View Full Version : I want to cast; Ain't got a clue what to buy

02-20-2006, 01:57 AM
Casting my own bullets for the guns that I already handload for, would be another way for me to enjoy hunting/shooting.

The question is, I don't know what equipment to buy. I can certainly fumble my way through the ingot-making process. It seems that I would benefit from the pots that sit a little higher. I will probably use wheel-weights only. I would be pouring for .44 magnum first, for a Taurus Raging Bull and Marlin lever-action.

Now, I'm hoping one mould will provide me with a bullet giving me good accuracy and still poke a hole clean-through some big-ole-hogs. Who's handles and moulds can take-a-lickin'? Does a sizer/lube press actually perform both tasks? Does the same die that sizes the bullet also lube it or, is another die needed for lubing the bullet?

Is there a book that explains the whole process? The only book I found at Amazon was $125.00 USED! Would someone please post a list of the typical equipment I would need.

02-20-2006, 02:08 AM
Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook has most of the answers. Get a copy (not much money) and read it thru at least twice. Then you'll be in a better position to ask for some help (you'll be more apt to know WHAT to ask).

A really good, but inexpensive "smelter" is a fish cooker from Bass Pro (about $55.00 with an 8 quart dutch oven). You can use your barbecue propane cylinder to fuel it. You'll also need some ingot moulds. Some make do with a flea market steel muffin pan.

Then a Lee 20-4 Electric pot with a Lee mould of your choice and you should be "good to go" at minimum cost.

Buy your Lee stuff at F&M Reloading, Midway, or MidSouth for best price(do a google search).

Good luck!

02-20-2006, 03:58 AM
Well looks like we got another shooter well on the road to ruination. Welcome aboard. Like Dale said, get the lyman handbook and start from there. Lee makes decent stuff to start with and really doesn't cost that much. But then the addiction starts in. More molds, sizer dies, lubes, gas checks, and last but not least more toys to shoot all those pretty boolits you've labored so long to make. Oh yeah, watch out for the sheep and cats. Frank

02-20-2006, 04:52 AM
..............If you're gonna start casting, you also need to get a 30-30, a 45-70 and a 45 Colt.

There! Does THAT help 8)?

To start you need something to render down wild WW's youve captured into tame ingots. This equals big cast iron pot (check thrift stores) and a high BTU output heat source. As was mentioned, Turkey fryer or at minimum a Coleman gasoline campe stove.

You do NOT want to do WW's au natural in your casting pot.

Casting pot. Best bang for the buck is the Lee 20# with 4" clearance.

Moulds: Lee cheapest which is good 'cause ya might ruin one learning how to use it. I ruined several. Get'em cyphered out and they're great, especially the 6 cavity jobs. Next up is Lyman then the plateau for commonly avail moulds are RCBS and Saeco. From there you go to the lesser known and custom makers.

You'll need fluxing material and an old candle is good to start or you might stick with it. I use the stuff.

Gloves. Cheap leather palmed is good. Safety glasses depending upon how safety conscience you are. I wear glasses as it is so forgo them.

A couple shallow wide containers. One for the sprues and one for the freshly foundered phoom phodder.

A place to do it. Build a 16x 24 ft shop. You can expand later as you grow in the hobby. Be sure it has cooling and heat. Couch, reefer, workbench, radio, bathroom and is well lit. Shower is nice too. Intercomm to the house is good so you can talk to the wife on birthdays and such.

Lube: With no lube-sizer press, get some Lee Liquid Alox or some Rooster Jacket. Simple, easy, messy and a kind of a PITA, but simple and easy :-)

Get those calibers I mentioned above. After a couple more months you should also get a couple more cast freindly cartridges like the 35 Rem, 30-40 Krag, 30-06, and a 38 Special (optional 357 Mag).

Marry your daughter off to the guy who owns the busiest tire shop in town.

That's about it I think.


02-20-2006, 09:57 AM
Bigoledude-----one questioned that you posed was is the sizer/luber the same die? Yes. Many here forego sizing and use liquid alox---I cannot address that as when I started back in the 60's I did get A Lyman luber/sizer. I later found a steal on an RCBS and gave the Lyman to a son in law. As others have said----get a Lyman book. My own preference of things is get the Lee bottom pour furnace and most everything else I spend the extra and get RCBS.

02-20-2006, 10:59 AM
In addition to the excellent Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook (make sure you get the latest one), RCBS put one out a few years back that is also good. And the NRA Cast Bullet booklet by E.H. Harrison is great. Going even further back, probably library looking time, is Elmer Keith's, "Sixguns" and Phil Sharpe's, "Complete Guide to Reloading", both of which have great chapters on casting. Quantrill

02-20-2006, 12:54 PM
Bigoledude, I can add little to Buckshot's list. When choosing a mould for the pair of .44s you mentioned, not all .44 rifles will feed the 250 gr. Keith-type boolits loaded into full-length .44 Magnum cases. I have the RCBS version of that mould and have to shorten cases slightly to get them to feed in my 1894 Marlin. OTOH, the RCBS 240GC feeds slick because of its shorter nose. So pick your mould with not too long a nose. If you are going after big hogs, you might want maximum velocity, so there's another good reason for a gas check mould. Welcome to our addiction, which is NOT immoral, illegal, or fattening.

02-20-2006, 02:56 PM

Join, click on “files”.

The old board

02-20-2006, 03:09 PM
Welcome to our addiction, which is NOT immoral, illegal, or fattening.

Dang, I knew there was something wrong with it. Oh well, it's a helluva lot of fun anyway....

02-20-2006, 03:42 PM
"Intercomm to the house is good so you can talk to the wife on birthdays and such."

Hey you can save money for moulds by taking your cell phone out to the shop :-)

It would be great if you can find an old crusty caster in you area to help. Some of the really old guys have old fashioned ideas that are wrong, but talk nice and polite and they might pass down extra equipment or lead.

My maternal grand dad was a caster, and handed down a bunch of stuff to me once I took an interest. His boolits were crap, but I melted them down and made good ones. Some of the tools and moulds are nearly collectibles anymore, and I think of him often while casting.

02-20-2006, 07:12 PM
Bigoledude ... Some of them old guys will also teach you a few things that have been forgotten in time. A lot of guys cast bullets and you should be able to find one by asking around at your local range or club. It is definately not a scientific undertaking and you can achieve good results easily enough and then go on from there. In other words ...... Welcome to the nut house.

02-20-2006, 10:01 PM
The Lee second edition reloading manual has a lot of cast loads and other information, Lyman's cast bullet handbook is nice, but a lot is out of date and it is very heavy on fast pistol powders.
If you are really interested, join the Cast Bullet Assn., they have a web site where you can down load an application, new members get, if they haven't run out yet, a 100pg book that is worth twice the annual dues of $17 and 6 issues of a magazine, "The Fouling Shot", that is written and edited by the members, not paid hacks.
I have been casting since '55 and learned more in 1 day reading the CBA book, than I had picked up in the previous 47 years.
Have fun, Don

02-20-2006, 10:51 PM
OK, one last question. I'm kinda thinking that by sizing I will get more uniform boolits and therefore better accuracy. Do I need to buy another press or do I use a special die in one of my single-stage presses? Or, do I hafta buy a special press that's used for lubing/sizing only.

02-20-2006, 10:54 PM
You can use Lee push through sizing dies in your single stage. Whether sizing improves accuracy is sometimes a subject of debate.

02-20-2006, 10:59 PM
You can use the Lee push through sizing dies, which fit in any standard reloading press. The die comes with the required punch and a bottle of their liquid Alox. A lot of us are using it, even though we started with the more traditional lubrisizers.

Sizing is not required, depending on the boolit. You need to know the throat and/or barrel diameters before you can make that decision. Some are of the opinion that the less a cast boolit is manipulated, the better it shoots.

02-21-2006, 12:59 AM
Bigoledude ... Some of them old guys will also teach you a few things that have been forgotten in time. A lot of guys cast bullets and you should be able to find one by asking around at your local range or club. It is definately not a scientific undertaking and you can achieve good results easily enough and then go on from there. In other words ...... Welcome to the nut house.

I beg to differ. If you are going to shoot cast bullets, with best results, it IS a science!

02-21-2006, 01:34 AM
In other words ...... Welcome to the nut house.
Heeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy,,,thats supposed to be a compliment,,RIGHT?
[smilie=l: :lovebooli

02-23-2006, 06:54 PM
I think casting bullets has caused me to scratch my head so much that the hair has gone away. Its not scientific .... its more of an exercise in perseverance. I do think good results can be had by beginners. Todays molds have better tolerances and most of the electric lead pots heat better than they did 35 years ago when I started. I can't say much for the Lee push through sizing dies except that I threw away the 2 I bought. I went back to my 35 year old Lyman 450 and haven't had a second thought about it. Some people swear by the Lee sizers. Thats why Lee is still in business. I dip poured for a lot of years before going to a bottom pour. I currently size 9 different calibers. Casting is definately a learning process but we shouldn't make it seem scientific to folks that have a desire to get started in casting. It isn't that difficult.