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Old May 3, 2005, 10:40 PM   #1
JRLaws
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Is this a new record?

Almost everybody said that once I started reloading, I would "need" to upgrade my equipment. I had my doubts.

I placed an order for a Lee loader Monday morning and just two hours later my father dropped by with a five gallon bucket of wheel weights. I thought I might need more equipment someday, but never dreamed that my set up could become obsolete before I had even received it! Is this a new record, or does this kind of thing happen to every reloader?

Anway, does anyone have a good .38/.357 mold they could suggest? Is resizing needed, or just very useful? Thanks guys (and gals), and I know, you told me so.
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Old May 3, 2005, 11:11 PM   #2
Sturm
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JR, there are many good molds out there. Do you know what type and weight of bullet you want to shoot. In .357, I like button nose wadcutters, hard cast for small animals (pests), plinking and target type stuff with a little .357 magnum velocity thrown in at around 1100-1150 FPS and high load density. For a possible game bullet I like the most meplat I can get and that usually means a RNFP or some prefer to stick with a SWC. The weights for these Lyman bullets are for Linotype and I hope they are both still available and SAECO molds are also excellent. These are from Lyman; 141 gr. BNWC #358495 and you don't have to use linotype, or the velocity I do,. A 15 Brinell Lyman #2 alloy will help reduce leading if your going to work around the sub-sonic level and wheel weights can also be heat treated to achieve a higher BHN than 9. The heavier bullet at 150 (linotype) is the #358477 and has a slightly rounded ogive and a good meplat. A sizer will allow you to get the finshed diameter you need and extremely hard alloys can sometimes get you a smaller diameter than you wanted
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Old May 3, 2005, 11:13 PM   #3
LHB1
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Your new reloading equipment is not OUTDATED by the receipt of wheel weights. You simply need to SUPPLEMENT the reloading equipment with additional equipment for bullet casting and sizing.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB
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Old May 3, 2005, 11:38 PM   #4
Mike Irwin
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I largely quit casting years ago when more and more excellent bullets started coming available, but still occasionally fire up the stove and make a small batch. I never did cast in any great quantities.

Probably my favorites are all Lymans (or the ones available today that are closest to the ones I have)

358091, a 150-gr. wadcutter.

358477, a good 150-gr. general purpose bullet

385429, Elmer Keith's 170-gr. design. It's proven to be especially accurate in my 6" Model 28.
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Old May 4, 2005, 12:33 AM   #5
JRLaws
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Wow, Sturm you made it clear that I have much to learn about casting (heck, I almost need a dictionary to even understand your post ) Mr. Irwin also brought some other good points to mind, "Does anyone cast these days, and just how much does it help?". It appears that I could save a few cents per load, but after flux, sizers, lube, molds, and etc., just how much better would I come out? Sorry LHB1 I should have used "insufficient" instead of "obsolete" for my humble loading kit.
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Old May 4, 2005, 03:23 AM   #6
Sturm
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Don't sweat it, you have plenty of time. I would suggest 1.the Lyman pistol and revolver load manual, or 2. the current Lyman reloading manual (help me out guys I don't know the number, mine's 46. are they up to 48 or 49?), or 3. their cast load book along with choice 1 or 2. All loading manuals are great, but Lyman has been at this longer than anyone and their instructions on casting are thorough and there's plenty of it!

Posted on your other thread about your new GP-100 and since I forgot to do it there I'll say iy here. Welcome JR!
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Old May 4, 2005, 09:12 AM   #7
HSMITH
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Start with a 2 cavity Lee mold. They are cheap, throw good bullets, and are much easier to use than an iron mold. Melt the wheelweights and clean them in a yardsale/resale shop dutch oven, pour them into ingots in a yardsale muffin pan. A ladle is cheap new, eye protection and good gloves are MANDATORY. I started with Lee Liquid Alox lube and it will save you the expense of a lubrisizer initially.

You should buy the Lyman casting book, it has great info and will get you started. You can get started for under $50, and then see if you like it.

I used to cast a lot, but time crunches have pretty much stopped my casting lately. If you can find the lead and have the time to cast it is a great way to shoot more.
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Old May 4, 2005, 11:40 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
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If you melt lead in anything other than an electrically heated pot made by Lyman, Lee, etc., remember one thing.

NEVER USE ALUMINUM!

The concentrated heat and ability of lead to leach the aluminum can cause the bottom of an aluminum pot to simply drop out unexpectedly.

Always use a cast iron pot.
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Old May 5, 2005, 12:20 AM   #9
JRLaws
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Thanks guys.

I think I'm going to buy my bullets for now and purchase my casting equipment as money allows (all my "extra" cash seems to keep exploding and flying down range @ 1000 fps ) I'm going to grab those books first and ease in to casting. I have a lot to learn and the lead isn't going to spoil any time soon.
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Old May 5, 2005, 08:26 AM   #10
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Buying boolits is gonna get real old, real fast. Put your money ($20 for a 2 cavity Lee tumble lube design to get started) into a mould to get going. An old Coleman stove and small casting pot (used and on the cheap if you don't have them) will get you going. As you learn the ropes and have a buck or two since you won't be buying boolits, you can expand if you enjoy casting. My first mould was a Lee single cavity (SC) over thirty years ago, and I still cast with it ocassionally. My best moulds are not Lee's, they're more expensive, but in the last several years I have grown fond of some of the Lee 6-cavity pistol moulds - a small mountain of decent boolits in just a short while. I can load any of my pistol rounds for less than a three dollars a hunert with bulk bought primers and surplus powder (my lead source is free). Kinda makes it worthwhile. sundog

btw, don't forget safety glasses -- ALWAYS.
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Old May 5, 2005, 09:17 AM   #11
Mike Irwin
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"Buying boolits is gonna get real old, real fast."

Funny, but I'd much rather buy my bullets than waste hours screwing around with a pot full of molten lead, which is about as fun as fishing, which is about as fun as a day in the dentist's chair.

The only reason I ever started casting was because it was fairly difficult to find good, hard revolver bullets when I started shooting.

Now? I can walk into just about any gunshop or gunshow and find good, hard-cast bullets that are as good, or better, than anything I can cast on my own.

About the only thing I still cast are round balls for my muzzleloader.
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Old May 5, 2005, 12:47 PM   #12
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Mike, that's why I suggested 'go cheap'. Some fellers don't like casting. It's time consuming, and when you really get into it, consumes resources which could otherwise be used to just buy the danged boolits to begin with. It's not for everyone, for sure. But then again, with free lead it doesn't take long for a mould to pay for itself many times over. Just gotta stand there and do it.

There are some applications for which I cast that I would probably not even be able to buy the boolits the way I want them or even at all. In that respect, it certainly is worth it. The ultimate in 'custom casting' (and 'hand loading') is doing it yourself for something you can't get anywhere else -- and making it work.

Funny, I'd much rather cast my boolits than buy'em.... Just pullin' yer chain, Mike. If you can't have fun with it, it ain't worth doin'. I guess it doesn't make much difference how you get them, as long as you have a good time shootin' them!
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Old May 5, 2005, 03:25 PM   #13
Mike Irwin
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"Funny, I'd much rather cast my boolits than buy'em.... Just pullin' yer chain, Mike."

Not at all.

It goes to the heart of each person as an individual and their likes and dislikes.

I LOVE sitting down and watching a baseball or football game when one of my favorite teams is involved.

A good friend of mine, given the choice, would probably much rather stick an ice pick in his (or my) ear.

He likes fishing, and I'm not a big fan...
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Old May 5, 2005, 05:30 PM   #14
Sturm
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One thing you guys want to be very aware of is the absolute requirement for good ventalation if you do cast. Exposure to lead, especially inhalation from molten fumes comes with a risk of cancer!

I still shoot the very hard cast bullets and wearing rubber gloves when loading them is a good idea. I lost interest in casting my own when I had doctor stick a scalpel, rather deeply, into my back to remove a cancerous mole about 8 years ago.

MI, get ready! NFC East domination is about to change for the better. Just like the good old days of George and Tom; Cowboys and Indians! Super Bowl Winning head coaches on both sidelines. Don't worry, I already know who you like and I start getting psyched for the season on Draft Day!
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Old May 5, 2005, 05:58 PM   #15
Mal H
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[thread drift]

"Don't worry, I already know who you like ..."

I could be wrong, but I betcha don't!

[/thread drift]
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Old May 5, 2005, 09:29 PM   #16
Alwims
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Quote:
If you melt lead in anything other than an electrically heated pot made by Lyman, Lee, etc., remember one thing.

NEVER USE ALUMINUM!

The concentrated heat and ability of lead to leach the aluminum can cause the bottom of an aluminum pot to simply drop out unexpectedly.

Always use a cast iron pot.
Now I'm really curious. I haven't been casting long but I've been reloading for about 30yrs. I use a very heavy alluminum pot to melt wheel weights and other lead to pour into my ingot moulds. The pot I use is cast alluminum just less than a 1/4" thick and I've cast around 10,000 bullets so far. Are you telling me that the bottom is getting ready to fall out of my pot??? I find that real hard to swallow. How about a link to support you statement? I'm not disputing your word, I'm just from the ShowMe State.
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Old May 5, 2005, 09:41 PM   #17
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Drifting? Us? Okay, let's help ole JR out a little. He said his Dad dropped off a bunch of WW's. Well, JR, go over to your Dad's and impose on some of his stuff until you get yours up and running. Cast some for him for using his stuff.

My first mould was a Lee SC 148 WC, and the guy that got me started had a Lyman 358311. We cast boolits on his wife's stove in the kitchen, vent fan running, load on the kitchen table (she really loved that) and we'd shoot at lunch time on the indoor range at the Air Force Academy (both stationed there). Clean the traps and cast more. That was a very long time ago. Even then we did it on the cheap. Scrounged .38 casings from the range, cheapest primers we could find in Colorado Springs, and the was free lead. A pound of Bullseye was about three or four bucks. Point is we got to shoot. Alot. So, it all depends on your personal situation. Make sure though that if you're gonna cast to take proper safety precautions.

Hey Mike, how about this? Not shooting is gonna get really old, really fast. Who cares where the boolits come from? sundog
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Old May 5, 2005, 09:52 PM   #18
Leftoverdj
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Alwims, aluminum pot failure happens. The NRA issued a warning at least 30 years ago. This subject comes up from time to time on all the cast bullet boards and there are always a few casters that have had it happen to them. (There are also always a few casters who say, "I been doing it 30 years and it ain't never happened to ME.)

I retired my aluminum pot to lube making duty when the NRA issued the warning. Got no desire to wear lead plated shoes.
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Old May 5, 2005, 11:56 PM   #19
Mike Irwin
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Alwims,

Leftover beat me to the punch.

The melting point of aluminum is roughly 1,250 degrees F.

the melting point of lead, depending on alloying metals, is substantially below that, but the casting temperature is in the range of 700 to 800 deg. F.

The actual temperature on the inner surface of the pot can be substantially higher than that. As you can see, you're starting to get into a very narrow margin of safety,

Consider, too, that the closer a metal gets to its melting point the weaker it becomes.

Here's a link to a page where one person used a lead pot... I hope he wasn't hurt. http://www.cisatlantic.com/trimix/vweight/themelt.htm

Here's another link with no photo, but a similar warning: http://members.aol.com/illinewek/faqs/casting.htm

Unfortunately, the first time that you get definitive proof that aluminum pots are not suitable for melting bullets may be when you're showing the doctor your third degree burns.

Retire the aluminum pot.
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Old May 6, 2005, 12:16 AM   #20
Mike Irwin
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"MI, get ready! NFC East domination is about to change for the better. Just like the good old days of George and Tom; Cowboys and Indians!"

And flying high overhead will be my Eagles, crapping on them both.

I can tolerate the Deadskins, but I'd cheer for a team quarterbacked by Adolph Hitler if it was playing Dallas.
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Old May 6, 2005, 01:04 AM   #21
JRLaws
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The cast iron pot and camp stove is no problem. I noticed that the Lee molds are made of aluminum. Would the leaching effect cause the molds to wear out quicker? I want to spend as little money as possible to get started, but I'll happily pay more for durable equipment.
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Old May 6, 2005, 01:41 AM   #22
Sturm
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JR, I think I would try Sundogs method if your father has casting equipment. Lyman and SAECO molds would be worth the extra $ for the long haul!

[thread drift]
MI, MalH let the cat out of the bag by inuendo! Mr. Moderator, could we get a sticky on Mr. Irwins last post? I love it!
[thread drift, end]
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Old May 6, 2005, 08:05 AM   #23
Mike Irwin
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JR,

The way I've heard it explained, no, leeching won't be a problem with molds. The heat levels to which molds are exposed aren't nearly as severe or prolonged (you get signfiicant cooling when you open the mold to drop the bullet), and their time in contact with the lead is also relatively short.

I know more than a few people who still cast heavily, and have been using Lee aluminum molds for decades with no problems. One of my friends casts at least 30,000 bullets a year with Lee molds.
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Old May 6, 2005, 08:58 AM   #24
Leftoverdj
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JR, there are those of us who use and love Lee moulds. I no longer buy anything else where Lee six cavities are available and I have owned moulds by all of the major and several of the minor makers. The one and two cavity moulds are a bit cheesy, but they are still capable of casting tens of thousands of bullets and they are about a third of the cost of Lyman or RCBS. I find the aluminum moulds easier to work with.

Durability has not been an issue for me. The Lees last longer than I am likely to need for one bullet. Story might be different for a dedicated follower of one discipline but most of us are not going to need ten thousand a year of the same bullet year after year. You certainly are not going to need that kind of production to feed a Lee Loader.

I sent you an email offering some starter bits and pieces. We'll get you dragged into this one way or another.
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Old May 6, 2005, 12:07 PM   #25
Dave Sample
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Here is how I do it. I cast bullets outdoors on a breezy day and wear a mask. I use Lee molds with the dial set as hot as the Lee melting pot will get. I drop the six bullets out of the mold onto a wet sponge in a 3 lb coffee can full of water. I use two molds at a time and can produce 1000 bullets in an hour or so.
The I cull them and do the quality control thing and throw the bad ones back in the pot for another day. I leave the lead pot full and I leave the molds full when I am done casting for the day.
The next step is to size and lube them and I have two lubrisizers, one Lyman and one Star mounted on hotplates so I can use Rooster Red Zambini for applying a hot lube. I have them adjusted for Colt 45 and the other for 45 ACP semi wadcutters.
Then I load them up and shoot them. I do not do it to save money, although I used to. I do it now because I can . They do not lead my barrels and are very accurate. I load for about $1.50 a box, or 3 cents a round. I have a lot of brass now and use it over and over again.
I re-load on a Dillon 550B with Lee dies and powder chargers.
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