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Thread: To make shot or not to make shot that is the q...

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    To make shot or not to make shot that is the q...

    Well I've been thinking of making shot for several years and $70/bag is pushing me close to jumping in. I cast 150 lbs of lead a year for bullseye pistol so I'm familiar with hot lead.

    I shoot shotgun for fun, but the family of 5 (and some friends) do too... I figure the payoff on equipment is 2 years, but for me, it's more about self sufficiency...

    So before I jump down the rabbit hole, looking for thoughts on:

    Lead Temps
    Coolant Temps
    Effectiveness of different coolants (does it matter)
    Optimal coolant container height?
    With a littleton/oasis shotmaker, how many lbs per hr can be reasonably made ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I bought shot a couple weeks ago for $49.99@bag . When I first started buying shot almost forty years ago it was $8-10 a big depending on grade all Lawrence , Remington or Winchester . Now it’s anything you can get for five times as much .
    Parker's , 6.5mm's and my family in the Philippines

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Johnch's Avatar
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    My thoughts
    If you only use a bag of shot a year
    IMO it is not worth it

    But if you load a bunch of shotgun shells it can be worth it .... Most of the time

    But if you are looking for the perfect long range turkey pattern or shot for a third gun long range trap load
    Buy that shot

    I cast for Rabbit , squirrel , skeet , sporting clays and other upland birds
    I also case Bismuth shot to use in a couple of old shotguns to duck hunt

    If you shoot enough #4 or other size buckshot it is easy to cast with a Lee mold

    But even though it costs a lot more
    I do buy some shot , as like the Hevi Shot I use for LONG range turkey loads
    There are some types of shot you can not make yourself

    John
    Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
    And I carry a SIG

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I was shooting so much trap that making shot would have been silly. If you use a handful of bags a year it may work out for you.

    Keep in mind your lead is worth about $1.25/lb so you have $40 into a bag of "free" shot you make out of wheel weights. Alloy does matter when making shot. So any junk will not work well.

    Like 6t-sika, I can buy shot for $50/bag. You will make about 25 lbs of shot an hour after factoring in setup, clean up, tumbling, bagging etc. My time is worth more than #10/hr.

    NONE of the guys I know that made shot did it for long. The shot was awful as well.

    Look at attending your State trap shoot or call around to larger trap and skeet clubs in your area. I have always been able to get decent shot prices from those sources.
    Don Verna


  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    What I'm hearing
    1)you can buy shot for 50/bag.... well no... perhaps where you live, but where i live going rate is $64.99.

    2) just drive arround looking for it cheaper somewhere else. We'll, any "big" events are 4-8 hours away. With gas at $5/gallon, that gets silly quick.

    3) if you shoot a little it doesn't make sense

    4) if you shoot a lot it doesn't make sense...

    5) 1.25 x 25 =40...

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    10, I don't personally know, however. An acquaintance of mine started making shot and has had considerable success. He started for the same reason as you though perhaps not that much volume. He recommends it.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

    NRA Benefactor 2008

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Half Dog's Avatar
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    I believe the savings isn’t there. However, I would also like to make shot because it’s something I haven’t done and it would keep me in the casting area.
    The sooner I fall behind...the more time I have to catch up with

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I say to go for it and try your hand at it. I get the self-sufficiency angle. It isn't always about the money. If things don't pan-out like you want, sell the equipment, there will always be a market for it. I thought about casting shot also, even though I shoot few shotshells (maybe a 100 a year), some videos make it look easy to get round shot, while others the shot looks terrible, I am thinking there might be a big learning curve that I don't have the time to learn in my busy life. I found trading my lead for commerical shot works good for me. Start a thread here if you dive into this, I would be interested to see how it go for you.
    Take a kid to the range, you'll both be glad you did.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Comes down to one answer.

    A Do you have large amounts of Clip On Wheel weights smelted, cleaned, fluxed and stashed in ingots?

    If yes then yes, go drip shot.
    If no then pay what it costs to buy it.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.


    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    and give you His peace. Let all of the earth all of His creation worship and praise His name! Make His
    praise glorious!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I don't know what kind of a drudgery making shot can be, but I'd imagine that it's considerable. You can defray material costs by making your own, but you'll have to make a great deal to break even, much less save money.
    ONE possibility that I didn't see discussed was possibly making more than you need, and vending it to other shotgunners. I'm not sure how fast THIS would defray costs, and it might mean MUCH more time at the "shot maker" than you want to invest. But it's one OTHER consideration.
    For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18
    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool become servant to the wise of heart. Proverbs 11:29
    ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40


    Carpe SCOTCH!

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I'm currently injured, but in the future if you ever get to Aberdeen, I can show you my shot maker setup. I mostly make bismuth shot with mine. Pounds per hour depends somewhat. My 120v unit could about 40 pounds an hour with #8 or #7.5. I like to remove some drippers, as it makes it a little easier, so about 30 pounds an hour is more my preferred rate. There are shot makers that will do more than double this rate. It's not a stop and go process, it's not an evening project. You will need to dedicate a weekend for shot making, but when you do, you should be set for a whole year of shot for all but the most fanatic. Once the shot is made, you also have to wash and dry it, and finally mix or tumble it with graphite.

    For me, it all comes down to time. The cost savings are there. I simply do not have time I'm willing to spend making shot usually. I dedicate one weekend for making bismuth shot, which allows me to duck hunt the whole season. Lead shot is getting to the point I might be willing to do lead again. One last thing, making shot is a fair weather proportion only, unless you have a heated shop. Since everything on the maker is out in the open, shot making does not work well when it is cool, and probably not too fun when it is extremely hot either.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    I had a Littleton shot maker 20 years or so ago it made great shot with dimples. Some of the amateur trap and skeet shooters would buy it but preferred to spend double for commercial shot. Bad mouthing ours.

    Said too much work sold the maker online getting investment back.

    Bought more commercial shot from our supplier at 6 pallet lifts it equaled the cost of our made shot. Doubled the cost of shot at the shop and would deliver to different clubs we shot at. [made lots of MONEY with hardly any work]

    My business partner shot our leftover shot winning everywhere including NE championship clays in 2 states.

    Seems trap, skeet and clay shooters are very cheap other than their guns. [6-10K for the gun and shoot their terrible reloads. They are as bad as ML shooters who are definitely the cheapest shooters on earth IMHO.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    That's more helpfull. Thanks.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I make shot as a hobby, is it perfect?, nope. I and no one who I supply it to are expert enough to tell the difference between mine and the store bought.
    Alloy is getting harder to find so that does pose some issues, but I've had some luck dripping pure Pb so that is an option, with a little extra work.

    The initial start up cost is a little expensive, if buy a commercial unit you'll be $600 or $700 into it before you're up and going.

    If this is what you want to try, make sure you go into it eyes wise open.
    Scott

    You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsh1106 View Post
    I make shot as a hobby, is it perfect?, nope. I and no one who I supply it to are expert enough to tell the difference between mine and the store bought.
    Alloy is getting harder to find so that does pose some issues, but I've had some luck dripping pure Pb so that is an option, with a little extra work.

    The initial start up cost is a little expensive, if buy a commercial unit you'll be $600 or $700 into it before you're up and going.

    If this is what you want to try, make sure you go into it eyes wise open.
    A bit of a slip but a good one. Wisdom is sometimes learned the hard way.

    Good post. It can be an expensive venture, and it is not easy job to make 'good' shot.
    Last edited by dverna; 06-25-2022 at 11:04 AM.
    Don Verna


  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have made my own. It is not worth it. Just buy what you use.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Russel Nash's Avatar
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    I made my own birdshotmaker from scratch. You really only need like 3 pieces of steel. A piece of channel iron, a piece of angle iron, and same 1/4” by say 3 inches wide by a foot long piece of barstock or flatstock.

    I used normal hardware store bolts and Tweeco wire welding tips. You got drill two holes in the bolts. One down the threaded shaft…axially…. Just stopping short of punching through the head of the bolt.

    The other hole goes like radially down through a flat in the bolt head. That hole is a quarter inch diameter. It intersects the first hole. The copper wire welding tip segment goes in the flat. Center punch two dimples into the steel to hold the tip in place.

    Drill a series of holes in the angle iron. These accept the bolts.

    Weld everything up.

    I used an electric broiler element underneath.

    Then I used a 20mm ammo can filled with water (yes, plain water) to drop my shot in.

    I would polish the angle iron ramp with a buffing wheel chucked in a drill and charged with rouge.

    Then I would hit it with a graphite lube spray from Napa auto parts.

    I canniballized a wire mesh in/out basket from Walmart’s office supply aisle.

    I also re-purposed some old square cookie tin.

    I bent the mesh into a ramp and attached it to the cookie tin.

    The good shot drops through the mesh and into the bottom of the ammo can. In bad stuff/clumps, like slides down the mesh ramp and into the cookie tin.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Firstly the shot in my area right now is $64@bag . That a bought in the last month for $49.99@bag was two states north of me and I picked up twenty bags on the way to a shoot . Secondly I think it’s great if a person wants to make shot , I however don’t wish to expend the time or effort involved . I probably send 20-30 bags thru the sky each year . Incidentally I picked up close to thirty bags (25 pound bags) of copper plated 7 1/2’s for $40@bag . This guy had bought it in bulk at a skeet shoot ten or so years ago .
    Parker's , 6.5mm's and my family in the Philippines

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    30 bags of shot in a year. Those 8 gauges must be some hungry suckers. I thought I was getting serious a couple years ago when I broke into my 7th bag.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Can't be any more expensive than getting into swaging bullets....
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

    NRA Benefactor 2008

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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