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Old December 13, 2012, 09:41 AM   #26
David Bachelder
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For lead, call a few plumbing supply houses in your area. They sell pure and clean lead at a reasonable cost, If I remember correctly they quoted me about $1.20 per pound. It comes in 5 lb ingots, usually five ingot to a bunch totaling 25 lbs.

You most likely will need tin and atinomy. I get tin and antimony alloy (70:30 lead, antimony) from Rotometals. Don't let the price of tin and antimony scare you off. you don't need alot of it.

I use 95:2.5:2.5 Alloy. Lead, Antimony and tin. I guessing BHN runs around 12 give or take. It does not lead my barrels and the bullets shoot great.

Tin can also be found at Ebay, mostly in the form of solder. Sometimes 50:50and sometimes 95:5 (tin/lead).

A pound of alloy will make about 35 - 200 grain bullets. I mix my alloy at 20 lbs a batch. I'd guess your cost between 3 to 4 cents a bullet, after equipment cost.

If you can scrounge some lead, and most of us do at one point or another, the cost drops dramatically. I have scrounged about 600 lbs of lead by just asking friends if they knew where any was. Seems like everyone knows someone that knows where some lead is. My Dad had about 400 lbs stacked away in his garage.

I use LEE sizing dies and liquid alox for lube. I tried "pan lubing" and really didn't care for it. The Alox works great for me.
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I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 243 and 30-06

Last edited by David Bachelder; December 13, 2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old December 14, 2012, 05:20 PM   #27
m&p45acp10+1
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Here is a pic of my set up. Cost was pretty darn low. Consider that a few pieces are from trades.



I took this picture yesterday while waiting on a pot to get back up to heat, after adding in the sprues, and rejects.

The thermometer is one of the best investments in casting that I have ever made. I on wish I had not been a cheap skate for so long, and bought it way sooner than I did. The Lyman pot was from a trade. The mold is a Lee single cavity nose pour hollow base. I do cast 200 grain semi wad cutters in .45 ACP for shooting. I go though a lot of them. I cast for several other calibers as well.
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Old December 14, 2012, 06:20 PM   #28
tkglazie
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Wow thats great. Gives me a good sense of the footprint.

Question-

From the time you carry that setup out to the steps and start the pot heating, until the time a session is over and the pot is cool enough to out away, how much time has elapsed? And if You could give me a rough breakdown of the time for each step that would be great.

Reason I ask is I am trying to see if this is something I can do during the day on my stoop while the neighborhood is off at school or work, or if am going to have to go offsite and load at my club where I wont be advertising that I reload (especially considering how a mentally ill person doing something horrific with a gun makes all guns bad in the eyes of the ignorant).
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Old December 14, 2012, 07:17 PM   #29
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Here ya go, neighbor...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ng+quick+start

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ng+quick+start

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ng+quick+start

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ng+quick+start

I wrote these some time ago, and they'll start you in the right direction. If you need more help or advice, feel free to post or PM me. Good luck to you!
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Old December 14, 2012, 07:25 PM   #30
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Beautiful. I love this forum.
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Old December 14, 2012, 08:38 PM   #31
m&p45acp10+1
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My sessions rarely go over 2 hours at a time. From the time I plug in the pot to the time I am washing up. As far as cool off time. I keep the pot in the big pan. I can take it in as soon as the lead solidifies. That takes around 10 to 20 minutes after I turn off the pot, and unplug it.

Melt time from the time I plug in till casting temp is from 20 to 30 minutes. I cast for around an hour after that, then put up. On cooler days when I have the time, and my wife is at work I will cast for longer periods. Though those go for about 4 hours or less. I take breaks in there as well. When the lead is heating up, I will wash my hands, and face. Then grab something to drink.
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Old December 14, 2012, 08:54 PM   #32
tkglazie
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That is perfect. I can cast on my days off or when I work from home while all the neighborhood kids and soccer moms are in school or at work. Thats the same time I do my tumbling. Everything I need can fit in a cheap cooler and take with me to the club or out on the front steps. Very slick. I had no idea that the process required so little time/space. Granted, I have a LOT to learn, both by reading and by doing, but there is no time like the present to get started.
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Old December 14, 2012, 09:05 PM   #33
m&p45acp10+1
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If you have an ingot mold then you do not have to wait as long for it to cool off to move it. Just pour into the ingot molds. Though the ingots take a bit to cool off.

I will suggest using a metal tray to move the melting pot with, and to set in on. It will also catch any spills, or drips. As well as reducing risk of a fire. Hot lead landing on dry leaves with a good breeze blowing can flare up a small fire that has the chance of making a real big fire.
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Old December 15, 2012, 01:24 AM   #34
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One thing that I will stress is safety.

Do NOT put yourself in a position where the molten lead can contact your body in any way.

Wear good, heavy clothing.

Wear good heavy leather gloves as well.

Eye protection is a must.

Be VERY careful on how you add alloy (lead, wheelweights, what have you) to the melt. If your raw casting material has been sitting outside, take it in for a bit and let it dry off COMPLETELY. Moisture of any kind around molten lead can literally be lethal.

Here's a little story. I was cleaning up some alloy one day--melting wheelweights and scrap, fluxing and cleaning, and pouring ten pound ingots.

I would pour the ingots, and wait for them to cool; then dump them onto a piece of wood to cool completely. Well--I got impatient. (Uh oh....)

After the poured ingots solidified a bit, I took a garden hose and put a fine mist of water on the ingots to cool them off. Well..a little water was left in the bottom of the ingot mold.

I poured the molten lead in.

The only warning I had was seeing the surface of the lead in the ingot mold lift up. I turned my head and face away, twisting my body as I did. Suddenly--in a bit less than one second--I felt a weight hit my back, in a diagonal line from my left shoulder to the right side of my waist.

I shrugged out of my coat, dropped it, and then turned around.

Almost the entire contents of the mold had come up almost five feet into the air, in a diagonal splash. My coat was ruined--it had a huge lead plate diagonally across the back. But, that was not all.

A couple of droplets had come out REALLY fast. One hit me on the corner of my mouth. I flicked it off--it took a bunch of skin with it.

I had large lead speckles on both lenses of my glasses.

Had I not worn glasses, I would be blinded.

Had I not worn the coat, molten lead would have covered my back. I have no doubt that it would have crippled me for a very long time, if not permanently.

Once again...KEEP WATER AWAY FROM THE LEAD POT.

And--wear your protective equipment.

If you take your time, and pay attention to safety FIRST, casting will save you a ton of money, and you can shoot almost forever. If you take shortcuts, you might have an accident that will be painful, unforgiving--and possibly permanent.

Be careful!
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Old December 15, 2012, 09:29 AM   #35
m&p45acp10+1
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Note if melting wheel weights. Make sure to do it outside. It will smoke like no tomorrow, and it smells like burning tires. Also it releases carbon monoxide which is deadly. Try to keep some distance when they are melting, and note your clothes will smell like burned tires when you are done.

Do wear eye protection. You can not see without eyes.
Do wear gloves. Burns on the hands are painful.
The clothing part has been gone over as well.

Also make sure where you set your pot that there is nothing that will catch on fire, or smolder under it, or from any drips.

Make sure to wash your hands, and face before eating, drinking, or smoking.
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Old December 16, 2012, 07:26 PM   #36
tkglazie
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Quote:
Note if melting wheel weights. Make sure to do it outside. It will smoke like no tomorrow, and it smells like burning tires.
I will definitely be overspending at the onset and using purchased ingots of the desired composition, as opposed to processing my own self-sourced lead. Sure, I would see the cost savings but even if I can make my bullets at 5 cents each I am saving myself a nickel a round while learning a new skill. Later on, when I have more space/privacy I can focus on creating my own mixes from scrap.
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Old December 16, 2012, 08:03 PM   #37
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Check out one of the private sellers of lead at http://castboolits.gunloads.com
(The "isotope lead" looks good, or shooting-range-scrap ingots.) It'll cost a lot less than buying ingots or pigs from a foundry.
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Old December 16, 2012, 08:13 PM   #38
tkglazie
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will do zx. I was planning on using ebay (usps flatrate shipping makes it easier for sellers). good to have more sources, especially trustworthy ones.
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Old December 16, 2012, 11:12 PM   #39
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To the OP...

The beauty is that you don't have to do anything to wheelweight--except to melt it, clean it and cast it.

Wheelweights are almost perfect for bullet casting--they ARE perfect for handgun bullets. You don't have to do anything to them at all.

And I would not worry too much about doing it outside. Plenty of people cast fishing weights in exactly the same way as casting bullets.

You'll save a ton of money if you buy your wheelweights at a local scrap metal shop. Here's an example:

I cast 200 grain LSWC for my .45's They're the HG 68 design, which I think is possibly the best all-around bullet for the .45 ACP. They're cast from 6 cavity Lee molds, and processed through a Star lubrisizer to make them uniform at .452. I lube with Javelina Alox, a soft lube that works well with handgun loads.

Now, a 5 gallon bucket costs about $90.00. A bucket holds about 125 lb. of wheelweights, which (after melting, cleaning and fluxing) yields about 100 lb. of useable alloy. This translates to 3500 cast bullets from each bucket.
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Old December 16, 2012, 11:14 PM   #40
tkglazie
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Oh my. 3500 bullets for $90....I would shoot much, much more.....

And thanks much for all the safety tips.
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Old December 17, 2012, 02:53 AM   #41
Powderman
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Oh, yes....

And it doesn't take long, either--get the Lee Pro-20 pot, two six cavity molds and you're in business.

And consider this...whatever range you go to--perhaps even a private spot, which would be best for this--the backstop is cleaned out periodically, especially on indoor ranges.

You can even buy range scrap, sometimes cheaper than regular wheelweights.
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Old December 22, 2012, 10:19 PM   #42
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http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ency-Lead-Sale

You might want to doublecheck what form the lead is in before you order anything; I assume it's small ingots. HTH
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Old December 23, 2012, 04:22 PM   #43
Turbo6ta
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boolits?

Always thought it was bullets. At least it was bullets during the 24 years I spent in the military.
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Old December 23, 2012, 05:39 PM   #44
m&p45acp10+1
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Turbo it is a slang term used by those who cast their own projectiles.

Boolits is the caster's term for bullets they have cast. I do not use the term myself. Though I do not look down on those that do use the term. When I see the term I know what it means.

Oh and $90 a bucket for wheel weights?

I have never paid more than $20 for one. A few tire shops I will throw in a 12 pack of iced down beer in a 5 gal. bucket as a thank you. Besides they will save me the weights. Other guys give cash. I give cash, and beer.
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