Ammo magazine with an article on that stashed ... somewhere. Wasn't just any handgun: a 5-shot custom job with heavy bullets at pressures that the 5-shot configuration allows, probably by Hamilton Bowen. There was also a .475 Linebaugh with cast bullets.
     

  7. njc110381

    njc110381 AH Enthusiast

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    Some great information here chaps, thank you.

    I currently only have an aluminium mould for the .458 bullets. What this is telling me is that I could also perhaps cast for my 6.5x55 for small deer - something I had never considered before. The issue has always been getting bullets soft enough not to pencil through at a velocity acceptable for our legal energy minimum (1700ft-lbs muzzle, .240 calibre). That up until now has meant using a big bore. More weight = less speed to reach that magic figure!

    I'd be less confident in using them for dangerous game. For that I will stick to tried and tested jacketed and solid commercial bullets. That was always my intention. I like to mess about with these things but when in a sticky situation I believe the best tool you can buy is the best tool for the job. For me, it's not a place for experimenting! Not with my experience level.
     

  8. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The 125gn 6.5 bullet I designed in conjunction with Veral from LBT and while I initially did this for my 6.5 Grendel-Max I also load this bullet in my 6.5x57 and NOE (with my permission) is making this mould now after I sent some test bullets to a chap on an interested forum get it under way.
    It is a simple matter to run it anywhere in the 1650 to 1900 fps range and it has killed goats to 150yds with it cast soft (50/50 ww/Pb) at 1650 fps. If you barrel and chamber need a heavier bullet there are suitable moulds available as a lot of trial work was done with the 6.5x55 on the CB forum some time back before the forum imploded and most of the knowledgable left.
     

  9. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    i would avoid paper patch bullets, unless all the patch or at leas most of it is in the case when using a repeater.
    this because if the patch is damaged during feeding, leading in the barrel will make life unpleasant.
    my own paper patch experience is 5 years shooting from 300 to 1000 yds most saturdays with a single shot and black powder.
    with black powder i shot bore diameter bullets, and they were seated barely in the case and bumped up into the rifling.
    smokeless will not bump them up much at all, so a bullet 0.001" to 0.002" over groove diameter will give a good gas seal.
    if it fills the freebore diameter that is good for accuracy.
    paper of a thickness such that 2 wraps is equal to or slightly less than groove depth will give good accuracy.
    there are some very good tracing papers ou there that are tough.
    if you patch wet, the patches will stretch more than patching dry, giving thinner patches.
    either way is good.
    you need to know the required patched bullet diameter, and have established the thickness of your patch on a bullet.
    you can do this by patching a bolt 2 wraps, how you would do a bullet.
    measure the bolt patched and unpatched, and subtract the unpatched diameter to give paper thickness.
    knowing tis you can now order a mould form someone like brooks or buffalo arms at the diameter you require to fill the freebore when patched.
    or order a grease groove bullet and just dip lube.
    lyman and lee moulds are known to be trouble.
    you might get a good one, but by the time you do you will have spent more than just buying a good one.
    for lighter game in 45 cal an interesting bulletto try would be the gould hollow point.
    it was designed as an express bullet for deer and such.

    bruce.
     

  10. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Elite

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    Never loaded leads for my 6.5x55, but on the right is my line-up for 45-70. Note that these are .459", not .458

    Non-GC lead is 405 gr, the two GC bullets are 425 and 525 gr. BNH on the 2 on the right is 22-23, same as linotype. Unlike linotype, these are not so brittle.

    I shoot them all (the lead ones) to the same velocity, about 1625-1630 fps. Notice the WIDE meplats...those guys do not expand, and they do not need to.

    I get excellent accuracy out of all 3 of those bullets with RL7
    bullet_comparison.jpg
     
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  11. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim AH Elite

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    According to Garret Cartridges, their 540 gr Hammerhead out-penetrates 500 gr 458 WM RN and 500 gr 500 NE RN, both solids. They reference the Linebaugh test in this FAQ. I expect the very wide meplat on Hammerheads (and the Beartooth Bullets Piledrivers and Piledriver, Juniors, which is what's pictured above) is the reason for the superior penetration. FWIW, I'm pushing my 525 gr Piledrivers about 75 FPS faster than Garret Cartridges pushes their 540 gr Hammerhead.

    http://www.garrettcartridges.com/faq.html#q6
     

  12. 5shot

    5shot AH Senior Member

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    It was actually a 6 Shot El Dorado built by John Linebaugh, but yes, it was indeed firing high pressure 45 Colt. I should have mentioned that...wasn't trying to imply that he did it with a standard pressure Colt load (not sure anyone would be crazy enough to try that!). He did say in another article that he had the ammo tested some years later and it was right at 300 WM pressure (way too high)...even though they just fell out of the cylinder after being fired.
     

  13. perttime

    perttime AH Veteran

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    This article mentions Seyfrieds original 6-shot El Dorado, and the 5-shot Rugers: https://www.riflemagazine.com/magazine/article.cfm?magid=24&tocid=321
    The one that I remembered was a 5-shooter on a Ruger Bisley frame - as still advertised by Bowen, and similar in concept with some of Ruger's current 5-shooters. He picked .45 Colt over 454 Casull for getting the long bullets seated in a sensible way. I found an article on his "best" 485 Linebaugh online, and the .45 that I remember came probably later. Here's the "best" 485 article: http://www.bowenclassicarms.com/news/articles/World's_Ultimate_Revolver.pdf
     

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  14. 5shot

    5shot AH Senior Member

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    I have all those articles rat holed in either original paper copies or PFDs. I've probably read them dozens of times. Seyfried is the reason I became interested in 5 Shot revolvers...although mine is from Clements, no Bowen.
     

  15. Max Simmons

    Max Simmons AH Member

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    Given your experience with this bullet testing project, do you have any thoughts on the Garrett 540gr hardcast vs. the Buffalo Bore Dangerous Game 380gr monometal, both in .45-70, for thick-skinned DG? I don't handload so I'm studying all my factory options. Thanks!
     

  16. IvW

    IvW AH Legend

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    Bad idea....
     

  17. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    It is not that they do not kill animals. They certainly do. The Shawtal poachers in India , especially Darjeeling where l was a Shikari until 1970 , would mould and cast their own round lead bullets and harden them over fires for their locally made matchlock smoothbore guns illegally . These bullets would weigh invariably between two to three ounces ( given the cottage industry type nature of manufacturing these crude weapons , a bore size was never made standard ) and even were used successfully on female elephants ( two of the three elephants shot before my very eyes , were killed with such arms and bullets ) if the elephant was shot in the side of the head where it’s skull is thin at close distances. I have a picture of one such incident.
    However , from a philosophical point of view , a client pays thousands of dollars ( it used to be rupees in my case) to go on a safari which for many , is a once in whole life experience.Certainly frugality should be ignored in such a case and good ammunition should be sourced. Substandard ammunition would often turn an enjoyable shikar into a strenuous task. My most troublesome Shikars were when some American clients would come with a .3006 and cartridges with pointed bullets which were invariably purchased from surplus army stores in green containers. Those kinds of ammunitions with pointed heads were very cheaply acquired for the .3006 but they were horrible for hunting animals.
    I have cast many lead bullets for a magnum.22 rifle which l own and they see use on troublesome foxes and a few hares for the pot . But for serious hunting , l would opt for good ammunition unless you have extensive knowledge on metal alloys.
     

  18. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    Max,
    There was a post on this and other such forums in the past few months where the Garret bullets fired from Marlin lever action rifles shot through and killed several Cape Buff Buffalo and even a case or two where the shoot-through killed a second buff standing behind the target buff. Good shooting, bullets, and bullet placement works.
    I have no current information on the Buffalo bore bullet performance, but they do have a good reputation.

    I could have predicted the response of one of the above as it is always the same. This is one reason that I do not post actual loads in the clear but only through a PM or email. It avoids a lot of BS, confusion, and wasted time.
    I can tell you that before our African bullet tests, our 1886 45-70 fired on our Texas range shot a 430 grain Punch bullet through a 5/8 inch steel swinging plate and the NF 450 grain FPS almost made it through. Shooting was from 50 yards and both bullets left the muzzle at under 2000 fps. Those same loads used in Africa on ele frontal brain shots , shot through the brain, head, and far enough into the body that they had to be cut out; that was from 20 yards.. Apparently buff bones and ele heads are not as hard as a 5/8 in steel plate.

    I must add that all of the buff shot with high quality commercial cast lead bullets died. But, Post mortems did show those bullets lost weight, were distorted, did not travel straight through the animals and were not recommended for large dangerous game.
    All the premium jacketed, FMJ, and monolithic solids performed better than the cast. The .458 Punch bullet is brass with its hollow base filled with lead. Both it and the Alaska Bulletworks Kodiak FMJ performed well and their short length allows for more powder in a 45-70.
    Grizzly Cartridge sells 45-70 +P ammo loaded with 400 grain Punch bullets.

    The Nay Sayers will always say Nay - so if you feel you are on the tight track, stay on it and ignore them.

    My best hunting buddy had been killing Cape Buff in RSA for 15 years with his 1886 and sometimes after egging them on to charge. He knows rifles. bullets , and animals from many years of experience.
    He is joining me next week on a Texas Pronghorn hunt with his home made flint lock! I have done that with multiple un-scoped lever action rifles- one with a 1895 .405 WCF from 10 yards! It was not easy or simple, but it was hunting.

    I will respond to your PM with a PM to keep the Nay Sayers out of the conversation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
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  19. Max Simmons

    Max Simmons AH Member

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    I found a good discussion on The High Road handgun forum regarding the Buffalo Bore monometal DG round from May of this year. Some of those guys did some testing of the ammo at the "bovine bash" (I had no idea that was a thing) and reported outstanding results (those same fellows hunt Cape Buffalo with revolvers). The Buffalo Bore DG is so new that I haven't been able to find anything else yet in the way of field reports, and nothing at all on the .45-70 version (which is the only rifle caliber BB offers with that bullet).

    Garrett ammo was not mentioned, but the overwhelming consensus among the experienced was that the sharp-edged, wide-meplat monometal solids out-penetrated even the best hard-cast bullets due to their far better resistance to deformation, particularly at higher velocities.

    There also was one opinion that the added lead in the base of the Punch bullet did not improve its performance over a true monometal, but that seemed to be based on impression rather than testing.
     

  20. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    "My best hunting buddy had been killing Cape Buff in RSA for 15 years with his 1886 and sometimes after egging them on to charge."

    Huh- did I just read that right- another MS wanna be?

    Then there is the school of hunters (not nay sayers just fact sayers) who perhaps strive to use the very best tool available for the job and not a marginal one for the sole purpose of using a marginal one for the job... for braggin' rights of course or some other purpose.
     
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