Best intentions - professional gun writers.

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  • Last Post 15 February 2021
JeffinNZ posted this 08 February 2021

Greetings.

Lately I have been re-reading Handloader magazines from issue #1 through to the early 2000s.  No wonder so many shooters come unstuck trying to get cast bullets to shoot.  So of the misinformation would make you hair curl. 

Loading linotype bullets at high teen fps or more and commenting that can't be relied on to bring game down reliably (well duh!).  Twist rates faster than 1-12 will be troublesome.  .22cal bullets more difficult to get to shoot.  Sizing bullets for revolvers larger than the cylinder throats.  It just goes on. 

To be fair, the earlier HLer magazines were MUCH better.   

Cheers from New Zealand

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Shopdog posted this 08 February 2021

I hear ya Jeff. With so many new gun owners,and the dip in the supply chain,there's another wave of cast newbies.

Same old,same old... when questions are asked about the most basic of,how to say? obstacles... here comes the opinions. On one hand it's all good,new shooters wanting to learn a craft which we'd assume bolsters or forms up "our" side of the industry. Mould makers and cast equipment co's keep up their input.

But,they all are forgetting,or not wanting to admit that casting is a HIGH skill,sport. It isn't the "mould",it's the Indian sort of thing. So,while I understand it folks behind the curtain don't want to scare off perspective casters,let's be real. It's pretty easy to cast "something",quite another to cast bullets so well,weighing is a waste of time. Wrinkles,voids.... you're joking? Leading? You've got to be kidding. Balanced rotation? Huh... and the list goes on.

Folks hear,what they want to. Practice,dedication,hard nose to the grindstone shooting for perfection will never be hot topics because that's not what "sells".

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Wheel Weights posted this 08 February 2021

HANDLOADER and RIFLE are the ONLY 2 magazines worth buying !

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GWarden posted this 08 February 2021

HL and Rifle are the only mags I still read. It was a real loss for the serious shooter when "Precision Shooting" went under. The writers today are no doubt in it to make money. To spend the amount of time and effort to really do justice that is needed to turn out quality material- it isn't going to happen. There is still some good material that I hope will spark an interest in some to get into cast bullet shooting. One author that I think many in one of the shooting venues would consider an expert in cast bullet shooting leaves much to desire and showing the accuracy that can be obtained. In that writers defense ,maybe what he considers good accuracy with cast fills his need.

bob

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admiral posted this 08 February 2021

Ken Waters in his "Pet Loads" articles frequently had trouble with getting cast to shoot in some rifles/cartridges. I have his thick as a phone book "Pet Loads" treasury and he will mention how poor cast shot in such and such rifle.That book is one of my standard reference books when working with a new to me cartridge though. We are so lucky to be able to order moulds cut at whatever diameter we want instead of having to rely on "generic" molds that many times don't fit.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 08 February 2021

As much as Mike Ventrino does for CB shooting, he also gives out bad info. Over the past few years John A. and I have had several conversations about all the errors and bad info in several of his articles. I know it might be what works best for them in a few cases, the CBA members have established what good practice is from the many hours of testing and shooting, confirmed over and over by other members. 

I am not just singling Ventrino out, others are just as bad or worse, but writers like him, Taffin and others are what beginners read. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 08 February 2021

sometime last century i was asked to write for a national magazine in the area of my expertise .... namely toy race cars ...  after about 4 months, it occurred to me that i had dispersed everything i knew for sure, and if i continued i would be increasingly padding the content with more and more rumors and hearsay ... more of an exercise in conjugation of sentences rather than offering relevant content .

so i  graciously ended my column.

*******************

i wonder how long ago the writers in our gun magazines ran out of things they know for sure.

i do feel empathy for them ... at least i had a day job ...

ken

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Bud Hyett posted this 08 February 2021

Any new cast bullet shooter should be encouraged to try loads in his rifle (or handgun) regardless of what he reads. Discussions at club meetings or at the range are good openings to talk. At the range when you are shooting cast and the other shooters see good results; they ask questions. I often offer to let them shoot my rifle and see for themselves.

Breech-seating cast bullets in a Stevens 44 1/2 is a good draw and gives a CBA member the chance to talk cast bullets. Cast bullets at a high-power match always brings a question or two. (I once asked a "knowing" salesman behind the counter how damn many National Tournaments he has attended and how many National Records he has held when he interrupted me talking about cast bullets and sizing to the throat.)  

Many times on the web I've seen the printed wisdom that Marlin Micro-Groove barrels will not shoot cast. I reply to size to the leade (throat) specifying that I load several .45-70 rifles where the bullets drop at .459+ and size them in a .460 die to simply lubricate. Several shooters have replied their Micro-Groove barrels started shooting better immediately.

When challenged, I relate that to win a bet Harry Pope rifled a barrel with steel wool and stabilized the bullet. Possibly wore out as soon as the bet was won, but the point was made. Harry built great barrels, studying the rifled barrel all his life. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Eutectic posted this 09 February 2021

When I was shooting high power with cast in a 06 bolt gun I had several inquiries. A couple even came to my house to look at the process. none ever took up casting, too much work, equipment, cost etc. I turned away offers of providing bullets with a quote which saved no money over buying match grade Sierra's. To make good bullets is work.

Pistol and revolver shooters were a different group, a LOT more ammo is used. Also the technical requirements are less daunting. I have turned a few onto casters and pointed many to using commercial cast bullets.

Ken Waters was putting out a monthly column. Lots of good information on jacketed, but cast bullets got the dirty end of the stick. No time for experiments, stuff a few in and shoot a group, the deadline is tomorrow!

The internet is hurting cast bullets. lots of bogus information, hard to sift out the good stuff. The CBA is great, I hope more shooters find it and support it.

Steve

 

 

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RicinYakima posted this 09 February 2021

Interesting story: Ken Waters always sized bullets groove size, what he was taught by Ned Roberts. Worked fine for custom schutzen rifle barrels, but not production. He wrote an article about the micro-groove Marlin 357 and how poorly it shot with cast bullets. C.E. (Ed) Harris wrote a letter to him about throat sized, softer bullets. Waters was so impressed he authored a retraction and said Harris's work was of "greatest importance".

I have told the story enough about my "try out" to become a "professional" gun writer. "Three pages of article with the most mentions of our advertisers who buy at least 1/4 page ads." Decided I was not a prostitute.

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admiral posted this 09 February 2021

That's is an interesting story. I always liked Ken's writings. He must of had a great gun collection.

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RicinYakima posted this 09 February 2021

Waters bought and sold lots of guns. At least two ended up in Eastern WA with one collector who only wanted guns mentioned in the articles.

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max503 posted this 09 February 2021

The first in-depth reading I did on reloading was a book by John Wooters.  He said forget about casting for small caliber cartridges, and don't even think about reloading shotgun slugs.  However, I still have that book and still love to pour over it.

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RicinYakima posted this 09 February 2021

Yes, they are touch stones of our reloading lives. My first was Whelen's Why not load your own"

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John Alexander posted this 09 February 2021

Ken sez: "i wonder how long ago the writers in our gun magazines ran out of things they know for sure."

That isn't the worst of it, it's the stuff they think they know because they have read it somewhere, or been told by a guru, that they recite as needed procedures.  

It's not just the gun writers. I don't understand why cast bullet shooters never seem to check to see whether the picky procedures they go through religiously are actually helpful. Instead they just keep on doing them and telling others they are needed.  All it takes to shoot some groups with and without the procedure under controlled conditions and see. We say we like shooting. Why not that kind of shooting?  But you seldom see the results of such comparisons -- just lots firmly held opinions. 

John 

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Ross Smith posted this 09 February 2021

There are a lot of first time owner/shooters/reloaders out there, and they need our help.

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beagle6 posted this 09 February 2021

I started reading about guns with my father's American Rifleman in the mid 1950's. Then on to things like Shooting Times when it was in newspaper format. To be honest, I learned a lot from people who had more and better experience than I did. Yes, there were some who shot a typewriter better than a firearm but there were plenty who knew what they were talking about and tried to educate others.

Jack O'Connor once said that he wrote all he knew in his first dozen or so articles and then he was forced to find new ways to say the same things.

beagle6

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RicinYakima posted this 09 February 2021

O'Connor's first Outdoor Life book, Sportsman's Arms and Ammunition Manual, 1952, says everything useful he ever wrote. IMHO, the rest was just entertainment and to p.o. Elmer Keith.

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GWarden posted this 10 February 2021

"There are a lot of first time owner/shooters/reloaders out there, and they need our help."

What Ross said is so very important. When I was a kid I had some great mentors to get me headed in the correct direction in the shooting sports. I have had several over the years, and I have some I highly respect on some forums. As a kid I remember reading all of O'Connor stuff, and a great writer was Robert Ruark in "The Old Man and the Boy". I was probably a young teen when I first read that book, and still read it every few years.

bob

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BigMan54 posted this 10 February 2021

I grew up in a Family that Hunted, Fished, Cast both bullets and F-Weights, Shot Extensively and Reloaded just about every round sent down range.

I actually thought that folks who shot factory ammo where too poor to load their own. 

I read Keith, O'Connor and many others. I remember when Handloader Mag started about 1965. My Dad was thrilled to find a Mag that touched on more then Hunting and casual reloading.

There was nothing new, but it was interesting. 

I haven't learned anything from a Magazine in more years then I can remember. 

However I have learned a great deal since I got on the internet a few years ago. In particular about alloy hardness, bullet sizing and Lube.  And of course Powder Coat. 

You folks here have helped me recall a lot of stuff I just plain forgot during all those years of Cowboy Shooting and being laid up. 

As far as the misinformation that is still get passed on in Mag format,  I still get down right passed off when I read the same old trash.

Even Handloader Mags you-tube channel is not immune to this misinformation,  i.e. their recent review of a spaghetti SA in .44Spl advocating the use of "hardcast" bullets.

I loved Skeeter's "Me & Joe" stories, and old "Dobe Grant". But He was a Shooter and reloaded as a means to an end. 

When My Subscriptions to guns &  Am/handgunner run out I'll once again explain to My Wife & Daughter to Please NOT renew the blasted subscriptions again.

Thanks, Guys for all the Great info you've given me these past years. I shoot straighter and cleaner with what I've learned HERE.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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mashburn posted this 10 February 2021

The Hand Loader magazine is one of the few that I occasionally read. Several years ago there were 2 articles on loading the 32-20 for different rifles and revolvers. One of the articles seemed familiar, so I did some checking. It was identical to Pacho Kelly's posted loads for 32-20's. I may be using the wrong last name for Pacho, I can't for sure remember his last name. This article was not penned by Pacho. I suspect some plagiarism. I haven't completely quit using the Hand Loader, I've pulled some good information from it over the years.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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max503 posted this 10 February 2021

I had a couple friends ask me to take them.  We are waiting for it to warm up.  It's hard for me to believe there are people who've been on this earth for 50 years or more and they've seldom or never touched a firearm.

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Eutectic posted this 14 February 2021

Handloader put out three special editions in 1990, 91 and 92. They are the Bullet Making Annuals I and II and the Cast Bullet Special Edition. The prices on Amazon are extortionate, but they are worth looking for at book sales. Lots of good information, I wish they had issued them together.

Steve

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Bud Hyett posted this 14 February 2021

O'Connor's first Outdoor Life book, Sportsman's Arms and Ammunition Manual, 1952, says everything useful he ever wrote. IMHO, the rest was just entertainment and to p.o. Elmer Keith.

Elmer wrote one time when readership was slow as measured by letters to the editor, either one would write an article stating the other was totally wrong. The heavy slow big bullet versus the fast expanding medium bore bullet controversy would surface again and magazines would sell more. To suggest they were living off each other is obvious.

Elmer wrote extensively of his .338 OKH Magnum rifles that shot far faster than his .45-110. I've heard rumors that Jack O'Connor was sponsored by a major gun manufacturer. Both were accomplished hunters.

It's a good way to make a living. And many people were entertained. My favorite author of these type of magazines was Ed Zern and his back page articles.

My first serious interest in reloading came from reading the P O Ackley books. Augmented by Bruce Hodgdon who sent me a letter of his experiences with the 6mm-.250 when I asked for loading data. This was much appreciated and hooked me on H380 for the .22-.250 and 6mm-.250.

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Little Debbie posted this 14 February 2021

I’m grateful for all the gun writers I’ve read through the years, hours of entertainment and a starting place to improve my own shooting and hunting. Some writers turned out to be full of stuffing (in my experience) and others were brilliant in their experiments and methods. Bullet casters seem to be a very small subset of shooters and reloaders, but it seems to produce the finest people in the shooting sports. Many of the posters here have shared their work that has assisted me greatly.

Cast bullet information has come to me through a few guys who showed me the basics when I bought used molds when I was a pre teen. I read someone (can’t remember) that said Linotype was the ticket because it was “hard”. I’ve shots tons of it with varying rates of success. Reading the Lyman cast bullet books over the years started me thinking that maybe something softer would shoot better. Closer reading of Elmer Kieth showed me that softer and a lot of lube did work in revolvers, even magnums for accurate non leading shooting, even though a couple hundred rounds would turn your hands black and grease up your revolver. Made it easy to clean them. Soft bullets whether factory swaged or cast out of roofing lead and pipe worked wonderfully in .45 ACP, .45 AR, .45 Colt .44 Spl down to the .32s. An article by Dave Scovill on bullet base upset in an old Reloading Digest was another clue. Lots of good articles in GD and RD over the years on cast bullets.

But the patron of practical bullet casting, utility, and cheap practice with useful accuracy is Ed Harris. Never trying to make a cast bullet do the work of jacketed. “ Making do” with what you have has been another theme. I’ve shot tens of thousands of .30/30 and .30/06 rounds powered by Bullseye and other pistol and shotgun powders. Made lots of shooting affordable when primers were available and cheap.

He’s one of the great gun writers. He teaches and entertains at the same time. I have a binder of his writings that I use as reference and entertainment. I wish he’d publish a book of everything’ he’s written. He’s a prolific writer and I know I don’t have it all. A memoir of his time at Ruger would be a shooting book best seller on its own. The CBA is a wonderful source of information and experimental work. Careful reading and harvesting the information has allowed me to reliably shoot 1 moa from rifles with soft bullets on regular basis after 50 years of trying. The Art and Science casting web site is excellent.

The current crop of panicking first time reloaded/casters will sort themselves out. Many think a cast bullet in .223/5.56 is a cheap substitute for jacketed will learn the hard way.

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GWarden posted this 14 February 2021

Eutectic

The books that Wolfe publishing put out are on CD;" The Art of Bullet Casting Collection" , four volumes for $25.

bob

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DBW posted this 14 February 2021

Paco Kelly had a lot of info that made me think and experiment with, but most of his loads were too hot for my firearms..........DBW

 

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 15 February 2021

Eutectic

The books that Wolfe publishing put out are on CD;" The Art of Bullet Casting Collection" , four volumes for $25.

bob

The CD is and has been for sale in our CBA store. 

David

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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GWarden posted this 15 February 2021

Buy the CD "The Art of Bullet Casting Collection" from the CBA store and save.

bob

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