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Thread: Contemplating Casting, part II.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Contemplating Casting, part II.

    First I will apologize for the previous post and the request to buy some sample bullets. JonB was correct in moving the post. Thank you Jon!

    The original post is; http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...26#post4685626 ... So please disregard the last part of that post and stick with the discussion of molds and equipment here. Please! Any offers please put them in the SS post.

    Even though I have been here since March 2016 I have put off the venture into casting because of the problems I ran into trying to source material w/o paying a premium. Also because I primarily shoot and reload 9mm and I am still not ready to deal with all the variables. Right now my thought and focus is to try the .356 molds to load for the 380 auto and then expanding into the 45acp at a later time.

    At this point I have not decided if I want to go with an electric pot or a flame fired pot. Right now my thoughts and ideas are racing every which way so if this gets scattered please be patient.

    Kevin

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    Use the .358 molds and size them to .357 for your 9mm.
    Tom
    μολὼν λαβέ


    Did I ever mention that I hate to trim brass?

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy Land Owner's Avatar
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    A little dab will do ya. The Ranch Dog TL358-100-RF 6-cavity mold (or one of its equivalents) drops my 380 ACP lead alloy boolits at 104 grains (67 boolits per pound of lead/tin alloy), takes minutes to make hundreds, is just plain fun to shoot in a pair of Walther PPK over a smidgeon of IMR 4227, cranks out very well on my RCBS Piggyback II progressive press, and all for pennies on the dollar. Buy the electric pot. You won't regret it. Scrounge some wheel weights and radiator shop lead. 49/49/2 - Pb/WW/Sn and add heat.


    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    You can get your lead through S&S buy from members or vendors like The Captain http://castboolits.gunloads.com/foru...27-The-Captain . Craig's list can also get you some deals. I recently purchased a Lyman 10lb electric dipping pot, 20lb of 95/5 solder & a new can of Petrobond casting sand for a total cost of $25. It was used for an art project casting decorative gears sponsored by a plumbing company. The solder alone is worth $80 & would retail for $200, the pot is nice if your looking for a dipper style pot cheap they retail for $40 & the sand retails for $50. https://outfitterwarehouse.com/produ...yABEgII6PD_BwE . I also checked out the local Good Will across from where I met the seller & found a bunch of pewter which is also in the pic.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    This evening I was spending some time looking at the different electric pots and one of the first questions I have is how much difference does pot size make? The small inexpensive 4#, a ten# and then the 20#. I think I am most interested in the non-pour type just because of the leaking.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I would go with the electric pot, and I use a #20. I have a turkey fryer setup for making ingots and muffins molds, so then my electric pot only sees clean lead. My wife and I, went to a range, for many years, and picked the berms, collecting thousands of pounds, of bullets, but we no longer go, as I have enough lead smelted down, to shoot for my lifetime, and my children. In fact, I still have 6 5gallon pails full, of bullets, that need smelted down, but just haven't got to them. Have fun in your new adventure of casting.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Size of the pot is somewhat determined by size of bullets cast and your production requirements. What I mean is casting smaller bullets like 22s at 50-70 grns a 4-5lb pot is a long session to empty it from start to finish. Casting big 4ifle bullets at 500-550 grns a 20 lb pot empties quickly, meaning more time melting and fluxing. With your 2 given calibers and bullets in the 90 grn-230grn a 10 lb pot would be good a 20 might be the choice.
    As to gas or electric electric is easier to set up and use maintaining temp is easier at first. Gas fired is nice in that you can build your rig yourself and run it easily anywhere. Fas fired takes a little learning curve maintaining temps and running. A good thermometer helps a lot here. With gas fired (depending on burner used) you can have pots for each alloy, or for alloying and casting, or different sizes. All set on the same burner.

    Heres an example. My casting set up is a bigger propane weed burner, a cut down 25lb propane cylinder ( if you go this route follow all safety precautions cutting tank down). a thermometer and ladles. My pot holds 130lbs of alloy when full, I cast rifle bullets that range from 360grns to 550grns and normally run a 4-5 hour session. The big pot gives me several advantages. Its easy to ladle from and keep the ladle level. The mass makes maintaining temp easier with fewer swings as the mass slows them down. The larger amount means I'm not refilling and waiting as much. Last is the larger amount makes for bigger runs of bullets all the same .

    I usually invite 1 or 2 friends over to cast with me around this pot. This is for safety reasons having someone here when casting is a plus if something happens. BUt 3 guys casting big bullets lowers this pot pretty quickly also.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    The RCBS PRO-Melt is kinda the standard, unless you want to save money and get a drip-o-matic.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I did read about a bloke who used a pid controller for a gas setup.

    His gas line had a t-joint in it. One side was the pilot flame, it flowed enough gas to slowly warm the empty pot, but not enough to maintain the 50kg or so of lead at pour temp. The other leg of the t has a solenoid operated valve that was controlled by the relay of the pid. I'm not sure how it would go, opening and closing quickly and often. Though I think you can alter the on/off set points through the pid to reduce the amount of switching.

    Might not be ideal for you, but it can be done.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    For a long time I worked maintenance in a food plant that ran 8 different gas ovens making breakfast egg patties, crepes, waffles and pancakes. Really not looking to get back to that.

    RCBS Pro Melt, that's a little spendy, $250.00+, for something I am not even sure I'm going to enjoy doing isn't it? Then what, hope I can sell it and recoup 1/2?

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use a lee 4-20. Couldn't really justify the spend on a bigger brand. It works just fine, sometimes it drips, mostly it doesn't. I'm happy with my putchase.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    You might try finding a caster close to you. You might be able to try it first with guidance and instruction from him.

    Other wise start small with a burner ( most turkey fryers will handle lead) a used one from a garage sale stand and burner. A cast iron or steel pot again garage sale or thrift store. A good ladle RCBS or Lyman. Mould and handles. Last is a thermometer. This will get you started and your feet wet so to speak. Another heat source is a Coleman stove or gas hot pate.

    Also watch swapping and selling here occasionally equipment comes up for sale

  13. #13
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    As stated in post #5 I think Ill be passing on the bottom pour furnaces.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy

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    When I first started casting (Around 1975) I bought a Lee 4# pot and a Lyman ladle and a 2 cavity Lyman mold. My brother and I used that little pot
    for several years and I still have it and it still works. A friend didn't like casting and I got his old Lyman 10# bottom pour for a song and used it until I moved up
    to a Lee 20# bottom pour and then found a deal on a Pro-Melt.

    You really don't have to spend a pile of money to get started casting. I got into casting just so I could keep shooting. That Lee 4 pounder cast hundreds of
    .45 bullets to keep that .45 Colt shooting. Mind you it would take all afternoon to get 200 or so cast up but it kept me shooting.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    For the 380 I have had excellent accuracy and function with the Lee 358-105-SWC. That was in a Browning 1971 model. Sometimes .358 functions in the 380 and 9mm, if not, .357 diameter should work. I have used a couple LEE pots without problems, using a Lyman dipper. DO NOT try to use the Lee dipper for bullet casting. Lee bullet are inexpensive and are a good start. To start I would advise a simple 2-cavity mold and step-up from there. Depends on how close you are to sources of lead, plain-base cast bullets for handguns are cheap so casting may not be worth it, your time, finances, shooting vs casting vs reloading all play into this.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, at this point I still have no clue what kind of volume I'll be doing. Some may be controlled by material availability. Again for now I'm looking at a few 100gr .356" molds to load 380auto and them most likely a 200gr mold for the 45acp. Is it feasible to cast 200gr bullets from a 4# pot of does it become very slow and tedious? Reminder, I have plenty od time to dedicate to this, just don't want it to become laborious and boring to where I won't want to do it..

  17. #17
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Ohio Rusty, I got you PM and tried to reply but your mailbox is full. Hope you see this!

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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