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Bullet Casting
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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wiersy111
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:12 pm    Post subject: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

Since the MN winters tend to get long I was thinking of casting bullets. What items are needed to get started? There are plenty of tire shops in the area so lead wheel weights should be no problem. I was kinda looking at a starter kit or if someone can recommend specific components. I'd like to cast for 45-70, 450 Marlin, 45 Long Colt, 45 ACP, 357 Mag, 9MM, and .380. Of course I will get into this slowly. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

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TRBLSHTR
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

Very Happy Get an electric furnace if you can afford it-the (gas fired?)version is a pain in the arse if you are indoors,and provide yourself plenty of ventilation from the lead fumes.You will also want a bullet sizer/lubricator and appropriate dies for sizing the cast bullets to the proper bore size.

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

I'm also interested in starting casting so I'll be following this thread with great interest. I've already decide to build an open faced, and ventilated, box for the furnace. I'll use a fan to draw the air out of the box and vent it outside. That way any fumes will be pulled away from me and any mishaps will be (mostly) contained inside the box.

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:43 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

Here is my 2cents.. FWIW

First, You would need to separate out zinc and steel weights,
and get rid of all the cr4ps that were thrown into the wheelweight buckets from the tyre shop.

Then you need a smelter to transform and uniformly mix and combine your wheel weights.
You may want to add some 50/50 tin solder to increase the tin contents ( to make it better flow into the mold)
Here an old cast iron pot and a gas stove is definitely a good idea.
You would have to smelt outside because it definitely stinks up, with sometimes clouds of obnoxious black smoke.

Once you smelt and mix your stuff, you would then make them into
manageable sized ingots that could be placed into your pouring pot.
I use muffin trays to make round ingots.

I use el-cheapo 10lbs lee pot, but you can use any pot that you can afford or wish to use.

I use sawdust to flux while smelting and common candle to flux while pouring into my mold.

In the USA, some state make lead wheel weights illegal so you may not be able to get lead that way.
You may instead go to your range and "mine the berm"

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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:05 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

I have been casting and helping others get started for a lot of years. First, get the Lyman Cast Bullet Reloading Manual and scan it from cover to cover. I do all my casting outdoors by melting lead in a melting pot on a two-burner Coleman gas camp stove. Wear heavy gloves, eye protection, long sleeved shirt and pants.

Wheelweights are OK and I add some linotype (printer's lead) from the local scrap yard to the mix. I trade old empty brass for an equal weight of linotype. You will need a lead ladle to put lead into the mould, an old spoon to flux the melted lead, some candles for flux and some ingots to make melted lead into little bars. Find a soft old towel to drop the hot bullets onto without damage.

You will need a mould for the specific bullet and handles to hold it (Lee, Lyman and RCBS all make them). Look around some gun shops because I often see used casting stuff for sale cheap. I use a hammer handle from the hardware shop to tap the sprue plate to cut off the sprue from the mould. You will need a luber and sizer (Lyman makes a good one) some lube a top punch and die for the specific bullet. That is about it. Any questions? Here endth the lesson. All the best...
Gil

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fnuser
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

I think it must be viral I've been researching casting bullets as well, This new .411 groove cartridge I've been working on looks like a cast bullet cartridge. new molds are pricey. Hey Gil when puchasing gas checks do you buy for the groove diameter or .001" over like the bullet?

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Joe Boleo
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

I do what Gil does. I do not use gas checks. Take care...
Joe
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wiersy111
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

Someone may have to explain the flux part, I ain't the brightest bulb but the rest sounds easy enough to me. And then there are the gas checks. I understand the concept of gas checks but not the process. It actually sounds like another nice peaceful calm hobby.

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The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

You drop a 'nut' Smile of wax or candle or bulletfat into the molten lead, ignit it to stop the smoke and with your (old) tablespoon bring air into the mixture. Just bring the bottom of the leadmixture to the top and etc.. Then afterwards remove the not-melted parts on top (=trash when you've mixed enough, when you don't mix enough you trow away the Sb now and will get a softer bullet)
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wiersy111
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

I'll probably regret this but....... how big is a "nut"?

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A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America " for an amount of "up to and including my life."

US ARMY RETIRED

The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

Being "Over the Hill" is much better then being under it!
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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

wiersy111 wrote:
I'll probably regret this but....... how big is a "nut"?

how big is your melting pot? Smile
Too much fluxing is not possible because it will never harm. My size of a "nut" here is about halve the size of the top of my little finger. The more you take, the longer it burns and the longer you have to aerate/mix. Once done, always known. It's no big deal but you should not forget to do it.

And to complete your question: there are other 'nuts' that come in all sizes and different shapes. Some of them realy nice looking, others a little 'overdone' by too much fast food... nowadays a good indication is the B.M.I. (as in Body Mass Index).
And now that I'm thinking it over. In my opinion you can do a complete thread on the meaning of "nuts", going from answers american generals gave to germans in Bastogne during WW2, over squirrel feed to parts that get 3X's Smile
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wiersy111
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

What is the ideal size pot? To do the smelting I was thinking of using a cast iron skillet or other cooking pot over a propane cooker. Then for bullet casting I will buy a furnace.

I have been looking at sizing and lube dies, how are the Lee dies compared to Lyman and RCBS?

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A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America " for an amount of "up to and including my life."

US ARMY RETIRED

The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

Being "Over the Hill" is much better then being under it!
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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

I started with an iron pot, propane torch and such a small ladle (and of course the old spoon where I put a handle of wood + the hammer shaft to open the sprue plate). I've used it several years, but once you get to know such an electrical furnace (even the cheap LEE one), you will start to love that valve. Now I don't use the iron melting pot anymore, because such a valve increases the speed, makes the sprue-losses much smaller (and so you have to re-melt less) and once you know luxury its hard to go back.

Why should you want to use 2 melting pots? Just make your mixtures in the electrical furnace. I'm using such a small 500W LEE-pot with a bottomvalve. Works fine for me.

And I have a Saeco press for sizing/lubricating, but I think when you start with a bigger caliber such as the 45/70, you don't need the sizer-lubricator at the beginning. You even can take any lead you can find and use black powder with good results and very low starting costs. Just reprime the 45/70 case, fill it up with BP (rather coarse: 1 or 2 F) and push the bullet on top. For the 45/70 I don't use gass checks, but I put a precut, waxed beer-card between powder and bullet. It works for my muzzle loading Parker Hale Volunteer and also for the 45/70 with BP.
Doing so, you get a lot of experience in a short and cheap way + it's fun!
(you can do the same with cal 12 slugs and BP)

And I use all kinds of dies: Lyman and RCBS are about the same, Saeco might be a little better and LEE is not at all bad. Such a LEE aluminium die heats up much faster, so after 2 or 3 rounds you already have good bullets.
Don't stock too much dies. Before you know it you're planning to built your own dies...
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fnuser
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

hey wiersy,
in th cast bullet world they call jacketed bullets full length gas checks they come 2 ways a crimp on and a simple cup the bullet sits on I haven't gotten any reply's on this or any other site but the more I understand the more I think that they are of groove dia. also I've found a lot of guy's sorry suzanne people are simply shooting them as cast with lube applied manually. They aren't concerned with velocity and a reputable source says if you go .002" over groove dia you can go 1800 before bore leading occurs. however having said this I've also found fiber wads any dia are real cheap. that would soothe any doubts I had. also trailboss seems to be an easy answer to the powder problem if you are shooting a straight case (not bottleneck) the load formula is very simple. otherwise a lot of fast powders are being used but some seem to be more position sensitive then others this is cured by using various fillers to hold the powder against the primer. I'm still poking around I'll keep you posted on anything I find relevant.

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Joe Boleo
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet Casting Reply with quote

wiersy111,
You will be better off with a lead melting pot from any of the shooting supply houses. A skillet may not be a good idea and the hot molten lead mixture is very heavy. The lead melting pots sit nicely on my Colman camp stove. I use heavy long-handled pliers to lift the pot off the stove to make ingots and to empty it when I am done casting.

Like Gil, I flux the molten lead with a bit of candle wax. How large a piece is a personal preference thing. A few slivers of candle wax usually ignites atop the lead in a few seconds. Then I slowly stir the spoon around the mixture and scrape off the impurities that come to the surface and drop them on the ground. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let even a single drop of water or any liquid come into contact with the molten lead. The resulting reaction sprays hot lead all over the place and is very dangerous.

Regarding gas checks, I have never used them for handgun or rifle bullets. Just mix some linotype with the wheelweights to make a good hard bullet. My brother drops the newly cast bullets into a bucket of water to quench and harden the bullets. Either with or without the water quenching, I do not get leading in any of the bores. Take care...
Joe
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