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shot my first cast bullet's ever,i'm hooked!!!
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This weekend i loaded some cast bullets in my .44 mag blackhawk. The load was 6 grains sr7625. and a 245 grain speer., I am at work so i am going by memory of the bullet. It shot a group of about 4 inches offhand and it was very pleasant to shoot. There was some leading in the barrel, but not bad. Oh yea, velocity was about 900 fps. I am now hooked and will try to cast my own bullets. Can you guys give me some suggestions as to a good cast load book and equipment to work with? Thank's [Big Grin]
 
Posts: 308 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 19 July 2002Reply With Quote
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gregp
Gather up the WW and come along its a great ride.
Get the Lyman cast bullet handbook and ask lots a questions and you will be slingin' cast 44's afore long.
Try the Lyman #429421 or the RCBS 245 Keith for starters they work for just about anything from target to huntin' course you will wind up with more molds in awhile!!!
 
Posts: 70 | Location: USA,CO. | Registered: 24 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Sorry, but what is WW? I think this means wheel weight's, as in bullet material.
 
Posts: 308 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 19 July 2002Reply With Quote
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gregp
You're learnin' fast.
 
Posts: 70 | Location: USA,CO. | Registered: 24 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Greg P
If your lead bullets were made by Speer, to the best of my knowledge. they were swaged rather then cast. Swaged is a cold forming process using tremendous pressure to form the bullet, rather than molten lead poured into a mold.
The reason for the leading is the Speer bullets are .430 and made from dead soft lead.
A question where is 'soldotna'?
Jim
 
Posts: 5797 | Location: Richmond, Virginia | Registered: 17 September 2000Reply With Quote
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Thank's i believe you are correct about the bullets, they where very soft or so it seemed to the untrained eye. Soldotna alaska is about 150 road miles from anchorage. We only have one road to the peninsula. South central alaska.
 
Posts: 308 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 19 July 2002Reply With Quote
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Greg,

A serious bullet casting rig can run a pile of money. I'm afraid to even add up what I have sunk into mine over the years but I would suspect it would have bought me a good custom rifle.

Just getting started, I suggest you start on the cheap and add on as needed.

On the cheap means Lee bought from one of the mail order discounters. I mostly use Midway, but there are several others. Here's a list and price guestimates.

Lee six cavity mould - $35
Lee sizing die 12
Liquid Alox 3
Spouted dipper 10

On top of that you will need to locally scrounge a heat source (likely a cajun cooker/turkey fryer), wheelweights, cast iron pot, a stainless steel kitchen serving spoon and an old candle for flux.

That's all you really NEED to get started. You could even shave $20 by getting a two cavity mould, but I consider that a false economy.

Have fun, shoot a lot. When you need more stuff, you'll know it, but if your goal is cheap plinkers for pistols my list might be all you will ever need.
 
Posts: 1570 | Location: Base of the Blue Ridge | Registered: 04 November 2002Reply With Quote
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greg p, If you know Dennis Bible, tell him Pillsbury says hi. curmudgeon
 
Posts: 99 | Location: Livermore, CA, USA | Registered: 22 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Greg,

I also recomend starting with Lee equipment, it is moderately priced, and works quite well. I've used their 240 gr swc gc and the 310 gr rf gc molds in my blackhawk as well as several friends, and they shot quite well.

For general plinking, I'd get the lee 6 cavity 240 gr swc tumble lube bullet, you'll be able to cast them up quickly. The 310 gr rf gc is a great heavy bullet. A lee push through sizer and a lee bottom pour furnace round out the equipment. I use a thrift store stainless pot to melt wheelweights over a coleman stove, and after cleaning the clips and crap out, poor into ingots.

IMO, the biggest failing of new casters is not getting everything hot enough. Especially when using wheelweights, the mold needs to be really hot before it'll cast good, ie wrinkle free totally filled out bullets. I rest my mold on the edge of the pot while it melts down the ingots, then dip it into the molten lead for a minute or two to get it up to temp.

I've found unique to be a great mild to mid level for the 44, 2400 is good for mid level to top end, and the best top end powder is H 110 or W 296. I used CCI 300's for unique and 2400, 350's for the H 110/W 296.

For books, Lymans cast bullet handbook is a great start.
 
Posts: 7205 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 27 February 2001Reply With Quote
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Curmudgen, i went to school with dennis's daughter, christy and son scott, i was right between the two in grade. It has been some time since i have seen dennis but i will surly say howdy when i do.
 
Posts: 308 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 19 July 2002Reply With Quote
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GregP, Paul H's comment about melt temperature being too low is well taken. I'd highly recommend purchasing a casting thermometer, even though it adds to the cost. However, the frustration and wasted time (due to wrinkled CB's in a too cool mold) saved, not to mention fewer reject castings, are worth every penny. Also, aluminum molds, especially multi-cavity ones seem to cast best at 780-800 deg.F. Lastly, check out Lee Precision's website, especially their "bargain basement" (or similar term) for bargains on furnaces, molds, etc. ...Maven
 
Posts: 480 | Location: N.Y. | Registered: 09 January 2003Reply With Quote
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THE ONLY WAY TO LEARN HOW TO CAST NICE BULLETS IS TO HAVE A PATEINT EXPERINCED CASTER SHOW YOU AND TELL YOU HOW .THERE ARE LOTS OF LITTLE THINGS TO KNOW . THINGS LIKE BRINGING YOUR MOULD UP TO TEMP,KNOWING WHY BULLETS LOOK WRINKLED,KNOWING WHEN YOUR MOULD IS TOO HOT, LOTS OF THINGS I WOULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN WITHOUT A PATEINT EXPLANITVE MENTOR. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS WEAR YOUR EYE PROTECTION! I GOT A LEE POT,USED BULLET MOULD AT A GUN SHOW, SOME MOULD HANDLES FROM MIDWAY,I USE RANGE LEAD AND LINOTYPE LEAD,GOT A LUBRISIZER DIE IN 358 DIA AND USE MY FRIENDS LUBRISIZER. I PROLLY DON'T HAVE $7O.00 IN MY CASTING SETUP. I DID MAKE A MISTAKE A GOT A LEE LUBESET DON'T DO THAT . USED MINE ONCE AN SENT IT BACK FOR A REFUND. I REALLY ENJOY CASTING BULLETS I HOPE YOU WILL TOO.

THE 2ND AMENDMENT PROTECTS US ALL................
 
Posts: 3850 | Registered: 21 July 2002Reply With Quote
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"I DID MAKE A MISTAKE A GOT A LEE LUBESET DON'T DO THAT"

Explainer please. You mean the sizing die that comes with the liquid allox for use in a press or that hammer thru die and the small pan?

That hammer thru thang I gotta agree-- only for the most basic setups. The push thru die is my standard sizing routine-- ya can't distort the slug and there easy to tweak for dia by pushing a slug with lapping compound thru for a 'custom' dia.
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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ALADIN I GUESS I DIDN'T THE KIND OF LUCK YOU ARE HAVEING WITH MY LEE SIZER. THATS THE ONLY LEE PRODUCT I DIDN'T LIKE. I LIKE TO LUBRISIZE WITH A REGULAR LUBERISIZER.MY LEE KIT WAS THE KIND YOU PUT ON YOUR SINGLE STAGE PRESS AND PUSH THE SLUG THRU.

THE 2ND AMENDMENT PROTECTS US ALL ..........
 
Posts: 3850 | Registered: 21 July 2002Reply With Quote
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Aladin, First time I heard any one mention the old Lee hammer thru die in a while Still have a coulpe from the old days. Have one in .358 Dia. and have been thinking about trying to lap it out to .361 for an old .38 S&W Victory. Just wonder if these things are easier to use now that we have Lee liquid alox?

woods
 
Posts: 48 | Location: st. charles | Registered: 07 January 2003Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by tasco 74:
ALADIN I GUESS I DIDN'T THE KIND OF LUCK YOU ARE HAVEING WITH MY LEE SIZER. THATS THE ONLY LEE PRODUCT I DIDN'T LIKE. I LIKE TO LUBRISIZE WITH A REGULAR LUBERISIZER.MY LEE KIT WAS THE KIND YOU PUT ON YOUR SINGLE STAGE PRESS AND PUSH THE SLUG THRU.

THE 2ND AMENDMENT PROTECTS US ALL ..........

Can you explan what problem you had. TIA.
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by woodsloafer:
Aladin, First time I heard any one mention the old Lee hammer thru die in a while Still have a coulpe from the old days. Have one in .358 Dia. and have been thinking about trying to lap it out to .361 for an old .38 S&W Victory. Just wonder if these things are easier to use now that we have Lee liquid alox?

woods

Methinks the press setup more bullet and user friendly. If ya need to lube the slug for sizing, try some imperial sizng wax or synthetic motor oil.

You can lap those out I'd think fairly easily by driving a lap charged slug thru. I push slugs thru the press die all the time to get a custom size. Very easy and fast.
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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The only reason I stopped using the lee push through sizer is I was finger smearing lube, and the conventional lube sizers speed up production. Other then that, I've never had a problem with the lee push throughs, and still use them on occasion.
 
Posts: 7205 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 27 February 2001Reply With Quote
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One thing I especially like about the Lee push through is the way it seats gas checks. Since the ram is pushing on the GC while the front of the bullet is being sized, the GC is bottomed out and square before it gets crimped. You don't always get that with a base first sizer and tapping each bullet to seat the GC is a pain.

With a better tumble lube than Liquid Alox, you'd be hard put to beat the Lee sizer for speed, either. I miss BulletMaster lube, bad.
 
Posts: 1570 | Location: Base of the Blue Ridge | Registered: 04 November 2002Reply With Quote
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Greg, About time you thought about casting. If you collect up some WW I will help you out with smelting them down. I will be in town on Feb 13 for a couple of days. I will order another 45 mold before then and bring it with me. I am going to get a Lee mold. They are cheap and we can make them work ok. Give me a call or I will try to call you. All my casting stuff is still in WI.
Ken
 
Posts: 39 | Location: Pilot Station AK | Registered: 10 January 2003Reply With Quote
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Can someone on the board give me a basic list of things to get started? I see that midway has melting pots and lots of other stuff. I would like to sit down this week and order all, or at least most of what i would need to start casting for my .44 mag. Thank's in advance, Greg
 
Posts: 308 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 19 July 2002Reply With Quote
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Greg,

My recomendation would be to get a Lee 10 # bottom poor furnace, a 240 gr tumble lube 2 cavity mold, a 310 gr rf gc mold, one box of 44 gas checks, a lee .430" push through sizer and a lee ingot mold. Oh yeah, the Lymann cast bullet handbook as well. You could get started with even less, but the ~$100 for that equipment will ge a good start IMHO.

I know someone mentioned getting a six cavity lee mold, which really cranks out the bullets, but they are more difficult to learn to cast with. Once you get the hang of casting, you can cast with both of the two cavity molds together, and crank out a decent supply of bullets.

Everyone has their own rythm and technique for casting, but here is how I cast with two molds. I start by melting down the wheelweights in an old sauce pan over a coleman stove, outside, and make 30-60#'s of ingots. I load the bottom poor pot up with ingots, plug it in, and rest the molds on the edge of the top of the pot to heat up while the ingots melt. Once the lead is molten, I dip the corner of the mold in the melt for 1 minute.

Fill the mold allowing some overflow of the sprue. Place that mold down, then fill the other mold. Take the first mold, nock off the sprues, and drop the bullets. I put the sprues back in the pot, some folks say this cools the melt to much. I run the pot hot, and the molds hot, so have nerver had a problem.

Either use a pile of shop rags if you want air cooled bullets, or drop them in a 5 gallon bucket of water if you want harder bullets. Close the mold, re-fill it, then grab the other, cut sprues, and repeat.

When you're starting out, cast with just one mold. You'll see the sprues will be shiny when first poored. After some time they become dull. If you cut the sprue too early, ie before properly cooled, you'll smear molten lead on the top of the mold and the sprue plate. Use a 1" dowel, or rubber handle of a hammer to knock the sprue plate to cut the bullets, and to tap the hinge pin of the mold handles to assist the bullets dropping.

One ideosyncracy of Lee two cavity molds is, you can often not get them fully closed before you fill them with lead. You'll notice the bullets have large fins on them, and often the lead will get in the mold allignment pin recesses, which will make it impossibley to fully close the mold. Each time you close the mold, visually check that it is fully closed, I hold it up by the light to see if I can see a crack or not.

The most important thing to learn as a new caster is what defects to look for, and how to cure them. The first defect you'll see is wrinkled bullets, and/or lube grooves and crimp grooves that aren't fully filled out. This is the classic example of a too cold mold. Put the mold in the melt for another minute to bring it up to temp. It takes a long time to heat up a mold from casting, much quicker to drop the edge in the melt for a minute. If you over heat the mold, the sprue will run water thin over the sprue plate, and when the bullets are dropped, they will look crumbly on the surface, and you might even drop them when they are still shiny and barely frozen. Too hot molds cool alot quicker then cold molds heat up though.

The other problems I've seen is base porosity. I haven't had that problem often with lee molds, but some molds with thick, ie 1/4" thick sprue plates can have the sprue freeze before the bullet is able to suck in enough metal to fully fill the bullet. I find holding the mold about 1" below the poor spout provides enough velocity to get a good fill.

The other possible cause is dirty lead, which is often accomponied with little black specs in the bullets. Just drop a pee sized piece of wax in the melt, stir, and skim the crap off of the top. I had most of my problems with crap inclusions when I melted wheelweights directly in the bottom poor pot, and never got them clean enough. Much better to make up a big batch of clean ingots.

Safety. Lead is hot, and can splatter, especially if you drop sprues directly into the pot. Wear leather gloves, cotton clothes, and safety glasses.

Once you have a batch of cooled, or dry bullets as the case may be, it is time to lube them. With the tumble lube bullets, just put them in a plastic cup, and tumble with a squirt of the lube. Put them on a piece of cardboard to dry. For the gas check bullets, place a gas check on the bullet base, run it through the sizer, then tumble lube the bullets when done.

If you want to use a conventional lube, you can smear lube on with a finger individually, then run them through the sizer. I've lubed and sized hundreds, if not thousands of bullets that way, which is also why I now have a lyman lube sizer.

I did a bit of testing of various commercial lubes with cast bullets in the 480. I found LBT blue and Appache blue to be outstanding lubes. I also made my own lube by mixing lythium/moly axle greese with beeswax, and that is the only lube I use now. If you make it up to Anchortown, I can provide you with some of the lube to try.
 
Posts: 7205 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 27 February 2001Reply With Quote
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i bought the midway -lyman kit 99.00 they gave me the 4500 lub/sizer instead of 450 [Smile] lyman manual,ingot mold, dipper,mini mag,for someone new to casting it worked great for me,i melt ww into ingots over the turkey fryer,if you know somebody with cutting torch ?
friend cut up an old propane tank for melting 40-70 lb(big tank) ww into ingots works good and cheap to.have not put the mini mag to work yet been using the big pot for all the work.good luck remember look for ww .question when does a person have enough ww or lino [Big Grin]
 
Posts: 562 | Location: Houston Tx | Registered: 23 October 2002Reply With Quote
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I just ordered a bunch of stuff from midway. This should get me a good start to my casting adventure. Finding lead was a bigger problem than i thought it would be. Our "local" johnsons tire center wanted $50.00 per 5 gallon bucket,(not). I live about a 1/2 mile from the kenai river and a few miles from good halibut fishing.Most of this kind of lead is save for there buddies to make 2-4 pound fishing weights. Luckily i found a guy who was tired of storing all this lead untill spring and he gave me two 5 gallon buckets full. This should be more than enough for me an a friend to use for a while. Thanks for the advise on equipment.
 
Posts: 308 | Location: Alaska | Registered: 19 July 2002Reply With Quote
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