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  #1  
Old 01-28-2011, 10:19 AM
MtnMike2 MtnMike2 is offline
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Bullet Casting for Dummies

What do you need as a minimum for bullet casting? I thought I saw HC folks talking about coleman stoves and iron pots. I would consider casting for the 45-70, 45 LC and maybe 30-30. Also muzzleloaders.

Also, what are the advantages besides satisfaction?

Thanks!

Mike
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  #2  
Old 01-28-2011, 10:40 AM
Jack Jack is offline
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I started with a hot plate and a small iron pot, a dipper, and a bullet mould. That's all you really need.
More/better equipment will make casting faster, i.e. more bullets made per hour, but I'm not sure better.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:59 PM
Adam Helmer Adam Helmer is offline
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Mike,

I suggest you buy the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. I use a Coleman stove outdoors in my tractor shed for casting. Be sure to wear eye protection, heavy gloves and long sleeves to prevent burns from hot lead. Use pure lead for muzzleloaders and wheelweights or linotype for smokeless loads. Good casting.

Adam
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:27 PM
Mr. 16 gauge Mr. 16 gauge is offline
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The advantage is that you will always have a supply of bullets (as long as you can find scrap lead).
In addition to some means of melting and casting, you will also have to find some way to size and lubricate the bullets that you plan to load in metallic cartridges. You might want to look at LEE's tumble lube design for simplicity....I've never used it, but it works for some folks.
Like Adam said, get the Lyman book on casting....very informative and gives the history of casting as well as a lot of the science behind it.
My suggestion would be to go with your muzzleloading projectiles first; those most likely would be the simplest to cast, don't require sizing, and lubing is basically bore butter or whatever you use for a patch lube. Also, it's a lot easier to just cast pure lead to start than trying to figure out alloys, ect (all that will come later).
Probably the biggest problem to casting to overcome? finding a source of scrap lead....with all the "bad" things that lead does to our society, it's getting harder and harder to find cheap sources of scrap lead......wheel weights are increasingly being made out of other materials and when was the last time a printer used linotype? Everything is printed off the computer anymore!
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:58 PM
MtnMike2 MtnMike2 is offline
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Thanks for the replies! All good advice. I am going to start collecting the minimum things I need slowly. I'll get a dipper and look for a small dutch oven or iron pot used like Jack suggests. Plan to use a coleman stove in the garage like Adam and will do Muzzle loader projectiles first like Mr.16G suggests. I was looking at molds (moulds?) today and looks like Lee are way less expensive, as they are aluminum? But you can get a 2 cavity mold for 54 cal conical for about 1/3 the price of a 1 cavity RCBS!

BTW, my first purchase will be the Lyman book on bullet casting. I have the Lyman Reloading Handbook (47th and 49th Editions) and learned more from it on reloading than from anywhere.

Thanks again,
Mike
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  #6  
Old 01-30-2011, 07:23 PM
Jack Jack is offline
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Lyman's book on bullet casting is a wise investment.
You can probably find an iron pot of some kind at a garage sale, really cheap.
The Lee moulds are aluminum, and cheaper than cast iron ones and they work. I use a Lee single cavity for my .50 ML- the 360 grain Minie ball type, works fine.
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  #7  
Old 02-13-2011, 03:09 PM
PJgunner PJgunner is offline
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MtnMike asked, "Also, what are the advantages besides satisfaction?"

Independence for one thing. It might sound crazy and even paranoid, but history does repeat itself. To make my point, I'll tell you about an old Dutchman named Louie.

He claimed to be Dutch but at the time, admitting you might be German could have been a problem. Time was during WW2. I'm thinking late 1943 or possiblity ito 1944. hell, I was a kid back then then. Loiue was, to me anyway older than dirt, smoked a raunchy smelling old pipe and was a bullet caster and reloader from the word go, especially the bullet caster part. During WW2, buying any ammuition wass everely restricted and gun shop had either damned little or more likely none at all. One can holler bloody murder about the shortages we have these days but back then there was nothing at all to be had unless one was very lucky. Bullet casters made out OK though as they could make up loads to shoot something. Louie was retired so he cast bullets for some of the more popular cartridges and loaded up the ammo. IIRC, you paid $5.00 per cartridge and when you brought back the empties, you got $4.50 or maybe it was $4.00 back. Sorry I can't be more precise but it was 67 years ago and I was only 5 or 6 years old at best. I used to spend hours with that old gentleman watching him melt the lead alloy and fluxing and carefully casting each bullet using a ladle. Then there were the time when he was lubing and sizing those bullets or carefully measuring out the powder in the handloads. The old boy was very precise in how he did them.
The one thing he impressed on my young mind was this. Someday there might be another world war and once more everything will hve to go to the war effort. you won't be able to buy any ammunition for whatever guns you might own. With him, it was a foregone conclusion I would have guns, Probably one of the very few times I listened to my elders.
FWIW, regarding the ammo situation back then; only two cartridges were commonly available. The .22 LR and the 30-30 Win. The .22s went to farmers and were for protecting the crops from little varmints like gophers and rabbits and such little critters. The 30-30 ammo went to ranchers who raised sheep or cattle to protect them from predators. Anything else as almost impossible to find. All other production was geared to the war effort. I learned a lot about casting bullet from that old gentleman. He passed away sometime in the early 1950's.
To this day, I still shoot more cast bullets than jacketed. You'd be surprised just how well they will shoot, even way out yonder. One of my .308s will do 1.5 MOA at 200 yards and 2.5 MOA at 300 yards from the bench which ain't bad coming from a rather lightweight sporter. A good powder for cast bulets is either one of the 4895's. For the .308 and 30-06, I usually use 25.0 gr. with a one rain tuft of dacron and one of several bullet designs ranging from 175 gr. to 195 gr. Don't ask the velocity as I never bothered to find out. maybe 1500 to 1600 FPS as a guess.
One of the important things to remember is the bullet must have the proper sizing. For 30 caliber .310" is a good place to start. For the 45-70, .459" to maybe .460". For the Colt round, I've always used .454" regardless if I'm shooting a Colt single action or the more modern Rugers. Sizing bullets for handguns (revolvers) get a bit more tricky and we can cover that at a later date. Once you've developed good loads for your various firearms, shooting cast bullets become two things. A lot of fun and the challege for greater accuracy. Oh yeah, you can hunt deer with cast in a 30-30.
Paul B.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:52 PM
Jack Jack is offline
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Kind of off the thread's topic, but maybe interesting. .
During WW2, as PJ said, you could get some 22 LR ammo, but not much else. Many people did cast bullets. The dedicated varmint hunters with their 220 Swifts, or 22-250 wildcats (then) were kind of out of luck.
A machinist on the West Coast who was a fanatic shooter and varmint hunter started selling swages to make your own jacketed bullets, using the empty 22 LR cases as jackets. He sold them under the name Rock Chuck Bullet Swage, as he hunted rock chucks.
The guy's name was Fred Huntington, and the name of his company was later shortened to the initials RCBS.
You mighta heard of them.
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2011, 09:14 PM
skeet skeet is offline
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And I have 2 1/2 sets of those same bullet swage dies. In fact i have a jar of Bullet Die and case Sizing lube in front of me as i type.. The company name is R.C.B.S. Gun and Die shop730 Bird P O Box 729 Oroville Calif..No Zip code so it pre-dates at least 1961 or so. Thwe dies I have are for .224 bullets and .243 bullets with the dies to make jackets out of 22 LR cases. The other half set is in .257. Wish i had the whole set
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Last edited by skeet; 02-13-2011 at 11:28 PM.
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2011, 01:47 PM
MtnMike2 MtnMike2 is offline
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PJG - thanks for your reply. I like hearing stuff about the old days like that. Plus, I am always interested in being more independent; it's one of the main reasons I'm interested in bullet casting. I even looked at articles in FoxFire and elsewhere on making your own black powder, but I've decided to pass on that. I would have to be pretty desperate to try it.

Jack and Skeet - thanks for the history on RCBS. Didn't know that.
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