View Full Version : Questions about casting bullets for muzzleloading.

September 3, 2009, 10:13 PM
Hello everyone,

A friend of mine recently acquired several pounds of pure lead and wants to use it to cast bullets for his muzzleloader. Here are the questions that I have:

1. Will pure lead make for good muzzleloading bullets, or does he need to create a harder alloy? The bullets will be used for target practice as well as whitetail deer and blackbear hunting.

2. I've noticed that most 50-caliber-round-ball-bullet molds can be purchased in either a .490 or .495 diameter configuration. Why are there two different configurations, and how do you know which diameter bullet is best for your muzzleloader?

3. Are there any good how-to books that address this subject? I have the ABCs of Reloading, but the section on bullet casting isn't geared toward muzzleloading.


September 4, 2009, 12:47 AM
Pure lead is almost mandatory for black powder casting/shooting. The reason is; black powder produces much less pressure when it fires, the bullet/ball must be soft so it can deform,(the proper term is obturate), to fill the bore. Obturation produces accuracy. The soft lead also will deform or mushroom when it hits game.

As for the diameter that the mold casts, that would have to be determined by the actual diameter of the bore. IOW, a .490 might be good for a true .510 bore with a .010 patch, or a tighter patch ball combination can be achieved with a .495 ball.

Casting any projectile using pure lead is a PITA. The lead and mold must be at least 850 degrees, 900 would be better! Pure lead does not flow well at all. Fill-out of balls is easier, but conicals can give even an experienced caster fits!:(:mad: My best success with pure lead is when I use a bottom pour ladle with the spout held tight against the sprue plate. Again, the lead has to be hot as h**l, then work quickly to get the lead into the mold without it having time to cool.

The Lyman cast bullet manual is the best one on the market for cast lead bullets. Considered by most as "the bible of bullet casting".

Hope this helps, ask away if I didn't answer your questions.

September 4, 2009, 07:51 PM

Thanks. That was very helpful.

So, can you heat lead to 850 degrees using a gas burner and lead pot, or do you need to have an electric furnace?


September 4, 2009, 10:04 PM
Actually, you can heat lead much higher than 850 with propane. In fact, you CAN get it too hot, hot enough to start generating lead fumes,(which happen at 1200 degrees).

If you're using a gas fired pot, you REALLY need a thermometer to control the heat, so as not to get too hot.

September 4, 2009, 10:42 PM
I definitely don't want to do that! Thanks for the information.