View Full Version : Thinking of joining the Casting crowd!
June 6, 2010, 06:41 AM
Really wanting to step up to the big bore rifles (.400 Whelen, .404 Jeff, .416 Rigby or .458 Lott) and thinking I need to start casting. From what I've read the big bore stuff lead shoots as fast as jacketed stuff and would save me a lot of money in the long run. I used to manage a tire store for 7 years so I'm in pretty good there to get all the wheel weights I'd ever need in a couple of trips to my old shop.
I've never shot cast boolits before but I do have 20 rounds of .375 JDJ running 300 grain LFN GC from and LBT mold that my buddy sent me to try. Plus I have another friend who is going to cast me some 220 grain RNGC for my .30-40 Krag to try. Plus I have a .358 Win .35 Whelen and .357 Mag that I think I'd be able to cast for as well.
I've been trying to put together a list of equipment. Pretty much decided on a Lee melting pot after reading all the reviews on it and will probably go with the 20lb model as it is only around $10 more than the 10lb pot. Pan lubing sounds the easiest to start since I've been looking at Lee again for sizing dies for the boolits as I could use it in the press I already own, is this a good idea or should I get a Lyman press and dies? The only thing I can't find out on the Lee dies is how to seat the gas checks can I do it with these dies or is there a seperate step for it?
Couple of other questions on equipment will the mold handles interchange or will I need to buy a set to match the molds I'm using ie RCBS, Lyman, Lee? Didn't like the looks of the Lee dipper but RCBS and Lyman had a good looking one. Do I need to get an ingot mold or should I just go to good will and buy used muffin tins? I'll need to get some flux and safety equipment as well and do alot of research on the molds I'll want.
Right now for molds I think the 265 gr FNGC will work for my .375 Ruger and JDJ but would love to try the 300 grain LBT spitzer. I'd like a 225 and 250 gr spitzer/semi spitzer for my .358 and Whelen. What would you all recomend for a good all around mold for a .357 Mag? Then I'd like a 150/170 gr for my .30-30 and a 200+ gr mold for my .30-40 as well.
Haven't built my big bore yet, still gathering parts and am pretty much down to just finding the right deal on a barrel. I'm leaning more towards the Lott so what are some good .458 molds?
June 6, 2010, 08:13 AM
The very best advice I can give you, Buy the Lyman cast Bullet Book, You don’t need to Buy Lyman equipment, But the book will cover all your questions in detail, it also has all the load information you will need, After the book , go to the forms you will pick up a lot of good info on here as well as others, The Lee 20 pound bottom pour is differently the best pot for the Money. You do want to keep your ingots clean, if you get much trash in the Lee pot it will drip. As to flux, you can buy commercial flux , they smoke a little less but present problems of there own, most guys use a pea size chunk of wax, but saw dust a paint stick or even motor oil will flux your mix, As to the dipper, I use the Lee they are cheap and all I use it for is fluxing.
June 6, 2010, 03:10 PM
taylorce1, wow that's a lot of ????¿!. Lets see if I can help.
I've been trying to put together a list of equipment. Pretty much decided on a Lee melting pot after reading all the reviews on it and will probably go with the 20lb model as it is only around $10 more than the 10lb pot.
That's a good choice, I love mine. It is a re-design of the 10 pounder, to make the valve a straight shot down to the valve seat.
Pan lubing sounds the easiest to start since I've been looking at Lee again for sizing dies for the boolits as I could use it in the press I already own, is this a good idea or should I get a Lyman press and dies? The only thing I can't find out on the Lee dies is how to seat the gas checks can I do it with these dies or is there a seperate step for it?
Pan lubing can work, it's just a mess and takes a long time. You have to have a cake cutter, that can be a fired and unsized shell that you plan on loading. (you have to cut the head off to get the bullet out, so make sure it's a junk case).qThe lee push through sizers work quite well. The only problem is; they're not available in as many sizes as the Lyman or RCBS. They will seat gas checks easily, simply slip the check on, then run it through the sizer.
Couple of other questions on equipment will the mold handles interchange or will I need to buy a set to match the molds I'm using ie RCBS, Lyman, Lee
Lee 1 and 2 cavity molds come with handles, they cannot be removed. The Lee 6 cav molds need separate handles. The Lyman molds have separate handles as well, AND you have different handles for 1-2, and 4 cav. molds. IIRC the Lyman handles also work for the RCBS molds.
Didn't like the looks of the Lee dipper but RCBS and Lyman had a good looking one. Do I need to get an ingot mold or should I just go to good will and buy used muffin tins? I'll need to get some flux and safety equipment as well and do alot of research on the molds I'll want.
Get a Lyman ingot mold or 3. They come in real handy for changing alloy. The Lee dipper is fine for stirring the melt when fluxing, but NOT for pouring bullets. get the Lyman bottom pour dipper, it pulls metal from UNDER the surface of the lead, so it minimizes dirt getting in the bullet. The lee bottom pour pot can be used as a dipper OR a bottom pour pot. Some of the bigger bullets benefit from being dipper poured, with the nipple of the dipper held tight against the sprue plate. That allows the bullet to pull metal from the dipper as it cools. A couple of seconds held there, then pull away to form a sprue puddle.
Flux can be any carbon bearing material. Candle wax, paraffin, wood sticks, sawdust. Stay away fro powdered flux like marveluxe. It is hygroscopic, draws moisture from the air. It'll ruse out a pot in the matter of a year in a humid climate.
June 6, 2010, 08:58 PM
Welcome to the asylum. Kept my casting stuff boxed up for over a year and finally took the plunge several months ago. You're gonna love those shiny new boolits! I'm assuming you've read the stickies and a few other threads. I'm a newbie caster and the other posters will have better info but it seems to me you're off to a good start. I think we all have equipment from multiple mfgs, they all make good stuff. Some better for some purposes than others.
June 7, 2010, 09:06 AM
Thanks for the replies. Orderd the Lyman book off of Amazon last night. I think I'll go with the Lee equipment for sizing and I'll probably get a couple of their molds to start with. Thinking I'll start out with a .357 caliber mold and maybe a .375 or .358 caliber for my rifles to start.
June 7, 2010, 09:29 AM
You need to stop thinking about it and jump right in. You're missing a good deal of enjoyment by not casting. I cast for all my pistols and most of my rifles.
You mentioned some pretty heavy calibers. Calibers like the 416 Rigby and 458 are really over kill for hunting in this country, but are great rifles and need to be shot. Bullets are pricy, and they are punishing, (or are for a wimp like me).
So, for me anyway, casting is the answer. Its a pleasure to plink away with my 416 Rigby with a load of Tailboss pushing a cast bullet (mine pushes a 350 grn cast bullet right at about 1360 FPS. Its fairly accurate and would make a good hunting round for deer size animals at reasonable ranges.
Another benifit is the cost, in todays economy, you can get more bang for the buck shooting cast loads.
Good for getting kids shooting also. I built my grandson a 308 for hunting. I load up cast bullets pushed with trailboss and he's learning to shoot instead of learnig to flinck.
Cast bullets are also great for practicing you HP shooting in the winter. I use to load cast bullets for my M1A & M1, shooting indoors during the winter at 50 Ft NRA Small bore targets. Great way to keep in shape during the off season.
June 8, 2010, 06:06 AM
I'm taking your advice! Went over to Cast Boolits forum and registerd and put up a WTB add for used equipment. So far I've got the Lee 10 lb bottom pour pot given to me, another cast iron pot, ingot moulds, and dipper for smelting I've agreed to purchase, and some wax and bullet lube donated as well.
Just orderd three moulds off Midway .358 158 grain and .309 170 gr FN and 200 gr RN all on clearance picked up a .358 and .309 Lee sizers and .30 cal gas checks all for $120 delivered.
Looks like I should be up and running before too long.
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