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Casting bullets

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tjcolt45, Jan 9, 2013.

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  1. tjcolt45

    tjcolt45 Member

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    Does anyone cast their own bullets? Do you use wheel weights? Do you have to remove the steel clips? Do you have to pay for these weights or can you find them free? Is this economically a good thing? Thanks!
     
  2. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Member

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    I primary cast with wheel weights. I normally melt them down in a cast iron pot and pour into ingot molds before I use them. This will nelt off the steel clip and remove any debris. This keeps my furnance cleaner. You will have to check with your tire dealers in your area. If you cant find any there then check the sell section of this fourm as well as castboolts. They come up fo sale often as well as ebay
     
  3. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    If you can find any kind of free lead, gobble it up. Tire shops sell their scrap weights to recyclers. Maybe a friendly owner would sell some to you at the same price but usually they don't want to upset the status quo.

    If your dentist still uses an older-type x-ray machine, the film backings are made of a lead alloy. Sometimes they have to pay for the "hazardous material" to be disposed of. If you go by and pick it up for free EVERY month, you might have a good source. If you get some from him/her, make sure you are dependable and continue to pick it up on a regular schedule so he can save the fee.
    The newer digital x-rays don't use normal film.
     
  4. USSR

    USSR Member

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    As eam3clm@att.net said, you melt wheelweights down in a cast iron pot and cast them into ingots. As the lead melts, the steel clips separate from the lead and are scooped out, along with a lot of dirt. However, good luck finding any lead wheelweights. The government is forcing the tire shops to switch to steel and zinc. The lead wheelweight is going the way of linotype, as in no longer readily available.

    Don
     
  5. wgaynor

    wgaynor Member

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    I cast my own. I buy wheelweights for $20 per 5 gallon bucket at local tire shop. Maintenance men at work and friends give me lead for free.

    When casting, melt the lead wheelweights in a separate pot than you will cast bullets in. This is because you don't want to cast good bullets from a dirty pot.

    Place the wheelweights in the pot and heat it up. Provide plenty of ventilation, wear a mask, or whatever suits you. That stuff produces a foul odor and fumes (the crud on the lead makes the odor).

    The lead melts and the zinc weights and metal clips float to the surface. skim with a slotted spoon to remove the zin and clips.

    Flux with a bit of wax or sawdust or some other form of carbon and stir. Skim the top and pour your ingots. Beware of the tinsel fairy.
     
  6. wgaynor

    wgaynor Member

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    By the way, stockpiling lead ingots in preparation of the EPA crackdown on lead is very easy. Just store your ingots in a corner of your workshop or shed. Doesn't take up much space. I keep about 300-400lbs of ingots on hand and never have them take up much room (they are stackable).
     
  7. tjcolt45

    tjcolt45 Member

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    flux

    Is it worth it to use flux when melting the lead?
     
  8. kerreckt

    kerreckt Member

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    I only thing I can add about processing wheelweights is to watch your temperature and keep it below about 700F so that you don't risk melting any of the zinc weights which will be in your pot. Also, stay up wind because you don't want to be breathing any of the fumes from your melting pot. This http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php website has all the info you will need. Good luck. Besides being very economical I have found casting bullets very enjoyable.
     
  9. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I generally only flux before casting bullets not when turning scrap into ingots.
     
  10. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    Try any scrap yards in your area they may have wheel weights and linotype on hand.
    50/50mix of lino and ww makes a very nice bullet that can be used for both rifle and pistol. If you have any scrap brass you might be able to do a trade for lead/ww/lino as well.
     
  11. tjcolt45

    tjcolt45 Member

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    Thanks for all the info. I appreciate it. Does anyone cast rifle bullets? Do you change anything when you do?
     
  12. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    Just go to the CastBollits site. Any question you have has been answered there. There is way more info there then you will get here.

    Read this if you have a real interest in casting: http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm


    Brought to you by TapaTalk
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I like to flux when making ingots. They come out cleaner and require less fluxing when casting bullets. Sawdust works fine. No need to buy anything.
     
  14. homatok

    homatok Member

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    You do not HAVE to flux when doing the initial melting of scrap lead of any kind BUT if you do not you may well throw out useable metal mixed in with the slag from the melt. The best flux is likely sawdust as it will clean unwanted metals from the alloy while reducing any oxidized lead, antimony and tin back into the melt. As suggested, log on to the Cast Boolit site and read to your hearts content. Once you have read at least the "stickys" at the top of each forum, if you still have questions ask the forum and you will get all the help you need!!!
     
  15. ScratchnDent

    ScratchnDent Member

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    I started casting my own handgun boolits a few years ago, and have come to enjoy that as much as reloading and shooting.

    Turning a pile of scrap into a box of shiny new, free boolits always puts a smile on my face!

    Wheelweights are getting much harder to find in quantity without paying for them, but if you keep your eyes open, you will find lots of them laying in parking lots and especially in the gutters along busier streets and highways. I have managed to gather about 30 lbs of ingots in the last year or so just from scrounging on the side of the road.

    My primary source of lead these days is range scrap. There's LOTS of lead sitting in the berms of most outdoor shooting ranges.
     
  16. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I've been casting since the 1970's. Wheel weights are getting harder to find but I still have a good source for them, they charge me nothing but I always give them some monies in return anyway. My other source for lead is the indoor range I belong to, we clean the trap every 3 to 6 months and one of the perks for those that healp clean the range is taking all the lead they wish. This usually gives me anywhere from 500 lbs to way over 1,000 lbs, all depends how much I wish to load up and take home.

    As far as casting for handgun versus rifle, I do both and with the same lead, I have NO problems with leading with either.

    Is it cost effective? OOoooohhhhhh ya!
     
  17. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    I cast using wheel weights. I have a good connection with a local tire shop and they expect me the first sunday of each month to come and collect their junk. I usually get ~ 3-4 gallons worth of weights each month, about 100 pounds worth. this time, over half of that was steel weights and I only came out with about 45 pounds of lead. there are two different types, the clip on and the stick on weights. the clip on are just the right alloy for most pistol bullets, but the stick on ones are really soft, close to pure lead. I usually mix in about 15-20% by weight of the stick on's with regular clip ons. If you value your time to be worth more than $30 an hour, its probably just easier to buy cast bullets. It usually takes an hour and a half to two hours to sort through and clean up wheel weights and cast em into beercan ingots. after that, with six banger molds, I can pretty easily cast 650 158gr 38 bullets or 230 grain 45 bullets

    casting chops your reloading costs in atleast half. im down to about $1.45/box of 38 and $1.65/box of 45. as someone who scrounges the range for abandoned casings and nice plastic ammo trays, it now almost seems wasteful just leaving the bullets I shoot in the berm. if the world were perfect, Id step out my back door to my nice range and shoot at my target with a bullet trap behind that way I could recycle and reuse the lead forever. for the time being, I just have to leave it lay in the berm :(
     
  18. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I have to agree with most everything said.I do think it is important to flux when smelting your ingots.Wheel weights make great pistol bullets,but I like to use a harder alloy for rifle bullets.Wheel weights can still be found,and still for free or cheap,if you look hard enough.Casting is a fun addition to reloading,and I'm guessing will pay back about like reloading. Lightman
     
  19. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Absolutely flux during the initial smelting process. I personally try to process wheelweights in 50-60 lb. batches and after the initial melt when I skim all the steel clips and trash off, I flux alot. This gives me a good even mixture of alloy and that way I essentially have 50 to 60 lbs. of ingots all of which are virtually identical in their alloy composition. This in turn leads more consistent bullets.

    I used to cast lots of rifle bullets and use them in High Power competition. The only thing I really changed was the sizing process. The initial lubing and "sizing" of the bullets was performed in an over-sized sizing die in an RCBS lubrisizer. The final sizing was performed in a Lee push through die. Push through dies make a much more concentric bullet. Cast and sized in this manner made for some very, very accurate cast rifle bullets.

    35W
     
  20. James2

    James2 Member

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    I cast for handguns. Yes I use wheel weights. They are being phased out, don't know how much longer we will be able to get them. I have found them for free at times, but may have to pay. At present my son, who is a mechanic, keeps me supplied for free. You just have to look and see what you can find. Tire shops, mechanics, may have some around.

    Cleaning them up has been pretty well covered.

    "Is this economically a good thing?", you ask.

    For sure it has been for me. I figure the bullets cost only 3 or 4 cents for the energy to melt the lead and the lube. (Not adding in the cost of the tools, and if you get free lead).

    As scrap lead gets harder to find we may end up buying lead alloys from suppliers. I suppose we could still save some money doing that.
     
  21. tjcolt45

    tjcolt45 Member

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    casting

    Great information. I went to a few tire dealers today and ended up with three five gallon buckets of wheel weights. Thanks for all the input. I hope others enjoy the replies. I will be looking for bullet molds etc at a gun show this weekend.
     
  22. James2

    James2 Member

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  23. Nappers

    Nappers Member

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    I buy my lead at a metals shop. I do a fingernail test and gather up all that I can. $.75 a lb and I have about 150lb's saved up for my muzzleloading. Although, that's a lot of lead. I do give some away to those who need it at rendezvous'.

    Watch wheel weights for the zinc ones, especially in CA where lead is outlawed (I think). I get my lead in White City Oregon (White City Metals).

    I've recovered lead bullets at my local range before, 1/2 hour of work and 20lb's gross of bullets, not a whole lot that were jacketed. I flux it a little before making into ingots after a good washing of the lead and letting it dry for a few days. water and hot lead do not mix well.
     
  24. rl2013

    rl2013 Member

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    I've had good luck with local tire shops. I've shown up with an empty bucket to swap with them for no charge. I like the idea of recovering used bullets.
     
  25. Nappers

    Nappers Member

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    It's actually kind of fun. I take a container and fillerup!

    After a good rain, the bullets stick out like sore thumbs! Easy to pluck.

    Here's a video that motivated me. But, make sure they are dry!!!!!! water in a jacket that is trapped is bad news!!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1VnqbyQdxg
     
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