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Looking at getting into casting

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by giggitygiggity, Mar 31, 2013.

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  1. giggitygiggity

    giggitygiggity Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    Hi, I've been reloading for a few years now. I mainly load because it is fun and it saves me some money. I am looking at expanding my horizons and getting into casting. Please talk me through the process and what all I need, costs, best places to buy lead, etc.

    Also, how do you plate the cast bullets? Is there a plating solution or something of the sort?

    Also, I have heard people talk about getting scrap lead and melting it down, but if that lead has been mixed with other metals, it will not weigh the same as pure lead and will produce different bullet weights as a result; is there anyway to get rid of the impurities in scrap lead? Thanks.
  2. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Member

    Oct 8, 2012
    First off, I'm no expert. That said, 80% of what I shoot is cast lead. I've cast, loaded and shot thousands of cast lead rounds.

    I've bought high quality lead alloys before, but for range blasting ammo, I just don't see the need.

    My most economical process is to dig spent bullets from the berm and melt them down. I turn them into ingots and then when I'm ready to make boolits, I put them in my Lee 20 lb pot and cast away.

    A really helpful reference is the Cast Bullet Handbook by Lyman. Lots of good info there.

    I don't understand what you mean by plating? Gas Checks?

    Happy to share what I know. :)
  3. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    North Texas
    First and foremost, get a cast bullet manual. The Lyman 49th Edition, although not just a cast bullet manual is perfect. Second, go to the Cast Boolit website and ask questions. There are lots of nicwe, knowledgable folks over there. Finally, go here and read, read read. There's a lifetime worth of info there.

    I've been casting for years and at this point shoot many pounds of lead a week, and never stop learning.

  4. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

    Apr 17, 2012
    SW Ohio
    tread lightly, the addiction is worsening :) . I get "scrap" wheel weight lead from my local tire shop. I go in once a month and get half to 2/3 of a 5 gallon bucket full at the end of every month, sort the iron and zinc ones out, melt them down and sift out all the junk that floats to the top. wheelweights are often prefered as they are a harder lead. I also try to dig though the berm each week and bring back atleast what I shot that day in range lead.

    You can get started for as little as $20. I bought myself a lee ten pound bottom pour pot for $50(should have gotten a 20lb pot as 230 grainers run it down in a hurry), a lee six cavity tumble lube mold of my choosing for each caliber I shoot as well as sizing dies for each caliber, a coleman camping stove and cheap pot for melting down and cleaning up the scrap lead.

    for lead... check out local tire shops, just tell them you are casting fishing sinkers as the word "bullet" scares people. In my experience 9 times out of 10, the place will tell you that either they already have a guy that casts "fishing weights", they cant give them to anyone that doesnt have some silly EPA cert or that they have a contract with a battery manufacturer in the area.

    Plating them? yeah ive heard of people doing that, but I dont see the point other than pretty boolits.
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Oct 19, 2010
    East TN
    The hardness of lead bullets depends on the alloying agents added to the lead mix. Antimony and tin are the most frequent allowing metals.

    Getting scrap lead and alloying it to a particular hardness is not difficult but can be time consuming. When i was casting bullets, i took what i got and made sure i got something harder than pure lead. It used to be wheel weights were pretty consistent alloy and good for casting bullets. I do not know about todays wheel weights.

    When you melt the lead then flux it, impurities will float on top of the molten lead. they can be skimmed from the mix. Anything with a higher melting point than lead, like steel, will not liquify and will be easy to remove from the melting pot.

    I have not heard of an individual plating bullets, but the process is not difficult. Maybe a bit capital intensive though. i have been out of casting for a while and have not kept up with the available technology. I would think, plating bullets for the home reloader would be more trouble than it is worth, but i have been wrong before.

    I shoot alot of plated bullets these days but i buy them. I can say the same for cast bullets as well. Casting bullets is a great extension of the reloading hobby. It is just not my thing these days. I still have my equipment if the spirit moves me again

    Hope this helps.
  6. TwoEyedJack

    TwoEyedJack Member

    Dec 22, 2011
    Southwest Idaho
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