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Old March 28, 2010, 12:57 PM   #1
Join Date: March 15, 2010
Posts: 15
general questions...

I am considering casting bullets for a .40cal Springfield xdm primarily just to cut cost of shooting down as much as possible. I would still use factory ammo for self defense. I am just beginning to look into this.
1. Is there a specific "how to" book that you would recommend for a beginner?
2. Do you feel that significant savings can be had in bullet costs verses purchasing some of the other economical ready made bullets - Rainier etc?

thanks in advance for any help,

jnestle is offline  
Old March 29, 2010, 07:19 AM   #2
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Location: Southern Illinois
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The Lyman cast bullet manual and Modern Reloading by Richard Lee both are great resources. MR goes into casting a bit, but also has a bunch of load data. Also check out the sticky at the top of the forum page.

As far as significant savings by casting your own bullets.....yes. It depends how you acquire your lead...whether it is free or you pay for it. Most guys used recycled WWs from tire shops. The good part about casting is you can adjust both the size and hardness of the improve accuracy and reduce/eliminate leading. I am given my lead and brass for free, so I can load a box of 50 for around 2-3 bucks...depending on the caliber. Good luck!

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Old March 29, 2010, 08:44 AM   #3
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JNestle, take a look at and review the Articles by Members (fifth menu item). There is a plethora of information that may help. Also, check, especially all the stickies. There is enough good reading material for several hours.

edited to add: one more place - That should add another couple hours of viewing pleasure...
safety first
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Old March 29, 2010, 07:30 PM   #4
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personally i think its worth it. but if you dont have a lot of time on your hands then maybe not. the initial start up cost maybe high so if you dont plan on casting a lot then again it maybe not for you. its a fun new skill to learn and it can be very fun. good luck to ya and have fun!
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Old March 30, 2010, 12:03 PM   #5
Join Date: January 27, 2009
Location: Southwest Missouri
Posts: 96
Very fun! I like it better than reloading. Make a mistake no worries just throw it back into the pot.
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Old April 5, 2010, 07:30 PM   #6
David Wile
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Join Date: June 14, 2001
Location: Mechanicsburg, PA
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Hey JNestle,

Getting into casting bullets will cost some money. It can be very expensive if you start out with all the bells and whistles, but it can also be a lot more reasonable if you start out on a shoestring. I have a Lyman Mag 20 with a bottom pour, a whole bunch of Lyman and RCBS steel moulds including four cavity moulds, a Lyman Lubrisizer with dies & punches for all my calibers, tool sets to make my own gas checks, and probably some other things I can't think of right now. Believe me, I have a lot of money tied up in bullet casting.

However, I didn't start with all those things. I started with a Lyman two-cavity mould, a Lyman 8 pound flat bottom pot, a Lyman mould pouring handle, a Coleman gas fired camp stove to melt the lead alloy, a wood hand axe handle to open the bullet moulds, and the most expensive item - a Lyman Lubrisizer to size and lube bullets. I spent more than 20 years casting with the old pot on the Coleman stove, but I finally spent the money for the bottom pour Lyman Mag 20 electric furnace. Which do I prefer? The bottom pour furnace, of course. However, I can still go back to the old pot and make good cast bullets if I have to. One thing to consider - do not use an axe handle to open moulds any more. Buy one of those cheap nylon or plastic headed hammers at Harbor freight. They do a good job, do not hurt the moulds, and seem to last forever.

As far as your "how to" book for casting bullets goes, it is the Lyman Cast Bullet manual. It isn't cheap, but no loading manuals are cheap. It is, however, a wealth of knowledge about casting bullets over the past 200 years, and it also includes a ton of reloading data for cast bullets.

As I stated earlier, I use Lyman and RCBS steel moulds. You can buy aluminum moulds from Lee for peanuts compared to steel moulds. Back in 2001 I bought a Lee mould for my new Marlin 1895 Cowboy 45-70. I tried for several weeks to use the Lee mould and never did like the bullets they made. Besides, I prefer gas checks for rifle bullets, and the Lee mould did not allow for a gas check. I sold the cheap Lee mould and spent a lot of money to buy two RCBS moulds that both cast bullets designed to use gas checks. I know lots of folks swear by Lee moulds, but they are not for me. While they are a cheaper way to get started, I would still recommend sizing and lubing bullets with a Lubrisizer machine like Lyman and RCBS make. The Lyman and RCBS dies and punches for the Lubrisizer are interchangeable.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

Last edited by David Wile; April 5, 2010 at 07:40 PM.
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Old April 19, 2010, 09:14 PM   #7
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Join Date: January 30, 2010
Location: Central Maryland
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Significant savings can definitely be had, especially if you are paying shipping on ordered cast/swaged/plated bullets, even using USPS Priority Flat Rate.

The cheapest way to get started is an old small iron pot, Lyman casting ladle and a Lee Mold, and some Lee Liquid Alox for lube. I suggest spending a tiny bit more and getting a Lee bottom pour pot for about $50. Once you cast & shoot you can decide if you need to size. You may not. You can get the Lee sizer as well.

If you really want to "make it pay" get yourself a Lee 6 hole mold from MidSouth, only $40 or less plus $13 handles, you'll run out of lead to cast long before you'll run out of bullets to shoot.
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