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Picture of armored
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With the uncertainty of the future of firearms I decided to back myself up as much as possible in the re-loading area.
Shortages always effect primer and powder availability first.I have been stocking up on both for the last several years.
I now want to cover myself on bullets.I want to cast,or be capable of producing my own rifle and handgun bullets.


Are LEE molds good to go?
Are LEE sizer dies acceptable?
Is powder coating a better choice than bullet lube?
What lead formula is best for hardness, particularly for rifle or higher velocity shooting?
Whats the best way to "slug" a barrel and suggested bullet sizing?

Any other suggestions would be very much appreciated.
 
Posts: 3505 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
7.62mm Crusader
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Go cast iron for your molds, Redding-Saeco or RCBS. And care for them after use. The Redding mold handles are longer than RCBS and more comfortable for long casting sessions. RCBS mold handles are good but too short and transfer the heat. I had 3 sets with longer handles custom turned and finished for my RCBS tools. Made my escusions from copper caps for capping 3/4" copper pipe. They were beautiful mold handles a shy longer than my Reddings. Be aware, a lot of wheel weights are made of scrap steel now but look like lead. Check before you even bring them home. Casting is a outdoor hobby unless you have strong exhaust fans. I used the cheap Lee 20 pound melt pots x2 for cleaning and alloy ingots. Used my better melt pots for actual casting.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I planned to buy lead from bullet casting companies. Many advertise the Lyman#2 lead mix or the equivalent formula.
 
Posts: 3505 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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Nothing wrong with casting, like reloading, often more a hobby than a real $$ saver. Access to free lead helps, for the most part, no easy wheel weights anymore.

I’ve mostly cast 38/357, 45 cal & muzzleloader bullets, 50 cal. Of those my favorite is the 200 grain .452” bullet. I can use it in 45 acp, 45 Colt & Schofield, and the M-L held in a sabot.

During ‘normal’ supply times one can find lower cost bullets, lead or coated, on sale. I would compare thoughts about casting with cost of bulk bullet purchase.

I cast outside in warmer weather. My setup is minimal, a Lee electric pot, & Lee molds.
 
Posts: 4370 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm not going in to this to save money,only to give myself an option if reloading supplies dry up in the future.
 
Posts: 3505 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You'll need to learn about lubing and sizing bullets. Lee is the company who has the tumble lube Alox liquid. Its messy and gives full coverage of the bullets. Liquid bees wax. I ran 3 luber sizers with different punches and dies. Two for the hard stick lubes, Thompson blue angel and Rooster red and, both had base heaters to soften the lube and make it flow, one without for soft lube.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Seat yourself comfortable for casting. Make no fast or big sweeping moves. You are working with 20 pounds of 700 plus degree molten metal so relax. Seat your melt pot atop a sturdy table or bench. Work methodic. You will learn how to pore a healthy spru atop the molds spru cutter. Aluminum molds will heat up much faster. Rather than dipping it in the pot to preheat the mold, I prefer multiple pores of junk bullets to preheat. When your mold is up to temp your bullets will show fully pored and match the molds cherry perfect. Frosting of bullets is a temperature issue. Adjust the temp.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
7.62mm Crusader
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A new hickory hammer handle is your main tool for working the mold. Cast iron molds, after the pore, wait 5 or 10 seconds. Learn to gently rap the spru cutter plates tang with the back end of your hammer handle. Sometimes 2 or 3 taps will cut the spru at the base of the bullet. When you get good at it, just 1 accurate tap. I used a teak wood desk tray to catch my bullets. Two inch high sides and a soft hand towel for them to land on in the tray. You can roll your new bullets to the trays rear, out of your way as they accumulate. A days casting for me would yeild between 2000 and 2500 200 grainers. The hammer handle is way nicer to work with than a mallet. As you progress learning to work your mold, you will nearly make musical sounds with that hickory handle tapping either the mold or the attachment bars, gently to release the bullets. Sometimes you can just open the mold, one handed operation and give it a little shake to release the bullets. Fun as hell.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What about powder coating instead of lube?
 
Posts: 3505 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Borrow and dont return one of Moms large kitchen spoons. Nice for skimming off the refuse atop your melt pot. Removing clips also if useing wheel weights. You'll need a box of paraffin wax cut into small 3/8" square chunks. Drop one into your molten lead and stir it down in. Fluxing. Got book matches near by? Ignite the top of the pot to burn off cyanide gas. Only burns a few seconds. Stir from the bottom up to raise dirt. Your Lee pots valve needle is prone to not seating from time to time. Gets a piece if grit stuck in the pore nozzle. Use a small flat head screw driver in its top slot. Press down and turn the needle to seat it.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
7.62mm Crusader
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quote:
Originally posted by armored:
What about powder coating instead of lube?
45Cal and a few other Members have used this. I like it.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
7.62mm Crusader
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With that, you'll need to pour bullets, not pore them...dang.. Roll Eyes And shame on me for not mentioning Lyman Reloading. Very good quality casting equipment which they stand behind 100%. Great company.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Plowing straight ahead come what may
Picture of Bisleyblackhawk
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I’ve gleaned range scrap after our Cowboy Action shoots (I call them flat lead “quarters” after hitting steel) for many years (6 5 gal. Buckets full) to remelt and cast into bullets. All of my molds are LEE and cast good bullets...everything I cast is now powder coated with Ford Light Blue from Eastwood (it runs around $14 per pound with Amazon Prime and is good to coat thousands of rounds per pound ...search Elvis Ammo on YouTube for a great tutorial). Before I started powder coating I used a mixture of LEE liquid ALOX, Johnson’s past wax thinned with mineral spirits (search 45/45/10 bullet lube)...it’s way less tacky than straight ALOX and works well especially with LEE tumble lube style cast bullet molds. Another option is a water based lube called Rooster Jacket tumble lube if it’s still available (I know many casters who swear by it)...

Keep your molds hot and preheat them before use...

The LEE bullet sizing dies work well...just be sure to lube the bullets before sizing...

You will also get good results from a bottom pour pot...I’m on my 10th year on a LEE 10# pot...

Keep water away from hot lead ALWAYS!!!

I flux my lead with small chunks of candles and mix and skim the dross often...don’t skim the silver topcoat, it’s tin and should be mixed back into the mix when fluxing For a good cast...

YouTube is your friend on all things bullet casting...especially ElvisAmmo and FortuneCookie45LC among others...

Always remember to wear protective gear when casting and cast with good ventilation...

I know all of this may sound complicated but it’s really not (If it was I would fail big time Big Grin)


********************************************************

"we've gotta roll with the punches, learn to play all of our hunches
Making the best of what ever comes our way
Forget that blind ambition and learn to trust your intuition
Plowing straight ahead come what may
And theres a cowboy in the jungle"
Jimmy Buffet
 
Posts: 10144 | Location: Southeast Tennessee...not far above my homestate Georgia | Registered: March 10, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of 45 Cal
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I have done the whole gambit in casting.
Settled on powder coating.
Lube is quite messy from start to finish and cleanup on your 44 mag is a bad bitch.
Started with lee,it will get you by just barley with much fussing and cussing.
RCBS pro melt is a quality pot.
Lyman is a one at the time sizer,ok for a few bullets.
Lyman molds are ok but the better aluminum english made will set you back plenty.
Lees will get you just barely by.Forget their hype about how good they work, its a sales gimmick.
Should you desire to turn out hundreds of your bast bullets to load in the cases get yourself a Starr with air assisted luber ,wax heater and an auto feeder.
Now you can turn out coffee can full in short order.
Then you wind up with about 40 k of assorted caliber bullets and too damn old to shoot much anymore= That would be me.
 
Posts: 22164 | Location: Georgia | Registered: February 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If he's going to get that Star, what do you think about him buying a Magma Engineering casting machine Ralph? Big Grin
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by David Lee:
If he's going to get that Star, what do you think about him buying a Magma Engineering casting machine Ralph? Big Grin


Ha I know a guy who has one,he bought a 1,000 pounds of lead from me to get started a decade back.
 
Posts: 22164 | Location: Georgia | Registered: February 19, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of cxm
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A few comments on casting bullets...

First, you can make lead alloy bullets that will perform as well as or better than factory made bullets... but the secret is consistency!! You must be consistent with each thing you do in the bullet making process.

Second, pistol bullet making is less demanding than rifle bullets... but it still requires care and attention to detail.

Next, casting alloy that is too hard is as bad or worse than alloy that is too soft. Your alloy doesn't need to be extremely hard for good results in pistols and revolvers. Find a copy of Elmer Keith's book "Sixguns." It has a lot of information on bullet casting from one of the old timers who really knew his stuff. Earl Narmore's book is good too. Lyman has a cast bullet book available that is probably the one book you need if you have no others... they also have a book with exclusively loads for cast bullets... another must have.

A casting alloy of 1 part tin to 10 parts lead will produce excellent bullets that are reliable and accurate.

Then always keep in mind you must be very demanding of the quality of the bullets you cast... check each one and if it isn't up to standard it goes back in the pot. Edges should be sharp and there should be no wrinkles or unfilled areas. Be very critical of your product.

Invest in a Star brand bullet sizer... it is a push through type and is MUCH better than those from Lyman, RCBS and the like that are an up-down action which are a lot slower. Magma Engineering now produces the old time Star sizer...

https://www.magmaengineering.c...gma-star-lube-sizer/

If you can afford them get Hensley & Gibbs molds... they are the best available. They are still made by Magma Machine Co.,

https://www.magmaengineering.c...custom-bullet-molds/

Magma makes the H&G molds with as many as eight cavities... not as big as some of the old time H&G molds with 10 cavities, but still gives you high production.

Hope this is of help...

V/r

Chuck


Hoist on High the Bonny Blue Flag that Bears the Single Star!!!

Certified SIG Armorer
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Posts: 1326 | Location: Florida, CSA | Registered: September 02, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What do you think of the "Lyman #2" lead formula?

How hard would I want the lead to be for higher velocity rifle rounds?

I looked at the Star sizer from Magma and was close to purchasing one. I talked myself down thinking that powder coating might be a better option than lube.I could then size with the Lee sizer.

I do like the idea of the cast iron molds.
I bought one 6 cavity Lee mold for 44 to practice with.
 
Posts: 3505 | Location: Chicago, IL, USA: | Registered: November 17, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I cant speak to the #2 mix as I never had knowledge enough to change alloy. I cast either straight wheel weights or 50/50 mix lino type and weights. I do know up in the higher velocity side of things you'll be gas checking your bullets. Its just another cool componant to have on hand when needed. The Lyman book posted above is a must have. BTW, Lyman has a newer version of their casting machine and its digital. Quite nice. If you desire a seriously nice manual melt pot, see the 40 pounder offered by Magma. Heck, I'd but that monster in a nano second.
 
Posts: 16199 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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http://castboolits.gunloads.co...y.php?8-Cast-Boolits

Castoolits Forums.... LOTS of info there. And lots of molds and other gear for sale.
 
Posts: 6917 | Location: Craig, MT | Registered: December 17, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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