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Thread: I need to do my homework

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    I need to do my homework

    I haven't ever cast bullets before but I'm planning to get started and get whatever stuff I need for the calibers I shoot.
    I need to know where to start. Could anyone fill me in on that, please.
    I shoot revolvers in .41 mag and .357 And I also have a .30/30 contender.
    I'm somewhat experienced in reloading already and I have been buying lead bullets for a while
    I'd like to cast for all of them , mainly for shooting at the range or other practice / plinking.
    Being a resident of Calif, we are limited to lead free bullets for hunting, and I'd probably end up using jacketed HP bullets for hunting out of state, although using cast for hunting wouldn't be out of the question.
    I think I'd be looking for gas-check for the .30 cal and .41, as the lead bullets that I've purchaced and tried out in those calibers seem to be the source of barrel leading.
    One question that I have is, can gas - check bullets be fired without the gas check in place and still remain fairly accurate?
    My reason for casting is to keep cost down when I want to go to the range but I like to fire a few hard drivin' loads during each session just so I won't forget how it feels and to ring the gong at 200 yd.
    So maybe a 125 gr mold for my .357
    A 185 gr mold for the .41
    And a 150 gr mold for the .30/30
    Thanks in advance for all help.
    Looking forward to replies.
    I'm open to any suggestions
    Last edited by Bee-Kay; 08-27-2017 at 04:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Perma - Banned



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    Get the Lyman Cast Bullet Manual.
    Read through this:
    http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

  3. #3
    Boolit Master pjames32's Avatar
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    +1 on the Lyman Cast bullet manual. Read it cover to cover. Ask around at the range and gun shops to try find someone who casts bullets. It's not rocket science, but a mentor would help. Read everything you can find. The "sticky's" on this forum will keep you busy for awhile, but will teach you a lot. Also use the search feature on this forum. Good luck!
    NRA Benefactor Member

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    Good deal
    Thanks guys
    There's a lot of stuff there, but it's interesting enough that it won't put me to sleep.
    As the title of the thread says - I have some homework to do.
    I have plenty of bullets around to last a while while I'm reading and figuring out which casting equipment to get.

    As long as we're here I might as well mention; I need to get a new re-loading manual.The one I have was printed in the '80s. Any suggestions on a good one?
    The one I have is the Sierra by Bob Milek mostly. He covers pretty much just jacketed bullets in that edition.
    Last edited by Bee-Kay; 08-27-2017 at 07:41 PM.

  5. #5
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    I would get
    Lyman 50th
    Modern Reloading by Richard Lee

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Lyman Cast Bullet Manual, Lyman 50th both have more cast boolit data than any other source.

    If you are just getting into thinking about it, consider that you will need a dedicated space. This is not equipment that is easily put away after you are done. You need a lead source - or source of alloy. You need some way to melt the alloy - this is a lot of heat you are handling, your space needs to accommodate it. You will need storage space, for the alloy and for the boolits you have not yet loaded. These are basic to the hobby, not optional.
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I didn't find much of any difference between the Lyman 49 and 50, was actually a bit disappointed in #50. But would go with one or the other, along with the Lyman Cat bullet Handbook.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    I can't help much with the rules and regs that you have to deal with in California. But I would recommend starting with one of the pistols. Either the 357 or 41 would be fine. Its hard to beat one to the Keith designs, both for shooting and casting. RCBS makes an affordable mold that is easy to cast with. You will need a source of lead. You can buy good affordable lead here in the swapping and selling section. You will need a casting pot and a way to size your bullets. You can spend as much or as little as you want on this. For casting pots, I recommend one of the bottom pour pots. The RCBS is a favorite and is a good solid pot. For sizing, you have several choices, or you could go the powder coat route.

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    One thing I've been finding out by reading posts by other shooters is that it's a myth that cast bullets are for low velocity loads only. I'm seeing that plenty of guys are casting bullets that are good for +2000 fps. That's good news to me.
    The cast bullets I've been buying seem to be pretty hard, but still I'm getting leading when I load my .41 mag with 10gr of Unique. It sounds like if I do it right I ought to be able to avoid that issue.
    It sounds like 4227 is a preferred powder among boolit shooters I can't remember if it's IMR 4227 or H 4227 or are they both good for lead?
    I'm looking forward to checking out the books and finding out.
    I have about 150 lb of lead that I scored when I had a part time job at a metal recycling yard. I think that it's lead ingots that were intended for fishing weights.
    At some point I'll have to figure out how pure those ingots are, if I am to pursue this properly.
    We'll see what the books say. But if anyone has any suggestions for testing lead for purity, I'm listening.
    Last edited by Bee-Kay; 08-28-2017 at 02:03 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master CASTER OF LEAD's Avatar
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    First off welcome to the forum. As for you question on gas checks. I have shot all of my pistols with GC boolit designs without checks . I don't see a whole lot of accuracy loss shooting a GC design without a check. I have shot them this way with both traditional lubes ,and powder coated. Made no difference in the accuracy dept. Longer ranges it may have an effect ,but i am shooting 50 yds. and under usually.(pistol)
    All the manuals listed above are excellent for your load data for cast. also if i may recommend reading "From ingot to boolit" article it is a great source for the beginning caster.
    The bought commercial boolits that you have been shooting,that leave lead is most likely 1 of 2 issues,or a combination of both of the following: 1.) boolit fitment to the firearm. 2.) commercial lube to hard to do its job properly. most likely its a fit issue.
    As for getting started into this wonderful hobby. It was mentioned earlier, about dedicated space, storage, etc. . Absolutely true. If ya think you have all the space you need,and still have some available, make your work space and storage bigger than you think you need.Ask me how i know this? lol
    I shoot the Lee 358 158 SWC gc (usually unchecked), Lee 358 125 RNF, out of my 4" Taurus with excellent accuracy out to 50 yards.
    Rifles is a whole different animal. As for my experience? I have and do shoot them at 2000+ from my.222 without checks,Both traditional lube and Powder coated with some good success. YMMV
    Above all else READ,READ,READ. there is a vast wealth of knowledge & reference material in here. Use it and by all means ask questions. Be safe and enjoy the journey into and through your casting Journey. - CASTER
    In regards to shooting safety.Until you are ready to fire, keep your booger hook off the bang switch.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    There is a member here, BNE, that will test a sample of your lead at the cost of a pound of lead per test. There is also a method of testing hardness using a set of artist pencils. While hardness does not necessarily tell you the alloy, its usually good enough for what we do.

    The leading that you are seeing with your commercial cast bullets may be a sizing problem. We have learned that proper fit in the bore is more important than hardness. Your pistol bullets need to be a little harder than pure, but most commercial bullets are harder than necessary.

  12. #12
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Bee-Kay,
    welcome to the forum.

    The Lyman cast bullet handbook 4th Ed. is also a reloading manual with cast bullet data... that didn't seem to be clarified in the above posts. For me, that book has been the best source of info (besides this website) for boolit casting and reloading cast boolits.

    Regarding your 41 Mag lead fouling issue.
    a hard undersized cast bullet is probably the number one cause of Lead fouling. Most commercial Lead bullets are cast with a hard alloy, as they are more forgiving to reload...they generally also use a hard lube, which is good for handling and shipping, but almost always poor when it comes to shooting, and can add to the problem of lead fouling.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Good stuff - thank you
    I'll get the books and read up, then begin fresh posts to cover other topics.
    It's good to be here

  14. #14
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    For casting, depends on how much you are willing to spend, vs time.

    I cast for years with just a lyman ladle, a 7" cast iron fry pan, a Saeco lead ingot mold.
    And a few various odds and ends found at the second hand store. My favorite pot skimmer is a silver fork believe it or not. A medium sized spoon is handy at times.

    You could pretty much do it all for a 100$ bill, or spend thousands. And forget saving money, you won't. You will spend every dime you save just like the rest of us on new molds, new tools, new toys to feed the hobby. And that is just A-OK. You will shoot a lot more, enjoy it more.

    Bullet fit is king. Always fix that first, then look at all the other variables, one at a time.

    If it keyholes, it ain't big enough. If it leads, it might not be big enough, it might be lube not doing the job, or pushing it too hard, or it might be bullet it getting squeezed down in the loading process.

    Lee double cavity molds are a great place to start.
    Once you have cast a few thousand you may want to step up to better. Or maybe just to a Lee 6 cavity.

    Steady as she goes, you'll get there.

  15. #15
    Read, read and read again. Be prepared to be constantly learning. Casting, (like reloading in general) is like peeling an onion, always another layer. I've only been casting 3 years and constantly learn on here and at the casting bench. I see guys with 50+ yeasrs experience log on and say "wow, I never knew that!" It's part of what keeps it engaging for me beyond the cost savings. You get to a certain level and experience something that you have seen 100 times but suddenly you understand the cause and effect. Then you get to another level and it happens again. You can get acceptable results pretty quickly but you will be learning and refining the craft for a long long time. Welcome to the addiction!

    Kraken Fan #69

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    2400 will work in all of them, the new Lee molds work well .buy basics find your lead use lead free solder for tin and go to it ,ain't as complicated as it sounds or I couldn't do it!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Get good PPE...personal protective equipment

    Welders gloves
    An apron is good
    ALWAYS wear eye protection....a face mask is better
    Long sleeve shirt and jeans..no synthetic fabrics
    Have a fire extinguisher handy
    Use a sturdy bench....lead is heavy.
    Do not cast in a cramped location...you want to be able to get away fast if/when something bad happens

    You WILL get burned. It is only a matter of time.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  18. #18
    Boolit Man
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    Lots of good information here. On You Tube check out Bullet Casting 101 by Iraqveteran 8888. Like some of the other guys here I started with really basic equipment and now can't afford to save any more money reloading ammunition. My Lyman four cavity mold and RCBS Pro-Melt can't keep up with the Dillon 650's appetite for boolits. A Magma Master Caster and Star Lubricizer are too much for my budget.

    When loading for a new caliber I usually buy a Lee two cavity mold and hand lube without sizing to see what kind of accuracy I am going to get. If I get acceptable accuracy I havn't spent a lot of money on expensive molds and sizing dies. You can start fairly cheap and add on as your interest developes. Good luck.

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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