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Thread: Casting in cold weather

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    Casting in cold weather

    So with winter here, I'm sure a lot of casters will be casting and taking the opportunity to make a good supply for the future. I cast on a needs basis which has included many times in not so cool weather; so is there any differences?

    Very much so, in temperate times (Feb & Oct) I find I can run up to 6 moulds and get good results. In the cooler months, I limit activities to just 3 moulds. The reasons are simple, out of winter, the moulds will cool more slowly so allowing time for the sprue to harden and gives more time to fill another mould.

    Winter on the other hand, allows moulds to cool more quickly and throws open the possibility that the sprue hardens and actually tears away from the bullet instead of shearing like a knife.

    Timing is most important to good results. Perfect and square bases are necessary to have good bullets and also for gas checked designs, that the gas check will seat perfectly square with the bullets central axis.

    Perfect bases are a must for good bullets.



    Gas Checks must be square to the bullet axis

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    dragon813gt's Avatar
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    Only difference for me is how long I can comfortably cast. And it works at both ends since I cast in an unconditioned garage. To cold and itís miserable but I can always put on more clothes. To hot and itís just like being at work.

    I do find itís easier to cast tiny 22cal bullets when itís warmer out. I prefer to cast them in the summer since I can keep the blocks hot. Flip side is large caliber molds are prone to overheat when itís hot out. Iím not one to use multiple molds at once so cool down means a period of no production and wasted time.

    I prefer the shoulder seasons as itís the most comfortable and productive.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    Winter casting in Canada in an unheated shop is pretty much a nonstarter for me. Have found that the pot must be run way hotter to keep the spout open, and the molds must always be on the hot plate to stay remotely warm enough.
    On sunny days, i will render scrap lead into ingots over a fire.
    Winter just ended here, there are actually still giant glacier-like piles of snow in some protected areas where the city dumped the snow from January`s massive blizzard.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I cast in my basement, average temp 65-68 degrees year round.

    I tend not to cast with more than one mold at a time.
    If the mold is hot and the melt is right a 5 count sees liquid metal turn solid.

    Pop the sprue and dump, close refill.

    It is a bit cooler in winter, I prefer it for casting larger boolits, .44mag, .45 colt, etc.
    Summer it is mostly .32's in one variant or another, unless I'm getting low on .30-30 etc.

    There are 2 other points I have noticed.

    A stacking lubed cast in an air tight food storage type container works very well. I have some that I cast 5 years ago and still have not gone gray. Not quite shiny but limiting the oxidation.

    B BLL also does a good job of the same thing. BLL lubed bullets (3 light coats) in an open top box appear to be about the same as those in sealed boxes.

    C Bullets cast before I knew about BLL in open boxes are getting quite dark in color. I should probably shoot them while I can.

  5. #5
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    Too hot to cast here in the summer. And, too hot to cast back in Arizona too, unless your in Northern Arizona. I prefer casting when it's about 65 degrees. I've even set up the casting machine on top of a covered kitchen stove so I could get some needed casting done while inside in the A/C during a very hot an humid day here on the Gulf Coast. I have the best wife in the WORLD.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Casting a bunch of 530 grain 458 socom bullets last weekend in Texas heat. Using the Master Caster really helped to cool them down but impatience did cause some ugly bases on a few that didn’t cool enough. I prefer winter casting.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Nothing changes for me wintervor summer except I cast more in winter months. I use 4-6cav molds casting by hand. Every 159-200 I add more alloy & the mold cools a bit. With the Magmacaster, I run the fan more in summer.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
    NRA Cert. Inst. Met. Reloading & Basic Pistol

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
    I cast in my basement, average temp 65-68 degrees year round.

    I tend not to cast with more than one mold at a time.
    If the mold is hot and the melt is right a 5 count sees liquid metal turn solid.

    Pop the sprue and dump, close refill.
    Ditto.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  9. #9
    Moderator Emeritus


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    I cast at temperatures from 15 F to 80 F and have to dress for each. You don't have to wait long to cut sprues at temps below freezing. Cadences are slower in the summer but I to cast of need.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I try to cast in volume, using stacked pots and 8 cav gang molds, occasionally two at a time. On consideration, I find cold weather induced spout freeze ups more disrupting and annoying than having to slow a bit or take a short break to let hot molds cool when the weather is warm. As you can probably guess, I cast out doors.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    toallmy's Avatar
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    I better get to it , I have 3 or 4 empty coffee cans in the basement that should be full of 45acp cast boolits , and the temperature is starting to climb . It's not as much fun casting when sweat is dripping down your face .

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I've had minimal problems casting in any temperature, other than comfort. I'd say I run my melt temp about 20-30 degrees warmer in the winter, than spring, and maybe 10 degrees cooler in the hottest part of the summer. I've cast in -15 and I've cast in 95 degrees. Wind is much more of a problem than temperature alone. The wind is what cools the mold and freezes the spout. I like to cast in the middle of the night when it is dead calm. In the winter I'll usually cast in the garage with the main and back doors open. In the summer I like to be outside.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    It doesn't really get cold enough here to affect my casting. Usually a month thats really cold, by our standards. I cast in an insulated shop so I'm out of the wind. Usually long pants and a long sleeve shirt are enough to keep me warm.

    I prefer to do my smelting in the winter and save my years worth of scrounged lead for that time of year.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Murphy's Avatar
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    I'm in the same region as Lightman, 200 miles to the West in Oklahoma. My shop is climate controlled, lucky me on that one. I prefer to get as much of my casting done as possible during cooler times of the year. I would say between October to May. I don't shoot much during summer months, too hot for me to call it having fun. I have several hundred pounds of ingots waiting to go, too hot now for smelting large batches out in the heat.

    One major plus for me, I've been retired for close to a year now. Even before retiring, I already had numerous 3 Lb coffee cans of the boolits I use more than others already cast. I leave them as cast and waiting for sizing and lubing.

    Murphy
    If I should depart this life while defending those who cannot defend themselves, then I have died the most honorable of deaths. Marc R. Murphy '2006'.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Years ago I received a new mold (255 gr. .375 cal.) that I was excited to try. Was -10 F but I thought with no wind it would work. May have ran the entire 10 lb. pot before getting a good bullet.
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    People that have real winters must think our winter here is a poorly played, cruel joke.

    I can comfortably cast in the open garage with a long sleeve shirt or light jacket & jeans any time but the middle of Summer.
    Sweat dripping in the pot moves me a little away from my comfort zone.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit-chat. This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE !!
    Get back to your oars. The Captain wants to water ski.

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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