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Discussion Starter #1
I'm still relatively new to reloading and was wondering what a gas check is; when do you use them, what are they for, etc? I currently only load for .45 Colt and am thinking of switching to a 300 grain hard-cast bullet. Are there certain parameters that determine when to use a gas check? Sorry if this is remedial to most, but, well, I'm clueless on them.

Thanks ahead of time.

Randy
 

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Randy M:

It's actually a pretty subtle problem so it's not remedial at all. And it's a great question.

Assuming you're using a Ruger and are able to load the 45 Long Colt to 44 magnum velocities of around 1300 fps, gas checks are optional. I shoot 44 magnum full power loads with commercially cast bullets that have no gas check. Leading is not a problem. For higher velocities, and I'm not sure where the line is drawn, but let's say for the sake of argument that it's about 1600fps. You'd get that kind of velocity from a 454 Casull. In those cases you may need a gas check to prevent leading.

Gas checks really become important when using cast bullets in rifles, with velocities in excess of about 2000fps and greater.

Bottom line is that if you are not getting excessive leading, then you don't need a gas check. They're also expensive and a hassle to work with.

There are some truly fine hard cast hunting bullets like those made by Cast Performance. They have gas checks, but I buy them for the overall design not for the gas checks specifically.
 

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Randy, certain cast bullets have a base designed for gas checks. It helps to keep the base of the bullet from melting. And you can drive the bullet to almost jacketed velocities. One of Greybeards advertisers is a company called LeadHeads. If you click on their banner, I believe you'll see some of his bullets with the gas check pressed on. If you can find someone who casts bullets, they might cast some up for you. But you'll need a sizer/lubricator to press them on. It's done one at a time, and they come in different calibers to match the bullets. They look like real small bottle caps, made out of copper. I do it for myself, but never to sell. Takes to much time. Hope this helps. gypsman
 

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A gas check is a shallow guilding metal ("copper") cup that is pressed onto a cast bullet base before sizing and lubricating. The bullet base must be designed for the gas check and have the reduced diameter base to accommodate it.

Gas checks do just that: they "check" or prevent the powder combustion gas from melting or deforming the lead bullet base. The are most commonly used in cast rifle bullets, and to a lesser degree, high velocity cast bullets in magnum calibers such as .357 mag, .41 mag, .44 mag, etc. They do their best work in heavy loads where a large charge of slow-burning powder is needed for the desired velocity. Many handloaders report little or no leading, and excellent accuracy when using plain cast bullets. Using gas checks makes it much easier to achieve those same desired goals of no leading and excellent accuracy.

There is a slight, but still possible hazard to using gas checks: they have been known to come off the bullet base and form a bore obstruction. Firing a subsequent shot with such an obstruction will "ring" and damage the bore.

Using gaschecked bullets makes a BIG difference in loading high velocity rifle lead bullets. It is commonly the only way you can get acceptable velocity and accuracy.

For your proposed 300 gain .45 Colt loads, I suggest first doing extensive load development and casting alloys to get accuracy and no leading. To go to a gas checked bullet design requires a new mold or custom casting.

HTH
John
 

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Leadheads is NOT a sponsor of GBO and they have no banner on this site unless it's with Google. I asked they refused to advertise here. We currently have no sponsors who make cast bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone. Exactly what I was looking for. My current set-up is more than enough for Texas-sized game, but I have dreams of chasing Mr. Wapiti in the near future and is why I am considering a heavier, cast bullet. Thanks again and have a great Turkey Day!!!

Randy
 
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