View Full Version : Advice please - New to the trade
05-04-2006, 04:06 PM
I've just recently ordered my first mold (Ranch Dog's 44 Cal 265 grain) and have purchased a Lee Production Pot (the 10 lb variety with 4 inches underneath). Also have a set of handles for the 6-cavity mold. This will be my initial mold to learn with. I'm probably going to get one of the 357 molds now in the group buy too.
I've been reading here for a couple of months and would appreicate a short list of other materials I need to aquire to cast (just for myself). I'll be casting for 357 magnum, 444 Marlin, 44 magnum, and 30-30. I have access to wheel-weights locally. I don't want to spend more than I need, but would appreciate suggestions on equipment that will make the process go reasonably smooth.
Thanks in advance to all.
Lenny - Sacramento
05-04-2006, 05:14 PM
You can improvise on most of the things you need.
A good cast iron pot at least 2 qt. to melt the wheel weights in. You don't want to use the same pot as your good clean lead.
Something to tap open the mould spew like a piece of an old broom handel. I use a small plastic headed hammer.
Saftey glasses and good gloves.
Have some tools ready. The last thing you want to fix a minor problem once your mould is hot is to be searching for screwdrivers or pliers.
A small can to put you scopped out slagg in.
A old towel or something soft to drop your bullets onto to cool.
A bucket for water if you want to water quench bullets.
maybe some tin soider to add to your lead. Sometimes it helps to add tin.
I'm sure I missed a few but someone else will add it I'm sure!
05-04-2006, 05:36 PM
Here's a link to the one I did, with pics. I've been very pleased with the performance and the controllability:
Welcome to the board, BTW.
05-04-2006, 08:31 PM
...........LET-CA, I'll add my dos centavos also.
From the beginning, assuming you have a couple 5 gallon buckets of wild wheel weights, valve stems, cigarette butts, and other misc junk:
1) Smelting setup. Cast iron/steel pot of decent size and a suitable heat source. This can be a Coleman stove, turkey fryer deal etc. Needs to make lots of BTU's.
2) Ingot moulds. Lyman, Lee, Saeco make them. They can get expensive if you'd like to have 5-10 of'em. Muffin pans (steel), cast iron cornbread moulds, mini loaf pans, home welded up angle iron, or similar paraphenalia.
3) Casting pot. You have it. If it's not a bottom pour, you'll need a Lyman or RCBS ladle to pour lead into the mould.
4) Misc casting odds and ends. Flux, use candle wax or similar. Fluxing spoon, a regular stainless steel tablespoon works. A longer handled one like a soda spoon would be great. A drip catcher, 'cause your pot WILL have the occasional drip. A tuna or catfood can works. Something for sprues to fall in, and likewise freshly cast boolits. A sprueplate knocker (if required for the mould or alloy) which can be a hardwood hammer handle.
5) Glove. I wear a glove on my right hand. Good for picking up hot things, pinching blocks back together, swinging spruepaltes closed, etc, & etc.
6) Lube, lube-sizing.
A: Tumble Lube. Very quick and easy to use. Very useable for most rifle or pistol loads, except possibly upper moderate to hot. Alloy plays a part here too. Lee Push Through size dies work great with this, as they size but do not apply lube.
B: Stick lube: Usually requires a lube-sizer press. Sizes and applies lube. More expensive then the above but fully compliments the entire cast booit operation. Sizes boolits (if required) and applies lube under pressure to the boolit's lube grooves. Allows you to use a multitude of lube types.
C) Lube-sizer. Run a search here, checking in turn, Lyman, RCBS, Saeco, Star.
05-05-2006, 09:28 AM
Good information from all. I went to Dave (Georgia) and read his articles - good stuff! I stopped at two shops on the way in this morning and have my wheel-weights lined up (not many boolit casters in Sacramento - big surprise). I'm leaning towards an old cast iron cornbread kind of pan for my ingots. I'm going to be producing relatively small quantities compared to most. - I looked at the photo at Ranch Dog's web site of the back of his pickup full of ingots - I'd never use that much in a lifetime. I just wish there was someone local to laugh at me and point out my mistakes the first few times I try this. A little on-site mentoring is always a good thing when starting a new activity. I'll probably bug everyone here with silly questions and pictures of ugly blobs of 44 magnum hailstones.
05-06-2006, 11:02 PM
hurry up and start buggin. this site is what caused me to take the plunge. i like the mini-muffin pans.i use a lee 10#bottom pour and they fit in the pot better and melt quicker. ive also set a row of soda cans upside down and filled the cavity those are small but they get an empty pot going pretty quick.
05-06-2006, 11:37 PM
[QUOTE=LET-CA] I looked at the photo at Ranch Dog's web site of the back of his pickup full of ingots - I'd never use that much in a lifetime. QUOTE]
You may not , but if you can get them cheap or free you should get all you can. You never know when the supply may dry up or you decide you want to cast in greater quantity.
At the moment I have around 1200 pounds of ingots and 400-500 more pounds of wheelweights. And I wouldn't mind getting another 1000-1500 pounds of WW's.
05-07-2006, 05:25 AM
One thing I think we forgot to mention that'll be of great help to you both smelting and casting is a good quality thermometer. With the wheel weights, there are beginning to appear quite a few zinc wheel weights. If you get your smelting operation hot enough, you can melt them into your alloy. These ruins the casting properties of your allow and is fairly difficult to get out.
However, if you have a thermometer and a manual regulator, you can keep your melt temperature between 650 and 750 degrees F. In this temperature range, the zinc, which melts at a higher temperature, won't melt and will instead float to the top (Be sure and flux/stir a lot to get the stuff good and clean.) and you can scoop it out with the metal clips and dross.
You can get a good thermometer reasonably priced from antimonyman.com .
BTW, the cleaner your smelted ingots are out of your smelting pot, the better they'll work when they go in the casting pot.
Also, be sure and read BruceB's and Goatlips articles on this site or that they've linked to. Both very good, extremely informative, useful articles for a new caster to read.
Along with the above, try and find a local caster in your area, if possible and spend a smelting and casting session with him. I was fortunate in that rbstern from this board invited me over to try his setup. This moved me miles ahead of where I was.
05-07-2006, 07:53 AM
I'm a newbie too, for the most part. I began to believe that casting was possible after talking to a guy who did it himself in his garage. You're ahead of the game already by reading this board. I didn't come across this until a few months into my casting. I still learn something nearly every day I read it.
I began very inexpensively and added equipment as I figured I needed it. I still don't have much invested in the hobby (yet).
When I started, I put my wheel weights right into my Lee Production Pot. Very time consuming and dirty, but it worked. I then bought an old aluminum pot to smelt in on a turkey fryer and used that once, dipping lead and pouring ingots with a soup ladle I got at the 2nd hand store. I've since learned that aluminum is too dangerous to smelt in, so I've got my father-in-law modifying a cast-iron dutch oven to bottom-pour for me (I get that next weekend!) I tell you all this because I wanted to say that it is possible to begin without a smelting set-up. To clean your production pot, use a high-phosphate soap (like Liquid Tide), some water, and a toothbrush and you'll be able to clean your production pot right up when you get your smelter set up.
I have two spoons from the 2nd-hand store. One, I drilled a bunch of holes in to allow molten lead to pass through while still picking up WW clips, or trash in the skim. The other I really don't use too often. My 'Whacker' is a section of 2x4 that I cut a notch out of each side to make a handle, then wrapped that with tape.
Finally, I decided that I wanted to be able to size and lube my boolits, so I bought a Lyman Lubrisizer and I love that thing. I'll be adding a thermometer to my smelting operation soon.
Let us know how you do on your first cast! I bet you'll wind up with about 4 hailstones before you start churning out beauties.
05-14-2006, 06:28 PM
I started casting after I started handloading. I started handloading because I suddenly had a new situation in which I could shoot all I wanted, and didn't want to pay for commercial ammo. Then I started casting because I didn't want to pay for bullets. Then Huntington's in Oroville saw what I was doing, and they called me up and asked me if I could cast 3,000 of these for them, and I was suddenly in business. For the next three years I did all their bulk and special order casting, but certainly not with a lee 10 lb. pot and ladle.
I ended up with a Magma Bullet master MKV, and a lubemaster with MA systems bullet collator. I did do a lot of hand casting for Freddy Huntington, and they still have a lot of my work in stock there. Its the stuff they sell on their web site.
Now I've moved to Ranger Texas, and I'm having to start all over. Freddy doesn't want to pay shipping and word is he's trying to find someone to do it all on the cheap.
PGB Superior Cast Bullets
05-14-2006, 08:11 PM
LET-CA.....first off, welcome to the board. Plenty of room for newcomers and there are lots of experienced hands here........but of all the advice I could potentially give you, do not think that you will never use that much lead in a lifetime.....as you find the joy of controlling your own boolit supply you will find you need to have more.....and more......and more lead just to keep up with the new calibers you will be casting for.......this hobby of ours is an addiction worse than narcotics, thank god it is still legal.........good luck and happy casting!:drinks:
Four Fingers of Death
05-14-2006, 08:31 PM
You are going to love it here, we are all busy going broke saving money casting!
One little thing that I find is handy on the casting bench is a long parfait spoon (not the plactic ones at McCafe'). These are great for picking little spots of debri, etc off the melt. keep an eye out for one at op shops, or stel one of Momma's (at your own peril).
Another thing to get a hold of is a bit of sacking. Most vege places have these, but they are going out of vogue, most stuff is bulk packed now. They are handy catching boolits, etc. They won't be around much longer.
05-15-2006, 12:53 AM
[QUOTE=4fingermick]You are going to love it here, we are all busy going broke saving money casting![QUOTE]
................And there you have it folks. Very succinctly stated it is too. It may take several years, but trust me the day will come. You'll be sitting there thinking about how nice it would be to have lube-sizer presses with a .310" die, a .358" die, a .430" and a .452" die in place all ready to go.
Then you might get like a friend of mine and Deputy Al's (Glen) who has an even dozen of'em bolted to a shelf along the backside of his reloading area.
01-24-2013, 12:57 PM
Amy where are you?
Four Fingers of Death
01-24-2013, 02:29 PM
Wow! Talk about a dormant thread. Click on Amy's username and a box will appear allowing you to send a personal message/ email.
01-28-2013, 11:48 AM
For the last 20 years or so I have found the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook a good source of information. Check out the Los Angeles Silouette Club web site. There is an good article by Glen Fryxell entitled From Ingot to Target:A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners.
They asked the old guy what he was doing for his retirement. He said "I am doing nothing and getting dam..d good at it."
Le Loup Solitaire
01-28-2013, 01:47 PM
Another item that you might consider having on the casting bench is a pair of channel lock pliers; useful for turning over ingot molds when lead is solidified, picking up and moving hot ingots out of the way and adding ingots to the pot, or picking up sprues that have irregular shapes and are usually hot enough to burn you or be felt thru ordinary gloves. LLS
Four Fingers of Death
01-28-2013, 02:42 PM
Another item that you might consider having on the casting bench is a pair of channel lock pliers
Good idea. We call them 'Multi Grips' in Australia.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.1 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.