Bullet BASE question

  • Last Post 26 January 2021
Industele posted this 06 January 2021

Guys, I'm a newbie to your organization, but I've been bullet casting since the mid 60's.  My question is that I have inherited a Rossi small revolver in .32 SW Long from my father.  I wanted to use it to help teach my daughter in law how to shoot a pistol.  My thoughts were to start out with a .22 Revolver, the move to the .32, then .38 Special, etc.

I don't have any molds for a 90 grain .312 bullet, but I DO have several Lyman 311259 which is a round nose 115 grain bullet, that casts out at about .314 diameter.  I have experimented with those (not fired) by cutting off the bottom of the cast bullet with a pair of flush cutting pliers.  This yields a bullet weighing avg of 86 grains, with a slight double bevel on the bottom of the bullet.  I slugged the barrel and it is a maximum of .312.  I have sizing dies for .313 and plan to run the cut off bullets through this sizer/lubricator and try in the Rossi.

NOW MY QUESTION.  Will it make any significant difference to have a slight bevel on the BOTTOM of the bullet.  Not entering into any target matches with this load anyway.

Your opinion would be appreciated.  Tom C.


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JeffinNZ posted this 06 January 2021

Cutting the bullet down it not likely to provide a very satisfactory accuracy result.  Check out this recent thread about the same cartridge and bullet weight:

.32 S&W Long load Using 115 Gr. Ranch dog Mould (castbulletassoc.org)

Cheers from New Zealand

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BigMan54 posted this 06 January 2021

It might work if you file the base flat and straight. But that is a lot of work.

Why not just buy a Lee # 311-93-1R ? I have a 6cav and it works Great in .32S&W Long. 

Or their #TL314-90-SWC ? 

You can get them off fleabay for $27.00 shipped for a 2cav.

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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John Alexander posted this 06 January 2021

I agree with Jeff to try the 115 grain bullet and see if it is satisfactory.

If if were me I would also try the cut off bullets without filing the bases and see how they shot. Neither test cost anything but a little time and we would all learn something if you posted the results.

You might, or might not, be pleasantly surprised by how well the cut off bullets shot and either way people on this thread might learn something.

To misquote Bud, one test flight is worth a thousand opinions.


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tony1960 posted this 07 January 2021

Personally, I would put a couple of grains of fast powder behind the 115gn bullets and shoot them, if you aren't that game then drop it to 1.5-1.8gnd. The worst that will happen is that you will be knocking one out of the barrel, but I bet you aren't.

I've shot my Mod 30 with everything from 1.2 grains to 2.0 grains, 80 gn Round nose to 98 gn HBWC's to 115gn SWC for my 32/20, I size all of mine to .314. My go to powders are 452AA, WST, 231, Bullseye, Red Dot in fact any of those sort of speed powders.



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Ed Harris posted this 07 January 2021

I would try the #311259 as-cast and unsized at .314", lightly lubing with Lee Liquid Alox loading 2 grains of Bullseye or TiteGroup and see where it hits in relation to the sights.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Industele posted this 08 January 2021

Thanks guys, a lot of good information.  I have already made up 45-50 of the cut off 311259, so I think I'll run about 1/2 of them through the 313 sizer lubricator, and the other 1/2 treat with the alox lubricant in "as cast" size. I've really gotten to like Tite Group for most of my other hand gun calibers.  It burns a  lot cleaner then Unique and has a little more "volume" than Bullseye - so I don't feel like I haven't added the powder to the case.  From other research it appears that a 90 grain bullet can use up to 2.3 gr Tite Group, so I'm going to start around 1.7 and work my way up to 2.3 in small batches with the sized bullets.  Then do the same with the as cast bullets.  

By then, If I don't see any signs of over pressure, I may  get brave and do the same for a small batch of the full weight 115 grains, sized and as cast.  What I --- DON"T WANT --- is to get a mini magnum that will be loud and harsh to handle, because that would defeat my purpose of a training round.  But it would be nice to know where the upper limit is located, because I might load a box or two of "big boy" rounds. 

Thanks for the help.  Tom Campbell - Birmingham, AL

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John Alexander posted this 08 January 2021

That sounds like a very interesting testing project,  The type of work too few of us ever do leaving us depending only on the conventional wisdom which may or may not be valid.

I hope you will also compare the cut off bullets with some of the bullets uncut.

I will look forward to your results.


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Shopdog posted this 09 January 2021

I use "shortened" bullets in a cpl applications. My way,which was born out not with,making do but pretty much unlimited access to tooling. Yes,this is not how most folks approach the issue.

I like to mill the bases in a gang fixture,doing 5 at a time. The fixture takes some effort but isn't out of the scope of anyone with patience and a nice drill press. The base "milling" is rather benign meaning,absolutely no fan fare. Cutter geometry is of a very minor concern,as with speeds and feeds. It's entirely doable on a drill press. There just isn't any force loads on the op to really be considered. I do it on an old Bridgeport but it's like swatting a fly with an 8# sledgehammer,way overkill.

How does it work? Technically,beats me.

Does it improve accuracy? Uuuuh,heck yes.

Does it solve problems with twist rates and bullet length? Better than it has a right to(simple elegant solution).

How hard is it? Way easier than screwing in a lightbulb.

Good luck with your project.

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Larry Gibson posted this 09 January 2021

Isn't the 311259 a PB 150, 175 or 200 gr bullet?  Did you mean 311255 which is a PB 115 gr bullet?

I've pressure tested the 116 gr 311 311008 (31118) loaded over Bullseye and Unique in the 32S&WL.  Using the bullet as is w/o cutting any off over 2.0 gr Bullseye or 2.5 gr Unique should be under the SAAMI MAP level for the 32 S&WL and should shoot well in the Rossi revolver.


Concealment is not cover.........

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OU812 posted this 10 January 2021

Milling down mould to cast shorter is best. Sometimes a little shortening of bullet will improve accuracy, especially in slower twist rifle barrell.

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Industele posted this 24 January 2021

UPDATE from the start. First of all I Did Indeed have the wrong Lyman number. I am using 311357 not 31137, This gives with my allow 115,5+/- grains bullets.  I have sheard off the bottom 1/4 of cast bullet, and ran through a 313 lubricator szer.  The cut down bullets average 86.5 grains.  Had a small lot of hornady 90 grain SWC FACTORY bullets.  Loaded a quantity of these up using Tite Group 2.3 grains.  Used the same load on some of the sheared bullets.  With a tip of the hat to those suggesting as cast  with 2 grains of powder.I did make up a small batch of 116.5 grain lead bullets.  OD was .314,  Ran then through a Lyman sizer lubricator at 313,  All did well.

Had 10 factory Mag Pul loaded rounds, 10 gounds of cut down 115 grain carbine bullets and 20 90 grain hornady factory, all loaded witih 2.3 grains titegroup  shot it all off today  Tarus wotj 32 S&W :graoms  and then 5 each 116.5 full size casting - rim through a .313 sizer lubricator then driven by 1.5 grains TiteGroup, the 1.75 grains, and finally 5 with 2.0 grains of Titegoup.

Resulsts are as follows:Factory shot 3" group at 25feet avg 2" diameter circle;10 rounds of loaded factory HP with 23 grains titegroup''tAll shot 2" at 25 feet dona about 5th ring at 5 oclock.  The full size fullets 1-1.2 grain titegroup -slightly higher on target, mild recoil and 2.75 inch spread.  Full size bullet with 2 grains titegrout gave 2" circle at 25 feet.The rounds were pleasant to shoot and were a bit more "stout" thanthe factory rounds.  

Plans are to fun all as cast bullets though .314 lee sizer then alox lube them.  Load with 2,.0 titegroup and ride that for a while.

No pafticular difficulty in shooting bullets with bottoms clipped off.  Thanks. Tom Campbell



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John Alexander posted this 25 January 2021


I got a bit confused in your report of shooting results so this may be a dumb question.

Your last paragraph states there was "no shooting difficulty in shooting bullets with the bottoms clipped off"

How did these bullets compare in group size with similar similar bullets with better bases?

Could you describe what the clipped off bases looked looked like or post a picture?  What I am trying to get at is, did the clipped off bases hurt accuracy in your tests?  I would like to try it myself and your experience would be helpful.


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Industele posted this 26 January 2021

Sorry John, that's what I get for trying to send emails after midnight.  The clipped off bullets performed "well enough" with the group being approximately 2-1/2".  Keep in mind that I am shooting with a 2" snub nose Rossi pistol, and neither it nor I are very good shots.  They performed as well as the factory semi-wad cutters.

I cut the bases with a pair of Channel Lock "flush" trimmer.  These do not have the traditional double bevel of standard shears, but has an almost perfectly aligned jaws.  They produce an almost flat surface with only a slight ridge left over.  I guess I could have passed them over a grind wheel or rough sand paper and made them more flat - but I thought the flush cutters did a pretty fair job.  To cut the bases, I aligned the cutter jaws in the bottom of the last lubricant groove, and tried to make all cuts as uniform as possible. 

The cut off bullets performance was very acceptable to me.

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John Alexander posted this 26 January 2021

We can learn things from tests with any level of accuracy out of equipment and shooter.

Many would be horrified by shooting "snipped off bases.  My interest was how they did compared to other bullets with good based. If I am reading your results right it looked like they did worse than some and better than others.

Thanks for your answer.


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