View Full Version : Cast my first boolits today!

November 1, 2009, 07:21 PM
The vast majority were very good and I had very little trouble thanks to what I've read here from the experienced. I cast about 200 .45 round nose and threw about 30 back in the pot for various reasons. One if which was, I was having too much fun and running out of lead :D so I got real picky about what to keep. Anyway here are a few pics of some of the rejects for your critiquing...


The first bullet was one of the very first out of the mold. I knew from my reading that's from the lead being too hot. Turned it down and no more the rest of the day. The second one is fine on one side and not filled out on the other. I also noticed some bullets that were nice on one side and (just) a bit frosted on the other. Is one side of my mold hotter than the other? The third is just not filled out, I turned up the heat a bit and that seemed to fix it.



I think I was getting these near the end of the day, pot low on lead. Is this from slag (dross) i.e. dirty lead getting in the bullets?

Here's what the other ~200 looked like, I was very happy! :D


And for the last question...
I slugged my barrel and it's 0.4515" The boolits are dropping at 0.4545. Do I HAVE to size these or can I lube and shoot as dropped?


November 1, 2009, 07:35 PM
Looks like you have a good handle on what to look for while in the process of casting. Your observations are spot on! Good pictures too, I wish I had a camera that could focus that close. I guess I'll have to quit buying guns and loading stuff long enough to buy that camera I want.

As for the diameter, IF you're shooting these from a 45 acp, you will probably have to size them to .452. But if you can seat them in a shell, AND they will chamber and feed, you might get away with shooting them as-cast.

November 1, 2009, 07:38 PM
Apparently I missed a step making my ingots. Most of the ingots soldered themselves to the muffin pan and destroyed it trying to get them out. The last few I heated with a torch to get them out. What should I use in the future to avoid this? PAM cooking spray? :o


November 1, 2009, 09:32 PM
Get a different one pc muffin pan. You don't need pam, you flip the pan while they are still warm and they fall right out.

November 1, 2009, 10:06 PM
You have a tin coated muffin pan. The tin made the molten lead act just like solder! Therefore it soldered or welded itself to the tin.

November 1, 2009, 10:09 PM
You will definately want to sized those. .452 should be ok. Those look very good. Frosted boolits shoot just fine as well as shiny ones...so don't be so quick to cull those out!

November 2, 2009, 12:03 AM
Go to Walmart and buy one of their $6 teflon lined muffin pans. I did the same thing as you, having to torch the unlined pan to get the lead out. Now, they just drop out as soon as they harden. I also bought a mini-muffin pan for those casting sessions when I only need a little bit to fill the smelter.

November 2, 2009, 07:15 AM
How much do the ingots weigh coming out of that mini-muffin pan?

November 2, 2009, 07:27 AM
How much do they weigh Just put one on a scale. Roughly 8 ounces.

November 2, 2009, 07:41 AM
If your barrel slugged at .451 I too would size to .452. As for the muffin pans. Yard sales are your friend. I picked up two old heavy Aluminum muffin pans and they work great. Remember they have to be the heavy Aluminum pans. The ones I found are about a ΒΌ inch thick. Those bullets that where full of slag , you need to keep your pot clean. I melt the scrap lead in a Dutch oven flux and skim all the trash out before it goes in the muffin pans. Then I have clean pigs to put in the lead pot and flux again.. If you use a bottom pour pot. That trash can give you problems.

November 2, 2009, 08:12 AM
Thanks all. I'll get a new pan. BTW the ingots out of the muffin pan weigh ~1 lb 10 oz.

November 2, 2009, 09:16 AM
How much do they weigh Just put one on a scale. Roughly 8 ounces.

Cool, thanks. I don't have a small scale to weight them that is why I asked.

November 2, 2009, 10:20 AM
Great Job

Thanks for the pics and sharing

Yeah..I look for rusty muffin pans at the yard sales...no one wants them but they are cheap and clean up nice.

November 2, 2009, 07:54 PM
Loaded up ~20 to try here's the result...


Group of 7 (what my magazine holds) about 1" at 25 feet. Loaded them with 5.4 gr. of W231. [side note- the target is some of the factory seconds Midway has on sale, I don't know why they are seconds unless it's because the black flakes easily. They seem fine to me.]

Now for the questions... I've heard (read) about leading but have never actually seen it. Is this what leading looks like? It's only in the first 1.5-2" inches of the barrel.


These boolits are about 2 thousandths too big (0.454) and I did have two jams. Both were due to a bit of lead being shaved and making a ridge that acted like the case neck and held the action open just a bit.


The lead is quite soft, I was told by a reliable source it was from wheel weights. These boolits were cast and dropped on a towel. I also cast some and dropped in water to harden a bit, but didn't load any of those yet. Probably tomorrow.

Feedback it very welcome! :D

November 2, 2009, 08:51 PM

Nice thread on your success & nice pics but i have a ?? how are you lubeing your bullets???:confused:

Get your self a magnet & head to the grocery store & get some copper pot scrubbers to wrap around a brush to unlead the barrel!!!

(the magnet is to make sure ya get all copper scrubbers)

Looks as if your on your way to independance from bullet companys & becoming a slave to the silver stream!!!!:D:D

November 2, 2009, 09:25 PM
GP100man, pan lubed with 50/50 paraffin/grease (hi-temp, extreme pressure, super... yuda yada yada, red stuff from Wal-Mart). I know I can do better, I'm just starting. I read some stuff over at Cast Boolits regarding lube recipes and am working toward that. I'm an impatient soul, so I work with what I have and go shootin'. :D

Edit: I assume you mean that that IS leading. Sorry to be ignorant I was born that way, and learn as I go.

November 2, 2009, 10:20 PM
Yes, that is leading. Not a huge deal though. +1 on the ALL copper scrubbies. They make QUICK work of lead. As stated wrap some strands around your brush to where pushing it thru requires a little effort. There are ways to eliminate leading. Are you sizing your bullets? You need to slug your bore and size 1 thousandth over groove diameter. This will be a good start. Good luck!

November 3, 2009, 06:34 PM
Well the bullets I water quenched produced no leading. However I did get another jam, same as yesterday, shaved a little lead back and held the slide open just a bit. I dropped the load back 0.2 grains to 5.2 of W231 and that opened up the groups some.
I'll have to size the bullets to clear up the trouble. Thanks for everyone's input! It's always helpful for us noobies.;)

chris in va
November 3, 2009, 09:03 PM
WalMart has a mini muffin pan that is teflon coated. My ingots last night just fell right out when I tipped it over onto the garage floor. No signs of sticking whatsoever...could probably take it back to the store and get my money back!

I'm kidding.:p

November 3, 2009, 09:58 PM
I actually found an aluminum mini-muffin pan in the cupboard that worked well too. I'll probably get a bigger one from Wally-World (Wal-Mart) though... And keep my eyes open at garage sales, any old rusty Steel pan that looks ingot sized i think.

Sizing and lubing are the next issues.... :rolleyes:

November 11, 2009, 09:31 AM
FYI - I called Lee about the bullet in the top picture, middle; filled out on one side but not the other. The rep at Lee said it was most likely a dirty mold and recommended a solvent such as carburetor cleaner to clean it.

November 11, 2009, 09:42 AM
A good solvent cleaning should cure it. Brake cleaner or the like.

A normal rule of thumb is to size bullets 0.001" to 0.002" over groove diameter for least leading and best accuracy, so I would look for a .453" sizer if you are going to size them. In general, too big is better than too small, because too small tends to allow gas bypass and cutting of the bullet base that can introduces further leading and spoil accuracy.

November 11, 2009, 12:02 PM
Thanks, I'm sizing some now. 0.453. I ordered a 0.452 die but the bullets are dropping out of it at 0.453, which I think will be fine. I'm just trying to tweak it so it will fill the lube grooves without getting lube on the ogive. Temperature / pressure relationship, temp. too high and the lube flows into the die resulting in lube on the ogive, too low and the lube grooves don't fill. I'm trying to warm the bullets to see if that helps. In theory a hot bullet will allow the lube to flow into the grooves easier while keeping the press temperature and therefore the lube a bit cooler (~110F) so it doesn't flow into the die between bullets gunking the ogive. :confused:

November 11, 2009, 12:58 PM
what setup do you have,,,lubesizer, lube, etc?? heater?? We may be able to help you get dialed in... :D

November 11, 2009, 01:08 PM
Star w/ hard lube supplied by Magma.

November 13, 2009, 09:55 AM
Bent up my stainless steel spoon yesterday to make pouring easier since I don't have a ladle. Just thought I'd share...

There was a picture here but the server deleted it for some reason.


The lead pours much more controllably through the bent up spout at the tip.

November 17, 2009, 09:44 PM
Here are some VERY back of the napkin hardness testing results...

The bullet on the left was heat treated in my kitchen oven at ~430 deg F for one hour then quenched in cold water for 5 min. Then let sit for 2 days to age harden. The bullet in the middle was quenched from the mold (dropped in water). The bullet on the right was air cooled from the mold. I simply laid the heat treated bullet next to each of the others one at a time and squeezed with a vice-grip pliers at no particular pressure. From the results you can see the heat treated bullet is much harder. All were cast from the same batch of alloy, wheel weights.


I also did the squeeze test against a bullet for Oregon Trail that I was told has a BHN of 24. It did leave a mark in my cast .45...


Makes me wonder if my heat treated .45 is too hard?

November 18, 2009, 12:43 AM
Oh, and just for comparison, here's Quenched from mold on the left vs. Air cooled on the right...


Same alloy as above.

Quenched; obviously a bit harder.

November 18, 2009, 01:01 AM
Makes me wonder if my heat treated .45 is too hard?

Too hard? Nope--you aren't gonna get a lead alloy even close to the hardness of a copper jacket, and if you can find a way to make it harder than the steel of your barrel (which is about they only way I could consider a projectile too hard), then you really ought to retire on the billions you get from the chemistry patent. ;) Looking pretty good from where I'm sitting.

November 18, 2009, 01:10 PM
Here are some VERY back of the napkin hardness testing results...

I'll say!:rolleyes: Now get yourself a lee hardness tester, so you really know how hard they really are. Good thinking though, relative hardness is a good tool to estimate, or see results.

November 18, 2009, 02:38 PM
I'll say! Now get yourself a lee hardness tester, so you really know how hard they really are.

I'm actually working on building a hardness tester, the formula is simple enough...

Formula from Wikipedia / Wikimedia.org.

November 19, 2009, 11:51 AM
Yeah, that formula and $42.99 will get you a lee hardness tester. Nice idea for testing hardness, but you need machinery to do it, not mathematics.


A certain sized ball, pressed with measured pressure into the material being tested, then being able to read how far that ball penetrated that material. That's what hardness testing is all about.

November 19, 2009, 11:02 PM
Basic Rules for Harding Lead-

For every 1% additional tin, Brinell hardness increases 0.3.
For every 1% additional antimony, Brinell hardness increases 0.9.
For a simple equation,
Brinell = 8.60 + ( 0.29 * Tin ) + ( 0.92 * Antimony )

November 20, 2009, 08:39 PM
Thanks snuffy and trip,

I came to my senses and ordered the tester. I was gearing up pneumatic cylinders with microcontrollers and sensors ( I do like building -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-) to get some simple data. Anyone want to buy a pneumatic cylinder, 2" bore - 1" stroke. :D

November 20, 2009, 11:00 PM
2" bore, 1" stroke.... :D I am looking for a 3" bore, 25" stroke, 38.25" retracted, 1.25" pins, 3.5" base clevis, 2" rod clevis, and rated to 3200 PSI.. If ya got 2 of these layin' around, I'd be interested... :eek: :D