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One Step Gas Check Maker

February 2024 and Updated in March -- Jamie R.

A few weeks ago I was going through some stuff and noticed that I was down to a little over 2000 in my .30 cal gas check supply. With the way many things are now, I started looking to buy more. Now, I use Hornady checks and have used Lyman as well in the past. Looking up the pricing and availability to buy more I got quite the shock. Hornady checks were mid $60s to $100.00 per thousand if you could find them in stock. Amazon had them for $100.00 and in stock.

I wonít repeat what I said when I saw that but lets just say I would have got my mouth washed out with soap repeatedly in my much younger days. I ate a lot of Zest as a kid!

Seeing the above, I started re-looking into reloading press mounted one step gas check makers. I quickly looked on Gunpost, and a follow-up video on YouTube had me ordering the check makers for .44 mag and .30 calibers. The seller is from Calgary with great reviews and the makers were $95.00 each, shipping included. It was a no-brainer to get them at less than the cost of 1000 gas checks on Amazon for the .44 and the .30 calibers.

I received the parcel earlier this week. Great seller provided easy to follow instructions and included everything you need to set up, with sample checks and sample thicknesses of material. After a stop to get some 12 thou thick aluminium roof flashing, I was ready to go and I was punching out checks in no time.

One thing I noticed right away is you need a sturdy press well mounted to a solid base. It takes a bit of force to punch out the checks and they form great. A lot like Gator checks or other non Hornady brands. You can use a variety of material thicknesses. The manufacturer suggests 12 to 18 thousandths to find what best fits the shank of your cast bullet. I punched some test .44s from the 12 thou and some .30 cal as well. The other interesting thing I tested was adding strips of a pop can to the roof flashing to bring my checks up to about 16 thousandths. More force was required to punch them but the checks came out perfectly. Just put the thinner metal on top of the thicker and punch.

With that done, I tried seating them with my RCBS lube sizer. The checks did not stay on the base of the .44 bullet. This was an issue I saw complaints about on YouTube, generally due to the slight variations in cast bullet shank diameter.

Hornady gets around this by tapering in the sides of the gas check so they kind of snap on and stay in place while being crimped during bullet sizing. As I said above, the home-made checks are more like Gator checks which can be a pain in the butt with a lube sizer. I will be running some .30 cals through the Lee sizer to see if it does a better job seating on the cast bullet.

Rather than bitch about the seating issue and not having a Lee .44 sizer, I had to find a solution for the .44s that I really wanted to load. Taking some dollar store super glue that I had left over from another project, I put a drop of it into the gas check, put the bullet in the check and let it set up overnight. The drop of glue did the trick and the bullets went through the lube sizer with the checks now securely in place and are ready to load.

Some things to consider if you are interested.

This tool will not give you Hornady commercial gas checks even if you use copper sheets. What it will give you is the ability to produce your own functional checks at a small fraction of current pricing that you can make as needed.

Blair does a huge variety of sizes; just let him know what you need and he will make it for you. A roll of 12 thou sheeting is enough to make 3 lifetimes' worth of gas checks for $30.00 and they can be punched out very quickly once you have a system.

For those who donít have experience with a lot of different brands of gas checks, the seating may be an issue -- but like most things where there is a problem, there is a solution.

I will follow up this article once I have had a chance to use the Lee sizing dies on the .30 cal checks and let you know if the Lee dies do a better job seating the checks.

I was so impressed with the .44 mag checks I had to share this information as well as the contact information of the company that made my check makers for those interested.

Blair Boutin
BFB Machine Works

Come on spring, I want to shoot these bullets. Happy shooting!

One Step Gas Check Maker Follow Up

Gotta like the extra time a long weekend gives you to work on things that you want to do instead of crap you have to get done around the house.

I put in some time concentrating on the .30 caliber checks and the results were as I expected, and the same as I have had in the past, when using non-Hornady checks.

First, I started by punching out a bunch of .12 and .16 thick checks for the testing as detailed in part one. Now on to seating the checks on the cast bullets.

For this test run, I used as cast and sorted bullets. I wanted to keep things common for most casters. Not everyone powder coats their bullets.

With the lube sizer, some checks seated and lubed all at once. I tried a variety of .309 and .312 bullets; actual measured diameter of the bullets ranged from .309 to .313.

The .12 and .16 checks all were a bit loose fitting on the bullets so I held them in place and inserted them into the lube sizer which has a built in gas check seater. I had about a 50 percent success rate using the lube sizer. The ones that seated, seated well, and I believe this is due again to the shank difference in the bullets produced by different manufacturers' bullet molds.

Moving on to the Lee push-through sizer, things went much better with a 99 percent success rate and I think the one that failed to seat was due to my slightly misorienting it during manual insertion. Again, both thicknesses of check fit loosely on the bullet and had to be held in place when put on the sizing stem. You could feel the lower part of the check sticking out a hair more than the rest of the bullet as you held them on the seating stem. This is the part that gets squished into the bullet during sizing.

With the checks firmly seated I was able to run the bullets through the lube sizer quickly and easily to apply lube to them. All of the checks stayed in pace during lubing. Yes, it is another step but it is a quick process if you want the lube grooves filled.

In short, with the Lee sizers the checks seated completely and tightly in the same manner as any other non Hornady gas check I have used. I tried to remove the seated checks with my thumb nail and took a chunk out of it in the process.

Personally I have no issue with the looser fit of the checks, it will allow me the space to powder coat the bullets and not have to jam the checks on the bottom prior to sizing which is much more of a pain to get the checks on and even all around.

I am really happy with the outcome of the testing and will continue to play with thicker material to see if I can get a better fit on the bullets.

If you get one of these makers, donít jump the gun like I did after watching Youtube; use the sample material provided, punch and test some checks first to see what thickness material works best for the bullets you are doing, and go on from there. Punching from one piece of material is much easier to keep aligned than stacking two pieces of material to punch.

The check maker is easy to use and an hour's worth of punching should make more than enough checks for an entire shooting season.

I hope these write-ups were helpful and, oh ya Hornady..... [Ed: Use your imagination.]

Home-Made Gas Checks Range Test

With the great weather yesterday, we took a drive to Nipigon to do some testing of winter projects waiting for Spring.

For the last few years, I have been reading and seeing videos saying that powder coating was a replacement for gas checks. I will admit, I followed the trend for awhile and quickly learned two important things.

First yes, for a plain base bullet it adds another layer of protection which does prevent leading of the barrel.

Second no, with a bullet designed for a gas check -- especially a rifle bullet -- a gas check should be used. In fact, I prefer to powder coat my rifle bullets after installing the gas check to have the benefits of both. In short, if the bullet is designed for a gas check use one.

My testing yesterday made this quite clear to me. For the testing of the .30 caliber, I was using bullets from a new mold Lee .309 diameter 150gr RNFP (Round Nose Flat Point) that was purchased earlier this winter after reading great things about it.

This is the bullet that I have been working with when installing the home-made checks; so the bullets were not powder coated. The rounds were loaded in .30-30 and fired from a Savage bolt gun with my go-to powder charge. My target was a small odd rock sitting by itself half way up the berm with sand all around it, range at 117 yards. The bullet was slightly lighter than my normal go-to bullet but 5 shots produced 5 hits with no barrel leading. Pretty much what I expected even with the new cast bullet.

The .44 mag is where I saw the most difference. Using a Lyman 240gr Keith-style bullet sized to .429 that was designed for a gas check, I had been shooting them unchecked out of an H&R Handi Rifle with odd flyers regularly. Most times there were two flyers out of 5 shots and I wanted to up the powder charge. This is what prompted me to get the check maker for .44 mag.

For the test rounds I used a stout powder charge of a very fast pistol powder for which I have a lot on hand. The load data is from a manual, not the Internet. When shooting the bullets without checks, I used a lighter charge to prevent a gas cutting or leading issue. It seemed weak, underpowered, and the flyers ticked me off.

With the checks installed and more powder in the case, as expected the rounds were shooting high compared to what my scope was sighted for. I fired a three shot group aiming at the same rock and they all hit the same place on the berm. I adjusted the scope to walk the rounds on target and each shot was consistently lower with each scope adjustment. This was encouraging as there were NO weird flyers. Once I was on the rock, confirmed by my spotter, I fired 15 rounds at the rock and hit every shot. The rifle has a heavy barrel and I was not waiting between shots. I was shooting as fast as I could reload and get back on target with no lead sled, just a rifle rest. The flyers were gone and I was pleased with the consistent shooting.

I know a rock on the berm does not provide an exact measure of accuracy but, after getting swamp footed once stepping in a snow covered puddle, it was the best target I had available to test these rounds. Once the weather gets better, I will shoot at paper to get a proper group. Besides, I didnít want to chew up the target stand backer board or walk down to the target with one foot sloshing.

The H&R is one of my favorite guns to shoot and I knew I would be shooting all the rounds I brought with me if things worked out.

So in short it seems to me that a gas check closing up the entire base of a bullet designed to use a gas check provides an even surface for the pressure when firing -- as well as protecting from leading.

I hope others have found this information over the last couple of weeks useful.

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