Casting for 7x57

  • Last Post 23 December 2009
BigDaddie posted this 04 October 2009

Hi All,


first post here....I'm a bit of a rookie. I have built a 7x57 sporter that I would like to shoot cast in. The bore is .285” ina lothar walther barrel.

The questions are:

what mould to use? will a 285 mould with #2 alloy work assuming with a little more antimony in there, it casts at 286 or so?

How does one lube this bullet at 286 thru a lubrisizer given that I cant sem to find a die to suit? I'd rather use the lubrisizer if possible.


Thanks in advance

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KenK posted this 04 October 2009

I would purchase and try a .285 die first.  It's not too hard to polish them out a little bigger if necessary.

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BigDaddie posted this 04 October 2009

Thanks Ken.

Could u do that using 1200grit wet dry paper and oil on a mandrel with the drill??

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KenK posted this 04 October 2009

A split mandrel and emery cloth is the easiest way to do it but I think 1200 grit is way too fine.  I would start with 400 or so.

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runfiverun posted this 04 October 2009

you can do it rolling it forth on your leg with a lee sizer. peg with a slot wet dry paper wrapped around it oil and roll. i am not familiar with what sizes the lee ,lyman etc sells. but i do know that on the cast boolits site you can contact buckskot over there and he will open them up.. the rcbs 145 silhouette should fit your rifle pretty well.

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Bob S posted this 05 October 2009

If you're lazy like me, you can get Lee to make whatever size you would like.  It used to be $25, but may be more than that now.  I have a substantial collection of “custom” Lee push-through's.  They work well with jacketed bullets as well, if you use a little Imperial Sizing Wax before pushing them through.  They come in very handy “tuning” jacketed bullets to fit the .309+ groove diameters of a few of my 03A3's.


7x57 is one cartridge that I have not worked with much, but I have all the “stuff', including two Chileans and one Brazilian with beautiful, but slightly oversized bores (.287+).  I will be interested to read others' experieinces with the cartridge in military rifles here.



Bob S.

USN Distinguished Marksman No. O-067 

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runfiverun posted this 05 October 2009

try 24-25 grs 4895 or 19t021 grs 2400. bout the best i've tried yet. if you got a bunch of old 4831 around 36 grs shoots very nicely to 50 yds it's barely stabilized but dang accurate.

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BigDaddie posted this 08 October 2009

Thanks for the hints fellas. I thing using the sizing punch as a mandrel is a great idea when honing out that die!

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Dicko posted this 07 November 2009

Hi Big Daddie,

You can't be a rookie if you can build rifles !   First see my reply to Mogwar (bullet mold diameter) which covers some of the ground you mention.   Nominal groove dia of the 7 x 57 is 284.   Most die makers make standard and one thou over, ie 284 and 285 for the 7mm.   That's why you can't get 286 off the shelf.    Some rifles shoot as well or better with a groove dia bullet, so before you do anything else test some sized 285 and see what results you get.

If no good, then consider a 286 die.   KenK is tight, they are not difficult to polish out if you don't want to pay for a custom die.   But you can't use the punch as a mandrel.   It is too tight and will not run into the die with abrasive paper wrapped round it.

I have polished a few dies to bigger dia and made a few from scratch.   The grade of abrasive you need depends on how much metal you want to remove.   This is a whole topic of its own but briefly, 320 or 400 grit will leave too rough a surface and will need finishing with finer paper up to at least 1000 and preferably 1500 grit.   That's OK if you need to take off two or three thousandths, because polishing that much with 1000 grit will take forever, so you use coarser grit for faster stock removal in the early stages.

But you need to polish only one thousandth.  That's half a thou all round.   Your big risk is polishing too much.   Start with 1000 and finish with 1500.  

But before you start polishing you need a means of measuring the bore.   Best to make a plug gauge with two diameters, 2855 and 286.   The 2855 is to tell you when you are getting close.

Clamp your electric drill in the vise.   Cut a three inch length of quarter inch wood dowel and chuck in the drill.   Cut a one inch wide strip of 1000 paper, attach to the dowel with masking tape, turn the paper round the dowel and cut of bit by bit until it is an easy push fit into the dies bore.   Or to be more precise, till the die can be pushed  on to the mandrel.

Keeping a firm grip on the die, start the drill and work the die back and forth along the rotating mandrel.   This takes some judgement because of the risk of getting taper or ovality or both.   You can only judge that by feel and by ensuring that no part of the die gets heavier treatment than the rest.  

Don't do this longer than one minute at a time.   After each rotational treatment, switch off the drill and run the die back and forth on the mandrel longitudinally without rotation.   That is to cut in the opposite direction.   It also provides a good feel as to even cutting.   That's why the mandrel must be a tightish fit, then a loose spot in the die will be felt.   After each rotation plus straight polish clean out the die and test the dia.   Continue until the plug gauge feels as if it will enter but not quite.    Then finish with a single application of the 1500 grit.

It would be ideal if the bottom punch could be made first and serve as the plug gauge, but I found that it is near impossible to polish the die so close as to achieve that.   I found it much easier to make the bottom punch afterwards.   That's because it is much easier to make a male fit a previously made female than the other way round.  

Like I said, I have enlarged factory dies and made new dies this way but you have to be very careful because of the accuracy required.   But absolute precision is not necessary.   Whether the resulting die is exactly 286 or 2858 or 2862 will make no practical difference. 










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Dicko posted this 07 November 2009

Forgot to mention in respect of rifle bullets that Lyman #2 alloy is too expensive and too soft.   It is 5% tin 5% antimony but is no harder than 2%tin 6% antimony that is the industry standard for handgun bullets.   Tin is very expensive so why use 5% of it when it does no good.

You need harder alloy for rifles.   Linotype ( 4% tin 12% antimony ) works well if you can find any.   But why struggle when you can easily blend your own.   Add 12% antimony by weight to pure lead.   Or by all means use scrap.   Scrap can typically be expected to contain 1% antimony but virtually no tin.   But it depends what it is.   Old roof sheet was usually pure lead but some was made with a good bit of antimony in it.

Tin ?   You don't really need tin.   I don't use it.   But if you feel uncomfortable dispensing with it, 2% is more than enough. 

A 7mm mould will usually drop a bullet about 287.  Might be slightly bigger but unlikely to be as small as 286.   So there should be no trouble sizing in a 286 die.    If there is a problem I can only say you will have been unlucky to have gotten a die so small.   


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Dicko posted this 07 November 2009

Gee, I'm getting careless.   Shoulda said “mould so small” not “die so small."

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billwnr posted this 07 November 2009

run a bullet thru your .284 die first and mike it.

Just because it's marked .284 doesn't mean it is. I have 2 .310 dies that finish bullets at .3104 and .3107. I'd expect the .284 dies “perform” similarly.

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Vassal posted this 07 November 2009

Great tips! I need a .402 die for relaoding 40SW. I'll have to polish a lee, and use the techniques suggested here.


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Dicko posted this 08 November 2009

Why d'you need 402 die for 40S&W ?    Oversize bore ?    Forgot to mention in my remarks about 7 x 57 that a quarter inch dowel might be a bit big with paper wrapped round it.    Another method of attaching the abrasive is to cut a thin longitudinal slot down the dowel, needs a thin saw blade.  Then a suitably sized rectangle of paper can be slotted in and bent so it wraps around the dowel.

Your mention of 402 makes me think of something else about oversized bores.   I'm not the first to mention it.   A combination of oversize bullet, max thickness of brass plus tight chamber can cause chambering difficulties.   Some people think the 40S&W is a straight case.  It isn't, it tapers though only slightly.   A few years back I loaded some for a buddy using a Lee four die set, the fourth die being factory crimp.

There was no problem until I noticed that the seating die put on a nice taper crimp so I figured I could dispense with the factory crimp die.   But to my surprise every fifth round or so failed to chamber fully.   They chambered about one eight inch short of full chambering, which is typical of an oversize mouth in a tapered chamber like the 9mmP.

So I miked some.   My memory is a bit thin so long after, but as I recall max cartridge mouth is 423.   The offending cartridges miked 4235.   Ordinarily that wouldn't be a problem because minimum chamber is at least two thou bigger than max cartridge.   To be certain I tried a whole bunch of loaded rounds innthe barrel separated from the gun.   No question, one in five was too big.   So the chamber was not only tight, it was below minimum.   It was Para Ordnance but that is not a criticism of Para Ordnance, it could happen with any make.

So why was there no problem with the rounds finished with the fourth die ?   I miked those too.   None was bigger than 4225.    To be sure, they were chambering in that tight only just, but at least they were reliable.    But I'd be careful relying on that gun for serious social intercourse.   I wouldn't carry it as a defense piece unless I had first shucked every round through it.













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Vassal posted this 08 November 2009

I don't want to hijack a thread but,,,,,, I shoot a carbine and a handgun in 40sw. The carbine has a tight throat (I believe 402) such that unsized (180gr) tumble lube SWC have pulled from the case when manually operating the bolt. They fire fine but if I have to remove a chambered round it may leave the bullet. NO GOOD in a gun which I wish to use for protection in certain situations. I measured the one bullet that got stuck and the (VERY very thin) portion that was marred by contact with the throat was 402. Thus 402 fills the throat - does not pull - and shoots accurately.

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shastaboat posted this 16 November 2009

Big Daddy,

I used to shoot a lot of cast years ago and decided to do so again this last spring.  I was working with both a 7 x 57 Chilian Mauser I built years ago and a 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser I built about a year ago.  I purchased a new Lee 7mm mold from an Ebay supplier and borrowed a Lyman mold 266469 for the Swede .  The Lee mold was definately oversized and after sending it back to Lee, they sent me a new mold.  This one was also oversized as neither 7mm molds would alow hand seating a gas check.  I resorted to pounding them on with a mallet.   I contacted Lee Precission again and they determined that both 7mm molds were defective and oversized.  They made a new run of their molds and verified that the new mold base diameter would alow a hand seated gas check before crimping in a sizer/luber.  They sent me the third mold free of charge and I still also have the second mold.  Obviously group diameter shrank with the correct mold.  About 4.5 inches to 1.5 inches at 100 yards.   2200 fps.  Them most important thing I did was to measure the length of throat and seated the 7 mm to just touch the lands.  I had forgotten about this critical step.Now the 6.5 was not grouping under 12” and was yawing the above bullet and basically shooting alll over the map.  I tried to get velocity of over 2000 fps in a 18” barrel and finally was able to get the rifle to group at 1400 fps wiith the 266469.  What was causing me the most trouble was sizing the long 6.5 bullet was causing it to bend and yawing on target.  I surmised that a shorter bullet of a Lovgrin style, Lyman 266455 would fix the problem.  Yes and no!  Since it was no longer offered by Lyman I had to purchase a used mold and found one at a reasonable price from Erik at  When I first loaded that bullet groups shrank because I was no longer bending the shorter bullet but was at least on paper at 6".  I finally did a chamber cast and determined the long throat on the 6.5 determined I had to seat this bullet out to only about 1/8” in the case neck to just kiss the lands.  Shazamm...the groups shank to .75” at 100 yards but I was only able to shoot them at 1700 fps.  All chronographed velocities.  I am shooting a bullet mix of 7ww and 3 Lt.  I should be able to shoot with straight wheel weight on both rifles if I harden the bullets.

The lesson here is to first chamber cast you rifle or at least seat a jacketed bullet in an empty case backwards to determine throat length, then load your cast bullets so they just engrave into the rifleing without pulling a cast bullet when you extract a loaded round.  Make up your dummy rounds and test.  Accuracy will generally be a given and can then improve with load development.

Have fun and email me with your results at [email protected]

Brent Johnson

Because I said so!

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Dicko posted this 14 December 2009

This rings a lot of bells with me.   Sometimes you get lucky with cast bullets but most times they need some work.   But I would add two things.   First, I have also encountered bullet bases on which the gas checks could not be fitted by hand.   But I have had some that seemed OK but on very close inspection were slightly skew.   The solution is a gas check seater.   I made a little disc that sits on top of the die a close fit inside the retaining nut.   There is no guarantee that it is dead centre with the ram but it is closer than anything we can do short of making a tool like the Sinclair bench rest bullet seater.   It has a shallow recess just big enough to take the gas check.   The gas check is seated by hand as good as can be done.  Then it is stood in the seater, the top punch lowered on to the bullet nose and some pressure applied.   It works beautifully and the gas checks are seated dead square as far as I can tell.   The bullets are then lubed normally.

The second point is about seating in full rifling engagement.   It sure does improve accuracy but be aware that it increases pressure considerably load for load.   Ordinarily cast rifle loads are light so pressures are not a risk factor but it is worth bearing in mind.   This week I chronographed some cast loads.   It was a 180 grain bullet in 308 Win calibre in front of a powder similar to 3031.   I got 100 FPS more than I got with a 170 grain cast bullet, load for load.   The difference was that the 180 grain bullet was longer and had to be seated to rifling engagement to prevent the bottom lube groove being in the powder space.   And the primers were showing early signs of pressure.   Admittedly these were practically service loads because I wanted to see what the practical max was for cast bullets.   39 grains of powder produced 2400 FPS.   That is hardly a light load, but just watch it out there. 






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Dicko posted this 14 December 2009

Since I posted my earlier comments I have cast some 7mm bullets from an RCBS 145 grain silhouette mould for a friend for use in a T/C Contender in 7mm TCU.   Best group 0.80 inch at 100 yards.   He reckons it will do better with some more development.    I reckon there's an element of serendipity, because such good results don't usually come so fast, but sometimes it just works out right. 

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Fred Sinclair posted this 14 December 2009

Dicko wrote:   The solution is a gas check seater.   I made a little disc that sits on top of the die a close fit inside the retaining nut.   There is no guarantee that it is dead centre with the ram but it is closer than anything we can do short of making a tool like the Sinclair bench rest bullet seater.   It has a shallow recess just big enough to take the gas check.   The gas check is seated by hand as good as can be done.  Then it is stood in the seater, the top punch lowered on to the bullet nose and some pressure applied.   It works beautifully and the gas checks are seated dead square as far as I can tell.   The bullets are then lubed normally.





   Dicko, I use a gadget just as you describe and it was made by the late Don Eagan. I have only a 30 caliber and would like to find a 22 caliber. This little tool is simple to make, if you have a lathe. Does anyone here know of someone who makes them? Don couldn't have been the only person.

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billwnr posted this 14 December 2009

I use one of the little round magnets used to hold notices up on white boards. It's about the top of my Lyman lubericator and I just push the bullet down on that (with the nose punch) to seat the gas check.

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Von Gruff posted this 14 December 2009

I have been playing with cast in my 7x57 for some time now and have experiences that may be of interest to some.

I use the Lyman 287641 160gr GC Silh mould for my MAB barrelled custom 1908 DWM

I cast in lino although have just started soft nosing the bullet for meat hunting but hope to use the same load and get the same accuracy/velocity results as at present, where 39gn ADI2209 (H4350) gives me 2415fps and 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 in at 100 yds

I have a Lee push through sizer that I lapped to .2855 and start by seating GC in a seperate operation. I took a piece of aluminium tube and re-drilled it to  just except the nose protion of the bullet and opened up the other end to slide over the stem of the Lee push through set. I had a standard 7/8 bolt shortened and end squared so it would act as a blank die and with the bullet nose in the aluminium tube and the GC on top a gentle tap up against the bolt sets it nice and square. The bullets are all run through then the bolt is removed, the aluminiun tube taken off the stem, then the bullets are run through the Lee die for a perfectly seated GC and only .0005 sizing of the drive bands.  It was because I needed such minimal sizing, that there was not enough resistence to always seat the GC square or consistent in depth onto the shank.

I have a further complication in that my bore is .0005 smaller than the dia of the"'bore riding' nose section of the bullet. I took an unused 357 lubrisizer die and had the top turned out to except Wilson /Redding neck sizer buttons, shortened the die by just enough to allow a thin washer ot top to hold the apropriate  'button'  in place and turned the stem to enter the button. This allows me to size the front portion of the nose just far enough ( I use a hardwood block against the stem to set depth)  to create positive engagement when loaded to correct OAL ( with consideration to GC neck/shoulder junction) without de-bulleting if a loaded round is ejected.  I dip lube the drive bands in a 75/25 Bees wax/vasiline lube and set them on a tray to set after which I push them back through a fired case with base removed that cleans off the excess lube.

after loading I dip lube the nose up to the case mouth in thinned LLA and over the afor mentioned 39gn 2209 have a load that works for this rifle.  Probably overly complicated but I do enjoy tinkering and did want this particular bullet to work in this rifle.

Have just had my first sucessful soft nose casting session where I had cast up a number of  50/50 PB and an alloy I had mixed for another rifle of 90/10 ww/lino. I made a jig so I could cut a 65gn portion from the nose of the bullets and set that into the mould and topped off with lino, did a re-melt and have a one piece bullet that should perform  to the same levels as the straight lino one and hope to use it on “meat” soon. I have access to mobs of goats that can run up to 10/15 animals but more often 5/8 in a group and with ranges out to 200-250 yds think this will be a good and workable alternative to the J bullets I have been using on them till now.


Bit of a ramble but some may get something usefull from it.


Von Gruff.

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