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Old June 29, 2011, 11:20 PM   #1
studman5578
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New to Casting, a Few Q's

Hey All,

I've recently acquired a very large quantity of lead of fairly pure (to my knowledge) composition. I'm trying to decide what components I should purchase for my casting setup. I've already ordered a pan and a pair of ingot moulds from MidwayUSA and will start doing some basic cleaning up of the lead while I research.

My first question is regarding lubricants. How effective is the coating of the liquid alox vs. filling the grease groove? I've only had experience using the grease groove loads in my own guns. Also, for those who do use the coating with lube method, how easy is it to handle your final product after lubricating? Are the bullets messy?

Second question is about gas checks. I want to load for the 9mm to start with, then 357 mag/38 spl, and eventually onto 30 cal rifles (for 30-30 and 30-06) and 45-70. From what I've seen so far, the gas checks would be recommended for all of the above except for 38 spl and 9mm. Bullet lube for those two would suffice due to their slower velocities. For the others, especially the 357, can I put a gas check on any cast? and do I still need to lubricate the bullets (with either the coating or grease groove method) if I use gas checks?

Thanks for your help!!
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Old June 30, 2011, 01:34 AM   #2
Rangefinder
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First off, welcome to the addiction.

Lets start from the beginning. How much reading have you done on cast bullets? I'm going to assume very little at this point. I strongly suggest you hit the books hard before you fire up a melting pot.

When you say lead of fairly pure (to my knowledge) composition, I'm guessing you mean it's dead-soft, pure lead. If that's the case, you'll need to alloy it with a little tin and antimony to make it useful for what you're intending to cast for. There are several ways to accomplish this, and I'm only going to touch on it briefly. You can buy certified alloys (here's one place I would recommend: http://www.rotometals.com/Bullet-Casting-Alloys-s/5.htm ). You can buy Wheel Weight ingots from those who smelt. You can get raw wheel weights on your own and handle your own smelting. A lot more can be broken down about all this later. The basic purpose of it is this: pressure tolerances of the alloy you are casting need to be matched with the load you are intending to use. Lead hardness is affected by alloying it with tin and antimony (antimony hardens the lead allowing it to withstand higher pressures without shearing, tin aids in alloying with antimony and improves casting ability of the alloy). Clip-on wheel weights (the lead ones, obviously) have a percentage of tin and antimony in them. If you know how to measure the hardness, you can estimate the ratios within the alloy to some extent. Understanding your alloys will help you determine what it can be used for.

Lube: I use LLA (Lee Liquid Alox) or 45-45-10 (I'd have to explain this one a bit, but for the moment we'll just call it another tumble lube like Alox) for everything now. Honestly, it's a personal preference. Some guys swear by their Lyman 45, 450, 4500 and hard lubes. Some have really become good at using the tumble lubes. Again, read-read-read. The more you learn about each, the easier you can make an informed decision about what YOU want to use.

You eventually want to cast for rifles and handguns both. GREAT! They're all different depending on how you want to shoot them. IMHO, a gas check on a 9mm is a waste of good metal. But in a .357, it could go either way. I have pretty stout target and defense loads that are plain-based. Where a gas check helps here is to help reduce the possible leading on a softer/expanding bullet firing in the magnum velocity ranges (this gets back to pressure tolerances of alloys). 30-30 can go either way too. '06 leans more toward having a check. Gas checks slip onto the base of a bullet made to accept it. There are ways to check a plain-base bullet, but that isn't something you want to toy with just yet. So decide ahead of time whether you want a checked bullet or not, then get the mold that suits you.

One more thing in case I forgot to mention it: READ--READ--READ! Bullet Casting 101 at the top of the casting forum page is a great place to start.
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Old June 30, 2011, 06:48 AM   #3
hornady
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The best advice anyone could give you would be, Buy the Lyman cast bullet manual, it is very cheap and will answer all your questions and many you should have ask.
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Old June 30, 2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangefinder
Lube: I use LLA (Lee Liquid Alox) or 45-45-10 (I'd have to explain this one a bit,
Me too. I've been buying those little bottles of LLA for twenty years, then recently I found out about White Label Lube. I'm getting ready to make an order to them as soon as I use up the rest of the LLA.

Now, you say you use 45-45-10. What, pray tell, is that? Where do you get it, and is it just another tumble lube? I haven't used a Lubrisizer in 10 years and don't intend to start again.

Thanks in advance.
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Old June 30, 2011, 03:42 PM   #5
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paw, 45-45-10 is a mix of LLA-45% Johnson's paste wax-45% and 10% mineral spirits. The JPW is melted, then allowed to cook for ten minutes or so,(to drive off the solvents). I used an improvised double boiler, a large stainless steel bowl with a smaller one inside floating on the boiling water. Then add the LLA,45% . Let it cook too, then mineral spirits. I used the odorless variety. If it looks too thin, cook it a little longer.

The advantage is the lube drys quicker and hard, not sticky. It's meant to be a tumble lube. If it's at the right consistency, it needs to be warmed before use. Some stick it in the microwave, I just float it in hot water for a half hour or so.
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Old June 30, 2011, 05:22 PM   #6
Rangefinder
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The thing I love about the 45-45-10 is the "drys hard" factor. Tumble lube is meant to go on very thin, and that's where most people get their healthy dislike for it--using way too much. But, even thin, it accumulates in the seater easily. I wipe off the nose of my LLA boolits after loading simply because that tackiness builds up in magazines after a while, in my plastic range cases, my thumb after loading magazines, and attracts every particle of dust within five square miles. 45-45-10 is a vast improvement over those issues.
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Old June 30, 2011, 05:42 PM   #7
PawPaw
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Thanks, guys. I've got several hundred bullets drying right now on waxed paper and I agree that LLA is a bit gooey. Most people use too much. When I'm using gas-check bullets that I'm going to drive hard, I use two coats. One after casting and one after sizing/seating the check.

One trick I've learned over the years is to use a zipper bag. Put the bullets in the bag, squirt a little lube on them, and nead the bag until they're coated. Then, upend the whole thing on waxed paper and throw the bag away. If I do it correctly, I get nothing on my hands.
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Old June 30, 2011, 06:03 PM   #8
studman5578
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So I've been looking online at some methods of lubricating bullets and am starting to like the pan lubeing method until i can work up the money to purchase one of the more expensive systems that lubricate and resize in one stroke. For those who do pan lube, what is used for your lubricant when you resize the lead bullet through the sizing dye? Are they sized after lubing? i feel like that would gum up your sizing dye pretty quick if you lubricate the unsized bullet then put it thru the dye. If i end up pan lubing, I'll most likely get the Lee resizing set if that makes a difference. Thanks

I just saw how. Nevermind...
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Last edited by studman5578; June 30, 2011 at 06:18 PM.
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Old June 30, 2011, 10:51 PM   #9
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Try to find the new (4th) edition of Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook. First 15 chapters written by Mike Venturino. Robert Block, PhD seems to have a pretty good handle on the metallurgy side of casting. Other excellent articles as well.
If you get serious about casting for that 45-70 and have a Sharps that needs feeding I'd spend some time with Venturino and Garbe's book on the subject.
In case nobody mentions it there's quite a bit of good material out there on the subject of casting. Read all you can, we'll tell you where to find more. Stickies here are excellent as well.
I've only been casting a few years and I still get excited every time I plug in the pot. Hope you enjoy it as well.
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Old June 30, 2011, 11:22 PM   #10
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+1 Roto Metals and you really need to spend some time at Cast Booliots this site will only get you to the surface. As good as it is you need the best advice http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
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Old June 30, 2011, 11:29 PM   #11
adrians
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[COLOR="Red"]welcome,,,
if your gonna cast plain base or g/c yes you will need lube for boh boolit kinds no how soft or hard your alloy is and vel is also a factor ,if your using p/b boolits then i wouldn,t load more than say 1500fps or leading can accure.
with a g/c and right lube and right alloy well your vel increases greatly ,its all good fun figuing out what works best for that particular firearm so slug your bore and cast boolits to size .002 over dia and your on your way ,,,.
have a great night adrians.
p.s i also use 45-45-10 and lyman stick lube in my 45 sizer.
and for cast info well ,,,,LYMAN,,,,LYMAN,,,,LYMAN i have been collecting ideal/lyman books my oldest is 1943 ,,i think! /COLOR]
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