Cast Performance Bullets

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Boge Quinn

Cast Performance bullet company has been making high quality, hard-cast lead bullets in Riverton, Wyoming for several years. They use only the finest materials to produce some of the best quality cast bullets available anywhere. Their bullets are sold not only to shooters and hunters directly, but are loaded into some of the best factory ammunition available, including premium ammo from Cor-Bon, Federal, and Buffalo Bore.

Recently, I have been shooting some of the Cast Performance bullets in the  excellent LBT design. The two styles that I will concentrate on for purposes of this article are the .44 caliber wide flat nose (WFN) and the .44 caliber wide long nose (WLN). Both of these bullets are of gas check design and they weigh 300 grains and 320 grains, respectively. The LBT design bullets are some of the best available for hunting the largest of big game. They have a large, flat nose to achieve maximum tissue disruption and wound channel damage. They are also the best design to get the heaviest bullet for any given caliber. The profile of the bullet nose, ogive, and shank, allow for an accurate bullet that can be depended upon to penetrate much deeper than a conventional softpoint.

Cast Performance uses virgin lead alloy to achieve a consistent product. Many commercial bullet casters use scrap or salvage lead to make their products. There is nothing wrong with this approach to bullet making when the intended use is plinking or casual target shooting, but don't confuse the two products. Scrap lead allows bullet casters to make a serviceable product at a relatively cheap price. Cast Performance makes premium bullets for serious hunters. 

After casting, the bullets are gas checked and lubricated to allow maximum velocity without leading the barrel. Leading can be a real problem in most barrels at high velocity when using cast bullets of the wrong design or alloy.

To further enhance performance, Cast Performance heat treats their bullets  to achieve hardness without becoming brittle. A bullet that is made too hard from the wrong alloy will break apart on heavy bones and fail to penetrate to the vitals of the animal, leaving a nasty surface wound and little else. 

To check the ability of the Cast Performance 320 grain WLN to hold together, I laid one on a concrete slab,  nose up, and proceeded to smash it with a 32 ounce framing hammer. The bullet in the accompanying photos  was hit, and hit hard, six times with the hammer to reach the degree of deformation shown. No pieces broke off of the bullet, and it retained all of its 320 grain weight. Now, this isn't the same as being slammed into the shoulder of a grizzly bear at 1400 feet per second, but not having a grizzly handy, I have found that this hammer treatment will prove if a bullet is malleable enough, while still maintaining the desired hardness to penetrate the largest animals on this continent. The Cast Performance bullet passed the test.

I loaded up some .44 magnum cases with both the 300 grain WFN and the 320 grain WLN for velocity and  accuracy testing in an "Old Model"  Ruger Super Blackhawk [Ed. Note: see Jeff's article on the Old Model Super Blackhawk at Super Blackhawk - Boge Quinn], and a Ruger Bisley. Both sixguns have seven and one-half inch  barrels, and differed mainly in the design of their grip frame. I long ago discovered that when shooting heavy loads in a single action handgun, the shape of the handle can mean the difference between exhilarating fun and pain. The Bisley grip frame has earned a good reputation for being able to handle heavy loads without being excessively punishing to the shooter. I have found in the past, however, that a Super Blackhawk with a grip that fills in the area behind the trigger guard is much better to my hand than anything that I have ever tried. On the old model Super Blackhawk used here, I have fitted a set of Herrett's Shooting Star stocks that I slimmed down to fit my hand better and left with a smooth finish. Nothing that I have found handles heavy recoil better, and such was the case in this situation. With loads exceeding 1400 feet per second using both the 300 and the 320 grain bullets, shooting was a pleasure. Early in the tests, the bottom of one of the grip panels split under recoil on the Bisley model. The ability of the Bisley grip to comfortably handle the recoil was, while not as easy on the hand as the smooth modified Herretts on the Super, still very good.

All through the tests, it was evident that the LBT design bullets, in both styles and weights, were capable of very fine accuracy. The group shown here was fired at 25 yards, and measured  just over one and one-half inches. Later load development proved that the bullets were capable of even better accuracy. As velocity increased, the loads showed better consistency and lower mean average deviation. 

The powder used throughout the test was Hodgdon's Lil' Gun, and is quickly becoming my favorite powder for the heaviest bullets in magnum sixgun cartridges [Ed. Note: see Jeff's article on Lil' Gun at Hodgdon Lil' Gun Powder - Boge Quinn]. The loads upon which I settled pushed the 320 grain WLN bullet to 1375 fps and the 300 WFN to 1430. These loads were safe in my  Rugers, but showed excessive case head expansion in my Winchester 94 Trapper carbine.

Both of these bullets from Cast Performance proved capable of fine accuracy and high velocity without leaving any lead in the barrel of either of the test guns.

For the handgun hunter who needs maximum performance and accuracy, these bullets from Cast Performance can't be beat. They offer these heat-treated LBT series bullets for handgunners in every caliber from .357 to .500 and weights from  160 grain to 440, depending on caliber. They also offer an extensive line of hard cast rifle bullets.

For hunters and shooters who don't load their own ammo, try Buffalo Bore Ammunition at www.buffalobore.com for premium ammunition for your handgun or rifle, or look for Federal's Cast-Core line of ammunition.

For those who prefer to load your own, contact Cast Performance at www.castperformance.com or call 307-857-2940 for the finest commercial cast bullets I've ever used. They're tough, accurate, and won't lead your bore. I highly recommend them.

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

 

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Cast Performance LBT Series gas-checked cast bullets. On the left is the 300 grain WFN, on the right is the 320 grain WLN.

 

 

Cast Performance 320 grain WLN. Bullet on the right was smashed by the author with a hammer as described in the article.

 

 

The author's test loads, both in .44 magnum. At left is the 300 grain WFN, at right is the 320 grain WLN.

 

 

Test guns were a 7-1/2" Old Model Ruger Super Blackhawk fitted with customized Herrett's "Shooting Star" stocks (left), and a 7-1/2" New Model Ruger Bisley.

 

 

Author testing his loads for the Cast Performance bullets. Even at over 1400 fps, the heavy cast bullets were a pleasure to shoot, thanks in large part to the excellent recoil-handling qualities of the Ruger test guns.

 

 

Six-shot group fired at 25 yards shows that Cast Performance bullets are capable of very fine accuracy. Subsequent load development suggests that even better accuracy is possible with these great bullets!

 

 

The Ruger Bisley's superb handling qualities made for a comfortable and fun shooting session. The recoil of the 320 grain WLN proved to be too much for one of the Bisley's grip panels, however, as the right-hand panel split under recoil at the locator pin.