Quantcast

Making, melting, and molding your own bullets....

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by wacki, Dec 18, 2006.

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

    wacki Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,693
    Location:
    Reminiscing the Rockies
    Just curious, what is the best equipment to use if you want to make your own bullets for a 9mm, 5.56, or .308?

    Also, how hard is it to melt old brass and make new cartridges?
     
  2. 91Bravo

    91Bravo Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    25
    I/ve melted a lot of lead, but melting brass? Forming raw brass into a cartridge case is a factory process; I'm not aware of anyone that has done so as a hobby reloader. I've used Lee 6-cavity molds for some of my 9mm with mixed results. Same with .308, with decent results for informal shooting in bolt actions, haven't really tried with auto-loaders. Never casted .22s, never seemed with the effort, especially with my .223 being a semi.
     
  3. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Messages:
    6,148
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    Brass is not melted and smelted into cartridge cases. It's done on old fashioned punch presses. The punching is done in steps and the brass is usually annealed during the process to keep it maleable.

    Lead bullets can either be cast or swaged. Casting is done with a furnace and molds, and swaging is done by pushing a pellet of lead into a mold under very high pressure, but no heat is applied to the the lead or the mold. I've made bullets both ways, and casting is easier.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    25,143
    I think a good handbook would be the first piece of equipment.

    You don't melt old brass to make new cartridges, you resize and reload them.

    Cast lead bullets are adequate for 9mm but are good only for very light practice, plinking, and small game loads in rifle calibers like 5.56 or .308. Modern rifles are built around jacketed bullets which can be homemade by swaging lead cores and copper jackets together but that is a rather expensive project.
     
  5. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,849
  6. robertbank

    robertbank Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Messages:
    583
    Location:
    Canada
    Get yourself a copy of Lyman's Cast Book Handbook. You will find this an excellent reference book and it will answer most of your questions. Join Cast Boolit Forum: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/index.php

    You should be able to get all the material you need and more.

    Take Care

    Bob
     
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    26,264
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I cast with a Lee pot that has the spigot on the bottom, pours off the bottom straight to the mold and I use mostly Lee aluminum molds. It's easy. But, sounds like you have a bit of reading and learning to do. :D I beg, buy, or scrounge my brass, can't make the brass, primers, or powder.
     
  8. JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone

    JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Messages:
    1,441
    Location:
    Lynden, WA
    All good information here...

    One site for you to check out is:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com

    That said, I've been melting lead into projectiles for years. Just pistol stuff. You can melt lead for rifle rounds, but you'll not want to push to maximum velocities. There's a lot of diehards that load lead for rifle though. Mostly for legacy cartridges that you just can't buy ammunition for. A good many of them being Black Powder cartridges.

    For 9mm, it's not worth melting your own lead. You can buy bulk bullets in 9mm at nearly any weight for prices that aren't cost effective once you factor your time into the lead melting process.

    But, for the Bullseye shooter to get good .45acp loads, once you've mastered the craft, it's tough to beat your own concoctions. So that's what I do. I create my own 204gn SWC's, and 230gn HP's and 230 TC's for my 1911's. (Yes I know, there are reputable target bullet suppliers out there... I've got time to create my own though. That makes it cost effective for me.)

    I also create my own plinking bullets for .38spl, .357mag, .44spl and .44mag.

    All from just a Lee melting pot, Lee aluminum and Lyman steel, single and multi cavity molds. The best molds would be Saeco, Star, or Hensly and Gibs. I use what I consider to be the best consumer Lubrisizer. An old Star. Lead bullets need to have lube inserted into the lube grooves, and for consistency, all your bullets should be sized. I've used Lee and Lyman Lubrisizers. The RCBS is of roughly the same design. Nothing compares to a Star. With reloading jacketed bullets in modern cartridges -You need size/seat/crimp dies on your press, To size lead bullets, you'll need size/lube dies for the particular caliber you're pouring.

    For all this, you need a well ventilated area to melt/pour your lead. Lead poisoning is not a fun experience. -So I'm told.

    Don't buy a Lyman lead melting beginners kit. Piece-meal your equipment. Here's some rough figures to get started.

    One bullet mold- $30-150
    Melting pot- $50
    Lubrisizer- $150
    One sizing die/top punch- $40
    Lube/1000- $5
    Lead= 7000gns/pound or, 62 115gn 9mmRn bullets per pound of lead.

    Lyman publishes a Guide to Bullet Casting. There are other books that have good information.

    Buy and beg for your brass.

    -Steve
     
  9. robertbank

    robertbank Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Messages:
    583
    Location:
    Canada
    Cost of 9MM boolits is very relative to where you live and the cost of shipping. I shoot my own cast 9MM boolits for the cost of the lube which I make myself. My 9MM cartridges cost me approximately $5.50 for a box of 100 or 2.75 for 50 which includes powder and primers. Boolits are made from used wheelweights obtained free from Canadian Tire. Once set up casting your own and reloading can lead to more shooting for less cost.

    Take Care

    Bob
     
  10. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    2,473
    Location:
    lynn,ma
    I cast for everything I shoot except 223 last count I have 27 different mold blocks from 9MM to 45/70.
    The biggest problem is turning wheel weights in to usable ingots' For that process I bought a camp stove
    made by a company called Camp Chef,it's a 2 burner uses a 20 lb propane tank and can melt 40-50 lbs of WW at a time. Cost $100
    I have a cast iron pot that I bought from Wal Mart that I melt the WW in and two "frying pans" that are divided in to 8segments each making an ingot that weighs 2lbs.
    I use an RCBS electric pot which IMHO is better than any of the others I've tried/owned. I have owned both Lee and Lynan pots and have run into problems primarily the hot lead leaking out as it heats up semi easy fix on the Lyman nothing can be done for the Lee but if you put a heat shield under it you'll be fine
     
  11. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Messages:
    11,573
    Location:
    London, Ont.
    Not that you'll ever need to melt brass, but its common alloy's melting point is 1652-1724 F. Lead melts at about 621 F.
     
  12. Firehand

    Firehand Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    I cast bullets for rifle for practice loads, and I've had good results. I normally use a gas-check on the bullet; a copper cup that crimps onto the base and protects it from the powder gas. It prevents the gas from damaging the base, and lets you push the bullet to higher velocity.

    For pistol cast for .38/.357 and .45. None of the ones I use here are gas-check bullets, though if you want to push one of these to high velocity, they would be best.

    I've got bullet molds from Lyman, RCBS and Lee, all work well. I melt using one of the Lee bottom-pour melters, and I've been very happy with it. My dad has a Lyman luber/sizer and we've been using Rooster Red bullet lube on the handgun and rifle both.

    I cast some for a .455 Webley and do it a bit different: I use a .45acp mold, leave the bullets as cast(not run through the sizer) and lube them with Lee Liquid Alox. The .455 bore is larger than that of the .45, and the as-cast bullet seems to work nicely in it.
     
  13. GaryL

    GaryL Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    1,247
    Location:
    MN
    Pretty much. Punch out a slug, punch it into a small somewhat formless case and then into a tumbler for annealing, which looks much like a cement mixer with a fire under it. Then on to a drawing and forming process to lengthen the case and form the base. Large rifle cartridges are drawn and annealed several times during the process before forming the neck and taper into the cartridge.

    At least that's how they do it at Federal. I installed some equipment there about 10 years ago.
     
  14. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,986
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    For 30-06, and .308, I use A lee Production pot IV, a lee push through sizer,and lee liquid alox. I use straight wheel weights, a Lee 180gr mould and gas check the bullets with 18 gr of 2400 in the '06 and 14 gr of 2400 in the .308. I don't cast 9mm, but I use roughly the same set up without gas checks for the .45 auto.

    I also cast for 8mm and 6.5 mm, but I use a Lyman lubrisizer and beeswax/lanolin/alox lube for those.
     
  15. wacki

    wacki Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,693
    Location:
    Reminiscing the Rockies
    As far as "the best molds":

    Seaco's website is currently down:
    http://www.redding-reloading.com/

    Hensley & Gibbs is out of business so I'm limited to ebay

    anyone have the url for Star's homepage?
     
  16. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Messages:
    6,148
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    Wacki,

    Ballisticast now has the rights to the H&G molds. They make quite a few of the original designs.

    Saeco makes a good mold, but is limited in what they offer.

    RCBS also makes good molds, but again is limited in what they offer.

    If you're referring to the Star Lubri-sizer, the rights to that machine is now owned by Magma Engineering. They still make the machine and provide parts for it. They can be found at: http://www.magmaengineering.com/index.php

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  17. wacki

    wacki Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,693
    Location:
    Reminiscing the Rockies
    How is the quality on the Ballisticast?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice