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Old August 13, 2008, 10:04 AM   #1
playtheblues
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casting bullets

Casting came up on the powder preference thread. I have been thinking about casting bullets and fishin' weights as I use a LOT of both. Using fishing weights up to 3 to 5 ounces, weights get expensive QUICK. Bullets on the other hand, at least the round balls I shoot, are VERY INEXPENSIVE at $7 a hundred or so. Is there a particular reason you folks like to cast your bullets as the molds only make, what, two at a time? Seems like a mighty time consuming process to save pennies. Believe me, I want to hear many pros to casting your own. Why don't they make molds to cast dozens at the time? Sound off, folks!
Bill in SC
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Old August 13, 2008, 10:28 AM   #2
Raider2000
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I've been casting my own .457, .495, .530 Balls & .430/205, .458/405 for over 20 years & part of it is ofcorse the fact that you can get Bulk Lead from a many of sources for pennies compared to buying boxed Balls or bullets, the other is that it is a relaxing experience for me where when I turn my lil stove on & put my pot on I'm in another state of mind not only because you have to pay attention to what you are doing while casting but also because that is how all of our fore fathers done it 150 & so years ago & I like knowing that I'm also contiuning the cycle.

BTW.

Even when I purchase my lead it's maybe $.50 a pound & it takes a tad over 2 pounds to cast 100 .457's, Gander Mountain here has them for $10.00 a box, even at the normal going rate of $2.00 a pound for lead you're still saving big time.
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Old August 13, 2008, 10:30 AM   #3
okiefarmer
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Casting your own is only gonna pay if you shoot enough to justify the cost of the "new" mold needed for the new projo. If you don't shoot more than 100-200 rb a year, and the time involved in casting them is a hindrance to you (I actually enjoy it) the I wouldn't incur the extra expense. Shooting smokeless however is a different story, especially if it is auto-loading; I have yet to go out blasting, either at the farm pond or the range where I haven't dumped at least 100 rounds. Casting is a no brainer here. I already have tons of lead, both pure and WW, and I still watch for good deals on moulds from time to time at auctions, dealers, or pawn shops.

Multi cavity molds are gonna naturally be pricier that two holers, what is your time worth. Like I said, if'n ya don't enjoy it in the first place, don't get into it. You can make more bullets in an hour than you think even with a two holer.

I will be on the "pro" side of argument here for casting, and I doubt you et many cons, especially on a reloading board, but with the increased cost of bullets (despite lead cost coming back down, retail costs will likely stay up) it makes more sense now than ever to roll yer own from start to finish.

YMMV,
Okie out

Last edited by okiefarmer; August 13, 2008 at 03:14 PM.
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Old August 13, 2008, 11:11 AM   #4
Hawg
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I cast my own both bp and smokeless. I use double cavity molds. It takes a little more time but the six cavity molds are a lot more expensive. My .58 minie ball molds are single cavity and my traditional minie ball mold is a two piece which is even more time consuming but I enjoy doing it.
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Old August 13, 2008, 01:53 PM   #5
Spur0701
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I cast about 500 230 g RN for .45 ACP reloads this past weekend, it took a couple of hours using a Lee six cavity mould, but then I'm kind of a newbie and not efficient as some others.

Brass is range pick ups and once fired from newly bought ammo from back in the day. I'm using Unique (not sure how much that was, I think it was $60 for 5 lbs when I bought it last) and surplus Russian Unique ($45 for 5lbs not including hazmat and shipping) so the 5.5 g per load is pretty cheap (7000 g per lb I think). Primers are .02 I guess. I tumble lube with Johnson's Paste Wax, which is $7 for a big can that I may use up sometime in the next few years. My wheel weights are free, the bottom pour Lee lead pot and mould I use are paid for by the savings already.......same for the reloading equipment......I don't count my time though.....you know what they say....."....you won't spend any less, you'll spend more, but you'll shoot a lot more....."
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Old August 16, 2008, 11:39 AM   #6
salvadore
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I cast 3 or 4 thousand bullets a year, maybe 1000 from single cavity moulds. You can use two at a session once you get them up to speed. I use to cast more like 10,000 bullets a year before the ready accessability of quality commercial cast bullets. If you have a SAA Colt with a .434 chamber and a .427 bore like I do, you have to cast to get any kind of accuracy.
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Old August 16, 2008, 03:58 PM   #7
4V50 Gary
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I cast my own round balls and minie balls because it's cheaper than buying them. The minie ball molds are all one bullet at a time and with exception of the .457 round ball that casts two bullets (my brother lost my four bullet mould), they're also one bullet.
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Old August 18, 2008, 11:27 PM   #8
Evil Dog
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Currently I cast about 14 different size round ball ranging from .323" to 1.70". Most are to stock the shelves at the Trade Tent my wife takes on the local rondezvous circuit. A bottom pouring electric pot (RCBS) and multiple cavity molds are a definite plus. I personally prefer steel molds.. either Lyman or RCBS. Four cavity molds when available. Unfortunately once you get larger than .500" though single cavity molds seem to be the only choice and really slow things down.

Just in case you are wondering, the 1.70" ball is for my "golf ball" bore half scale Napoleon cannon. 1 pound "cannon ball" fishing weights (1.70") work just fine.
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Old August 20, 2008, 08:10 PM   #9
Smithy145
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casting

I cast for both bp and smokless. .490 round balls for rifles and .452 for .45 ACP. Don't know if its cheaper but it is fun.
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Old August 20, 2008, 08:26 PM   #10
Hawg
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I currently cast .454 round balls, .429's for my 44-40's and .44 spcls., 452's for my .45 ACP, .577 minies in two flavors, .50 conicals in three flavors for my Hawken. Can't think of anything else I'm currently casting for.
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Old August 22, 2008, 12:35 PM   #11
Guardian Angel Mors
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I started some week ago to cast my .452 for the .45 Colt cartridges and just because I can find lead FOR FREE.
I must say it's relaxing after a very boring working day....
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Old August 22, 2008, 01:31 PM   #12
sundance44s
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It would just depend how much shooting you plan to do ..2 maybe 3 times a year ..then hunting season ..I`d suggest buying balls and bullets .
For me ..the expence of buying balls and bullets would greatly increased ...Myself and the wife both shoot black powder every weekend ..then club shoots twice a month on top of that ..This casting is mainly round ball ......then there are the bullets for my reloading 45/70 and 45 Colt ...just something to play with on the side ...
Here`s what we go through in a years time ..I case of powder (25 lbs)
150 lbs of soft lead ( plumbers grade )
20 lbs of (bullet grade lead ).
So I`m casting 6 different size round balls ..and 2 size bullets .
The only place I can`t seem to save a dollar is in the price of caps ..The supplyers just don`t care if you buy 2 cases or 2 tins ...it`s always the same price per tin ...well there is always tap -o-cap ...not me ..I`ve got enough to do .
The dubble cavity molds cast plenty fast if ya keep moveing ..and it`s easyer to keep the casting consistant .
Just got a 20 dollar off cupon in the mail from Cabelas ..Hummmm that`ll pay the hazmat on a case or two of caps ....and won`t have to burn any gas to get them . Some call me cheap some call me thrifty .
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Old August 22, 2008, 02:11 PM   #13
CraigC
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I use a lot of standard weight bullets in my .44's and .45's and for those, I don't really think casting is worth my time with so many good commercial bullets available. They're common and affordable. Same for roundballs up to .54cal. However, it seems as though if you want to do any amount of shooting over .45 caliber, you really have to cast your own. I can still get 500 .430" cast bullets for $38. The 350gr cast bullets I'll need if I get that .50-95 are $20 per 50, IF I can even get them without waiting for months. That's gonna add up quick if I shoot several hundred a year. So I'm looking at casting equipment.
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Old August 22, 2008, 02:14 PM   #14
CraigC
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There's a HazMat fee on caps? I've ordered them from DGW and they only require you to ship UPS Ground, no extra fee like with powder.
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Old August 22, 2008, 02:27 PM   #15
sundance44s
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Yea Cabelas always charges me 20 bucks hazmat on caps ...I saw a post one time before where someone got caps shipped from Dixie with no hazmat ... Dixie is just 100 miles up the road from me ..so I called and asked ..yep they were going to charge me hazmat on caps also .....They may have just made a mistake and not charged you hazmat ...we get lucky every now and again .
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Old August 22, 2008, 02:58 PM   #16
CraigC
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Bummer, I'm only about 120miles south of them as well so I just get a few tins every time I make the trek up that way. Or GM in Jackson.
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Old August 22, 2008, 03:48 PM   #17
Csspecs
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I cast slugs for shotguns as well as bird shot, I am almost amazed at how fast two people can cast. Me and my brother made close to 300 slugs in a bit over an hour. And I cast shot at about 45 lbs in 30 minutes.

Poor Lee bottom pour has trouble keeping up
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Old August 22, 2008, 04:19 PM   #18
sundance44s
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I don`t know how you kept your lead hot in a Lee bottom pour casting all those shot gun slugs ...My Lee bottom pour didn`t last 6 months with the amount of casting I do ..the heat element burned it`s self out trying to keep up with me adding cold lead ...I took a rather large hammer to it and retreived my lead and went back to casting from a pot over a propane burner .. I like casting over fire better anyway , sometimes I melt as much as 20 lbs of lead at a time ...and it`s much easyer to scrape the doss off the top in a large casting pot , I may throw a piece of a candle in it 2 or 3 times while I`m casting and stur and burn and scrape it off too keep my lead clean .
Seemed like more trouble useing the Lee Electric pot .
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Old August 23, 2008, 11:59 AM   #19
Evil Dog
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If you want to use an electric bottom pour pot, take a look at the one from RCBS. Been using mine for going on 20 years now... and I bought it used at a pawn shop. No complaints at all.
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Old August 30, 2008, 01:19 AM   #20
zippy13
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I've been casting for years. Mostly alloy WC's and Keith's, but pure lead bullets and balls for my percussion revolvers. WC's are sized and hot lubed, (Keith's get tempered, too). Percussions are shot as cast.
I found a way to speed up my casting: I keep two pots and molds going at the same time. It sounds crazy, but it seemed like I was always waiting for a pot to heat, or a mold to cool. Now, I fill one mold and put it aside, then clip, clear, refill, and set aside the other mold, then back to the first one, and so on. With multi-cavity molds and my rhythm, they cool just right to clip and clear. All the while, my other pot is warming.
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