Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

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    Cornmastah
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    Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:54 pm

    Was wondering if any of you guys cast your own bullets--if so, any tips before I dive in?
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:57 pm

    Jim Fleming, from the old GRRN, has a FB section called The Reloading Room. It got too crowded for me, and too much BS, but there were some interersting things posted there. Jim is also on FB - don't know if you can send him a PM via that. He could direct you towards where to go.
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:03 pm

    I don't cast but know a bunch of guys who shoot cowboy who do. It is not particularly difficult to start, but there are a number of things to know. You need a GOOD pot because you are pouring off molten lead. I understand that is one area that it's worth investing some money.

    You will want at least a 2-cavity mold. There are 4-cavity molds, but I'm not sure how difficult they are to work. YouTube ought to have a bunch of videos on how to cast, which will give you some idea.

    Make ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY sure you have GREAT ventilation where ever it is you are going to cast. Lead vapor is real and will raise your lead levels, and that's not good.

    You will have to learn the hardness/softness arguments on your own. I keep hearing pro's for both, and they can't both be right. I DO know that linotype will give you a hard bullet - enough to pierce a solid steel plate with .45-70. Easily.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:53 pm

    Yeah, I kind of left the reloading room facebook group. It got really big really fast--which made for lots of disorganization. Too bad Jim hasn't come over here--probably too busy with the facebook group. I plan on casting outdoors if possible and if it gets too cold for that, I will do it in my garage with the garage door opened part way and some big fans to keep air circulating. I am starting out with the 2 bullet molds for price and simplicity. I figured they would be good to start out with. Maybe once I get proficient, and I have spare cash, I will spring for a few 6 cavity molds. I have a friend who has a hardness tester, and another older friend who casts most of his bullets. I have been collecting lead, and now have close to 200 lbs of it in my garage. I will probably start by purifying the lead and making ingots--and then make bullets from the ingots when I am ready. One of my challenges will be to sort lead from zinc, as I have heard that zinc will mess up molds and the alloys. Man, I am really getting close to starting--after reading and collecting stuff for about a year or two. I still need a good casting thermometer, but my friends told me I could borrow theirs until I get one for myself.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:01 pm

    Well, this sounds like an interesting challenge. You might give us a running commentary about how you are doing, what problems you run into, etc. It would be great to hear the story from newbie to expert in one guy.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:38 pm

    I've always been interested in doing this. I know some guys who cast and it certainly gives them a huge amount of control over their bullets. One in particular can do some magical stuff with the 30-30 cartridge with cast bullets (from mouse fart loads the grandkids shoot, to bullets that travel at near-factory jacketed velocities).

    The only thing that's held me back is that, when I priced lead, I would be spending the same amount on bullets as I do now purchasing cast bullets from commercial vendors.

    Where are you finding your lead Corn?
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:42 pm

    Jim Fleming swages his .223 bullets. He claims he makes the most accurate bullets out there. But that's an additional set of equipment. He uses spent .22 cases for his jackets.

    I have always thought it might be nice to have that capability, but like you, TJ, find buying the finished bullet easier. It has, so far, only been marginally more expensive and there is none of the hassle of ventilating, etc.

    I use Ranier a lot for my autos and Missouri Casting for at least my mouse .38 for CAS. They make a nice little 105 gr bullet that I can load for my revamped Navies and the 66 I have to go with it. I only put 3.2 gr of Trail Boss in the case - shoots like a .22 short. But it's fun!
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:54 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:I've always been interested in doing this.  I know some guys who cast and it certainly gives them a huge amount of control over their bullets.  One in particular can do some magical stuff with the 30-30 cartridge with cast bullets (from mouse fart loads the grandkids shoot, to bullets that travel at near-factory jacketed velocities).

    The only thing that's held me back is that, when I priced lead, I would be spending the same amount on bullets as I do now purchasing cast bullets from commercial vendors.

    Where are you finding your lead Corn?

    If I had to pay for the lead, I would probably just continue to purchase cast bullets from commercial vendors. I got a big bucket of lead from a dentist (brother) which is very pure and will need to be hardened with tin/antimony. I also have a friend who works for a stained glass window company which goes through lots of lead (going to be my primary source) and another mechanic friend who comes across wheel weights semi-often. The way I figure, if I can make nearly free bullets for some of my "expensive to shoot firearms", why not do it? I mean, shooting my 500 magnum or .45-70 for the cost of only powder, primers, lube/coating, and or gas checks, totally worth it, right?
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:57 pm

    And once I get set up, when the next ammo crunch happens--I won't be affected at all when it comes to finding projectiles to load up. I guess one more step in becoming independent, but I will still have to rely on primers and powder. With the money saved, I can probably just "stockpile" those items when they are plentiful.
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:28 pm

    I wasn't tired last night so I threw together a table/bench for casting. I used spare wood in my garage, but it is very sturdy. Probably going to paint it this weekend. Was thinking of putting a layer of sheet metal on the top surface... good idea? bad idea?



    ps, please excuse the messy background.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:08 pm

    ?Why - you want to make the top hot if you drip lead on it. Metal conducts heat - wood doesn't. I'd leave it the way it is.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:16 pm

    Dang Corn. I'm jealous. Free lead is a pretty cool thing. Good for you.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:40 pm

    Devereaux wrote:?Why - you want to make the top hot if you drip lead on it. Metal conducts heat - wood doesn't. I'd leave it the way it is.

    Yeah, I thought about that, and I thought that a thin layer of sheet metal wouldn't do much, but would make cleanup easier. I will probably paint it and call it good.

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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by sthwestvictoria on Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:25 pm

    Would second the idea of just leaving i bare wood. Certainly it will char some however any spilt lead is easy to peel off.
    If you are not the flat out velocity chasing type then cast bullet shooting is a hoot. Low velcoity, low noise, low cost, low wear (you and the rifle) - what is not to like. I would just say be happy with lowever velocities such as up to 1800fps for 30-30. yes you can push faster but it can be a chore with needing to have all your ducks in a row. However is you want plentiful,economical, accurate shooting then cast can be worth it.
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:44 am

    Update:  I fired up the melting pot last night and made a ton of lead ingots.  Towards the end, I tried casting some bullets but didn't have the temperature of the lead/temperature of the mold correct so I got some ugly bullets.  It was late and I knew I needed to call it quits.  I was surprised how fast lead ingots solidify and how long it takes for them to cool down enough to be able to touch. Some hot stuff there... I will post pictures later.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:32 pm

    Here are a few pics.







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    Devereaux
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:46 pm

    Very nice, Corn. Now you have to lube them and you are ready to go.

    Wear gloves when reloading bare lead like that - it CAN absorb through your skin, although less of an issue. But you will most likely be reloading a LOT of these.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:52 pm

    Yeah, I bought the lee sizer dies and tumble lube. I think, however, I will be tinkering with the powder coating. I think having both options will be nice.
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:03 pm

    I ended up casting some 9mm, 300 blk, and .45 bullets last night. I powder coated some of them. I mixed a little of the white powder with the red and got a speckled color pattern. Fun stuff. Casting has been very enjoyable so far--like a hobby in and of itself.





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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:09 pm

    I heard that you need to let the bullets sit for 2-3 weeks so they can properly harden over that time frame. I am dying to test some of these out--I wonder how bad it would be to shoot them after only a week of waiting.
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:32 pm

    Be patient, Corn!
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:33 pm

    Nice stuff, BTW.

    But you have lots of other things to shoot in the meanwhile, so let them be for the right amount of time.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:14 am

    Devereaux wrote:Be patient, Corn!

    This is very hard right now. I just powder coated a couple hundred 9mm I cast the other day. They look so pretty--they need to be shot!
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Devereaux on Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:24 am

    Cornmastah wrote:
    Devereaux wrote:Be patient, Corn!

    This is very hard right now.  I just powder coated a couple hundred 9mm I cast the other day.  They look so pretty--they need to be shot!

    Razz lol!
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    Re: Bullet Casting, anybody do it?

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:52 am

    This is what 40 lbs of lead looks like when I "recycle" it.


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