Casting your own


June 21, 2006, 06:00 AM
I know I have asked this one before but I can't find the thread ( story of my life!!!)

Can ANYONE give me any web sites that explain how to cast your own BALLS step by step, sortr of an idiots guide and describe the kit that is needed to do it. :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

Cheers from the loony bin!

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June 21, 2006, 08:12 AM
I don't know of a web site to explain casting, but maybe my experience(s) will help: I bought a Lee Electric Melter (bottom pour). Works great. Put the lead in, wait till it melts, lift the lever and it pours from the bottom into your mould (Lee double cavity moulds from Track of the Wolf. I bought .375, .380., .454., .490). I like the bottom pour melter because the crud floats to the top of the pot (add flux, burn it off, scoop it out with a ladel). The bottom pour nozzle does clog - keep a paper clip handy to clean it out. But...BE CAREFUL. Cast outdoors, wear eye protection, hand/arm protection, no bare feet, watch out for splashes when you add anything to the pot, especially water. The mould must be hot or the balls will come out deformed. It's really a simple, time consuming procedure that saves alot of CASH over buying the balls. And, only use pure lead - no wheelweights. The other method is to melt the lead in a melting pot and scoop it out with a ladel and pour it into the moulds - I like electricity and bottom pour.
Ask me about Tap O Cap...

June 21, 2006, 09:57 AM
Here's a good article


June 21, 2006, 03:02 PM
I shot an arrow in the air, it came to earth I know not where - BUGGER, that's 17 I have lost this week!!

Thanks for the link Bummer

June 21, 2006, 04:02 PM
Does that mean..sniffle sniffle...that I didn't help you at all? sniffle sniffle

June 21, 2006, 06:36 PM
On the contrary my dear chap, very interesting and informative. I am putting everything I get in a file which I will read a little later and pick the best bits out to try.
I am casting lead balls cos I have run out of arrows!!

June 22, 2006, 12:41 AM

Just buy a Lee mould in your calibre. There is an instruction sheet with each mould that tells you in a general way how to cast. Tells you to clean the mould, tells you to smoke the mould with a smoky match or whatever, tells you how to heat the mould, dip the corner into the melted lead till it hots up.

It IS a rather simple thing to do. People have been doing it for hundreds of years. A lot of them a little dumber than us.

I specifically mention the Lee brand, if you can get it, because the moulds are aliminum blocks, heat quickly, cool quickly, so the balls are ready to drop quicker, and they come WITH handles, and they are cheaper for the WHOLE thing than most other brands blocks alone, indeed, cheaper, I think, than the handles alone for Lyman and the like.

A double cavity is less than 20 USD, and a bottom pour melting pot, 10 pound capacity, is less than 40 USD.

Should you decide to get these, would you please let us know what they cost in either the UK or France?



June 22, 2006, 03:49 AM
Hi George.
I already have a Pedersoli double mold which came with my 1858. I also have some roofing lead, about 10lbs so I was really looking for how and what kit. I have a bottled gas stove and a small, heavy stainless steel pan but no ladle.

This is an exercise in ' convincing the wife it's cheaper' so I am sure you can see my problems!!


June 22, 2006, 09:18 AM
Cabelas sells a ladle and also i bought a new one at a local sportsmanswarehouse store here local .. its made by Lyman and is a little bigger than the one i bought at cabelas .

June 22, 2006, 11:16 PM
Started casting around 1962 or so and have been at it ever since. I know lots of people use Lee molds but I have never cared for them. Last one I tried was a .380 round ball double cavity, and I pitched it in frustration. I think you get what you pay for and that goes double when it comes to bullet molds. My modern ones are Hensley and Gibbs (now scarce) and Lymans are okay.

Casting is an art form--simple but not easy. I cast over a gas burner, use a ladle, and rely heavily on a good thermometer. Wear eye protection, a good shop apron, long sleeves, and welder's gloves. Have good ventilation and be careful. That stuff is hot.

June 22, 2006, 11:48 PM

In that case, just hunt around for a ladle. You can melt the lead, you have the mould, just hot it up till it makeas a good ball.

If you can get a thermometer to tell you how hot the melt is, so much the better. Don't have to guess.

If you don't, when you have a good ball, remember that setting for your burner. Should be the same next time.



If I have time, I will scan my own little flyleaf of instructions, post for you.



Casting is not an "artform", as I said, dumber people than you and I have done it for hundreds of years.

1/4 ounce of melted lead into a heated mould? An ARTFORM, f'r chrissake!!!!

Some people have a very high opinion of themselves, "I can do it, YOU can't"!!!!

BULL****, and if that is censored, BULLSH*T!!!!

June 23, 2006, 03:17 AM
I dunno I have xlint castings with Lee molds, got 5 of um from .380 2cav to .58 minnie balls 500gr. They heat fast cool fast mold faster than steel molds do. For the most part spruless, and about $17 to $20.

June 23, 2006, 03:31 AM
Thanks all for your input. I am casting next Wednesday with a pal from the gunclub who is going to show me how. Will post results and pics.

June 23, 2006, 04:20 AM
Duncan do yourself a favor and get a small Lee cast iron melting pot and ladel with the pourspout. I have had both that and thesmall Lee electric pot for about 20 years. I still like the way the cast iron pot and ladel work.
Have fun on "C" Day...

June 23, 2006, 06:42 PM
I've been casting for many years...not only bullets but toy soldiers and cannon to fantasy figures.
I own Lee, Lyman, RCBS, and Saeco molds useing pure lead, wheel weights and linotype and rarely have ever had a problem with Lee molds. They cast good bullets just as well as the other molds I mentioned. Take care of them and they will last a lifetime or two.
(The only mold I had a problem with had Shiloh Sharps name on it for a hollow base .58 caliber bullet...never worked properly so threw it in the drawer and left it there.)
It's true it's not an art form but it does take a lot of practice to gain the experience to cast excellent bullets consistently. Once you gain that experience you never seem to forget it.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
June 23, 2006, 09:09 PM
The Original Saeco Company bought The Cramer company in 1947 and started making Custom Precision Molds for top marksman competitors. Their motto was Match Winning Molds and were limited to 4 cavities so that 4 identical bullet could be cast with the help of machinists with decades of experience and a Space and Aircraft contracting Machine shop in addition to the Saeco Machinists. They were so successful they put H&G out of business of selling to the top ranking match competitors.

A English company bought the H&G name years later witha limited market since the owner of Saeco died from his WW2 injuries in 1979. Later companies buying the Saeco name used cheap materials and workmanship smearing the great Saeco name and no molds made today compare with the many lifetime quality of the Original Saeco molds that can be recognized by their dark colored Patterned gunstock Walnut handles that very seldom show up for sale as they are kept in families and with competitor friends when a Saeco mold owner's competing days are done.

Anyone wishing to know what are Original Saeco Markings and those of later companies with the name can ask me.

Little known was that I had made a line of the same competitor lifetime molds in .45 & .50 Thompson Center Maxiballs and 11 sizes of round balls from .320 to .458

Paul Fitz Jones
Original Saeco Co. Distributor

June 23, 2006, 10:10 PM

I agree. Like riding a bicycle, practice is required to learn how to make a good ball. After you have learned, as for casting, after a year's layoff, you may make a few wrinkled balls but you will soon be back into the swing of things.



June 24, 2006, 03:36 AM
Seems to me that my main problem is going to be "wrinkled balls"!!
Hope Tess is not reading!! Where did she go?
Am off to the range cos it is annual comp weekend and of course, it just started to rain, first drops for 3 weeks - typical!!

June 24, 2006, 02:05 PM

Lots of good advice here. The only other thing I can think of is a word of caution: DON'T pick up your work to admire it until after it cools! (guess how I learned that pearl of wisdom...)


June 27, 2006, 04:39 PM
Well I did some casting today and finished up with 67 good .457 balls of 9.38 grams 0.7 grams ( 144.73 grains 1.08 grains ). The Hornady balls I have been using are 9.115 grams ( 141 grains ).

Lead was heated on gas in a stainless steel pan and the dross skimmed with a tablespoon. Although I was using new roofing (flashing) lead there was a lot of dross. I added some beeswax and it flared up but am not sure if it helped to clear the dross.

I used a 2 ball Pedersoli steel mould and warmed it over a low gas flame to start with. I had a second pot going on another burner and put the imperfect balls in there to melt down thus keeping the casting pot at a good temp.

Balls were ejected into a bucket of cold water and the duff ones returned to the backup pot with a spoon.

All together it was a simple job but I think one that should be done in the winter months instead of the summer heat.
ps No pics cos I didn't think there was anything worth photographing. D

June 27, 2006, 05:12 PM
Balls were ejected into a bucket of cold water
This is not a good idea for several reasons:
1. Having water or any liquid near molten lead is asking for disaster...if any moisture contacts the lead in the pot it will instantly convert to steam and cause what appears to be an explosion with molten lead flying in all directions!

2. Dropping them into liquid while still hot doesn't allow the molten interior to solidify at the same rate as the outer shell and could cause pockets or voids. For consistency just drop them straight from the mold onto your work table onto an old towel which has been folded over a few times. This will keep them from cooling off too fast on the outside while dropping a distance from the mold to the water and cooling off too fast in the water. Let them cool down naturally. You'll be happy you did!

June 27, 2006, 05:47 PM
True about the water ..get rid of it ..piece of old leather in a pie pan is what i use for a drop spot . as for the doss , it`s gonna happen every time you cast never goes away ..something ya have to deal with .. i wouldn`t use my good bees wax though ..i bought a case of tea candles at the dollar store for a buck and just cut a piece of one of them for the pot... any form of cheap wax works fine ..and with the little candles you can smoke the inside of the mold with one .. good pratice too . it`ll make the balls not stick to the mold .

June 27, 2006, 06:33 PM

What is the company that makes the more precise ball mould, whatever the price or the material ????

Lee ? Lyman ? and please, tell me why...

To cast or not to cast...

June 27, 2006, 06:38 PM
This is not a good idea for several reasons:
I see your point. The set up is in my workshop with the burners and pots on a large, solid, 4' square table.
The water was about 3 gallons in a bucket that was about 18" lower than the table top and 3 feet away from it so no possibility of contact.

Question:- If the inside of the ball suffered from voids in cooling wouldn't that effect and distort the outer. A mass is a mass and if the outer skin is solid wouldn't the inside also be solid?


June 27, 2006, 06:50 PM
Duncan, Did you use calipers to measure the various outer diameters and consistency of the water cooled balls? Just curious if water had any effect...

June 28, 2006, 03:16 PM
Did you use calipers to measure the various outer diameters and consistency of the water cooled balls? Just curious if water had any effect...

No I just weighed them on a Lyman 500 scale. I will size them tomorow and let you know. :scrutiny: :scrutiny: :scrutiny:

June 28, 2006, 07:03 PM
Hello everybody,
i had discovered this forum while searching about "paper cartridge", found valuable informations and a good place.

Watercooling isn't usefull, i second the use of old towel to catch the bullet.
Upper right corner, my first lead round balls. Other are aloyed 45-200 and 459-325

You may use pure lead or certified foundry alloy (i do), there is always some dross to skim.

When you will cast alloyed lead it may come usefull as antimony or arsenic in the alloy permit heat treating cast bullet. Watercooled cast bullets will see there hardness jumping from 9~12 to 25~32 (roughly estimated).

June 28, 2006, 11:25 PM
Duncan, Chilled or not, the ball will have any voids in it whether allowed to cool naturally or dropped into water.

If there IS an air pocket, it will be there regardless. There are so called experts who have cast and cut apart balls and found voids. They are convinced you will not get rid of them unless you allow the full weight of the lead to force it into the mould. In fact, if you allow the pot to get too low, you will get less filling, more voids. That is one argument against using a ladle, no column of weight to "push" the lead into the mould.

The other argument is for those who insist on "pure lead". Air cooled pure lead will be softer than what you could call "chilled shot".

Overall, how long did it take you to make 67 balls?



I meant to say what the guy above me did but the site was down for me. I didn't know what the hardness increase was either, just was sure it would be harder. Only just a minute ago was able to submit my reply from last night.

June 29, 2006, 03:57 AM
Welcome to the fray Pascal, hope you enjoy the forum. Where in France are you? PM me if you don't want it posted up here.


Chilled or not, the ball will have any voids in it whether allowed to cool naturally or dropped into water.

Just what I thought. It took about an hour to cast the 67 plus about 20 or so rejects. That was from starting with a cold pot to saying Bu**er this for a game of lead soldiers and coming in for a long, cool drink!
I am now going to shoot them, probably this Sunday, before doing any more. I still have to size them though and will post later about this.


June 29, 2006, 04:05 AM

What do you mean "have to size them"?

Mike them, OK, you don't "size" round ball. You want the ball to be a swage fit in the chambers.



June 29, 2006, 06:01 AM
What do you mean "have to size them"?
Ahaa! Clever types us Englishmen.
I checked them with my digital calipers against the Speer and Hornady balls I have but I also checked them for 'roundness' by passing them through a round guage to see if there was any distortion on them - just to confirm that quenching had no effect on the outer shape.
So far this shows that:
1. They are all of a good weight tolerence.
2: They are all round.
3: They are all the same size.
4: They are VERY cheap!

Will have to see how they shoot. That will be the last report.

confed sailor
July 1, 2006, 10:19 AM
ive water quenched .575 minies from my lee mould, they do distort. alternatly ive water quenched .454 round nose from a lee mould and they dont distort, i personally think its a function of the thin minie skirt and the larger internal mass of the 525 grain minie.

July 3, 2006, 07:49 AM
Well, as promised here is my final shoot on Sunday using the balls I cast.
Shot dualist at 25 mtrs ( 27 yards ) with a lot of sun and very little following wind.
All I need to do now is make a bigger handgrip so I can control the gun better.

July 3, 2006, 12:40 PM
Good shootin Duncan! Remind me not to make you angry...LoL!
Boolits work really good.

July 6, 2006, 04:28 PM
Water quenching isn't going to result in any voids that aren't already there. There's either enough lead to fill the mold or there isn't. Rapidity of cooling won't change that. Any void is going to show up when you weigh or inspect anyway.
Casting hot, as is necessary with non-alloyed lead for BP use,coupled with slow cooling can result in bullets that sag out of round while cooling. I experienced this quite a bit with .452 bullets that became ovoid,even when they were sitting on a soft surface.
Regarding the danger of lead and water: obviously the water should be well below the table level that you're casting on. Water above the lead source is the problem,not water below the lead source. You have more to worry about from sweat or ceiling leaks when casting.

July 6, 2006, 04:35 PM
Never heard of spills ..happened once here .

July 6, 2006, 05:07 PM
Yes but life is a dangerous place no matter what you are doing. I was a Health and Safety Manager before I came to live here in France.
Evaluate the Hazard(s)
Remove if you can.
If you can't then reduce to the minimum
Protect against the residual hazard.
And that gentlemen is the way it is done here!! :cool:

Thanks for all your input.

The Sicilian
July 13, 2006, 01:45 AM
I just started casting...I use Lee molds. Like George said, they work fine and cost less than the competition. I also bought a Production pot 4 and it speeds things up (at least I imagine it does since I never used a ladle before!) Dropping your balls into water to cool them is definitely a bad idea Duncan, besides the fact that it could create an explosion it doesn't make any sense. Just fold an old towel on your work surface and drop the balls on the towel. They will cool down in about five or ten minutes. If you want to inspect them for wrinkles just use a spoon to move them around, it works fine. I've also heard that you should pure your metal slightly off center and not too close to the mold, this will cause a swirling action and will reduce voids and imperfections (Got that tidbit of wisdom directly from the instructions that came with Mr.Lee's mold...Or did I get that from his book on modern reloading? Sheesh! I must be getting old!

It would be an art form if you took the time to engrave each any every bullet or ball with some beautiful little hunting scene, but beyond that it just takes a little practice! :D

November 18, 2006, 12:14 PM
Thought I would raise this one again because I have just been to collect some FREE lead.

Some of it has copper joined into it and some is painted or covered with Duck tape. It seems to me that the best way to use this is firstly to clean as much crap off as I can. Then to get rid of the non-lead bits. With the remaining lead I think it would be a good idea to melt and clean it and then make small ingots for use later when casting. This would mean much cleaner lead in the melting pot and less time removing dross when casting.
What does anyone think?

November 18, 2006, 01:29 PM
I looked through the posts and didn't see anyone even mention forum. It is THE place for everything cast bullets. TONS of info to be had over there. Or you can also become a member of the Cast Bullet Association. I just got into cap and ball pistols but got the Lee double cavity .454 mould. Also like already stated water is a concern around any melting pot but try kitty litter on top of the melt sometime. If there is a bead of sweat that drops in the pot it will evaporate before it reaches the melt. It is added saftey, your melt doesnt skim over, while you flux the dirty stuff sticks to the bottom of the kitty litter. Your sprues, just drop them right back into the melt as usual. Casting your own whether it be for round ball or a 285 Grainer Ranch Dog TLC432-285-RF for your Rossi 92 chambered in 44Mag it can be quite addictive.....Steve.

November 19, 2006, 03:25 AM
Thank's Steven, looks interesting.

November 19, 2006, 07:58 AM
Duncan, congrats on scoring all that lead pipe! I wouldn't bother cleaning it or even taking the tape off. I have an old cast iron skillet I use only for making bulk lead into ingots. I use it on my forge but a propane fish fryer or something like that would work as well, just as long as you are outside. The old dirty pipe just melts out of all that nastiness and leaves it floating on top, as will the copper fittings and the scum from the burned tape. I use an aluminum spoon with holes in it to skim all that stuff off and keep adding to the skillet until it's nearly full. Then I just use a dipper to fill my ingot molds. I have a cast iron one which leaves LYMAN on each ingot but an aluminum muffin tin would also work. You make a lot of nasty smoke burning old putty, tape and goodness only knows what else off of your lead but it works really, really fast.


November 21, 2006, 12:15 AM
I looked over the picture of your pipe pretty closely and didn't see any joints. Thats good. If you do happen to have any solder joints cut them off the pipe. The tin in the solder joints will alloy with that nice pure lead there and won't be quite as nice. Nice shots on the B-17. Did you shoot in Bordeaux this past summer?

November 21, 2006, 03:49 AM
Did you shoot in Bordeaux this past summer?

Hi there rebel16. I don't shoot competition, just blast away at my local club in Blaye which is about 30 miles north of Bordeaux on the northern bank of the Gironde.

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