Hello and welcome to Pukka Cast Boolits, part of 1967spud production’s web site.
I would like to thank Mark for allowing me this opportunity to share my enthusiasm for cast boolits on his new web site which is destined to become one of the best UK based shooting resources on the world wide web.
This is the first in series of articles that I intend to write, sharing my knowledge and passion for the casting and shooting of cast boolits. Before going any further I should explain the spelling of boolits as opposed to the usual dictionary way bullets.
In 2005 an American gentleman called Ken Caldwell, known on the web as 45nut started a forum dedicated to art and science of boolit casting. This forum was hosted on the Gunloads site created by Willy Snyder and was called Cast Boolits. Ken coined the word boolits to differentiate lead, cast or swaged, from jacketed projectiles, or condom bullets as jacketed are also called by the cast boolit fraternity and so he named his forum, Cast Boolits
Since its creation in 2005 Cast boolits has gone from strength to strength and has become under Ken’s guidance one of the most successful shooting and gun focussed forums on the internet with over 20,000 genuine members, over 100,000 threads and over one million posts. Anyone interested in casting and shooting their own boolits should sign up and contribute to this fantastic shooting resource.
The Cast Boolits forum, its sister site Cast Pics and their dedicated membership has taken boolit casting and shooting into the 21stcentury. With robust theory, practice and peer challenge the lead projectiles potential has been developed from one of an item of historic interest into a modern practical shooting component that gives up nothing to jacketed in terms of accuracy and velocity in calibres from .22” to .45” and beyond. In the USA cast boolits have also been developed with expanding characteristics that make them effective and humane game takers so long as the shooter does his or her part. In the UK due to the laws relating to calibres, velocities, bullet weights, muzzle energies and bullet types allowed for taking game I would not advocate the use of cast boolits for game shooting here in the UK as the lack of understanding by those who set such “standards” would mean that you would very likely fall foul of the law. However so long as the humble .22” Rim Fire round continues to be loaded with boolits then more creatures are likely to be shot with boolits than there are with jacketed.
A little bit about myself might be in order here so that you can see where I am coming from and what credentials if any I may have for penning these words, other than being asked by Mark to do so. I don’t claim to be an expert on anything having forgotten more than I know but the little knowledge and wisdom I may have acquired I am willing to share.
I am 56 years old live in County Durham and retired from the world of work in 2010 having spent nigh on forty years in the cultural sector both as a practitioner and a senior manager. I now operate as a firearms dealer trading under Pukka Bundhooks, click on the name to see my website.
I have two grown up children and two grandchildren, one three years old and the other seven months old. Each has their own .410″ shotgun tucked away in my gunroom ready for fitting to them when they are big enough.
I have been a shooter all my life having been born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland surrounded by guns and shooting. In those days rifles and shotguns were kept in the steading and behind the kitchen door in the house neither of which were ever locked and in my 20 years growing up there we never had anything stolen. I started my shooting career on live quarry, and have worked as a stalker and ghillie in my youth. I have maintained the stalking interest all my life.
About 30 years ago I started collecting and shooting military breech loading firearms, both rifles and pistols having being educated and inspired about what a huge field of interest shooting and guns really is by the 1970’s BBC series “The Gun”. Words, names and phrases such as Bisley, Accurate at a Mile, Match Rifle, Lord Elcho, Whitworth and many others flooded into my mind and imagination and a lifelong interest and passion was born within me which has never failed to present me with new things to learn and discover along with new and constant challenges. Over the years have built up a collection of 70 odd FAC rifles and a similar number of obsoletes. Prior to the disgraceful 1997 pistol ban I also collected and shot classic pistols.
Up until becoming an RFD I was a keen classic rifle shot regularly visiting Bisley three times a year to compete in the Phoenix, IHAM and the Trafalgar meetings as well as competing in the HARC small bore winter leagues.
I now shoot full bore regularly at Diggle as well as the Catterick and Otterburn Ranges with my full bore clubs. I shoot small bore and downloaded fullbore at my small bore club as well as shooting my section 7.3 Webleys at Brancepeth. I am a full member of the Historic Breech-loading Small Arms Association (HBSA).
Having been an avid pistol shooter as well as a collector and shooter of early breech loading, black powder cartridge rifles casting boolits was the only way to feed these firearms. For pistols it was originally a cost saving measure as casting was the only way I could afford to generate the quantity of boolits that pistol shooting required to maintain a reasonable skill level. When it came to the rifles then casting was the only way of getting the rifles to shoot as commercial boolits were nigh on impossible to get here as were moulds. The American market did have moulds available although in the pre internet days it was a bit of a struggle to find out who had what. However the UK shooting sector in those days was large enough to sustain a few companies that met the UK hand loading needs, NDFS and Wamadet to name just two, so with some tenacity of purpose and spare cash suitable moulds could be procured and then you were free to feed your firearms.
I have been a regular caster of boolits for over 30 years now but it has been in the last fifteen years that I have concentrated on casting for smokeless metallic cartridges with a special focus on the .303 British developing loads and boolits that enabled me to keep and better my jacketed bullet averages in classic .303” rifle competitions at all distance from 200 to 1,000 yards along with the occasional competitive success. I never feel disadvantaged on any way going to the firing point with cast boolit ammunition.
So there you have a little background to these pages but what of the future? Over the coming months as time and inclination allows I will be posting further essays about Cast Boolits in the hope of building up a practical bank of cast boolit knowledge and experience that will help people get into the art and encourage more shooters to see cast boolits as realistic option to obtaining good accuracy from you rifles whether it be a .577” Pattern 53 Rifled Musket or a bespoke 6mm whatever bench gun and dispel the myths around cast boolits, after all the boolit/bullet is the most critical component in any hand load.
Cast Boolits – Some myths and facts.
The lack of popularity of cast boolits never fails to amaze me. Often when I’m on the firing point and shooters beside me notice that I’m not shooting jacketed and ask me what I’m using, when they find out that its lead they look surprised and invariably say “don’t you get leading?”. When I reply “no, why should I?” they look surprised and say as a matter of fact that lead boolits cause leading. I am also told that lead boolits aren’t as accurate as jacketed and can be only shot at low velocities. When asked if they have they ever shot lead boolits the vast majority will say yes, when they had pistols and that they used to get terrible leading. When asked why they thought that happened they tell me it is because the boolits weren’t hard enough. They look surprised and sometimes uncomfortable when I ask them if they shoot .22”RF, to which nearly all admit to, and then point out that they are unlikely to have had leading problems with them and that .22” RF boolits are made from very soft lead.
The mind set that most shooters seem to have is that lead boolits cause severe leading because they are not as hard as jacketed bullets. They never seem to worry about jacketed bullets coppering the barrels or do not see it as the same problem, maybe this is to do with the fact that if you do get leading in your barrel it can be harder to remove with propriety gun cleaning solvents than copper and the traditional method for lead removal was elbow grease and abrasives.
So there we have in a brief firing point conversation some of the common myths about Cast Boolits which are bandied amongst shooters as fact and are used as reasons for not trying or using cast or swaged boolits.
Cast Boolits cause leading.
Cast Boolits need to be hard.
Cast Boolits are inaccurate.
Cast Boolits can only be shot at low velocities.
Leading is hard to remove if it occurs.
In the following series of articles I will be showing how none of the above need be true and like all things handloading with correct procedures and understanding these are myths.