how is bullet casting saving you money?


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JBrady555
January 13, 2013, 04:15 PM
I'm new to researching about reloading and it all makes sense to me except for casting your own bullets. If a pound of lead is 7,000 grains then you could only make 30 230gr bullets. A pound of lead at midwayusa runs over 30 bucks. Why in the world would you do this? Also midstates has 230gr round nose bullets for 37.00/500. How are they selling them this cheap when you can only get 30 bullets out of a 1 pound blank of lead that you cast yourself?

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mcdonl
January 13, 2013, 04:19 PM
Reloading and casting is not as much about saving money as it is satisfaction for me. My lead is free anyway, I smelt to ingots over a wood fire. My only operating expense is running my small lee pot.


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NeuseRvrRat
January 13, 2013, 04:21 PM
don't buy lead by the pound from midway

Hungry1
January 13, 2013, 04:24 PM
I dug a bunch of bullets out of the dirt this weekend in about 15 mins.

I smelted them on a white-gas stove with approx $1 worth of fuel.

Gave me about 12 lbs of lead which = approx 525, 158gr 38 cal boolits for my efforts.

Works for me. :)

rcmodel
January 13, 2013, 04:26 PM
Well for starters, you don't by lead from Midway.

Many years ago, you could get all the car wheel-weights you wanted free from tire shops, filling stations, etc.
Plumbers lead sheet scrap could be had for not much more at salvage yards.

I still have more then I will be able to use the rest of my life.

It's not like that today, but if you are good at scrounging, you can still find affordable lead where you find it.

Some salvage yards are only paying .10 cents a pound for wheel-weights now.
So offer a tire shop .15 cents.

rc

CGT80
January 13, 2013, 04:27 PM
You can buy clean lead ingots from other casters, for $1 per pound. You could cast 1k of 230 grain bullets for $35, including the bullet lube. Lead used to be easy to come by-wheel weights. Now it is a highly dangerous, toxic substance. Just touching lead bullets will lead to you contaminating your whole house and putting your family in danger ;)

Check out: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php (http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.phphttp://)

I also use white label lube-read about it on castboolits.

jmorris
January 13, 2013, 04:30 PM
I get my lead for free.

youngda9
January 13, 2013, 04:36 PM
The bullet is the most expensive component of a cartridge...unless you cast.

You can easily find clean wheel weight ingots for around $1/lb. You can buy them all day at around $1.50/lb on Ebay.

Bullets now cost 2-3 cents each. You recoup your casting costs FAST if you shoot much at all.

jcwit
January 13, 2013, 04:41 PM
Being as I still have a friendly garage that gives me all the wheel weights I want for free, and I help clean the backstop from the indoor range I'm a member of that I get all the scrap lead for free, my bullets cost me nothing but time, which I'm retired so it also is free, and the cost of fuel to smelt the lead into ingots and then bullets.

Its amazing how many bullets a $4.00 gal. can of white gas will make. Its in the thousands.

I even make my own bullet lube from local bees wax/local bee keepers, Carnuba wax from Gouda cheese, and other ingredients. Cost? Have no idea, but it sure isn't expensive and works just fine.

Save me money???

I guess so!!!!

Hungry1
January 13, 2013, 04:49 PM
Its amazing how many bullets a $4.00 gal. can of white gas will make. Its in the thousands.


I need to find out where you're buying your white-gas. I paid almost $10 for a gallon of Coleman's today at WallyWorld.

ReloaderFred
January 13, 2013, 04:56 PM
I just finished casting, sizing and lubing 5,000 .38 bullets, and even though my casting equipment isn't cheap, I've paid for it many times over since I first started casting bullets in 1968 or so. I only wish I had started casting my own bullets in 1963, when I first started reloading......

I don't handcast much anymore, since I've got a Magma Master Caster machine, but I cast a lot of bullets during the year. Last year alone I cast over 40,000 bullets in .38, 9mm, .380, .41, .44, .45 (both Colt and acp) and for my .45-70 and .45-120 rifles. In one year alone I paid for the $1,000 a new casting machine would cost me, plus the molds. When I multiply that over the years I've been casting and shooting, I'm way, way ahead of the game. I've got 9 sizer/lubricators (Star, Lyman, RCBS and Saeco), plus multitudes of sizing dies for all of them, and those have also been paid for many times over in the savings for the bullets that have gone through them, including the bullet feeders for the Star machines.

I don't buy my lead, unless I'm looking for something specific, such as linotype. I scrounge, beg, borrow, trade, etc. Right now I've got about 2,000+ pounds of lead alloy in ingots, and I'm always on the prowl for more. The berms on our pistol range are a great source of casting alloy, and it's the best form of recycling, though there is some work involved.

I don't watch much TV, so the time spent is productive, rather than spent mindlessly watching the one eyed tube in the livingroom. I consider that another big plus.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Skip Sackett
January 13, 2013, 04:58 PM
I get my lead either free or as much as $20/100lb (5 gallon bucket).
At a recovery rate of 90% free is still free all the way to $20/90lbs.

90*7000=630000
630000/230=2739.13 bullets for free or as much as $20
630000/160=2927.5 bullets for free or as much as $20
630000/125=5040 bullets for free or as much as $20


@37.00/500 (the price the OP used) means for the 2739.13 that I pay as much as $20, he would pay $202.686 for as much as I get from my 90# of lead. That is a savings of $182.686 on the first 2000 bullets I cast that weigh 230gr. I can buy one whale of a mould and get it paid off easily in that short amount of casting. How can I not save money by casting my own bullets? THAT would be the better question, I believe. :D

hueyville
January 13, 2013, 05:12 PM
Local scrap yard sells me wheel weighs for .30 to .35 cents a pound according to market. Last real linotype metal they had paid .38 cents a pound. Have a friend that owns a tire shop for tractor trailers. To save him hauling to scrap yard himself he charges me .25 cents per pound if I pick them up. Overtime he fills a 5 gallon bucket he calls. Another smaller shop gives me their wheel weights. Add to that, 3 or 4 times a year I take a.shovel and a frame with hardware cloth in it (wire mesh) and recover 40 or so pounds of my own bullets. At work I shoot into a bullet trap so every couple weeks I open the hatch and get all my previous fired bullets out of it.

In 2010 I actually kept up with how much lead I purchased and prices, how much was given to me and how much I recovered from my bully trap, range and the local public range. I shoot a minimum of 2,000 rounds of centerfire ammo per month. My average cost for casting material that year was .17 cents a pound. My most shot ammo is 185 gr .45 wadcutters. Do the math on those at .17 per pound and you will see how quickly the savings add up.

jcwit
January 13, 2013, 05:33 PM
I need to find out where you're buying your white-gas. I paid almost $10 for a gallon of Coleman's today at WallyWorld.

Here in Northern Indiana's Amish country we can still purchase White Gas, aka NAPHTHA, from the pump by the gal. Yup it fluctuates around the $4.00 to $4.50 a gal.

Ifishsum
January 13, 2013, 05:56 PM
The way things are right now, I would not encourage someone to take up casting unless they already have a source of lead (assuming the goal is to save money by casting). Scrap lead has become a lot more difficult to get in some areas - around here no tire shops I've found will give or even sell their scrap wheel weights to individuals any more. Not because of price, but because of recycling and EPA regulations (and probably a contractual agreement) most of them will only let an approved recycler take it away. That's the story I'm getting anyway. Lead wheel weights are being phased out also - in the last couple of years when I have been able to obtain a bucket of scrap WW, I'm seeing a lot higher percentage of worthless zinc weights.

I was able to score a few hundred pounds just by letting co-workers and friends know I was looking for scrap lead. I found a number of people who were saving lead for one reason or another, and just haven't got around to doing anything with it. One guy had a bunch of roofing lead, which was pure soft lead perfect for casting muzzleloader balls and bullets. Should last me a few years anyway. I secured probably 300 lbs or more of scrap before I even purchased any casting equipment, because I wanted to be sure I could make it pay.

grubbylabs
January 13, 2013, 06:12 PM
I manage the front office at a auto recycling yard, I have the guy who breaks down the tires and wheels put the weights in a bucket.

Since we just took the yard over in September I have not had a chance to collect much. But I believe that over time I will wind up with quite the collection.

Not to mention I am cultivating some relation ships with a few of the tire shops in town as well as both the scrap metal recycling yards. I hope that soon I will be up to my eye balls in lead and able to sell some ingots in order to supplement my income.

wgaynor
January 13, 2013, 06:29 PM
All my casting equipment except molds were free. I paid $20 per 200lbs of lead. I make my own bullet lube very very cheaply. I save a bunch.

SSN Vet
January 13, 2013, 07:00 PM
I get my WWs for free from the garage where I get most of my car work done.

Shop is owned by two brothers.... Great guys.... They used to cast themselves, so they empathize with me. I take what can use and no more.

Patocazador
January 13, 2013, 09:34 PM
I've still got about 20 lbs. of pure lead from years ago but casting bullets for me is about getting the shape and weight that I want in a mold and then casting that bullet because it's unavailable or ridiculously expensive from suppliers. As long as have lead, I have bullets.

James2
January 13, 2013, 10:07 PM
Check This (http://www.rotometals.com/Bullet-Casting-Alloys-s/5.htm)

You see Midway is way out of line. Instead of $30 bucks it is around $3. Making your bullets cost ten cents each. (No bargain even at that as you can buy 230 gr RN bullets for around 9 cents.)

That is if you buy lead. I have cast for years and have seldom bought lead, making my bullets cost whatever little bit of energy it took to melt the lead and a little bit of lube. Even the lube is very cheap for me because I keep bees and a friend takes some wax and makes the lube and brings me some, no charge. I figure less than 3 cents a shot casting my own.

Add to that the fact that I enjoy doing it and it is a good thing for me. If I could not enjoy casting, I would not.

06
January 13, 2013, 10:13 PM
Have been accumulating Pb over the years and probably have over a ton. I move houses and salvage the old lead pipes, packing in cast iron plumbing, and then there are auto batteries. Have about 40 to process this time. Some are new types and have to be scrapped. The old plumbers pot will easily handle 50#s and I make ingots in old muffin tins for later use.

wgaynor
January 13, 2013, 11:03 PM
I wonder how hard it would be to melt wheel weights over a campfire or charcoal briquettes...

flipajig
January 14, 2013, 01:48 AM
I started casting last year and it has already paid for the investment of the equipment by casting for the 9 mm and 44 mag at just under$2.00 per 50 on the 9 mm and just over $5.00 for the 44 mag. That is cheep shooting I get free lead from the range that I'm a member of and some tire shops that will give it to me or trade for it. The range lead after I smelt it down and cast my ingets I recyle the copper jackets and sell it as #2 copper at $2.30 a lb the last time I sold the copper it paid me right at $60.00 if I remember right so I think it's worth your time and becides how do you put a price on enjoyment.

Mr.12gauge
January 14, 2013, 02:17 AM
Check your local craigslist. I just picked up 70lbs of hard lead alloy for $60, clean ingots ready to cast.

Skip Sackett
January 14, 2013, 05:30 AM
Here in Northern Indiana's Amish country we can still purchase White Gas, aka NAPHTHA, from the pump by the gal. Yup it fluctuates around the $4.00 to $4.50 a gal.

I must not be too far from you, although, I can't remember seeing a white gas pump around here anywhere in a long, long, time. Lagrange County maybe?

BruceB
January 14, 2013, 05:52 AM
Been casting now since 1966. Over that term I ROUGHLY estimate that I've cast over 1/2 million bullets.... I KNOW that over 1/4 million .38 Special bullets were cast to serve two active Bullseye competition shooters.

Yes, my cost per bullet is far below buying commercial components. Most of my alloy is free or very inexpensive, and a box (50) of 9mm/.38 ammo costs less than three bucks. out-of-pocket... maybe MUCH less.

The great benefits of casting, to my mind, are

-independence (with a stock of inexpensive components, I do NOT have to depend on outside sources to keep me shooting), and

-the ability to create what *I* want at any particular time.

By buying tooling and supplies a bit at a time, one soon amasses an astounding amount of "stuff". I now own over 100 moulds, 60,000 primers, THOUSANDS of cases, forty different powder types, over a ton of lead alloys.... you get the idea. I do believe I am one of them there "nuts" we hear about.

On top of all the above, casting is enjoyable and relaxing to boot.

41 Mag
January 14, 2013, 06:49 AM
how is bullet casting saving you money?
I'm new to researching about reloading and it all makes sense to me except for casting your own bullets. If a pound of lead is 7,000 grains then you could only make 30 230gr bullets. A pound of lead at midwayusa runs over 30 bucks. Why in the world would you do this? Also midstates has 230gr round nose bullets for 37.00/500. How are they selling them this cheap when you can only get 30 bullets out of a 1 pound blank of lead that you cast yourself?

Well my introduction into casting came about shortly after getting a 454. It is simply a creature of a different color when you go to find bullets for it.l While there are a few brands which have one or two jacketed bullets rated up to the pressures it creates, there are only a couple of production casting companies, which have the gas checked designs in the weights I wanted to shoot.

That said either of the above mentioned bullets don't come cheap nor in quantities of much more than 100 per box. I simply could not afford to shoot the thing had I not gotten into casting my own. Initially, I had one partial bucket of wheel weights from which I garnered around 80# of alloy. I already had the Lee 4-20 pot used for other things, as well as the fish cooker and propane sitting around for smelting the alloy with. I purchased the Lee 6 cavity mold, sizing dies, and a couple of other items for an added $150. I also picked up 2K of .452 gas checks off ebay for less than one box at full price.

I can easily pour up several hundred 300gr bullets, lube, size and seat a GC for WAY less than I can even order 100 of the Cast Performance 300's I was shooting. I can also customize the alloy to get the end result I want.

This said I added several other molds for other handguns, and also started to purchase other allow since there are no reasonable WW's to be found in my area. The going price for the alloy I got was $65 for 65# delivered to my door. Even that price is hard to pass up a great pouring alloy. So for less than the price of 2 boxes of the Cast Performance 300's delivered, I can now pour up roughly 1500 of my own. Even with the added GC's and lube, I am still many dollars ahead of the game. Ad for the lighter weight bullets I cast, I'm even more ahead since they are in caliber, or weights, not readily available.

evan price
January 14, 2013, 08:00 AM
Wow, I dug over 800 pounds of spent bullets from the berm of my club range. Smelted down into ingots. Sold the copper jackets for scrap and recovered all the money I spent on fuel to smelt, lube to lube the cast boolits, and a couple of adult beverages. So my lead is free. There's your savings. Who pays $30 a pound for lead??????

JBrady555
January 14, 2013, 01:00 PM
Well thanks for all the responses. I lost a little respect for midwayusa after seeing how cheap lead really is outside of their website. Had I not created this thread then midway would have scared me away from doing anymore research on whether or not I would like to cast my own bullets.

Bush Pilot
January 14, 2013, 01:28 PM
Have been accumulating Pb over the years and probably have over a ton. I move houses and salvage the old lead pipes, packing in cast iron plumbing, and then there are auto batteries. Have about 40 to process this time. Some are new types and have to be scrapped. The old plumbers pot will easily handle 50#s and I make ingots in old muffin tins for later use.
I've been told auto batteries were a no-no for casting due to toxic chemicals. Never tried it personally.

Bush Pilot
January 14, 2013, 01:33 PM
When I saw lead wheel weights going away a few years ago I bought and scrounged every one I could find, have almost 2 tons in my warehouse. Now, all I have to do is find the time to cast.

Ifishsum
January 14, 2013, 01:40 PM
No reason to lose respect for them just because there are high precision benchrest casters willing to buy clean alloy certified in exact blends. That's who they are catering to with that product - granted they probably don't sell much volume at that but someone somewhere is buying it.

zxcvbob
January 14, 2013, 01:47 PM
Midway's lead is not $30 per pound, it is $30 per 7.5+ pound ingot. (that's still too expensive, but it's not ridiculous)

I get most of my lead "free" from cleaning out the indoor range bullet trap. I used to get cheap wheel weights, but those have pretty much dried up.

Also check the scrap yard and see if they have any old lead pipe or lead telephone cable sheathing.

JBrady555
January 14, 2013, 04:51 PM
I didn't realize that they were 7 pound ingots, i retract my statement about losing respect for midwayusa.

Bongo Boy
January 14, 2013, 06:25 PM
SO, this thread is a bit old and the Midway Math has already been dealt with. But, someone above cited $0.10 per bullet casting, and my math shows it's much closer to $0.03/bullet, assuming $1.25/lb lead purchased off eBay, shipped.

I'm ignoring the one-time cost of the burner, pot, ladle, ignoring the cost of the molds, the lube-sizer, heater, electronic controller, recurring cost of lube. I ignore these costs because they all amortize across the vast numbers of bullets they create, and rather quickly (well, except for lube but that's dirt cheap). Even if you figure $300 or more in equipment costs, that's less than 3,000 cast bullets from any supplier I'm aware of, and you can product 3,000 cast bullets in a few lazy evenings of casting, sizing and lube. You can break even easily in a couple months of shooting for an avid shooter.

Buying lead on eBay is not the cheapest way to go--it is by far the easiest for me. I've developed about 3 suppliers, they always deliver what I find to be fine lead of reliable hardness and content, and all I have to do is push a button and collect it from the mailbox. Everything I've purchased this way, with one exception early on, has gone from shipping box to bullet, no ditzing fussing measuring monitoring mixing fluxing or any other horseplay. Pot-to-projectile. Maybe I throw some sawdust in the pot for grins.

My math indicates 45ACP, 40SW and 10mm Auto for an average of $0.12 a round, finished ammo, or less. Can't buy most bullets for that. What with the purchase of about 40 lbs of powder in 8 lb jugs, the fact that the brass is reusable indefinitely--the cost of 40SW is closer to $0.09-0.10 a round. That makes shooting fun again.

mcdonl
January 14, 2013, 10:29 PM
I accidentally posted this in a wrong thread....

I will try to finish this thread this weekend and it will tell me how many 230RN's I can g from a measured amount of wheel weights.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=690623
Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

boommer
January 14, 2013, 10:42 PM
BRUCE B I'm with you on what you are saying,DOING THIS A LONG TIME ! have at least ton and half of pure lead to lino never paid a dime for it and keep collecting as I as I send it down range.Casting owes ME nothing even with all the molds furnaces and smelter and such.But were we differ is casting and sizing has seem to become a job to me, but I shoot a lot.LEAD is much harder come by now and anybody getting into this game, it's not going to fall into their lap as easy. Lubes if you make your own you save there too.

45lcshooter
January 15, 2013, 08:35 AM
Got the goodies to start casting for Christmas. So my upfront cost is 0.00 but my dad bought the stuff, so he will tell you a different story. Plus I have over 50lbs of lead that I accumulated over the years going to auctions.

hueyville
January 15, 2013, 10:36 AM
One poster mentioned using batteries and another said he believed that was a no-no. One of the companies I own installs an average of 7,000 to 11,000 pounds of batteries per week. First, you have to consider the chemistry of your batteries. I have unlimited access, cast bullets at least one to two days a week and never once, cracked one open and put it in the pot. You can be sure your batteries have some type of acid. Some do not react well to heating and the fumes can actually be harmful. 20 years from now do you want to discover your liver is poisoned from filtering garbage from batteries or your lungs are covered with pollups. In just the past three years I have seen the deep storage batteries we use in server rooms, Telecom industry, medical equipment and other mission critical areas change from lead/acid to nickel/cadmium in 30% of our applications. Their are no special markings. Unless you have a bar code scanner with industry software to tell you what exactly is in a particular battery melting batteries is a bad risk. I take my batteries to an EPA approved scrap yard and trade them for wheel weights and linotype. Do you want to poison the environment where.you live and your family lives. This is serious business. I do batteries as my living thus have to receive continuing education every year. The chemicals in batteries is gettin more and more dangerous every year. We have one type that if more than 8 ounces of electrolyte leaks the hazmat team must be notified. I take all my batteries to a professional scrap yard and trade them for lead that is safe for casting and a better alloy. For every 100 pounds of batteries, they give me back 70 pounds of wheel weights. I get.better bullets, don't violate EPA rules, don't poison my neighborhood and everyone is happy.

GLOOB
January 17, 2013, 03:25 AM
I have personally melted down some battery plates. This would barely be worth it if someone handed you a bucket of them. It is totally not worth the effort of decontructing the batteries to get at the "lead." And I'm a pretty cheap SOB.

I put "lead" in quotes because all you get when smelting them is 90% toxic crud oxides, a filthy pot and a lot of cleaning to do, and an itty bit of lead per plate. This is a highly disappointing experience. You will do a lot better selling the batteries at the scrapyard and buying wheelweights.

209jones
January 20, 2013, 05:52 PM
The most dangerous, and expensive thing, about casting your own, is the next gun show or visiting a gun shop. You will invariably look at a gun and then it goes something like this;
Niiiice gun, hmmmm, I have a mould for that caliber ( or, mould is $xx.xx ). I have sizers (add $xx.xx), I have gaschecks,(add $xx.xx, or don't need them for it). Brass & dies is right over there...... Yup, let's buy that gun!!!

On my 32-40, I figured it at 4.20/100 rounds, bullets, primers and powder.
Try to find factory 32-40 ammo.
On my 450-400NE, the lead and powder price go up a bit, but it's still a good deal cheaper, than the factory rounds, at 90.00/20 up here.
Approx 20 320gr/lb @ $1.00/lb, 70 rds @ 50gr powder @ 30.00, Primers are $4.00/100 or so. About 70.00/100 rds vs 450.00 for factory?

Doesn't take long to pay for moulds, furnace, accessories even if you buy lead at market prices.

RugerBob
January 21, 2013, 07:26 AM
There are other sources for lead also. If you see a roof being done, some chimney's are done in lead to prevent leakage. The old lead will have tar on it. Set it in freezer a few hours and the tar will break off. If you have a friend who does commercial construction they re do many lead wall x-ray rooms and then if you have a buddy that works on sial boats they have lead in the keels. Thats pertty much where I get mine from.
You melt it down and clean it and out into 1 lb ingots you get a fair amount.

Clinton
January 22, 2013, 12:56 AM
I go to public fishing areas along the mississippi. Wait for the river to drop and ill easily find 5 to 10# of lead a weekend. Lots of hooks and lurers too this weekend not so much.
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/22/ja7u9u2u.jpg
Clinton

grubbylabs
January 22, 2013, 12:07 PM
That's a good idea, I had not thought about that.

Arkansas Paul
January 22, 2013, 01:29 PM
how is bullet casting saving you money?


I'm loading .38 Specials for $60.00/1k and that's not even buying components in bulk. I'm buying primers by the 1k and powder by the pound. If you could place a large order online you could do even better.

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