Deep within the belly of social media, amongst tiered special-interest groups, you’ll find “bullet casters” at the bottom of the heap. A small lot, these lead-heads and worshippers of the silver stream manage to miraculously meet up.
Roaming the earth like dinosaurs before them, lead bullet casters are almost as rare. It’s also how jacketed bullet shooters think of them, snidely asking, “You’re still shooting lead?” But it’s more accusation than question. The dinosaurs grin, shrugging prehistoric shoulders, knowing the reasons why.
Perhaps this is the reason lead-heads seek their own, talking cast bullets/loads, fully aware of the fun the average shooter is missing? Dinosaurs are more than happy to share this information to those appreciating it.
A Friend Indeed
This was the case when friend Jim Williamson called. You remember Jim, he owns a very cool 71/84 11mm Mauser I wrote about here. Seeing my article on the Rossi .454 Casull R92, a lightbulb went off in his head. Seems he and Mick McPherson were experimenting with the Freedom Arms 454 Casull. Mick designed a special mold casting a heavyweight bullet for long-range shooting at easy cruising speeds. Jim offered some of the bullets for me to try. A few days later, over two hundred of the prettiest cast slugs arrived in the mail.
Weighing in at a hefty 420-grains, this long bullet is oozing with sectional density and bearing surface, making it fly true and penetrate deep at great distances. Jim told me they’ve discovered using 11.0 grains of Hodgdon Longshot generates 1,000 fps from Freedom Arms model 83s with wonderful accuracy.
Jim also stated they’ve shot it out to 600 yards, busting rocks, and it appears to be stable at this distance. This isn’t surprising, as Mic McPherson knows how to design a bullet. He’s a walking encyclopedia on handloading, gunsmithing and any other shooting-related information.
Load & Shoot
Loading Jim’s slugs over the suggested 11.0 grains of Longshot, sparked by a CCI 400 small rifle primer in Starline brass and using my Dillon 550C progressive press, I’m ready for the range. I bring the Rossi R92 in .454 Casull, along with a Freedom Arms model 83 and Ruger Bisley 5-shot.
Touching off a typical 454 Casull load — a 300-grain bullet going in excess of 1,600 fps —is pretty violent, like holding onto a stick of dynamite. This load is much more manageable.
Shooting day was hot, 95º with 88% of T-shirt-wringing humidity. I had a TRUGLO Micro red dot sight mounted on the Rossi. At 50 yards, 3-shot groups cloverleafed into sub-inch groups. The Freedom Arms stayed true to its reputation with 1″ groups or better at 25 yards.
The Ruger 5-shot Bisley held its own with groups in the 1″ to 1.5″ range. The load, while stout, isn’t unpleasant at all to shoot. Without sweat stinging my eyes, I believe accuracy could have been a smidge better.
Jim’s right — velocity hovers around the 1,000 fps mark for the revolvers. The Rossi and its 20″ barrel increase velocity to 1,350 fps, which incidentally matches velocity of a Sharps rifle with black powder loads. A 420-grain slug, ambling along at 1,000 or 1,350 fps has a lot of momentum. Worshippers of the silver stream know this, as did the buffalo hunters so many years ago.
Nice Dinosaurs Rule!
Bullet Casters/Shooters are a complex breed, indeed. Far from being Luddites, they like doing things the old way while applying the newest techniques, designs, and thoughts to their shooting. One thing for certain — while some may call them dinosaurs, the Cast Bullet brotherhood is far from being extinct.
I have a feeling there’s going to be an avalanche of busted rocks next year at the Whittington Center from all the 420-grain bullets pulverizing boulders, one shot at a time. Jim let me borrow his mold, so I’ll cast plenty of bullets. Dinosaurs are known to do such things, just to have some good prehistoric fun.