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Thread: new Ruger american 30-06

  1. #1
    GunLoad Trainee
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    mt. pleasant iowa

    Default new Ruger american 30-06

    my first post. I've been reloading for 20 years and only casting for pistols for 10 years, never rifle bullets. so I buy Lee's 200 gr. mold in .309. now my friends tell me I should have bought a bigger bullet mold. this rifle is brand new, why do I have to cast bigger bullets?

  2. #2
    Spam Hammer fryboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    middle of america


    in general cast boolits ( boolits are cast , bullets are those copper condomed things that we buy in the boxes ) need to be at a minimum or larger than actual bore size , please note - not what they say the bore size is ( which works fine for bullets ) but actual slugged and measured bore size , a too small of one will lead the bore , again in general most folks size their castings either .001 or .002 over bore size , in the world of shooting boolits fit is king , various other things like lube , alloy strength and pressure all come into play but if the casting is too small you'll usually have bad results
    you may or may not need a larger mold , actual size varies and can be somewhat manipulated and if needed the mold it's self can be lapped a wee bit bigger easy enough , most of the easy manipulation is done with alloy , all other things being equal more lead makes it smaller ( and heavier ) more tin and antimony ( within reason ) makes them larger , the alloy it's self needs to be hard enough to withstand whatever desired pressure you want to load them too , personally i think you picked a good weight of mold to try and one economical enough to learn the basics with
    having stated all that and being a poor typer allow me to leave a couple links to further your education , the first is to lasc ( los angeles shooting club ) the info there is simply amazing and perhaps best in small doses at your own pace , i especially recommend " from ingot to target" by glen fryxell but please note their home page ( second link ) has many sublinks that are very worthy

    the next link is to our sister site "cast boolits" but to be fair the cast bullet assoc. is also inhabited by some very knowledgeable folks , cast boolits has an amazing wealth of people and knowledge ( and alot better typers than i [doh] )

    all that aside thanks for joining and if you have more questions after a bit of reading please sound off

  3. #3
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    New Hampshire


    What you were told can be true in general, but there is no reason to assume it will be true in your specific case.

    As I'm sure you've already noticed with handgun moulds, just like barrels, what the manufacturers tell you the size is may or may not reflect reality. If the mould dropped at exactly .309, it would be too small for optimum accuracy in most .30cal barrels, but the actual size of the bullets they drop can vary. Usually they drop a bit bigger, but sometimes you do get one that does drop too small and if so you can send it back to Lee (call them first) for a replacement. Cast rifle bullets need to be between .001-.003" over groove diameter. Just how big depends on the individual barrel, and .001 can make the difference between a nice tight group and a disappointing one, so most experienced casters have a range of sizers for each nominal caliber. I use a push-through .310 for most of my .30's (that I made up custom on my lathe), but I have individual rifles that prefer them a bit smaller or larger, too. FWIW, that is a decent design you chose for target work, on a par with the Lyman .311291.

    Since Lee doesn't make a .310 sizer, (I'm assuming you are starting with a push-through, tumble lube system) do order the .311. Bigger is always better than smaller. The .308 & .309 they sell are pretty much useless as is, (if you have a Swiss K31 with their really tight bores you can get away with the .309) but with a drill, slotted dowel, emery cloth, and some 0000 steel wool to polish it they can be opened up one or two thousandths if you've already bought one.

    All barrels, .30's included, can vary in their bore and groove diameters by quite a bit, that's why you should consider slugging yours as it will take the guess work out of choosing a sizer for it.

    Moulds can vary quite a bit too, even from the same manufacturer, and by experimenting with alloys you can also adjust the actual drop size of your bullets.

    You do need a micrometer to accurately measure barrel slugs and bullets - a dial or electronic caliper is just not up to it - even if it has a four decimal place readout it is only accurate to .001 +/- .0005. Or you can do it by trial and error, but that can take a lot more time and components before you find what the barrel likes best.

    In addition to the excellent suggestions in the post above, the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook is an excellent source of loading data for beginning rifle casters. Since you're already into casting handgun bullets you probably have a copy already. If not, you should. Castpics is another good source of information:

    Don't hesitate to ask if you have additional questions. Cast rifle bullets have their own rules and what is tried and tested for jacketed bullets does not always hold true with cast. I've been casting both handgun and rifle bullets for around thirty years. I started out with the Lee "soupcan" (C309-113F), one of the most versatile .30cal bullets ever designed, and now have more than a dozen different .30cal moulds from 90-200+gr. Casting's addicting, but you already know that. Let us know how things work out.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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