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Casting and Reloading / First Cast NOE 680-500-HB CE1
« on: November 09, 2018, 02:10:40 PM »
The NOE 680-500-HB CE1 arrived Tuesday afternoon, so yesterday, as soon as my morning chores were complete (kind of) I jumped right into casting slugs. I'm simple and just follow Al's instructions to the letter. I lubed the sprue plate, block and hollow base pins with NRA 50/50 stick wax (just a touch each). I smoked everything well with a Bic lighter.

Using a Lee pot, the mould dropped usable slugs immediately. Slugs are big, and they can get the mold warm. No problem, placing the closed blocks on a damp cloth for a few seconds releases the heat immediately. The slug on the right was hot but not sticking; I didn't have any of them stick.

I did not need to pop the mould to release the slugs. My gloved hand could cut the sprue without effort. Once open, rotating the mould blocks clockwise from your view causes the hollow base pins to slide out, and the heavy slugs immediately depart the pins. Be sure you have the blocks positioned where you want the slugs to land.

I have two column wads that I wanted to use out of many on hand. They both fit the height of the slug well, but the thin petals on Clay Buster SW250 slug wad are too thin for a tight fit.

It looks like the Federal 12S3 is perfect with my Marlin 512.

I'm going a different route with the alloy than most. So far the best 100-yards groups have come with Lightfield factory ammo and their super hard lead slug. 1.2XX MOA at 100-yards consistently. I cast these with the same alloy that I use for my hunting bullets, a 60/40 linotype/wheel weight mix and then water quenched them. They are 21 BHN as they sit now and will be 29 in 48 hours. I've never had a rifle bullet with this alloy mix fail and, and I doubt this projectile will either.

Diameter as cast was .682" and the weight with the 60/40 alloy is 490-grains.
Before dark, I went out and shot three of them with 25.5-grains of International and the Federal 12S3 wad. The wads collapsed into the tail feathers but despite that, at 50-yards they shot a 3" group. The hollow bases are now all filled with glue; I bumped the load up to 26-grains to help the hull fill and the crimp sealed up nice and tight.

I'm dropping charges with the Lee Deluxe Perfect Powder Measure and crimping the hull on the Load-All II.

The crimp is being started by feel, but I missed it a bit mid-run and went too deep on the hull by itself.

Pondered that for a bit and placed a BPI X12X Gas Seal in the priming well and it stops the press downstroke just perfect for the 3" hull crimp fold!

Will see how these do today, if possible. We have had a front move through in the last few hours, winds are crazy and my food plots in view are flooded. Might actually be several days.

Casting and Reloading / NOE Expander Plug Setup
« on: November 27, 2016, 02:37:25 PM »
The steps to properly adjust the NOE Expander Plug (the solid top plug) in either the Lee Universal Case Expanding Dier or the Powder through Expander Die capped with a Lee Adjusting Screw are:
  • Set the Expander Plug in the mouth of a sized Case. Mark the plug against the case mouth.
  • Determine the sizing needed on the plug with a caliper. NOE recommends .001" over bullet size. Mark the plug at that point.
  • With the caliper, measure the distance between the two marks on the plug, write it down for the calculation.
  • Place the Expander Plug in the Lee Universal Expanding Die and screw the Adjusting Screw in until the threads just disappear into the top of the  die.
  • Place the sized case in the press and raise the ram.
  • Place the die on the press and screw it until you feel the case make contact with the plug.
  • Lower the ram.
  • Complete the calculation to determine how to adjust the die:
    • Divide the distance the plug needs to sink in the case to achieve the desired depth by .071. Example: If the distance is .40", the calculation is .40/.071= 5.633.
    • Using the units from the sum (5), mark a reference point on the the die body and then turn the die down into the press 5 revolutions.
  • Before the finer adjustment, mark the top of you adjusting screw with five "star' points.
  • There is a bit more math involved but just take it in steps. The calculation is:
    • ((distance required to seat plug-(number of die body turns used*.071))/.011). The steps to solve the .040" used in the previous example are:
      • 5*.071=.3571.
      • .040-.3571=.0428
      • .0428/.011=3.8571.
    • Using the units from your sum, turn the Adjusting Screw in 3 "star" points
  • Slowly raise the ram while verifying the case neck sizing by feel. The case should not meet heavy resistance while it is raised into the die.
  • Proper seating will take place at or after the calculated "star" point on your adjusting screw and prior to the next star point.

Here are the steps detailed in images.

The idea behind an expander plug is to eliminate the case runout caused by shoving the oversized cast bullet into a sized case. Flaring a case does not ensure that the bullet will seat square in the case. Typically, they don't and a non-concentric bulge can be seen. Here is the runout being measured from that sample case expanded with the NOE Expanding Plug. No measurable runout!

Examining Case Runout on YouTube
I've created a spreadsheet that does the calculations for me. I use Apache OpenOffice CalC, I'm not sure if opening the attached file in MS excel will properly format the calculations so I've included a screenshot with those calculations noted.

Setting up the NOE Powder Through Expander Plug with a any of the Lee powder measures is basically the same but with the additional consideration of the dispenser actuation. I will detail the setup of such in another topic.

Casting and Reloading / Lee Sprue Plate Lever on NOE Sprue Plate?
« on: August 15, 2016, 11:41:37 AM »
Has anyone done this? I'm casting my 30 caliber five cavity molds with a linotype mixed alloy and it is a fine line from cutting too early to beating the hell out of the sprue plate to open it. I'm going to tear my molds up.

I was going to drill a hole for the lever pivot but it will just clip the edge. Anyone modify their sprue plate?

Favorite loads / Load Notes For NOE & RDO Designs
« on: March 24, 2016, 01:10:41 PM »
Last year I started working on reloading references for the NOE bullet designs, it has gone slower than expected because of the limits of my time but also because I needed to come up with templates that would make the Load Note sheets consistent across all the types of designs and contain as much information as possible for the bullet caster. Al and I think that we have a good format that addresses as many considerations as possible when generating the data so it is time to get started. A quick look at his store's pages confirms exactly what an undertaking this will be so rather than work from A to Z, I thought I would ask as to what the immediate need of NOE's customer base is concerning the information to get your bullets out the barrel.

In order to understand how the suggested loads are generated and how the pages are formatted, please read:  Pressure Notes.

Here is what the formatted Load Note pages look like and how the information is presented: 378-275 H&H Mag

If you recommend a bullet design, please include what cartridge you using with the design.

Group Buy Discussions / Rossi R92 Scout Scope Base
« on: October 27, 2015, 01:19:04 PM »
All of the round barrel Rossi R92s are drilled and tapped for the Rossi scout scope mount. Unfortunately, the Rossi base has been unavailable for at least a year now. I recently sent Al a base so that he could reverse engineer the required barrel contour and taper along with the mount hole alignment.  I also suggested that he use picatinny spacing rather than the random Weaver slot spacing so that the base could be used for other sight options.

There is no doubt that NOE can build a better mount than Rossi. There is quite a bit of interest in the NOE mount on my Rossi-Rifleman forum and I will start directing that interest here so that Al can estimate the demand and whether the product is financially feasible or not.

If you are interested in a NOE Rossi 92 Scout Scope Picatinny Rail, please express your interest here!

Favorite loads / 30BR ~ Max Cartridge Overall Length
« on: May 31, 2015, 12:13:53 PM »
Looking for a published Max COAL, anybody have a drawing for the cartridge?

At the Range / 1st Kill for the TLC310-165-RF
« on: April 25, 2015, 01:53:00 PM »
To read how a 300 Savage bullet ended up being used in a 7.62x39, see this topic:,585.msg6925.html#new

We have some weather moving through last night so I figured that the hogs might be moving pretty good right at dark. I told my wife I was going to wander out into the pasture and wander around in the dark for a couple of hours, she's use to it, but I didn't get very far. I could see a sounder of hogs working a pole line sendero that leads to our house so I grabbed the Scout and headed out.

About 150 yards from my house I slipped out into the grass, which is pretty high due to the rain, and crawled out into the middle of the sendero. I could not see them well enough prone (always hoping a diamondback will move for me), so I slowly raised up. It was very dark now and I was having a tough time ranging the sounder. I figured something slightly beyond 100-yards and put the horizontal crosshair on the back and the vertical across the heart. I took a breath and touched that outstanding Savage trigger system.

This 7.62x39 Scout is sighted in 1" high at 100 yards and the 165-grain cast bullet of my design severed it's spine and killed it on the spot. I knew I would not shoot over him but just could not figure the range out close enough.  Based on point of impact hitting point of aim, he was at 127 yards.

My wife watched from the house with binoculars, she said it was an awesome show!

You have to love Texas! I heard a number of shots, all after dark, my fellow ranchers figuring the same with the hogs and weather. When my dad (87) and I were picking the hog up, we heard a fellow about 1/2 mile away open up, I'd say with an M1A. The rate of fire was awesome and we could count hits from almost every shot. Boom-Pop, Boom-Pop... must have had a sounder out in the open under lights or night vision. That fellow was definitely a shooter!

At the Range / RD's Savage 110WLE, the 310-165-RF & 310-180-RF
« on: April 10, 2015, 09:57:38 PM »
Been busy placing gas checks on my three 30 caliber short necked bullets but needed a break. Now that I have a 300 Sav specific bullet I wanted to address a cartridge feed issue I've had with my Savage 110. This rifle is a pre-"new" Savage but of late manufacture by the "old" Savage, I've not seen another like it. Despite it's chambering, it is the 110 long action. The rifle was supposedly not used but the headspacing/barrel had been adjust slightly long of the SAAMI spec which was corrected with go/no go gauges. My guess is that it was adjusted to use the longer spitzer bullets of 165 to 180 grains. I've only been able to use the rifle as a single shot no matter what bullet or cartridge overall length I used, it would not feed. The cartridge would come out of the magazine too far off center. I've never bought 300 Sav factory ammo.

So today, as a break, I decided to look at the innards to see what needed adjusting. What is happening is that the cartridge has too long a run along the magazines cartridge guides which are obviously intended for a long action cartridge. When the cartridge was finally free of the guides it was too far off center to hit the chamber.

I simply marked the guides with a pencil at the point that the nose of the cartridge was centered and then filed the guides slightly. Loaded it up with dummy cartridges and gave it a try. Greased lightning now!

I found the rifle on Gunbroker at a low price with no bidders. To top it off, it was a local seller who I contacted to see if he would do a face to face which he did. The rifle had hang tags on it so the off SAAMI spec chamber adjustment is a bit confusing. I don't think Savage ever offered any 300 Sav barrel. The fellow that I bought it from had bought it at a gunshop several years prior and had not shot it. The rifle has some of the best wood I've seen on a rifle and the bluing is very deep. I did install a Basix trigger to get away from the old style non-adjustable Savage trigger.

Guess it is time to get back to the checks, the 110 needs some bullets!

(RD) Group Buy Discussions / New format for RDO LoadData
« on: February 19, 2015, 08:27:25 PM »
I've been working on a new format to cover my bullet designs and will probably work with Swede to cover all of his. In the past, my LoadData was formatted only at max pressures. With the variety of options available here at NOE, I need to offer some low pressure data for the plain based versions.

Please take a look at this sample and let me know what you think. Please also read my Pressure Notesfirst so that you will understand what the LoadData sheets offers.

RDO Pressure Notes

RDO TLC310-165-RF ~ 300 Sav ~ LoadData

RDO TLC310-180-RF ~ 308 Win ~ LoadData

Casting and Reloading / NOE Powder Through Expander Die Plugs
« on: February 11, 2015, 01:48:00 PM »
These Plugs are the cat's meow! I thought I would demonstrate just how well they work and the best way to do that is with a "worst case scenario"; something like I encounter while loading cast bullets for my Taurus PT745 Millennium Pro chambered in 45 ACP.

While in the bullet mold business, I avoided semi-autos as I felt they where very over done and that it would be difficult to introduce yet another design and sell it. My desire to find a replacement for my Glock 36 (45 ACP single stack) lead me to the Taurus PT745 Millennium Pro and that lead me to an unfilled need that I addressed with a number of designs.

Taurus uses fat bore and grooves on all their semi autos. Any guess as to why is speculation on my part but I can assure you they do. Here is my PT745 and these dimensions are the same as my PT945 and the half
dozen PT1911s I slugged and made chamber impressions for.

I have a near complete lineup of the Millennium Pros; a 32 ACP, 380 Auto, 9mm, and 45 ACP. The only chambering I do not have is a 40 S&W. Each of these have a unique need for a fatter than normal cast bullet. In the case of the 45 ACPs, they use a .454" bore and .457" groove. If you are not shooting at least a .457" bullet, the odds of "ragged hole" groups are slim.

Designing the bullet is easy, the hard part is loading such an over sized bullet. I've been successful but it takes a huge amount of flare at the case mouth and it is very easy to displace the longitudinal axis of the bullet with that of the case, the result being an unacceptable amount of runout.

Al Nelson at NOE came up with a super idea of using Lyman "M" type of plugs in the Lee Powder Through Expander Die. He also added a lineup of plugs for the Lee Universal Case Expander. All of these are caliber specific and size the case to the needed diameter rather than flaring the case mouth out.

The example belowdemonstrates how the "M" type die works. the "flare" of both examples is exaggerated but you can see the sizing that takes place with the "M" type plug. Mouth flare can be controlled to nothing by a plug of the appropriate diameter. This is what NOE is doing that is different than the stock plugs offered through Lyman.

I chose the NOE PT45PEXP based on my needs. The cartridge in the photo below was finished with the referenced NOE plug. You can see how the case was form sized to accept the .457" bullet body.

Notice the Lee plug is a single diameter with a sharp step that forms the case mouth flare. The NOE Plug has steps that bring it to the maximum diameter of the plug. The plugs that are for the Lee Powder Through Expander die are an open ended barrel that allows powder to pass through them.

This case was flared with the Lee plug. It has an significant amount of "roll out" at the case mouth in order to accpet the oversized bullet.

The cartridge below has been formed with the NOE plug. The case walls are uniform and the square base bullet has no problem resting on the sized case.

I've used a picture focused down through the cavity of the Auto Disk to demonstrate that they NOE plug has actuated the powder dispenser as designed. The Powder Through Expander Die setup is no different than that offered in the Lee instructions. Raise the ram, thread the die in until is touches the shell holder, and then turn it out one complete turn. From there you use fine adjustments to get the diameter you need. In the case of my PT45PEXP plug and in that .457 is the maximum diameter of the plug, I simply adjust the die to a point that is short of flaring the case mouth.

The .457 bullet has been started down into the 45 ACP case. The loose case was expanded using the Lee plug and the mouth flare is quite obvious. As a note, the Lee flared case cannot be forced into the 45 ACP sizing die without damaging the case. This is how significant the flare is.

The completed cartridge chambers without issue in my Taurus PT745.

I do not crimp the case as a semi-auto headspaces off the case mouth. The bullet is being held in place by the uniform, on diameter seating, and it takes quite an effort with a kinetic puller to loosen the bullet. The bullet has not been "post" sized while seating in the case, it is still at .457".

I no longer arbitrarily reject the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die based on it's reputation of post sizing the bullet as the cartridge passes the carbide ring. I personal have come to like the die because it does a great job of controlling measured cartridge runout. I simply check each application as needed and have started using them in most of my cast bullet applications.

In the case of my TL457, the die is unfortunately not going to work. I checked three bullets that passed through the die and all were post sized to .454". I would use the die with a normal 45 ACP cast bullet application without hesitation.

This has been a bit of an extreme example for the need of the NOE PTE Plugs but even a normal need can benefit from their use. With the cost of brass or the possibility that it simply might not be replaceable when you need, I'm now taking all kinds of steps to care for an utilize each case fully. The PTEP is just one why of adding life to the case while making a better loaded cartridge!

(RD) Group Buy Discussions / What do you guys want to work on next?
« on: January 29, 2015, 01:18:52 PM »
The title says it all. What's next?

(RD) Group Buy Discussions / Interest in a Win M94AE 30-30 Win Bullet?
« on: January 17, 2015, 02:27:34 PM »
I just finished up helping a fellow that needed a bullet for his Winchester M94 AE chambered in 30-30 Win. The problem he had with the rifle is that everything he tried required a really short cartridge length. He made and measured a couple of chamber impressions and we immediately saw the problem.

The chamber is more like that used in a semi-auto pistol rather than a rifle, it has only a step that ends immediately at the bore and groove diameters. Usually and as per the SAAMI drawing, there should be a step leade that takes the chamber down to the final diameters.

In a nutshell, the chamber offers little support. Think of the point where the step meets the bore/groove as a sizing ring. No different from a Lee bullet sizing die or the steel ring in the base of Lee Carbide Pistol Factory Crimp Die. At this point in the chamber, the bullet is going to experience quite a bit of stress as it is going to be sized to the bore and groove diameter without any foreplay!

What I've done is placed a tapered top band that is .310" at the base and then reduces to .308". This should help with the sudden reduction in bullet size. I've also given it a bore rider nose at the upper end of the top band. There is a 90° drop from .308" at the upper end of the top band to a .301" bore rider. This bore rider should provide support as the cartridge is seated in the chamber and help with the size reduction the bore is going to cut. Here you can see that as the bullet moves .050" forward it is fully engaged in sizing.

The end result is a .310", 160-grain bullet that has a great cartridge overall length. I'm not sure what other M94 AE shooters are out there and if they have experienced the issue of short cartridges being required but I really doubt his rifle's example is the lone wolf.

Here are the rest of the drawings.

If you are interested, speak up!

(RD) Group Buy Discussions / RD's 30 Caliber Shortnecks!
« on: January 15, 2015, 12:55:01 AM »
Okay guys, I'm finished with the design work on my three 30 caliber short necked cartridges; the 300 Savage, 308 Win, and 7.62x39.

These cartridge represents a bit of a challenge in cast bullet design, that being the need to contain the body within the case neck and then balancing the center of pressure with the center of gravity while retaining a usable bullet length. My focus has been on using these bullets in modern bolt action rifles. The reason I've focused on these actions is because of the demand they place on the bullet fitting all the detailed features of the chamber cut. The details of the chamber cut in these rifles are very consistent and are capable of being verified during manufacture with go/no-go gauges. Fitting the bullet to the chamber features is important if the for the bullet is to survive at the cartridge designed pressure and velocities. If we are not going to push all of these we might as well just shoot a 30-30 Win. Of course, your bullet alloy and it's treatment is just as important if not more so. I can get the design right, but you have to control the product at the drop.

The first and last have updated features and the 308 Win is a new design. Here they are in line with each for a comparison; the TLC310-165-RF for the 300 Savage, the TLC310-180-RF for the 308 Win, and the TLC313-150-RF for the 7.62x39


TLC310-165-RF ~ 300 Savage

My original TLC310-150-RF for the 300 Savage was a 150-grain bullet and I tried to get around the intracacies of the chamber cut of this cartridge with a simple tangent ogive. Like all three of these offerings the chamber is just too complex for a simple design to provide a good fit.

The new design considers the needs of the step, freebore, freebore leade, and leade cut into the SAAMI chamber while at the same time confining the bullet body within the case neck.

I also wanted to see a longer bullet nose to improve feed from the magazine, no matter the design of that magazine. A chamber impression from my Savage 110 was used to verify that this manufacture does cut to the SAAMI specification.

One thing that I started to do as a standard when designing a bullet is defining the case length with any design in that the case neck is so important. To accomplish this I use the Lee Case Length Gauge/Trimmer minus .005" to establish this length. These trimmers are easy to check using your calipers by measuring from the base that meets the cutter to the pin. These trimmers should measure at the SAAMI trim length when checked. When a case is trimmed, deburred, and chamfered it should be at the maximum SAAMI trim length minus .005". Any shorter and the timer should be discarded and a new trimmer purchased. Keep this standard in mind if you use a adjustable trimmer.

Another item that I have incorporated into my design work since establishing a case length, is to design a bullet that provides a set cartridge overall length. These lengths are defined to the .005".

TLC310-180-RF ~ 308 Win

This is an orignal design based on what the 300 Sav and 7.62X39 have taught me about critical dimension chambers but I have little doubt that it will not but prove to be great critter getter!

The exact same features that were present in the 300 Savage are present in the 308 Win. Like the TLC310-165-RF, top band is used to fit the step, and freebore, and freebore leade, and then a tapered bore rider is used to address the leade.

A chamber impression of my Mossberg 800A verified the SAAMI dimensions used to in the cartridge design.

The base of the bullet matches the base of the case neck using the same brass standard that was mentioned as well as establishing a cartridge overall length.

TLC313-150-RF ~ 7.62x39

This final design is what brought me to the short necks and has taught me the most about bullet design. There is no doubt that the 7.62x39 has become my favorite cartridge. As a fellow that tromps the brush of my South Texas ranch, I know that this cartridge is capable of meeting the needs of a life time of feral hog and whitetail hunting. I have more rifles in this cartridge now than I do in any other cartridge that I shoot and as a lever nut, that is saying a lot.

Like the 300 Savage, this isn't my first rodeo and the same lessons learned about a simple tangent ogive apply. These ogives may work for leverguns but they don't allow a modern bolt gun be all it is capable of being.

Top band and a very short tapered bore rider (.015") is used to match the critical components of the chamber.

The chamber has been verified against my Savage 10 FCM, Ruger Mini-30, and Zastava M85 (my favorite light rifle). I have sidelined the 10 FCM until I have a chance to fire lap the barrel. In this Savage the freebore leade tapers to a .308" groove and .300" bore. I'm going to try to lap it out to .310"/.302" or get rid of it.

The magazine feed from my bolt guns is slick as a whistle and once I dressed the forward edge of my Mini-30 magazine, the same can be said.

The 7.62x39 is a great compact cartridge especially when used in a bolt gun like the Zastava M85 Mini-Mauser. If you have ever wanted a Savage 340 or Remington 788 chambered in 30-30 Win for cast bullet hunting, you would love this combination!

This has been the longest cast bullet project I've attempted, several hundred hours of sweating the small details, but I believe it will pay off in the performance you see out the barrel. I have much more information available to include loading data but it has been a long day.

Swede has my shop drawings and will be doing his work to give you the options you like to see in any of my designs. We should have the group buys up tomorrow. Let's get this going, I have a bunch of rifles that need bullets!

(RD) Group Buy Discussions / I want to stir things up!
« on: January 03, 2015, 02:32:15 PM »
Would like to see what interest there is in my bullets! What are you looking for?

I have three new bullets, a departure from what I typically work on, three bullets for bolt guns. I recently started to shoot my 300 Savage and 7.62x39 offerings and I'm working on a 308 Win. Any interest in these as NOE has expressed their interest in cutting them.

What about my existing designs. There are a number listed here but with little follow up. Are you still interested, what do you want to see?

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Castpics and Reloader's Reference