View Full Version : Any one cast there own?
January 25, 2007, 14:48
I am looking to learn the cast my own bullets. Can anyone recomend a good book or websight to learn how? Suggest a good line of starting equipment? Looking to do 9mm, 45ACP, 38/357, 44.
January 25, 2007, 15:22
I find this to be a really good source for info on casting your own. The calibers you mention are some of the simplest to cast for, but the ACP can sometimes be cantakerous to load for on cast. WW will work great for all loads, unless you really want to get up there in the fps range, then try the homemade lube touted on the forum. PM me and I can perhaps send you some sample to see what you could prefer to cast. Hope ya got a stash of WW as the 45 and 44 will gobble up a 5 gallon bucket of WW real fast.
Cast boolit forum
January 25, 2007, 17:04
Lyman, RCBS, Saeco make good moulds. Suggest at least two cavity and four cav. is better.
Whatever casting furnace you use should be a 20 pounder. RCBS and Lyman are good. Lee may be, don't know for sure. I have cast many good bullets with a cast iron pot on a Coleman stove with a dipper.
Lyman publishes a good "Cast Bullet Manual"
Recommend Saeco lubrisizer over all others. You can also shoot them as cast with lube applied by hand. Lee makes a cheap sizer for their "Liquid Alox".
I like gas checks on magnum pistol and all rifle bullets. Lower velocity rounds such as 9mm and 45 Auto and Colt don't usually need them. 45/70 Rifle bullets also don't need gas checks.
You NEED good bullet moulds. Some way to melt lead and get it in the mould is the only other thing needed. You can spend a little or a fortune for all the "goodies" to speed up your production rate.
January 25, 2007, 17:54
If you cast bullet's, follow the safety precautions for handling & melting lead.
Especially if you have any young children around, as their very susceptible to lead poisioning and it's effects.
In my stupid youth, I never wore gloves for handling and did my casting in the garage without being under an exaust hood.
My lead level when I was finally tested was over 60ppm, while anything over 12ppm is considered lead poisioning.
January 25, 2007, 18:53
+1 to what yovinny said
Do not allow water anywhere near the pot when casting - a few drops into the casting pot and the molten lead will explode and spray everywhere. Haven't had this happen to me, but I'm too wary to test it myself.
January 25, 2007, 21:48
I think its great that you want to cast, but casting for handgun is not economical unless you have some special bullet or odd caliber you cand buy commercially. Most Handgun bullets you can buy cast and lubed for damn near dirt cheap. Factor in that a 2 cavity mould is $55 a four is $100, $100 for a furnace, $25 for mould handles, $20 for a lead thermometer, $130 for a lube sizer plus $20 each for sizers and $10 for top punches that is a very substantial investment. You could buy a hell of a lot of cast bullets for that.
I would not have got into casting had I not inhereated my grandfathers casting equipment. Even so I do not cast handgun except for 41 long colt and a 41 mag cause the bullets are not readily availible for cheap.
Now Rifle on the other hand is very ecconomical I cast 30 cal for my 06, 3030, 762 39, 8mm for my mausers, 4570 also. They shoot very well, I can shoot a lot and not wear out my brass, and shoot for damn cheap.
That said, the best book to learn to cast is the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. Read it , learn it, live it. I also recomend the ABC's of Reloading as it has a good casting article for beginers. Handloader magazine has some good articles also.
January 25, 2007, 22:33
Don't over look the aluminum molds from Lee. They cst freat bullets and are some of the easiest to use, plus no need to worry about them rusting. I have several of their 1, 2, and 6 cavity molds. I use their 230gr TC bullet in my Kimber at pin shoots. I have won several times using these bullets.
January 25, 2007, 23:14
I started looking in to casting 45 and 357 bullets. I can't find ANYONE in Dallas giving away wheel weights. Scrap value is just too high. I'd like to cast but between invest in $$ and time vs. current cost of bullets I am going with store bought. I just could bring myself to pay for ingots just to cast plain old 357 158g SWC.
January 26, 2007, 10:54
ran an automated one at a master class for a couple months (younger days)...1 rnd per second ....it sucked ..toxic ..gotta have some kind of scrubber or you just poison yourself or your neighbors ..then all of your neighbors will drool uncontrollably and have the shakes ... maybe they do already ...he he ...way cheaper to buy ..in my op .
and you need 17 brinnel or higher on the lead hardness ...use old tire weights and your .45 will be more like a shotgun .or worse ..can i have your weapons after the amputation ?????....he he
January 26, 2007, 11:12
---use old tire weights and your .45 will be more like a shotgun .or worse ..
You obviously, other than your short classroom experience, done much casting. Done properly, cast bullets can be as accurate as any jacketed. I've cast for 35 years or more and haven't had any issues yet, any issues yet, any issues yet, any issues yet, oh sorry. Seriously, Not fair to judge it if ya haven't truly got involved with it.
January 26, 2007, 13:25
I used to cast a LOT for my 45 ACP, 44 mag, 41 mag, and .357. Also did some for big bore rifles (.45-70, .38-55, etc.). That was one hobby that I was glad to get rid of. I quite shooting the big bore rifles and as for the handguns, I can buy cast bullets cheaper than I could cast them even before calculating any time value. I didn't like dealing with the fumes, smoke, and dangers.
With that said, if you do want to go into it, I recommend the Lyman cast bullet manual for a good instruction book. Definitely get two to four cavity moulds and I found the Lee moulds to work as good as the more expensive Lyman moulds. The Lee moulds just aren't as durable if you mistreat them. The Lyman melting furnace worked great for me and, like someone else stated, get a 20lb furnace.
Be VERY safety concious with this. Don't take any shortcuts with any of the safety items covered in the Lyman manual. Bad things can happen to you, and/or others, if mistakes are made.
Accuracy wise, you can get very good accuracy in lead pistol bullets. I had much better results with calibers larger than .40. The smaller calibers gave me issues with barrel lead fouling if I tried any velocity at all. Lead bullets in a 45 ACP are great and I killed several deer with cast bullets from a 44 mag pistol.
As far as metal was concerned, I always used WW when i could get them. In my area, there are lots of commercial fishermen so they got to where they were getting all the supplies so I had to start scrounging for lead and tin. That just got too expensive and troublesome.
January 26, 2007, 19:47
I cast straight wheel weights for most of my bullets, rifle included. The hardest I cast is #2 alloy and that is only for my 41 mag for penetration on deer and hogs. I dont have a leading problem with anything I shoot. I think people place too much importance on hardness and not enough on bullet diamer in relation to the bore/chamber size.
January 26, 2007, 23:31
Hardness is not everything as far as cast bullets is concerned. I shoot mostly straight wheel weight that are around 11 or 12 on the hardness scale. Other things that cause leading are bullets that are undersized, plain based bullets etc... My home cast bullets sized .452" over 5.0 grains of bullseye out of my kimber shoot into one hole. I have won several pin shoots with this load.
January 27, 2007, 00:42
C'mon guys, use that big word here, ya know - - - - obturate. Sizing too small, like trying to shoot .355 bullets out of about any 38, or lead boolits cast too hard, that won't expand into the barrel grooves, and allow gas cutting. WW works for about anything up to around 1600+/- fps has always worked for me.
January 27, 2007, 09:06
Always used Lee moulds - I like the fact that they're cheap, came with the handles included plus being aluminium (tried to type "aluminum" but my fingers balk at it) they heat up quickly and won't rust.
For metal, I used to dig out the backstop at my local range on Sundays when they were closed (I'd suggest the IPSC standards-range because the lead tends to be tightly-grouped) - about 12 inches down you'll find huge clumps of bullets. Sift out the excess dirt, melt them down, throw out the dross then cast ingots for storage.
I used to pull out 250 kg (quarter-ton) in a few hours at the range - sold most of it for scrap, but kept the rest for bullet-casting.
My reasons for getting into casting weren't to save money - it was to learn what I consider to be a useful skill in self-sufficiency.
January 27, 2007, 09:52
You just hit the nail on the head AndyC. I am not to concerned about the cost -vs- cost savings of it. I am more interested in being able to make my own in case.
January 27, 2007, 11:08
Welcome to the Smelly World of Lead Smelters. I like being able to produce my own bullets. In pistol calibers, they are 90% of my shooting. I give up nothing in accuracy, power or speed. The 44 Mag load is 21grs. of IMR 2400 and mag primer. In 45 auto you get all the cartridge can produce. For defence loads you may want a HP jacketed bullet.
Anyway: check out www.riflemagazine.com/home.......click Books then reloading
This is Wolfe Publishing of Handloader fame. They published "The Art of Bullet Casting" Great info. Don't know if still in print.
If interested in 2 cavity set of RCBS 44spec/mag moulds, let me know. They are new and 240 or 245gr. semi wadcutter. $40
ps: The Search Begins: lead/tin/linotype :cool:
January 27, 2007, 17:18
I started casting handgun bullets in about 1975. I had fallen in love with the .44 Special and at the time, you could not buy reloading components through the mail unless you had an FFL. There were no local sources for good cast bullets. What was available commercially wasn't very good and cost almost as much as jacketed bullets.
A friend and former neighbor sold me a basic outfit consisting of a Lee 10 pound, bottom pour furnace (still working great several tons of lead and 35 years later!), an RCBS lube-sizer, sizing dies for .38/.357 bullets, an ingot mould and a Lee aluminum WC mould set. He threw in about 50 pounds of ingots made from wheel weights. I bought a Lyman manual and got to work.
I soon was outfitted to cast and size bullets for .38 Special/.357 Mag in several styles, .41 Mag, .44 Special and Mag (a good 250 grain SWC is all you need! like Lyman's 429421), .45 Colt and .45 ACP, and I was in heaven. I could scrounge wheel weights and lucked into several hundred pounds of linotype metal. At one point, a box of .38 Special could be reloaded for about 60 cents and an hours time!
I went nuts a few years ago and cast, lubed and sized several hundred pounds of .44 and .45 bullets, thousands and thousands. I haven't gotten into them much, and feel like a wealthy old Scrooge having them just sitting there, waiting for me.
I bought moulds for other, less common needs, like the .32-20 WCF (a 115 grain gas check SWC) and down-loaded .22 Remington Jet (a 60 grain GC/SWC). The only rifle I have cast and loaded for has been the .45-70, but if events get there, I will pick up a good .30 caliber rifle mould. I have buckets of wheel weights, scrap lead pipe and cable sheathing and plumbers solder stashed away.
My doctor does a lead blood test when I have a physical. Never any measurable level.
Things are different now. I just don't have time for as much shooting, let alone bullet casting and reloading, as I used to. There are local sources for excellent, machine-cast bullets for not much more money than I would pay for scrap wheel weights, plus I can buy bullets and have them sent to my house. My income is better than it was.
I figure that when I retire, or laws change, I will get back into regular casting again. I ain't selling my stuff.
January 27, 2007, 17:57
About the same here BUFF. Been doing this a while. Scrounged up a good assortment of stuff. Not selling out, I'll let the kids try to figger it all out someday.
Got a 4 holer Saeco, two 2 holer RCBS, and two single hole Lymans all throwing 215gr to 250gr 44 bullets. Seems a bit of overkill, so thought I'd let one go.
Like rolling out the big ones best. Got a Lyman 457122 that throws a 330gr HP. (Gould bullet). Good in 45-90 Win.
Fun havin 3 or 400lbs of bullets stocked up. :)
Midway flyer: Lee 20# Furnace for about $63 right now.
February 01, 2007, 16:08
The Cast Bullet Assn. puts out the FOULING SHOT magazine. They sent a free book to memebers too. They have a web site which a quick web search should turn up. Unless you like casting bullets (some do), need more accurate than you can buy cast bullets (which are pretty cheap, especially if you can find a local caster), or some sort of odd sized or special bullet, then yeah I agree, buy the bullets. The FOULING SHOT gives you lots of data on loads and such too, so get a sub.
February 05, 2007, 17:17
I was hopin Buff would weigh in too. :bow:
Old Sarge, before the weather heats up here, I am going to run a hundred pounds or so of metal into bullet molds, Lord willing and the Trinity don't get too far outta bank. You'd be welcome to come hang out over a weekend. I could use the help. You'd likely go home with pistol bullets, some .30 rifle bullets, a little experience and maybe a hangover. (maybe even a Lyman 450 sizer-luber, providing we can dig out enough parts to make a whole one outta the extra two I got) :wink:
You know my number.
February 05, 2007, 19:19
Sounds great. Let me know time line wise and I will make arangments.
August 27, 2007, 13:32
surplusrifle.com has some good articles on casting.
I have to 2nd the 20# pot. I bought a 10, and it's too small especially if you are melting wheel weights. It works, but it's slow.
make sure you smoke your mold with a lighter or a match or they won't come out right.
Best of luck.
September 21, 2007, 21:56
I shoot alot of cast bullets in military surplus rifles. I got an article on cast bullets in surplus rifles in the 1994 Handloader's Digest. This article was by C. E. Harris. The best load I ever got was from this article. The standard load is 16 grains of Hercules 2400 with 150 to 180 grains lead bullets. 2400 is great, it is not position-sensitive and gives about 1500 fps in .30-06, 303, 8MM Mauser and 7.62X54R. The load is light enough you can use wheel weights or range scrap. I have used this load in all of the military rounds and it shoots great in all my guns. It is really cheap shooting, this is where cast bullets really shine.
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