Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

how is bullet casting saving you money?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JBrady555, Jan 13, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JBrady555

    JBrady555 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Messages:
    742
    Location:
    Panama City, FL
    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?
     
  2. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Southern Maine
    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.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  3. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,098
    Location:
    Wilmington, NC
    don't buy lead by the pound from midway
     
  4. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    NC
    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. :)
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    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
     
  6. CGT80

    CGT80 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    SoCal
    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

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

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    9,578
    I get my lead for free.
     
  8. youngda9

    youngda9 member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    877
    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.
     
  9. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,011
    Location:
    Great state of Indiana
    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!!!!
     
  10. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    NC
    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.
     
  11. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Messages:
    5,876
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    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
     
  12. Skip Sackett

    Skip Sackett Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    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
     
  13. hueyville

    hueyville Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    535
    Location:
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    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.
     
  14. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,011
    Location:
    Great state of Indiana
    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.
     
  15. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2005
    Messages:
    939
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    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.
     
  16. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,856
    Location:
    Hansen Idaho
    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.
     
  17. wgaynor

    wgaynor Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    903
    Location:
    Western Kentucky
    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.
     
  18. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,783
    Location:
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    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.
     
  19. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,781
    Location:
    Central Florida
    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.
     
  20. James2

    James2 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    Northern Utah
    Check This

    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.
     
  21. 06

    06 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Too close to Charlotte, NC
    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.
     
  22. wgaynor

    wgaynor Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    903
    Location:
    Western Kentucky
    I wonder how hard it would be to melt wheel weights over a campfire or charcoal briquettes...
     
  23. flipajig

    flipajig Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Messages:
    848
    Location:
    Gods coununtry. IDAHO.
    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.
     
  24. Mr.12gauge

    Mr.12gauge Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Check your local craigslist. I just picked up 70lbs of hard lead alloy for $60, clean ingots ready to cast.
     
  25. Skip Sackett

    Skip Sackett Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    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?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page