New to casting questions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JCSC, Aug 5, 2022.

  1. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

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    The advice you got to perhaps buy some bullets of the general design you like, before buying molds, is good. Remember that Lead bullets, even with a base support ("gas check"), are much weaker than Jacketed, and absolutely must be at least groove diameter. There are several old NRA technical reports on bullet designs that tend to work with certain chambering and rifling designs. You should read them:
    http://www.nzha.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/CastBullets-s.pdf
    http://www.nzha.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/NRA-Cast-Sup1.pdf

    I like the Lee 20-pound furnace, and I like Aluminum molds, but the latter need lubrication on locator pins and certain other places. If you don't use an appropriate lube on the wear points you get an adhesive wear mechanism called Galling. Lee's recommendation of using bullet lubricant is a bad idea. At the Cast Boolits website I learned of using synthetic 2-cycle oil, which works great. Very small amounts are necessary, and try to keep it out of the cavities.

    Lead bullets shoot better when shoved into the rifling a little, which supports the bullet on firing, and prevents slumping of the bullet on firing, which gives poor accuracy. Pushing the bullet into the rifling a lot with a semi-auto may give you slam-fires, which may ruin your day.

    Tin makes casting go a lot better, as it increases fluidity of the Lead, but by itself it does not harden the Lead much. In combination with Arsenic or Antimony, it can harden Lead a lot, especially if you drop the bullet from the mold into a 5-gallon bucket of water. I like to do this not just to get a harder bullet, but also because I don't want a lot of hot-and-therefore-soft bullets around me that can ding each other or burn me. Lead metallurgy is really odd in that cold work of a bullet can produce a softer bullet than one as-cast, so try to have a mold that is going to drop a bullet at the diameter you want to shoot it.

    Zinc in your Lead will ruin your day. Zinc has a melting point slightly higher than Lead, so if there is any chance there is any in your scrap, you would do well to start with a pool of known Lead at a temperature below the melt point of Zinc, and feed carefully dried scrap in, piece by piece. Most Lead batteries are also a problem now, apparently evolving nasty War gas on melting.
     
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  2. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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  3. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    The unasked question is did you have this gun chambered to shoot lead if that is the primary or only intended material.
     
  4. mdi

    mdi Member

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    FWIW; I have been using a Lee Pro 4 20 lb bottom pour since I switched to an electric pot (2005 or thereabouts). Yes, it did drip on occasion, but using clean alloy and proper tool maintenance it has served me well (perhaps because I am a lifelong machinist/mechanic I take better care of my tools/equipment than the average guy?). I have had to tighten screws and add lock-tite, empty and wire brush pot several times, lapped needle valve/seat a few times. I never relied on the dial thermostat and used a plain old liquid filled thermometer.

    I enjoyed casting/shooting cast so much that for several years, I never reloaded a jacketed bullet. I made a lot of cast bullets for my 44 Magnums, more 429421 and Ranch Dog 240 RNFP bullets than I can remember...
     
  5. JCSC

    JCSC Member

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    Well, after the advice I decided to start this venture with a 9mm Lee die, dipper and a cast pot. It can grow from here.

    it was actually quite satisfying to make these.
     

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  6. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    It is. I enjoy casting almost as much as shooting. Lubing is being a pain. But that's because I haven't gone all in on a lubri-sizer.
     
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  7. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Excellent! I'd mic them and see how they will fit your barrel and dip lube in some 45-45-10 or alox...

    I often shot so I could cast more and been known to remelt good bullets so I could cast some...
     
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  8. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Ahhh, I know that mold well as I have 2. I have tumble lubed a couple hundred pounds of those and now powder coat them. They work well in all my 9’s.

    Looks like you are off to a great start, so keep at it and just be careful. No liquid near the pot and make sure any lead you introduce into the pot is completely dry or you will have a bad day. Also, cotton clothes are good, synthetic are bad if you spill any lead on yourself.
     
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  9. JCSC

    JCSC Member

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    Thanks.

    These are also destined for powder coat and sizing. They are currently about 126/127 gr and .358.

    The batch tonight ran much smoother and I hit a good temperature groove with minimal rejects.

    I need to get some powder and make a goodwill trip to find a toaster oven now.
     
  10. JCSC

    JCSC Member

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    This is a good question and the answer would be no.
    Even my plans to start with 9mm would not involve any special chambers. I know my Glock G43is out, but I planned to shoot cheap powder coated lead with a handful of cheap Taurus autos that my wife and boys have.

    May 300 BO is a run of the mill AR Pistol.
     
  11. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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  12. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    If you ever watch JRB he was getting big chunks of lead in his action. I don't recall a full resolution, he shifted to shooting jacketed in every video after. It made me wonder where the problem was happening.
     
  13. JCSC

    JCSC Member

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    Update on progress for this new venture.

    Successfully applied the shake and bake powder coat on the Lee 124 truncated cones bullets.

    I used Eastwood ford light blue, which worked perfect, aside from a few light spots here and there. I also did a smash test on two that stuck together and it is some pretty tough powder coat.
    478564FD-C14D-4CCD-99CE-ECA651138A19.jpeg 071EB030-FE80-4ED8-B44F-991392D3CA16.jpeg

    As mentioned, that was an easy process and I just followed instruction from Elvis ammo and fortune cookie 45 on YouTube.

    I started with a load ladder of HP38 to fire and function test these and I had to load them pretty short to get a good plunk test (1.060”)

    I will say that what I used to consider a acceptable amount of case mouth flair needs increased. I had a few thin blue shavings off a couple, which will likely give me some leading.

    5998E1B2-B42A-42CF-858E-E5F8C4E583D4.jpeg 2C8F30BD-0BCD-450E-A9DE-E06ACBB5BF21.jpeg

    Hopefully I can shoot these Friday and start loading some more. (Pink, per the request of my wife)
     
  14. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Smurfs warm a casters heart. Great job.
     
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  15. Soonerpesek

    Soonerpesek Member

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    I kinda figured you would be the first one to follow up on that post...........:neener:...I saw the color first and just assumed it was you that posted.....
     
  16. JCSC

    JCSC Member

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    I forgot to mention that I purchased a Lee 356 sizer. I hit these with a little shot of Hornady one shot and ran them all.

    In hindsight, they didn’t seem to create much resistance. I’m not sure on the spec for cast bullets, but this may have been a wasted step for plinking. Either way it only took a few minutes to run 350 thru the sizer.
     
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