i'm on a tight budget and want to cast.
looking at starting with just a lead pot on a coleman stove,
any opinions on the lee m,olds and stuff.
don't need high production, just looking to have some fun.
i already reload, mostly 45-70, 40 cal. pistol, and 30.06
I started casting with a Coleman stove 2 years ago, and haven't switched to anything fancier yet. A thermometer is almost necessary with a Coleman. Next, get a 1 quart stainless steel sauce pan with a metal handle or a cast iron pot. The little 10 lb. pots are only semi-useful. A 1 quart pot holds over 20 lb. and you cast with the top half while the bottom half stabilizes your temperature.
I don't have any experience with Lee moulds. From what I've heard, they work but are a bit fussy. The .40 should be the easiest to start with, with the .45-70 next. You'll have to play around with alloys and/or heat treating if you want any real velocity out of the .30-06.
You can shoot the bullets unsized if the bullets aren't too big for your chambers and you can hand lube your bullets. Read through the old posts here, find some wheelweights and get at it.
I would advise you to scrimp on any cost you can, except the moulds. The best "bargain" I know of are new RCBS and SAECO moulds, but they still will run you around $50 for a 2 cavity. Ebay is a good place to pick up used Lyman moulds, just make sure you know what you are getting. The older Lyman samples that I have seem to be of substantially better quality than the current 4 cavities I have from them. If you want to try Lee moulds, you may be completely satisfied. This is more likely if you don't use any other mould before you try the Lee models. Some people use them with great success, but I've had mixed results with them. I would encourage you to purchase a quality mould first and experiment with the Lee product on your second caliber. This way you will know how things should work to start with, it will help you to realize if you have gotten a bad mould when using the Lee's. The price is very tempting.
Jacks advise on a thermometer is very good advice indeed. Keeping your alloy at a temperature that works well with your mould is one of the bigget ways to increase the quality of your bullets and reduce the frustration that can be involved with casting. The .40 pistol will likely produce the best results right off the bat, as handguns don't demand the precision of a rifle, and alloy and lube seldom are a concern in comparison. Since you probably burn a lot more .40 ammo than the other 2, this would be the logical place to start. Now I'm going to contadict myself on the Lee mould issue. If I where to start with the .40, I might buy a Lee tumble lube design mould to get my feet wet. These moulds require no sizing or lube tools to make shootable bullets, so they may be a good starting point when on a tight budget.
Lee casting pots are a true bargain if they are withing your budget, but you'll still need the thermometer no matter what route you go. Another bargain, as far as sizing goes, are the Lee push-through sizing dies that you use with you existing reloading press. They are very simple, quite inexpensive, and use nose first sizing, which I beleive to be the superior method.
If you've got some wheelweights, heat source, casting pot, dipper, Lee liquid allox lube, and a Lee tumble lube mould, you'll be casting shootable bullets. You might want to splurge on a commercial fluxing agent, such as Marvelux, to clean your metal with. Make sure you read and understand the instructions with Marvelux if you go that route. The whole process, especially if you're using a dipper, is made much easier with clean metal.
All the "extra" stuff just makes casting faster...if you take care, the bullets produced by stove-top casting are as good as any that mold can produce.
Good advice would be to use a larger pot, so that it holds more...that helps keep bullets of the same consistancy during a casting session. A casting ladel, sourse of heat, mold, pot, and lead are all you need to get started.
A thermometer would be a good thing to have...can get to an experience level where a fair guesstimate of temperature can be had...but it's a guess.
Have had good luck with the larger caliber Lee molds, less luck with the smaller ones. Have had the best luck with the big (over .40) single cavity Lee molds....why this is so, i haven't a clue. But if i were just staring out and wanted to give casting a try for the least amount of $ invested, would start with that .45-70 and a Lee single cavity mold.
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