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Thread: New To Casting - First Trial Run

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Cool New To Casting - First Trial Run

    Hey Guys,
    I just wanted to introduce myself to the forum. I am brand new to casting bullets and reloading. Before starting reloading, I decided to learn how to cast quality bullets that I could later use to develop some loads with.

    I purchased a small Lee smelter, 9mm 125 grain mold, and 80 lbs of lead to practice on. There were lots of helpful YouTube videos and advice on forums like this.

    At first my bullets came out very wrinkly, but after a few hours of experimentation and reading on the forums I started to produce better and more consistent bullets. They aren't perfect, but they seem "shootable". At first I had a rejection rate of something like 9 in 10. Later it seemed to be more like 1 in 10 or 1 in 20. It seemed after I cast about 500 bullets (in a 6 bullet mold) that the rounds started to come out better. Perhaps the mold was continuing to season and remove oil/grease? I also tried to work faster to keep the mold hot which seemed to help.

    The small smelter that I had does not have a bottom pour, so everything was hand poured from the top. I am wondering if that introduces more contaminants to the bullets because the metal being poured from the bottom is protected from oxidation? It still seemed to give decent results, however.

    I am looking forward to further experimentation and fine tuning.

    Here are some pictures of my first few casts. My next steps will be powder coating and resizing them.

    I'd be curious what you all think about the ones with some smaller wrinkles and if they are "shootable" or if they need to go back in the pot?
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Welcome to Cast Boolits and you did good .

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    jcren's Avatar
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    looks good. Chute 'em. Wrinkling is most always due to the lead "freezing" as it is poured into a cold mold, so pre-heat the mold and speed up and don't take time to cull/admire while casting. Minor imperfections won't cause any noticeable difference. Ladle casting is fine, many top black powder cartridge guys prefer it as it tends to produce lower weight variations. Just have to flux and stir more often to keep the oxidation down.
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    Those look nice.

    Some of the u toobs vids basically say, you'll need to keep casting to get them to your perfect state. Keep casting and each time improve upon your skill.

    The sawdust fluxing method is interesting, just not sure that's a good way for using ladle pot.

    Is it pure lead, or did you buy an alloy, or mix?

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cast_Kid View Post
    Those look nice.

    Some of the u toobs vids basically say, you'll need to keep casting to get them to your perfect state. Keep casting and each time improve upon your skill.

    The sawdust fluxing method is interesting, just not sure that's a good way for using ladle pot.

    Is it pure lead, or did you buy an alloy, or mix?
    I bought “range lead” from someone on EBay for about $1.25 a pound. It came in muffin pan ingots so I have no idea the actual composition.

    I used tool oil to flux the pot and it seemed to work well with getting rid of the crud.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master daloper's Avatar
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    First welcome to this madness. Get yourself a hot plate and set a circular saw blade on it to set your mold on. Set the temp half way between the med and high setting. I start heating my mold while the pot is melting getting ready to cast. If you start with a heated mold you will get good castings much faster. I would also recommend that you put your location in your info. You might find someone close by that would be willing to give you a hand face to face. Much to be learned on this site. Good luck and have fun. Also check out the vendors on this site for what you need.

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by daloper View Post
    First welcome to this madness. Get yourself a hot plate and set a circular saw blade on it to set your mold on. Set the temp half way between the med and high setting. I start heating my mold while the pot is melting getting ready to cast. If you start with a heated mold you will get good castings much faster. I would also recommend that you put your location in your info. You might find someone close by that would be willing to give you a hand face to face. Much to be learned on this site. Good luck and have fun. Also check out the vendors on this site for what you need.
    Thanks for the tips. I am currently in Dallas Texas but I might be moving to China very soon. I was previously on an expat assignment over there and I loved it and I might have the opportunity to go again. Unfortunately while there I won't have any access to guns

    From doing a little more experimenting, I have found that sitting the mold on top of the pot while it warms up gets the mold nice and toasty and I am getting good bullets by the second batch, sometimes even the first batch is good. I plan to get proficient with this mold and crank out a bunch of bullets and then start reloading. I have probably made about 500 bullets so far, and I plan to powder coat them with Harbor Freight red.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master daloper's Avatar
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    I powder coat but I did not have much luck with the HF. I purchased some powder and BB's from Smoke here on this site and it worked great for me. Maybe you will not have the humidity that we have in Michigan. I got the red and yellow HF to coat but it needed to be done twice to get them covered. If you re going to try powder coating I would get some good powder and a convection oven. They are not to expensive at Wally Mart. You can get the black BB's at Walmart also. For sizing them after PC, if you haven't already got your sizer, I would recommend getting them from NOE. Once you get the sizer kit, the different dies are very reasonable.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master daloper's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	222425 Here are some of my 9mm if it works.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master daloper's Avatar
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    What are you going to size them to? I might have an old Lee sizer that I don't use anymore now that I use the NOE.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    Look good. If you're going to kill paper a few little wrinkles won't hurt, and as you saw, when the oil burns out there are usually very few, unless your mold gets cool. Don't worry if they get frosted, that won't hurt anything.
    Tom
    μολὼν λαβέ

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by daloper View Post
    What are you going to size them to? I might have an old Lee sizer that I don't use anymore now that I use the NOE.
    Very nice work. I will look into better powder coating then. I don't know what size I will size them to. I was going to try these in my Glock 17 (which I don't expect good results) and my PSA AR-9 4" Pistol. I have .356 resizing dies but I don't have a press at the moment. I can double check but I think they are Lee brand .356 resizing dies.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by fjpereny View Post
    Very nice work. I will look into better powder coating then. I don't know what size I will size them to. I was going to try these in my Glock 17 (which I don't expect good results) and my PSA AR-9 4" Pistol. I have .356 resizing dies but I don't have a press at the moment. I can double check but I think they are Lee brand .356 resizing dies.
    Confirmed I have a .356 Lee resizing die. No press yet, once I get some powder coated bullets I will start resizing. I am enjoying taking my time learning each step of the process in detail.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    Just to note, there are two types of powder for powder coating.

    Thermoplastic is typically nylon, which can release NOx as some of it cooks off down the barrel.

    If you can, use thermoset.
    http://www.polyethylenepowder.com/te...r-coating.html

  15. #15
    Boolit Master daloper's Avatar
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    Easy powder is the stuff that Smoke4320 sells here in the VS section. Coats good and recovered bullets show coating intact except where it engaged the rifling.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master copdills's Avatar
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    you should be proud , They look GREAT

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    fjpereny - you did good with your 1st casting session. Casting i both a science & an art. For perfectly filled out bullet with no wrinkles - give this a try at your next session:
    * Heat a clean mold and the melt temperature to a temperature (usually 710-730 degrees) so after a 5 second pour of the melt, the sprue puddle frosts in 5 - 8 seconds. Then cut the sprues. The bullets will be completely filled out - the bases will be flat & sharp and with a consistent casting rhythm, the Bell Curve weight of the bullets will be less than 1 grain variance
    Regards
    John

  18. #18
    Boolit Master daloper's Avatar
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    fjpereny, If you are still need a press send me a PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I strive for perfection in my bullets and my Friends even say I'm too picky and cull to heavily. A while back I saved some of my rejects to load and shoot. Slight wrinkles, driving band not completely filled out, bases not completely filled out, ect. I really could not tell a difference in the way they shot. A Master class shooter might see more difference than I did. I did notice the base made more difference than any other part of the bullet. I'm going to suggest shooting a few for yourself just to see.

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold
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    Funny you say base, lightman.

    How does one cast hollow base bullets?

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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