View Full Version : Looking into casting
October 25, 2010, 03:47 PM
I have really enjoyed reloading and I am looking to casting as well.
What I think I want is to be able to hard cast for the 45 and the 44 but I am not sure about the others.
I have been thinking about the Lyman casting kit that comes with the press and furnace.
I have also been thinking about RCBS molds
So what do I need to know before I jump in and what are your thoughts on equipment, what is a wast of time and what is a good deal.
October 25, 2010, 07:04 PM
I love casting. I am no expert, but have learned enough that its basically all I shoot anymore. Unfortunatly, this week I'll have to site the 243's back in for jacketed hunting loads, but then they'll go right back to the cast loads again. This will be the first non-cast loads I've shot since last hunting season. 30-30's and 30-06's will stay with cast loads.
I have a 10lb Lee furnace, but am thinking of going to a Lyman or RCBS 20lb this winter. I think it would be better and stay more consistant.
I like all the Lee molds for pistols, but really like Seaco and RCBS and then Lyman in that order.
Just get you some clip on WW and melt them down. Thats all you need. If you want, you can put a little tin in it, but I never do except my 30 cal hunting boolits this year.
In my guns,
45 auto = shoots fine with a light-medium charge with plain WW alloy
44 mag = light chrges without a gas check
medium towards heavy charge with a gas check
heavy charge with a gas check and oven heat treated
308 = Aint done much with it yet, but I think my 150-30 SP RCBS would work good.
This is all with plain WW alloy and works for me. You can mix how you wish. I rarely have lead in the barrel, and if I do its in certain pistols. I'm sure others have different thoughts and more experience. If you think you will like it now and try it, you will LOVE it.
October 25, 2010, 11:01 PM
I got into casting mere months ago because I couldn't find decent boolits for my 45-70 BPCR. I sprang for Lyman moulds but think I'll go for Lee moulds when/if I do more pistol boolits. Pot is Lee, as is the hardness tester kit. Thermometer is a Lyman, as is the lubrisizer. I bought all this stuff a couple of years ago but finally jumped in.
Don't hesitate, jump in! Just as reloading became an enjoyable facet of shooting for you casting boolits will enhance your reloading enjoyment. I know you've been hanging out here, the real fun starts when you drop your first shiny boolits out of the mould. :D:D
October 25, 2010, 11:32 PM
I just read the sticky at the top and it was quite informative.
I am thinking about using some of my cast bullets for self defense in my 44 mag and I need them to perform well against any 4 legged critter I might come up against. Moose as well as bear are common where I archery hunt. I will also be using the 54 cal BP for hunting every thing from deer to Moose as well.
I am just not sure what mix of lead I need to accomplish this. The 45 I carry as a ccw but I am not sure I am opposed to using cast in it, at least I don't see a reason why I should not at any rate. Is there a reason I should not carry cast for self defense?
October 26, 2010, 02:18 AM
WW will work fine for your 45 and 44. For the 308, I would suggest a little harder lead. A mix of tin to wheel weight or linotype to ww. For your BP, use straight lead (lead pipe or stick on ww) it is softer and will be much easier to load down the muzzle.
October 26, 2010, 05:06 AM
Go here,everything you want to know about casting bullets,these guys are even paper patching .223 dia.cast bullets.
October 26, 2010, 07:43 AM
The link above is a very good source for casting, however I would strongly suggest anyone thinking of casting to buy a copy of the Lyman or other cast bullet manuals.
As mentioned as long as you stay with in mid-range loads WW will be fine, and even rifle with gas check molds.
As to molds and casting equipment, only you know how much money you want to put into it. I prefer Lyman molds, and the Lyman Lube/sizer, others go cheaper and some much higher, If you go with the Lee 4-20 pot its about 1/6th the price of an RCBS pot, as to molds, there again you can save some real money with Lee molds and Lee tumble lube sizing dies.
I know that many may disagree with this, but if you do go with the Lyman Lube/ sizer, many of the none tumble lube Lee bullet molds will not hold enough lube for my liking, Lyman and RCBS, as well as other none Lee molds, are made for a Lyman type Lube/sizer and work much better in the lube / sizer.
Lee molds are Tumble lube and non-tumble lube, but the lee non tumble lube bullets I have used over the years have had shallow lube rings, and lubed better with the tumble lube method better.
October 26, 2010, 11:56 AM
I think the package I am looking at has the Lyman book in it. And if I do get the set for X-mas then I will have time to read the Manuel over my winter break. But on the down side I might not have time to cast till school is out in the spring:( Hopefully I can stock up on lead though, that way when school is out I will have time to cast while I am looking for a job. It's amazing my wife puts me through school and then thinks I should get a job when I am done, go figure.
I just book marked the above web site I will dive into it later today.
October 26, 2010, 01:43 PM
I would start scrounging and stocking up on lead as soon as possible, the last WW I got from the tire shop had a lot of steel and stick on weights in it, the stick on ones are almost pure lead, and great for muzzle loader, but need too be hardened up some for most everything else, Lead is getting hard to come by in some parts of the country. And I know the scrap dealers I once bought lead from, now have contracts to fill and will not sell to the guy on the street. Even tire shops are starting to shy away from selling them.
I went to a bullet trap and recycle all my lead now.
October 26, 2010, 08:52 PM
Lyman has a new cast bullet manual coming out, hopefully in time for Christmas. +1 on hornady's equipment choices, guess we have similar goals. Your goals may be different but once you identify them the equipment choices get easier.
Gotta warn you, this stuff is addictive. Gather up your lead, pick up your equipment on the cheap but stay focused on the schoolwork. :D
October 26, 2010, 10:02 PM
I started casting in the late 60's on the kitchen stove. I still have my old Lyman pot and dipper.
These days I cast using two electric melting pots simultaneously. With only one pot, it seems just when you get your rhythm going you run out of lead. Add more lead, and you have to wait for the pot to get back up to temp and the mold cools down in the process. With two pots, one is for casting while the other comes up to temp -- minimum down time and less frustration maintaining temp.
October 26, 2010, 10:18 PM
Good idea on the two pots. I like it, makes sense.
October 26, 2010, 10:46 PM
I am a garage caster, one 10 pound pot and a couple of moulds, Lee Liquid Alox lube and Lee push through sizers. I have fun with it, wqhich to me is goal number one, and I produce boolits, (proper castboolit.gunloads.com speak) that shoot well in all my firearms. It adds one more variable in the reloading equation, making experimentation just that much more fun. :)
castboolits.gunload.com is a GREAT resource, as is this forum. get the Lyman cast bullet handbook, and go slow, but have fun!
October 27, 2010, 07:17 AM
I thought I would add a side bar to this, I have posted this on a couple other forms, I have been using the Lee 4-20 electric pot for the last few years, Like most other lee pots it dribbles, I have tried several ways to stop this.
Well some times the simplest method works best.
I took a 45ACP case de-primed it, primer pocket down it snaps onto the pot flow stem, I then filled the case with lead, on the last two castings the dribble problem is solved. Not saying this will work on every Lee 4-20 pot, but has so far on mine.
October 27, 2010, 11:17 PM
My Lee pot doesn't drip, I opted out on the spout and went with KISS and a couple of ladles. ;)
October 28, 2010, 07:32 AM
Casting much like reloading, it would be hard too find two guys that use the same practice for accomplishing the same results, I use mainly Lyman 4 cavity molds and the bottom pour pots just work better for me.
Like most I started out ladle pouring, moved up to the Lee 10 pound bottom pour, and now have the Lee 4-20, and am seriously considering the $400.00 RCBS.
But much like the auto progressive presses, they to are not right for everyone.
You just need to realistically look at what you expect of you equipment and needs.
It just seems with the Lee pot, they could put a better mold guide, which is something else I needed to modify for my needs.
It just seems Lee could correct the two major complaints of there bottom pour pots at little expense, that being the mold guide and the dripping.
October 28, 2010, 09:39 AM
I can keep mine from dripping usually by running a paper clip up the hole, but I prefer a little drip cause it seems like I have less problems that way. The spout tries to freeze once in a while without the little drip. Maybe its just me.
October 28, 2010, 10:28 AM
I am honestly looking at it as a means to learn another self reliance skill, so I don't need to rely on some one else for something, and also a way to hord without spending tons of money.
Would it be possible to by pass the furnace and just use a thermometer and a heat source? Or is the lead to sensitive to heat change?
October 28, 2010, 10:47 AM
Would it be possible to by pass the furnace and just use a thermometer and a heat source? Or is the lead to sensitive to heat change?
All I've ever used is a little coleman propane camp stove and no thermometer. As long as you keep an eye on things, it's pretty easy to maintain a good melt and casting temp. Never used a casting furnace--never saw a need to since the camp stove does exactly what I need it to.
October 28, 2010, 12:03 PM
October 28, 2010, 09:40 PM
If it means anything, thats the main reason I got into casting. So I wouldnt have to buy someone elses bullets.
I love making my own stuff no matter what it is. I'm still basically new to casting, but my pistols have ALL been 100% homemade, cast fed for about 5 or 6 years. I've been into rifle casting for a year, and in the next couple days when I sight the 243's back in for deer hunting, they will be the first condom bullets I've shot since last hunting season.
My 30-30's will NEVER shoot anything but cast again and I would have to really think long about it before I switch my 30-06's back to jacketed. The 243's shoot excellent with cast boolits (3/4" @ 100yds), but I'm not sure if I want to chance them for deer hunting even with the 100gr boolits. Great for varmints tho.
The down side is you give up a little speed and a little range, but it puts more sport into the hunting part of it.
It is a very addictive hobby for some (I'm guilty) but can be VERY rewarding if you like to make your own stuff. Being fairly new to it, I make 20 different boolit styles for 9 different calibers. I stay pretty busy, but theres still several more molds I want. Its never ending.
On second thought, scratch everything I just said, you probly better not even start.:D
October 28, 2010, 10:29 PM
I’ve been casting longer than I can remember, but only pistol bullets. Started when I was completion shooting many years back. I’ve used everything from pure lead to linotype and a bunch in between. It all shot fine.
A little advice; Go for broke. Get a good furnace and use steel molds. The aluminum ones don’t hold up. Get you a sizer like the Lyman. Use two molds when you cast and make sure they are at least 4 cavity. Set aside the time to do a bunch bullets at a setting. Extras can always be stored to be sized, lubed and shot years later. Slug your guns bores and size appropriately. Have fun....
October 28, 2010, 10:51 PM
Great points, hornady. I got into reloading several months ago because I couldn't seem to buy a decent 45-70 cast bullet. My first attempts were many levels better than the bullets I could find. Funny thing, if I could buy bullets as good as my boolits I'd still be casting. I'm casting three boolits now, will add a mould or two this winter. Seems a second furnace will join me this winter as well. ;)
I don't think hoarding is part of my motivation, OP. It's about the satisfaction of having a generous supply of high-quality boolits that I can be proud of. I'm not a high-volume loader or caster but all my products are as good as I can possibly get them, prettier than anything I can buy. Stockpiling lead is just thinking forward and anticipating changes in the market. I happen to need a thousand pounds or so of lead to weigh down my gunsafes. ;) If they happen to be high quality boolits I'm OK with that. Can't be too careful, can we? :D
October 28, 2010, 11:03 PM
Good points, Hog Buster. All my equipment will outlast me. I like my Lyman moulds and sizer but think I may try a Lee mould before long. Richard Lee makes a pretty good case for them but he's a relentless self-supporter. Seems our camp is divided between Fe and Al moulds and I feel both types must have their strong points. May boil down to casting styles and individual preferences but I'll have to decide that for myself, just like you did.
October 28, 2010, 11:30 PM
I was either going to get a Lyman or an RCBS mold, I was thinking about a two cavity but I would really like to have the 4 cavity.
October 29, 2010, 11:47 PM
If you can take the time to read Lee's manual, he makes a good case for aluminum dies. I don't agree with all of his reasoning but he knows more about reloading and bullet casting than any of us. OTOH he's a relentless self-promoter so I take his articles with a grain of salt. Good stuff, tho.
Is the new Lyman manual out yet?
October 30, 2010, 12:34 AM
Aluminum molds don’t hold up for me. Cutting hard cast sprues beats them up. They’re almost impossible to rework or polish. Of course they’re cheap and easily replaced, not so for steel molds. Some aluminum molds cast undersized bullets. Not good when your bullet is .356 and your bore slugs .357. Not all of ‘em cast round bullets either. Some are more of an oval, not good either. In their favor.... they sure reach casting temperature quick. If you are like me you’ll have to give them a try and see how they work. At least there’s not a lot of expense involved in giving them a shot, unlike most things in reloading.
October 30, 2010, 10:03 AM
I just wanted to be fair, Hog Buster. I've had excellent results with my Lyman moulds but some folks seem to like Lee's aluminum moulds. You're right, I'll probably buy one to give it a try. Thinking about a 6 cavity 45 acp mould, probably a 200gr SWC. I'll let you know when it's appropriate to say "I told you so!". ;)
Gonna do a bit of smelting today, not many days in TX start out in the 30's. :D
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