View Full Version : Noobie to casting!

March 4, 2012, 08:15 PM
I'm thinking about casting for my handguns(480,44mag, 45acp, 9mm and 38spl.) btu have some questions.1) What for alloy will work for these calibers?
How do you seat gas checks if I need them(dont want to buy expensive lubrisizers)? I think thats it for now.

March 4, 2012, 10:21 PM
I'll donate my two pesos here. You don't want to get a lubrisizer? Then you shouldn't be casting. The lube is THE MOST important thing to have on a lead cast bullet. I don't shoot any of my pistol loads with gas checks. I also don't shoot the 44 or the 480 like you are, thus am not pushing velocities like you might.

The lubrisizer sizes the cast bullet down to fit your pistol barell after you have slugged it and micced the slug. Getting a tight fit, and a good lube will do more to cut down on leading your barell, and save money on them little footies you put on the bottoms if'n ya don't really need them, and I would only spend time using checks on the 44 or 480, and only then on higher velocity loads. Leave the plinkers bare butt.

March 5, 2012, 01:31 AM
I never said I didn't want to lube my boolits. I know there are other ways that are cheaper than a lubrisizer. I can get lee sizers(except for 480) and pan lube. I was looking for soinsight on what to do about the 480 since lee doesn't make a sizer for it.

March 5, 2012, 08:25 AM
Gas checks are not necessary as long as you keep the velocity down. I don’t load for the 480. But I do cast and shoot .308 and 7MM rifle bullets as well as many pistol calibers, and only use GC for the hotter loads. You say Lee makes a mold for the 480 but not a seizer. Seems odd but I don’t cast for it and I use Lyman and RCBS molds with a Lyman 450 Lube / seizer, it can get expensive buying the 450 and then all the size dies and top punches. But then if casting multiple caliber’s, compared to buying jacketed bullets. The savings add up fast.

March 6, 2012, 08:35 PM
The only time you need gas checks is once your velocity exceeds about 1400fps. A good alloy and lube can stretch that a little bit, but not much.

The thing to remember about cast bullets is that fit is king. Slug your barrel to determine exact groove diameter, then size your bullet to .001-.002 over that. Some moulds drop bullets close enough to the diameter you need to not even require sizing.

For handguns, a lot of people use 50/50 wheelweights/pure lead. It will handle almost any handgun velocity you care to throw it at. No need to water drop them unless you are going for top speeds.

The Lee Alox that comes with their push-through sizer dies is a reasonable lube, but I have found others work much better and are not as messy. I like the 45/45/10 lube (Johnsons Paste Wax / Alox / Mineral Spirits) for all handgun loads and light to moderate rifle loads.

Lots of great info here on this site as well as the Cast Bullet Association, LASC, and CastBoolits websites.

Good luck but be warned... casting is VERY addictive.

10 Spot Terminator
March 6, 2012, 11:21 PM
Lee will make you a sizing die for the .480 in whatever diameter you want. It has been awhile since I had one made but used to be an additional $15.00 or so and they do a great job. Great folks to deal with.

March 7, 2012, 12:31 AM
My dos pesos is that a lubesizer such as the Lyman 4500 will become a part of your casting equipment sooner or later but I really like the Lee system for quite a few boolits. 10 Spot is right about LEE, Ranch Dog Outdoors may be helpful as well. I'd try PB boolits before I tried GC boolits in the calibers you mentioned, may even try a wad before a GC boolit.
I won't get into the Lyman vs Lee sizing debate, I like both methods.

March 7, 2012, 01:21 PM
See what they drop out of the mold at and shoot them as cast? That is where I would start.

March 7, 2012, 09:14 PM
Yep ,I`ll agree with most what`s been said for the most part ,but ya never will know until ya get at it !

Shooting unsized bullets is OK as long as they chamber reliably , rite in front of the chamber is a sizer (the throat) that ya can customize to the bore (should be same size or a scosh over) & you`ll have aplenty of pressure to the base to make em go thru !!

Pan lubin is slow & can get messy ,if ya have time & patience it may work wonderful & I have done it .

Now a plug for sizing, I like sizing for 3 reasons 1- to make my bullets round & see if I`m fillin the mold correctly , 2- I feel it helps square the bottom with the body , 3- it makes lubing SO MUCH easier !!!

I`d be more worried `bout my alloy sources ,ya got some big bores with big bullets . With the 44 chunkin a 1/2oz & the 480 close to an oz. at the time a lb. of lead won`t go far , but you`ll still beat the heck out of factory loaded ammo fer shore !!!:D

Mike / Tx
March 8, 2012, 05:01 AM
Noobie to casting!
I'm thinking about casting for my handguns(480,44mag, 45acp, 9mm and 38spl.) btu have some questions.1) What for alloy will work for these calibers?
How do you seat gas checks if I need them(dont want to buy expensive lubrisizers)? I think thats it for now.

To quickly throw some answers out,
1) plenty of alloys will work for standard target type loads form these calibers. However as the velocity/pressure goes up, the allow will need to be adjusted. (more below)

2) seating a GC is a simple process, snap them on the base of the bullet and shove it through the sizer. Well I say that, I use Lee sizers and they work great for this.

Now for the add on's,

I am shooting my own cast in calibers from .38spl through .454 so far. I have used mainly plain based in everything but the 41,44, and 454, simply due to I am running these at the upper end of the load range. I am using mostly all Lee molds in either configuration of lube type. I have only pan lubed a few, with most being lubed with the afore mentioned 45/45/10, or straight LLA.

If you REALLY want the lowdown on pouring and shooting your own, and what alloys should work best for what your pouring for then you need to spend a weekend absorbing the following,
The Cast Bullet / Hunting Articles Of Glen E. Fryxell (http://www.lasc.us/ArticlesFryxell.htm)

and also, The Cast Bullet Notes PAge (http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm)

While your there download the book listed there "From Ingot to Target". After you have put that information in your memory banks your about halfway to getting your own lead bullets out the ends of your firearms.

One suggestion, concentrate on slugging your bores, and the type of bullet your wanting to shoot, and how your going to use it, first. Then move on to the the best alloy to accomplish this at the velocities your wanting to shoot.

If you don't already have a goodly amount of lead in some form or fashion my advice is to get started either scrounging it up, or purchasing it. My area has been called a mecca of cast shooters, so finding any reliable source of WW has been a non issue. There simply isn't any. I have been purchasing my alloy from folks who offer it up generally at 60# for around $65 delivered via flat rate USPS. So far I have not had any issues. I have a couple of folks from whom I purchased a small amount then after finding it worked out for my use I got plenty more from them.

As for the sizing and lube, your on the right track to get into the hobby with out spending an arm and leg. While many hold Lee products in disdain, I find no issues with their sizing dies or lube. This said, you get a bottle of LLA with every sizing kit, but if you want it separately, then I HIGHLY suggest looking up White Label Lubes. They sell both Xlox, which is identical to the Lee Alox but cheaper for more, as well as other stick lubes which can be gently melted down for VERY effective pan lubing. The pan lube thing does make things a bit slower, but if you want to go that route with a particular bullet, it isn't terrible. The key is having a good tool to use which isn't overly counterproductive. There are even a few folks who sell them specifically for the task. This is one who have been thoroughly reviewed by folks over on Castboolits.
Waxmeister (http://www.ideadevgroup.com/waxmeister.html)

Personally I have found tumble lubing to fit my needs. I don't sweat what the bullet type is, I simply lube them, size them, then lube again, and when dry load them up. I have shot velocities ranging from around 700fps up through 1700fps with mostly WW alloy, or a blended alloy which comes in right in the same BHN area. IF you want to purchase pure alloy there is always Rotometals, or The Antimony Man who certify their alloys.

Well hope this helps and good luck with your projects.

March 8, 2012, 07:25 AM
Another kudo for Lee.

I cast plenty of bullets, primarily for my .45 ACP target pistols, but also for .44 Magnum midrange loads, and for my .45-120 Sharps rifle.

I measured the bore on my rifle, and found it at .459. I wanted a good fitting bullet, so I ordered a .460 diameter mold from Buffalo Arms, and called Lee for the sizing setup. They custom made a push through sizer in .460 for me. I dip-lube my bullets in SPG, and push them through the sizer to get the excess off.

To the OP--spend the coin NOW, and get a Magma Engineering Lubrisizer. It's the best you can get, and worth every penny.

chris in va
March 8, 2012, 01:18 PM
I don't have a 'lubrisizer' and have cast thousands. Guess I'd better stop, huh?

March 8, 2012, 06:18 PM
Nope , if it works & your satisfied with the results my opinion is just that an opinion.:)

March 9, 2012, 12:59 PM
Just because you make it work for you without a Lubrisizer, doesn't mean that Lubrisizers don't make the job easier, or give you a better boolit when finished.

Lubrisizers also give to you the real way to crimp on gas checks.

March 9, 2012, 01:10 PM
I can already see into the future...

Pan or tumble lubing --> Lyman 4500 --> Magma Star

:D :D

My advice to you, skip the first two steps if you shoot ALOT


Skip the first step if you shoot a moderate amount


If you shoot just a bit Pan/tumble lubing may be right for you.

March 9, 2012, 03:37 PM
Nothing wrong with pan or tumble lubing. However, for consistency you must make sure that your cast bullets are all as uniform as possible. That's why I use a sizer.

Plus, when I do cast, I cast a LOT of bullets. Later on today, I'll cast my practice bullets for this season of Bullseye shooting. I'll be using a Lee Production 4 pot that holds 20 lb of alloy, and swinging two sets of Lee 6 cavity molds for the HG 68 200 gr. LSWC. 20 lb of alloy wil give me about 700 bullets. Without the Magma Engineering sizer, I'd be there all day. With it, I'll have the bullets lubed up in about an hour.

March 9, 2012, 08:29 PM
I started casting .480, .357, .45 and now .40 S&W in January. I'm tumble lubing all but the .480 (bought a lubricizer just for that one). I'm having good luck so far - considering trying a batch of tumble lubed .480 (would still size them through the lubricizer). Undecided at this point.

I couldn't afford to shoot that .480 without casting - glad I took the leap (and as you've read, it's addicting!).