Casting / Resizing .358 cal.

First: we want to let you know that before shipping any order, we inspect, personally, our DrillDog Big Bore pellets... one-by-one. 

Why casting / resizing your own big bore pellets for your .357 cal. air rifle or pistol? Well, in that case a good reason will be that you do not have to buy them from me, saving some money and learning in the process; however, it takes monetary investment, some long hours, and also high temperatures, because lead melts when passing the 621.5 Fahrenheit, or 327.5 degrees Celsius. So, expect some burnings and not always happy results....but, yes you can do it!

You can buy casting moldings from many companies; and if wanting to spend more money, they can even make it for you according to your requirement.

Next step will be resizing as needed.

When we started casting the DrillDog Big Bore Pellets .358 cal. for our air guns we soon realized that in some instances the Big Bore Pellet did not have the proper size to correctly fit into the .357 bore, going all the way up to .360 cal. and more. Thus resizing was a need even though we did not intended it for any firearms, but our big bore air devices; and this took a new handiwork-time because you need to go through them on a one-by-one basis. We have also noticed that many of the casted pellets in .358 cal. sold in the market are not resized at all, and this could create a problem in some of the .357 big bores like the Bulldog which likes .358 cal., at least on its first 3-5 shots where there is more air pressure pushing the slug out. After those first shots if you want to continue, a .356-357 cal. will offer less resistance and the remaining air-pressure can handle it better off.

[.358 caliber will be a really tight fit in the air rifle; thus, it needs to be filled with air in its full capacity]

If made from 99% soft lead, little more higher calibers could go through the bore with no issues even at lower pressures, but the slug will not have the same hardness as when added tin/antimony and so, when wanted to hit harder. 

We are now also sizing those from .356 cal. molds at .357 just in case, because a casted slug can have variations for many different factors which the buyer often do not understand; and that's one of the reasons we are not selling the SWC ones in 144 gr. and 108 gr. anymore as their grooves sometimes can get jammed due to its drag in a specific rifling and much more when there is not enough air pressure in the rifle's reservoir. Check, pls , the exact bore of your rifle and try with many of them. No one rifle is the same, not matter if they are from the same brand, caliber, or is the machine and the machinist making them!

As a side note, and for people which use similar slugs to be used in 9 mm or .357 Magnum cal. firearms, the best way, again, is to measure your bore. If it is, let's say, .357, then you can go up to .358, and .359 with no need of resizing. If you powder-coat your slug, then you need to take care of that as well, either if you resize after powder-coating or before. The final product should not be over .001-.002 the size of your bore.

Now back to our super cool air-rifles we have included in this site.

The fact of a slug that is tight enough to run evenly while been pushed ahead with all the available pressure, helping to accuracy so much, mostly beyond 60 yards; made us to get into the .358 cal.; providing ourselves and customer with a different choice than the .356 cal., when trying different sizes, and all of them having its own "character." We do not resize the .356 cal. because in reality, once casted, it usually go up to .357, which is good for the Bulldog and Recluse, and to all .357 air-rifle bores.

The basic idea here was understanding how to make it sufficiently uniform to travel as accurate as possible; and the sizing die, which rounds the slug properly, came to play an important part because rarely any mold produces an unfluctuating and stable diameter when so many things are implicated into the process, whereas coming from a melted lead to a well formed slug. Temperature, quality of the alloy, the molding machined precision, and even the willingness and diligence of the caster in excelling on what he is developing for himself and others; matters that also should be taken into consideration and added to the final equation or result.

Lubing the DrillDog Big Bore Pellets, mainly the tighter ones .358 cal., will help as well if you like. You do not need to do it, but if you try, may get a surprise that it works for you in that specific rifle you have. In most of the cases it is not necessary to resize, but as we said that casting sometimes may vary even with the same moulding (in different sessions) we have decided to resize our .358 slugs, and thus the customer does not have to go through often undesirable fails, which always is a possibility because the nature of the product. If you see a mark or a line somewhere in the big bore pellet it is related with resizing and nothing of defect; so, it is for the well-being of the shooting experience.

If you do not want any resizing, because as others, you use them for different applications; then let us know before ordering, and we will save the much needed time.

For the sizing of the DrillDog Big Bore pellets .358 into the same round and proper size, we use the Lee Breech Lock Challenger Press. It is a small and economical single stage press, but it works with some adjustments. It also has a quick change bushing system.

The DrillDog Big Bore Pellet .358 is put on the provided steel seater that attaches to the shell-holder retainer and it is pushed all the way up.

Make sure the slug seats properly before pulling the hardwood ball lever.

The lubricated big bore pellet travels directly into the lee die .358 for a tight fit. It is like sending it to the barber shop in need of a trimming job.

It will pass through the die and storage itself into the plastic that doubles as a slug catcher. Turn on the TV in your shop and then, one-by-one, begin sizing those .358 caliber big bore pellets to be efficiently used in your .357 air rifle.

Now my friend you are almost done!

These plastic cup which catches the slug or big bore pellets, once they come up inside, it tends to gradually lean, and finally fall when completely filled; opening itself in its way down, and your pellets will be all over the floor. To avoid that I added some feature that should keep it solid in place.

First cut a piece of pvc pipe 0.84 inch outside diameter [0.60 inch inside] and introduce it inside the cup's opening toward the die. It does not need to be a new one. It can be an old piece you may have around your shop or house. You can glue it (as I finally did), or just leave it under pressure. It is your choice, and by not gluing it allows you to be removed if needed.

As an extra security measure and due to the fact that once the cup is fill up with pellets it becomes heavy and--as said--prone to open itself when removing it from the Lee Press; then I took two duplex nails and cut them off half an inch. Drilled two holes all the way through, on both sides of the cup, and introduced the nails which now act as a simple locking device.

A duplex nail is easy to be taken out in order to dump out the pellets once it is full. As you can see there are two nails, one on each side.

Now while resizing your big bore pellets you will be more confident and assured that no unexpected accident will smash your carefully cast-pellets against the floor.

A final note if you decide casting pellets: Lead, in its solid configuration, is not that harmful as said; however, when casting, the gases coming from the melting of the metal are dangerous enough to seriously harm you if not taking common sense precaution, as you could breath it directly to your loans and brain. Use a mask, gloves, and never forget the area must be well ventilated. A good start will be adding a fan from one side.

Give it a try!

DrillDog ©