View Full Version : Going to start casting, what do I need?
09-14-2005, 03:14 AM
I am going to start casting bullets. My cousin is a mechanic at a car dealership and is getting wheel weights for free. As of now I want to cast for 454 casull and a contender 10" 357 herret. I am looking at gas check molds for both. Here are my questions.
1) Should I just get a star sizer from the get go, seems to me that a lot of people in these forums think it is the best. I would rather pay a little more for the best than to second guess myself down the road. Does the star seat gas checks well. Seems to me that I read a review somewhere that someone was having problems seating gas checks with a star.
2) What are your opinions on lubes to use. I was thinking of using a hard lube with a heater. Are there any negatives to using a hard lube.
3) What are your opinions on the Lee pots. Is bottom pour a better option than to ladle or what are the benefits of both.
4) How many cavity molds should one get. My brother has done a small bit of casting and he says that the 6 cavities are harder to pour for, is this true.
5) Is an electric pot necessary to maintain a consistent temp. The reason I ask is that I work in a structural steel shop and have access to a lot of scrap steel. I am pretty sure that I could build a pot to process the wheel weights as well as figure something out to make a bottom pour pot for casting. I would probably use a propane turkey fryer for the burner.
I realize that I am just getting opinions and they may all be different but I will definitely appreciate the help. Thanks
09-14-2005, 05:05 AM
WOW! You're well on the way. To cast you need a heat source, something in which to hold the lead, something to pour the lead, and something to pour into. Break each of those down into the appropriate category and you can make some decisions.
I've not used a bottom pour pot, so I can't comment. I've cast 500+ grain mold, a 6 hole 200 gr. mold, and lots of 1 and 2 hole molds and only used the Lyman ladel. I just got a Rowell ladel, but haven't broken it out yet.
The size of your pot, assuming ladel pouring, is controlled by the weight capacity of your heat source. Lead gets heavy fast. A 1qt cooking pot will easily hold 20 lbs. Keep this relationship in mind if your build your equipment.
My advice is to plan on ladeling, at least at the beginning, build what you can, and put your money into very good to excellent molds.
09-14-2005, 10:00 AM
For pistol bullets I avoid gaschecks like the plague, however.....my goal with pistol ammo is to create a large amount of reasonably accurate ammo for the lowest cost, 1200fps is not a handicap in most keith type ctg.
If I buy a casull I will probably not use gascheck bullets in it for MOST purposes. I have not yet seated gas checks with my Star sizer, if I found it to not work so well I would make the few short-condom bullets I needed with a Lee push thru. The Star will lube size a LOT of bullets in an hour, push/pull sizing is very slow comapred to this, BUT it is proper for some bullets, and it is less costly to buy the equip.
Buying another kind of lubesizer is fine, I would suggest not buying one, then later changing your mind and having a box full of sizer dies already.
I think buying a good electric pot would probably make the startup smoother, you could then work on a gas fired one with a thermostat and gas valve, all that good stuff, and share the design with ME :-)
We do have a group buy going on for a 275 grain .454 dia bullet that would be good for 454 casull use within the limits of a plain base bullet.
I can find cheaper guys than me here...but it is just hard to put all that work into 3k-5k of pistol bullets and then have to go BUY gaschecks for them :-)....myself I'd rather have some good plain based loads and use either jacketed bullets or a few gas checked ones for special purposes.
just my .02
09-14-2005, 02:59 PM
All I have used is a bottom pour pot( 35yrs-still going strong). For the 454, the group buy might be the way to go, you don't HAVE to fill all six holes to start, otherwise 2 cavity min. but a 4 cavity would be better. Leverguns go through alot of bullets. That way you can get some experience first before going to a 6 hole if you feel the need. For your Herret, something along the way of the rcbs 35-200 would work well if you need a gas check bullet, otherwise, something along the same design without a gas check would be good (to about 15-1600fps). You might get by with the Lee tumble lube and not sizing the bullets, otherwise maybe get the lee push through size die using the tumble lube. Goes fairly fast. If a lubrisizer is used, the regular 50/50 alox/beeswax would probably work fine(used it for many years). Using the turkey fryer/built pot would be good for melting the WW and poring into ingots.
09-14-2005, 07:34 PM
1) I have never used a star sizer. My Lyman 450 is almost 20 years old and works like new. It depends on how much you plan on shooting....Hundreds of boolits a week, get the star. less, you will do fine with a lyman or RCBS. Lots of guys here use the push through sizers, I bought the lyman and love it. Its a personal thing.
2) screw the hard lubes. Like the post above, use 50/50, its fine or I use 50/50 with carnuba wax in it. Its less sticky, looks nice and works for ALL my loads. See LAR45 for more info. He also has 50/50.
3) Lee pots leak, but work OK. I started with a ladel and a cast iron pot on a coleman stove. Worked great. NOW I use a RCBS bottom pour. Tonight I poured 410 311291 (30 cal 180 gr) in 40 minutes with a 2 cavity mold. For me its a no brainer. If you got the bucks, get a good electric pot. 20 lb is far better than a 10 lb because you can top it up and not wait for the melt to warm back up.
4) I would start with a 2 cavity, but 6 cavity molds are nice. I can pour a bunch with a 2 cavity. Get ONE,try it, get hooked then you will just keep buying molds. see the group buy section. I have one, 2 on order and am honchoing one. Its addictive.
5) see my answer to 3.
If you can, try this stuff out. Use a freinds bottom pour, use a ladle and see which one you like. Some swear by a bottom pour (like me) some swear AT them.
I have 2 30 caliber guns and 6 or 7 30 cal molds. One is 6 cavity, another 6 cavity on order, and one more soon. go figure.
When i was shooting bowiling pins with the 45 auto, I used a 6 cavity tumble lube mold. Pour em, lube em and shoot em. for groups or competition, I use a lyman 4 cavity 200 swc.
I shoot a lot because I can. My friend came over tonight and loaded 23 J boolits for his '06. I loaded 100 cast. I'll shoot them before the weekend is over and load em up again.
I read what the other guys said, but I would go for gas check molds for both. I load 44 magnums like 44 magnums. If I want to shoot a lighter load, I shoot my 45 colt or 45 auto with out gas checks. Don't worry, once you buy one mold, you will want another one. watch the group buy section. I got sucked in 4 times so far.
09-14-2005, 08:51 PM
I could (and often am) be wrong, but I am under the impression that Contenders do not like cast bullets because of too much freebore.
Maybe some of the more experienced shooters could share their knowledge of cast bullets in a .357H.
09-17-2005, 09:33 AM
I traded off my 357 herret (14) several years ago, to friend who loved it more than I liked it. He wanted it for hunting, and it worked well for both of us. I shot every lead bullet I could find from 140 to 200 gr. The best I could find was the RCBS 35-200. Iused it for big bore sillouette, until the 7tcu came along, and my friend used it on coyotes and deer, with the same bullet. He never recovered a slug from any game he shot, just a straight 35 caliber hole all the way through. AS for contenders not liking lead, I' m glad I didnt know that, as I have 11 barrels and shoot nothing but lead out of 10 of them. I just never tried it in my 222 , I also havent shot it in the last 10 years ( the 222 ) as I can't figure out what it is good for. D.M.
09-17-2005, 01:26 PM
D.Mack----I've not shot Contenders,but in .222 rifles,the 58 grain RCBS cast is accurate and very good on jackrabbits.
09-18-2005, 01:17 AM
carpetman. I looked for a good 222 rifle for a couple of years, and finally bought a 223. My problem with the 222 T/C is muzzle blast, I tried it on coyotes, and wild dogs, but I couldn't stand the muzzle blast, it hurt, and walking around the fields with earmuffs on wasn't an option. I have a chamber convertion that alows me to shoot 22 lr or 22 mag in the 222 barrel, but it really isn't worth the trouble, so I just put the 222 on the shelf , and shoot 22 lr or a 22 mag if that what I think I need. I also have a number of other usless calibers that I do enjoy, like the 256 win mag , and 32-20 that work well and dont hurt to shoot in the field without ear muffs. I also have a 22 hornet barrel, that I like, even though it's on older one with a 1 in 16 twist, so it wont stabilize a bullet over 50 grains, without severe muzzle blast, so I use a 46 grain lead bullet at a little slower speed and am happy with the accuracy and noise. As for T/C's not liking cast because of freebore, I don't know. I do know some T/C barrels are mass produced to chamber and shoot anything of a given caliber, the 22lr. are only marginaly accurate, so if accuacy is important, you need to order a match chamber, but, for the rest of the barrels, if you reload, you can move the bullet out or in as far you need to to make it shoot, since Over all length is not a concern. In my 357 mag. my bullets are long enough that they not chamber or cycle in any thing else I own, but thats O.K. they shoot great. D.M.
09-18-2005, 06:47 AM
D.Mack, I'm curious as to why you didn't download your .222 if the muzzle blast was obnoxious to you. Using IMR 4227 or 2400 or any of several other powders with cast bullet data, you can eliminate the most of the muzzle blast and recoil and improve the accuracy a lot versus using chamber inserts. And if you don't have/can't find, lead bullets, you can substitute jacketed bullets. I get great accuracy doing this. Perfectly safe at cast bullet pressures.
09-18-2005, 06:58 AM
D.Mack--I didnt realize a .222 in a Contender was blasty. I figured it would be very tame in comparison to the others you have. I was shooting the 58 grain cast (.22 cal) in a situation where blast was a big factor--from inside a pickup. All jacketed were too blasty.
09-18-2005, 09:40 AM
O.K. now you've done it, when I put this thing away, (222 T/C 10 in. ) I only cast for 357 and 44, now I cast for a few more. Also that was when a real man didn't down load, and I had never heard of poly. I do have a 46 gr. mold for my hornet, so I can see where my afternoon is going. My wife will thank you for getting me out of the house and her hair. I dont know what the twist on the 222 is, yet, but it has to be faster than my 1 in 16 hornet barrel, so maybe a new mold is in my future. D.M.
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