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Thread: Getting started casting.

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub swingingblock2520's Avatar
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    Getting started casting.

    I’ve been reloading since I was a teenager. Grandad was the caster and resident mad wildcatter. Sadly I never got in to casting,fast forward 25yrs and now it’s me teaching my daughters reloading and want to add casting to our repertoire. Besides that,it seems I inherited the mad wildcatting gene from poppop lol I have several hundred pounds of various alloys that I saved from pops loading shack before the sale back in 1998 as well as more babbit of various grades and types that I’d even venture to guess the weight of that I’ve saved out of engines and machines I’ve serviced,rebabbited or scrapped over the years.

    I have a couple of his molds but nothing else so I’ll be buying some molds for calibers we shoot and load for. As far as smelting for molding and melting for casting,can one melt our alloys in a gas forge? I’ve shod horses as a sideline for 20yrs and my propane forge can be ran hot enough to forge weld steel or ran at a low enough pressure to work aluminum hot but not turn in to a puddle on the liner.

    Thanks in advance for any tips,hints and advice.
    J.m Shrader

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    700* F (+ or-) is all you need to turn lead and it's alloys into a remoldable puddle. Your propane forge is more than adequate for the task.

    Boolit mold availability may be problematic as the country hordes. Higher quality mold manufacturers may have inventory, but expect to pay more.

    Buy once - cry once. In the long run you will be glad you did. Inflationary pricing is problematic.

    YMMV
    - brass before steel before aluminum as the mold material
    - 6, 8, 10 cavity molds before 2 & 4 cavity before 1 cavity
    - mold handles are ordinarily sold separately
    - use in a well ventilated space
    - flux the melted alloy with sawdust, which smells good (SYP and Cedar), and is easy to make
    - flux keeps alloy constituents in solution
    - I like 49-49-2 percent Pb-WW-Sn alloy for handguns and handgun calibers in long guns
    - I like Keith style boolit shapes.
    - while I dabble in hollow points I think I prefer solid flat "points" that look as if they will sting a mite going through
    Last edited by Land Owner; 10-16-2021 at 05:42 AM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    I use a cast iron camping pot and a propane torch, has served me well for over 40 years!

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master trapper9260's Avatar
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    Also get a hot plate to preheat your molds. It will make it easy to cast with and when have a new mold clean it of the oil. How you treat a mold is how long it will last you. you can have a cheap mold last your life time depending on how it is used. Land Owner is on for what all he wrote. also for flux you can use wax too , i use ground corn cobs the same I use for tumble my brass for cleaning. I like Keith style boolits also. I make my own boolit lube , you have that way or some dose powder coating . Ask and search on here you will find alot you need . Many here to help.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub swingingblock2520's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I wish I’d have paid more attention to pops when he was casting,if I could turn back the hands of his old rolex and bring him back I would lol. Buddy of mine down at my Local said he has a bunch of molds and reloading equipment that belonged to his late father that wanted to find a home for as he does not hand load I’m gonna call him today to see if he’s home or on a travel gig. If he’s home I’m gonna go look at them,is there anything in particular I should look for? With to stay away from or something that’s desired. Figure I can make him an offer on all of it and bring it all home to clean up. Keep what I can use and pass the rest on to my brothers and sister leadheads here on the old boolit.
    J.m Shrader

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by swingingblock2520 View Post
    Thanks guys. I wish I’d have paid more attention to pops when he was casting,if I could turn back the hands of his old rolex and bring him back I would lol. Buddy of mine down at my Local said he has a bunch of molds and reloading equipment that belonged to his late father that wanted to find a home for as he does not hand load I’m gonna call him today to see if he’s home or on a travel gig. If he’s home I’m gonna go look at them,is there anything in particular I should look for? With to stay away from or something that’s desired. Figure I can make him an offer on all of it and bring it all home to clean up. Keep what I can use and pass the rest on to my brothers and sister leadheads here on the old boolit.
    Be smart about cleaning moulds - no wire wheels, dremels, etc. Search function will be your friend. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Curious Caster
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    The biggest frustration I have encountered during my entire learning experience with casting has been lead and powder coat shaving off during the boolit seating process. Since lead needs to be a bit bigger than jacketed, some dies just aren't the right size. If they're available, get a set of "Cowboy" dies for the caliber you're going to cast, they should have the right expander diameter and enough clearance on the seating die.

    Your forge will be more than enough, but you may want to consider a bottom pour pot... they really are incredibly convenient.
    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.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by swingingblock2520 View Post
    Thanks guys. I wish I’d have paid more attention to pops when he was casting,if I could turn back the hands of his old rolex and bring him back I would lol. Buddy of mine down at my Local said he has a bunch of molds and reloading equipment that belonged to his late father that wanted to find a home for as he does not hand load I’m gonna call him today to see if he’s home or on a travel gig. If he’s home I’m gonna go look at them, is there anything in particular I should look for? With to stay away from or something that’s desired. Figure I can make him an offer on all of it and bring it all home to clean up. Keep what I can use and pass the rest on to my brothers and sister leadheads here on the old boolit.
    I guess it all depends on what you see and what your friend is asking, but if the prices seems reasonable I'd probably try to buy the whole lot. Those you don't want or need can easily be swapped for what you need in swap-n-sale.

    I picked up this lot of casting molds n stuff about 5+/- years ago for an embarrassing low $25 when I was still just thinking about casting, and later picked up a couple more used molds mixed in with other buys. Only one of the Lee aluminum molds turned out to have been mutilated beyond use (but not from the lot pictured).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by oley55; 10-16-2021 at 08:21 AM.
    “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.” Ronald Reagan


  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Congrats on starting the hobby. I strongly suggest you look into a bottom pour pot. It makes things much easier.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    When I started, I started out old school. I picked up a cheap pot and ladle, and found a few old iron Lyman Keith 1 or 2 cavity molds for .357, .44, and .45. cleaned them up and started casting. I posted pictures here to figure out what I was doing wrong, until I had bullets good enough to load.

    By old school I mean I started out loading for .,45 Colt using Elmer Keith's design, ladle poured and air cooled, making my own lube from beeswax and vasoline, pan lubing on a hot plate, and cutting them out with a cut-down 300 win mag case. Starting with the basics helped me understand all the parts of the process.

    When I got that right, then I started varying the process, introducing newer molds, playing around with powder/poly coatings, and getting a little more experimental. It took me about 2 years to get really comfortable troubleshooting molds or issues with the resulting bullets without asking here first, and I still come back here to ask questions and read other people's questions and results. There's more experience here than you can imagine.

    Of course, just like reloading, if you ask a dozen people you'll get a dozen different opinions, but for the most part they're all right in one way or another.

    Good luck, and don't be afraid to ask questions. This is a very helpful group.

    Sent from my Pixel 5a using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub swingingblock2520's Avatar
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    Oley55, he is interested in trading some machine work on a banshee top end and some frame work from where it was wrecked when it got stolen last year.
    J.m Shrader

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by swingingblock2520 View Post
    Oley55, he is interested in trading some machine work on a banshee top end and some frame work from where it was wrecked when it got stolen last year.
    LOL, it was listed on the Florida Gun Trader long before the current craziness was going on. That pic is from the listing. I don't recall any questionable warning signs when I picked them up at his house. Just something he wasn't interested in doing anymore, but even then I recognized the Lyman and RCBS mold handles were worth more than I paid. I cleaned everything up and put them away for the next four years or so.

    If I had wanted or needed this cache you can bet it wouldn't have been available or affordable.
    “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.” Ronald Reagan


  13. #13
    Curious Caster
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicovanj View Post
    The Lyman "M" will solve your problem.
    I actually tried that and it didn't work. The big problem for me turned out to be a super tight ID on my Redding seating die that pushed the case mouth back in.
    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.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub swingingblock2520's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oley55 View Post
    LOL, it was listed on the Florida Gun Trader long before the current craziness was going on. That pic is from the listing. I don't recall any questionable warning signs when I picked them up at his house. Just something he wasn't interested in doing anymore, but even then I recognized the Lyman and RCBS mold handles were worth more than I paid. I cleaned everything up and put them away for the next four years or so. ,

    If I had wanted or needed this cache you can bet it wouldn't have been available or affordable.
    That’s the way it goes brother. When you don’t need something people are sellling by the railcar wholesale,but when you need said item all of the sudden it’s a rare,one of a kind hand made item made by John Moses browning him self lol
    J.m Shrader

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Suggest you download the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook #3, read and study the front part. That will give you the tried and true basics. Learning the basics first may be old school and last century but you will learn how to cast good/excellent bullets much better and quicker. Learning off the internet, even this site, may prove frustrating and disappointing without learning the basics first.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  16. #16
    Boolit Master oldhenry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daekar View Post
    I actually tried that and it didn't work. The big problem for me turned out to be a super tight ID on my Redding seating die that pushed the case mouth back in.
    Redding has a track record of problems with the seating die being too tight & removing the case bell during the seating operational. You can get 10 Lyman "M" dies and seat with that Redding seat die & you'll have the same problem. The Lyman does exactly as it was designed (a good die). The problem is the Redding seating die. I know: I sent one back to them 2 times before they got it right & when they finally got it right they attached a note "adjusted as per customer's request" ( a disclaimer?). Mine was a 38 spec./.357.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy 405grain's Avatar
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    "I actually tried that and it didn't work. The big problem for me turned out to be a super tight ID on my Redding seating die that pushed the case mouth back in."

    I was having the same problem with an RCBS seating die in 44 magnum. I've found that the best way to prevent shaving lead or powder coat when seating a boolit is a three step operation. First, there has to be enough flair on the case mouth for the base of the boolit to begin entering the case. It doesn't have to look like a tuba, but the boolit base should just start into the case. Second: use a seating die that won't squeeze down the flair as the boolit is being seated. I use a 45 Colt seating die to seat the boolits in 44 magnums that I load. Third: make seating and crimping a separate operation. You can seat and crimp a jacketed bullet in one operation, but if you try doing that with a cast bullet it might shave lead just before the bullet is fully seated. On bullets for revolvers a crimp is necessary to prevent the recoil from pulling the bullets forward out of the case like an inertia puller, and locking up the cylinder. On rifles that have tubular magazines a crimp is desirable to keep the bullet from getting shoved back into the case under recoil. On bolt actions and single shots the case neck (generally) only needs enough "crimp" to take the bell out of the case mouth.

    I also recommend the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook #3. It's a gold mine of information.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub swingingblock2520's Avatar
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    Larry Gibson,
    I actually have that in my library along with granddads wildcatters bibles. it’s #4 if that matters,I picked it up at bass pro. I have no problem with old school,I’ve served 2 apprenticeships,I still read actual books and I prefer to load my own fodder for my guns lol
    J.m Shrader

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub swingingblock2520's Avatar
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    #3 should be in transit to me tomorrow,I scored a copy on eBay for $25+free shipping. I downloaded the virtual copy on my iPad but I prefer an actual book I can hold and feel.
    J.m Shrader

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub swingingblock2520's Avatar
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    Me too nico,I’ve always been a bibliophile,I still read a book a week on average. All types & topics,growing up on a dairyfarm,having a library card allowed me to travel the world,back in time,distant worlds,galaxies lol basically anywhere except on a dairyfarm in West Virginia lol
    J.m Shrader

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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