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05 December 2002, 01:13
new caster
bought a lyman kit from midway-moulds are coming from ballisti-cast only 475cal to begin with the lyman manual comes with kit, will probably have many questions.cant afford to keep buying bullets [Eek!] hopefully this will be a little cheaper [Wink] .thanx sean does anyone have any tips

[ 12-04-2002, 16:15: Message edited by: 475/480 ]
05 December 2002, 04:59

Keep the board update what you think about that kit. I am in the same boat as you trying to feed my 480. I have been watching the board trying to get info too. I was thinking about that kit also because it has almost everything to start. Have fun and keep us posted

05 December 2002, 09:21
Paul H
Start scrounging wheelweights, I try and get 5 gallon buckets full, which yield ~100#'s of ingots.

Straight wheelweights make great bullets. I think the biggest problem with new casters is they don't cast hot enough.
05 December 2002, 12:38
i started looking 12-3-wed,second place i asked they gave me about 70lb wheel weights [Big Grin] i went by one place today got 40-50lb [Wink] thanks be to GOD.i will keep looking,i ordered (3) moulds 460gc-425gc-305pb from ballisti-cast,the 460 they modify one of there moulds. thanks all
05 December 2002, 14:33
Paul H
I think I was the first to have them cut the WFN extra deep to make it a 460 gr gc, and its a good one. Keep scrounging lead, that 460 gr mold really gobbles it up [Big Grin]
07 December 2002, 03:46
<Ben H>
Like Paul H said, most new casters don't cast hot enough and straight wheel-weights work great and is all I use. If you drop them into cold water directly from the mold, you will have a very hard bullet.

I also prefer ladle casting to my RCBS bottom pour pot as I get better fill-out with my original LBT molds.

Two excellent books on the subject are LYMAN'S CAST BULLET HANDBOOK and Veral Smith's JACKETED PERFORMANCE WITH CAST BULLETS that may be purchased from the web-site.

Welcome to the hobby and may you enjoy making your own as much as I do. Remember, keep scrounging the wheel weights.........

Ben H
07 December 2002, 09:01
i have both books coming, lyman book comes w/the kit.i'm up to 200lb wheel weights will keep looking thanks,sean h
07 December 2002, 10:29
For a beginning caster a couple of cautions: 1 Alwasys WEAR SAFTEY GLASSES and GLOVES 2. Beware of water. Any mositure in the melted lead and it errupts. I put an ingot into my pot that had been sitting in an unheated garage when it was about 10 degrees; the result was the same as pouring water in. It was memorable.

While you are scavenging, watch for linotype and plumbers lead as well. The linotype makes really marvelous rifle bullets. A cast iron pot that will hold twenty pounds or more will allow you to clean up your metal without messing up your electric casting furnace. A Coleman stove will provide enough heat to melt your lead nicely. I have an old gasoline fired plumbers furnace that works nicely. These turn up in odd places, auctions, yard sales, junk yards etc .
13 December 2002, 18:29
This is something that I am in the process of gearing up for as well. Yesterday I found a 5 gal bucket full of wheel weights at a tire shop for 5 bucks and when I got home I melted some in a small cast iorn pan over a propane stove just to satisfy curiosity. Im sure this is something Im going to enjoy.

Just wondering, do any of you experienced casters do anything to clean up wheel weights before melting them? Also wondering if you have any tricks for removing the bend over tabs on them, or are they supposed to melt as well? Mine didnt..
Im guessing just a little flux and some skimming for cleaning? What flux do you like?
13 December 2002, 18:46
The clips are steel, won't melt at any temperature you want lead at. They'll float to the top. Skim them off with a slotted spoon or suck them off with a magnet. Check out this.

There's some old boys here that can tell you more.

14 December 2002, 05:32
Paul H
I haven't pre-cleaned wheelweights before melting them, and I've had some nasty ones where somebody dumped a quart of ATF in the bucket. I hand sort out the cigarette butts, valve stems and lug nuts.

I use a coleman stove, and a thrift store stainless pot to melt them, outside! I just let them smoke up, then skim off the clips and dirt. After that I melt some wax on my skimming spoon, and stir it into the melt, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Skim off additional crap. Then I just ladle poor into the ingot molds. The wax will burst into flame, more of a suprise when it finally ignites then anything else.

A 5 gallon bucket for $5 is a good deal, I'd been paying $20, then the place stopped selling them. A full bucket should yield ~100#'s of ingots.
14 December 2002, 06:39
I use a cajun cooker/turkey fryer and a yard sale dutch oven for cleanup and alloying. Borrow the cooker if you don't have one since you can easily make enough ingots to do a year or so in one afternoon.

Moulds are even more individual than rifles. You have to mess around with the temp and the pour to find what works with each. Some like the alloy real hot and some done. Some like the alloy dropped aways into the spout and some like the spout pushed up hard against the nipple. The little lyman dipper with the nipple almost always works well, but, damn it's slow.

I like single cavities for rifles and the biggest gang mould I can afford for pistol. Different quanity needs and accuracy expectations. Don't overlook Lee. They cast good bullets and are cheap enough so you can buy a bunch. They don't last as long, but 200 bullets and you have the cost covered.

I've bought a bunch of moulds that cast good bullets that my guns just don't like. Hurts a lot less when I pay $13 instead of $60 for the mould.

I like the Lee push through die for the press a lot. You don't have to have a fortune in nose punches and it handles major sizing much better than the lyman type, particularly with long for caliber bullets. You can also flat pour some tumblelubed wadcutters through it.

Lube is a major pain in the ass. The best ever made was BulletMaster which seems to be off the market. I use Liquid Alox for wadcutters and range ammo, but I don't like the sticky stuff on the parts of bullets that don't need it. NRA formula Alox is my standby. I once messed with some of the stuff that requires a heated lubri-sizer but gave them up as more trouble than they are worth.
14 December 2002, 09:13
You can make a Lee last as long as any other mold. Called the Lee-ment. I think I can scare you up a copy if ya want. Nothing difficult either-- just a little polishing...and adding a hold down finger helps alot too.

Where did you originally get that lube? Might be worth investigating thru the cast suppliers. Did you check the hardware store for something similar? If ya want, I'll call the store I saw that coating in.

[ 12-14-2002, 00:14: Message edited by: aladin ]
14 December 2002, 11:35
found another 300lb ,pure lead though,will have to read up on mixing w/linotype? made a quick batch of bullets w/lee 400gr .476 mould ,couldn't wait on ballisticast [Roll Eyes] i had a problem but fixed it.bullets are starting to look good,tried a couple in a rcbs .454 270gr saa mould they came out real nice will have to weigh every thing. still melting at work w/ac torch and cast iron pot w/ some solder flux [Eek!] seems to work ok,just practising [Big Grin]
14 December 2002, 13:14
Paul H
I'd be careful using that ac torch on the pot, it's possible to get the lead hot enough to cause it to fume, which is very bad for your health [Eek!] Stick with the casting furnace, as it'll keep you out of trouble with overheating the melt.
15 December 2002, 09:07
Lots of good pointers here, thanks guys!

I plan on trying at least one Lee mold, I wish they had a larger variety. Unfortunatly they seem to skip right past the .35 cal rifle bullets. I need to slug my bbl and see which sizer would be best.
17 December 2002, 08:26
Paul H
Lee's 150 gr rf .357" shoots well out of my 350 Rigby. I also wish they made a .358" rifle bullet, and there might actually be one in the works.

I know it is a spendy mold, but ballisticasts 200 gr WFN gc in 35 is a very good bullet.
18 December 2002, 06:21
To 475/480,

Stay away from that welder! Paul H. was right in his caution, just get yourself a cheap turkey cooker and a cast iron (not stainless) pot.

I have been casting for years now, only use jacketed bullets in my high speed rifles for animals, and have picked up a few tricks along the way.

Keep in good relationship with your local tire store. A twelve pack of a favorite beverage occasionally goes a long way.

For my tire store supply I provided them with three nice buckets and on the side wrote my name and phone number. They call me when they are full [Smile]

You didn't mention if the Lyman kit you purchased was for a dipping furnace or a pouring furnace. As many people have told you to be sure and cast hot enough I think the distinction needs to be made that a ladle caster needs more heat than one who uses a furnace with a pour spout on the bottom. Read Lyman's manual carefully, they mention that you don't need to go over 775 degrees to get good casting, however the experts at Magma in their commercial casting publication suggest 650 degrees as better. What I have found is the cooler the better. I am currently using my second Lee Production Pot IV. I set it on 4 or 5 (on the dial) and cast away. Two things you must remember, first the mold is much faster to perfect bullets if preheated especially at lower temperatures, secondly by casting cooler you keep more of the tin in your wheelweights. If you are casting to hot you will notice a lot of grey scum at the top of your pot. This is the tin seperating from the lead, cool down and you will find shiny cast bullet perfection. One other thing on the Lee pot that you don't have with the better quality Lyman pot, keep the thing only 2/3 full, the element is at the bottom and you don't have as much temperature variation.

Also don't keep adding sprue or "drops" to the pot, as this only cools it off unevenly. Just cast bullets in a nice rhythm, as I mentioned I cast cooler than most people and use only one mold at a time. I get a nice rhythm going and will have a ten pound pot emptied in 20 minutes or less with several hundred (depending on the weight) bullets.

Eye protection is crucial. My glasses for casting have a couple of little melt spots [Wink]

Dropping your cast bullets into a bucket of water quenches them and does increas hardness by approximatly 30%. However Lyman has a great treatise on tempering your bullets in its manual I suggest reading it.

And the caution about checking for odds and ends is important. At any one time I have 500-1000 lbs of wheelweights at home (use 30 gal plastic trash cans) and I just dump the buckets into the large cans and when I get to my first casting I sort by hand. Those stems and cigarette butts really make for ugly alloy. After I melt approximately 20 lbs in my outdoor setup, turkey cooker 3qt cast iron pot, I pour 1lb molds. I flux everything with Marvelux it is wonderful and not smokey and doesn't flame up.

Sorry for going on so long but as you can tell I am an avid caster who makes some side money with a small clientel I have built up in my area. Enjoy yourself as you save so much money and take pride in "really making your own ammo from top to bottom"