New to casting,advice needed.


May 2, 2013, 09:11 PM
I have decided to cast some of my own bullets and was wondering if this set up from Lyman was any good? I also noticed that there are 2 choices if anyone knows the difference. Thanks alot for any advice.

If you enjoyed reading about "New to casting,advice needed." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 2, 2013, 09:15 PM
The two choices are 115 v or 230 v. It's a pretty good setup and should work well. The included book is a very good source of cast bullet loads.

May 2, 2013, 09:18 PM
If you have 230 power available where you would be casting, go with it.

May 2, 2013, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the replies guys,i would just be doing this in my garage so nothing fancy.

May 2, 2013, 10:52 PM
Do you have your molds and source of lead?
1) I prefer to bottom-pour. never liked the ladle. Some love ladle.
2) I woud prefer a 20 lb pot and would buy a Lee. 10 lbs disappears very quickly. The Lee, for the price, does well and, if it burns out, you can buy a couple more for the price of a Lyman or RCBS pot.
3) I gave up sizing bullets sometime in the late '70s. All I shoot are as-cast and tumble lubed in Lee Liquid Alox or Delux Liquid X-Lox~45-45-10 from I found that sizing a bullet NEVER made it more accurate and I have never had a problem chambering an as-cast bullet.
4) If you do get the lubri-sizer, get Carnauba Red (and a heat source) or BAC from lsstuff (based on all reports I have read and the fact that what I gotten from lsstuff has been great).

7.62 Solution
May 3, 2013, 07:15 AM
I think the lyman setup would be a good start, I am a big fan of casting my own bullets and started with a ladle and open top pot. Have since upgraded to a bottom pour and I do prefer that but it cost more.

For me casting adds a lot to reloading, more to learn and try to do better. And it can save some money but as said above do you have a source of alloy? Scrap clipped on wheel wights are a great source.

If your on the fence I suggest buying the Lyman casting manual, they do a good job of explaining the process, alloy, mould prep, sizing and safety.

Ok, done rambling, back to the question. I use a mix of Lyman and RCBS equipment and have been very happy with both.

May 3, 2013, 08:59 AM
Do any of you "mine" your local ranges for bullets and melt them down? What happens to the copper jacket? Or is it just simpler to buy lead...

May 3, 2013, 09:08 AM
as far as range scrap goes, you need to make sure to cut a hole in the jacketed or it pops and may spray you with molten lead. I tried it, and in a pinch its ok. I rather use wheel wieghts, or lead sheeting, what ever I can get for free.
wheel wieghts for free may be hard to find. E bay may be an option.
Local scrap/salvage yards might sell it to you also.

May 3, 2013, 11:15 AM
Do any of you "mine" your local ranges for bullets and melt them down? What happens to the copper jacket? Or is it just simpler to buy lead...
I mine our range all the time. If you find FMJ bullets that haven't deformed, you need to crack them open with a pair of cutting pliers or something of the sort. The jackets and scrap will float to the surface as the lead melts and gets scooped off, it's called dross.

May 3, 2013, 11:39 AM
Casting is a bad idea:) you should leave that to us scroungers who have scrounging lead down to a fine art.

THe Dove
May 3, 2013, 12:08 PM
Be sure to read all the safety info you can find before you start melting/smelting lead amigo........ When you step into the realm of 650 degree plus molten stuff, you better have your ducks in a row and know what you're doing. I have been making my own boolits since 1993 (dang, that's 20 years) and have never had any injuries. I am thankful for that but I give alot of the credit to the man that taught me in the beginning.

If you know of someone that is casting already, and you trust that person, then I would suggest you allow him/her to mentor you for a while before you jump into it. I know that is not always possible, but I would recommend it - if you have that opportunity. JMHO

The Dove

May 3, 2013, 12:46 PM
Kind of new to casting also - did it for a while a few years back and am restarting now.

I prefer bottom pour also - look for the lee 20 lb bottom pour. We just teamed up and bought an RCBS pro-melt - much nicer - but pricey. I don't think you need 220v. Even the RCBS 20 lb pot is only an 800 watt element. It's only pulling 6-7 amps. I think the 10 lb pots are only 500 watt elements. I know that RCBS says their 220 unit is not compatible with us 220 power its for euro power (50 hz maybe? power) If you go 220 - make sure its ok with us power.

The 4500 sizer is fine - I use a 450 (older version of the 4500). I would like to get a second sizer at some point. I just built a lube heater for a grand total of about $15. Lyman sells theirs for $50.

Wheel weights are the best source of lead - but they are becoming harder to find.

Get a lead thermometer.

I size/lube all my bullets.

I'm working with an NOE aluminum 135 gr 4 cav mold for the 9mm, a Lyman 200 gr swc 4 cav mold for the .45 acp, and a 158 swc gc for my .357 - 2 cavity. I like the 4 cavity molds but they take a rhythm to get working.

May 3, 2013, 02:32 PM
I started out with a Lee 20lb bottom pour, an ingot mold, a wooden stick, and a can of FA lead flux. To remove dross I pulled a spoon out of my kitchen drawer and bent it. That all cost me around $100.00, maybe?

May 3, 2013, 06:28 PM
Thanks for the input everyone,i am taking it slow and reading all i can get my hands on. I do have several sources for lead so thats not a problem,i just need to learn as much as possible before i start. I reload and took that slow to be safe and will be doing the same with this,thanks again for all the replies!!.

May 3, 2013, 06:35 PM
The Lee 20lb pot is what I use and I like it. I am not a huge Lee fan but they seem to do well with their casting stuff, their molds and sizing dies are great. With their sizing die you don't need a second press, you can use the one you already have. Which basically means you need a $20.00 mold, a $20.00 sizing die(that comes with a $5.00 bottle of lube) and about a $70.00 pot. Not bad to start out with. The rest you probably have lying around the house.

May 3, 2013, 06:58 PM
After hearing so many mention LEE i checked out thier site and am going to consider them,i already have the reloading press so it might be a better deal,plus i like and use LEE reloading dies.

May 3, 2013, 08:23 PM
That would be a good kit. I have the lube/sizer and it works well. The thing I don't like is the casting pot. I prefer a bottom pour pot but that's just my preference.

May 3, 2013, 10:27 PM
Check out there is a lot of information and help there on casting.

May 4, 2013, 01:54 AM
If you're going to do handgun boolits in quantity, the Lee 6-cavity molds can't be beat and I've tried most everything.

I use the Lee 20 lb. bottom pour as well.

This stuff may not do for commercial duty, but for heavy volume home use it's great, I've used these molds and pot for years. Follow the directions carefully and take care of them. My experience with Lee customer service has also been excellent.

Not knocking any of the others but for cast bullets Lee seems by far to give the most bang for the buck (sorry!). The Lyman deal shown is good I'm sure, but it's a lot of money for what is provided imo.

41 Mag
May 4, 2013, 06:34 AM
To get you off on the right foot you might bookmark the following site,
The Los Angeles Silhouette Club "The Cast Bullet / Hunting Articles Of Glen E. Fryxell" (

Also while your there check out the link in the upper right hand corner on Cast Bullets. Also there is a link to a PDF version of Glens book there which is available for download. If you have the resources print it out and put it in a small binder for quick bench top reference. It comes in handy.

A few things I would highly recommend getting are,

First and foremost a lead thermometer. If he has any in stock you can pick them up from NOE Molds for around $30 delivered, and he is a great fellow to deal with.

Second, start hitting the discount second hand stores like Goodwill and such, try and find you a 8-10 quart or so cast iron dutch oven or a decent thick bottomed SS pot with top if possible. With the SS don't get the thin ones which look like they were stamped out, get something that looks substantial. Last thing you want is a thin sided pot giving way loaded down with 50# of 600+ degree alloy. Even if you just go to Wally world and get one full price, you will be ahead in the game. Never melt down your raw material in your casting pot. This will leave all sorts of stuff in it that will come back to haunt you later on. Use the separate pot to do all of your initial smelting and any future blending of alloys. The only thing I WILL add to my clean alloy in my casting pot is a strip of tin solder to aid in fill out.

Third, don't even waste your time with commercial fluxes. Just head over to your local lumber supply or hardware store and see if they will let you have a bag or bucket of sawdust. IT will do anything you need down when cleaning and smelting your lead.

If you DO find a good supply of wheel weights, you will need a good straining spoon or dipper. I got one that has about a 1/8" wire mesh basket on it. IT has been by and far the best tool I have gotten and I don't even know where I picked it up from. It works equally as well dipping out the clips or another junk in the initial smelt pot, but also works great to smoosh the burnt sawdust down into, and around in the alloy when I flux.

As mentioned the Lee molds are a great buy for the price, and a good way to get started. I have around a dozen or so different ones. The 6 cavity are a little to get used to at first, but once you get them down you can dump 20# worth of bullets in a hurry. This is another reason for the thermometer, you will find that while working your mold there will be a certain temp when it all comes together and your bullets will fall out like rain and be perfectly formed. Write the temp down on the side, this way you know ahead of time where you need to be to get going with fewer throw backs.

I haven't thrown this one in, but will anyway. I and many others use a small $18 dollar or less hot plate for several things. Initially I got it to simply preheat my molds or to keep them up to temp while I was adding in more alloy. Some folks feel setting the mold on the top of the pot or dipping the corner in the alloy is good enough. What ever works for you. I also use it to warm up a small pan of lube to either dip or pan lube certain bullets, and I used it before White Label Lubes started selling their version of 45/45/10 tumble lube. Once I finish up with my current batch, I will for sure be ordering some of theirs.

By and far however of all of this, you need a goodly amount of lead. If you think a hundred pounds is enough, you shouldn't even bother with it. That is about enough to get your feet wet and find out if you like it or not. IF so, and your shooting at a place you cannot recover your bullets then you run out pretty darned quick. Just sayin. The raw lead stock pile is like primers, better to have enough than to run out and can't find any. Stock up if you have the chance. Worst case, if you don't like casting, you can always turn around and sell it easily.

One last thing, if you DO find this is something your really interested in, and want to get something that will make things so much easier on you, do a search over on Castboolits, for post on PID Controllers. This has been one of the best things I have added to my list of things that I really didn't think I needed. Now I don't want to be without it. Bottom line is for about $100 or so, you either build or purchase already built, a temperature controller for your Lee pot. It will bring your alloy up to what ever temp you set it to, and hold it within about a 10 degree area with no turning the knob as you pour to keep things even. Is it needed, definitely not, but is it something great to have and use, OOOHHH YEA.

If you enjoyed reading about "New to casting,advice needed." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!