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Thread: My 1st casting today

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    My 1st casting today

    Today I made a 20:1 lead tin alloy. Used a lee 452-255 double cavity mold. Liquid alox tumble lubed. Loaded 4.5gr imr red, with a col at 1.55" and a light roll crimp. Oh, this is for my .45 colt.
    Super happy with my results, ended up with 48 rounds. Thought I counted 50, and 1 was swelled up to much. I did not size this first run for 2 reasons, 1 I dont have a sizer die yet, and 2 they all came out right about .454, a few at .4535, and the one monster for some reason was .456.
    I have a few questions if you folks dont mind. After melting my pure lead and 50/50 solder I used Frankfort arsenal flexing compound. I used that because it is what is available to me right now, a lot of stuff is sold out.
    After the initial flux I got some dross off the top, not much. The lead was clean and new from rotometals. The 50/50 was clean, old stuff that I've had a while just some surface oxidation, no scale just looked tarnished. I kept getting dross/slag at the top of my pot. I assume this is lead or tin oxide reacting to the atmosphere. Is this now just garbage, or is there a way to use this? When cooled it is a powder.
    I was going at this for a while as I wanted to get the best looking boolits I could. Many of them went back in the pot until i got enough to make it worthwhile to fire up the press.
    Looking through the lyman #4 this mold is not listed, nor is the powder i used. I based my col on similar boolits and the boolit profile itself. 1.55 put me right at the top lube groove.
    These all weighed in right around 253gr or so.
    I used Hodgdon's web site load data for powder charge. I have heard that imr red and alliant red dot are the same. They sure look the same. Can anyone confirm this? Lyman #4 does not even list imr red in the burn rate chart.

    At the end of the day I am very happy with the results. I just melted and cast my own lead boolits for my cowboy revolver!! I will shoot some of them tomorrow. Now i just need stupid FedEx to deliver my other mold when they are supposed to (should have been yesterday). And source some more lead, hopefully for cheaper. Still, I made rounds for about .03$ a piece today, mmwaahaaha!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Good job, keep at it. Once you get in a rhythm with the casting, and maintain consistent temp of mold and alloy, your boolits will be a consistent weight and measure. It is an art and a science, an you are becoming an addicted practitioner. Good Luck!
    Common sense Gun Safety . . .

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    IMR Red and Alliant Red Dot do not have the same burn rate on a powder burn rate chart.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Welcome to the MADNESS!!!!
    You will find that the fokes here are
    all great to ask questions.
    If you want to try something new,
    just ask.
    There will be someone here who has
    been their done that!
    And here is what happened to me.

    WELCOME ABORD!!!
    WHITETAIL
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  5. #5
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Welcome to CB Evoken

    pictures are alwys appreciated to help with questions (and show off things your proud of )

  6. #6
    I'm a first time caster too. I also was casting for 45. (45 ACP). My boolits came out too big just like yours. They would not chamber not matter what I tried. It was basically all of them. Maybe your gun is different so its not an issue.

    I was, however, not using the mold handles (yes that was fun!). Some notes:

    -although the boolits did not have flashing, I think maybe the mold pieces halves were not completely flush with each other, causing oversize boolits in one dimension. (Guess I could measure this to confirm but oh well if it happens again I'll measure to see if they are oval)

    -This not-flush-mold-halves could have happened for 2 reasons: a) I was not using the mold handles so perhaps the molds simply were not tightly pushed together and b) I noticed that the LEE molds could use some deburring and didnt seem to be very flush even if you just put the two pieces together cold.

    -Regardless, I bought a sizer setup from LEE. I really like LEE stuff and its amazing to me that make it so cheap in the USA. I am happy to deburr their inexpensive molds in order to save money.

    I also was confused by the endless-supply-of-gray-crap while melting range scrap. Turns out as far as I can tell, at a certain point, stuff on the surface is NOT crap, its TIN or maybe lead oxide.

    To get the crap out, flux with wax/pine sawdust, which will cause crap to congeal into larger masses which you can scoop out. (technically thats not "fluxing" but whatever). Once you dont see any more black things you are done. Takes some practice to scoop out just the black particles and leave the good stuff behind but its not that difficult.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    That frankford arsenal fluxing stuff will attract rust like you wouldn't believe, hydroscopic I think is the word.
    Good fluxing agents are bullet lube, cut from a stick, candlewax, sawdust, kitty litter. There are others but these are the ones I've tried.
    Do you have a thermometer ? A good rule of thumb is to keep your alloy below 730degrees. That's just below the temp where the surface begins to oxidize.

    Casting without handles has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. So no one is going to fall for that.

    Lee molds are notorious for poorly finished cavities. But they can be cleaned up. Use a q-tip to run along the edges of the cavities. Where the cotton catches, use a razor blade to "nick" off the burr. Polish with a ink eraser.

    If your not sure of OAL for a round loaded with a particular bullet ? a good rule of thumb is to crimp in the crimping groove if your bullet has one. A Taper Crimp Die lets you crimp anywhere, within reason.
    The Lee #452-255-RF is a Great bullet for .45Colt. I have a 6cav mold and I'm a confirmed Lee hater.
    I HATE auto-correct


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  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here are some pics if they come through.
    Thanks for all the good tips fellas. To sum it up I will also need:
    - thermometer
    - better casting flux
    - sizer dies
    - more lead
    Like previously stated, all in all I'm super happy with how my first run went. This will be another Avenue in my sickness!

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I use canning wax bought about anywhere and a big bag of pine shavings used for hamster bedding. Both cheap enough and both work great. Lee sells sizer dies that work on a standard press, I've got a number of them in different sizes and they work fine.

    Your boolits came out great.
    "War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. ... A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

    John Stuart Mill

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    Does anyone use an infrared thermometer like the fire dept. uses to check hot spots or do I need a clip on pot style one? It just donned on me that I have one of the pointer style ones that I use to check for heat loss of windows and walls. I know it reads to a fairly high amount, maybe 1500° or so.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I have several infrared thermometers, they don’t work well on shiny surfaces, you would do better with probe type either electronic or dial type.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Hossfly View Post
    I have several infrared thermometers, they don’t work well on shiny surfaces, you would do better with probe type either electronic or dial type.
    Yes this. Go to the thermocouple probe route. You want a long probe that can be mounted in a way where it will be submerged as lead levels in the pot change and give you meaningful readings at all times. Take some time to think about mounting. If the thermocouple gets in the way, gets smashed by adding new lead or stirring, etc....it will be a pain.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Melted lead is constantly oxidizing, so the scum you see on the surface shortly after fluxing is a normal and an on going process. I use Marvelux and the Frankfort Arsenal flux and have for many years. Many on this forum hate the stuff, claim it rusts out casting pots, because it is hygroscopic, which is true. I always preheat my stirring spoon before plunging it into the melted lead to avoid an eruption, but that is good practice regardless of the flux being used. I cast indoors and without ventilation, which is why I use Marvelux. Casting indoors without ventilation is not recommended, but I've done it for nearly 50 years and I'm still above the dirt,

    My casting pots are anywhere from 40 to 20 years old and have NOT rusted out.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

  14. #14
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Anything and everything you put into the furnace will eventually go through the valve...you can't prevent that.

    You can limit your inclusions in the casts & limit the crap that'll jam up in the valve and cause dripping...

    Put clean lead in...lead that has been properly fluxed a couple times and skimmed in the ingot pot, use whatever fluxing material you wish...saw dust is a good selection.

    In the furnace, the casting pot, use wax of any choice to seal the lead and limit the oxidation, use it to completely cover the surface.
    Set the smoke on fire if it doesn't flame up on it's own and keep the smoke to a minimum.

    Don't throw sprue cuts back in the furnace as you cast and break that carbonized wax seal...
    When your about 1/2 or 2/3'rds down in the pot, then add all the culls and sprue cuts back...stir well, recover in wax and go again.

    Some use paraffin chunks some use candles...I like the candles because you don't have to cut the wax up in little chunks...just stir the surface of the pot with the candle and it'll melt at the same time.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I cast with a ladle over a gas burner - so I deal with oxidation all the time. A little wax gets the tin back into the melt and smooths the surface. I'm always dipping in, dumping the sprues back in, and letting the pour run over the mold and back into the pot. I will have to use the was three or four times a session. When the tin is sheeting from the ladle its past time to put some wax in.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Flux comes in many forms - candle wax and kid's crayons are fairly common. Wax lubricates and prevents corrosion when the melt cools. It will also burn to "jump start" melting the pot. "Plain Jane" sawdust in the pot when melted and at pouring temp keeps tin suspended in the alloy.

    Everything I scoop out of the top of the melt is "junk". Don't waste your time or effort on that.

    You need to purchase the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition for load development. Use any of their recommended powders rather than trying to conform your load development to the powders you have on hand, which may be unsuitable to the caliber, weight, and shape of the cast boolit you have poured.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Howdy. Welcome to the forum.

    Fluxing I find is best with candle or bees wax. Don't let that manual fool you into using a pea sized dab. Use about twice that. If you have moulten wax on top of your lead for a long time you used too much. It took me a while to get to where I stirred enough. Stir and scrape the pot for thirty seconds or more the first time each session. Often I flux and stir and skim the dross, then flux again and lightly stir and skim again.

    The powder is junk, the clingy grey scum is mostly tin rich alloy and will flux back in.
    Last edited by Bazoo; 09-07-2020 at 05:01 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Man
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    Just wanted to follow up. Had a chance to crack some of these off over the weekend. Nice pattern at 25yd. Had one flyer, I'm sure that was me though. Point of aim is about 4" low, so I will have to juice up the next batch a little.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy

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    Welcome! All that dross contains a lot of lead. I keep a small junk dish by my put to spoon it in. After a year its probably 6-8 lbs of crap. I then just toss it in the smelting pot when i am melting range scrap. I feel bad for new casters. Almost nothing is in stock.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Did you try your boolits in your revolver throats? I have had great results sizing mine to fit the cylinder throats. Noe makes an excellent bushing style sizing kit. Their case expander plugs which you use with a Lee expander kit are great too. These expanders list two sizes on each. The first and larger size should match your boolit size. Casting your own boolits is a joy!
    Boolit Master? Boolit Straw Boss is more like it.

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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