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I'm a reloader with 3-4 years experience. I have acquired a .444 and am having a hard time coming up with an accurate load. So I'm thinking of using cast bullets... I've really enjoyed the resources found on this sight. I have ordered the equipment to fire-lap my bore. Now I'm thinking about getting into casting my own bullets. Is there a book that will outline the process of getting ino this hobby? I must know what I need to have as far as equipment goes. I would love it if someone here could make some suggestions as far as what to buy for starting out. Is a budget of 500 dollars enough? What exact products would be recommended for the beginner to make bullets of hunting quality? Can someone make a shopping list for me?

Thanks.
 

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jonacarver,
I would start by picking up a Lyman cast bullet manual, which will outline what you need and what you need to know. You should be able to get a pretty decent setup for $500. You may also want to send for a mould catalog from Veral Smith. If you want to have a good time casting bullets, buy good moulds right off the bat, you can play with the Lee moulds once you know how a mould should be. Depending on how many bullets you want to cast(quantity) I would buy a basic 20lb Lee melting pot and spend my money on a good lubrisizer, such as the Starr. If you click HERE you will be directed to a thread that shows where to get it and what it costs.

You should slug your barrel before purchasing anything other than the manual so that you can order mould(s) that will cast a diameter that you need, it will also reduce the possibility of the frustration involved with heavy barrel leading/poor accuracy and having to buy multiple sizing dies. The Beartooth technical manual is also a treasure trove of cast bullet info.

Here is the address for Veral Smith:
LBT
HCR 62 BOX 145
Moyie Springs, Idaho 83845
Request catalog #13
 

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Here is a potential list:

1. Heat source- I would suggest a Lee Pro 20 furnace $55 you can use a ladel or pour it out of the bottom with this only $5 difference that the ladel only model
2. Good hunting bullet mould- LBT design bullets are great-don't forget to order the handles also.
3. Ladel to get lead from pot to mould-Lyman lead dipper is about $15 and of good quality.
4. A means to lube and size your bullets as needed-Lube sizers run from about $100-175-I would suggest the Star model which is $175 and three times the machine that the RCBS, Lyman, or SAECO models are.
5. You will need a sizing die and base punch/nose punch for each caliber you want to size. If you get the Star, the bullets are sized nose first, so you only need one base punch to size an unlimited number of different bullet styles if you choose to experiment with different bullets. Sizing dies run about $20-32 depending on the model of lube-sizer you purchase, the the top punches are around $10
6. You will need a sizer heating plate in order to use harder lubes that will not flow at room temperature-Lyman makes one that will handle the four available sizers for abour $35
7. You will also need the actual bullet lube itself, gas checks for you bullet, and a source of lead, as well as some flux(I use Marvelux with good results). You can buy lead that is ready to cast with, or can make it from wheel weights. For your first attempt, you may want to buy a little of it to get the hang of things without worrying about your alloy quality.
8. I almost forgot the casting thermometer, they are about $30 from Lyman or RCBS-these are a very useful too.

You might want to try out some of the the different LBT design bullets that Beartooth sells to see what shoots best in your rifle, might save you the cost of a few moulds. If you want LBT moulds you are likely going to have to wair awhile to get them anyway.

That would buy you a top-notch casting outfit for right about the $500 dollars you mentioned.
 
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