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Old May 16, 2013, 08:11 PM   #1
Old 454
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New to Casting

I am going to try my hand at casting soon, my sons are going to buy me a Lee 20# production pot for fathers day.

my question(s) are whats needed.

I work for a utility and have all my crews looking for lead from old water services. That will probably be my main sorce of lead, plus scrounging on my own.

I will be buying Lee molds.

so what kind of fluxing material is best to use ?

and what other equipment will I need.

I allready have a full face shield from a weilding shop and a good pair of leather gloves, also from a weilding shop.

I also bought the Lyman casting book.

I have read the book, but I need to garner more information from actuall casters.

I will be casting for 380acp 9MM 357 40S&W 41mag 44mag 45acp 45colt and 454 casull (gas checks)
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Old May 17, 2013, 08:57 AM   #2
David Bachelder
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Answers Based on my experience:


I am going to try my hand at casting soon, my sons are going to buy me a Lee 20# production pot for fathers day.
"Good pot, leaks a bit so keep something under it or you will have a mess. I try to use only clean lead in my pot. I have aturkey fryer and a cast iron pot for the initial melt. I flux this heavily. Then I cast that lead into ingots, which eventually go into my LEE pot. This will keep your LEE pot cleaner."

I work for a utility and have all my crews looking for lead from old water services. That will probably be my main sorce of lead, plus scrounging on my own.
"Good plan, there are no bad plans, get all the lead you can."

I will be buying Lee molds.
"LEE Molds work well, but there is a learning curve. Use a hot plate to pre heat your molds. I like the 6 cavity LEE molds. I keep my hot plate between low and medium for the preheating. Start casting and expect to toss the first few lots back into the pot. LEE molds are all about temperature. Too hot and the bullets are frosty, too cold and they are wrinkled. You will learn to develop a cadence that works for you. I also have a Lyman mold, the Lyman mold casts easier and better than the LEE molds do. However the LEE molds work well and the economics work for me."

So what kind of fluxing material is best to use ?
"Pine sawdust works best for me, it's cheap and I generate lots of it."

And what other equipment will I need.
"Thermometer, as far as I'm concerned this is a must. I usually cast somewhere around 650 to 750 degrees. I have also found that bigger bullet molds seem to require less temperature. Stainless steel spoon for stiring, a ladle for casting and some ingot molds (I bought a muffin pan from the dollar store, seems like it has about 24 pockets, mini muffin pan?). I fill them with clean lead from the turkey fryer pot. They weigh about 1/2 lbs each."

I allready have a full face shield from a weilding shop and a good pair of leather gloves, also from a weilding shop.
"Great, the tinsel ferry does exist. I've seen her once only once and it could have been much worse than what it was. I dropped a wet hollow point into a lead pot ... once. I didn't realize water was trapped in the bullets cavity. I heard a rumble then a pop, a little lead came out barely missing me. Dropping a little water on top of the pot is really nothing to worry about. Getting water under the surface of the molten lead is a big problem and your pot will spew molten lead."

I also bought the Lyman casting book.
"There is something I need."

I have read the book, but I need to garner more information from actuall casters.
"Great idea"

I will be casting for 380acp 9MM 357 40S&W 41mag 44mag 45acp 45colt and 454 casull (gas checks)
"I have never used a gas check. I do use the LEE resizer kits and lube with LEE Liquid ALox. Resizing is not always needed, I do it for the uniformity. This way I am sure of the bullet size, it also helps clean the rough edges up."


Others will chime in with other ideas. I found that there is a lot of help here, not to mention a vast knowledge of casting.
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I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357Magnum, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 300 AAC, 243 and 30-06

Last edited by David Bachelder; May 18, 2013 at 08:20 AM.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:35 AM   #3
m&p45acp10+1
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A casting thermometer will help greatly. Having another pot to smelt ingots will make things way easier in the long run.

For flux tumbler media, or saw dust work great.
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Old May 17, 2013, 03:46 PM   #4
Old 454
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Pine saw dust, ok I might be able to get some of that. Tumbling media, will old corn cob work ?

I also have a big bag of pet bedding that is corn cob that is kinda to big to use in my tumbler, will that work also ?
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Old May 17, 2013, 03:59 PM   #5
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Yes, crushed corn cobs will work. It doesn't work for me quite as good as sawdust or wax or walnut shells. Crisco also work, and it doesn't flame up quite as bad as wax.

Don't melt scrap in your production pot. I do small batches (10 to 15 lbs at a time) in a stainless steel saucepan on a hotplate. Have ingotized over 1000 lbs that way.
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Old May 17, 2013, 05:32 PM   #6
Old 454
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ICool good to know, I can also get gulf parafin wax to, and I have an old WW2 single burner cook stove my grand father melted lead on to make sinkers for fishing on I belive it only has one heat setting ... nuclear!, I think I have an old Iron pot I can do melts in to flux and make into lead bars from.
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Old May 17, 2013, 05:56 PM   #7
Mike / Tx
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Quote:
I am going to try my hand at casting soon, my sons are going to buy me a Lee 20# production pot for fathers day.

my question(s) are whats needed.
When you get your pot out of the box and are setting it up. First thing you can do that will help you on down the road is to lap in the seat and stem. I used some Clover brand valve lapping compound and it took maybe half an hour to get it down nice and shiny on both mating surfaces. After you get to using is you will find that every once in a while it will drip. A drip here and there isn't an issue, a steady drip can and will be an issue. If it begins to get more steady especially when you simply heating up alloy or while cooling down or changing molds, then once your done with that session drain and clean your pot. While it's still hot and empty, and while wearing gloves, pick it up and dump out what ever is left in it, then let it cool off. I use a small wooden handled SS wire cleaning brush to scrub down the sides and bottom. Be sure to do so with a fan blowing the dust outside and away from you, or while using a shop vac with a dust filter to catch the dust, don't want to be breathin that stuff in. Once the pot is clean I take a piece of steel wool and use it to polish up the tip of the stem and then hold it down with the stem and polish the seat back up. Put it all back together and your ready for business. I usually go between 4 to 9 or 10 sessions depending on what alloy I am using, before having to clean everything back up.


Quote:
I work for a utility and have all my crews looking for lead from old water services. That will probably be my main sorce of lead, plus scrounging on my own.
Pure lead is the basic building block to many great bullets. Most of what you will find will be close to if not pure lead. Mixed with straight wheel weight lead 50-50, it can be used for most handgun velocity loads. If that is all you have I might suggest you look at Rotometals and try and pick up some of their Hardball or possibly the Lyman #2 and use it instead of the WW's. What you will find in researching most forums and such is that commercial casters use alloy which is for the most part overly hard for most applications. At the most I have some I consider hard that is only around a 15 or so BHN. I hardly use it straight at all and usually blend it with softer stuff to come in around a 10 or so. There are also plenty of folks who sell off small batches of their wheel weight alloy in order to fund new molds or firearms even so if you can find a source don't be afraid to pick up a medium flat rate box of it for somewhere in the $70 range. Usually you will end up with around 60 or so pounds of alloy and that will pour a bunch of bullets, especially if you cut it with the softer stuff.

Quote:
I will be buying Lee molds.
As mentioned above, Lee produces some good molds, and they will throw some good bullets. They might have a bit of a learning curve, but temp is the general issue with most who have issues. If you have other issues with them besides wrinkles, spots, frosting, there are plenty of tips over on the Castboolit site on them.

Quote:
so what kind of fluxing material is best to use ?
Like plenty of others, I use plain ol sawdust for the most part coupled with pure paraffin as a finisher so to speak. I like to use it last so as to try and get all of the finer gunk out of my alloy before pouring ingots. This also helps to keep the Lee pot cleaner as well.

Quote:
and what other equipment will I need.
Something to pour up ingots in, I use a cast iron corncob corn bread iron, and a couple of the commercial aluminum type like the Lyman or Lee for smaller chunks or for a special type of alloy. It helps me keep things separated and usually I don't blend up a big batch of something different just to try it out.

Also a few sheet metal pans to dump your bullets into, some long handled spoons, and a thermometer not to be forgotten.

Quote:
I allready have a full face shield from a weilding shop and a good pair of leather gloves, also from a weilding shop.

I also bought the Lyman casting book.

I have read the book, but I need to garner more information from actuall casters.
Castboolits is a great source of information as is the The Los Angeles Silhouette Club, or LASC where you will find plenty of information on various topics and most are in down loadable PDF format as well.

Quote:
I will be casting for 380acp 9MM 357 40S&W 41mag 44mag 45acp 45colt and 454 casull (gas checks)
Of the above calibers, the 9mm and 40 will probably be the most challenging, simply due to the pressures they operate at. Most cast loads work best using lower pressure powders and loads. Not saying it cannot be done as I see plenty who have done it, just as well I have seen plenty more having issues. Don't get discouraged with them just work through any issues.

If you can get in touch with him, I highly suggest you contact the owner of MP molds off his website and see if he has any of the 359-640, the 41-258, the 432-256, the 452-640, or the 45 270 SAA molds available. These are all awesome molds, and they are priced pretty steep. Don't let that blind you. With each of them you are able to pour several types of HP bullets as well as the standard solids. So your sort of getting several molds for the price of one. I have them all and yes I do enjoy them. Yes you can buy several similar Lee molds for the same money, but you DO get what you pay for with them. You can search for the above molds over on Castboolits and see what the folsk that are using them have to say about the molds and the bullets poured with them.

I also have a dozen or so Lee 6 cavity as well and use them for all of my revolvers as well. IF your going to start out with them try and stick with the RF types for the revolvers and the TC or RN types for the autos. If you look on ebay you might run across the Lee 6 cavity 410-215, if you find one get it, it is a great SWC tumble lube type mold for the 41. They shoot great over a decent load of 2400 or even loaded lighter using Unique. I use the 358-158 for my 357's, the 429-200 and 429-310 in my 44, the 452-230 in my ACP, the 452-255RF and the 300RF in my 45 Colt and 454. All of these are great shooting bullets and if you can swing it go for the six cavity molds. The double cavity are Ok if your just shooting a few here and there, and some even pour up large quantities with them. Myself when I pour, I pour and am doen with them for a good while. That way they are all out of the same batch run through at the same temp and aged about the same. It just works for me.

Anyway hope this helps some, and don't let th prices on the MP's frighten you off if you find one you like. You will not regret them one bit.
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Old May 17, 2013, 07:19 PM   #8
zxcvbob
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Quote:
Something to pour up ingots in, I use a cast iron corncob corn bread iron, and a couple of the commercial aluminum type like the Lyman or Lee for smaller chunks or for a special type of alloy. It helps me keep things separated and usually I don't blend up a big batch of something different just to try it out.
I just picked up a $9 corncob pan from Walmart on my way home. I ordered it from walmart.com a couple of weeks ago. It's smaller than I expected. I have been using stainless steel condiment cups. They are cheap and they work well, but the ingots are not a good shape for topping up a pot of lead without risking burning my fingers. The corn cobs will be a lot easier, even if they are a little small. (they might surprise me and run a pound and a half when I pour a batch)

ETA: I just poured a few to try it out, and they run about 17 ounces. Will probably be closer to 18 when I'm really using it, not pouring just 3 cobs in a cold mold.
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Last edited by zxcvbob; May 18, 2013 at 05:32 PM.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:31 PM   #9
Old 454
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Very good info, thank you all. please feel free with any tips or tricks of the trade if you will.

I will also be pan lubing, I got a friend who says he has a good recipe that involves two big spoon fulls of some kinda red automotive grease lol. He has been reloading and casting for 40 years.

If you all have any decent recipes please feel free to share! I will be puting up his recipe when I get it from him. He says its the best.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:54 PM   #10
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I love the condiment cups. I can add em when needed and not lower the temp of the pot too much. I set my condiment ingot in my stainless steel skimming spoon and slowly let it slide off into the melt that way, and keep fingers from getting close.
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Old May 18, 2013, 06:20 AM   #11
Mike / Tx
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MOst of what I lube is with the 45-45-10 recipe listed over on CB's in the Lube section under "Tumble Lube Made Easy" or something similar. It is the Lee Alox blended with Johnson's paste wax and a little Mineral Spirits added to thin. You can however pick it up premixed along with several other great lubes to pan lube with from White Label Lubes. I have tried several of them and they are all great and for a great price.
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Old May 18, 2013, 11:06 PM   #12
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Depending on the size of your scrap you may need to invest in a smelting setup. A sturdy hi-temp propane burner, large stock pot a big ladle and skimmer get the job done quickly and save your production pot for it's intended use.
I like your face shield idea but recommend a heavy longsleeve shirt, jeans and sturdy shoes. A leather apron is a good idea as well.
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Old June 3, 2013, 10:10 PM   #13
Old 454
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--anks much for the info.

So far I have accuired about 35 LBS of scrap lead. Buddy of mines father in law has a bushel basket filled with lead bars, trying like hell to get him to part with it. He was a loader from days gone by.

I got all my crews looking for lead (they get to keep all the brass and copper)

Slow going but I will eventually get to where I need to be.

Question : I here of using "chilled Shot" is that just lead shot that has been chilled in the process if being made or is just something as simple as putting lead shot in the frig? I assume its magnum shot.

And the recipe for good Lyman #2 90-5-5

I will be making it by 20LB batchs using fluxed scrap lead.
I was looking on ROTO metals and seen tin bars made from puter that were 92% tin and 8% antimony.

Is that easyier to use then say buying the superhard at 70/30 lead/antimony then adding in tin ?

I am try for the Lyman #2, I here thats about the best to use that you can push to a decent level with out leading, for the .454 casull I will use the lyman #2 with gas checks. With out gas checks it will be for 45ACP,357,9mm and 380ACP, I might buy the 357 gas check mold for hard pushed 357

Thanks again for you info
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Old June 5, 2013, 09:18 PM   #14
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Hard shot generally has arsenic or antimony in it. Pure lead needs tin and antimony in small quantities to make good bullets. Glen Fryxell has an excellent book on lead metallurgy available online, hopefully someone smarter than me will post a link.
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