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Thread: Cheap way to get back into casting

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy catkiller45's Avatar
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    Cheap way to get back into casting

    I guess it was about 40 years ago that I sold all of my casting stuff. Now I have all these 44 bullet that I can't use do to being to small diameter for my Henry. But I need a ,432 diameter mold. I thought about melting these down and remolding them. Maybe it's not worth the effort. Any thoughts on this. I figured to just shoot as cast. Either pan lube or use Lee alox. But I need a mold and furnace. Thanks..
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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    If they work as cast- fine.

    Otherwise, the cheapest casting set up I know of that works well:
    Lee molds are coming back in stock for around $30.
    For a furnace, if you're single- you can do it in the kitchen with a fan pulling out the fumes & smoke.
    If you're married, ya might have to get a wood fire and a old steel/iron thrift store pot.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Powder coat can put a little more diameter on the boolits you already have...
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    the mold is of primary importance. melting pot can be as simple as a thrift store stainless cooking pot or pan and a stainless table spoon and some wood bolted or screwed into the handle. a little wood fire is all that was used in the field during many wars and conflicts as well as hunters prior to invention of brass cased ammo.
    the 640 mold designs work great in all my lever actions spend the money on an mp 432640 mold and you won't regret it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by imashooter2 View Post
    Powder coat can put a little more diameter on the boolits you already have...
    Catkiller45,

    my thought exactly, how much "TOO small" for your Henry rifle are your boolits?

    An oven thermometer, a cheapo toaster oven (new or from a thrift store) and a pound of PC powder is about all you need. At least for a look see, or throw out a line and see if there are any local area forum members who would coat a few for ya. If that doesn't work, PM me for my address and I'll coat some for ya. I have NOE sizers from .429-.433" and some Lee 44 sizers including one opened up to 434" trying to feed my Rossi, but didn't work because my loading gate wouldn't allow a 434" loaded case to pass through. (but that's a whole nother story).

    No matter which route, you are still gonna need the appropriate boolit sizer (Lee or NOE).
    Last edited by oley55; 10-15-2021 at 03:13 PM.
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  6. #6
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    If the bullets you have are not jacketed and you have a drill press you could try putting a metal rod in the drill press and adjust the depth so you just "bump" the bullet out a bit. Then run through a sizer.

    Thrift store steel pot look for ones that have as solid handle, the black bakelight will breakd down and some handles are not up to moving the weight of a pot of lead. If you can find a hot plate of at least 750 watts cheap at garage or thrift sale that and the pot are the cheapest solution might put you out $30. I tend to advocate for a bit more spent on gear that will provide long term use at a reasonable price.

    Titan reloading has new 10 lb melters at $43 and 20 lb for $59 A Lyman little dipper ladle for pouring is around $27 much easier than a spoon. The Lee dipper is not something I would recommend. Better can be had for not much more money. But yes you can use a spoon. Even one of those little salad dressing ladles works ok. I found one for $2 at a Salvation Army back when, bent the handle to 90* at the bowl, and I still use it.

    You can also post in the Swapping & Selling here that you WTB (want to buy) a melting pot. As long as they work and don't look awful they are a piece of equipment that tends to hold value but a lot of members have accumulated old ones that they may be willing to sell for a better price than new.

    Lee molds are the "Chevy" of molds. Nothing fancy but affordable. Take care of them, and watch the sprue plate screw doesn't tighten or loosen so the top of the mold gets damaged (no I don't want to talk about it) and they will easily get you through a few thousand cast bullets without issue. A top quality brass or steel mold is a joy, as is a good solid aluminum mold but it is a joy that generally costs about 3 or more times what the Lee does.

    Watch the Group Buy molds here in the forum. That can be a way to pick up a great mold at a good price. I don't shoot the heavies you would want but I do seem to recall there have been some group buys for those type of molds. Doubt you would regret the money spent. If nothing else they tend to hold resale value. A 2 cavity Lee not so much.

    Accurate, NOE, and MP molds are all good options for your "forever" mold choices. But to get started? A $30 Lee is a good choice. Not like you are trying to feed a 30 round mag auto loader where a two cavity mold would break your heart.

    Good luck, you may even get lucky and find someone with an old mold and a melter for a single price if you include that mold caliber and weight in the same WTB posting but a lot of folks have an extra melter, while a lot of folks don't consider any mold an "extra" rather just consider more molds as more goodness.

    Ok I will talk about it. I drilled and tapped all my Lee molds for a set screw after messing up one when the sprue plate moved. I was in my rhythm, had my groove on, and it wasn't until the darn plate was so tight it almost wouldn't open that I realized I was scuffing the top of the mold. One hole got nicked. So now all my Lee molds are drilled and tapped for a set screw to hold the sprue plate screw where I put it. Some molds come with this done, which is one reason they cost more.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow so we added an "S".
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  7. #7
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    If the number of bullets you have is worth the $8 in shipping you might post a WTT (Wanted to Trade) in swapping and selling could be someone has some .432 bullets they would swap for your what I'm guessing are .429 bullets, each paying own shipping in the trade.

    Lee molds are 430 so may not be big enough although as others have mentioned with a powder coat they would be larger. One can also use abrasive paste or cleanser to spin a bullet in the mold to open it up a little. Search site for Leementing. Or accept a seam fin and add a layer of furnace tape to the mold face to pick up a bit of diameter. I would think it would be better to bite the bullet and spend the money on the size one needs but sometimes the money just ain't there so you go with what will work.
    Last edited by RogerDat; 10-15-2021 at 03:54 PM.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow so we added an "S".
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Getting all the stuff brand new at one time can be a very expensive proposition. Spread it out over a couple of months and its not so bad. Of course then you have to pay multiple shipping charges...

    If I were to start over from ground zero today, I would get the Lee Magnum Melter (dipper pot) for ~$60, an RCBS ladle ~$28, and a new Lee mold ~$30. About $130 by the time you pay shipping. Next month, I'd get whatever sizing die I needed that fit my reloading press.

    Robert

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    My Henry 44mag works well with cast .431 bullets.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    If $200.00 is "precious" to your household budget then don't cast and don't shoot until it isn't...you are not going to get rich doing either. If you can afford this hobby, buy best-better-good in that order. In the long run you will be happier for it..
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  11. #11
    Curious Caster
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    Another vote for powder coat. If your wife isn't looking, you just need a silicone baking pad, an old sour cream container, some plastic BBs, and the powder itself.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry7293 View Post
    My Henry 44mag works well with cast .431 bullets.
    In my Henry the HSM Cowboy loads key-hole at 15 yards - they must have been .428. Anyhow I got some Oregon Trail laser cast .431" 240 grain swc's and they were quite accurate. Later I bought a Lee TL .430" 240 grain mold, and they are accurate in my Rossi R92. I traded my Henry off - just too heavy at 8.5 pounds.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I'm with you on shooting "as-cast" and foregoing the sizer. Buy a Lee mould and "Beagle" it using aluminum HVAC tape. It's an easy way to pick up a couple thousandth's of diameter with no permanent alteration to the mould.

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...%93beagling%94
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  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Well I agree with Roger about "bumping up" the size of your bullets.

    You can easily go from .308 to .323 or so, then size back as needed.

    Even a rubber mallet setting a gas check can bump up 3 to 5 thousandths depending on how hard you hit it.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    If you have a single stage press that accepts 7/8 x 14 dies, get a bolt that size and long enough to to contact the press ram at full stroke. A flat piece of mild steel on top of the ram and your cast bullet on top should achieve your bump up. Adjustment of the bolt should help you hit the "sweet spot" where no sizing is necessary.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I dunno how bumping without follow-up sizing works. Bumping is a wag at best with no control of where on the bullet the swelling occurred. A sizer kinda smooths everything out and provides a standard where each bullet is at least marginally the similar.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Most times you only got to be 10% smarter than the tools and material to make it work. Get your mic out, bump it, measure it, seat it, pull it, mic it, and see if that's the size you need. If not, turn the bolt a little more and repeat.

  18. #18
    Another vote for powder coat. I was given a bunch of 9mm cast that measured .355". They shot poorly in my Ruger 9mm. It's bore measures .357". PC increased diameter by .002" and now they shoot great.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    The first question I’d ask myself is whether there’s enough to justify the time & effort.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    After you have a mold, the only things you need is a metal pot/pan (not aluminum), a big soup spoon and a heat source. It can be a wood fire to a stove top or anything in between.

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