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Discussion Starter #1
So here's the crash course .
*I decided that I should give a little something worthy back to the forum .

I bought a NOE Bullet mould designed specifically for the 6.8 SPCII. It is designated 279-124 FP . It is available as both a gas check and a plain base and can be had as a mixed mould in 2,3,4 or 5 cavities in brass or aluminum. I chose the 4 cavity gas check mould because I just don't work the 5 cavity mould in rifle cal well and it will still turn out a pile of bullets in short order .
The mould.****** $100.25
The time.********* $* 45.00
The. Lead.******* $* 22.00
The gas check $ 30.00
Total.**************** $197.25

The 2nd 1000 costs just $97 . I figured buying WW in ingots at a buck a lb and about 3 hr at take home . The mould includes shipping , sprue lube and correct wrenches for a 4 cavity aluminum mould correct for the 6.8 SPCII.

Another advantage of casting my own is that I get to decide how the bullet acts on impact it can fragment, pencil or 2x diameter. While variations of this may not be peak accuracy ,since we are hand loaders we can work around this some with powder selection and charge tweaks.
I find that with the heavier for cartridge boolits that with a well cast bullet can be pushed to* full velocities of jacketed .

Among the the generic items I use are a Lee lead pot , a tweaked soup spoon to ladle and a 50 cal can to catch bullets. I use recovered lead tamper seals to soften and add tin to improve mould fill out with the wheel weights aquired from assorted sources of free to $0.30 /lb from a recycler in Mena Ar and a local scrapper.

Cast bullets require a lube of some sort which doesn't act so much a lubricant as it does as a buffer to aid in trapping gas leaks and to provide a nonstick surface for the lead to ride on . I use a pretty simple lube made of 14oz of the cheapest petroleum jelly on the shelf ,18 oz of paraffin* (16 Oz of canning wax and 2 oz of black cherry Foo Foo candle from the living room and that candle warmer) ,with 3 tbsp of STP oil treatment.* I made it up in an empty short Foo Foo candle jar on the candle warmer . This lube has been run to 2500 fps and 55,000 psi . I hand smear it into the lube grooves because I haven't found the right price on a lube sizer and I have 6-7 Lee push through and custom sizers of the same type . The 1 used here delivers a finished bullet at .2785 (+-.002 my tools only go to .000) . My groove dia is .2765-8 . So a +.002 bullet is perfect as it will be a tight seal in the bore preventing gas leaks and therefore gas cutting caused leading. In a new bbl it is unlikely* to have pitting and other roughness to cause other leading problems.
There are 100 s of lube choices I just kept it simple and cheap.

Alloys can play a role in leading a bullet both too hard or to soft can be at fault . Too hard doesn't swell by that needed tiny amount of set back to seal the high pressure gas while too soft won't hold the gas pressure and allows the gas to push past the bullet. In both cases the bullet then irons the lead spray back on the bbl as it passes making the problem worse every shot.

Gas checks can help with the above and eliminate some of the problems.* Until the AR in 6.8 and 556 arrived I didn't* use any checks and launched 32 Rem plain base at 2200 fps which is faster than jacketed data for the 32 Winchester Special* (sisters you know). I had also launched 120s in a 264 WM at 2800 fps with paper patch and 200gr spire points at 1800 in an sks . I've had a little bit of practice and made mistakes directly related to most all of the above.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Ok well I have good pix but it's just not cooperating today .

Next up the new NOE mould . Mr Nelson recommends that his moulds be heat cycled 3 times to casting temperature and back to room temperature after a quick wash in hot water with Dawn . Personally I dot a little Dawn on the mould faces and then gently scrub with a spent tooth brush . I get all the cavities and the sprue plate face . This removes the residue machining oils . I set a timer and for 20 min and set the electric stove about half way between 3 and 4 on a small burner and put the mould sprue plate down on it at 20 min I turn it off and walk away for 30-45 min . With this 1 I had only time to cycle it once after dinner last night and while I'm writing this draft I have it doing the 2nd cycle . Make time where you can I guess.

These moulds like to run around at about 350 F degrees with pot temperature between 675 and 750 or so I'm told. I have a brand new pot thermometer to try out with the new mould , but I've gotten by without one for 6 yr and cast good bullets numbering into 10k plus so it isn't essential but handy as tools go and it my result in better bullets . As a note at this point different alloys will have different melt and pour temperatures but will be close to the above window . Tin will cool leads melt point while other additions will raise it temperatures over 800 degrees should be avoided.* This will allow zinc ww to melt in the smelt and can ruin a batch or at least have you mixing it to a dilution of less than 2% as far as I can tell from reading.*

A rough in of alloy . I use 75-25 WW -1-20* (1 lb tin per 20 lb lead =1-20 basically the tamper seals with the wire skimmed off) . These I water drop into the 50 cal can about 1/3 filled with water directly from the mould . This raises them to about an 18 Brinell hardness number but they will mushroom to 2x and keep 98% of start weight in other styles and calibers.* Leave the 1-20 out and air cool you'll get about 16 BHN but the expansion goes down without big flat nosed bullets or a lot more speed. Water dropped WW will hit 20-22 BHN but might as well be an FMJ . Lino and or type metal starts around 24 BHN and can be raised to around 34 with full heat or about 30-32 water dropped from the mould . These will all but powder on a hard target like steel but will readily shatter on a bone hit as well .
Alloy should be also compatible with the pressures of the expected load . My alloy choices happen to work with my pressures, why I'm not sure ,it may be some attribute from the seals ,copper maybe.

Getting you metal clean . This can be a challenge.* Wheel weights are still a pretty common source of metal but there are more and more zinc and steel weights . Steel is a non issue they sort out easy and look nothing like a WW and won't mess up your alloy . Poly seems to be some hitech\temp stuff like the matrix type shot gun shot. If it melts it floats and skims off like the clips . Zinc can cause problems but it melts at over 800 degrees so with a little care you can keep it out of the mix and not get it in it if you miss a few. Zinc is harder than lead and lighter.

A wooden stir stick and some plain old candle wax will get the junk out that gets trapped under the lead . Use the stick to scrape the pot walls and bottom . The wax will collect and break other dirt loose but it also allows oxides to be mixed back into the melt where they should be. All of the floating junk is junk . Throw it away ,preferably in a metal coffee can until cool rather than in a handy garbage can or the rag can we don't need any bond fires in the shop . The process is the same with flashing ,lead pipe,and range salvage etc. 1 advantage of range salvage is that you can sell the copper jackets for scrape copper or yellow brass and get a little cash back . The downer is that unless you sort it to at least jacketed, hard, soft and ML and slugs it's a crap shoot for hardness .
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is preferred to "smelt" and pour from separate pots but for several years I used 1 for both, just not at the same time.*
Batteries will be a great temptation, dont. Unless Uncle Bob has a barn full of rain washed tarpaper pre 1970s piled up. These might be ok with 15 lb of lead pipe per 100.

We'll if you've stuck it out this long odds are good that you've lost a day to the net . Another to yard and estate sales dropped by a recycler yard or 2 and possibly spent several hundred dollars to save all this money loading ammo with free bullets.
The kit of bare minimums.
A Walmart after the season turkey frier kit or a Colman stove (I can't get these hot enough at 4000 ft so take it at face value)
An otherwise ruined cast iron pot a small pot and a Dutch oven are nice but you can get a lot of metal in a qt pot . Steel pots work also but don't hold steady heat as well .
While not essential it is nice to have a hot plate of ol to warm the mould on and keep it warm when you're adding metal taking a breather etc.
A ladle I have used a soup spoon stuck to a piece of broom handle for all of my casting.* A ladle of correct type can be had for $20-100 but the spoon and broken handle were free and took me 10 min to assemble.*
1 ft or so of broken garden tool handle or wood closet rod, a fat broom stick works too . Even in gloves its hot work and your sprue will be hard to open a gentle whack well aligned will open it right up.
A catch bucket and towel.
Sizing may or may not be needed . You will need sizers to feed your AR. I have a custom from a guy called* Buckshot on Castboolits.gunloads.com that is just over .278 . The sizer is needed to lock on the gas check I use Hornady checks ,it is my understanding that they make them all. I got 4000 checks in 2 cal for about $105 from Titian reloading.* They are a Lee distributor and have some of the best prices around . Lee is now making a 270 130 bullet but it appears to be for the longer necked 270 Winchester.* They do not show a 277,8 or 9 sizer at this time . For the bolt guys if it fits in the chamber you can shoot cast without sizing or a check in reduced loads up to around 1700 fps.
For a push through Lee style sizer from Buckshot you're facing about $31 ,25 for the sizer $6 shipping.* He will put up to 8 in a small flat rate box so more saving by buying more sizers, still just $6 shipping.* He doesn't do standard available sizes .
The mould .
This comes with challenges to for the 6.8 ,there just aren't many 277 moulds out there and fewer yet for the short necks . There are custom makers that will make anything you want and of course deep seating is an option but there is the risk of a lost check that way . A Lee mould is $25 plus shipping for a 2c some rifle cal are available in 6C and run about $56 . There are a dozen or so other makers of good reputation.* As far as cost goes NOE in Ogden UT is next I think of them like Craftsman tools . Of course you can spend much more ,but that's your call. NOE is probably the best buy for a 6.8 specific mould now. (I've been wrong before not scared of it happening again).

This little bit of stuff will get you started on the cheap . (Cost effective anyway)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So you've got metal ,new certified or salvaged and a way to clean it up.
You have a way to melt it with temperature control.
You have a way to get it out of the melting pot and into a mould .
You have a mould that should fit in your rifle .
You have a sizer or simple die to apply gas checks .
You have some bullet lube.

Let's get that mould warmed up while we wait on the melt pot to reach about 750 degrees.* This is where the hot plate comes in . A piece of 3/16 flat stock will help in making even heat to get the mould hot . Just set the temperature about half way up on the yard sale hot plate with the flat stock on the burner and set the mould on it ,prop the handles as needed to get it flat if it tips.* My electric pots take 20-25 minutes to get up to pouring temperature.* So the mould has plenty of time to ease up to its ideal temperature also .
You won't get good bullets right out of the chute not gonna happen.*
Turn your mould over sprue plate down and stick the plate into the melt for 30 seconds or so now rest it on the pot and warm your ladle about 10 -15 seconds . Now dip up a a bowl and pour it in if you opted for a 2c pour both holes in any order leaving a large puddle of lead on the sprue plate, set your ladle on your pot edge , you will see the puddle go from shiny to set to dull , at dull grab the wood round stock and give the sprue plate a GENTLE whack , drop your sprue puddle (now the sprue) in to a catcher or back to the pot open the mould drop your new bullets on a towel tripled or quaded or into the water bucket , close the mould and sprue plate refill without the reheats. It should take a 5-10 seconds for the sprue (sp roo) to get dull some moulds are faster some slower . I get 3-4 pours per minute with the 4c and 6 c moulds and 5 ish with the 2c .
If you have wrinkles, drips etc* the mould is too cold , if your sure about the temperature add tin from lead free solder . Rounded bases suggest a cold sprue ,poor venting or more tin needed .

Culling the defects.* Cast bullets can deliver match accuracy well beyond 1000 yd ,that's also well beyond my skill set and rifles , so I will leave this at 200yd deer slayers.
You need to see smooth surfaces and corners as sharp as your mould at the bands, lube grooves, nose and base . The base is probably the most important part to have right even though it will get covered and reformed . Is it frosty? That's OK ,your mould got a little bit hotter than prime no harm here .
It's time for checks and sizing. I'm new to checks but they should snap over the base , think detent not Tupperware here . With the push through sizers the ideal is nose 1st and a square base but sometimes you have a pusher that is undersized and it allows a lip which is bad for accuracy.* I cheat on sizers that do this and just size and seat the check base 1st or make a new pusher. Your bullets need to be lubed before sizing to prevent leading in the sizer.

If you water cooled your new bullets move on to loading in about 48 hrs. If air cooled you should give them 2 weeks . This gives the alloy time to harden to its full "cure" .
In the 6.8 I'm finding that I can load the heavies (140 gr anyway) to full throttle jacketed data . Generally speaking a slow for cartridge powder is called for but I have been having good results with 10x in the 6.8 with 140s and 4198 in 556 with 65s .

Gas checks aren't a cure if you get bbl leading. Leading at the breach suggests a bullet is too small ,leading at the muzzle suggests a lube failure.* In rare cases you will have a bbl that tapers from muzzle to breach , they can be fixed but that is a whole new thread . Gas ports can also cause muzzle leading if the port is more than about 30% percent in to a square land. At 50% plus it is guaranteed to not work well as the port will cut the bullet and can disrupt the gas check .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Some other notes that have come to mind as I wrote this up over a couple of evenings ,checking notes etc.

1 of many reasons for using heavy for caliber or cartridge cast is that generally* (in rifles ) they are shorter . The nose must be less tapered so as to keep its shape during acceleration 0 to 1300 mph in 16" is faster than everything with wings ,wheels and most fins .* With a bullet like the NOE we can use almost all of the mag length and gain case space . We also sacrifice BC my old books show 120-140 gr jackets well into the mid and upper .400 s while the 140 gr RCBS gets only .286 and the NOE at 129 gr from my mould and alloy gas checked and lubed has a drawing value at .268 BC.

Funny thing happened with the dummy round . It was seated out to 2.290 to leave a little wiggle room in the AR Stoner mags as 1 of the 3 has a catch about 12 rounds down at 2.3 . With the bolt drop for the feed check the bullet has actually jumped forward to 2.3 which suggests that it is now on the lands . In actual loading I don't forsee this happening as the case was manipulated a couple of times to set depth and there is no check on the dummy bullet .

Also I had about a 50% reject rate on the 2nd run of the mould . The 1st run of about 15 pours was much worse . I adopted a couple of new things on this particular session that contributed to the new mould introduction.*
1 the thermometer for the pot I found that I've been running about 50 degrees to hot .
2 the thermometer I used it on the mould for gee wiz and found it was not as hot as I'd thought it should be . As a qualifier the pack rats seem to have misplaced the brass 3/8 plate I have for the hot plate . I made do with a 2x8x 1/4 hunk of steel plate to replace the 4x6 x 3/8 brass. A brand new out of the box mould rarely says "that's the ticket ,yeah just like that" it's usually more like "meh that's OK but it'd be better if you poured 3 the other way , 1 this way and swirl #1 ...... and if ya wanna keep it good you'd better keep me out of the draft and on the edge of the pot between pours ...... I don't care that the sister mould likes it poured all 1 way ,I'm just not playing that...." . Oh yeah and I'm gonna need that extra ounce of tin per 10# bowl . Mitch mitch mitch.....there is no making them ....... um yeah .....um......quirks of the individual mould.

Loads ...
No cast data from reliable know sources so I'll run with what I have, and have on hand .
10x has been good to me so far so I'll start at 22.5 and work up until I get bullet failure, 1 hole or the numbers for the 1k ftlb @100 less than 2".
4198 is on hand also I didn't do much with this in other trials as it hasn't been available.*
 

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Thanks for posting this Harter, have been curious about casting for the 6.8. I have never casted bullets before and in the process of learning all I can. Keep us posted.
 

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I have the pb version of that mold, casts about 126gr. If the point is cheap plinker said, a gc only adds cost IF you can get acceptable accuracy with a pb. I got to the range a couple weeks ago & tried hi-tek & powder coated versions with just two powders & one charge each. The hi-tek versions were a disaster running 2000fps, not even hitting paper at 50yds. The PC version shows promise printing nice rd 3shot group into 1 1/2".
i am using range scrap, water dropped, comes in about 18bhn. So I think tweaking the alloy to get it to Lino range of 24bhn, may yield tighter groups. It should make a decent 100-150yd plinking bullet, even using Lino at $2/#, less than 5c each.:a08:
some casting loading notes:
i am using a Lee bottom pour with pid controller, cast right at 700deg. I water drop into a 2gal bucket full of iced water. They are then PC with HF red, baked for 15min & then sized 0.279" the following day. If I can get them into 2" @ 100, I may send the mold off to Erik @ hpms to hp 1cav. I'll try exp testing before that, but I am not expecting much from a solid bullet over 20bhn. Just really looking for cheaper practice bullets. Trying to get my dil up to 100yd hunting speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I intend to run this for an all purpose bullet . I had good success with an RCBS 140 but ran out of case space before I hit the numbers. This 1 will give back the space I need . The AR makes the checks necessary, I did a lot of work with an sks a few yr ago and had lead gas issues. The bolt gun I worked was a 7x6.8 mildcat I had no trouble making the numbers and groups with it.
 

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I intend to run this for an all purpose bullet . I had good success with an RCBS 140 but ran out of case space before I hit the numbers. This 1 will give back the space I need . The AR makes the checks necessary, I did a lot of work with an sks a few yr ago and had lead gas issues. The bolt gun I worked was a 7x6.8 mildcat I had no trouble making the numbers and groups with it.
With PC @ 2000fps, I am not getting any leading in my ar. Flat shooting enough for 200yd shooting, functions 100%, soft recoil. I had no interest trying to run conventional lubed lead in my ar.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have gotten 2200 with the 140s but I encountered an event that is sumed up as retarded ejection. Basically the bullet cleared the mid length gas port before the pressure was down far enough for the case to release in the chamber . It is a new rifle so I may be able ti revisit this load later as it all works in .
 

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Thanks for the write up. I was just introduced to casting by a coworker and definitely interested in casting for the 6.8. I found that I can make very accurate .45 ammo at about 7-8 cents per round. Slowly acquiring the stuff I need to cast and pc. So far all I have is about 100lbs of lead, some hf red, propane burner for pigging and a toaster oven. Next I am going to get the lee 20lb bottom pour pot. I found this very helpful as my coworker is new to casting as well.
 

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I have gotten 2200 with the 140s but I encountered an event that is sumed up as retarded ejection. Basically the bullet cleared the mid length gas port before the pressure was down far enough for the case to release in the chamber . It is a new rifle so I may be able ti revisit this load later as it all works in .
Mine is also a mid length. I tried lt32 & imr 4198, both functioned fine in my limited test of 12rds.
 

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Harter...

Sent you a PM...

But, I don't know if they are sending or not...

Some other ones I have tried to send in the past did not show up in my "sent" box...

Let me know...

Thanks...BCB
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I got out this morning for some much needed recoil therapy.

My results were somewhat mixed.
By the end there was enough data to determine a cause.
1 brass FC, 1 primer CCI SRP, 3 powders, 1 bullet NOE 279-124 RNFP.

10x
21.0. error 2 no readings
21.5. 2048. 2020. 1958
22.0. 2060. 2082. 2088
22.5. 2104. 2057. 2086
3-4 eye inches

H4198
20.0. 1905 1937. 1932
20.5. 1951. 1995. 1983
21.0. 2009. 2026. 1990 these 5 3". Plus 2 @20.5

H322
23.0. 1959 2045. 2050. 2 touching
23.5. 1973. 2090. 2095 2 under an inch
24.0. 2077. 2103. 2049

There are 2 possibilities for having such-and-such wide swing in this set and the last,
A. I have another very touchy case sensitive rifle or,
B. The SRP is that different from the #41.

All the brass would have ejected into a 15 gal wash tub with 20 of the 30 in a 5gallon bucket.
10x has a book Max of 25.5 with a Speer 130 SP. It showed some flattening of the primer but they still have round shoulders.
Hogdon only lists data for 4198 and 322 up to 115 gr bullets so these 2 are no man's land for data here. 4198 is slow/low pressure enough to be able to sneak up on it. There is a link above to a spread sheet from a reloading program that gave me a guide to go by. It also is held to 42kpsi for the SAMMI chamber. These showed no hint of high pressures ejecting at 2:00 and locking open on the empty mag. Where the velocity is close the hits were very close but the low or high went wide. All 30 rounds did manage to stay inside 9" at 100 m.

These 30 will get decapped, annealed, 80% sized and weigh lotted. Then the lots will move on up with 4198 and 322.
 

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Harter…

I am getting a few fps less than 2000 fps with the 21.0 grains of 10x. Your velocities seem to be much better than mine as I am shooting from a T/C Carbine 23” barrel. Probably because your O.C.L. is less than mine which probably prompts higher pressure and more velocity with a given charge. I am shooting an O.C.L. of 2.360”+. I could go longer, but the crimp then falls into a lube groove—so I stayed in front of the lube groove as going behind it jammed the boolit into the rifling…

A load of XMP-5744 gave me nearly 2200 fps. This load doesn’t exist anyplace that I can find so I won’t post it. I did get the numbers from QuickLoad before I put the recipe in a SSA case and dropped hammer. Accuracy was fair, but not as good as the 10x load…

I have tried TiteGroup, Trail Boss, 4198, 4895, 322, and a crazy move—WC-860! Again, all loads were developed using QuickLoad so none are posted here either…

The 21.0 grains of 10x is by far the most accurate. Today I put 5 into 2.3” at 150 yards. With the holdovers on the Burris ‘scope (4.5x-14x), I can consistently hit a groundhog-sized steel (actually a steel groundhog silhouette) at 250 yards. Also interesting about this is the fact that the accuracy at closer distances is not proportionally as good. But, I have seen this before and this is not uncommon if one has shot dozens of groups at various ranges with a given recipe. Reckon sometimes it takes some distance for bullets/boolits to stabilize—although that might not be the correct terminology…

I want to shoot this boolit “as cast” but the Hornady seating die sizes the boolit down as it is moved against the seating stem. A lousy design by Hornady, or a die that they figured would never see cast boolits? I actually think accuracy might get a bit better with an “as cast” boolit. Only the check is sized to hold it in place by using a small attachment, made by Lyman, placed into the LAM2 that limits the depth the boolit is pushed into the sizing die…

Regardless, I now have that mold as I received it the other day and I am now waiting on some handles. Should be casting a few next week. Although, I don’t know if I will mess with other powders or not as the 10x has been pretty acceptable…

I am also looking forward to using the 279-124-FP in a Model 700 in 270 Winchester cartridge. The rifle has shot nothing but cast—well, maybe if they test fired it once at the factory with jacketed. This bolt gun will put ten 280642’s in 1.25”+ at 100 yards on a good day. On a bad day, it will keep them in about 1.5”…

Good-luck…BCB
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I did shoot some more however I had an accuracy failure. Groups went from those above to dismal.

I began a search for a cause as the start loads were not what these were and were reduced to .3gr steps . The usual suspects of sizing ,lube and alloy could be ruled out of the starting loads . It was suggested that the gas tube could be causing a bbl load . In checking that out it was found that the gas tub was loading against the action and the hand guard heat shield . I chose to immediately throw money at the problem until it went away . This got me a new free float fore end , low pro gas block ,multi tool and a new gas tube . Some time after the cussing about the taper pins in the A2 sight and the bbl blocks slipping just short of the bbl nut coming loose the 3rd time I pulled the flash hider off to find a crown that looked like it had been blasted with 40 grit. There was lead impacted fully throughout the gap between the FH and muzzle. What I need now is a thread protector that will not cover the crown or to relieve the step at the end of the threads. I may choose to drill to almost thread dia then taper ream the FH to thread dia. This should fix the gasified (probably antimony) lead sticking to the muzzle crown.

With the rifle reassembled and the new fore end, gas block and tube on and of course the muzzle cleaned up groups with 120SST and Sierra 130 Game Kings were restored to the 1.6 or less of the original zero round count break in shooting.

More testing is in order as soon as Bambi is in the freezer .
I have found a window where the loads settle down . I revisited my Strelok with changed numbers and have found that 2190 fps will give me my minimum [email protected] with both cast bullets. That load level will also work with both the SGK and SST.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yes . Always the 1st step to confirm leade and groove .

I haven't had time to shoot the last few weeks .

I have an associate that has offered to correct the ID of the muzzle device as to discourage the crown/muzzle fouling .

I also have another sizer die to try . It is possible that the .278+ is just not enough in the .277- groove the new sizer is. 280 ,the bullets as cast are .279+ so the die is essentially only sizing the gas check. I do still have another bag of tricks but that is another thread .
 
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