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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Other than a kind of cool hobby, what are the advantages of casting your own bullets? I have made my own jig heads for years for fishing but obviously the tolerances on a fishing jigs and a bullets are not even in the same class. With all the bullets available and the quality control that goes into it I'm puzzled. :confused: I would be afraid mine would shoot around corners!:eek:
 

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osprey
You can actually save money by casting your own bullets.if casting is a 'joy'.
However,If you consider casting a 'job',you will have to factor in your time as cost.
That will positively negate any savings.
Another plus from casting is the pride you get from 'doing it yourself'.
Consider this:
It takes no skill to purchase a meat roast from the store
It takes some skill to get this meat by fair chase hunting.
It takes more skill to get this meat with ammunition that you make yourself.
It takes even more skill to get this meat with a bullet that you made yourself,forthat ammunition.
Good luck
Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
not to mention it would be handy skill to know in a SHTF situation/times, kind of like making a fire w/o a lighter or matches.
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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It gives me another reason to spend time in the gun shop.....
 

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Another part of the pride is the learning of a new art. How many folks in this day and age wouldn't take on something like this with all the negaitiism about guns, bullets and even more the rumors you hear about lead contamination and our health? :)

Plus you can stock pile bullets or lead to have in case of an attack by warring nations, something I always think of. Nearly all my guns are able to shoot lead bullets and I have molds for most as well.

An important part of casting is to develope the necessary steps and memorize so you aren't guessing, and then to put all the actual casting steps into a rythem, and keeping safety on your mind at all times. Its a great hobby and sport, one that most folks don't know or value.
 

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You will be paying $0.10 to $0.20 per cast bullet today. I have a lot of molds and equipment which I have amortized out the cost, and I can cast a bullet from Lead scrap with some scrap Tin added, then lubricate and size it for $0.01 to $0.06. The higher cost bullets are gas checked, and I am not willing to make those, so I have to buy them at about $0.03 each.

In order to do this, you must become a scrounger. You must also buy in quantity.

With rifle bullets, you will typically give up a little bit of accuracy and velocity, and my cast bullets don't expand much. With pistol bullets, I give up nothing in terms of accuracy or performance.
 

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Other than a kind of cool hobby, what are the advantages of casting your own bullets? I have made my own jig heads for years for fishing but obviously the tolerances on a fishing jigs and a bullets are not even in the same class. With all the bullets available and the quality control that goes into it I'm puzzled. :confused: I would be afraid mine would shoot around corners!:eek:
Yes, just about any bullet you can imagine is available from several sources--many sources in most cases. Don't assume there's necessarily any quality control, however. I think it's fair to say that if the source has been in business for a good while and you know many shooters are using their product, yes, the quality is probably there. Just don't assume it's any better than what you can produce yourself--it probably isn't.

No need to be afraid--it's not rocket surgery and there's an amazing amount of tolerance inherent in the system. In learning, I've made many dozens of ugly bullets that weren't cast very nicely, didn't size very well, and some that even got damaged in handling. In the cases where I chose to load and shoot them, they hit the target just as accurately as the nice ones did. You'll learn quickly...it's not difficult, and there's plenty of folks here who will help you to produce bullets the equal of anything you can buy in short order.

The short answer to your question, for me, is cost. I couldn't possibly afford to shoot as much as I do if I bought bullets of any kind. The savings is substantial, and I don't even scrounge anything--I buy my lead off eBay for $1.15 to $1.25/lb shipped, and that produces 25-30 bullets (255 gr). As for time, I can produce 1,500 bullets in two or three evenings' work--cast, sized and lubed. That's about $150-200 worth of bullets (at retail) for about $70. I think I have about $300 of gear (pot, burner, ladle, mold, lube/sizer, safety mask), so that fixed cost is recovered very quickly.

I'm just at the point now where I think I know what the major factors in poor quality are for me, and it's really attention to detail (keeping the mold clean), paying more attention to casting rate in order to manage mold temperature, and sticking with one alloy that behaves predictably. With those things in place, quality is all I need it to be for my kind of shooting--where speed and reliability far outstrip any other criteria, including accuracy. However, I can say with absolute certainty my cast bullets have no negative impact on my shooting accuracy.

Now, if your kind of shooting is more like long range bench rest precision or something, where you might light one up every few minutes, shoot 50 shots and go home until next month--that may be different. Your goal may not be to have several thousand bullets on hand for 500 round practice sessions. In that case, spending $0.10 a bullet (or upwards to a dollar or more per bullet) may not be a factor, and the only advantage of rolling your own might be purely pride and joy or getting out of the house.
 

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To put it simply, the 170 gr cast bullets I was buying were roughly 8 cents a piece. After scrounging some lead, and buying some locally, I can cast my own for about a 1/4 of a cent each. When you shoot at least a hundred a week, every week, that's a lot of money I can use to buy powder and primers.
 

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The original question was why do it; aside from the routine economics of it (or not), some obsolete bullets can be tough to find and/or inordinately expensive and you have no choice but to cast them if you want to shoot.
 
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