Need opinions - are gas checks necessary for some loads?

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Need opinions - are gas checks necessary for some loads?

Postby glocksmith » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:01 am

I've been cast bullet browsing online and I've noticed that the majority of bullets for sale do NOT have gas checks. This got me thinking about my own bullet casting and reloading practices. I was taught reloading by an older generation - guys that grew up reading articles by P.O. Ackley and other well known wildcatters - and they were quite fanatical about using gas checks. Most everything I cast and load uses gas checks. I'm now wondering if it is a waste of time and materials. I load a lot of .357 magnum cast bullets with gas checks. I shoot them at modest velocities - around 1200 fps - and out of shorter barrels in the 2.5 to 4" range. Never any leading after a usual range session of 50-60 rounds. Another cartridge I frequently reload and shoot cast bullets with is the .45-70. I use 400 grain cast bullets and, while I've not yet chronographed them, I'm almost certain velocities are below 1500fps. That's out of an 18" barrel...with NO gas checks...and no noticeable leading during cleaning. Based on my limited experience so far, I'm beginning to think I am wasting my time and money attaching gas checks to my bullets. Could it be that firing through shorter barrels and at modest velocities doesn't cause noticeable leading? Wouldn't longer barrels and/or hotter bottleneck cartridges be the main culprit in lead fouling? Since I'm using mostly moderate pressure, straight-walled cartridges in the 1100-1500 fps range...do I really need to mess around with gas checks? Thanks for your opinions.
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Re: Need opinions - are gas checks necessary for some loads?

Postby evan price » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:36 am

I've never used gas checks beyond a brief trial with freechex from aluminum flashing. Never had a problem into 44mag and 357 mag.
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Re: Need opinions - are gas checks necessary for some loads?

Postby cpg » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:55 am

I'm making gallery loads for my 30-30 lever gun using 115gr RN bullets at 1250-1350 fps (16 brinell & lubed). No checks and no signs of gas cutting or barrel leading. I'm not an expert, but would think you are OK to stop using them. Your barrel will tell you pretty quickly if I was wrong :oops: .
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Re: Need opinions - are gas checks necessary for some loads?

Postby glocksmith » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:12 pm

Thanks Evan and cpg. Reminds me of an experience my Dad had with shooting Shamrock cast bullets in his .30-30. They were lightweight bullets - probably 110 grain and pushing 2800 fps. The first few shots were frighteningly accurate...beyond that, the bullets were hitting everywhere except the target. They must've used soft lead. I guess if your lead alloy is hard enough and velocities modest, then leading will be kept at a minimum.
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Re: Need opinions - are gas checks necessary for some loads?

Postby OhioPaints » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:24 am

I think gas checks are for top end loads, not necessary for moderate loads. Ideally, you want the bullet to "upset" and expand to fill the barrel.

I really, really like the new coated bullets! They seem to leae the barrel very clean and I have pushed them to the mas both in handguns and .357 Marlin carbine (with the microgroove barrel). I have a large stock of lead bullets and loaded ammo that will probably remain on the shelves while I continue to reload with the coated bullets.
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Re: Need opinions - are gas checks necessary for some loads?

Postby glocksmith » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:08 am

Coated bullets is something I've never done yet. How does sizing work with coated bullets? Before, after?
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