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Thread: If you could start all over again

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    Buying the good stuff saves you money in the long run and eliminates the frustration.

  2. #42
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I'd probably start the way I did. A cast iron pot for melting, a stainless steel one with a ladle for dipping and a single cavity mold. I learned a great deal the hard way and by joining this forum taking advantage of the knowledge and helpful attitude of everyone here. I consider the experience I gained doing that before buying a Lee Drip O Matic and more molds, hot plate etc priceless.
    I am become death. The destroyer of worlds

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  3. #43
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    I have been a member here for a good while yet I only started actually casting the end of last summer so it's only been 6-7 months so I doubt there really is a start over.

    I shoot only pistols so I guess my needs are different than many. I read all the posts and horror stories that newb's have with the 9mm round so I stayed away. That was until I obtained my 380acp. I found a couple different bullet weights and profiles that interested me and was able to then obtain a number of samples of those bullets from generous members here and another forum. After I found a couple that did very well I finally jumped in.

    I started with a bucket of mixed wheel weights, a 1800w hot plate and a 9" iron skillet and a 1.5qt SS sauce pan. First mold was a Lee 356-102-R1 RN that was what I found shot the best from the samples. Cast those with a Lyman ladle. The first couple sessions were real learning experiences and each time I learned more and my end product improved. A real confidence builder I'll tell you. I have since moved on to a Lee 10lb Pro IV bottom pour pot and 4 molds.

    My only real suggestion to you would be to buy the Biggest pot you can if you are looking to cast large size/weight bullets. The larger the bullet the faster you drain the pot.

    Good luck and I hope you enjoy yourself as much as I am.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    More PPE and safety consciousness. Better ergonomics in your setup and casting technique.

    Saves on burns and elevated lead levels. Prevents contamination in your work area (you don't want to encounter the tinsel fairly even once). Easier on the feet, back and shoulders and less tiring overall.

  5. #45
    Boolit Bub
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    Buy the best bottom pour you can afford. This one you don't want to cheap out. They will last you a looong time. Buy the best molds. They last a lifetime when cared for.. Buy once and never look back...

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gewehr-Guy View Post
    I won't add any to all the good advice already given, but I have taken some pretty rough looking reclaimed shot, and tumbled it with some Lundmark floor wax, and it coated over the oxidation and slicked it up so it went through the loader real well.
    Given the high cost of shot I'd tumble (rotary) what you have to remove the harmless but ugly surface oxide. And the wax idea sounds good too.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boolseye View Post
    .... glasses, boots and gloves minimum when casting, ...
    Roger that.

    In my distant youth I knew a reloader who loved to wear cowboy boots with his pants legs stuffed in the top. He dropped a Lyman dipper full of bullet lead and some half of it funneled into the open boot top. His wife said he did a lot of loud hollering and floor flopping before anything useful could be done and he always walked with a limp after that; same thing can happen with low top shoes.

  8. #48
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I had the benefit of growing up the son of the most avid bullet caster and handloader I ever met, so I knew enough to be dangerous when I started out on my own.

    The biggest thing I'd do over is buying a quality post from the get go. I fought with one of the Lee dripomatics for years before I finally got fed up and started using a used Lyman 61 I bought, what a difference! Amazing how much easier it is to get quality bullets when you aren't having to fight with sub standard equipment all the time.

    The Lee single and double cavity molds are good products, but I found, and still find, them much harder to work with than an iron mold like a Lyman or RCBS. One can't argue price point verses quality, the Lee molds are great. The six cavity ones can't be beat for piling up a lot of bullets quick.

    I don't and never will powder coat, a lube sizer is a good thing to have, but the liquid alox is excellent lube and the push through sizers work great with no need for top punches, the biggest mistake most make is using too much of it. Thinning it and heating it helps a lot too. If I had a gripe about the Lee push through sizers it's that they don't make a very wide selections of sizes. I hear they're easy to lap out, though I've never done it.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master

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    If I were to start over again.
    I think I would have exercise more control over the amount of casting and shooting I have done early on.

    If I knew in my youth what I know now, I would have either built or bought a 28-30 foot sloop and went sailing when I pulled the plug on working for money.
    If you've ever been sailing on the Great Lakes or the high seas nothing ever gets dull or routine.
    But, It's good to put your feet on the ground from time to time to reflect.
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  10. #50
    Boolit Master



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    I wouldn't have cast on my mother's kitchen stove - and instead just built a casting fire in the yard. It would have saved me a bit of trouble
    Last edited by square butte; 04-05-2020 at 10:04 PM.
    Being human is not for sissies.

  11. #51
    Boolit Master
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    I would probably go the way I did . I started casting for cap and ball revolvers and rifles with a Colman stove and a sauce pan and a spoon then home made ladle. Then a little rcbs casting kit with a cast iron pot and ladle then added a 10lb Lee pot got to casting for centerfire hand guns and went to a 20lb Lee pot I still use all the same equipment ( except for the Colman ) even the spoon and most of it is 40 years old when I bought each piece it fit my budget and my needs and all still works.

  12. #52
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by onelight View Post
    I would probably go the way I did . I started casting for cap and ball revolvers and rifles with a Colman stove and a sauce pan and a spoon then home made ladle. Then a little rcbs casting kit with a cast iron pot and ladle then added a 10lb Lee pot got to casting for centerfire hand guns and went to a 20lb Lee pot I still use all the same equipment ( except for the Colman ) even the spoon and most of it is 40 years old when I bought each piece it fit my budget and my needs and all still works.
    That’s the way to go. Keep it simple.


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  13. #53
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If you could start all over again

    If I could do it all over I’d most likely start w/ a Master Caster. I like hand casting but I know it’s going to be an issue as I get older. Probably would have saved me money in the long run since Miha doesn’t make molds for them

    Other than that I’d stick to basic calibers and basic cartridges. This goes for the guns themselves as well. Having to buy everything for one gun that I rarely shoot is kind of a waste of money. Especially if I have to buy powder and primers specifically for it. And of course I never buy one mold, even if I rarely shoot it. I always end up buying multiple molds and never work up loads for every bullet design. Tooling costs for a variety of calibers and cartridges balloons fast.

    I should have subscribed to the adage “beware the man with one gun”.

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    If I could do it all over I’d most likely start w/ a Master Caster. I like hand casting but I know it’s going to be an issue as I get older. Probably would have saved me money in the long run since Miha doesn’t make molds for them
    Wrong! LOL https://www.mp-molds.com/product-cat...machine-molds/
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  15. #55
    Boolit Grand Master

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    To clarify, when I started he wasn’t making molds for them

  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    I started simple and cheap: A Lee Loader and a Coleman stove. Both were too slow. When you buy or build your bench, understand that it will probably not be big enough. Go for stability and add 50% more space than you think you'll need, if you can. Tool boxes with lots of drawers will help immensely. Keep it organized and find or build a small book shelf.
    Good luck!
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  17. #57
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I was casting with a couple of buddies the other day and I looked over at them and commented that 30 years ago we should have bought a casting machine and each of us should have bought a set of molds. Both of them got a chuckle out of that but both agree.

    But I get a certain amount of pleasure and satisfaction from casting that I wouldn't get from having a machine doing it for me.

  18. #58
    Boolit Master
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    id have started casting years earlier.

  19. #59
    Boolit Master
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    I started with a lyman mold and dipper and a tin can on moms kitchen stove at about 17yrs old. DO NOT use a tin can for melting lead as they are soldered together at the seam and rim and will unsolder when hot.
    I would start over with either a Star sizer or powder coat. Both work very well, the star is faster but the PC is much cheaper. Get the Lee 20 lb pot and add a lb or so of weight to the top of the flow stop pin.
    For molds, get the lee 2cav or six cav molds for your hand guns depending on the volume you intend to shoot. I do not use the several lee nose rider rifle molds that I have because none have a nose large enough to ride the bore. Noe has excellent molds that cast the size as advertised and are relatively inexpensive and in several different cav numbers. Get Lee handles, they are cheap and are very good handles and fit most brands of molds.
    As far as whether to dip cast or bottom pour, I don't have a for sure answer. Some folks only do well with dippers and some only with a bottom pour. I'm not sure why. I'm a bottom pour guy. There must be a technique to each that few know of both. I don't know how to get good pours with a dipper but do very well with a bottom pour. The Lee 20 lb pot will allow both and is inexpensive. My Lee 10 lb pot that I bought about 1975 still works like new but doesn't have room for a dipper.

  20. #60
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by robg View Post
    id have started casting years earlier.
    Me too. Been lurking on here for years and I should have just bought a $20 mold and went at it. I had all the stuff the whole time.

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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