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  #16  
Old 04-23-2018, 10:44 AM
Earplug80911

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Casting equipment



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I have burned out three LEE pots. They don't have a thermostat so your constantly having to adjust the heat depending on lead level, temperature of the ingots added to the pot and how fast your casting. Not to mention the valve drips and its held together with sheet metal screws.
I bought a RCBS Pro melter and love it. If you get into casting buy a quality pot.
I use range lead, smelted over a propane turkey fryer.
The lee 6 gang mold is a somewhat serviceable tool. Just about the time you get a good casting rhythm going a screw would work loose for me or a alignment pin will fall out. Don't catch it in time and the soft alloymold gets mangled.
I bought a SAECO/Redding four cavity DEWC mold and its a thing of joy. Classic case of buy once and be very happy.
I did buy a LEE push through sizing kit which works great with the little LEE bench press. Mount it in a vice to save bench space.
I've been powder coating my bullets and its fast, easy and won't smoke up the range. My revolvers don't get covered in lube after a range session.
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2018, 08:45 AM
forrest r

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You're looking at casting bullets for some great calibers. Casting bullets has progressed more in the last 5 years then in the past 100 years. The ability to coat cast/lead bullets is huge!!!!

It all starts with lead, or more importantly lead alloy.

You don't need #2 alloy/hardball alloy to cast bullets with for the calibers you listed.

Hardball alloy in a 40,000psi load for a 308w.
[IMG][/IMG]

A simple formula is the bhn x 1440 ='s the minimum pressure for the load/bullet combo.

Most 38spl/45acp loads like 8/9bhn alloy which needs a minimum of 11,500psi to get the bullet to expand/obturate/seal the bbl.

Casters have used ww (wheel weights) for decades to cast bullets with. They used to be around 12bhn. The newer modern ww's are more like 10bhn. Make a mixture of 1 part ww's to 1 part pure lead and water drop your cast bullets. They will be 10bhn.

I use/shoot nothing but recovered range scrap/shot bullets. Been doing so since 1990. Smelt the range scrap down in #100 lots and get an +/- 9bhn alloy. Free lead and the scrap yard buys the copper jackets paying #2 copper prices.

The local scrapyards also sell lead for $.25 to $.50 a #. I ask how much, they tell me and them I ask about the #1000 price. I've Bought #1000 of lead off of them for $250 several times. In that #1000 there's always plumbers 50/50 (tin/lead) bars, ww's & pure lead along with mystery lead ingots. On the castboolits website there's casters selling clean lead ingots for $1 a #.

You need to look around and see what you can find for lead. Call the recyclers and ask what they are paying for lead. Then call back a couple days later and ask about buying lead. I've put adds on craigslist before and bought a #2000+ of lead and resold part of it turning what I had left into free lead.

Anyway, you need to find a source for lead.

The last thing you want to do is use hardball (16bhn) or lyman #2 alloy (15bhn) for low pressure calibers like the 38spl/45acp.

A link to lead alloys along with a wealth of info on casting.
http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletAlloy.htm
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  #18  
Old 05-07-2018, 09:15 AM
forrest r

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+/- 9bhn range scrap/free lead

Home casters started coating bullets around 1012 and got it figured out by 2013. I started coating my own cast bullets in 2014. I use the dry powder coating & call it pc'ing the bullets.

When I decided to take the plunge into pc'ing bullets I started with the 308w. Tested bullet/load combo's up to 2900fps and 50,000+psi. No coating failure, no leading, time to play.

Traditional cast/lubed/sized bullets
I used to cast a bullet with an alloy that would match the pressure of the loads I was trying to use. I'd size the bullet to fit the cylinders/chambers/ball throats. What happens: You hit the loud button, BANG, the bullets off to the races. As the bullet goes down the bbl the hot gases expand the bullets base. Some of the gas gets by the bullets base/bottom drive band and gets into the grease groove pressurizing that groove. Pushing the lube outward lubing the bore along with forcing the lube forward sealing the front drive band/bands. That pressure also compresses the lube groove squeezing the lube out of it. Is an arch stronger than square corners? The round vs flat grease groove debate. These are recovered bullets, as you can see the grease groove's are compressed. Unfired bullets are at the top.
[IMG][/IMG]

With traditional cast/sized/lubed bullet the reloader would try to match the alloy to the pressure of the load so that that load would seal the bbl, lube the bbl (no leading). Those loads would be more consistent and consistency ='s accuracy. Have a beater 629 and have cast 44cal bullets for decades. I like to plink with it and over the years have tested different cast bullet/powder combo's looking for plinking loads that would do mogb (minute of golf ball) or 1 1/2"/nra x-ring @ 25yds. I had 3 loads that would hold the x-ring with traditional cast/sized/lubed bullet.

PC'ing bullets:
PC acts like a bullet lube. It is already everywhere it need to be. This takes all the bullet ally/bhn out of play. It also take the soft/hard lube, enough lube/too much lube, smoke from the lube out of play. PC'd bullets shoot a lot cleaner. So I took the 9bhn range scrap and cast up 5 different 44cal bullet and 7 different powders that I've already tested in that 629. This time I PC'd the bullets. Same firearm, same, bullets/molds/, same press & dies, same shooter, etc. The only difference was:
pc'd bullets vs traditional cast/lubed/sized bullets.
pc'd bullets ='d 13 loads that would hold the x-ring @ 25yds
[IMG][/IMG]

13 vs 3 with nothing more than range scrap.
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  #19  
Old 05-07-2018, 09:37 AM
forrest r

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+/- 9bhn range scrap/free lead

There are so many custom mold makers out there that make excellent quality molds. WC's are ok but there are a lot of other designs out there. Wc's tend to do better because of the simple fact of case capacity and position sensitive powder. Less case capacity ='s less sd which ='s consistency/accuracy. I like to up the powder and load my wc's long.

Nothing more thanthe actual test targets used for 6-shot groups/test loads using 38spl cases in a s&w 686 357 @ 50ft (not hand/cherry picked by any means).
[IMG][/IMG]

A closeup of the 640's
[IMG][/IMG]

The bullets used in the loads pictured above. The h&g #50 148gr bbwc loaded long/crimped in the middle lube groove. (Lubed to only lube the bottom 2 lube grooves when traditional lube/sizing or accuracy woulld go south from too much lube) The fnhp is a 158gr bullet cast from a mold made by a custom mold maker (mihec 359640) that is crimped in the bottom/lower crimp groove.
[IMG][/IMG]

More bullets cast from a custom mold. These are mihec 640's that weigh 125gr for the 9mm.
[IMG][/IMG]

That combo pictured above, actual test target/10-shot group @ 50ft.
[IMG][/IMG]

And yes the 45acp shoots bugholes also.
[IMG][/IMG]

Nothing more than free 9bhn lead/range scrap and PC
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2018, 09:50 AM
forrest r

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Casting hb bullets:

You ain't gonna blow the skirts off of home cast hb bullets. The caster chooses the alloy. I cast hbwc's for the 32cal/35cal/41cal/44cal/45cal. Had these 35cal hbwc's up to 1200fps+ with no problems.
[IMG][/IMG]

That was an 800fps+ plinking load
[IMG][/IMG]

Try that with a store bought swaged hbwc.

Playing around with hb bullets in the 9mm. A 10-shot test target @ 50yds with the hb bullets in the picture.
[IMG][/IMG]

20,000psi loads in (p+/44spl) in a snubnosed 44spl revolver.
[IMG][/IMG]

The bullet (upper left pictured above) is a hb swc lyman 429422 that I put a hp in with a forster hp tool. The base ain't gonna blow off but it does compress/expand just like the hp does. A side view of that hb hp swc.
[IMG][/IMG]

I have 14 different hb molds and have never had a problem with skirts blowing off of anything. But then again I try to max the loads for any of the hb bullets to 25,000psi max.
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  #21  
Old 05-07-2018, 10:08 AM
forrest r

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If your going to get into casting you should really spend the extra $$$$ and buy good bullet molds. They not only hold their value you will have nothing but excellent quality bullets to use. And can easily sell the mold for more $$$ than you paid for it.

Picked up this modern version of the himmelwright bullet. This bullet can be used in the 9mm's and the 35cal wheelguns. Got 1000+ bullets cast/coated and plan on testing them next month (6-cavity).
[IMG][/IMG]

Those 148gr 35hbwc's cast from a custom mold ( 4-cavity).
[IMG][/IMG]

44cal wc's
[IMG][/IMG]

45cal hb's
[IMG][/IMG]

30cal hp's, used up all the 140gr so I put fn bullets in for the picture/the circle is the size of the hp
[IMG][/IMG]

There's a whole world out there using cast bullets. 95%+ of you shooting can easily be done with nothing more than soft lead alloy/range scrap. It all starts with a melting pot and a source of alloy/lead.

You start casting and not only will you start shooting more than 200 rounds a month. You're shooting skills/reloading knowledge will go off the charts.

good luck
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  #22  
Old 05-07-2018, 01:18 PM
flangster is online now

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Wow. There is a wealth of information/advice there. It's going to take me a while to digest it all. What do you like brand-wise for a quality 38 Special DEWC mold?
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n00by is now flangster on RFC -- still a newbie though
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  #23  
Old 05-07-2018, 01:51 PM
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Smile My experience with casting my own bullets

Flangster;
I don't cast any more, but for years, I did cast all of my 357 bullets for IPSC competition , using a Colelman gasoline stove, a large pot, RCBS 150 gr. SWC mold, and really high-tech stuff: as close as I could get to Lyman #2 alloy, using a mixture of wheelweights, scrounged Linotype metal and 50-50 bar solder. I used a Lee .358 push-through sizer, with the pan lubing stuff they offered...a pan, "cake cutter" and sticky red lube. Cake cutters are akin to hen's teeth nowadays, so I find a fired .375 H&H Magnum brass, with the head cut off serves very well. I went from a pan over a gasoline stove, to a Lee bottom pour pot, then decided for my amount of shooting, buying good-quality commercial bullets would be better.

Now, I use some sort if tumble lube...not Lee...Lars' Liquid Alox 45-45-10 lube, or BLL (Ben's Liquid lube) 60% Alox 40% Johnson's (Discontinued) Liquid Floor Wax to relube my commercially-bought cast bullets.

Now and ALWAYS!: SAFETY FIRST! Clothing: All Cotton or wool! Outer or underwear...synthetic melts and sticks to the skin, causing more severe burns! If a blob of molten lead gets on a cotton or Nomex garment, it will raise the internal temperature enough to melt synthetics. Don't wear the cheaper "Denim" (NOT 100% Cotton)fabrics, which contain a significant amount of synthetic, and will catch fire, as my Nephew found out! At least safety goggles, a face shield will be better. Leather or sturdy cotton gloves...Harbor Freight...if you have one in your neighborhood... has leather welder's gloves for reasonable prices,and a welder's apron that is useful.

Last year, I watched a YouTube presentation by an "expert", who was casting in shorts, a t shirt, and athletic shoes! That is a recipe for DISASTER, IMNHO! Be Properly covered at all times, regardless of the temperature! PLEASE!!! I was casting in my garage one day, when my wife came out to visit, carrying our infant daughter, who was dressed only in a diaper. Unfortunately, the pot chose that instant to erupt! Who knows...water drop, although I had tried to be sure my lead was dry before adding it to the melt...or malign spirit??? Fortunately, I was between the wife and daughter, and nobody was hurt, but I had to change my underwear!
Shoes...boots, if you got 'em, wool or cotton socks, and no gap between the top of the boots and bottom of the pants! Murphy was an optimist!

I can buy a LOT of bullets for what I would have to pay for all the parts and oddments needed to get into casting again, even going as inexpen$ively as I could, but casting is enjoyable, if you decide to try it!

Just one old man's opinion! Good luck and be safe!

Last edited by C.C.; 05-09-2018 at 01:47 PM.
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  #24  
Old 05-09-2018, 03:12 AM
forrest r

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There's nothing wrong with the lee 6-cavity molds for wc's/50ft.

Get a lee push thru sizer .358"
lee 6-cavity mold
lee #20 bottom pour pot
used toaster oven
black airsoft BB's
#5 (recycle # in the triangle) bowl (cool whip bowl)
#1 of pc powder
oven thermoter

You really want to pc your cast bullets. There's no smoke from the fired rounds like you get with traditional lubes. That's a huge plus when shooting indoors. What a 357 looks like after a 200 round range session.

[IMG][/IMG]

A 500+ round range session with a 1911 chambered in 9mm.
[IMG][/IMG]

A look at the 500+ round bbl.
[IMG][/IMG]

1 wet patch (hoppe's #9) & 1 dry patch for cleanup. No brushes/scrubbing/nada
[IMG][/IMG]

When you push pc'd bullets extremely hard in high powered rifles you have to break out the cleaning brushes. Pictures of a 308w bbl taken with a bore scope.
[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

good luck
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  #25  
Old 02-24-2019, 08:35 AM
gunsmith10367

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casting your own

Many years ago when I first got into handloading I used to cast my own pistol bullets, I had a Lee pot with thermostat and always used Lyman molds and a Lyman lube/sizer. When I got married the wife didn't want lead fumes in the house around the children so I reluctantly sold all my casting equipment. I found a local (in state) caster who would ship in Priority Mail boxes to save money. I got him to give me his absolute bottom dollar price which required purchasing 100K bullets which he allowed me to mix-n-match. So I got together with several of my shooting buddies and placed the order, this worked out very well. I also found a caster on the Cast Boolits website who would custom cast small quantities, the arrangement I had with him was that if I wanted something he did not have the mold for I would purchase the mold and send it to him. He would keep the mold as part of the payment for casting the bullets I wanted, this too worked out very well.
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  #26  
Old 07-24-2019, 11:57 AM
Hovannes
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www.castboolits.com is your friend.

My low bucks casting set up:

A piece of metal flashing to protect the wooden picnic table I cast on(scrap from a roofing job) I do my casting outdoors.

An imported cast iron saucepan for melting(less than $10 from CVS, but you get the idea)

An old Coleman two burner propane stove that looks like it fell off a truck(because it did, in fact, fall off a truck and was "rescued.")

Sawdust for flux(scrap from the little bag on my electric miter saw)

A stainless steel long handle slotted spoon for skimming off dross(from Smart & Final, less than $3)

Old leather welding gloves (repurposed, so no cost)

A broken off hickory hammer handle for opening and cutting the sprue (rescued from the trash)

Eye protection(shared with other endeavors requiring eye protection, so no cost)

Lee Dipper---(about $3 but short lived---I strongly recommend getting a real dipper from the likes of Lyman or RCBS---around $30 new, cheaper if used)

Moulds---Lees are very inexpensive and the 2 cavs come with handles, Lyman/Ideal are more costly, even used(look on castboolits) and may or may not come with handles. Lee 6 cav mould handles fit and are inexpensive---that what I mainly use)

Lee sizer/alox lube kit for sizing and tumble lubing---($10-15 IIRC---it's been awhile, purchased through the internet)

For smelting scrap lead---

Cupcake pan---aluminum is good, if steel then a bit of corrosion is good to have as it keeps the "muffin" from soldering it's self to the pan (free if your bride is replacing her old pans, or go to Walmart for aluminum---can be pricey, around $10)

Stainless steel ladle for filling you cupcake ingots (about $3 at Smart & Final)

Make sure to flux scrap lead well!

Last edited by Hovannes; 07-24-2019 at 12:56 PM.
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  #27  
Old 07-25-2019, 06:56 PM
6PtStar
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I used to cast my own, still have the molds. I canít cast them for what these guys sell them for. http://www.brazosprecision.com/ Excellent bullets and will lube or powder coat, what ever I want.
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