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Thread: Start Casting

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Start Casting

    I reload for a 45-70 and would like to start casting for this rifle, a Marlin 1895GBL. Looking for equipment and knowledge to get started. My only casting experience was with my father when he made some lead soldiers using a kitchen stove 50+ years ago and in shop class 40+ years ago. Get the lead hot, get the mold hot and pour, safety first of course, thats my only hands on. I've looked on the net and have found the general idea(s).
    My questions: A Book- Before I do anything I'll want to find a book on the subject, recommendations?
    Safety first- Good ventilation, eye protection, gloves, don't burn the house down, I'll need a pair of gloves, recommendations? Anything else?
    Melter- I'd like to ladle to the mold, I see Lee has some melters and kits in the low price range, is one better than another?
    Molds- My bore slugs measure .458", I have some 400gr Lasercast FN that shoot well so...?
    Swaging- Do I need a stand alone swager or can I use my Rockchucker? What swaging dies for my bore?
    Bullet lube- Um? We didn't do that in shop class.
    Gas checks- Always? Sometimes?
    Lead- I see different recipes on the net, wheres a good place to start?
    What other equipment, knowledge??
    I'm kinda busy (as a retired fella can be), but I'll be checking this post on and off- Thanks in advance- 3G

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy ericandelaine1975's Avatar
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    Lyman has a kit for under $100. Its a 10lb pot and most of what you'll need to start with. It also comes with the Lyman caring book. Which helps alot. Before you buy I'd check to see how readily available lead is gonna be. Wheel weights are harder to come by. If you can't get any then you gotta ask yourself if buying lead is cost effective. If you decide to continue then i suggest you read all you can about casting and ask questions on here. It can be fun but the more you know the better. Good luck. Have fun and most important be safe.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy ericandelaine1975's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericandelaine1975 View Post
    Lyman has a kit for under $100. Its a 10lb pot and most of what you'll need to start with. It also comes with the Lyman casting book. Which helps alot. Before you buy I'd check to see how readily available lead is gonna be. Wheel weights are harder to come by. If you can't get any then you gotta ask yourself if buying lead is cost effective. If you decide to continue then i suggest you read all you can about casting and ask questions on here. It can be fun but the more you know the better. Good luck. Have fun and most important be safe.

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    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Welcome to the wonderful world of casting you can go as simple or complex as you like . A tin can on a burner with a cheaper mold , and a push through sizer die + pan lubing can get you started . Or you can go to the other end of the spectrum as well . You are on the right track be safe .

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Simple set up that's portable ( able to be set up outside in a garage or other areas) A gas hot plate or coleman camp stove. a steel or cast iron pot. RCBS ladle lyman second the lee is more a spoon for skimming. Mould for the bullet you want to cast If the 400 grain laser cast shoots good look at the pics of the makers bullets and work from there. Another is to go on swapping and selling ( bullet exchange) and purchase a few different styles with known mould makers numbers and alloy. Then when you find what works you know what mould to buy.

    Safety equipment is important. Good safety glasses, a billed hat, long sleeved shirt heavy jeans full covered shoes preferably leather. Gloves Heavy but supple. some use welders gauntlets but I find I lose to much dexterity with them. I have a couple pairs of leather doeskin work gloves that do good for me. A leather apron can be nice touch.

    If you have a bench great if not a aluminum folding camp table from wallmarts works. Set the pot and towel on it leave ingots or lead along side.

    As to the expendables beeswax, wood shavings, parrafin to flux, a few cotton hand towels to drop bullets on. burn salve ( Hope you never need it but things do happen). wood kitchen matches ( these are handy to light the smoke when fluxing and to smoke mould if needed I prefer the long grill style)

    Set up in an open area I work in the garage with door open and just inside it. Set up so your comfortable and have a escape route if something happens. Have everything in reach and handy for you. several layers of towels to drop bullets on while they cool. A small tin to cut sprues into. A small cap or dead blow hammer ( piece of dowel rod or hammer handle works also) for cutting sprues. Load pot with alloy and melt to temp 725* is a good starting point. set mould on top of pot to warm and ladle in the pot. Once lead is to temp set mould and ladle aside and flux with an old spoon. set ladle in the pot and mould on top while you get ready. Close mould up set sprue plate and fill ladle pour into cavity filling it completely full and a heavy full sprue, It dosnt hurt to over fill letting extra run back into pot. Watch sprue you will see it solidify and then a "frost" come over it ( when your up to temp) use the tapper to cut sprue and a light tap in the handles hing pins while opening over the towels. It may take a tap or two on the pin to drop the bullet out. Repeat the above.

    When your casting cast don't try sorting or other things cast and keep the pace up. No matter how pretty and shinny those new bullets are they are still hot, It dosnt tke long to look at them LOL.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I defiantly couldn't afford to shot my 45-70 if I didn't reload and cast for it.as I'm a wimp plain base boolits are all I need .

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    here's one way to go
    Amazon prime

    LEE PRECISION 90021 Melter (Grey) $32.84 https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...N+90021+Melter

    LEE PRECISION 457-405-F Double Cavity Mold $21.99 https://www.amazon.com/LEE-PRECISION...ecision+-++405

    Lee Lubricating & Sizing Die, .459" diameter $21.59 + ship https://www.trackofthewolf.com/Categ...1/LEE-SIZE-459

    Thrift store camp stove /
    or
    Stansport Cast Iron High Output Stove for Outdoor Camp Cooking $27.84 https://www.amazon.com/Stansport-Sin...propane+burner

    Thrift store steel pot
    Thrift store large metal spoon and soup ladle


    I swapping and selling there is a guy selling clip-on wheel weights

    Gas checks over 1800 fps

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    Good info, thanks to you all. A couple clarifications if you will- 'beeswax, wood shavings, parrafin to flux'?? and a new word- 'sprue', got the definition but what to cut the sprues with? and pan lube, set em in a pan of melted beeswax at he proper level and pluck em out when it hardens? -3G

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy ericandelaine1975's Avatar
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    You have to flux your lead to get the impurities out. I use parrifin wax. You cut a 1/2" square of it and drop it in. When it melts light it on fire. As soon as it lights stir from the bottom of the pot up. All the **** comes to the top. Then you skim it off. Keep doing that until nothing comes up.

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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Beeswax and paraffin are reducers they will put the tin and antimony back in the mix wood chips / shavings not onty do this but also bond with the impurities and remove them when the ash is removed. On a 10 lb pot a pea sized ball of wax or paraffin is plenty or a small amount of wood chips then stir scraping the sides and bottom of the pot bringing the impurities and crud to the top to be removed with a spoon.

    For cutting the sprue I use a 8 ounce dead blow hammer a small plastic cap hammer works as well. The old standard was a hammer handle held by the head end. I like the dead blow hammer it works really well.

    Pan lubing you want a little more than just beeswax. You can use the commercial lubes for this or mix your own. SPG is good especially for Black Powder loadings Emmerts improved is also good. Heat in a pan of water to melt let cool around bullets and cut out with a cake cutter.

    Emmerts lube is 50% beeswax
    40% unsalted Crisco shortening
    10% canola oil

    Melt this together in a double boiler and "cook" for 5-10 mins stirring constantly with a fork.

    Emmerts Improved is as above but drop the canola oil to 5% and add 5% lanolin. cooking as above.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    I would buy a set of high cuff welders gloves. I have a Marlin with a micro-groove and it needs a .460 bullet
    . The Lee mold may not cast large for your bore. Simple powder coating may be necessary to increase your bullet diameter for the bore. The other option is a custom mold that will cast .460.
    Unless you are hot rodding the 45-70 about any lead alloy will be alright especially if you powder coat.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master




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    It's easy to get anal about safety, but I have fairly well avoided the anality - I cast in cargo shorts and a knit shirt, no apron, and, since I wear glasses, and they are high-refraction CR39 plastic, they are safety by nature. true, I occasionally get a speck of lead on my knee, but a pin-head size really is no problem. The gloves I use come from Costco and cost ~$20 for 3 pair. Leather, supple enough, and you're good to go. Welder's gloves not needed. And my sprue knocker is a plastic mallet. I've used a hammer handle, and a 1" foot-long taped dowel, and find the plastic mallet best. I use bottom pour furnaces, so can't comment on ladles.
    And ALWAYS wear socks! the idea of a splash getting between my foot and my shoe just flat does not appeal to me!
    Echo
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    One of the most endearing sights in the world is the vision of a naked good-looking woman leaving the bedroom to make breakfast. Bolivar Shagnasty (I believe that Lazarus Long also said it, but I can't find any record of it.)

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    With the various laws against heavy metal pollution, it is increasingly difficult to find the metal for casting at a good price:
    - pure lead pipes: now the drains of the water systems are all made of PVC or PPL!
    - Wheel balancing weights: they are now in zinc!
    - Lynotipe League: Printing now uses computerized printing systems!

    So according to my humble opinion, the first thing you need to do is get the league, in an amount that will ensure an autonomy for at least 10,000 bullets. And a 45/70 ball weighs a lot! So you need at least 350 kg of alloy (700 lbs).

    A 45/70 ball weighs about g. 30 (sorry I'm going with the Italian system). If you think to shoot 25 shots in a shooting session, and to make two sessions a month are already 1,500 of alloy per month: in a year are 18/20 kg of alloy.
    For a basic equipment it takes: Lee Furnace Amazon $ 32.84 / Midsouth $ 36.24 + Mold Lee 2C NO gas check $ 18.99 (if you take the model with gc you have to charge 600 gc = $ 24.30 for 600 pcs.) + Bullet sizer $ 19.01 + Alox $ 5.01 = $ 95.14 + $ 10 shipping by Midsouth.
    N.B. I do not consider ingot mold, lead ladle, wood hammer, etc. because you can use old stuff that you have at home: otherwise you have to add another $ 20 around! However, consider that the packs of g.c. they are from 1.000 pcs. so the price would go up by about $ 36 more! In total you would spend for 600 bullets about $ 130, which would be wasted if you do not find the league!

    To finish with a minimum amount of equipment you need approx
    $ 85 if you do bullets without a g.c. and if you use the Lee furnace (4 lbs to melt the alloy and make you lbs. 4 of ingots!
    Last edited by airone46; 11-07-2018 at 12:12 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    Good info, ordered a used Lyman book and I think that'll get me on the right path to start. Thanks again for your replies.- 3G

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Just a thought before you purchase your first mold , think about checking on what molds other members have tried . This could save you some frustration getting started .

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by toallmy View Post
    Just a thought before you purchase your first mold , think about checking on what molds other members have tried . This could save you some frustration getting started .
    OK. I'll start a new thread, thanks. 3G

  17. #17
    Boolit Master pjames32's Avatar
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    I use a 350gr mold from NOE sized to .359 in my Marlin 1895. Feeds well, shoots well and is accurate.
    NRA Benefactor Member

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Use the Lee mold as I'm cheap they shoot better than me they are shot as cast with Lee alox .457 unsized as there fairly soft they bump up and shoot well.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    It doesn't get any easier than that .

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    You can size boolits with your Rockchucker. You will need to buy sizing dies. Lee sells them. One for each caliber. Don’t think they have one for .460. I use NOE sizing dies. You buy one universal die holder and then buy the dies depending on what size you want. There’s a lot of selection and they are not expensive.

    I powder coat for my .45-70 Marlin and don’t see any need to gas check. If you have a mold for a gas check it will work ok for powder coating. You can always drill out the part that makes the indent for the GC if you want. Powder coating is probably the least expensive way to start to lube boolits except for Liquid Alox or pan lubing.

    When you start to cast, make sure your mould is completely oil free. I use spray brake cleaner to clean mine.

    I think others have touched on most of the important points. Don’t get frustrated at first. There is a bit of a learning curve, but it’s really not that difficult. 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