Casting - does it save money?


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Lovesbeer99
September 19, 2008, 09:34 PM
Using approximate numbers it looks like I can get about 450 rounds or 158 grain bullets (give or take 20) with 10 lbs of lead. So where can I get lead to make this worth my wild? By the looks of buying lead it would cost me about 50.00 and for that much I can buy 500 rounds of laser cast and that includes shipping.

Also, it looks like a 10 lbs electric pot kit is under 150.00 from lyman. Is this a good way to start? Is there a way to save money by using a cast iron pot and an open flame with high heat potential?

I see wheel weights, but is there a reliable source for these? Honestly? Anywhere else?

I'd like to start doing this and I've starting reading post so I'm please be kind.

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scrat
September 19, 2008, 09:44 PM
your initial start up may cost you. the biggest mistake would be buying a lyman. all you need is a heat source. if you want to drive up the cost of your bullets go ahead. Some people top cast out of a pot on a stove. can it be done yes. man has been casting bullets for hundreds of years. it wasnt till the last 100 years we started using electric heaters. With this in mind you can get a very good bottom pour for about 50.00 a lee production iv. Best two places to buy lead and a pot is ebay. last time i bought lead i bought 60lbs delivered to my door for $60.00 Thats a lot of bullets for 60lbs of weight. its all about timing. if your really interested in casting do a search on this forum. As there are about a million threads on this. some done within the past week.

Seafarer12
September 19, 2008, 10:00 PM
It all depends on what you shoot. I mean when you can get 1k 38 bullets for under 55 bucks plus shipping it is kind of hard to justify the work but if your casting more expensive bullets like 45-70's it can pay off pretty quick. A Lee pot works just fine no need to drop a lot of money on the stuff. The cheap Lee dies work ok to get started on too. As far as lead goes look around locally. You can get it cheaper than ebay. I usually pay about 50 cents a pound when I buy it.

Floppy_D
September 19, 2008, 10:03 PM
Buy a Lee pot. Get Lee molds. Pay $.40/lb for wheel weights, worst case situation, and get 44 bullets/lb, or 110 bullets/1.00$. Over 1100 bullets per $10. Seriously. I don't pay for lead most of the time, so I can run that number down.

I would say that casting is THE best way to save money... start getting cheap lead by salvaging from clay fields, ranges, linotype, tire shops, x-ray rooms, anything. Saddle up.

Eric F
September 19, 2008, 10:22 PM
I would be making a 530-550 gr bullet I can get then $20 per 50 including shipping, would I be saving any thing?

243winxb
September 19, 2008, 10:25 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=391990 Some general info. Click my links to find Lyman info and other companys. http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=4889032 To save money on casting, you should find a source of free alloy/wheel weight. Always tell them that they will be used for fishing sinkers. To many anti gun people out there. The wheel weights may need some tin, or linotype to possible harden the alloy. A Lee bottom pour spout will work, but best to make ingots and clean the alloy in a larger pot. I use an old coleman camp stove. You can use any heat source, with an old pot, a ladle that works too. If you shoot a lot, you will save money. Bullet casting is very simple, dont over think it. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=393106

Lovesbeer99
September 19, 2008, 10:28 PM
Quote - "I would be making a 530-550 gr bullet I can get then $20 per 50 including shipping, would I be saving any thing? "

Can you please restate the question.

Floppy_D
September 19, 2008, 10:34 PM
Assuming you paid $0.40 a lb, which is about average for lead scrap, you'd cast a 550gr bullet that would average to $20/255... help yourself. That's way better than $20/50.

ants
September 19, 2008, 11:00 PM
No one in my area has scrap lead at 40 cents per pound. It's all a dollar a pound around here. Lotsa demand for it.

Different regions in the country have different local economies. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for you, and vice versa.

Eric F
September 19, 2008, 11:00 PM
Oh I see now, duh I had a calculator and a brain once even knew how to do math, dont know what happened to me.

Any way I have a chunk of lead I dont know the quality but it weighs 250 pounds it was a keel weight on a ocean going sail boat that wrecked. I went out and cut it off an abandoned boat that washed up on the beach 5 years prior. So really I dont know why I even posted I have lead for years now any way..........WHAT WAS I THINKING?

RustyFN
September 19, 2008, 11:23 PM
Well lets see. I get free wheel weights. I have around 700 pounds in ingots. So if you want to figure in a little propane and electric I am loading 45 auto with 200 Grain LSWC for $30 per 1,000. I think 100 WWB 45's cost more than $30.
Rusty

scrat
September 19, 2008, 11:25 PM
Rusty you Rcmodel and Reloaderfred. im begining to think what dont you have.

700lbs wow

armoredman
September 20, 2008, 12:21 AM
I am still waiting for some more, have about 30 pounds of WW right now, love casting, but has been too hot all summer. Now it'scooling off, casting time!

NuJudge
September 20, 2008, 12:52 AM
The big place it saves money is on calibers where the bullets are $.40, $.75, and even a buck apiece. It saves money on .38, 9mm, and .45 also, just not as much.

If you do not shoot in volume, it will not amortize out, except if you shoot odd-ball calibers.

If you are not up to scrounging Lead and Tin, your costs will be much higher. I do buy Tin, but really cheap. I cannot ever remember buying Lead in any form, and I'm 51.

snuffy
September 20, 2008, 02:46 AM
Let people know you're looking for lead. This is what happened when a co-worker that knew I cast boolits told me about SOME lead that was available at work. Free for the hauling.

http://photos.imageevent.com/jptowns/terrysoops/websize/P2130004.JPG

That chunk weighs 90#. I got 13 of them!:):evil::D It's nearly pure lead. Alloyed with linotype metal, it makes great boolits. Cast as is, it makes wonderful black powder boolits/round balls.

The lino I get from a local gunshop owner, he also casts and shoots lead boolits. The last batch cost me $1.50-#. At 3 lino to 17 of the above lead, my material cost is very low. I also scored some lino on fleabay, that cost a bit more delivered, $1.60 #.

I also volunteered to clean out the bullet trap at my clubs indoor range. We are re-doing the plates that deflect the bullets into a sand trap. I figure there 4 -500 pounds in there. I will have to have help for that project, some beer and food will most likely be enough, maybe have to share some ingots?:D

lawboy
September 20, 2008, 04:10 AM
I get lead free, as much as I want, seriously.
I have to smelt it into clean ingots, of course, and I do roughly 2000-4000lbs each year. Some I give to friends, some I sell, A Lot I turn into bullets and shoot. It saves me a ton of money. When you are shooting 10k of 45 acp, 2000-3000 of 45-70 and another 3000-5000 of other assorted rifle and handguns rounds annually, you better find a cheap source of lead and cast your own!

dmftoy1
September 20, 2008, 06:18 AM
Lovesbeer99 - the hardest thing to do is to get that first bucket of wheel weights as it takes a little bit of persistence, but honestly once you have that first 110-120lbs of wheel weights it's all down hill as you'll be busy casting/smelting and looking for more and it just seems like it gets alot easier. (But I had the same concerns) I think I had to hit about 10-12 shops before I hit the first one that gave (yes GAVE) me any weights.

I would say on average I'm paying about .10 - .20 per pound for wheel weights, you'll hit one shop that gives you 300lbs for nothing and another guy wants $35 for a 5 gallon bucket. I don't ever lie to them about what I'm using them for (and you do hit "some" antis). I do find that taking my drop dead gorgous daughter with me helps. (She's the reason I had to start casting as she was shooting my .45's to death). It's funny, I can have a guy turn me down flat but she walks in, gets the "ok" and then her troll father walks up to carry the heavy buckets. :)

I think you got good advice on the Lee Pro Pot IV, that's what I started out with and with one cheap lee mold you'll have less than $100 into your startup equipment. (I"m assuming you can scrounge a turkey fryer and cast iron pot and some muffin pans for smelting) I don't know where you're located but if you're near Central Illinois I could probably help you get started.

Have a good one,
Dave

Walkalong
September 20, 2008, 08:01 AM
Riddle me this........
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would be making a 530-550 gr bullet I can get then $20 per 50 including shipping, would I be saving any thing?If you are shooting the big ones, you just gotta cast, and scrounge free lead, it's out there. Easy answer. :)

James Thomson
September 20, 2008, 08:12 AM
It certainly allows me to shoot my 44 Mag more. I bought 44 mag ammo the other day from Bass pro shop. I don't usually buy new ammo but I got a gift card and wanted to spend it on ammo that I could recover the brass for future reloads. It cost me damn near $30 for a box of 50. I can reload my home spun lead bullets for the price of a primer and powder. I've got more lead and lynotype to last me a life time. I believe I can load those 50 for under $5.00 a box. A box of 9mm would be less than that. Once you start scrounging lead, people will save it for you. I got a bunch of wheel weight lead from tire shops and bought 900 pounds of lynotype at .50 a pound many years ago. I hate to think what that would go for now.

Griz44
September 20, 2008, 09:02 AM
Don't spend that huge chunk of cash on an expensive pot or overpriced molds. The Lee pots work just fine and are a fourth the cost of the Lyman. Yes Lyman makes a great product. No one will argue that. However, you are just melting lead, you don't need a Ferrari to run to the corner store and get milk. Casting is a real pleasure for me. Sometimes I think casting and loading is on an equal basis with shooting. Go for it. Just follow the good rules of casting and keep your lead contamination under tight control.

Seafarer12
September 20, 2008, 10:43 AM
I wish I had a hook up on cheaper lead. I usually just throw adds on craigs list to get mine but it is unreliable at best. I only cast rifle bullets at the moment so I am not using much lead but it would be nice to get a few extra pounds to stick away.

RustyFN
September 20, 2008, 12:23 PM
http://photos.imageevent.com/jptowns/terrysoops/websize/P2130004.JPG
Snuffy nice score.

scrat
September 20, 2008, 12:52 PM
very nice score

Harley Quinn
September 20, 2008, 12:55 PM
If you enjoy it and shoot a lot it is worth it, (if you shoot lead):uhoh:

I have known some old timers that wish they never were around it the health they had in old age was not good because they were not real good about not breathing the toxic fumes...

One persons skin problems were all about lead poisioning. There are some things that you can take to help leach it out of your body (detox the liver) stay away from it is another good thing to do :)

Vern Humphrey
September 20, 2008, 01:09 PM
Call your local tire dealer and make an appointment to have your tires rotated. While you've got him on the line, ask, "By the way, do you have any wheelweights I can have?"

snuffy
September 20, 2008, 02:47 PM
have known some old timers that wish they never were around it the health they had in old age was not good because they were not real good about not breathing the toxic fumes...

What fumes? Lead boils at 3180 degrees F. It only gives out vapor/fumes if it boils. We cast at a max of 900. What fumes? Lead dust? It's dust is just as heavy as the lead itself. It settles to the ground almost immediately. Yes, you have to be careful while handling lead, or boolits. Just make darn sure you wash your hands thoroughly when you're finished. Clothing too.

Vern Humphrey
September 20, 2008, 03:17 PM
I have a wrap-around vernada with electrical outlets. I set up to cast on that, using a little folding aluminum table to hold the furnace and tools. Perfect ventilation.

I don't smoke, and I don't drink or eat anything while casting. After I put everything away, I wash thoroughly.

Harley Quinn
September 20, 2008, 07:27 PM
have known some old timers that wish they never were around it the health they had in old age was not good because they were not real good about not breathing the toxic fumes...


What fumes? Lead boils at 3180 degrees F. It only gives out vapor/fumes if it boils. We cast at a max of 900. What fumes? Lead dust? It's dust is just as heavy as the lead itself. It settles to the ground almost immediately. Yes, you have to be careful while handling lead, or boolits. Just make darn sure you wash your hands thoroughly when you're finished. Clothing too.

Well water boils at a lot lower temp but it still gives off a vapor of sort, similar to lead...Handling it with bare hands for years was one of the problems for him also...Wore gloves later on. Just mentioning it as a caution. You think what I am saying is, BS LOL...Good luck.;)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning
:scrutiny:

Griz44
September 20, 2008, 08:18 PM
Wash and clean clothes, gloves, etc... with a high phosphate detergent. Automatic dishwashing soap is great for this. Use a mix to wipe down the tabletops, counters or whatever else you have used or is in the immediate vicinity. It will take care of the lead dust contamination. If you melt indoors, just get a good box fan sucking the fumes out and you will be OK.

snuffy
September 20, 2008, 09:48 PM
You think what I am saying is, BS LOL...Good luck.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning

Do whatever makes sense to you, but don't repeat scare tactics from the tree huggers, environmentalists . Wikipedia is well know to be written by anyone that wants to contribute to it, unless they are conservative and buck the liberal thinking. Then they get uninvited to write definitions on there.

Look at how many states that have banned lead for fishing sinkers. WHY? Lead does not dissolve in water. Lead forms an oxide layer on it's surface, that oxide layer is impervious to water. Reports are reaching many people that scrap yards are refusing to sell lead in states that have banned lead sinkers. Since there's no reason the public could possibly use lead anymore, they're refusing to sell it. Then comes the source of most of our lead, wheelweights. They're being banned in many states.

I've been casting, shooting lead boolits for over 40 years. Last year I had my lead levels checked when I got my bi-annual blood tests. It came back at 5.0, 1/5 of what is considered max nowadays. I cast boolits in a closed room, and shoot them in an ancient indoor range with poor ventilation. I'm not worried.

Lovesbeer99
September 20, 2008, 10:53 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I'll see what I can do about the equipment. I'll check ebay, and even garage sales, but ultimately, I'll get something to get started. Even if I do spend the 150.00 I'll get it back over time. Maybe 6 months, maybe 3 years, but I'll get it back. (honestly, I shoot alot so it will probably be 6 months)

Eric F - I don't know what this means? Can you restate this?

"Oh I see now, duh I had a calculator and a brain once even knew how to do math, dont know what happened to me"

Honestly, it sounds like you're making fun of those of us who relaod. Did I miss something here?

Sunray
September 20, 2008, 11:52 PM
443 158 grain bullets to be exact. Anyway, iron pots and open fire aside, do you have a well ventilated room to melt lead and cast in? Shot with a guy who had to stop shooting for a year or so due to casting in a poorly ventilated room.
"...I'll check ebay..." E-bay is an evil anti-firearm empire that financially supports the people who don't think you should be allowed to own any firearm.
"...chunk weighs 90#..." Snicker. Each one will produce 3987 158 grain bullets. 11,961 out of 13 of 'em. What the heck is that out of? Just curious.
"...dont know what happened to me..." "New Math". It was a '60's concept.

snuffy
September 21, 2008, 12:17 AM
...chunk weighs 90#..." Snicker. Each one will produce 3987 158 grain bullets. 11,961 out of 13 of 'em. What the heck is that out of? Just curious.

It was part of a very heavy counter weight for a multi-spindle vertical drill press,(NATCO). The head lowers, spinning up to 30 drills at the same time, the head weighs better than a ton. Those weights were hung on a link chain in the back to balance the weight of the press head. There were 33 of them on that machine. It was a manual, non CNC machine from the WW 11 era.

fireflyfather
September 21, 2008, 12:58 AM
The #1 source of lead poisoning for reloaders is TUMBLERS, especially when used indoors. The lead residue from the primers is a lot more dangerous than any fumes coming out of a pot.

The "fumes" coming out of our pots are the fumes from the FLUX, not the lead. Not that breathing that in is all that great, but it's NOT on the same order of dangerous as lead fumes (which don't get produced from a casting pot...basic chemistry folks).

dmftoy1
September 21, 2008, 07:40 AM
Do whatever makes sense to you, but don't repeat scare tactics from the tree huggers, environmentalists

Amen!

I got a bunch of this "dangerous lead" stuff from my father-in-law a few weeks back. (82 years old, great health, and avid fisherman who's been retired for the last 23 years) I asked him how many fishing weights he had bitten down on over the years and . .it was like a light bulb went on. There's so much BS hype by the media over so many different things these days that it makes me want to puke.

Eric F
September 21, 2008, 09:28 AM
Honestly, it sounds like you're making fun of those of us who relaod. Did I miss something here?

Nope not making fun of any one but myself. I knew how to figure my question out, but just got lazy. I do this from time to time on the internet forums and dont know why. Just mental laziness.

as far as lead and fumes and such. For lead to be fumeing it would have to be really hot far hatter than what we would deal with. But there is some merrit to the statements about lead and inhalation hazards. Any liquid will give off molecules it technically is a vapor but the heavier the molecular weight the less the hazard. With lead it is a very heavy molecule so the "vapor hazard" is low. But it is there none the less. Also the closer to being a solid the liquid is the less molecules try to escape the liquid, so with lead again the risc is very low.

Vern Humphrey
September 21, 2008, 01:50 PM
I recall a story a few years back about a town in Colorado that had quite a bit of lead in the soil, due to mining operations years back. The EPA demanded a cleanup. The town protested, pointing out the blood levels of lead in the townspeople, including the children, were well within the safe limits.

The EPA was insistant, the town was "cleaned up" and in the process a lot of dust was put into the atmosphere, and as a result, blood lead levels went way up!

What would we do without bureaucrats?:barf:

Harley Quinn
September 21, 2008, 03:06 PM
I recall a story a few years back about a town in Colorado that had quite a bit of lead in the soil, due to mining operations years back. The EPA demanded a cleanup. The town protested, pointing out the blood levels of lead in the townspeople, including the children, were well within the safe limits.

The EPA was insistant, the town was "cleaned up" and in the process a lot of dust was put into the atmosphere, and as a result, blood lead levels went way up!

What would we do without bureaucrats?

Good point Vern...

I am not a tree hugger, and the info in Wiki is good and bad, but the thing is, "lead is a problem" for some more than others, I have seen what it did to one person.

Some can eat all they want and still be slim and trim, lifestyle and metabolism... For some if they don't watch out constantly, food is a slow death sentence, way before they should go, by the way...

Smoking kills they mention, some believe it, some don't...

If you are caring like some say I am sure it will be fine... Just a caution I mentioned, others take it as a threat to their life style. Funny, or sad, not sure which, at the moment...
:uhoh:

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