View Full Version : Thinking about casting

July 5, 2010, 11:43 AM
I have read Casting 101 and it has peaked my interest. I understand that casting will get exspensive as I go with turnover and wanting newer/better.

I have searched a couple of forums and havent been able to find a good thread about the total cost of a setup. I haven't bought the book because I dont really know if I am ready to do this. I dont expect anybody to spend time figuring it out since I havent done that myself. Just hoping for a decent guess for a minimal set up for a .40.

Also, I have seen a couple of threads about WW not being avail much longer. How long do you guys expect them to be viable, and will it still be cost effective when lead WW are obsolete?

I dont shoot an insane amout, but enough for reloading to be practical. Casting really is more of an interest opposed to being needed at this time. Buying cast bullets is still pretty cost effective for me. Something really appels to me about making my own "boolits"

Thanks for any input,

July 5, 2010, 11:46 AM
I hear too that wheel wieghts will have something else added to them soon...or not be lead at all.... I get as many of them as I can now. I have close to 600lbs of ingots here from wheel wieghts alone. It doesnt take much lead to make 100 bullets tho. Fifty pounds of lead will go quite a ways... It costs me around 30cents per hundred to make bullets from weights.

July 5, 2010, 11:47 AM
I have a lee melting pot that I paid fifty bucks for,,and lee molds for two cavity are twenty five bucks... thats about the only real startup costs.

July 5, 2010, 01:02 PM
I have been having a hard time finding WW at shops. Most will tell you they can't sell them or that they have one scrap dealer they work with. Some of the salvage yards and scrap dealers will sell WW. Last I checked they were selling for $0.50/lb in the Minneapolis area.

You can also get lead ingots for $1.00-$1.50 per lb in bulk. This is a good option since the lead is 100% usable. With WW you lose some of the weight to the steel tabs. They are also a little messy to work with. If you are going to make ingots it helps to use a separate pot. I run an LP burner with a pot big enough to melt about 30lb of WW. Flux it a few times and you are good to go. Muffin pans make good ingot molds. They fit right in the lee pots.

If you use the Lee tumble lube molds very little equipment is needed. I personaly have not had luck with them. They seem to lead my 45 pretty quick. They are worth a try though, saves a ton of time. The bullet sizers are a bit spendy too. I run a RCBS Lubematic which seems to work well.

Total cost:
Pot $50-60
Molds $20-60 each
Muffin pan $2 (used at goodwill)

Optional items:
LP burner $35
Large Pot $2 (used at Goodwill)
Ladle $2 (used at Goodwill)
Bullet Sizer $140+
Sizing Dies $20
Top Punch $9

July 5, 2010, 01:09 PM
+1 on what Disco said. I would start with the Lee molds and melting pot. If you like it you can always upgrade you equipment as you go. If you don't like it, then you sell you lee pot for $40 and your 2 cav mold for $15 and you are out $20 or so. My advice is to get a bottom pour pot, preferably the 20#. I would also start out with a Lee sizing kit and Lee liquid Alox ($10, I think for the sizer die and a bottle of the Lee liquid alox). Be sure to slug your bore and order a sizer die at least .001" over your groove diameter. Boolit fit is key to having success with cast boolits. Remember too that a harder boolit is not always better. A good starting point for 40 caliber is: wheelweights air cooled, sized .001" over groove diameter. Good luck!!!

BTW, you do not have to use the tumble lube style bullet with the alox. You can apply the lee liquid alox to the standard lube groove bullets too and it works fine. I would go with conventional lube groove design molds just in case you decide you want to get a lubrisizer down the road.

July 5, 2010, 01:11 PM
$10, I think for the sizer die and a bottle of the Lee liquid alox

Close tho... $19.98

July 5, 2010, 01:12 PM
Buy em directly from lee


July 5, 2010, 02:48 PM
Have you guys had good luck with the Lee sizing dies and convertional bullets? I have been thinking of trying one out. I don't know how it would campare in speed against my RCBS.

July 5, 2010, 02:50 PM
I have lee .356, .358, .401, .429, and .452... they seem to work very well for me.

July 5, 2010, 03:32 PM

Thanks very much for the fast replies. Going to have to spring for the book and start learning some more. Plus, start to grow a stash of WW from local tire shops.

Thanks again,

July 5, 2010, 04:07 PM
Get wheel weights if ya can , but if push comes to shove .

Friend of mine has isotope lead .

Isotope lead for sale at http://www.castboolits.gunloads.com/...ad.php?t=86491

It`s a good all around alloy to start with !!!!

July 5, 2010, 04:20 PM
Have you guys had good luck with the Lee sizing dies and convertional bullets? I have been thinking of trying one out. I don't know how it would compare in speed against my RCBS.

It'll be faster! The lee is a straight push-through sizer. The round container it comes in doubles as a collection container for the sized bullets. Simply place the unsized bullet on top of the punch, raise the ram, lower and repeat. The RCBS is push in, pull out, remove the bullet, 3 operations instead of one.

John, go over to http://castboolits.gunloads.com/. Throw down the anchor there for a couple--10 hours of reading. Maybe even register and ask a few questions.

As far as start-up costs, a lee pot, the pro 20 is much better, a lee 2 cav. mold, and a sizer kit. Some form of ingot mold is desired as is a ladle. The muffin tins work well, or you can get the Lyman 1 lb ingot molds.

If you're going to render some wheel weights, don't do it in your brand new bottom pour pot. The crud and corruption on those WW will gunk up the pot making the pout spot leak/drip. You want clean metal in the casting pot. Get a cast iron dutch oven, and a propane turkey fryer.

July 5, 2010, 04:48 PM
Have you guys had good luck with the Lee sizing dies and convertional bullets? I have been thinking of trying one out. I don't know how it would compare in speed against my RCBS.

I prefer my Star... :p :D

I have done them every which way possible...pan lube, tumble lube, lyman 4500, and am currently using a star. I agree that the Lee alox and push thru sizer is probably faster, but the RCBS/Lyman/Saeco lubrisizers are "cleaner". And of course with the Star you get the best of both worlds. They will all get the job jone, some are just faster and cleaner.

July 5, 2010, 05:18 PM
Went to Castboolits and the 10 hour reading mark seems like an easy mark to meet. This seemed so complicated at first, then it sounded easy, and now it just seems so endless I don't know which area I want to learn more about first. I definately have a ton to learn. Getting ready to hit up cabelas and bass pro to see if they have the lyman book.


July 12, 2010, 10:05 AM
WW are getting more scarce every day. I have a lot of lead stockpiled but I keep my eye out. For those of you who cant seem to get them, Shot for shotguns is a good alternative. Seems to be a bit cheaper than ingots. At least for now that is.

July 16, 2010, 09:50 PM
Seems to me bullet casting is very much like reloading. You can get into it and get good results cheap or you can dive in, spend bucket loads of money and get a commercial quality setup to get very good boolits.
Seems I spent more on the casting setup than I did on my BPCR rifle. Nice boolits, tho!