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Discussion Starter #1
Hello to all,

I would appreciate any comments about beginning casting for my one and only big game hunting rifle, a 356 Winchester in a Big Bore 94. I am going to cast for the RCBS 200 FNGC. I had a good start up supply of those bullets from a nice fellow who just gave me a bunch to try....measured .359 They shot into 1 and 1/4 inches at 50 yard(open sights) and were loaded over 42 grains of IMR 4350. I am hoping my new mold will produce bullets that do about the same.

I have the purchased the following to start up(you may guess I am not very well off and am going the budget route):

-Lee precision melter..very small....about 5 inches across with no bottom pour spout...looks like you just dip in the top.

-Lyman Dipper

-Hornady Gas Checks(35 cal)

-RCBS 200 gr. FNGC mould and handles

Lee Liquid Alox(Question.....bought this without thinking as I have never lubed a cast bullet...will I need a harder lube to fill out grease grooves?...I am shooting at only 1700-1800 fps. I don't have a lubrisizer and plan to just try "Casting and Blasting" them....have to hand coat I guess as suggested by a buddy of mine.

I would love to get any suggestions as to the following:

1.) Where could I order a ready made alloy that would be ideal for 1700-1800 fps...perhaps going up to 2000 fps later with SR 4759? I am guessing...without much knowledge why, at 17-18 BHN or so, but perhaps with the right lube I could go softer?

2.) What lube would be good for those velocities?

3.) Will this melter be adequate for my needs...very small scale...cast perhaps 20-30 rifle bullets per session?

4.) Any recommdations about temperature and mold preparation would be helpful.

I probably am not even thinking about most of the questions I need to answer at this point, but would like to start somewhere.

Thanks to all.
 

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Hi, CD:
I'm still green at casting myself, but here goes. Wheel weights with 2% tin added and water dropped should be hard enough. For tin, buy some 95/5 tin/antimony solder. Be sure it's antimony, some 95/5 solders are 5% copper or selenium, you don't want them. Melt down your wheelweights, clean the metal up good and pour ingots into an old muffin pan first. That will give you a feel for handling molten lead without having to worry about making pretty bullets.

Clean the oil off your mould with a spray can of brake cleaner. Give it a blast, let it soak for a minute, blow it off with an air hose if you've got one, give it another blast or two. Beats scrubbing with soap and water for half an hour. Be sure to oil your mould when you're done. Lightly smoke the mould cavities with a wooden match or butane light before you start casting.

I thought I'd be happy with 20-30 bullets on my first session, but it takes that many to get a rhythm going on your first go. Ended up with a couple of hundred the first time.

Check out the old posts and Tips & Comments and Tech Notes. Don't be afraid to holler for help.

Bye
Jack
 

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How are you going to seat your gas checks? The most economical way to lubracate your bullets will be with the Lee "cake cutter" style of lube system. It's slow, it sucks, and it works. I agree with the advice on alloy. You can also buy tin in ingots from Midway or other sources if you need it. I would shoot a little higher in the amount of bullets you cast at one session. For all the time it takes to heat up the alloy and get your mould up to temperature, you'll find that you want to make a couple hundred bullets per session. I've never cast bullets, only sinkers, with a dipper. I don't know how much, if any this will slow you down. I do know that 4-500 bullets in a two hour session is no big feat with a bottom pour furnace and a two cavity mould. Make sure you get some sort of flux, there are many, but I like Marvelux. Make sure you keep your bucket of water for quenching the bullets far enough away from your lead melter so that no splatter will get into the lead. As far as lead temp goes, you'll have to determine that on your own, but 6-700 degrees will usually work for most mould/bullets. Make sure you don't heat your alloy anywhere near about 900 degrees as the lead will begin to let off toxic fumes at that stage. You have the luxury of using only one mould so you shouldn't have to play with the temp much. It sounds to me like you have the 5lb capacity melter, so you'll want to add your sprue cutting and bad bullets back to the pot immediatley in order to help keep the temperature as constant as possible, which is one of the most important things for casting uniform, consistent bullets. If you have a means to heat larger quantities of wheelweight, you will end up with much more uniform alloy from ingot to ingot, and it makes it much easier to add your tin in proper quantities. It is also easier and cleaner to flux your alloy in a larger container and your alloy is clean when you put it in the melter already, which I would guess would be plus since your dipping off the top of the pot where the dross forms. Good luck and don't be afraid to try different temps and techniques to make it work for you. Keep track of what works and what doesn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks fellas for your kind responses! I will try the techniques mentioned. That was my next question....how the heck do I get the gas checks on? Will look into that Lee system. Man...seems like I am almost always ready to start something and then realize I am short one or two things. How did those old buffalo hunters do it? I have the Marvelux and will use that. Do you think Lyman's #2 forumla would work for my velocities? I am hoping to get started by using a pre-mixed alloy...then perhaps getting into playing around a bit with the metals. Also, what lube would you recommend for say 1800 fps? Thanks so much again for your help.
 

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Hi, CD:
If you want to start with a known and proper alloy instead of a wheelweight mix, order from Mr. Bill Ferguson. He'll know what you need.
http://www.theantimonyman.com/

Shipping lead is expensive. If you're in Canada there's a better source.

Listen carefully to his advice, take notes and be prepared for a healthy long distance bill. It will be worth it. He's 75+ and doing this as a retirement business-hobby, near as I can figure. He's so well repected in the cast bullet community that he's one of the very few people who can break the posting rules on Charles Hamilton's Yahoo Cast Bullet list and not get kicked off. Most of us here would be gone yesterday.:rolleyes:

Most likely you'll have to stay above 700°F to get a good fillout and sharp corners on your bullets. If your bullets have wrinkles turn up the heat. If they start looking frosty you're at the top end of your heat range. Much hotter and your corners start rounding off.

I haven't used Marveux, but a lot of casters swear by it and a lot swear at it. Two points keep coming up. Don't use too much. It's hydrophilic, so don't let it get damp. Keep the lid on. Water and molten lead are an explosive mix and you don't want to put damp Marvelux into the pot.

Here's an old thread on the health hazards of casting. http://beartoothbullets.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=174&highlight=health

If you cast muffins, smoke or grease the muffin tin good, especially if it's tin coated. Otherwise you'll get a very efficient solder joint between the muffin and the pan.

Bye
Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you Jack,

Your help is so much appreciated....here on this forum and over in the Lever section. Thanks also for the heads up on Mr. Ferguson. I will definitely drop him a line. I love the muffin pan idea as that is one item I already have! Of course, I might mistake a lead ingot for a muffin I might concoct. Probably taste better too and I won't need a night light....I should glow in the dark quite nicely. Ha. I found the lead exposure link very useful. I think I will cast off of my back porch, hopefully with a breeze and no rain(no explosion). Again....so many thanks to you and KcIH. I will post back as soon as get some lead under my belt. Hopefully soon. God Bless you sir and be back in a bit.
 

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CD
Looks like you are well set up. I used two of the Lee 1- lb. dip pots for years they work fine. If it seems that they are getting slow to heat. Take the top of the box of and pull the leads from the thermostat. They develop resistance and need to be cleaned off ocassionaly. Just work the leads back and forth over the bayonet connectors - now I advise unpluging the unit first....

At your low velocities the liquid Lee lube is okay for a starter. I have handlubed many bullets with Alox stick lube over the years, its slow but you need something productive to do while watching TV...

First, useing a small nylon or plastic cutting board, set your gas check down and set your bulet in it. use a soft wood stick and firmly push down, you will feel the check seat on the base. About half of your bullets will seat on the check with thumb pressure. Line your bullets up on the cutting board and any with the check seated cocked will show up among the straight ones. Then lube by hand.

Chances are you will not need to size your RCBS 200 grain flat nose bullet for the .356 in your big bore. Expand the neck of a case, seat a bullet in an unprimed case and chamber it, If your mold is like ours it will not even engrave the nose with the rifling.

I prefer soft bullets. 11 to 14 BHN makes a good hunting bullet for 2000 fps or less. Melt all of your lead adn make ingots. Mixing your lead will even the batch. Cast your bullets and shoot.

For 1800 fps any lube will do. You have a pretty short barrel and it is doubtful that you will run out of lube before the bullet reaches the end.

If you make ingots you can cast with a Lee pot till your arms wear out! When Veral Smith of LBT Bullets was still in Arizona he wrote sevral articles for the Fouling Shot. He used the Lee lead pot at that time and was very happy with it. He could have used any pot he desired but it was good enough for him. He did hard wire it around the thermostat to wide open if I remeber right.
 

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CD
Along with my spelling errors I forgot to mention that dip casting is the best method for beginers. Get the lead hot! I dip my sprue plates into the lead for 30 seconds or so to heat them. Hold your dipper to the sprue plate to help fill the cavity. Iron molds take a while to heat up. The most diffcult things are to develop a good well paced rythm. If you are having problems your lead is probably not hot enough.

If you want to size your bullets the Lee push through sizers work very well and only cost about $13.00 from Midsouth Shooters Supply. They will help seat gas checks square to the base and wipe off excess lube. They are easy to open up and you will need to as the closest size for you is .358". I suggest at least .359" for your .356.

Use a windshield on the porch to keep the breeze off your pot. The Lee pot does not have an extra measure of heat. The kids are your biggest worry. Dad kept us away from the pot and the hot bullets until we were about 10 years old, and we still got burned. Those bullets stay hot a long time, and dont drop one down your boot top!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Slim!

It was so good to hear from you on this one. As usual you have been a treasure trove of info and a kind friend to me. Thank you(and all on this forum) for the large amount of time you take out of your life to answer rookie questions. Startin to get all verklempt so I better not go much farther....I just find it Ironic that the kindest and most thoughtful people that I know all like to make things explode. I'm heading up for New York Deer next Monday....shotgun and handgun only, and when I get back will hopefully get some cast up for deer here in PA. I got a jump on the game and hit a six point buck with my new Ford Windstar 3 days ago....sad all around. I am so glad to hear I didn't buy alot of useless junk to start this up, and that I am able to keep it simple to start. I am hoping my mold casts them bigger than .358 as that seems to be just the ticket in my gun. Maybe the softer lead will make this less of an issue, as the .359's I had before seemed to be fairly hard. Also, I have the foul out so casting them soft shouldn't be a problem. My next project will be to get that little Australian Martini Cadet Rifle cranking with a hollow base design. Always two steps ahead of where I need to be and rarely get where I am going on time. Well, what can I say that you feller's haven't? THANKs TO ALL for the help! PS...will be in touch soon Slim, and hope all is well with you.
 

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CD
My only complaint is the weather is too nice in Texas! The deer are not moving!
I once hit a deer turning into our local airport , or rather it jumped through my windshield! Broke my wrist and totaled a nice Blazer!
Remember that often what looks like serious leading will come right out with a good brushing and a tight patch.
 
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