PDA

View Full Version : Help a newbie out.



45pro
01-23-2012, 07:22 PM
Hey guys, i just decided to start casting bullets. I have not bought anything yet and i'm still reading and learning before i take the plunge. So i think i have everything i need to get started as cost effective as possible. Here is my list....

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g357/jared2134/cast.jpg

Is there anything else i need? For now i think i'm going to buy premade lead ingots so i dont have to worry about fluxing and cleaning the lead. I can just melt and pour then right? From what i've seen most people heat up wheel weights in a different pan under a burner and clean and make ingots from there. Can it be done in the Lee pot or will it make it too dirty?

quilbilly
01-23-2012, 07:30 PM
Looks like you are pretty much on your way. if your decide to get a 452 Lee sizer kit, a the alox comes with it free. From my experience with the Lee handgun molds, most don't require the sizer as they come from the factory on spec. All you need now is lead and the lead you are planning to use is, as you said, melt and pour. You will soon find out if you need to make the lead harder or softer. You can just make the ingots yourself from a "found" lead source. What I have done for years to keep the hot lead clean is keep an old long handle metal spoon to skim off the crud. Just plan on melting the dirty lead outside as the smoke can be rank

45pro
01-23-2012, 07:34 PM
Looks like you are pretty much on your way. if your decide to get a 452 Lee sizer kit, a the alox comes with it free. From my experience with the Lee handgun molds, most don't require the sizer as they come from the factory on spec. All you need now is lead and the lead you are planning to use is, as you said, melt and pour. You will soon find out if you need to make the lead harder or softer.

Thanks, i like to do my research before i jump into something. I was gonna ask if i needed a sizer kit. I have been told with that mould i would not. Do i need to pick up a brinnel tester? I think the bullets i use now (MBC) is around 18 brinnel. I have not ventured into making lead harder or softer, i think i will learn how to do that later.

I'm hoping to set this up on the other side of my 2 car garage. There is a window there and i am thinking about buying a range hood and filtering it outside or is that not necessary? From what i've read most people melt lead at 750 degrees and from what i hear lead is not dangerous until around 1000 degrees. Is that correct?

ku4hx
01-23-2012, 07:57 PM
Your setup will certainly work. Whether or not you need to size your boolits for a particular gun will depend on the gun, and for that you're going to need a way to measure your bore slug. Of course you could try various "standard" sizing dies and see which works best for you. Maybe you'll get lucky and as-cast size will work for you.

But just be prepared, if casting becomes a passion for you like it has for so many of us, you're going to be buying a whole lot more of all sorts of things. Like any hobby and labor of love, you can go broke buying do-dads.

As to danger, you sound like you're worried about lead fumes. That isn't a problem at temperatures we use; various people will have various ideas on that. The danger is the heat and even at a "cool" 750*F, that molten lead can cause horrendous burns. Be safe and wear the proper gloves. safety glasses and such. Proper ventilation is always a good thing, but for the fumes associated with fluxing.

45pro
01-23-2012, 08:15 PM
Your setup will certainly work. Whether or not you need to size your boolits for a particular gun will depend on the gun, and for that you're going to need a way to measure your bore slug. Of course you could try various "standard" sizing dies and see which works best for you. Maybe you'll get lucky and as-cast size will work for you.

But just be prepared, if casting becomes a passion for you like it has for so many of us, you're going to be buying a whole lot more of all sorts of things. Like any hobby and labor of love, you can go broke buying do-dads.

As to danger, you sound like you're worried about lead fumes. That isn't a problem at temperatures we use; various people will have various ideas on that. The danger is the heat and even at a "cool" 750*F, that molten lead can cause horrendous burns. Be safe and wear the proper gloves. safety glasses and such. Proper ventilation is always a good thing, but for the fumes associated with fluxing.


how do i measure my bore slug? I just assumed i can use the bullets how they come out.(thats what everyone seems to be saying with this type of mould) I will be shooting them in my Taurus PT145 which has been flawless for upwards of 10,000 rounds.(mostly LRN)

I dont think this will become a passion, but i guess you never know. I'm mainly starting it to make my wife happy. Shes tired of me ordering $500 worth of bullets a month. By doing this i should be able to get that down to $100-150 a month in lead if it stays around $1 a #. I dont know where do get free lead at the moment and i haven't really researched enough to do the fluxing on my own.

So there is no reason to worry about lead fumes at all casting in my garage? Is the range hood not necessary then? What about fluxing? Is it just the smell or is there dangerous fumes?

runfiverun
01-23-2012, 08:30 PM
i cast in my garage, well it's closed in now.
a small window fan will be enough if your worried, the fan is handy to suck out any smoke from fluxing.
here's all the research you need on fluxing.
carbon, stir it in,create an oxygen free barrier on top of the alloy....done.

fumes are totally a non issue, unless you superheat your alloy.
don't eat the lead.......

45pro
01-23-2012, 08:35 PM
don't eat the lead.......

I'll try not too:bigsmyl2:

45pro
01-23-2012, 08:38 PM
Can you flux and clean the lead in the Lee pot? i see most people do it in a separate pot. Also what do you do with all the crud floating on top when you start getting low on lead and want to melt some more, or just want to stop?

Jim Flinchbaugh
01-23-2012, 08:41 PM
Be careful, it is an addiction!
I got my start last year about this time, fellow showed me the ropes.
Now I have 8 molds, casting pot, stove, turkey fryer for smelting, plans to build a smelting pot,
and sitting on 400 pounds of lead ,and my powder and primer budget went through the roof,
because I shoot way more http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v313/James64/Smilies/yikes.gif
Then, what comes next is you become a hobbyist gunsmith to try and get the most out of your new creations.

I recommend you get a separate pot of some sort for melting your lead into ingots, as the crud you cook off
wheelweights and other stuff, will put schmeggies in your casting pot & you don't want that!
I use a dutch oven on the turkey fryer burner at present till I get my bottom pour pot built.
Most of all, Be safe, and have a blast!

45pro
01-23-2012, 08:42 PM
Also what is the 1 ogive and 2 ogive differences? I have the 2 ogive in my cart. Ive always loaded lead bullets that look more like the 1ogive. Does it matter?

runfiverun
01-24-2012, 01:04 AM
the fluxing in the casting pot is mainly to return oxides back into the melt.
i really don't flux in mine too often, unless i see a gob of stuff floating on top.
then it's some more sawdust and a good stir with a paint stick, i will throw a little chunk of candle on top and light it on fire as soon as it melts.
i usually keep an oxygen barrier on top of my alloy and don't run the pot down too far.
the ogive is the roundness of the nose.

Recluse
01-24-2012, 02:15 AM
I'd advise starting off with a two-cavity mold versus a six-cavity. The learning curve is a WHOLE lot less. Translation: Less frustration, better boolits faster.

Secondly, I size everything I cast. Always. There is a myth running around the cast world, particularly with new casters that "Lee TL bullets were designed to not need sizing."

That is simply not true. What is said, and what Lee will tell you is that you may not need to size your TL boolits; but that can be said of ANY boolit mold for the corresponding caliber and application.

It all depends on the size of your bore, which is why we slug our barrels to determine how/what size we need to size our boolits.

I size everything because I strive for consistency in creating the "perfect" reload, and boolit diameter and roundness is something I can control. Depending on the temperature of your alloy and/or mold, the boolit size can vary. Sizing it eliminates that variance.

:coffee:

Bullet Caster
01-24-2012, 02:48 AM
45Pro,
I don't recall if I welcomed you to CastBoolits or not, so welcome to CastBoolits. QUIT NOW!!! Or you'll find yourself addicted to this hobby. Actually I'm relative new to the hobby too, and I started casting before I ever reloaded anything. I agree with Recluse in that I size everything after lubing for repeatability except for my 9mm. All of my Lee moulds have cast at factory specs. Sounds like you've thought this through for some time and good for you. My wife worries about me getting too much lead in my system from the fumes but I cast outside on the picnic table and have to make the dogs go into the front yard so they won't bother me while I cast. My wife says that she's gonna get me a respirator for casting. Wear long sleeves and boots or shoes and wear a shop apron if you've got one. The only thing I would suggest is a casting thermometer to help monitor your pot heat. You'll need it when you start making ingots from wheel weights in case you accidently get some zinc into the melt. If you keep the temp. to around 750*F the zinc won't melt and you can skim it out of the melt. The only other thing you might need is a micrometer to measure the slug after slugging your bore. A micrometer is much more accurate than calipers which I made the mistake of buying first. Now I need a micrometer. Be safe and have fun. BC

ku4hx
01-24-2012, 09:47 AM
how do i measure my bore slug?

With a micrometer or a dial caliper. You don't need the most expensive, but you don't need an el-cheapo level of quality either.

You may well be fine with as-cast boolits. Many of us are but like most folks, some boolits will need sizing ... yours might not. You'll have to determine that for yourself.

I'm retired now, but as a former Chemistry teacher, my position on lead fumes at casting temperatures is that it's not a worry. As to fluxing fumes, that depends on what you use. I simply prefer not to breath the fumes so I make sure I have positive air flow where I cast. For me that's an open (or partially open) garage door sometimes with a floor fan. Most of the fumes generated by common fluxing materials are not toxic, but some can definitely be irritating to one degree or another. I personally believe a fume hood would be expensive overkill.

45pro
01-24-2012, 09:53 AM
I'd advise starting off with a two-cavity mold versus a six-cavity. The learning curve is a WHOLE lot less. Translation: Less frustration, better boolits faster.

Secondly, I size everything I cast. Always. There is a myth running around the cast world, particularly with new casters that "Lee TL bullets were designed to not need sizing."

That is simply not true. What is said, and what Lee will tell you is that you may not need to size your TL boolits; but that can be said of ANY boolit mold for the corresponding caliber and application.

It all depends on the size of your bore, which is why we slug our barrels to determine how/what size we need to size our boolits.

I size everything because I strive for consistency in creating the "perfect" reload, and boolit diameter and roundness is something I can control. Depending on the temperature of your alloy and/or mold, the boolit size can vary. Sizing it eliminates that variance.

:coffee:

Thanks for the replies everyone


Can you post a link on here from midwayusa of the sizer i would need? What is different about the 2 cavity vs the 6 cavity that makes it easier besides having less holes to pour at the same time?

largom
01-24-2012, 10:06 AM
As Recluse said, start with a single or double cavity mold until you get a feel for casting. Casting GOOD boolits with every pour is more important than casting a lot of bad boolits each pour.

Larry

ShooterAZ
01-24-2012, 10:08 AM
You may want to get an ingot mold to put under the furnace...invariably they will drip at some point. The Lee dipper comes in handy too. I would recommend getting the .452 sizing kit as well, as mentioned it comes with Alox. Some paraffin wax for fluxing, an old pan to put the dregs in, some synthetic 2 cycle oil to lube the mold pins & hinges...Other than that you seem good to go.

45pro
01-24-2012, 10:19 AM
should i get the 1 ogive or 2 ogive? the 1 ogive has the single lube groove and the 2 ogive has a bunch of ripples and grooves?

Is the 2 cavity mold harder to operate? i dont see a third handle for opening and cutting the sprue off like in the 6 cavity mold?

slim1836
01-24-2012, 10:28 AM
You may also need a tool to flare the case mouth in order to keep from shaving the boolit while seating.
Slim

RevGeo
01-24-2012, 10:30 AM
Welcome to a great hobby, 45pro. If you're like most of us you're gonna end up with a lot more stuff than you have now. I started casting bullets and tying fishing flies to save money...yeah, right...have fun and be careful.

George

Wayne Smith
01-24-2012, 10:59 AM
With a micrometer or a dial caliper. You don't need the most expensive, but you don't need an el-cheapo level of quality either.

No, a caliper is not accurate to three places. You need a micrometer that will be accurate to three places to accurately measure your slug and your boolits. You can get an adequate one at Sears, you don't need to go expensive. Just don't expect a caliper to be that accurate regardless of how many digets it reads.

ku4hx
01-24-2012, 11:25 AM
No, a caliper is not accurate to three places. You need a micrometer that will be accurate to three places to accurately measure your slug and your boolits. You can get an adequate one at Sears, you don't need to go expensive. Just don't expect a caliper to be that accurate regardless of how many digets it reads.

Instruments that are accurate to .01" can be accurately estimated to .001". My dial mic fills that bill and has for more than forty years. Works good; lasts a long time.

ku4hx
01-24-2012, 11:36 AM
I dont think this will become a passion,
Famous last words. :kidding:

45pro
01-24-2012, 01:49 PM
Famous last words. :kidding:

Haha!

45pro
01-24-2012, 01:54 PM
so this would be a better option?

http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g357/jared2134/cast2.jpg

JonB_in_Glencoe
01-24-2012, 02:09 PM
I think that'll give you a good start to tryout casting.
keep coming here to read.
and maybe get a copy of
Lyman's cast bullet handbook and read that.
JOn

Bullet Caster
01-24-2012, 02:10 PM
Looks like it should be. Just don't forget about the micrometer to measure the slug from your bore. Personally I prefer a pot and ladel with a Coleman gas stove over an electric bottom pour pot. You can get by cheaper if you were to go that route. BC

ShooterAZ
01-24-2012, 02:20 PM
Not to stir the pot...but I started out with the 6 cavity molds and am doing just fine with them..at this point I personally think the two cavity mold would be too slow for me. Just my opinion of course...:popcorn:

45pro
01-24-2012, 02:35 PM
so i'm measuring a .4545 while measure my barrel for the slug diameter....Insight?

Echo
01-24-2012, 02:55 PM
Welcome, 45pro. One suggestion - DL Glen Fryxell's book and study it intently. It is the best source of practical and theoretical info re bullet casting there is. It is available elsewhere on this forum.

1R boolits are more hemispherical than 2R boolits...

Use sawdust for flux. It's available for free at Lowe's/HD/wherever lumber is sawed. It is the best there is, because not only does it reduce the oxides, putting metal back into the alloy, but it also picks up the garbage.

One of our members (The Captain) sells reclaimed metals. I have purchased from her, and will strongly recommend her for the quality and price of her product. About a dollar a pound delivered.

For sizing, I suggest your using the Lee system. It is inexpensive, and works. I have a couple of Lachmiller's (predecessor of the LAM's) and a Star, and still use the Lee sizers occasionally. If loading for an auto, drive an over-sized lead slug (fishing weight) through the oiled bbl to find the groove diameter, and order a sizer .001" larger than that. If loading for a revolver, mike the throats of the chambers, and order a sizer that size, or .001" larger.

You are making a good start, asking valid questions, and receiving good advice from folks that care.

cbrick
01-24-2012, 03:05 PM
Listen to Wayne Smith about the micrometer, he is spot on right. Calipers were not designed or built to be much closer than about .001", even the good ones. You can use a caliper to measure a bore slug and then estimate (guess) what the slug really measures (as ku4hx says) or you can know what it is and use a micrometer. For a bore slug and then sizing the bullets for that bore you're far better off knowing, not guessing at the actual measurements. Ask any machinist which one they use when they need to know.

You should also slug the bore before ordering that .452" sizer die, odds are fairly good that it will be too small.

Rick

45pro
01-24-2012, 03:08 PM
so i'm measuring a .4545 while measure my barrel for the slug diameter....Insight? i am using my digital caliper right now as its currently the only thing i have here.

I am currently using Missouri Bullet Company's 230LRN .452

They work flawlessly through my gun with no leading. Should i just stick with that diameter and order a .452 sizing die? I plan on stock piling ammo even more now and my pick up more 45's autos later this summer. I want to be able to shoot this ammo in all of my 45's not just my taurus.

ShooterAZ
01-24-2012, 04:03 PM
Should i just stick with that diameter and order a .452 sizing die?

Yes, this is what I did. You can try loading them without sizing, but may run into chambering problems in some pistols. Lee's .452 sizer is inexpensive, and works fine for me. I also shoot .45 ACP in several different guns. I had chambering problems in my S&W 625 revolver when I did not size. You also may want to check out the boolit lube section for tumble lube recipes. Lee Alox all by itself is sticky-gooey and messy. It also smokes quite a bit. I first tried Rooster Jacket lube and have since switched to the 45/45/10 formula. It works very, very well. I'm a noob here too, but these things things worked out very well for me. Hope this helps for you.

45pro
01-24-2012, 04:37 PM
Yes, this is what I did. You can try loading them without sizing, but may run into chambering problems in some pistols. Lee's .452 sizer is inexpensive, and works fine for me. I also shoot .45 ACP in several different guns. I had chambering problems in my S&W 625 revolver when I did not size. You also may want to check out the boolit lube section for tumble lube recipes. Lee Alox all by itself is sticky-gooey and messy. It also smokes quite a bit. I first tried Rooster Jacket lube and have since switched to the 45/45/10 formula. It works very, very well. I'm a noob here too, but these things things worked out very well for me. Hope this helps for you.

What is the 45/45/10 formula? link?

Recluse
01-24-2012, 04:41 PM
This, that, and the other. . .

Six-cavity molds are harder for new casters because the heat dissipates (aluminum mold, after all) and you really need to get in a steady, quick rhythm to get optimal results. Mold heat is critical with a six-banger.

Secondly, the cam-shaft type setup with the sprue plate on a six-banger really needs some modification-otherwise, you're going to tear it up in fairly short order, especially when casting large, heavy boolits like the .4521R that are also going to give you fairly large sprues.

Check out the sticky on Lee-menting. It is priceless, more than well worth the read, and will save you lots of time and aggravation.

CBrick makes a good point about slugging your barrel before purchasing a .452 sizer from Lee, but I'm going to augment his advice a bit and offer that IF it ends up being a skosh too small, it is easily lapped out to a larger size with some emory cloth and a wooden dowel and cordless drill, so you're really risking nothing by going ahead and picking one up.

General rule of thumb in the casting and handloading is that calipers are good for measuring OAL for finished cartridges (and length of projectiles), micrometers are good for measuring diameter of projectiles. Calipers can get you close on measuring diameter, but micrometers get you THERE.

A few of the biggest and most common mistakes new casters make are the following:


- Trying to cast too many boolits too quickly (hence the rush to buy six-banger molds.

- failing to size because they fail to measure diameter of boolit and length of loaded cartridge

- when tumble-lubing, using too much lube

Some of us old-timers can tell you that we started off with no (lead) thermometers, no calipers, no micrometers and no sizers and did just fine.

I can also tell you some of the primitive stuff we used back in the military and how much I envy the guys and gals today with their improved technology and knowledge. Given the choice, no way in hell would I choose the old ways we did things back in the service over the way they can and do do things today. :)

Similarly, I grew up flying using ded reckoning and VORs and NDBs. Today we have other-worldly GPS systems (just added a new Garmin Aera 500 to the Cessna), iPads, smart phones with real-time downloadable weather, etc.

Having flown and navigated both ways, I can get to Point A to Point B using a sectional, compass and stopwatch--but I can get there a heckuva lot easier and more efficiently and with less stress and workload using the tools available today.

The BEST tool you have at your disposal is the one you're already using. It's called Cast Boolits.

:coffee:

geargnasher
01-24-2012, 05:14 PM
45Pro, you've come to the right place to ask your questions, but be careful what you wish for, you might get buried in good advice!

Here's some more:

I think your wish list from post #25 is just fine for a .45 ACP, but PLEASE add a casting thermometer and a copy of the 3rd edition Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook to the list if you don't already have one!!!!

Before you start trying to cast or smelt lead, do some research on the following things here, in the Lyman book, and at the LASC (dot) US website:
.....Learn the process of "smelting", reducing, and fluxing alloys.
.....Learn how to maintain your casting pot temperature that's best for the alloy you use.
.....Learn how to clean the oil out of and prepare your two-cavity Lee mould.
.....Learn how to preheat your mould by dunking a corner of it in the melt.
.....Learn how to properly lubricate your mould with two-cycle engine oil and a Q-tip to make it close properly and keep lead from sticking to the sprue plate or blocks.
.....Learn about the difference between, and how to control, mould block temperature, sprue plate temperature, and alloy temperature and how each affects your boolit quality.
.....Learn about age hardening of antimonial alloys and why you should wait a few days before loading cast boolits.
.....Read Recluse's "sticky" thread in the lube section about how to make and use 45/45/10 with the Lee liquid alox that comes with your sizer. You'll be glad you did, LLA sucks by itself but works pretty well with some blending.
.....Learn how to "slug" your pistol's barrel to determine groove diameter and proper sizing diameter. You MUST use soft lead for this.
.....Learn how to set proper seating depth of your boolits in YOUR gun using the barrel as a case gauge.
.....Learn how to seat, crimp, and pull a test boolit to measure for "case swage", i.e. make sure your boolits aren't getting squeezed undersized by the brass when you seat them.
.....Learn the causes of leading and how to prevent them with proper components, loading techniques, and by balancing the pressure and burn rate of the powder to the alloy.
.....Don't overcrimp your cases when using boolits in this caliber, just straighten the bellmouth out with the crimp die.
....Ask ask ask! The biggest challenge of starting from scratch is not knowing what to ask in the first place, hopefully this and the other responses will give you an idea of the areas you should familiarize yourself with for starting out.

Oh, and throw the Lee mould instructions in the trash without reading them, they will only cause you problems!

Go though this list one item at a time until you get a handle on it, and when you get your stuff and start casting you'll know just what to do and will be saved endless hours of frustration. Most of the answers can be found in Glen Fryxell's articles at the LASC site and in the book From ingot to target also available there to browse or download for free. More detailed and specific information can be found on this site, just browse around, read the Classics and Stickies section, and experiment with the search function.

Good luck!

Gear

45pro
01-24-2012, 05:36 PM
Thanks, i'm trying to learn all i can. Is there an alternative to a casting thermometer? Holy **** those things are expensive! I was expecting 10-15 bucks not $40-$50 dollars!

Lizard333
01-24-2012, 06:09 PM
Good choice in the 20lb pot. My first pot was the lee ten pounder and starting out you can drain the pot really quick.

Lizard333
01-24-2012, 06:11 PM
Don't fret if you can't get the thermometer right off the bat. I've been doing it more than a year and still haven't got one. Get the basics. Add on after a while. You'll be fine.

Recluse
01-24-2012, 08:22 PM
Thanks, i'm trying to learn all i can. Is there an alternative to a casting thermometer? Holy **** those things are expensive! I was expecting 10-15 bucks not $40-$50 dollars!

They're expensive if you buy one that says "Lyman" or "RCBS" on the front.

Check out surplus sales. I have a catalog somewhere--I think I paid something like $11 for the last thermometer I bought five years ago--it goes up to 1000F.

I'll see if I can find a bookmark for it.

:coffee:

geargnasher
01-24-2012, 08:36 PM
I think Tel-Tru\ makes many of the thermometers with other name brands on them. If all else fails I think Swede Nelson may still be selling them here on the site, I know they're much cheaper than a Lyman or RCBS.

While you don't HAVE to have a thermometer, I've gotten to where I recommend one to all newbie casters, especially the ones with Lee pots, because it removes one HUGE variable from the equation when learning to cast. The Lee pots won't maintain a consistent temperature as the alloy level drops, and wide swings in alloy temperature can give you big headaches while you are learning the ropes. I wish I'd have bought a thermometer 20 years ago, it really makes a big difference to me knowing first what temp the alloy needs to be (by observing slush and melt points of the alloy with the thermometer), and then being able to tweak the pot dial occasionally to keep it in the ideal range.

The magic number for alloy temperature is usually about 100 degrees hotter than the point where the last bit of grainy slush melts and the temperature begins to climb again. The "slush" or "mush" point is a phase change of the alloy where certain consituents are solid and others liquid, and it goes from a packed brown sugar consistency to a watery cream-of-wheat consistency before becoming smooth. During the phase change, the temperature will remain constant, and the instant it begins to climb you know the "full liquidus" point of the metal and that about 100 degrees hotter is your goal number while casting. For most clip-on wheel weight metal with a pinch of tin added (1% or so) the mush phase is around 570 degrees, and 675-700 is a good target for casting.

Gear

Bullwolf
01-24-2012, 09:20 PM
.45 Casting with my 2 banger Lee TL452-230-2R

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/picture.php?albumid=539&pictureid=3996

Mine is an older mold (about 1990 I think) and it drops a bit on the large side at .454

I need to size them down to .452 to be able to get loaded rounds to chamber in my 1911's.

You guns chamber dimensions could be different though, as will be your specific mold and alloy combination.

I would just expect to buy the sizer.


What is the 45/45/10 formula? link?

I also tumble lube using Recluse's 45-45-10 formula

Link to Tumble Lubing -- Made Easy & Mess-Free (or how to make 45-45-10)
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=67654


- Bullwolf

HangFireW8
01-24-2012, 10:02 PM
should i get the 1 ogive or 2 ogive? the 1 ogive has the single lube groove and the 2 ogive has a bunch of ripples and grooves?

Is the 2 cavity mold harder to operate? i dont see a third handle for opening and cutting the sprue off like in the 6 cavity mold?

Those little ripples and grooves are Tumble Lube grooves. I have the mold you're considering, it's a picky one that is hard to get all the little Tumble Lube bands to fill out.

The 2 cavity is easier to operate. As you noticed, you'll need something to open the sprue plate, a piece of broom handle will do, no need to spend real money on that item.

Actually I would recommend the 200 grain truncated cone/bevel base mold over the 230-2R or the 1R. It is easier to cast with and you'll use a bit less lead. You can still use LLA or finger lube or cake pan style lube the boolits with conventional lube.

Number of lube grooves doesn't make a bit of difference in 45ACP.

HF

Bullwolf
01-24-2012, 11:35 PM
Thanks, i'm trying to learn all i can. Is there an alternative to a casting thermometer? Holy **** those things are expensive! I was expecting 10-15 bucks not $40-$50 dollars!

I have cast boolits over a campfire, using a spoon/ladle, an electric hotplate, a fishing sinker pouring electric pot, and also using a Coleman camp stove. All previous to my ever even owning a thermometer. The boolits cast just fine once I worked out what I was doing.

A thermometer is a great tool to have, especially for consistent casting, but it is not 100% necessary nor is it a requirement. It will help lessen the learning curve a bit, and it can help keep you from overheating your alloy, or accidentally melting zinc wheel weights in when first smelting.


Is the 2 cavity mold harder to operate? i dont see a third handle for opening and cutting the sprue off like in the 6 cavity mold?

I think it is easier to heat up, and cut the sprue on a 2 cavity mold compared to a 6 cavity mold. I just open the sprue with my gloved hand, wearing a pair welding gloves.

I can hamfist my 6 cavity lee molds by holding all three handles at once causing the mold blocks to stay partially open. This is a sure recipe for rejected boolits. I can't do that with the Lee 2 cavity molds.

It can take a while to heat up a 6 cavity mold, and for some it's a slightly harder mold to learn how to start casting with. Once you get the hang of things though, it's not all that much different really. A 6 cavity mold can really knock out a big pile of boolits quickly!

I also like to lightly lubricate my warm (casting temperature) mold's sprue plate, mold alignment pins, and pivot points with a Q-tip moistened using a drop or two of Bullplate, 2-cycle oil, or some silicone dielectric grease. Be sure to keep any lube from getting in the boolit cavities.

I can open my lubed sprue a tad bit earlier, and without smearing lead across it, simply using a gloved hand. If you absolutely have to hit the mold with anything, do so softly (light taps), using a soft material like wood, and not metal. Try to never hit the mold blocks directly.

I find that it is unnecessary to beat the sprue plate open by hitting it with a blunt object. It is convenient to have a stick around to jostle the sprue bolt with, if a boolit doesn't want to drop out of the mold easily. Treat your Lee molds nicely, and they will last a lot longer than the ones that get beaten open with a hammer.

Also plan on having to clean all of the oil out of the mold cavities when you first receive the mold, before you start to cast with it. If you don't, your first casts will probably be ugly wrinkled boolits, until you clean it. There will likely already be some cutting oil in the cavities when the mold is shipped to you. Dawn dish soap, hot water, a toothbrush, brake cleaner, and carburetor cleaner all work well for removing oil from the cavities.

It's all much easier than it sounds, in some cases you don't need to over think it too much, just dive in and start casting those boolits. You can always remelt your rejects, and you learn as you go. After you get started, if you still have any problems with your technique, just ask the folks here. They will happily steer you in the right direction.


- Bullwolf

45pro
01-24-2012, 11:43 PM
Thanks guys. I think i'll look for a thermometer, just a cheaper one.

jabilli
01-25-2012, 04:43 AM
My Beretta 92 will accept cartridges without sizing, but my Glock 21 absolutely failed to feed if I didn't size the bullets. Have a look at a finished cartridge- if there's an apparent bulge, you should size. (I still size for my 92 anyway.)

Are you going to quench-cool? Big tip for that one I learned was that the bullets are prone to warp if you plop them in the waterbucket without something soft at the bottom.

Wear goggles/glasses ^^

Grandpas50AE
01-25-2012, 09:39 AM
45Pro, welcome to the sight. I'm sure by now you have been put on "information overload". The folks on this sight are so great a helping they sometimes give a newbie a little too much information, but you can always come back and re-read to absorb what you overloaded on the first reading. Apply as much of what you have been given in this thread and you will get a better start, then if you have problems you can come back and re-read or ask new questions about the specific areas you need help with. I casted for a very long time without a thermometer just by watching the "slush phase" of the melt mentioned earlier, but the thermometer is your friend for consistent casting sessions - try to find one surplus somewhere and it will be a great help.

joken
01-25-2012, 10:52 AM
Look for some of your tools on Amazon. I got that lee pot for $54 if I remember correctly.

wiljen
01-25-2012, 10:54 AM
a good set of welders gloves from the hardware store go a long way to keeping all your fingers in one piece when you are starting out too. $8 well spent.

popper
01-25-2012, 11:27 AM
You might want to get the small auberins contoller and a thermocouple instead of the regular thermometer. cost is slightly more but accuracy is better and you can measure melt and mould temp. Later you can use it for a PID controller for the Lee pot(see the stickys). I would get the regular lube groove bullets in the nose style of your choice. The 2 hole is less expensive, easier to learn with and you lose less if the one you choose isn't what you find you want. I use a small cast iron ash tray I got at academy for $3 to catch drips and pour ingots with, they fit right back into the pot for re-melting. I use it to melt lube also. I also have a large SS sauce pan for LARGE leaks. Get a cheap hot plate for melting lube, heating mould, etc (1000 w). I use leather work gloves instead of welders gloves - less $ and I'm not going to hold on to anything very hot very long. A heavy SS slotted serving spoon is about $2 at WW. Start casting with a known alloy like #2. Get the standard Lee sizer for your caliber - you can increase it's dia. for a fit to your gun and it comes with alox - get a can of JPW to make 45/45/10 which works well.

45pro
01-25-2012, 11:41 AM
a good set of welders gloves from the hardware store go a long way to keeping all your fingers in one piece when you are starting out too. $8 well spent.

I've already got a good pair of welding gloves, but thanks for the heads up anyway.

Joe216
01-25-2012, 12:14 PM
Thermometer is a must. I thought I could save some money by buying one local but it was hard to find, had to go online.

Don't go above 750F, try to stay around 700F.

Cast your wheel weights into ingots first. I didn't understand why when I first started until I realized how much faster it is to cast. A muffin pan works fine.

You'll notice when starting out your bullets will be wrinkled. Get yourself a hotplate to keep your mold hot and don't start until its warmed up or you'll notice you'll have to cast a bunch of boolits before they start to look good. Keep your pace up too and once you get a rythmn you'll have a lot less rejects.

You can do this, not rocket science. You will however run into snags along the way and that's why we are here to help.

-Joe

jlchucker
01-25-2012, 12:24 PM
Not to stir the pot...but I started out with the 6 cavity molds and am doing just fine with them..at this point I personally think the two cavity mold would be too slow for me. Just my opinion of course...:popcorn:

I didn't see anyone saying anything about what to stir the pot with. Once you've melted your alloy, there's going to be some stirring--as well as skimming--involved. It's about the only use I can find for the Lee dipper that goes for about 5 bucks or less--but it's worth having, unless you can find an old steel spoon. :p I have one 6-cavity mold, and several two-cavity. I have uses for both. Depends on how many boolits you want to make at a time, and how much time you have on your hands. Good luck.:cbpour::cbpour:

45pro
01-25-2012, 12:39 PM
How high does the thermomter need to go? is 750 enough or do i need 1000?

45pro
01-25-2012, 12:40 PM
Is there a link someone can post of a hotplate and pan of some sort in order to smelt with?

Joe216
01-25-2012, 03:14 PM
I would go with the 1000 just to be safe.

Important, I have the same bottom pour Lee pot, make sure you keep an eye on the temp. The temp drifts a lot depending on the amount of alloy and numerous other factors. Don't think you can set it and walk away. I made that mistake and my pot temp went over 1000 degerees and burnt my hand touching the thermometer, ouch!!!

You could get a hotplate locally just about anywhere, walmart, etc...

geargnasher
01-25-2012, 05:28 PM
I would recommend a 1K F thermometer, since most thermometers are only accurate in the middle of their range. Plus, one day you might want to cast pure lead for muzzle loaders or black powder cartridge guns and you'll need one that goes to at least 800.

As for a hot plate, you'll need a pretty high-powered one, but I don't know exactly what to recommend, I'm sure someone will chime in with what works for them. I do know that the $10 single-burner, open coil models are hard-pressed to do the job because they have safety cutoffs that switch off right when you need them to stay on and won't let it run "wide open" for long. You can wire around it, but you're on your own if you forget about it and burn down your house! I "smelt"' scrap lead outdoors with a propane burner, iron pot, and windbreak.

Gear

Moonman
01-25-2012, 05:41 PM
Hot Plate wise I'm looking for an OLDER SINGLE COIL at Goodwill and Other Used places. That's to get away from the new internal power cutoffs, plus they were USA MADE and of better quality.

Bullwolf
01-25-2012, 07:44 PM
I think I got my old electric hotplate at a Goodwill, or some other thrift store. Someone else on Cast Boolits had mentioned that a old skill saw blade set on top makes a nice mold resting platform.

I also use my hotplate to pre-heat my lead ingots. It helps them melt a bit faster, and keeps condensation down.

- Bullwolf

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/imagehosting/thum_187904f1112d92fd48.jpg (http://castboolits.gunloads.com/vbimghost.php?do=displayimg&imgid=3437)

HangFireW8
01-25-2012, 08:43 PM
The cheapest single burner at Walgreens or CVS works fine.

gwpercle
01-25-2012, 08:53 PM
45pro welcome to the casting fraternity
Get a sizer and size to .452 for 45 acp, not all moulds cast exactly to thier cataloged diameter. If the boolit is a tad out of round the sizer will true it up and I have never had problems with correctly sized boolits but as cast will sometimes give problems in some guns ( got a Taurus model 455 revolver, 45 acp that will not chamber loads unless sized .452 )
Get the commercial powdered flux made for boolit casting, follow the directions. You will get better boolits during casting and cut down on the crud that builds up in the pot and less impurities in the boolits. I used bullet lubricant, beeswax , candle wax etc that was popular to flux with for years , the powdered stuff works so much better, no flame up , no smoke, and no stinky smell. You do need to flux while casting , anytime you add new metal you will need to flux .
I have a deep fryer thermometer that I use - they are availible wherever out door cooking grills are sold. They go up to 750 degrees but thats as high as you need to go. They are also inexpensive . can allways upgrade later.
Real important ..... get at least two cast bullet manuals. The classics are from Lyman. I have the Cast Bullet handbook 3rd edition ( I hear they have come out with a new one ) and the RCBS Cast Bullet Manual #1. Make sure to get one that deals with cast boolits-- lots of great information on casting and reloading in the beginning chapters. Get some other loading manuals also , not as much info on casting but there will be loads for cast or swaged bullets.

Good luck, gary

45pro
01-25-2012, 09:17 PM
The cheapest single burner at Walgreens or CVS works fine.

For heating up the mold or for melting the wheel weights to cast into ingots?

I"m looking for a cheap way to melt the wheel weights to clean the metal and pour into ingots.

HangFireW8
01-25-2012, 10:32 PM
For heating up the mold or for melting the wheel weights to cast into ingots?

I"m looking for a cheap way to melt the wheel weights to clean the metal and pour into ingots.

Mold, definitely, for "smelting" WW it's just barely adequate for a small pot that has a flat bottom the same size as the burner. It would have a hard time with a large pot, or pure lead (due to the higher melting point).

However nothing beats the speed of a large pot (dutch oven) and a propane burner. I bought a turkey fryer on sale and removed the safety timer (only once it became really, really safe and stopped working, even with a fresh battery).

HF

Bullwolf
01-25-2012, 10:41 PM
Wheel weights will melt at a relatively low temperature.

I have melted wheel weight lead using the kitchen stove in days gone by, but it's quite messy, really smokey, and very hazardous to do such a thing in the same place where you prepare food. If you are not single, expect to get a well deserved chewing out for doing this indoors, and she WILL eventually find out.

For smaller operations, you can get started using something as simple as a Coleman gas stove, or a propane camp stove, and an old cast iron frying pan, or pot. Both work just fine. I don't think I would try melting wheel weights using my little electric hotplate unless I was doing an extremely small amount of them.

A lot of folks here like to use the bigger, hotter, propane turkey fryer set up when they really get into casting, and they want to process a lot more lead.


- Bullwolf

Bullet Caster
01-26-2012, 01:30 AM
I've found that a hot plate is not necessary to heat up your mould. I set my mould close to the flames on my Coleman stove and as soon as everything melts, I start casting. Of course I cull the first 4 or 5 castings back to the pot. By this time the mould has heated up enough and it usually starts dropping good boolits. Then I keep up a good rhythm and the boolits start mounting up really quick. I only use 2 cavity Lee moulds. BC

shadowcaster
03-05-2012, 04:09 PM
The further you get into this, you will find that you are either making or buying more equipment, some of which can be done very cheaply. It took a little while but I out grew my dutch oven set up and built a custom bottom pour smelter. I also built a large vent with inline fan so I can smelt/cast in my shop. Take a look at this thread: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=146065&highlight=lead It's an activity I really enjoy.

Shad