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Thread: Longtime reloader needs help getting started casting bullets

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the Link and info

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy
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    What you know as an old plumber I have rolls of that stuff along with several hundred Lbs of Lead Flashing

  3. #23
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hey maybe a stupid question but you can cast Bullets out of solid brass or solid Copper, I retired from plumbing and have hundreds of lbs of Brass and copper and sheet lead

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Start with a Star sizer and quality molds like your RCBS, before spending money on cheap molds and a sizer that uses dif. dies than the Star, and is not near as effective.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    Folks start with a Lee pot looking to upgrade to something better. That upgrade would be an RCBS or Lyman or Magma Engineering pot. The Star lubesizer is the upgrade with ease of use and speed on it's side. I'd start out casting for the 45acp. You'll need to learn how to maintain heat in the mold and it's far easier with a large diameter, heavy weight mold like a 230gr RN mold for the 45acp. It will feed in just about any 1911 you stick it in. Should work in the 45colt too.

    Most of our tools are not up to casting brass or copper.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master CASTER OF LEAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsizemore View Post
    Folks start with a Lee pot looking to upgrade to something better. That upgrade would be an RCBS or Lyman or Magma Engineering pot. The Star lubesizer is the upgrade with ease of use and speed on it's side. I'd start out casting for the 45acp. You'll need to learn how to maintain heat in the mold and it's far easier with a large diameter, heavy weight mold like a 230gr RN mold for the 45acp. It will feed in just about any 1911 you stick it in. Should work in the 45colt too.

    Most of our tools are not up to casting brass or copper.
    For your 45ACP need may I recommend the Lee 230gr. Truncated cone mold. My SR1911 LOVES THAT BOOLIT. Feeds great, hits hard , and never has it once jammed, or not gone into battery. Just my .02- CASTER
    In regards to shooting safety.Until you are ready to fire, keep your booger hook off the bang switch.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master kens's Avatar
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    I'm tired of chasing brass with the auto pistols.
    I mostly just load for revolvers now

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
    HeavyMetal's Avatar
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    Gunners Mate:

    The Star sizer is about 4 times faster to use than any other lube sizer on the market Period!!

    Do not be fooled into using Lee's liquid aloe or any of the assorted copies of same, most threads complaining about leading usually end up admitting this is what there using, yes I know I'll get some get some flack for the statement but after 40 year of casting I think I can handle it.

    If you buy a Star get some of Lars new Carnauba Blue as it does not require a heater to use, unless you live north of Montana!

    I like this stuff and it works well.

    starting out I'll also suggest the Lee 20 pound pot, molds are a different story and are a very personnel choice when buying.

    I recently bought an old group by mold made by Lee the BD 45, if you can find one buy it! Fir those who read this I am looking for a second one please PM me if you got a decent one you wish to part with.

    Enough with the Hi Jack, there are great mold makers out there, RCBS makes some of the best I've used however Two cavities are hard on my nerves, LOL!

    Look at Lee's copy of the H&G 68 six cavity mold, a pair of these will empty a 20 pound pot in minutes and yield a big pile of boolits! I'll also suggest you search for Lee-menting said molds it does make a difference.

    the rest is experience but loading 45 ACP or 38 Special is the best way to get started and build that experience. I will also suggest you get collected articles by both Ken Waters and Dean Grinnell, both writer's have gone to the Big Range in the Sky but have left many articles telling of there deeds in casting for many many calibers.

    good luck!

    HM

  9. #29
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunners Mate View Post
    Is the Star sizer better or have more going for it than say a Lyman or RCBS
    It won't do a better job of sizing but it's much easier and faster to use. I have a Star and a Lyman. The Star pushes through and the boolits drop out the bottom. Since the boolit goes through nose first you don't need special nose punches. You just drop a boolit in, push the lever down and repeat, turning the lube feed every 10-20 boolits. There's a spring in the lube feed to maintain pressure on the lube. They're much faster than the Lyman or RCBS.

    The Lyman and RCBS size base first, possibly making them better choices for gas checked boolits. I only use the Lyman for gas checks so that may skew my opinion of using the Star. Others have seated gas checks with a Star successfully. A mold specific punch is needed for each different boolit design. You set the boolit in place, cycle the handle, turning the lube feed screw at he bottom of the stroke, raise the handle, remove the boolit and repeat.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  10. #30
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunners Mate View Post
    Hey maybe a stupid question but you can cast Bullets out of solid brass or solid Copper, I retired from plumbing and have hundreds of lbs of Brass and copper and sheet lead
    Commercial copper and brass bullets are machined. The temperature to melt them is very high compared to lead alloys. The molds are not designed to take the heat or cut such hard sprues.

    Dead soft lead is good for muzzle loaders but too soft for center fire boolits. You can add tin and antimony, Linotype or other alloys to make pure lead into a useful blend.

    IMO the .38 Special, .45 Colt and .45 ACP are the easiest cartridges for which to cast and load lead boolits. A good 200 grain SWC or the Lyman 452374 feed well in most .45 autos. The 452374 is almost exactly the same profile as John Browning's original design. The revolvers will shoot most anything that's correctly sized.
    Last edited by David2011; 10-12-2017 at 09:33 PM.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    If you have hundreds of pounds of scrap copper and brass can sell it and fund part of the casting equipment.

    Dave

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thank you all for the quick replies HST that was a lot of info

  13. #33
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    45acp, 38. 40 is easy but needs some harder alloy - Sb. Selecting rifle moulds is trickier. Lee mould & pot to learn on.
    Whatever!

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy
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    Keep it simple at first. Pick a caliber,choose a proven boolit mould,cast with wheel weights and air cool.If you don't have a lubesizer simply tumble lube with alox or BLL which you can find in the archives on this site. Slug your barrel or throat depending on the firearm you are using and buy a lee push through sizing die to give you 2 thousands over your bore or throat dimensions. Coat your raw boolits with lube,let dry,size with push through die and coat one more time. load and shoot at modest velocity 1000 to 1300 and check your results.

  15. #35
    Think the best bang for your buck will be to start out casting for 45acp. Basics would be - Lee 20 pound pot (bottom pour is my preference for speed and casting volume), Thermometer, Lee Six Cavity mold ( I have had very good luck with 200gr SWC mold), Lee push through sizing die in .452. With this setup you can easily cast thousands of bullets. I average about 700 bullets per hour once full pot is melted and up to temp. Strongly recommend you wear proper protective equipment - leather welding gloves and face shield, cotton clothes, also leather apron is worn by some. Go slow and get into a rhythm and before you know it you will have a pile of bullets. I prefer powder coating bullets rather than using a star sizer/luber or alox. Powder coating benefits are that you can use a slightly softer alloy, very cheap to get set up, no gumming up your reloading dies, powder coated bullets feed nicely through my mrbullet feeder for high volume reloading on Dillon 650, no leading of your barrel and quick clean up. There is a huge abundance of information on this site.

    Also 45acp is a low pressure load and powder coated bullets made from 50/50 COWW and range scrap sweetened with a little tin have performed well for me.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by ridenclimb; 10-13-2017 at 02:41 PM.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    I was wondering when someone was going to mention coating boolits. I use Hi-Tek, but either that or PC is worth considering. I, and my fellow clubmates, were using lubes, coming as we did from Blackpowder, but once we got into coating we've never looked back!

  17. #37
    Boolit Master

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    I won't get into suggesting brands of equipment but here are a few generic suggestions. You can spend as much or as little as you want on equipment. I suggest starting with a 20# pot. Larger bullets and/or gang molds will empty a smaller pot pretty quick and you will spend a lot of time waiting on a 10# pot to melt. In any caliber that you will shoot a lot of, consider a 4 or more cavity mold. I also suggest starting with something such as 38/357, 44 or 45 before moving to your rifles. Most consider the straight wall pistol cartridges easier to load and cast. Next up, start looking for a source of lead. Your flashing is going to be soft and will need something added to it. You can blend it with wheelweights or printers lead. If you choose to powder coat you can get by with softer lead, otherwise you will need something with tin and antimony. Good Luck and Welcome to the addition.

  18. #38
    I have been casting and shooting lead bullets for nearly 60 years and agree with starting with the handguns. All of the above pretty much covers it except for these two rules that can't be ignored if success is to be expected.

    Cast bullets in revolvers need to be a sliding fit in the chamber mouths.

    Cast bullets in auto pistols and rifles need to fit the throats not the bores.


    Reason for pointing this out is, if the cast bullets in either case are too small, then leading and inaccuracy will be the result. And you won't be very happy. So the solution is to find molds that cast a bit oversize so that one can size them down to the correct diameter for the application. Most production molds are a **** shoot as far as diameter goes.

    That's why I use mostly molds from NOE because the diameters of the bullets are listed for all the caliber molds. And I have found that historically my as cast dimensions are on or a little oversize. So then I can size to fit. No wasted money for an unusable mold. And NOE is cheaper that a custom mold. Kinda semi custom. Simply put, I know what I'm getting before I spend my money.

    And I am not campaigning for NOE. Just relating what I have found that works for me.

    Welcome to the affliction
    Last edited by R. Dupraz; 10-14-2017 at 01:24 PM.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    Don't be scared to get a Lee pot. It took fifteen years for my 20 lb. bottom pour to start to leak, an I fixed that fairly easily. My Lee 10 pound bottom pour is older, and still hasn't had a problem.

    As stated before, the 9 mm and 38 / 357 can be sized to .358, no problems there. The .45's to .452 will handle anything. I like the Lee dies as once you get a cadence going the bullets will fall out like rain, and the six cavity molds wll drain your pot quickly. I have molds from RCBS for .45 Colt, .44 mag and a few others, but for hunting the Lee 310 gr mold is very accurate from my SRH. Believe it or not my two rifle molds are a single cavity Lee and a Ranchdog double cavity that I use in my 30-30 and 30/06 ai.
    Tom
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  20. #40
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hey thanks guys

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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