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Old December 19, 2012, 01:13 PM   #1
praetorian97
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Lead Casting

Anyone list the cons of casting your own pistol bullets?
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Old December 19, 2012, 02:43 PM   #2
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Mainly do it in a well ventilated area. The fumes are bad for your health.
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Old December 19, 2012, 03:35 PM   #3
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Cons you will find yourself going from tire shop to tire shop. Going to the ghetto rims for rent places asking to buy buckets of scrap wheel weights.

You will spend time near a pot of 600 plus degree metal casting.

You will find yourself wondering if you should spend the money on a lubrisizer, or using a Lee push through sized with Liquid Allox, (AKA "mule snot")

You will wind up with piles of cast bullets seeking more cases, and primers, and powder so you can load them.

You will spend more on range fees, more on gas going to the range more often, and then buying more guns to cast for.
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Old December 19, 2012, 03:47 PM   #4
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+ on m&p45acp10+1's post.
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:24 PM   #5
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But what a way to spend it !!!

Think of it this way ,there`s worse things to spend spare cash on

Do I shoot to cast or cast to shoot , it`s a vicious cycle !!!!

HI! my name is GP100man & I`m an addict !!!
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Old December 19, 2012, 11:32 PM   #6
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Casting is a whole other hobby unto itself. If you don't shoot a lot, don't bother.

However if you don't want to be tied down to factory ammo availability or FMJ prices, by all means consider casting. Very little ammo was available back in '09 and I was happily making hundreds of my own projectiles. Wheelweights are getting harder to find though with the lead WW ban.

I cast for x39, 9mm and 45.

Please understand one more thing. Lead bullets (boolits) aren't the same as FMJ. They have to be sized properly, lubed/dried and loaded differently. If you don't want to fuss with all this, don't do it.
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Old December 20, 2012, 02:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Mainly do it in a well ventilated area. The fumes are bad for your health.
Fumes, what fumes??¿! Do you mean smoke? Or do you mean lead vapor? There's no lead vapor as long as the molten lead is not ABOVE 1200 degrees. Normal casting is done in the 7-800 degree ranges, well below the temp necessary to produce lead vapors.

Smoke can be produced while fluxing,(cleaning the molten alloy), but it's no more harmful than breathing smoke from a campfire.
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Old December 20, 2012, 03:10 PM   #8
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Are there huge weight (GR) consistency issues from bullet to bullet?
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Old December 20, 2012, 03:31 PM   #9
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If you cast right then the variance of weight from bullet to bullet is relatively small amount.

For example my 405 grain mold for 45-70 drops bullets at 394 to 397 grains. Most being in the middle at 395 and some change. With my shooting I would never be able to tell the difference anyway.
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Old December 20, 2012, 03:47 PM   #10
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I have dies & molds for every firearm I own and did the tire store tour way before they charged for it-roofers were also a good source of lead. Hanen't been out lately so down to about 1K #
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Old December 20, 2012, 10:52 PM   #11
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On the weight issue , the smaller the bullet the smaller the tolerance.

For 150gr.+ bullets I use the 3% rule ,I never see a difference.

If ya cast hot you`ll get a little frosting on the bullet this makes em more consistent , so consistent I don`t weigh very many any more .
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Old December 20, 2012, 10:56 PM   #12
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+1 Snuffy. No lead fumes, only fluxing smoke.

Once you get into a good smooth rythem, you'll be amazed how consistant you're bullets will weigh out. If not, throw them back in the pot and remelt, but I usually get as much consistancy as factory jacketed bullets. I know because I weigh both and on the average, my bullets are more consistant straight from the mold than a box from the store.
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Old December 21, 2012, 12:33 AM   #13
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I just got finished casting some 1oz 12g slugs and without tooting my own horn these are the nicest I have done to date! All weights were 1.043-1.045oz and beautiful!

I have to order some more molds soon. I would like to load some for the 10mm but a new barrel will have to come first.

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Old December 23, 2012, 10:57 AM   #14
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The biggest downside to pouring my own has been which mold to purchase next, some aren't so cheap, but they sure are great to work with.

Other than that finding a source of lead was my other downfall. In my area there are others who have been at it for quite some time and already have the sources all tied up. Meaning the newbie (me) don't stand a chance of weaseling in on their wheel weights. So I ended up purchasing most of the ally I have. It wasn't as bad as it sounds really as it for the most part cost around a buck a pound delivered to my front porch. With the price of gas being what it has been it is still cheaper than me driving around town to "possibly" get half a bucket of WW.

Other than that, I use the Lee push through sizers, and I use a mix of the LLA lube that comes with those sizing kits on all of my bullets. I have used it straight but found the blended version MUCH easier to deal with and quicker to boot.
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Old December 23, 2012, 11:49 AM   #15
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Biggest con? Labor. Casting bullets is WORK, and a lot of it.
Now if it's a labor of love, thats one thing. But for me, I usually buy them already cast.
Greatest pro? The ability to get exactly the bullet you WANT. Most commercial casters only offer a very limited selection of bullet types and weights. They HAVE to, in order to make any money.
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Old December 23, 2012, 04:20 PM   #16
Mike / Tx
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Quote:
Labor. Casting bullets is WORK, and a lot of it.
Well there is some truth to that for sure. I find it isn't anymore involved than the rest of what I do.

I mean in most cases when I set up to smelt down a large batch of alloy into ingots, the worst of it is dragging everything out and then putting it back up again. Even that isn't much real work as it is usually only a couple of pieces of plywood my burner and pot. Just about all of it never moves more than 10 feet from where I store it.

As for the bullet casting it's self, I plug in my main cord, stack 5-8 bars of alloy into the pot and come back in half an hour. Or in that half an hour I sit there cleaning up molds, lubing pins, and setting up pans to dump the bullets into. Once I am done casting I unplug the main cord and let the pot cool, I also will let the pans of bullets sit overnight, then I sit in front of the TV the next night and look for blems which go back into the pot. While I am sorting I box up what I have poured and label them accordingly. They usually have at least a two to three week wait before I size and load them anyway so there isn't much rush. With a 2 cavity mold I can easily dump out a couple of hundred bullets in sitting with out feeling the least bit fatigued, but with the 4 or 6 cavity mold, I can REALLY dump some bullets out in a VERY short time. The hardest part with them is keeping the pot filled with up to temp alloy.

Lubing and sizing is a breeze. I toss the amount I want to load into my lube bag, (simply a LG vacuum seal bag), toss in a chunk of the lube I use, warm it all up with a hair drier and roll the bullets around for a few minutes and pour out to cool. Once cool I run them through a Lee push through sizer and they are ready to go back through the lube bag once again before loading. This all take around 20 minutes from start to finish for a hundred or so bullets.

Compared to what I do on my brass this isn't work at all. Prepping 3-500 cases to load IS work. First the tumble and cleaning out all of the media, then sizing, then the trimming, then the champhering, then the primer pockets, then back through the tumbler to clean off the lube and a final polish before loading.
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Old December 23, 2012, 05:46 PM   #17
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The hardest part of my casting is unloading the bucket of wheel weights from the back of the truck. I transfer it to smaller 2 gal. wash pails to carry to the house. Much easier that way.

Now I will admit casting outside in the Texas summer is a hot chore. Only hope of doing that without melting like the lead is to do it in the early morning, or late evening.
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Old December 23, 2012, 07:19 PM   #18
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Starting out trying to learn the casting process strictly from the written word can be done and a useable boolits can be made,but plan on returning the better part of your casting session to the pot.
Pictures are worth 1000 words but it's not like having someone standing with you showing you the pitfalls.

Dipper and bottom pour techniques are quite different.

Don't try starting with 4 or 6 cavity,or 22-25 caliber moulds, they are better left to when you have been at it a while.

Last edited by dagger dog; December 23, 2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old December 24, 2012, 04:02 PM   #19
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Xfire68, are those slugs made with the Lee? And did you use "pure" lead as per the directions? I've been looking to do something with my several hundred pounds of stick-on wheel weights I've been saving for the last few years. I was also considering trying that purer alloy for the Lee buckshot molds too.
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Old December 25, 2012, 09:43 AM   #20
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HA, I was thinking of going the other way and using zinc for buckshot.
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Old December 25, 2012, 01:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
The biggest downside to pouring my own has been which mold to purchase next, some aren't so cheap, but they sure are great to work with.
A big 10-4 on that! Always another design type, different weight, or a better built mold to be longing for.

Case in point, my last purchase was this 44 mold made by Miha MP-molds in Slovenia.





Cost was $155.00 delivered. That's a cramer type mold, the HP pins stay with the mold, so they stay hot making great HP boolits with few rejects. Those are 255 grain, the larger HP is a bit less. The HP pins can be reversed to cast a solid nose, which would be around 270 grains.



Another MP cramer type mold I have, this one is a .452 200 grain HP. You can see one of the pins is moved out away from the cavity on it's rods that slide into the base of the blocks. That's how the boolits get released from the pins, hence the cramer system for HP molds.

I'm in another group buy right now for a .357 semiwadcutter GC based on the 358156 lyman design. It too will be a MP cramer type, but this time a 2 cav. Limiting it to one style of HP pins it'll be ONLY 100 bucks.

As far as weight consistency, that has everything to do with consistency with your casting rhythm. A proper alloy with enough tin to make the molten metal flow, and VERY important, closely held alloy temperature. Then cast without stopping to admire the shiny boolits, or to quality check every one. This results in about 3-4 casts per minute, keeping the mold hot. Wrinkled boolits are the result of a too cool mold, MOST OF THE TIME.

A common mistake is to see wrinkled boolits, then turn the alloy temp up. pouring too hot metal into a too cool mold won't fix anything. Casting furnaces have poor temp control. The lee pots are the worst. Temps can vary by as much as 50 degrees +-. Lyman and RCBS melters are better but not much. The REAL answer to exact temp control is using a PID control.
Quote:
PID means;PID stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative. Controllers are designed to eliminate the need for continuous operator attention.




This control maintains the temp of the lead alloy +- 1 degree! Consistent boolits are much more obtainable with this temp control.
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