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Need basic info. on casting

3180 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Forest Punch
I have been shooting firearms for over 40 years, and reloading for about 20 years, always with components that I purchased from others. I have cast some lead fishing sinkers but never any bullets. Now I think that I might want to try bullet casting, but have very little understanding of what is involved or the cost of a casting set-up. It is my understanding that the bullets are cast in a mold, then run trough a lubing/sizing die to bring the bullet to its final diameter. That is the extent of my knowledge. Can anyone explain the basic steps that are followed in casting bullets, and a list of the equipment needed? I am primarily interested in casting 45 LC, .357, and .30 calibers. If I go ahead with casting I intend to buy the R. Lee book for more specific instructions, but a little overview right now would be mighty helpful. Thanks for the help. DGR
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Hi, DGR:
I've only started casting last year, but I'll give it a try. You've got the general idea, although sizing the bullets isn't always necessary. Some moulds drop them at the right size. You've already cast sinkers, so you know the basics. A lead melter can be anything from a sauce pan on a Coleman stove to one of the expensive bottom pour furnances. I had a Coleman stove, bought a $6 stainless steel 1 qt sauce pan and got going. Moulds run from about $20 from Lee (not sure about USA prices) to over a hundred for custom made ones. Lee moulds come with handles included, the others don't and you'll need one pair.

Lee has it own economical sizing system but I haven't seen it in use. Lyman and RCBS sizing dies are interchangable, Saecos aren't. The word is that the RCBS is the better machine but Lyman dies are better. Lyman claims the new 4500 lube sizer has the 450's problems fixed. We'll see.

Lyman reloading manuals have more information than the Lee manual has, but the Book is the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 3rd Edition.

The main thing is, stay healthy. This thread got standed before the Bullet Casting forum was set up.

Hope this gives you some idea of what's involved. Don't be afraid to holler for help.

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You can purchase a copy of Lyman's Bullet Casting Handbook at most well equiped gun shop or find it online. Handloader magazine has a compilation of the articles that have appeared in the magazine. The Cast Bullet Association has put the news letters 'The Fouling Shot' into bundles of years giving articles and advice.
The 'Fouling Shot' is a masters degree in bullet casting.
I've been casting for 25 years, I think? I do two types of casting, production of pistol bullets, quanity with good quality, and rifle bullets, precision.
For pistol bullets I set down with two four cavity molds for the same bullet 255 grain SWC Saeco, two or three 20 pound pots and cast a bunch of bullets. When I get tired my buddy spells me, then we switch off. For a summers shooting we will spend three or four days, 6 to 8 hour days casting. A whole lot of wheel weight ingots get melted down. All bullets are sized in a Star lube sizer with LBT lube.
For rifles I'll work with one two cavity mold and use one pot of alloy to make a production lot. That lot stays together and is loaded together. All bullets are weighted and measured for uniformity. The rejects go into the next production lot.
I'll get 250 to 350 bullets to a lot, depending on my quality control while casting.
Anything I can help with let me know.
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What they said, and it can't be emphasized too strongly, get the Lyman Cast Bullet handbook. It's a gem. Also RCBS has a casting book but I have not read it.
Hi, Gents:
The RCBS book is out of print but this gent must have a semi-load of them. Buy it now, $6.

DGR160. Welcome to bullet casting. I am not an expert (on anything), although I have cast a few zillion bullets using almost exclusviely Lee melting pots and moulds. I size the bullets and attach gas checks, when necessary using the Lee sizing dies. Work like a charm. When I read about people having to use heaters and who knows what else, I just shudder. Before I got into pouring my own, I asked an oldtime revolver shooter what was involved in casting. My goodness, I am sure that Patton readied for the run to Berlin with less trouble than this fellow made bullet casting out to be. Dean Grennell wrote an article somewhere that caught my eye, about not necessarily having to size EVERY bullet that you cast, and the rest is history. Some of my bullets, mostly revolver, aren't sized, just simply tumble lubed. Try to get a copy of that article and read it before you go out and buy $10,000 worth of stuff you may not want after a while. I'll dig around in my piles of books and see if I can find it. Despite the grumblings from some, I have had little trouble with Lee aluminum moulds, with the first bullet out often being fit to shoot. (I am certainly not an Olympics-class shooter. It's too bad there isn't an Olympic category for BS'ing, or just plain shooting LOTS).
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I've been casting on and off since high school, about 15 years. It is quite simple, but you MUST follow the safety guidlines that are set forth in the loading manuals. I've been lucky with a few stupid mistakes over the years. I also cast jigheads before I made bullets, it pretty much the same thing with more attention paid to alloy temperature and type. If you can let us know how many bullets you will need over a years time, it will be easier to make the best suggestion as to what brand and type of equipment (read that: investment level$$$) for your particular needs. I started out with Lee melting pots and sizers and quality moulds of various manufacture other than Lee. After using a couple of their moulds, I wasn't too impressed. Don't get me wrong, they make bullets that will shoot just fine, but I don't much care for them. The thing to remember about bullet casting equipment is that it's an investment. If you take care of it, you'll be making bullets with it for the rest of your life and then some.
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Well Sir you need a few things 1 a melting pot ranging from about60dollars to 230 dollars next thing you need are molds ranging in price form cheep to expensive next you need a thermonter next you need a ladel next a bunch of lead wheel weights work good for the most part then after you made your bullets you need to size and lube them I have a rcbs lube-a- matic 2 cost about112 dollars next you need some lube ? do you want to buy bulk lube from aomeone or buy it by the stick if you buy by the bulk you need to have a mold made that cost me 125 dollars but worth every cent a stick of lube cost me about 81 cent that's about it Forest Punch
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