The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 14, 2013, 12:50 PM   #1
loademwell
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 6, 2012
Posts: 143
? about Casting your own...

I am looking to getting into casting for my 9mm. Just because it seems that the bullets (projectiles) seem to cost just about as much as a full box of ammo costs.

Big question that I have: If I buy a lee 2 spot cast lets use this one for an example; http://www.ebay.com/itm/190901166877...84.m1438.l2649

Do I also have to buy the bullet size die? Gas Checks?

Or can I get by with just lubing them up and putting them in the casing?
loademwell is offline  
Old September 14, 2013, 01:19 PM   #2
PawPaw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 24, 2010
Location: Central Louisiana
Posts: 3,108
I don't use a gas check on any bullet, unless I'm driving it to over 1500 fps. Everything else is loaded without a check. The check is another step in the process, another expense, and simply un-necessary for most handgun ammo.

Most of my handgun bullets are loaded as-cast, without sizing. I simply tumble lube them and load them. However, as simple as it sounds, bullet casting is another facet of our hobby that seems to get under your skin, and you'll see problems that you never dreamed of, much less thought about. Bullet alloys, melting pots, sizing equipment, extra bullet molds, many of us get into it purely to save money, and wind up owning several hundred dollars worth of equipment.

On the other hand, I haven't bought a pistol bullet in many years. I make my own in the garage, and I'm able to build pistol ammo for about 5 cents a pop. Not a bad deal at all.
__________________
Dennis Dezendorf

http://pawpawshouse.blogspot.com
PawPaw is offline  
Old September 14, 2013, 03:46 PM   #3
Paul B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 28, 1999
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,596
I too cast my own bullet for rifle and handgun. Been doing it since I was 16 and I just turned 75. It's highly addicting. nay
Personally, especially if you plan on shooting a lot of cast bullets, I'd go with a better mold than a Lee. The one I use for my 9MM's is the Lyman #356402, a truncated cone bullet designed for the 9mm. Shoots pretty good in .38 Spl. and .357 mangun too. Runs right at 125 gr., is plain based so needs no gas check If the bullet casts out at .357/.358" you're good to go with a tumble lube. If it's smaller you'll need to play with the alloy a bit to make a slighly fatter bullet. I run mine over 5.0 gr. of Unique and that shoot quite well giving decent groups at 25 yards in 3 different 9MM handguns.
Paul B.
__________________
COMPROMISE IS NOT AN OPTION!
Paul B. is offline  
Old September 14, 2013, 03:48 PM   #4
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 6,650
Whether or not you need to size the bullets depends on the size of your chamber and the diameter of the cast bullet. Not every mold is the same, and most are designed to drop 0.002" to 0.004" over the target diameter. Some also drop oblong bullets - bullets that are not actually round.

If the bullet is large enough in diameter, or out of round far enough, that a loaded round cannot even chamber in your firearm... then they must be sized. You can't get around it. But, don't worry about the expense. You can get a Lee push-through sizing die kit for $15-18, or just the sizing die for as little as $8. They work with any 7/8-14 (standard) reloading press.

Gas checks? Depends on how hard you want to push the bullets, and what alloy you're using.
Personally, I've never used a gas check for 9mm.


Whatever you decide to do... Be sure to shop around for the equipment. Ebay, from what I have seen, is usually a bad place for casting equipment. Most of the equipment on Ebay is worn out, damaged, being over-hyped by the seller as something "rare", or has bidders that get caught up in a bidding war. If you're on a budget, avoid Ebay.

Case in point - That mold you used as an example can be picked up on sale for the same price, new; and you can routinely find it for $18-20, new. (I recently purchased a few new 2-cavity Lee molds for $13 / apiece.)


The Bullet Casting forum here, the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, Modern Reloading (Lee manual), and http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ are decent places to get more information on the subject.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser is offline  
Old September 14, 2013, 05:40 PM   #5
lee n. field
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 12, 2002
Location: The same state as Mordor.
Posts: 3,153
Quote:
Big question that I have: If I buy a lee 2 spot cast lets use this one for an example; http://www.ebay.com/itm/190901166877...84.m1438.l2649

Do I also have to buy the bullet size die? Gas Checks?

Or can I get by with just lubing them up and putting them in the casing?
Ideally you should have a sizing die.

I never had real good luck using the tumble lubes.
__________________
"As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. "
lee n. field is online now  
Old September 15, 2013, 09:08 AM   #6
Mike / Tx
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2000
Posts: 1,244
Well I can only give you some general advice, since I don't have anything in 9 mil that I pour for.

In a word "RESEARCH". This will go further than you can imagine in getting things you actually need together on the low end of the money.

Places to check out are the LASC and the write ups by Glen Fryxell, and others. An awesome source of info.

Also check in and search out questions on Castboolits.

I did about a year and a half of reading various sites and gathering info before I ever poured my first bullet. As such I probably didn't have more than $125 tied up in it at the start. I can hardly say that now however.

That said though with the knowledge gained by studying what I wanted to do first, I knew what to expect and how to go about getting there. While in reading I have seen where the 9mm has given plenty issues, I have also seen plenty who helped them through those issues and plenty more who came into it getting great results. Most of the issues noted have been either size, or lube related, usually in that order. As mentioned if you simply do not try and drive the bullets to the top end, you should find plenty of usable loads.

My first venture was with a 454 which I did go with the GC'ed bullets, simply due to that was what I had been using and the loads worked well. I have since added several other molds in this caliber, but have been having so much fun with my 45 Colt (which I have picked up since), that I haven't gotten around to trying them in the Casull.

Trust me when I say, once you get started, you will be finding other things to cast for evne if you have to buy them. There is no way around it, so just be forewarned ahead of time.

There are plenty of us to help you through the addiction however so just hang in there we'll help you though. Oh and recommend other molds for you as well.
__________________
LAter,
Mike / TX
Mike / Tx is online now  
Old September 15, 2013, 09:24 AM   #7
David Bachelder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2011
Location: Trinity, Texas
Posts: 619
The mold will work fine. After you learn to get it up to temperature. A thermometer is the best tool for that and I highly recommend that you get one, assuming you don't have one now. Start casting when your lead is about 650 to 750 F. If the bullets are wrinkled the mold is too cool. If the bullets are frosty looking the mold is to hot. A hot plate is handy for warming the mold.

A two cavity will heat up pretty quick so depending on your results you may not need to do a lot of mold preheating. Another approach is to start pouring as soon as the pot reaches the proper temp and let the molten lead heat the mold. This will generate some culls, no worry toss them back in the pot. When the bullets start getting pretty, adjust your cadence and pot temp to maintain quality .... this is easy to do, you'll get the hang of it.

I have always thought sizing was a necessary evil and I size all of my bullets, I like the consistency. Some will pass through the sizer with little or no resistance, some will take a bit of effort.

I tumble lube with LEE Liquid Alox exclusively and have had great luck with it. Just tumble them and spread em out on a sheet of wax paper to dry. The Texas sun and a fan speeds dry time up greatly. Other wise expect overnight. Don't over dose the Alox, just enough to give the bullets a light brown stain is plenty.

I don't think gas checks are necessary, and you can tumble lube any style of bullet.

Good luck!
__________________
David Bachelder
Trinity, Texas
I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 243 and 30-06
David Bachelder is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 09:57 AM   #8
pelo801
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 9, 2009
Posts: 642
I don't believe you need to gas check pretty much any of the handgun cartridges. As far luging/sizing goes, if the bullet design has conventional lube bands like the one in your link, then I think it should be sized/lubed through a sizer. That's just me. However, if the bullet design is like the Lee tumble lube molds, then it's fine to just lube them in a Tupperware with he lee liquid alox. I actually use some of those and they work good. I have a 148 gr dewc I use for 38, a 158 gr swc for 357, and 230 gr I use for both 45 auto and 45 colt. I like the ease of the TL design. It is less time consuming than the lubrisizer and still works good.
pelo801 is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 11:04 AM   #9
mikld
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2009
Location: Southern Oregon!
Posts: 1,028
Lots of good answers, but a little on the technical side. You should do a bit of reading first to see what all entails in casting bullets. The two cavity mold you link to is a pretty good mold, but learning what needs to be done to use that mold is pretty important, as it's a bit more than melting lead and pouring it into a hole.

Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook is an excellent place to start and the Los Angeles Silhouette Club's website offers excellent info.http://www.lasc.us/IndexBrennan.htm

It doesn't take a lot of equipment to get started, but the equipment will have to be useful for your casting needs...
__________________
My Anchor is holding fast!
mikld is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 11:14 AM   #10
flashhole
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2005
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 1,286
I picked up the Lee 4-20 bottom pour pot, works great and I recommend it. My handgun is 40 S&W and I use the Lee 6-cavity microgroove mold, also highly recommended. If you shoot a lot it makes a big batch of bullets in short order once the mold is up to temperature. I use wheel weights for casting and have a separate cast iron dutch oven and burner to smelt the lead and pour it into 1 pound ingots to use with the pour pot. Smelting the wheel weights is pretty dirty and you don't want all that crud in your pouring pot. Lee Liquid Alox is an easy way to lube too.
__________________
Gun control is hitting what you aim at..
flashhole is offline  
Old September 15, 2013, 11:22 AM   #11
mjes92
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 28, 2013
Location: Land of 10,000 taxes
Posts: 188
I still consider myself a casting rookie. The best advice I can give you is do not use too hard of alloy. I had leading issues. Softer is better when casting for plinking rounds. Lee sizing dies are inexpensive and worth it in my book. Consistinty is important to me. Sized vs unsized, Try both see which you like.

Keep your fps on the tame side and you dont need gas checks.

Have fun and good luck.
__________________
Dad !!! "It's only going to be perfect if you do it yourself." - my teenage daughter
NRA - Life Member
mjes92 is offline  
Old September 17, 2013, 11:19 AM   #12
AlaskaMike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2005
Posts: 906
I agree with most of the others on gas checks--unless your gun has problems you won't need them at handgun velocities.

The Lee 2 cavity molds are great ones to start with because they cost much less than steel or brass molds. The only downside is that they're not very durable. Not a big problem when you're just starting out and trying to determine if casting is something you'll get serious about.

The best thing you can do at this stage is just start casting and get a feel for it. If the bullets don't come out right, just dump them back in the pot!

Good luck!
Mike
AlaskaMike is offline  
Old October 10, 2013, 10:45 AM   #13
clinck
Junior Member
 
Join Date: September 11, 2013
Location: Johannesburg South Africa
Posts: 13
bullet casting unsuccessful

just got my lee six cavity bullet mold but the bullets I am casting all have creases in them almost like the lead is not hot enough. I did preheat the mold and casted about 100 bullets but all seem to have creases in them. I turned up the gas but it did not improve. what temprature should I heat the lead to.
clinck is offline  
Old October 10, 2013, 02:06 PM   #14
David Bachelder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2011
Location: Trinity, Texas
Posts: 619
clinck

If you don't have a thermometer you'd be well advised to get one.

Start casting at 650 to 750 F (398.89 C) if the wrinkles go away at 750 try to maintain that temp.

Normally:
Wrinkles mean the mix is too cold.
Frosty means the mix is too hot.

Casting with out a thermometer is a shot in the dark.
__________________
David Bachelder
Trinity, Texas
I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 243 and 30-06
David Bachelder is offline  
Old October 10, 2013, 04:52 PM   #15
flashhole
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2005
Location: Owego, NY
Posts: 1,286
Got a pic of your setup? Sounds like your mold to not hot enough. Are you casting in a breezy area? Wind will take heat away from the system very quickly. I set up wind blocks when I cast outside. Also, leave the bullets in the mold for a minute or so when starting that's what heats your mold the fastest.
__________________
Gun control is hitting what you aim at..
flashhole is offline  
Old October 10, 2013, 07:00 PM   #16
jamaica
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 24, 2006
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 520
I like to go low cost. That doesn't mean poor quality. I use Lyman 4 cavity molds and dipper, a Dutch oven cast iron kettle on the camp stove. Yes I do size and lube. One step in the Lyman sizer. My son gets me wheel weights free. He is a mechanic. I have a deal with a friend who makes lube. I give him some beeswax, (I am a beekeeper) and he gives me lube. No to gas checks. Cost of bullets? Very low, a bit of fuel. I can enjoy an afternoon of casting bullets.

You see nothing very costly here, but it works very well.
jamaica is offline  
Old October 10, 2013, 08:25 PM   #17
armoredman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2007
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,737
Low cost is Lee dies and a Lee push through sizer. I use both for 9mm. I use both Lee molds, and find they both work well. Lee molds are not long lived - you probably won't pass them down to your grandkids. Lee equipment is just fine, and the Push Through .356 sizer just happens to come with a bottle of Lee Liquid Alox for tumble lubing, which works just fine as well. I prefer pan lubing the Lee 125 single lube groove 9mm bullet with a buddy's custom lube of alox and beeswax - whole place smells like warm honey while I'm lubing.
You can make many, many, many good quality bullets cheaply with your Lee dies and Lee sizer - I know that for a fact.
__________________
http://czfirearms.us/ same original CZForum, new location.
armoredman is offline  
Old October 11, 2013, 06:19 PM   #18
AlaskaMike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2005
Posts: 906
A brand new mold takes some breaking in because they tend to be coated in a light layer of oil.

I don't think it took very long for my Lee 6-cav molds to start dropping good bullets. Keep casting bullets at a temp that's high enough that the bullets look frosty, and I bet the wrinkles will clear up fairly quickly.

Mike
AlaskaMike is offline  
Old October 11, 2013, 08:10 PM   #19
Crankgrinder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 642
I began casting for nines 3 years ago. My Lee 6 hole rn mold makes great bullets and has made at least a couple thousand rounds. For $40 and it shows no signs of slipping up yet. Straight wheel weights water dropped should be hard enough for 9mm up o 35000 psi without a gas check. Has worked fine for me so far. I Load mine as cast and its worked in both my beretta and glock since ive used it.
Crankgrinder is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10336 seconds with 7 queries