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Casting your own

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Duncaninfrance, Jun 21, 2006.

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  1. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    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!
    Duncan
     
  2. pohill

    pohill Member

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    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...
     
  3. Bummer

    Bummer Member

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  4. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    Pohill

    I shot an arrow in the air, it came to earth I know not where - BUGGER, that's 17 I have lost this week!!
    Duncan

    Thanks for the link Bummer
    D
     
  5. pohill

    pohill Member

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    Does that mean..sniffle sniffle...that I didn't help you at all? sniffle sniffle
     
  6. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    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!!
    Cheers
    Duncan
     
  7. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Duncan,

    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?

    Cheers,

    George
     
  8. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    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!!

    Duncan
     
  9. sundance44s

    sundance44s Member

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    sundance44s

    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 .
     
  10. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

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    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.
     
  11. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Duncan,

    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.

    Cheers,

    George

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

    Cheers,

    George

    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!!!!
     
  12. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    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.
     
  13. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    'C' day Wednesday!

    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.
    Cheers
    Duncan
     
  14. Smokin_Gun

    Smokin_Gun Member

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    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...
     
  15. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    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.
     
  16. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

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    Cast bullet experience available for competitors

    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
     
  17. gmatov

    gmatov member

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    Bluehawk,

    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.

    Cheers,

    George
     
  18. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    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!!
    Duncan
     
  19. Dr.Doug

    Dr.Doug Member

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    Duncan-

    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...)

    Doug
     
  20. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    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.
    Duncan
    ps No pics cos I didn't think there was anything worth photographing. D
     
  21. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    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!
     
  22. sundance44s

    sundance44s Member

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    sundance44s

    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 ..it 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 .
     
  23. geraldbergeron

    geraldbergeron Member

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    The best of the best...

    So...

    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...
     
  24. Duncaninfrance

    Duncaninfrance Member

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    Watercooling

    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?

    Duncan
     
  25. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    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...
     
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