View Full Version : want to cast
October 5, 2010, 06:29 AM
I would like to piddle with casting my own pistol balls and was wondering if the list below would be a good start. I have seached the forum a bit and come up with this list. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to input.
Lee 2-Cavity Bullet Mold (451 Diameter) Round Ball
Lyman Big Dipper Furnace Starter Kit (ingot mold,dipper,lube,book)
Ney Certified 20 to 1 Bullet Casting Alloy Ingot (20 Parts Lead to 1 Part Tin) Approximately 7.45 lbs Average Weight
Lee 2-Cavity Bullet Mold (490 Diameter) Round Ball
Frankford Arsenal Utility Box UB-36 Plastic Blue
Frankford Arsenal CleanCast Lead Fluxing Compound 1 lb
October 5, 2010, 06:34 AM
that would do it....gotta start somewhere.
October 5, 2010, 07:40 AM
I am casting bullets pretty much every month and I do some things with my technique that others find a little quirky.
The one thing I do which is very difficult to defend is that I pay close attention to the size of the balls that come out of the mold. I have gotten to the point where I almost don't know what mold I am using but more what is the diameter of the balls. (I only use roundballs).
The only reason I am including this verbose preample is that I am recommending that eventually you may want to develop a way to segregate your roundballs by size. I got hold of four cups from the Chinese joint down the street. I marked them .375, .451, .454 and .457. Up to about two or three weeks ago, I was storing balls in these containers based upon the average size of the ball. (Balls in the .451 cup might be anywhere from .449 to .452 or so.) I believe that I have come to the decision that I should be storing the balls based upon the maximum size instead. (.451 cup will contain no ball larger than .451 and so forth.) I think this will help my loading process.
My point is that you may find that you need more than one of those boxes, if it is your intention to use them for storing bullets. On the other hand, if you have need for only one caliber of bullet, you only really need one box.
It is very likely that I am over focusing on the size of the balls I am casting and that the actual effect on the performance is minimal.
I like your choice of Lee molds because they: 1) are aluminum and make less scrap (careful....that is only my opinion and observation) and 2) caste an essentially sprewless ball.
October 5, 2010, 08:07 AM
Thanks for the info. I have four of those boxes in mind. Oce i get up and running i am sure i will more questions. On a side note my last post on the pietta barrel, would you have any ideas why the barrel split.
October 5, 2010, 09:13 AM
The only things I would change would be a 454 mold and pure lead.
October 5, 2010, 09:28 AM
What Noz said. And I, too, like the Lee molds a lot, for the same reasons as Doc.
I've got the same Lyman kit and it works just fine for me. I'm not in any big rush to crank out loads of bullets, so the dip and pour method works just fine for me.
October 5, 2010, 10:08 AM
I think that ten pounds is a good furnace size and I like a ladle that is not too big. A big ladle means more molten lead to spill and increased chances of injury. The one in that kit appears right.
October 5, 2010, 10:19 AM
I would solicit the thoughts of others on this but my thought is too much pressure for the barrel to withstand. Kind of obvious I think but using that logic you arrive at two possibilities.
1) a weakness in the barrel because of some defect
2) an over pressure in the barrel which I would attribute to a problem during loading.
I am assuming that the barrel was clear of obstructions.
This is where I really need the advice of others.....but if the pistol had been fired and for one reason or another the round did not clear the muzzle (Bore foul in Navy parlance) and then subsequently fired again, the effect is an over pressure in the barrel (I think). It certainly is on a five inch fifty four.
Some might say, "How in the world can you discharge the pistol and not have the round exit the barrel?!" It happens....I happened to me on a .36 cal Signature series 1861 Colt and it was only dumb luck that prevented me from destroying the pistol with a second shot. It scared me so much I don't like shooting that pistol any more. You know....Evil Spirits and such.
October 5, 2010, 11:24 AM
+1 on what Noz said. Skip the 20/1 and go for pure lead and a .454 mold.
October 5, 2010, 11:29 AM
denster beat me to it. For C&B pistols, using pure soft lead is a safety factor. Forget the alloy. Going with a Lyman melter is nice if you have the budget for it. I reluctantly use a Lee. Bottom pour is an exercise in futility, I dip and cast.
October 5, 2010, 01:47 PM
I just started casting my own balls and was asking a lot of the same questions. I had bought a Lee production pot IV about 15 yrs ago and had never used it until 3 wks ago. I bought the Lee .454 2 cavity mold and it works fine. I have been looking for sources for pure lead scrap. It is much cheaper if you find that rather than buy ingots for sale. Just make sure that what ever you do you use pure lead. I just went out to the range last Saturday and shot my own castings for the first time and they worked well in my Pietta. I had purchased the Frankfort flux; but will never use it again, because it leaves a lot of sticky gummy crud in the sides of the pot that is hard to get out. I have been using candle wax which is better but it does give off a lot of smoke and flames up for a minute or so so make sure that you are outdoors with good ventilation which you should be doing any way.
If you can find scrap roof jacks or flashing you can melt them down in a larger pot over a camp stove and they are a good source of pure lead. A casting thermometer is helpfull. Make sure that you cover your eyes and face and wear heavy gloves (I use welder gloves). I have gotten a lot of casting help from the fourms at http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ and also here. Good luck
October 5, 2010, 07:16 PM
Another vote for .454 balls and pure lead or stick on wheel weights which are 99.5% pure.
October 9, 2010, 10:49 PM
Hello, monte 98, With that outfit, you will be light years ahead of what I started with. I was only 15, Dad just bought me a well used Navy Arms .36 1851 navy revolver. Went to local gunshop, bought dbl. cavity Lyman .375 r.b. mould. Out in barn, we had an old cast iron wood fired range, had to get a pretty hot fire going to melt that soft scrap lead in a little 10 lb. cast-iron plumbers pot. Funny thing about them old wood stoves... The main lid..front, left, had a smaller removable lid in center, when removed, the "ears" on that little pot would rest in the "counter-bore" & pot fit was very close. Almost like thay had planned it that way? I learned how to run ball & graduated up to .30-40 Krag, .38-55, .38 spec. & .22 cast bullets, before I "got modern" & bought a little 10lb. SAECO outfit. Now days, I have two Lyman 20 pounders, I still prefer the dipper, as I have less rejects. Best of luck!
October 9, 2010, 11:48 PM
Another vote for bigger balls and soft lead.
Not to worry about the balls being too big for your barrel. With soft lead, the balls will be "sized" as they are rammed into the cylinder. The bigger the ball (within reason) the more of a lead donut/halo will come off.
October 10, 2010, 06:42 AM
I started at 12 on moms stove with a bean can.
October 12, 2010, 06:51 PM
I did go with the .454 cal lyman and a conical plus a 50 cal. ball and a r.e.a.l. bullet mold. Me and my daughter made a practice run and i must say i am impressed. need to research a litle more to find out what to look for as far as a badly made bullet. Any insight is greatly appreciated
October 12, 2010, 07:03 PM
Oh, you are off to the races. You are hooked. Your daughter too, poor kid. There is no turning back now!
My bullets come out nice and shiny. Obviously there should be no voids in the surface.
If you get to weighing and measuring the balls you will find they are relatively consistent. You get this consistency by using the same metal, applying the same pressure to the mold as you hold it closed and getting into a casting rythm which is the same from bullet to bullet.
November 5, 2010, 05:32 PM
I only cast roundball with pure lead -- no tin. To ensure good fillout I keep the lead at around 900 degrees. It works great! When making bullets for .45 Colt, for example, I use wheelweight lead with maybe a little tin added and I keep it at about 750 degrees.
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