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Thread: Bullet casting equipment worth it or not?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Bullet casting equipment worth it or not?

    Years ago I purchased the Ballisti-cast Mark IV on a group buy. The guys actually delivered it in person and set it up. I have been told by some that purchasing the equipment was a waste of money and that I could have simply purchased plated bullets instead and I would probably have a life time supply. Working the pencil figuring the calibers the wife and I shoot has me thinking that I could have purchased about 15K bullets for the basic price of the machine. Trying to justify the purchase I compared it to filling a itrous bottle as opposed to having a supercharger on the car. Sure I could fill the nitrous bottle cost back about 15+ years was $30. The supercharger package I had put on the car back in 2000 was around 9K. Anyway, when the bottle is empty you re-fill it and your good for a while and sooner of later the $30 fills and the cost of the bottle and controls equals the cost of the supercharger. When you reach the break even point the supercharger keeps on giving and so does the bullet caster. If I had purchased 15K worth of bullets the money was gone and I would have nothing to show for it. This year alone I probably went thru 3K worth of 9mm and 40 cal bullets along with a lot of cast 9mm bullets and some cast 40's.

    Sure, its work to cast and size even with the Star and Magma sizers and the Ballisti-cast bullet caster but when the store shelves were empty I had thousands of rounds of 9mm and 40cal and other assorted calibers in my storage rack.

    So, is it really worth it?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    My answer to your question is, Yes it is worth it. Although I don't have a casting machine like yours, I do have some large H & G molds 8, 6 & 4 cavity molds. and they make piles of bullets
    in short order. A ProMelt isn't cheap but it was worth what I paid for it and I got it second hand and add a digital controller and it is good to go.

    I know guys that reload and shoot thousands of bullets a year and never cast a single one. They find a bullet that works for them and as you say buy them by the thousands.
    There were several years where they were worried about finding that bullet either because they were in short supply or they were being snatched up by hoarders. But us crazy casters keep on casting and have plenty for us.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


    frkelly74's Avatar
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    Also , the machinery retains some value and your heirs may be able to recoup some of the cost some day. Not that it will do you any good but there is that to consider. But then there is the problem that they might consider it junk that is in the way and just put it by the curb for the scrappers, which would be a waste, (which would perhaps serve them right for not paying attention when you tried to explain it to them). Appoint a good executor to protect your investment. AND It is worth something when you can bang away with your 9mm for a third the cost of some 22 ammo if you can find any.
    Last edited by frkelly74; 09-20-2017 at 08:58 AM.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    If casting was not cost effective, I would not do it. I find it difficult to hand cast for long sessions so I purchased a Master Caster this year. Not as fast as your machine but good enough for my needs.

    When I was working, I would buy bullets in lots of 10k. One time I bought 50k. It does not take long to recoup the investment if someone shoots a lot. But I had little time to cast and could afford to purchase bullets....plus I do not really enjoy casting. With retirement, income is way down, but I have more time....casting makes sense for me.

    For someone shooting a couple of thousand bullets a year, buying bullets is probably the way to go.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    The acquired skills and self reliance make it worth it to me.
    I'm still on a bottom pour with 6 cavity molds but I can almost keep up with my shooting.

    'Monkey
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebMonkey View Post
    The acquired skills and self reliance make it worth it to me.
    I'm still on a bottom pour with 6 cavity molds but I can almost keep up with my shooting.

    'Monkey
    I agree...for me it's always been about self reliance and developing new varied skills. I enjoy casting, as much more is involved than mere melting of the Pb...

    What my kids do with my equipment when I leave this rock doesn't concern me in the least...you see, they think they are a lot smarter than old Pop is anyway.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master


    mold maker's Avatar
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    If casting and reloading weren't a cheap way to lots of enjoyment and recreation, there are a bunch of us who have wasted our time and talents, for many years. In my case its over 50 years and many thousands of dollars. If I had never aquired that first handgun, just think of the time and money I'd have wasted on other stuff.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    I cast because I enjoy it and I like the satisfaction that I get from converting dirty nasty lead into nice bullets. At one time my equipment was paid for but not anymore. Between buying H&G molds, a Star sizer, a hot plate, a PID and a bunch of other stuff to make bullets faster, I'll probably still be in the red when they throw dirt on my face. But it's a relaxing fun hobby and it's cheaper than a race car or an airplane!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    I have way more casting and reloading stuff than I need but I can afford it and I want it so it is worth it to me. End of story.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    I started casting to load a rifle that nobody made ammo for - and now I have about four or five of them. This is the only way I could shoot them. Also makes common ammo way cheaper.
    Wayne the Shrink

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

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    Here's my take .
    No investment in tools will ever be a loss .
    Any tool that increases volume per time without a loss of quality per quantity is a gain every time you use it .
    Unless a tool is worn to the point of failing structure it is still worth at least half it's lowest retail value or more . If it's been used up to that point odds are good that you've got your money back several times over .

    The last box of commercial cast I bought was $35 for 500 45 cal 200 gr RN and 500 38 cal 158 SWC plated at $56 .
    The range scrap , misc WW , tamper seals and other lead has an average bucket to barrel cost of 35¢/lb for my time gas and electric .
    Average mould cost of say $70 . Average bullet poured 250 gr . Thats 28 per lb .
    The first 1000 bullets cost 82.50 and the second 1000 cost $12.50 .
    The mould and lead for 2000 bullets is about the same price as 1000 commercial cast/plated bullets . And the 2nd 1000 cost half of 100 jacketed .
    So you have 10 machine moulds at $1000 and $5000 machine . $12.50/1000 vs $90/1000 is a savings of $77.50/1000 , let's call it $50 because of wear , service , etc . At 30,000 bullets , just 5,000 ea in 6 different bullets the machine and moulds are paid for , everything after that bullet is the amortized cost of new moulds .
    What do you run in it ?
    A 9mm
    A 38
    A 357
    A 40
    2-3 45s

    Kids , neices , nephews , grands a couple of buddies a few weekend fun shoots or a season of competition and it pays off Quick , fast and in a hurry .

    Sell it and the moulds on your 95th birthday for $3500 and I'd say it was money very well spent .
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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm learning from lightman, and I'm casting because I want to. If saving money was the issue i probably wouldn't bother. Im also a hillbilly, i like being self reliant. I don't want somebody else's stuff i want to learn how to do it myself.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I started casting 2000 - 2003, when the Australian gun laws changed, i had 2-3k .45 projectiles that i couldn't use, so why not turn them into 9mm?

    I started with a lee melting pot and 6 bangers, i then got my hands on a used master caster. With the cost of cast lead over here, i think my math worked out that after 30-50,000 projectiles i was at the break even point vs what i would have paid for commercial projectiles. I'm way ahead of that now, so to me, it is worth every penny.

    I'm currently in the process of building my own casting machine based on the magma bullet master, the hope is to not put too much money into it, so hopefully it will be worth it and pay its self off with time savings vs the master caster.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    Worth it in more ways than one. I use a simple bottom pour and have a dozen molds. I get the urge to work on my shooting stuff fairly regularly. When the weather is nice I shoot a lot-- so casting helps we save money. When the weather is bad I have casting as a hobby to be productive. I cast virtually nothing in the spring/summer/early fall, and enjoy many sessions in the cold weather casting to build up a stock for the following spring and summer.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I always thought it was worth it. My son however thinks I should have spent the money on pre-made plated bullets. I currently cast for 9mm, 38/357, 40 cal, 44mag, 45acp, and 45LC. I currently have 9K in 9mm 124gr rn bullets sitting on my reloading bench alone. I seem to cast what I want to shoot and have a stock of. For some twisted reason I seem to enjoy making bullets sizing and lubing them. Its something I've done myself and there is a sense of pride in it for me to shoot a good group and then think to myself I made those bullets tweaked a load and managed a good score.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master MOA's Avatar
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    Yup. Its worth it to me for all the right reasons.
    Economical, self reliance, can shoot when I want to because I always have the components I need, and it keeps me off the streets and out of my better halfs hair.

  17. #17
    Boolit Man
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    absoulutely!!! that my story and I'm stickin to it. Ive only just started to cast reloaded off and on 35plus years, 1 it has enabled me so far to meet a great bunch of people right here,
    2 the info here is plentiful and willing
    3 it allows me to shoot more and at a reasonable cost
    4 its environmentally safe (gets rid of all those nasty wheel weights and helps lower disposal fees for tire shops)
    5 its a good way to pass time scrounging, refineing,reconfigureing lead to some thing usefull
    6 its going to get rid of some of my savings so there'll be nothing for my inheritors to fight over and nothing for govt to tax

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    hahaha love number 6

  19. #19
    Boolit Master




    Bzcraig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    I always thought it was worth it. My son however thinks I should have spent the money on pre-made plated bullets. I currently cast for 9mm, 38/357, 40 cal, 44mag, 45acp, and 45LC. I currently have 9K in 9mm 124gr rn bullets sitting on my reloading bench alone. I seem to cast what I want to shoot and have a stock of. For some twisted reason I seem to enjoy making bullets sizing and lubing them. Its something I've done myself and there is a sense of pride in it for me to shoot a good group and then think to myself I made those bullets tweaked a load and managed a good score.
    It is absolutely subjective as your son points out. You made the decision that was right for you and time has shown it to be a wise one for your circumstances. Like you I really enjoy the process and the satisfaction of having done it myself. Ultimately, it comes down to will you use it long/often enough for it to pay for itself, if you look at it purely from an investment perspective.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6bg6ga View Post
    I always thought it was worth it. My son however thinks I should have spent the money on pre-made plated bullets. [...]
    A bit of an odd perspective on his part, I'm thinking? Won't he have the option to get the equipment for free at some point ?

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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