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A 257 Cast Bullet Reference Guide

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  • #15293

    tofazfou
    Member

    Hello Gents and Gals,

    PURPOSE:
    This page is a page that is dedicated to the .257 caliber Air Gun (s). Call it a Dedication Page, or call it a Reference Page or call it a Info Page, it’s all of the above. This page will stay updated with “CURRENT” info and will contain info on the guns that are available in 257. And that’s the point of the page, to share information regarding the 257 caliber Air gun and to become a quick reference page for anything that has anything to do with the .257″. This will be a page that can be found quickly and will contain all “CURRENT” info on the 257. That means MORE work for me and LESS work for you.

    HISTORY:
    The 257 caliber powder burner cartridge has been around since about the 1920’s. But in air guns, a 257 caliber powder burner barrel liner from TJ Enterprises has only been recently installed on a current air gun. As far as we know, Jack Haley and John Bowman are the 1st creators of such said air gun/caliber combos. And this gun is the Jack Haley .257 Scandalous which won L.A.S.S.O. in 2012 on its maiden voyage in the hands of John Bowman. L.A.S.S.O. is short for “Longrange Airgun Silhouette Shooters Organization” and it is simply and event for Air Guns only and steel targets are set up out to 300 yards. The 257 Scandalous quickly gained notoriety for what it was capable of. And that is……Long Range Accuracy and power. John Bowman would also often dispatch coyotes at well over 300 yards. John Bowman has shot 10’s of thousand’s of cast bullets in the 257 Air Gun and has openly shared all that he has learned. We owe much of what we know about the 257 today to Jack and John. The Haley Scandalous 257 is a very powerful, accurate and traditional Air Gun. Web links and pictures below.

    CURRENT:
    Doug Noble is an avid air gunner and an excellent machinist. Today, Doug is transforming the Airforce line of guns into 257 caliber beast. Doug has a history of machining since his early High School days and his current work on the Air Force line of guns is exceptional. His many post and pictures can be viewed right here on this very forum. Air force Air Guns have been around since 1994 and currently manufacture about 6 types of air guns. Air Force air guns are not very traditional looking and might remind you of an AR-15 type gun. No traditional wood and steel and bolt handle on these…lol! The Air force gun massaged over by Doug is one powerful and accurate “NON TRADITIONAL” rig. Web links and pictures below.
    Also, .257 Airforce airguns can be bought from Randy at RandL Airguns (http://www.rlairgunsupply.com/).

    CALIBER:
    The .257 by nature is a small game to medium game caliber. In powder burner format such as the 257 Roberts or Weatherby…etc…etc…etc, it can take Deer/Antelope sized game at some decent hunting distances depending on bullet construction/manufacturer. But in an air gun, we stick mostly to Coyote sized game at the biggest. Its one of the best small/medium game calibers IMHO. Bullets will range from about 60+ grs up to roughly 120 grs. Nominal O.D. of bullets will depend largely on groove diameter of ones barrel on his/her gun. But sizes will run between .257-.258″ as somewhat of a norm. But again, sizes can be up to about .260″+. The B.C. or Ballistic Coefficient of many available bullets will range from .129+- up to roughly over .300 BC. And in comparison to the typical .251 caliber Diablo Pellet such as JSB, Bejamin or Beeman (H&N), which has a BC of about .030+-, the lightest .257 bullet will have roughly 4x’s more BC. So as you can see, the 257 in an air gun pushing 900-1130 fps can do some amazing distance shooting and retain a lot of energy. I MEAN……..FOR AN AIRGUN AND ALL………………….LOL!

    PICTURES:
    Here are various pictures of some current 257 caliber air guns


    John Bowman and his 257 Haley Scandalous. Winner at L.A.S.S.O. 2012



    Cedric aka Tofazfou shooting his Doug Noble TalonDor 257 Cal.


    Doug shooting his custom/self built Condor 257


    Joe Grits 257 Condor by Doug


    RJ Porter’s Haley 257 Scandalous



    RoachCreek’s Haley 257 Scandalous

    .257 BULLET MOLDS (manufacturers):
    RCBS MOLDS – http://www.rcbs.com/
    LYMAN (IDEAL) MOLDS – http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/home/
    NOE MOLDS – http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/index.php?osCsid=j7u9gieqlre78413k41t63lb31
    HOCH MOLDS- http://hochmoulds.com/index-1.htm
    LBT MOLDS (custom molds available) – http://lbtmoulds.com/index.shtml
    ARSENAL MOLDS – http://arsenalmolds.com/

    BULLET CASTING EQUIPMENT:
    BCE can be bought from a multitude of websites and or stores. I refuse to list any in particular cause individual results might vary. But places like MIDWAY USA is a decent place to start if you want to get into casting. Bullet casting is NOT for everyone and its time consuming. At the same time, like reloading, it’s very rewarding. It also does not take a lot of equipment to get started. Here is a list of what’s needed to start casting for the 257 (or ANY caliber):
    1. Safety Goggles or Glasses or even a Face Shield
    2. Long sleeve Denim shirt
    3. Brushed Leather Gloves
    4. Long pants in either Denim or another NON FLAMMABLE material
    5. 257 Bullet Mold
    6. Plenty of lead
    7. LYMAN, LEE or RCBS melting pot (20 lbs is a good). You can use a propane burner with some type of cast iron pot also. But that’s up to you. Do your homework.
    8. Dipper/Ladle
    9. Either a reloading press or a LEE hand press that will accept a standard 7/8×14 TPI sizer die
    10. Bullet Lube and some studying/advise and some Common sense

    Many of these molds can be found at a multitude of websites. Here is one such example: http://www.justbulletmolds.com/. Since there is always more than one website for any particular product, I will leave the shopping and goggling up to the buyer/reader who wants to shop for the lowest price on product and shipping. The web links posted up above for molds is just a guideline and not the single BEST website for said product.

    PICTURES OF VARIOUS MOLDS IN .257

    Doug’s 77 gr FP LBT mold


    Roachcreek’s 100 gr NOE FP Mold


    Tofazfou’s 74 gr FP LYMAN 257420 Mold with custom HP Pin by ERIC at HP MOLD SERVICES


    Tofazfou’s 80 gr NOE FP Mold


    Lyman 257 Mold



    Arsenal 257420 Mold

    VARIOUS .257 BULLETS:

    LYMAN 257420 bullets cast by Tofazfou. FP and HP


    IDEAL 100 gr HP Spitzer cast by RJ Porter


    HOCH 109 gr FP’s in 20-1 lead/tin cast by Roachcreek


    Various bullets cast by Tofazfou, RJ Porter and Hunters Supply


    NOE 100 gr FP’s in 20-1 lead/tin cast by Roachcreek


    NOE 78.3 gr HP vs 83.5 gr FP


    Lyman 257420 vs NOE 80 gr

    VARIOUS CAST BULLET BC #’s:
    LYMAN 67 gr LFN GC 257420 = .129
    LYMAN 89 gr LRN LOV GC 257464 = .204
    LYMAN 89 gr LFN GC 257312 = .208
    LYMAN 98 gr LSP GC 257418 = .221
    LYMAN 113 gr LRN GC 257325 = .235
    RCBS 117gr SP GC 257-120-SP = .271

    Here is a PROCEDURE on “FIRE LAPPING” your airguns barrel submitted by Roach Creek:

    Fire lapping a barrel.

    I have fire lapped several rifles in my shooting career, most of them center fires that used jacketed bullets and I did it for improved accuracy, the 257 bore air guns I did for a different reason.

    I fire lapped my two TJ Barrels for my Haley because I wanted them to be smoother inside to allow more shots between cleaning and for easier cleaning once fouled. Before fire lapping I was getting around 20 shots before I had considerable streaking and accuracy degradation, now it around 45 shots.

    When I cleaned I used fine bronze wool on a 25 caliber brush and then followed it up with several doubled patches on a jag, then followed by #10 weight silicone oil to prep the barrel for the first shot lubed with #10 silicone oil. After fire lapping all but the most stubborn transfer deposits are removed with double patches.

    The 1-14 barrel, I fire lapped with a Wheeler engineering kit from Midway, I had used their kits before and they had worked, so I was comfortable sending abrasive coated bullets down my bore, yes that does sound drastic, which is why I wanted to go with a proven, to me kit.

    I prefer fire lapping to hand lapping due to the fact I ruined a Mini 14 barrel in my misspent youth and have never revisited hand lapping since.

    The kit comes with three grits in little jars, 220. 320 and 600. Also included are two 1 inch by 2 inch steel plates and very clear instructions.

    On my 1-14 barrel I followed the instructions on the kit, but used 15 shots per grit instead of the recommended 20 , 220. 320 and 600 and I cleaned thoroughly each 5 shots and thoroughly between grits. In the end I had a very smooth bore that resists fouling and cleans easier once it needs cleaning.

    Then I fire lapped my 1-10 twist barrel and things were different.

    First of all I did not use the 220 grit and I checked between shots because I was not using lube on the bullets as before so I was interested to see if they were fouling without lube because I had not checked that before on the 1-14.

    And indeed they were, if I fired one shot, I could not notice fouling, on the 2nd shot I did notice fouling and on the 3rd shot I had major streaks. As a result I fired 20 shots of 320, cleaning thoroughly between shots, which is one hell of a lot of work, and then after those 20 shots I switched to 600 grit and I fired 25 shots, cleaning each time between shots.

    To me the cleaning between shots was a no brainer. If I have streaking, I am polishing the lead deposited in the bore, not the bore.

    When I shot the rifle after cleaning I also noticed again something different, the accuracy with100 grain NOE bullets had noticeably improved, and of course the shot count between cleaning had also.

    I had miked my groove diameter prior to fire lapping and could not notice a difference in pre and prior lapping, but I was also using my “Harbor Freight caliper for the blind” so it was hard to tell if anything had changed in dimensions. Doug slugged the barrel when I had it set back for recutting the lead, it slugged out within the norms of other TJ barrels, just one heck of a lot smoother.

    I did this on the 1-10 after I had cut the lead for 100 grain NOE bullets, I did not notice a increase in the lead dimensions or that they chamber any easier, they are still in that “putting a cork in a wine bottle category”.

    I fully recommend the Wheeler engineering fire lap kit, but I would recommend cleaning every shot and not using the 220 grit.

    Regards,

    Roachcreek

    VARIOUS RECOMMENDATIONS:

    Cast bullet supplier that I recommend:
    RJ PORTER – http://www.accuratebigboreairgunammo.webs.com/

    Jack Haley Airguns (please read his webpage): ******MR HALEY PASSED AND THE WEBSITE NO LONGER EXIST – I CHOOSE TO KEEP IT UP******
    http://www.southernairgunconversion.com/

    CUSTOM 257 Air Force Condors: ******DOUG NO LONGER MAKES CUSTOM CONDORS******
    Doug @ dyotat100@aol.com

    For Hollow Pointing any bullet mold contact Eric at:
    http://www.hollowpointmold.com/

    .257 Barrels by TJ Enterprises

    101 “QUICK TIPS/FACTS” about the 257

    1. Best bang for your buck barrel in .257 is the TJ Enterprises barrel liner (Google this company name for pricing and phone number. No internet sales)
    2. Common bore and groove dimensions are .250 BORE/.257 GROOVE
    3. Common O.D. dimensions of TJ barrels tend to be roughly 9/16″ (.562″+-)
    4. Pure Lead or 20-1 Lead seems to be the best to date
    5. Hard Cast bullets don’t appear to be as accurate as Pure Lead in TJ’s barrel liners. But don’t discount harder cast bullets. These are firearm barrels.
    6. Fire Lapping or Hand Lapping both work wonders in these barrels and are pretty much necessary to keep leading down and accuracy up
    7. The more these barrels are shot, the more accurate they get
    8. So far, accuracy is superb at velocities from 900 to about 1130 fps. More data to come. Please test velocity for your particular guns best accuracy
    9. Various Air Guns and Barrel Manufacturers could be used for this project. The list is still growing.
    10. To date, both the Condor and the Haley 257’s have hit Soda cans at 446, 502 and 552 yards!

    IMO: Guns that DO and DON’T make for good 257 conversions
    DOES – Jack Haley air guns (particularly the ones that fill to over 3600 psi)
    DOES – DAQ air guns
    DOES – Daystate Air Rangers (especially the 80 FPE version)
    DOES – Daystate Wolverine 303 (expensive gun)
    DOES – Big Bore EXTREME air guns
    DOES – Korean Big Bore air guns (Shing Sun Career, Sumatra’s, Dragon Claws andSam Yang’s. And even the EVANIX 9mm guns)
    DOES – XP Big Bore air guns including the Corsair
    DOES – Air Force Condors
    DOES – OF COURSE ANY CUSTOM BUILT or HIGHLY TUNED AIRGUN SUITED FOR MAKING SUCH POWER

    DOES NOT – CALIBER CRICKETS (lol)
    DOES NOT – EDGUNS
    DOES NOT – FX BOSS 30 cal (too much restrictions within the guns internals)
    DOES NOT – TOO MANY TO LIST HONESTLY (small bore air guns in general are not good for this conversion due to either TUBE size volume or internals that lack the ability to be highly modified. Many SB air guns are made for consistency while making 12-50 FPE of power and not 130-200 FPE)

    ***DISCLAIMER*** Due to a lack of knowledge on every single gun made today and also the machinist in existence and their capabilities, the above opinions are due to available current info and even the LACK OF. The sport is growing and the amount of people that are getting into 257 cal airgunning is steadily/slightly growing. So information is CREEPING in at a snails pace. But as more info comes out, the above listed info MIGHT change.

    Game taken with the .257 cal.:




    CUSTOM PARTS SECTION:
    All parts by ADAM VIGIL (http://talonairgun.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=9980):



    http://www.maddogriflestocks.com/





    MD stock on my TD257

    #174429

    tofazfou
    Member

    For those reading this post as of right now…….it’s no where near done and might seem kinda random. Well, its because for one the page is no where near done and 2nd, I have to type a lot of info and save it before I get locked out or logged off. So I type a while and save it. Then I need a break. So please keep coming back daily and stay tuned to the page.

    At some point, it will start looking the way I wanted it too as well as contain all the info we have on the 257………………………..

    #174433

    dyotat100
    Member

    You need to remove NEI. The guy running the place doesn’t know how to make a mold that works.

    #174434

    80-grit
    Participant

    Great work as always Ced! I motion that we have a category here on tag for .257. Thanks for the info and keep it coming ambassador!

    #174534

    knifemaker
    Member

    Thanks for this page Cedric. You know I will be paying close attention! 😉

    KnifeMaker

    #174547

    roachcreek
    Participant

    This is going to be such help for new owners of .257 rifles.

    Regards,

    Roachcreek

    257420 HP’s waiting their turn

    My two barreled, two scope Haley set.

    100 grain NOE

    #174549

    80-grit
    Participant

    How about this link for RJ’s (Josh Porter) site. Very helpful to guys like me who don’t have the time (as of yet) to cast, but need some .257 therapy nonetheless!

    http://accuratebigboreairgunammo.webs.com/

    #174572

    tofazfou
    Member

    Thanx Joe.

    I have it already. Just need to add it to the OT up above.

    #174659

    80-grit
    Participant

    and just so you guys know…I have been dealing with Josh for a long time and he always goes above and beyond the call of duty! Once again I ordered lead and bullets from him and he throws in a few pounds of lead for free and a big bag of HP spitzers to try out! First class all the way, thanks again Josh! 😉

    #174687

    tofazfou
    Member

    I love that pic of your dual barrel set up and all your molds. NICE!

    #174901

    caboose212
    Participant

    Here’s a strange question- How would I make sure that a particular mold (Lyman 257420) drops bullets right at 65gr? or even less? Is there a way to make the lead lighter? reason I ask is I may not be able to get the action I want, and I’m making plans just in case… Thanks for any tips!!

    #174905

    dyotat100
    Member

    Nope. They drop lighter weights with less lead but then the bullets are to hard.

    Mine is right around 74 gr

    #174917

    rj-porter
    Member

    Also the hard lead doesn’t shoot good in the small cal tj barrels.

    #174928

    roachcreek
    Participant

    You could have the top of the mold machined to remove the gas check shank, if it still shot well after that, you could then have Eric at HP molds hollow point the mold with somewhat bigger pins than we have been using. It would be an expensive and risky project though, probably around 260 bucks when your done and it may not shoot well

    Cast of 20-1 my bullets are dropping out at around 70.5 grains, which is probably lighter than what Doug and Cedric and RJ’s bullets of pure lead are.

    RC

    #174929

    caboose212
    Participant

    here’s a question for Ced, and anyone else shooting .257 in the Airforce frame… What body modifications would you make? ex: if you were to make the scope rail with a MOA adjustment, like 20 MOA higher in the rear, how much would you add? would you have a longer frame? how much longer would you make it? keep in mind that I’m going to use a 26″ barrel, and play around with the 257420 lyman mold… and pretty much just use that. I’ll be wanting to use a stock tank as well- perhaps tethering it to a larger tank, on my back (not too big though!!) I’m not really looking to shoot heavier bullets. Reason why I ask is that I’m probably not going to be able to get the Sumo action, and the AF platform is proven- it just needs to be improved on. any input would be awesome! I’m going to be shrouding this as well. It’s going to be a bit long, but I want to be able to carry this around in the field. I’ve been drawn back to an MSR type body… strength and looks. Of course, there’s going to be some modifications- I’m not putting holes in the forend, and the moderator is integral. Oh, and Ced: how many shots are you getting with your TD257??


    This is what happens when I don’t get what I want- I get ridiculous!! :8:

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