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Thread: To new members and lurkers...

  1. #1
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    To new members and lurkers...

    Been thinking about doing this for a little while and finally just decided to go ahead and do it. Let me start by saying that I am not disparaging what others do as there are MANY knowledgeable people here that know more about casting bullets and shooting, than I will ever know. However, especially of late, I have noticed that there are getting to be more members that get off into the minutia of specialty casting...when they are posting to threads started by you new members that are really just trying to get your feet wet and have a little bit of success with what you would like to be, your new found hobby. For whatever reason, they seem to want to baffle you new guys with a lot of unnecessary steps or procedures by telling you that it must be done this way or that way, or it will not be right...simply because that it the way they choose to do it. There are a lot of folks on this forum that either don't know better or that never give any thought to how many of the things they do, can be done differently and not have negative effects on bullet performance. So, this is my attempt at encouraging you new casters by a very simple demonstration that shows success at making a great performing bullet is not dependent on these unnecessary ways of doing things, especially as it pertains to rendering usable alloy and powder coating. This is a real life example that...KISS...Keep it Simple Stupid...DOES work.

    So, to do this, I cast and powder coated the bullets that I used, with only very basic equipment that is available for very little cost to anyone. I used a Lee 4-20 pot, an OLD and MUCH USED Lyman 429421 mold from way back in the day, a coolwhip bowl,Harbor Freight powder and a toaster oven that I literally got out of a dumpster behind my workplace.

    Now, I used some old alloy rendered from UNSORTED wheelweights and other lead smatterings from I don't remember WHAT year, "back in the day", that is to say that I have no idea of the specific hardness or composition. All this means is that there was no special effort made to get any kind of exact mix for this project, but it will still work, just fine. These bullets were tumbled coated in a coolwhip bowl,dumped (not set individually on their base with hemostats) onto a nonstick foil covered pan and cooked for about 15mins at or around 400 degrees. Even though these bullets were dumped and not set on their bases, it will have NO effect on there performance...the only difference in them as compared to those set on their bases, will be purely cosmetic. After cooling, they were sized using a cheap Lee push thru die. Then they were loaded into the case...with each powder charge weighed individually...I do it this way on hunting loads to verify consistency, but is always a safe way of charging cases.

    After the ammo was ready, I took it out to the bench and fired 10rds...and 10rds only. The first 5rd went in the paper plate target at 40 odd yds,the next 2 rounds were fired at 100yds at 2 45/8" diameter CD-R computer discs. The final 3 rounds were shot over the chronograph to check for velocity.

    The shooting yielded a 5 shot group of .860" (1.29" widest diameter minus .430" bore= .860"), 2 CD-R discs busted and 3 shoots over the chrono showed an average of 1260fps.

    I fired the ammo from an old Thompson/Center Contender 14" 44mag with an old Simmons scope...I am not a great marksman by any stretch, so I don't really shoot my hunting handguns much for groups at long distances. I mostly shoot targets with them out to my max range of 100yds. My requirement for myself is that I have to be able to put EVERY shot on either one of these discs that I have a ton of or on a 5" clay at distances out to 100yds...with any of the handguns that I hunt with...and, nowadays, that is generally this old Contender in one of several calibers. Let me add, the scope was set to this load prior to this shooting session...as this has long been a favorite 44mag hunting load...10grs of Unique.

    My point with this is to show potential new casters that they can easily have pretty quick success if they are willing to just give this a try. And, then, after getting a base of experience...they can get as specific or specialized as they want and probably enjoy this hobby, even more...it will just be up to them as to how technical they want to get.

    To summarize...this ain't rocket science...but it is easy be intimidated by all of the lingo and advanced caster jargon that is thrown around and posted to threads. However, starting is not difficult, if I can do it, anyone can... and it is not necessary to complicate it, to get good results. After you have produced and shot some bullets that WILL perform to your expectations, you can begin to delve into the more advanced parts of this.

    Equipment used to make the bullets (except for Lee pot)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Paper plate target and CD-R discs like were splattered at 100yds
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Old Contender used (barrel was an acquisition from forum member)the rest of it is OLD. I have owned it 30yrs and it was used when I bought it. But, this old gun and these easy, low tech bullets have proven to be a deadly combination.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by shoot-n-lead; 03-15-2017 at 10:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Thank you for the post , that is what makes this a great hobby . You can cast as little as you need , or as much as you want . Everybody has a different use weather it's a few balls , a shot maker , hand gun practice ammo , or hunting ammo , just recently I noticed this swaggring stuff . I am in awe constantly .

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Very nice post. I haven't tried the powder coating yet but have given it thought. I need to try it though. Good shooting.

  4. #4
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    I have several time suggested that we be very specific in describing the platform we are using when talking about our process. Casting and shooting a low pressure round is very different than casting and shooting a high pressure round. Read some of the stickies on the problems casting for the 9mm, for casting and shooting above around 1800fps, and that is where special procedures come into play.

    As long as one is casting for low pressure rounds and satisfied to keep it under about 1800fps it is relatively straight forward - I wouldn't describe anything dealing with 750+ degree molten metal simple!
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    Sometimes you get lucky???

    But good post none the less. IF YOU WANT SIMPLE, start with a larger caliber (over .38) and lower pressure round. They are the most forgiving. If you start with either, small calibers and/or high velocity, luck is your mistress....or be prepared to work hard at it.

    Not much different than reloading really. Not that difficult to reload decent hunting ammo. But try for sub MOA 10 shoot groups and things change.

    But the OP is correct...Good enough is good enough.

  6. #6
    Size after PC? Just loaded 100 rds of .38 spcl that were sized THEN PC.
    Oh well I'm in the KISS camp too. Probably no big deal.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Governor View Post
    Size after PC? Just loaded 100 rds of .38 spcl that were sized THEN PC.
    Oh well I'm in the KISS camp too. Probably no big deal.
    I only size one time...that is after PC..works fine, for me.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Sometimes you get lucky???

    But good post none the less. IF YOU WANT SIMPLE, start with a larger caliber (over .38) and lower pressure round. They are the most forgiving. If you start with either, small calibers and/or high velocity, luck is your mistress....or be prepared to work hard at it.


    Not much different than reloading really. Not that difficult to reload decent hunting ammo. But try for sub MOA 10 shoot groups and things change.

    But the OP is correct...Good enough is good enough.
    No, dverna...the process that I posted for beginners, has no LUCK involved...if you have been casting very long at all, you know that this simple process will work for anyone...and is a very easy and positive step into the more specific pursuits in casting.

    No disagreement here about there being technical aspects for some of what we might choose to do...but the point of this is to encourage people to get started and show that success can be easily attained for a lot of cartridges...I said that they could get as specific as they wanted to...after getting some experience. And, just a note...there is no difficulty in casting and loading for most straightwall handgun cartridges...9mm is probably the biggest problem child, in there...but, the .32's and .38's and .357's are certainly no problem to cast and load very accurate ammo for.
    Last edited by shoot-n-lead; 09-19-2016 at 02:53 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoot-n-lead View Post
    I only size one time...that is after PC..works fine, for me.
    Me too unless the bullet has a gas check, then the bullet gets sized when the gas check goes on. Then again after the baked on PC since that PC would add a bit to the diameter and I am inspecting the end results anyway.

    You can go a long way with a bit of basic knowledge and knowing the safety guidelines for this hobby. I often suggest buy some lead in S&S so you don't spend too much and get known good casting material. Removes that and smelting as a barrier or speed bump. Limited investment in equipment is all that is required, as knowledge grows one can invest more or purchase to solve/address specific issues.

    I personally can't thank enough the folks that share their knowledge and experience but I do get what the OP means. Hard sometimes to find a simple explanation that just helps a new person down the road. Have noticed too that there can be a tendency for long standing debates between members or in the community to get dropped into threads that are really just someone asking a basic question.

    If the OP wants to know if the Lee $20 2 cav mold for .38 SWC works ok for their revolver and what follows is a bunch of post on the whole Lee vs "quality" molds debate that is less than helpful. Doesn't really answer their question either. Suggestions on why they might find the price of handles and a Lee 6 cavity or handles and some other mold worth the cost might be useful IF folks can toss the idea out there without getting so invested in "their" suggestion that it turns into a grudge match. Lot of folks getting started like to spend big money and get top quality equipment, others don't have or may not want to sink the money into a new hobby.

    OP has a good thought, try and put yourself in the shoes of the person asking a question. Then try and provide a bit of information or help that fits them, which may not be exactly how you would do it for yourself at your current state of experience, knowledge, or equipment. Simple answer with link to more information is also useful. E.G "try adding a touch more of that tin solder and hotter melt. Here is a link to an online article on casting alloys and temperatures"
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  10. #10
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    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...t-works-for-me

    If I could point the newby to a single source on this site, this ^^post would be it.
    There is a range of expertise, some of which is outstanding, some of which is a bit too self righteous and self important for the actual skill and level of knowledge of the writers.
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  11. #11
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    Shootnlead this reminds me of casting what we had an going out and killing deer. as i developed my casting i started harding with alloy but they did not kill anymore effectively. thank you for a great post to remind folks cast shoot and have fun. leave perfection for those who think they must have it.

  12. #12
    It's so cool, man!
    https://cloodjo.com/
    Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for giving us newbies some gentle words of encouragement!!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...t-works-for-me

    If I could point the newby to a single source on this site, this ^^post would be it.
    There is a range of expertise, some of which is outstanding, some of which is a bit too self righteous and self important for the actual skill and level of knowledge of the writers.
    That is a great post. But how much has changed since the advent of powder coating?

    Until I noticed the growing popularity of PC, I had zero interest in casting. There are many who refer to it as the "game changer" in bullet casting, and I'll admit I'm drinking the heck outa that Koolaid.

    My hope is that it can completely eliminate the need for gas checks in the calibers I'm interested in casting (9mm, 40 S&W, 38/357, 300 BLK and 30 Carbine), because that's one step and expense I want to completely avoid.

  15. #15
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    powder coating is something different.
    it's not a jacket and not a lube.
    it acts more like a tumble lube, and they both still rely on fitment.
    I just got a [very expensive] point form die to try a concept I have about how good P/C is or isn't.
    it's still going to rely on old school fitment but with a protective coating.
    I guess we will see [eventually]

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    noticed this thread and find that I could not agree more on keeping it simple. my alloy is all random scrap lead. I used to use a regular lube/sizer that now sits and gathers dust. I have done both powder coat and Hi-Tek coating. Cheap toaster oven that I verified the temp on.

    I also use the cheap Lee push through sizers but am looking at NOE for their bushing ones. In any case... Powder coat is a bit more difficult for me than HT coat. For several reasons. One.. the powder will often not get anything like a nice even coat from shaking before baking. The other is bullets sticking together often having to be snapped apart by hand pretty aggressively... cosmetics are not a factor. Another thing is that powder coat adds diameter more than HT does by quite a bit... this will often make coated bullets a bit hard to size.

    Some colors work better than others and some powders work better/easier than others. for me at least.. the finer the powder the better it sticks to the bullet in the shake portion of shake and bake. A problem with adding diameter is also that sometimes the full caliber portion of the bullet that is above the crimp groove will be large enough now that the bullet will not chamber easily... this is kinda rare.

    Hi-Tek.. it is pretty easy with an easy learning curve and while it seems more complicated and time consuming it is not. You are adding two thin coats and baking each one for 10 minutes. the actual effort is small but there is a lot of waiting around unless you have a few batches going at once. The coating is more even and adds little if any to the dia of the bullet and if the bullet was not way oversize to begin with it will size easily. I agree that pretty is not all that important but find it much easier to make 'pretty' bullets with the HT process.. it really is difficult to not get perfect coverage.

    I am pretty much in the HT camp these days but I would suggest anyone starting out try both methods. The oven costs the same and can be used for either... powder for powder coating can be extremely cheap and not really a factor. HT powder is more expensive but goes a very long way.. basically almost nothing for thousands of bullets... HT does require you have acetone to mix. There may be a health issue there for some.. I also use acetone for Ed's Red bore cleaner tho so always have it around.

    Lastly... casting bullets can be inexpensive and fun. lee molds with handles are still around $20 for 2 cavity.. I Lee bottom pour furnace is maybe $70 and then the individual size dies powder acetone etc... Still for a couple of bullet styles and calibers a person can be set up pretty well for an initial investment of less than $200 It is fun to coat the bullets also. The coated bullets are also cleaner to handle and don't crud up your dies... the coated bullets shoot WAY cleaner and the guns clean up WAY easier. You can mix colors.. play around.. it is fun to mix some colors and watch em change during baking.

    That is my 2 cents on the topic anyway.

    lazs

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check