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Thread: Seeking advice for casting and loading

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Seeking advice for casting and loading

    Iím looking to get into casting and loading my own bullets. I have no previous experience and was hoping some of you could let me know what I should do first so I donít get in over my head. There is a lot of source material, so Iím not sure if one book is better than another. My plan is to cast and load 7.62x25 bullets for my Tokarev TT-33 pistol. I noticed that there is no mold specific for that bullet, so I donít know if an alternative exists, or if Iím out of luck. I have other bullets that I want to cast if that one doesnít work out, like 7.62x54r and 9mm luger. Iíd appreciate any advice, thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    Hi Buck,

    Welcome to Castboolits!

    The best place to start is with Glen Fryxell’s treatise on the subject.
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...or-Handgunners

    Read that and you’ll have a great start.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Second Ingot to Target read that David2011 posted thatís how many get started.

    Biggest word of advise, remember what your working with when you start casting, this stuff is dangerous so wear proper face protection. My first session almost ended with me losing an eye for my lack of experience but luck was on my side, donít count on that and take precautions.

    I havenít loaded any of the calibers you mention but from what Iíve read on here I suspect all of them might be on the harder side to reliably load. I know 9mm is considered by many to be tough to dial in cast bullets for. May I suggest starting with something low pressure thatís proven to be easier for others, like 38/357 or 45?

    Also, if you add what state youíre in to your profile (or post on this thread) there might be a friendly caster who will let you come by and learn from them before you have to invest in all the equipment and what not. I know several times Iíve read of members here offering to ďtutorĒ people on the art.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    The "latest" book that covers most cast "boolits" (Castboolits nomenclature as opposed to copper solid or jacketed "bullets") is the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 4th Edition.

    Expand your knowledge base exponentially. Read. Read. And Read some more. There are MANY cast boolit starter threads here. We're available for help when you get stuck, and we recognize that EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE when you are getting started. Help yourself to the smorgasbord of questions and responses already posted here.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  5. #5
    To make it a bit less daunting/$$$ I think I would get the reloading side of things set up and going well. Then, look at casting once you know you enjoy reloading and are going to stick with it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohen cepel View Post
    To make it a bit less daunting/$$$ I think I would get the reloading side of things set up and going well. Then, look at casting once you know you enjoy reloading and are going to stick with it.
    +1 on this. And while you are doing this find a source for lead and start stock piling. With a 115 grain bullet you will only get about 60 bullets per pound of lead.

    The biggest caution is "DO NOT PUT LEAD THAT COULD HAVE MOISTURE TRAPPED IN IT INTO A POT THAT HAS ALREADY MELTED LEAD!!!" I learned this the hard way about 45 years ago.
    A vote for anyone other then the conservative candidates is a vote for the liberal candidates.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Need to find free WW or Scrap lead to make casting worth while. Or just buy cast- https://www.missouribullet.com/

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    First off Buck,, "Welcome!"

    That done,, you have come to the right place to gain a wealth of knowledge. And I echo the comments about the Lyman book, as well as the Glen Fryxell read. Both are excellent.

    And of course,, SAFETY first as noted above.

    The comment about getting comfortable with reloading is also a concern. If you are just starting out in reloading,, I would start with that & gain a bit of experience before delving into melting metals for bullets. If you are already a reloader,, then for most of us here,, casting is the logical thing.

    It's not hard,,, but at the same time it can be frustrating. Basically, you are melting lead, tin & antimony to get a hard enough metal to make a bullet.
    A pot to melt stuff,, a heat source, a mold, as well as a few small things like a wooden mallet, skimming/straining spoon, and you can make bullets.
    The Lyman book walks through the basics easily.

    BUT,, there are several things that need to happen to make sure the bullets you cast work well in YOUR gun,, ! That's where things get frustrating.
    Improper sized bullets, a good lube or powder coating, (PCing is easy!) bullet hardness,, velocities, all play into the mix to get satisfaction.

    Decades ago,, I jumped in,, w/o any experience,, or a mentor, much less the internet. Sometimes my alloy & bullets turned out good,, and other times,, well, it was easier to throw them back in the pot & try again. Then along came leading in my barrels,, not to mention,, so-so accuracy.
    Frustrating to say the least.
    Finally,, putting aside my macho attitude,, I began to study, buy a few books, and learned to "slug my bore," and "size to match," and lastly,, make a proper alloy. Suddenly,, the leading went away,, molds filled out much better,, and my accuracy & pleasure both increased.
    Fast forward several decades,, and this new process called "powder coating" was discovered & shared by a few of my fellow casting buddies. Older,, wiser, & willing to learn,, I studied it a bit,, and found it was NOT hard,, inexpensive to set up, and actually improved a few things. (Less smoke, slightly higher velocities, and CLEANER in my guns.)

    Just yesterday,, I was deer hunting,, and took a whitetail with a handgun, an I was using my cast bullets,, powder coated & all. One shot, and fresh meat for supper last night.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Cast10's Avatar
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    All good info above….I’d suggest work one step at a time. Master one, then move on.
    1. Study up and begin acquiring reloading equipment and components. Get a good set of manuals, say Hornady or RCBS (or both!) reloading books. They’ll guide you through the process. Really read to understand how to select powders, including pressures on the firearms you will be using. Maybe cast some jacketed bullets first to get some confidence before moving ahead with casting.
    2. Study and begin acquiring smelting/casting equipment. Tons of info here, just search. I read a lot here and as a newby myself have had excellent outcome.
    3. Always be safe!!!! Read three times before you do it! Understand what you are doing and why, otherwise, go back and read some more, or then ASK QUESTIONS.

    Best of luck to ya~

  10. #10
    Boolit Master daloper's Avatar
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    Welcome to the madness. One thing you might want to do is to put in your state in your location. You might get someone local that will help give you some face to face mentoring.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy para45lda's Avatar
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    Welcome!!
    Everyone has given great advice and the only thing I'll add is finding a good mentor (local if possible).
    Notice I said good. If they don't have at least 2 reloading manuals keep looking. Of course now days there is tons of info available online as well. Where are you?

    Good luck
    If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.
    SASS 17373
    Proud Dad of a USAF Airman

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I will echo the advice above and STRONGLY suggest reloading to start with. If you do not like reloading, casting is a next to useless skill to have.

    I would start reloading for your 9mm with jacketed bullets as jacketed bullets are not very expensive. After loading about 1-2000 you will get a feel if this hobby is for you. Many folks start with great expectations and find it boring. BTW, I do not enjoy any aspect of reloading or casting so for me it is not a hobby. I shoot quite a bit and the cost savings are worth the "work"...and for me it is work. There are 100's on here who do it FUN!!!

    You need to decide which group you fit into. If you are low volume shooter, your needs will be different and if it is FUN it makes a huge difference. For example, I would never load pistol rounds on a single stage press but if you are having fun it does not matter much.

    Once you decide reloading is for you (figure about $200-300 to get set up for that) then you can decide if you want to upgrade to a progressive press for pistol ammunition and "work" less or invest in casting to make less expensive bullets (figure about $300 to get set up to cast, lube and size).

    Unlike another poster mentioned, I find I save money even using commercial alloy and do not use a lot of "free" or salvaged material. But you can ignore all that until you decide if casting is something you want to do.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    I would get the Lyman book. It has the most bang for the buck as a reference. Most all reloading companies have you tube videos that you can watch.
    I would get set up for reloading before starting casting. Jacketed bullets are easier to start with.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    If I were not a wheel gun junkie, I probably would not bother to cast. I would definitely learn to reload though. The Rock Chucker master reloading kit is a good Way to start reloading. They go on sale often too. There are guys on this site who ladle pour their boolits and that is probably the cheapest way to start casting. A camp stove, a cast iron pot, a ladle and a mold. But you will of course need a reloading setup to use those boolits you make.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cast10 View Post
    All good info above….I’d suggest work one step at a time. Master one, then move on.
    1. Study up and begin acquiring reloading equipment and components. Get a good set of manuals, say Hornady or RCBS (or both!) reloading books. They’ll guide you through the process. Really read to understand how to select powders, including pressures on the firearms you will be using. Maybe cast some jacketed bullets first to get some confidence before moving ahead with casting.
    2. Study and begin acquiring smelting/casting equipment. Tons of info here, just search. I read a lot here and as a newby myself have had excellent outcome.
    3. Always be safe!!!! Read three times before you do it! Understand what you are doing and why, otherwise, go back and read some more, or then ASK QUESTIONS.

    Best of luck to ya~
    Cast that is underlined should read load. But you could load commercially cast bullets instead of jacketed to learn if you want to go further and cast your own.
    Spell check doesn't work in Chrome, so if something is spelled wrong, it's just a typo that I missed.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    I second the Rock Chucker kit but I like the one with a mechanical scale and uniflow powder dispenser.
    Lyman cast bullet 3 is in my opinion better than 4 and free online.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    First off welcome! Were do I start? I would definitely get a reloading manual first. Lyman 50th is the latest I believe. It pretty much covers the basics. I would also recommend the latest Lee manual. The Lyman is great but it tend to be specific as to why certain jacketed bullet and the limited data it has on Cast Boolets. I recommend the lead manual to new reloaders because it’s more generic in that it’ll give you low data for 124 grain jacketed bullet or 125 grain lead round nose bullet where it’s not specifically calling out a manufacturer or in the case of Cast Boolets a specific bullet cast from a specific mold. I hope that makes sense I did my mind but you never know when you write it out. I would not depend on low data that you get off the Internet. Do you know the old saying it must be true I read it on the Internet. As others have suggested I would start out loading for jacketed bullets and or store-bought lead bullets to see whether or not you’re going to enjoy it before you invest a lot of money. I have no idea what kind of budget you have soda recommend a specific brand it’s kind a hard to do when you don’t have an idea how much money someone wants to spend. You are fine people have their own specific likes and dislikes as to whether or not our CBS is good or Lyman is good or Dylan is good or Lee is good. It’s kind of like what kind of cars do you like Chevys or Fords. It’s pretty much a personal preference. I will tell you that for someone starting out there is nothing wrong with Lee presses and dies. And they tend to be quite a bit less expensive than other brands. They are CBS rock chucker is a great press and you can do just about anything on it. However you can probably get set up with a Lee press,dies for one caliber, a scale, maybe even a powder measure For less then in RCBS rock chucker costs by itself. And for someone that’s anonymous and just starting out I don’t recommend turret presses or progressive presses. Start out with a single stage press. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong in the reloading process until you’re comfortable with the process. I strongly recommend against using terret presses or progressive presses. Learn the process step by step. You kind a need to learn to walk before you can run that’s my opinion. Do lots of reading and ask questions here on the forum. This forum has a plethora of well experienced and knowledgeable reloaders that are willing to share with someone just starting out. Hopefully some of what I posted here will be helpful to you. In closing I just like to say three things to you. Good luck. Have fun. And above all else be safe.
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    You have gotten lots of good advice. I will add that Arsenal and/or Accurate molds should be able to supply a Tokarev specific mold.
    When you care enough to send the very best, send an ounce of lead.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Paso View Post
    I like the one with a mechanical scale and uniflow powder dispenser.
    I agree with this 100%. My RCBS Uniflo is over 45 years old and still throws a very consistent charges. I have loaded 1000's of handgun rounds on single stage presses. You just have to learn to do it it stages.

    Start with a tricycle and then move up to a two wheeler. If you decide you want a progressive press you will not have a problem finding a home for a good single stage press.
    A vote for anyone other then the conservative candidates is a vote for the liberal candidates.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    You will regret not keeping the single stage press. There are so many times you might need to do a single step in the process and you will never be able to replace your old press at a decent price. Push through bullet size use for one of any number of processes.

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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