View Full Version : Why do you cast, or why dont you cast?

April 28, 2010, 06:09 PM
Im still kinda up in the air about casting bullets. I have never loaded pistol before...but jumping from buying rifle rounds to pistol rounds I see a dramatic increase in the price. Especially the 45 ACP bullets. There is a ton of money to be saved...

I DONT want to cast for the following reasons
*I dont know how to do it (Should be easy enough to learn)
*I dont have the equipment
*Potential health risks with the lead

I DO want to cast for the following reasons
*I would enjoy getting that much more involved in the sport
*Save a ton of money
*With the saved money I can shoot even more!

So what say ye? For a long time I have been against casting but looking at the price of bullets...its starting to look better and better.

Aside from price...What do you have to add to the topic? Why do you cast? (Besides price)
And for people who DONT cast...this for you too! Why did you stop casting? Why dont you cast at all?

Thanks : D


April 28, 2010, 07:02 PM
I stated handloading and casting in the sixties because I could not afford muchy factory ammo for my handguns. The reason is still the same today; I want an unlimited supply of inexpensive bullets with which I can do 99% of all my shooting (I still buy varmint bullets).
For all non-critical (critical= self defence) purposes, cast bullets are equal to the task. In handguns, except for self defence, there is no compelling reason to use anything other than cast bullets.

April 28, 2010, 07:08 PM
Affordability has alot to do with it , secondly & almost as much is not haveing to depend on supply & demand of the market ! in short independence !!:D

April 28, 2010, 07:14 PM
Health risks are minimal...as long as you are careful. I cast so I can tweak the bullets to better fit my gun. BUT, the main reason I cast is because I like to shoot...alot....and casting allows me to do that even on a tight budget. If you decide to try it out, buy some Lee equipment. It is cheaper but flat out works. You can easily start out casting for under $100 and probably even cheaper than that.

Brian Pfleuger
April 28, 2010, 07:26 PM
Major, major PITA and way, way too much investment, with way too little benefit for the amount and particular cartridges that I shoot.

April 28, 2010, 09:14 PM
I've been pondering my answer to this question for years.

I'm still not casting for all of these reasons, and not listed in any particular order.

I don't have access to free or cheap lead. Last thing I want to add to my life is slumming around tire shops begging for lead.
I'm thoroughly confused on how exactly I'm supposed to get the lead mix that works best. I'm certain I can learn it, but I'm not in the mood to learn all the ins & outs of a lifelong hobby at this point. As long as I've been a handloader, I've still got so much to learn just in that.
I'm not thrilled with the prospect of working with molten hot liquid. I've been through third degree burns before (that was a long 7 weeks out of work) and I'm just not looking forward to that part of it.
I also don't care much for the idea of hazardous air, putting me in the garage or the driveway to do the work.
I already burn piles of time with shooting and handloading, which I enjoy a heap. I've got two young kids, so this is NOT the time to add another huge can of worms such as casting.
Even though I've seen the prices climb like crazy, I still look at the number of high quality cast lead slugs I get from a guy like Dardas and I'm pretty darn happy with how they shoot and how much I spend on 'em. I don't feel pinched by the cost of quality commercially cast bullets.
Everyone says it's not that expensive to get started, but that's all relative. Until I have a pile of lead here, it just looks like a lot of molds and equipment that needs to be purchased... I'd rather buy primers or more guns.

With all that said... I honestly see myself casting one day. It's just that every time I think about it, I think about all the reasons I just don't want to start up a new hobby.

April 28, 2010, 09:24 PM
I love casting...nearly as much as I love to shoot em up... and... it is easy and fun to do... also if you do it, it dont take long to regain your startup costs from what you save making your own rds.... Also..if your lucky like i am..others will want some of your bullets now and then...I have sold over 200bucks of bullets in the past 9 months...which covers the cost of all my eight molds that I have.

April 28, 2010, 10:53 PM
This is another reason why I cast :D


357 Mag HP rounds (170 grain)

45 ACP HP rounds (200 grain) round or penta hollowpoint

Premium hunting ammunition for cheap! I also use them for plinking.

April 28, 2010, 11:46 PM
I first started casting a while back in order to cheaply put my .32 Win Sp back in action. Bullets for reload were too few, too far between, and I love shooting it too much. Casting was just the thing to do in order to keep the thing fed. Since then I've increased my mold inventory to cover two handguns, three rifles, and all my BP. Next on the list is conical bullets instead of all the RB I've been shooting for my BP revolver.

Why do I do it? Same reasons I reload in general. I could talk about all the money savings--anyone who reloads knows what kind of cost differences are involved once you have your set-up. But aside from that, I just really enjoy the whole process involved in producing my own ammunition--end of story. Casting is just another aspect in that same equation. I can swag my own jacketed bullets for my .357, but I haven't had the time to really dial that in fully yet. Eventually, and hopefully sooner rather than later, I'll be swaging my own 6mm and .30 jacketed bullets as well--I just haven't had enough spare time to machine out the dies yet.

It's all part of a process that I really enjoy, and enjoy even more the deeper I find myself getting in it.

April 29, 2010, 03:19 AM

Lavid, there's a host of info in this sticky. Read it through, then come back here to ask your questions, if you still have any!:D

April 29, 2010, 08:10 AM
I'm the kinda guy that would rather spend all day making something vs spending $20 on it downtown. I love making my own stuff, so thats what I do.

How can it get any better than making your own bullets? I've only been casting about 4 or 5 years, but its actually very easy and saves a pile of money if you do much shooting.

Very nice boolits. I've been eye balling one (or three) of those molds, but aint took the plunge yet.

April 29, 2010, 08:25 AM
Those GC'd .357 rounds are gorgeous.

Can you use the term "gorgeous" to describe a lead slug?

Those dang things are pretty.

April 29, 2010, 11:34 AM

Lavid, there's a host of info in this sticky. Read it through, then come back here to ask your questions, if you still have any!

Lost of good information for beginners : D

Youtube videos have been a great help too!

Its funny. I was thinking...how the heck am I going to get these metal clips out of the melted lead. I will have to skim the lead off the top and then pick them out. Au contrar! I have spent my whole life becoming accustomed to things SINKING in liquid. It totally passes my mind that I am dealing with one of the most dense matters on earth :D LOL! Very very cool. I cant wait to see steel float!


P.S. Metal ratios still confuse me

April 29, 2010, 04:36 PM
You don't have to know about metal ratios and alloying for using WW's for handgun bullets. Use 100% WW's and if you have problems with the mould filling out making perfect bullets with nice sharp edges, that's when you add some tin to it. Tin can be had in rolls of solder 50/50 is cheapest. I have a 20 LB pot so I use about 18" of solder for a full pot of WW's. This helps mould fill out.

Learn to be a picky bullet caster! Reject the bad ones and remelt them later. Watch for perfect bases on the bullets, nice and square, not rounded.

April 29, 2010, 08:40 PM
U got it ed : D

Is tin similar to soldering wire?

April 29, 2010, 08:58 PM
Thank you gentlemen for the compliments. And yes, you can call lead slugs "gorgeous." :D

That'll Do
April 29, 2010, 09:12 PM
I cast because it's another aspect of the reloading/handloading hobby that I enjoy immensely. I get great satisfaction turning a stack of lead ingots in a shiny pile of perfect little bullets.

The money savings aspect is another big reason. And finally, having bullets that fit your gun perfectly is priceless–a custom fit and the correct lube makes for some pretty accurate shooting.

And if some very basic safety rules are followed (which needs to be the case 24/7) the chances of being poisoned are next to impossible.

max it
April 30, 2010, 11:19 AM

It's those "gorgeous" bullets that have me entranced. :D

I just started adding linotype and the edges are square and the bullets shine like never before. Also as a new caster I realized that alloy and steel molds beat the tar out of WW and alum molds. NOt that I am going to throw out anything. I even shoot all the wrinkled, funny looking ones. Which is probably the second reason to cast, its cheaper.

So now I have a pot, a sizer, several molds, tools from the thrift store (they think that they are kitchen tools, silly). And my wife's cast iron pot, a turkey fryer burner on the way, and various other things like containers, alox, candles etc. Thanks to all of you, a local older guy who started me, and youtube, and the guys at two ranges and several local shops now I are one! Hooray


April 30, 2010, 11:58 AM
There's tin in the soldering wire. Learn to not use too much. Depending on the exact mixture of the WW's you may need more or less than I said for good mould fill out.

If you cast outside keep in mind that one raindrop falls in the pot..the contents of the pot will explode in all directions. A big moth did it once to me too. Long sleeved shirts, gloves and glasses are in order.

April 30, 2010, 06:17 PM
I cast because of cost reduction and performance increase.

Casting my own 9mm bullets allows me to load a thousand rounds for about $60. Not a typo.

Cast bullets are just as accurate as their jacketed counterparts. Cleanup is a breeze. My 9mm ammo runs about 1150fps in a 4 inch.

chris in va
April 30, 2010, 09:45 PM
Now that I have the correct formula for 9mm and 45acp, there's simply no way I'd go back to FMJ considering how much they cost. I can crank out 500 9mm boolits for about $5 worth of wheelweights.

If you're concerned about lead exposure just wear gloves and a respirator.

May 1, 2010, 10:31 AM
With me, its varied reasons.

Pistols & revolvers, its cheaper and seems to me more accurate.

Rifles: I use to cast for the M1A so I could practice in an indoor range on 50 ft SM targets in the winter.

To save time and money, I can practice on reduced target at 100 yards for compition.

I can shoot reduce loads in my heavy rifles without getting beat up. Try compairing a 95 grns of 4831 pushing a 400 grn 416 rigby vs. a cast 416 bullet pushed by Trailboss, One hurts and one is a pleasure to shoot.

I built my grandson a 308, to get him to learn to shoot instead of flinch, I load him up cast bullets pushed by trailboss at reduced targets at 25 yards.

In BPCR,...............well you are just suppose to shoot cast bullets, its the law.

May 7, 2010, 08:48 AM
45ACP is 40 cents a shot for the plain stuff, half a dollar and more for the fancy stuff. :eek:

Cast, we are talking about 6 or 7 cents a shot depending on how long ago I bought the primers (longer ago, cheaper the price).

I have a .310" bore 30/06 that doesn't shoot copper bullets accurately, but I can cast .310-.311 bullets for it and make it accurate.

Its almost impossible to shoot out the throat of a rifle with cast bullets.

I can not only afford to shoot all day, but moderate recoil means I CAN shoot all day.

Some cartridges were originally intended for cast bullets (38 Special, 45 Colt), and receive no benefit from jacketed bullets.

May 7, 2010, 08:53 AM
I cast 308 rifle bullets and 58 Caliber Mini Balls.

Because I cannot find local sources.

My lead pistol bullets, I buy. I shoot too many of them to spend time casting.

Finding lead, making ingots takes a lot of time.


Melting, pouring lead takes too long, sizing and lubing take too long. Overall, casting is great if you have a lot of time on your hands.


Magnum Mike
May 7, 2010, 09:08 AM
I like to do it!! I'm a tight wad plus I've got a ton of lead. It go hand in hand with my shot making and reloading. I still need to perfect my shot making but it breaks targets. The bullets work great and I reload for next to nothing. Makes my friends jealous! :D

May 7, 2010, 11:25 AM
Ya know what ?? I think I shoot so I can cast & reload , no I cast so shootin will be cheaper ,NO I cast so I can get styles of bullets I want !!!


TOO MUCH TIME !!! Just cut the TV off for a week & we`ll see :D:D

I watch the news ,Supranos & lock & load thursdays , couple of movies with the girls a month , That`s it !

May 7, 2010, 12:58 PM
I started the process. I collected a bunch of WW's and have smelted a little over 100 lb in muffin ingots : D

Its pretty fun too...Feels like im getting paid to do it :P

May 7, 2010, 04:26 PM
At todays prices & shippin :eek: You are:D:D

May 7, 2010, 08:29 PM
coupla months ago I shot ten 32/20s from my marlin 94cl into a little over 2" at 100yds with my cast lyman gascheck @ 1600, 1700 fps, with 8 of them in 1.25". Ya can't get that kinda satisfaction from a $40 box of factory.

May 7, 2010, 11:44 PM
^ Wow...I can see where your coming from : )

May 8, 2010, 02:30 PM
I can buy superb yet affordable lead bullets from Penn Bullets and Meister.
For certain applications I can buy Beartooth, and Cast Performance, Oregon Trail, or Leadheads, or Lyman, or a million others.

I can buy them easier than make them.

Bud Helms
May 8, 2010, 05:23 PM
Hear, hear! I buy .376 for my .38-55 Wickliffe from GA Arms. Very accurate and very affordable.

May 8, 2010, 06:55 PM
A possibility down the road for sure : D

May 8, 2010, 07:15 PM
I am going to give reloading a try along with casting, but I always thought bare lead was not a good idea for the 11s.

Thanks very much Del

May 8, 2010, 07:35 PM
Lead bullets do good in all 1911's except those with Glock barrels installed:rolleyes:

May 8, 2010, 07:44 PM
I didn't; I don't; I don't plan to
I can buy superb yet affordable lead bullets from Penn Bullets and Meister.
For certain applications I can buy Beartooth, and Cast Performance, Oregon Trail, or Leadheads, or Lyman, or a million others.

I can buy them easier than make them.

But can you order them custom alloyed, sized other than the standard for caliber, AND with a lube of your choice?? Of course not. You wanna play ya have to pay, or in this case you want to load custom lead bullets, you have to make them yourself. Time consuming? Yes. I can have bullets ready to load in as little as 3 hours, up to 200 that is. Some may take a little longer, especially if they're gas checked, takes a bit longer to apply the gas check.

I am going to give reloading a try along with casting, but I always thought bare lead was not a good idea for the 11s.

Thanks very much Del

Who told you that? They're not bare, they're lubed with various type of grease. 45 acp bullets don't have to be very hard either. It's a low pressure cartridge, so it doesn't tend to have too much trouble with leading.

May 8, 2010, 10:10 PM
I have a casting setup I use sometimes. Cast today, first time in over a year, ran out of bullets! Also casting a new 160grain .311 sized gas checked boolit to use in my CZ 527 7.62x39mm. Excited to get those started, and see how it does, since in this 1.5 horse town everything has to be ordered in. I got lead from some buddies, so I do NOT smelt, but I won't run out of lead any time soon. :)
I like it, and it is cheap and easy. I also agree, it MUST be treated with respect, I wear heavy leather gloves, kevlar arm guards, goggles, apron, etc.

May 8, 2010, 10:15 PM
I cast because 460 SW mags and 454 Casull rounds are expensive and I like to shoot more than 20 rounds through my guns per year. :D

These boolits courtesy of a Night Owl Enterprises mold. These babies are 220 grn gas checked HP's.


May 8, 2010, 10:44 PM
Nice boolits ICH : D

Edit: ICH...you got me wondering how you got your brass so SHINY! Tumble after loading perhaps? Then I got to wondering....Can I tumble lead heads after they're loaded? Or will I contaminate my media with lead or something....Maybe it will mess up the boolit?

I dont know....


May 8, 2010, 11:11 PM
That is brand new unfired brass. The 454 brass is trimmed down 460 brass. I don't tumble live rounds, but don't see a problem with it...as long as you don't do it for a long time.

May 8, 2010, 11:14 PM
I tumble live rounds all the time...im not worried about it. Just wondered if tumbling live lead heads would make a difference. Obviously if I had something funky like a .308 boolit load with some of the lube grooves exposed I would have a problem. But I dont see one with regular loads with boolits. Is there one?

May 9, 2010, 05:52 AM
Ya know what ?? I think I shoot so I can cast & reload , no I cast so shootin will be cheaper ,NO I cast so I can get styles of bullets I want !!!


TOO MUCH TIME !!! Just cut the TV off for a week & we`ll see

I watch the news ,Supranos & lock & load thursdays , couple of movies with the girls a month , That`s it !

What GP100man said to the tee except:
I watch news, the golf channel, & Wednesday night at the range. Thats scary you must be my long lost brother. OMG I even have a GP100...

May 9, 2010, 07:58 AM
TV?? What's that? :D

May 9, 2010, 06:51 PM

May 9, 2010, 07:47 PM
I thin you are missing a b somewhere....

May 10, 2010, 04:55 PM
Let's see here. I started casting a couple of months ago. I started because:
1 I do not make a lot of money. Most of that goes to rent, bills, truck payment, and food. Not to mention that I have a girlfriend that likes to shoot as much as I do. What is left is not much.
2 I like to shoot a lot. (Due to what is writen in #1 affording to do otherwise just would not be possible.) I picked up brass at the range for a year, a 1 quart freezer bag or so at a time. I was given a tumbler, I sorted, tumbled, bagged, and labled the brass. I traded that for a Lee Breech lock Challenger kit. I started reloading. I had a lot of ammo, yet having to buy bullets was difficult.
3 I have a former roomie that works at a tire shop. I did not buy any molds at first. When he saved me 3 buckets full. I used 2 old iron skillets. 1 10 inch to melt with. one 8 inch for a mold. I did a detail job on a car and made enough spare cash to buy 2 molds. \
4 I can not shoot a lot, spend very little, and have some cash left to take my girfriend out to dinner.:D

May 14, 2010, 10:57 AM
I cast because its fun!!!!!!! :D

May 14, 2010, 05:54 PM
I know several people that shoot cast bullets in poly bores,proper bullet size and lubed they work fine. http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=59

May 15, 2010, 11:29 AM
As I've already stated---it's fun, and it's cost effective. I now have several loads worked up for my AK that put the price of shooting it back down where it use to be before the cost of ammo went insane---around 8 cents a pop. That's roughly what the powder, gas checks, and primers break down to---the lead I get for free. Plus--do you know how satisfying it is to be one step closer to NOT having to rely on available components? I have seven different firearms now that I will never have to buy another bullet for unless I WANT to. I like that.

May 15, 2010, 04:37 PM
"I didn't; I don't; I don't plan to


I can buy superb yet affordable lead bullets from Penn Bullets and Meister.
For certain applications I can buy Beartooth, and Cast Performance, Oregon Trail, or Leadheads, or Lyman, or a million others.

I can buy them easier than make them."

That's very true, and you can buy complete cartridges easier than you can make them too.

May 15, 2010, 06:46 PM
^^^ +1 on that. Plus, what is "affordable" for one person may not be for another. We are all in different financial situations.

May 15, 2010, 07:49 PM
I couldn't buy bullets for my BPCR that worked as well as I thought they should. Fascinating process, wish I'd been forced into it many years ago. Work in the automotive business so WW's no biggie.

May 15, 2010, 08:14 PM
Hi my name is Rusty and I'm a castaholic. :D

I cast because of the fun factor. I enjoy it as much as shooting and reloading. One of the best parts is always having bullets around ready to load. The money I save isn't a bad thing either.


May 16, 2010, 12:55 AM
I started casting, its awesome.

Thanks for all the input.

I wonder what the soccer-mom driver (The one this ww lead came from) would say if she knew that lead from her fine automobile was being chucked down range at about 900 fps :D


May 16, 2010, 01:03 AM
I don't cast or even reload at all that matter. I tried reloading for a little while but just didn't get into it and gave my reloading stuff to my father. For me it just wasn't worth my time and the saving's wasn't enough to justify my time either. I know alot of people that don't care about the savings but do it just for the fun of it, as it's just another hobby for them.....I'm not one of those people. I'd rather just go to the store and buy my factory ammo.

May 16, 2010, 01:08 AM
Thats the other thing, if I was only doing it for the savings...this would suck. But its fun too. If I outgrow it someday I will sell the equipment and move on. But its fun for now, and I get to save money, AND I get to shoot a lot. Whats not to like?



May 18, 2010, 10:14 PM
How much you save when reloading really depends on what cartridge you are loading. Factory ammo for something like a 300WM runs in the the 30+ dollar range. When you can load premium bullets with better balistics than factory for about 12 dollars, it dosnt take long to pay for your equipment.

Second point is that once you have the equipment, about all you have to do to change cartridges is to purchace a set of dies.

Third point is what would be refered to as obsolete cartridges. They cant be purchaced any longer, but some can be made from other exhisting ones.

May 19, 2010, 02:49 PM
Yum yum yum....

My cast from 2 days ago

May 20, 2010, 07:53 AM
I see a wrinkle..... ;) :D J/K...that is a pile of fun!

May 20, 2010, 09:05 AM
I know there are a couple of boolits in there with some wrinkled lube grooves, these guys are getting the alox anyways though. I loaded up 140 of these bad boys in front of some wolf primers, and 6 grains of unique. Cant wait to shoot my first pistol reloads!

May 22, 2010, 09:27 AM
all the reasons stated, plus i like having control of a crucial component...now if i could only produce powder and primers! :)


May 22, 2010, 09:55 PM
I started casting because I stumbled across about 400 pounds of free pure linotype 22 years ago. I continue to cast because I really enjoy it. If you like to tinker with stuff then casting is just the hobby for you.

August 10, 2010, 06:17 PM
For the guys whose time is just to valuable to spend casting, I hear you and I understand.
Thankfully, I am not in your shoes! I enjoy casting.
For the guys who feel it is too costly to get started in casting. I hear you and I understand.
Thankfully, I am not in your shoes. I made money getting into casting!
For the guys who think home cast bullets do not have the accuracy or terminal performance of jacketed or commercial cast bullets, I hear you and I understand.
Thankfully, my home cast bullets are plenty accurate and kill just dandy.
For the guys who think learning to cast and mix alloys is too complex and time consuming, I hear you and I understand.
Thankfully, I enjoy learning new things and have been able to find good information on the Internet and in books I collect.

I think it comes down to how much you shoot. I shoot handguns five days a week. I shoot up to 20k rounds a year. I am not poor by any stretch of the imagination but I mean, come on, I am no fool either. I am not going to buy all those bullets when I can cast them for free! Yes, it takes time but for my high volume guns (read that 1911s in 45acp) I can cast 10k bullets by casting every night for 4-5 days. if I fill my pot to 16lbs of lead, I can get 544 205grain bullets out of it. I can cast two pot fulls in 3hr with a 4-cavity mould, no problem. so, 1,088 bullets a night, 10 nights gives me almost 11K bullets. So that is three prime time shows a night that I did not waste my brain on for 10 nights and I have enough 45 bullets for the year.
Now the lead, all reclaimed scrap from the local indoor range. I smelt at least 4,000lbs a year into clean ingots in my side year without any difficulty. I maintain about 1,000lbs in reserve and sell the rest four about .90 per lb. That pays for primers and powder.

Getting my casting equipment together was not difficult. Spent two years buying estate lots and other listed reloading/casting stuff on craigslist. Kept what I wanted and sold the rest on Ebay. Netted about $8,000 a year doing it in addition to keeping a good $9,000 worth of equipment for myself. Bought some nice guns with that money and a @##$%&*( load of powder! haha.

You can't be lazy but man, if you are willing to do the work and enjoy this stuff more than TV and other leisurely activities, you can have your cake and shoot it too.

August 11, 2010, 10:25 PM
For those of you that smelt that much lead, I hear you and I understand.
Unfortunatly, I dont smelt enough to sell. Partially cause I'm greedy. I do however make alot of boolits for myself, friends and family.(mainly me :D)

We do alot of shooting, and go fishing when we can, but the only time I watch TV is when I'm laying in bed.

August 13, 2010, 10:10 AM
reloader28, I hear you! I sometimes have seller's remorse after sending some sap down the road with 500lbs of my good, clean ingots! But then, I look at those five crisp 100s and smile. :D

August 13, 2010, 10:26 AM
I started casting the bulletts for my Remington 1858 .36 basically because at the gun's shop they didn't always had .375 balls available.
Then I discovered that the casting die was 30 euro and the Hornady balls were 10 euro for the box of 100....
Therefore in just 300 bulletts I've repaid the cost of the die.Then the RO at my range has given me permission to scavenge for bulletts in the sand dune that works as a bullett stopper. Then I discovered (there is a thread about this in the blackpowder subforum) that FMJ bulletts are a perfect source of soft lead for muzzleloading. Then I discovered that casting is another gun related thing to do (one cannot be at the range all the time) and it so much fun....

Enough reasons?


BTW, a .375 round ball weighs 5 metric grams. I collect a couple of kilograms of lead each week from the firing range... an endless supply for my needs...

August 13, 2010, 10:49 AM
Lavid do you see that boolit lower right that appears to have a hole in the base? That is a reject. It comes from not pouring a generous enough sprue. As the boolit cools it draws more lead down into the boolit from the sprue and fills out the base to perfection. When the sprue is not enough the boolit will have voids maybe be unbalanced and the weight will differ.

August 13, 2010, 03:21 PM
Got it, Ill junk it next time

I have shot about 1,000 boolits so far out of the 1911 : )

Very fun!

Thanks guys