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Old 07-24-2021, 01:35 PM
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Default Iím finally getting into casting

Iíve been talking about it for a long time, but with covid making everything difficult to get, high prices, etc., I was putting it off. I had been looking to buy up a bunch of equipment and supplies on the used market, but all the used merchandise seemed to disappear off the classifieds and boards once covid got into full swing. Anyway, I finally found a good used lot of supplies and equipment for a price that I can live with. Iíll have to go through it, but it looks like I made out pretty well. It includes two Lee pots, several molds, most new, and all with handles, sizing dies, lube, a tumbler for powder coating(havenít tried that method yet), and several hundred pounds of processed lead. Iíll have a better idea once I go through everything and weigh the lead.
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:12 PM
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IMHO, casting adds as much to the shooting sports as does reloading. It's a whole new level when you can make your own bullets that are as good or better than factory offerings at a fraction the cost (once you have the equipment). If you don't already have it, get yourself a copy of the Lyman cast bullet handbook. Toms of good info. Also check out castboolits.com for another great resource. Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 07-24-2021, 03:31 PM
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+ 1 on cast boolit forum , it is a virtual treasure trove of knowledge . Like here it too is inhabited with some amazing & kind folks . It has become increasing harder to find good consistent alloy . Good thing most handgun chores can be done with reclaimed range lead .
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Old 07-24-2021, 03:44 PM
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Congratulations on getting started casting. I started just this past December. That Lyman book has a lot of cast bullet data, but it’s for mostly older powders.
David
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:15 PM
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Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook
The latest edition is #4 , if you can get a #3 edition do so ... it has a lot of good older information that still applies .
Before you rush in ... Read the Information and How To chapters in front of each manual ... pay attention to what is written .
You save a lot of time and frustration by not making all the mistakes a newbe does . ... These Manuals are worth their weight in wisdom gold and not just for the load data in the last chapters .
In fact the most information you need is the chapters in front of the load data ... trust me .
In the 4th Edition ... Read the First Eighteen Chapters ... before you plug in a pot ! Your learning curve will be much shorter .
Gary
Casting since 1967
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlawler View Post
Iíve been talking about it for a long time, but with covid making everything difficult to get, high prices, etc., I was putting it off. I had been looking to buy up a bunch of equipment and supplies on the used market, but all the used merchandise seemed to disappear off the classifieds and boards once covid got into full swing. Anyway, I finally found a good used lot of supplies and equipment for a price that I can live with. Iíll have to go through it, but it looks like I made out pretty well. It includes two Lee pots, several molds, most new, and all with handles, sizing dies, lube, a tumbler for powder coating(havenít tried that method yet), and several hundred pounds of processed lead. Iíll have a better idea once I go through everything and weigh the lead.
Looks and sounds like you're off to the races.

3 things:
Clean mold
Clean Alloy
Plenty of heat

Get those 3 things right and it's harder to drop bad bullets than good. A hot mold is a happy mold.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:35 PM
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WARNING:while casting bullets is not dangerous for your health if proper safety measures and ventilation are used,you must be warned that it is highly addictive and may lead you to excessive expenses for the acquisition of moulds,sizers and other such specialized equipment(some of them customized to your own specs) which expenses might lead your spouse to extremes such as divorce.
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:47 PM
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I think I made quite the haul! Hereís the final tally:

645 lb. processed lead half pure and half 92/6/2 alloy all in ingots
2 Lee 4-20 melting pots
8 Lee six cavity molds, .356 and .452 with handles
4 Lee sizing dies
Bulge buster kit
2 Lee ingot pans
1 RCBS analog lead thermometer
Harbor Freight tumbler with 2 lb. Eastwood powder coat
Respirator with new cartridges and spares
Couple of buckets full of tools, lube, fluxing stuff, etc.
And canít forget the 12 hdx containers.

And I got all that for $1000...how did I do?

ETA: And about half of the stuff is still new in the box!
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Old 07-24-2021, 05:54 PM
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The lead alone is worth $700 to $800. The rest depends on condition. Assuming the 8 six cavity molds are in good condition there’s another $200. Assuming the pots work OK they should be at least $50 each.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:01 PM
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The lead alone is worth $700 to $800. The rest depends on condition. Assuming the 8 six cavity molds are in good condition thereís another $200. Assuming the pots work OK they should be at least $50 each.
One pot and 5 of the molds are still new in box as well as all of the dies and bulge buster. Other molds look nearly new. I think lead is going for $2.50-$3 a lb. from what Iíve seen on ebay and elsewhere.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:05 PM
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What mounds did you get? I’ve been casting bullets since I was 12 years old……… I’m 63 now. Any questions you can PM me.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlawler View Post
I think I made quite the haul! Hereís the final tally:

645 lb. processed lead half pure and half 92/6/2 alloy all in ingots
2 Lee 4-20 melting pots
8 Lee six cavity molds, .356 and .452 with handles
4 Lee sizing dies
Bulge buster kit
2 Lee ingot pans
1 RCBS analog lead thermometer
Harbor Freight tumbler with 2 lb. Eastwood powder coat
Respirator with new cartridges and spares
Couple of buckets full of tools, lube, fluxing stuff, etc.
And canít forget the 12 hdx containers.

And I got all that for $1000...how did I do?

ETA: And about half of the stuff is still new in the box!
Basically, you bought 500 pounds of lead and got the rest for free.

Nice score.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruger 1,3 View Post
What mounds did you get? Iíve been casting bullets since I was 12 years oldÖÖÖ Iím 63 now. Any questions you can PM me.
3 different moulds, but duplicates...356-120-TC, 356-124-TC, and 452-230-TC. That should take care of 9mm, 357sig, 38super 45ar and 45acp. Iíll add other moulds as I can.

Thank you for the offer of help...I know Iím going to need some.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:30 PM
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Casting is just what makes your reloads even cheaper and can make you
feel like you don't need anything but primers, power and brass to be as good as anything that is being sold.
I even cast HP .45 ACP, one at a time but I like how they turn heads
when showing them off and shooting them....
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:35 PM
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Bullet casting is probably the most interesting part of the shooting sports in my opinion. So much to learn!

By all means, get the Lyman Handbooks and make a thorough study of everything before you begin. If you can find a copy of "Cast Bullets" an NRA publication by Col. E.H. Harrison you will be even further ahead of the curve, benefiting from about 20 years of intensive research and development work, lots of Q&A on specifics.

Good ventilation is an absolute must! All of my casting is done under a covered patio or in a garage with the overhead door open.
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Old 07-24-2021, 08:41 PM
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The Ideal and Lyman were making casting and loading equipment when Mr. Lee was just a gleam in his dad's eye!

Get either the Lyman Cast Bullet hand book 3rd or 4th edition OR the Lyman Loading Manual 46 edition is about 1980 and has most of the Cast Handbook info in it! I have #48 & #49, newer powders & cartridges, less real info!

Since you now have the means, learn to cast, then learn about sizing and Lubing. Then worry about loading data, you'll have to go with whatever powder is available anyway!

Ivan

+1 big time on good ventilation!

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Old 07-24-2021, 08:46 PM
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Darn...I clicked on this thread hoping to get a part in a movie!
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Old 07-24-2021, 09:37 PM
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Wait you get the satisfaction of killing a deer with a bullet you made. Then you are truly independent.
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Old 07-24-2021, 09:50 PM
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You got a nice haul there

I need to get back into casting

It has been a while since I melted any lead, but that has not stopped me from buying molds
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:06 PM
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Everyone talks about casting to save money but next thing you know you have thousands of dollars worth of molds and supplies.
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlawler View Post
One pot and 5 of the molds are still new in box as well as all of the dies and bulge buster. Other molds look nearly new. I think lead is going for $2.50-$3 a lb. from what Iíve seen on ebay and elsewhere.
You can find lead under the $1.50 range if youíre patient. I scan armslist and Craigslist once a week or so and buy some once or twice a year. If you need lead delivered to your door ASAP thereís often someone on castboollits with some for sale. Last week a guy was selling for $1.50 per pound plus shipping.

Even valuing lead at $1 per pound that was a really good deal.
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:21 AM
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Links to free downloads of reading material/manuals

From ingot to target:
A must read, excellent book on casting bullets
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...yxell_Book.pdf

Lee's Handbook of commercial bullet casting 2nd edition
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...%20-Reduce.pdf

Lyman's cast bullet handbook 3rd edition
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...-%20Reduce.pdf

Some reloading manuals
The abc's of reloading lee manual 7th edition
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...4%20Reduce.pdf
Hornary reloading manual 4th edition volume 1 and 2
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...Volume%201.pdf
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...Volume%202.pdf
Lyman's reloading manual 44th edition
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...---%201967.pdf
Lyman's reloading manual 48th edition
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...%20-%20ocr.pdf
Modern reloading 2nd edition by richard lee
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...%20-%20ocr.pdf
Speer reloading manual 12th edition
http://marvinstuart.com/firearm/Manu...201995%20-.pdf

The "From ingot to target" is an excellent read & is highly recommended over on the cast bollits website to any new caster. Tons of information that is in an easy to read/easy to understand format.

Myself, I cut my teeth using the lyman 3rd edition cast handbook. Wore the cover off the darn thing & still use it to this day.

Something to keep in mind:
It's good to have a foundation on casting. I would focus on getting good bullets with good fill out, good bases and no wrinkes.

Do "NOT" get caught up in the alloy/hardness conspiracy theories or stupid formulas that are out there. 99%+ of my casting/shooting needs is done with nothing more than 8/9bhn air cooled, 11/12bhn water dropped range scrap. Your 96/2/2 is 11bhn air cooled and 13/14bhn when water dropped. If you mix your 96/2/2 with the pure lead (50%/50%) you have then you will be using the same alloy I've used for decades/range scrap equivalent.

I would start with 1 caliber and concentrate on it. The 45acp or 38spl would be excellent choices, tons of data/help/others that have used/cast the same bullets your casting. It's always easier to establish a baseline of knowledge if you work with 1 caliber/firearm.

Good luck

Last edited by Forrest r; 07-25-2021 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 07-25-2021, 07:31 AM
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May I also suggest that you join the Cast Boolits forum. My username over there is smithnframe. Looking forward to seeing you!
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Old 07-25-2021, 08:12 AM
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Wow , that was a great score. I started casting about 3 years ago and it is very enjoyable. I powder coat all my bullets as well and they shoot great. I don't know if you mentioned sizing, but you will need some sizing dies as well. Good luck with it and enjoy your new hobby.
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Old 07-25-2021, 09:16 AM
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I cast a lot of bullets back in the 70s. I would hit every tire outlet repair store and they would always give me their old wheel weights. Linotype was also readily available too. I sold all my casting equipment years ago when I found I could buy excellent lead bullets for reasonable prices. I stock piled lead bullets by the thousands and have plenty left.
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Old 07-25-2021, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlHunt View Post
Looks and sounds like you're off to the races.

3 things:
Clean mold
Clean Alloy
Plenty of heat

Get those 3 things right and it's harder to drop bad bullets than good. A hot mold is a happy mold.
And Lube the mould , especially the block tops , underside of spue plate and hinges , pivot points and pins ... Synthetic 2-Cycle Oil works best .
Gary
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Old 07-25-2021, 09:57 AM
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I am getting out of casting and shot making. Partly for health reasons. Just too much stuff around . I must have 5-6 tons of lead, couple hundred pounds of tin etc. Going to keep 3 molds for JIC but the shotmakers are going to the big auction house in the sky soon. I made much shot. Most of the lead is going to the scrap yard as lead is over a dollar a pound. The hard stuff is gonna go on Cast Boolits or somewhere. Birtjday coming up soon...most of my best shooting days are done.
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:03 AM
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I hear you Skeet ... My best days were 40 years ago ... half blind now but just ain't ready to call it quits .
The Lord might have a Shooting Range in Heaven ... I'm going to see if I can take some of my "stuff" with me !
Gary
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:15 AM
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I hear you Skeet ... My best days were 40 years ago ... half blind now but just ain't ready to call it quits .
Gary
Yeah I was more than half blind had a bit of eye surgery and can see much better now but trying to be more careful with eyesight these days. I can still break and occcasional hundred straight but haven't done it with my favorite(the 410) in 5 years. Our day in the sun is fleeting as they say.. I could even hit a few PDs with a handgun(S&W M 28) up to a 100 yds at one time. Doubt I can even see 'em that far without a scope anymore
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Old 07-25-2021, 10:31 AM
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I too quit casting some time ago. I cast my own for 10 years or so but got married, had kids, bought a house. Casting took as much time as reloading and shooting put together. These days metal isn't mostly free anymore on a widespread basis.

I still have the equipment though. One of these shortages I may have to break it out. But so far I've been able to buy bullets when I've needed them. I still buy an occasional mold if I see a "deal". A year or so ago a Lee .41 full wadcutter mold (Lee 41-200-WC) popped up on eBay with a very reasonable "buy it now". Fortunately I got to it first.

I haven't had a chance to use it yet. My living situation at the moment won't allow for casting but I might go stay with one of my kids for a bit and cast some of those up.
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Old 07-25-2021, 11:00 AM
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I think you made out like a bandit.
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Old 07-25-2021, 11:29 AM
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Thanks to everyone for all the information and advice. I still have quite a bit of setting up and reading to do before I melt my first pot. I wasnít really ready, shop and space wise, to jump right in anyway. But when a deal came up, I jumped on it.

I have a question about lead storage. To maximize space, I need to consolidate the ingots. It came in 10 hdx buckets that were 1/3 or so filled due to weight, but I want to store it on some lower shelves in my garage. It will be exposed to normal South Florida garage conditions and is in the opposite corner from my house a/c system. Should I line the shelf first?í And should I keep them covered and somewhat sealed? Or is just bare on the shelf ok?
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Old 07-25-2021, 01:00 PM
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I have been reloading my own ammo & casting my own bullets since I was 20 years old. I'm almost 76 now, and although Lee molds will get you started without spending a bunch of money, I prefer iron molds. I do have a few Lee molds, but most of my casting is done with Lyman & RCBS iron molds. With proper care, they last MUCH longer than aluminum molds. Just my opinion, and it cost you nothing to read it.
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Old 07-25-2021, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeet 028 View Post
I am getting out of casting and shot making. Partly for health reasons. Just too much stuff around . I must have 5-6 tons of lead, couple hundred pounds of tin etc. Going to keep 3 molds for JIC but the shotmakers are going to the big auction house in the sky soon. I made much shot. Most of the lead is going to the scrap yard as lead is over a dollar a pound. The hard stuff is gonna go on Cast Boolits or somewhere. Birtjday coming up soon...most of my best shooting days are done.
I am truly sorry to hear about your health issues, I hate to see anyone who can't continue to enjoy the shooting passion to the extent that they like. May good fortune shine upon you.
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Old 07-25-2021, 01:48 PM
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I have been casting bullets since the early 1970's, I too prefer iron moulds over the aluminum. There are still deals to be had for casting equipment, much like the initial bargain. My favorite moulds were made by Hensley & Gibbs, I was truly fortunate to find quite a few in the $20 to $30 price range for four cavity moulds. I've also had good results with Saeco moulds. The remaining moulds are Lyman and RCBS. Casting makes you considerably more independent, since once you have alloy, you can reproduce any load. Best of luck to you and enjoy casting.
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Old 07-25-2021, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Skeet 028 View Post
I am getting out of casting and shot making. Partly for health reasons. Just too much stuff around . I must have 5-6 tons of lead, couple hundred pounds of tin etc. Going to keep 3 molds for JIC but the shotmakers are going to the big auction house in the sky soon. I made much shot. Most of the lead is going to the scrap yard as lead is over a dollar a pound. The hard stuff is gonna go on Cast Boolits or somewhere. Birtjday coming up soon...most of my best shooting days are done.
I am sorry to hear this.

In my college days, I originally got into casting so that I could shoot more on my limited budget.

As things progressed over the years I continued because I enjoyed it. Also I can have molds made for bullets that are just not available or do not exist. I have bought into [a dozen or more group buys over on CastBoolits

I would be sad to give up my hobby because health issues forced me to

I understand that maintaining health is a must.

Are there no young family members that you can mentor in the Art of Casting? Perhaps he/she could keep you supplied in projectiles from those last molds
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:25 PM
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I don't count costs for any of my handloads and have never done anything with my shooting "hobby" because it's "cheaper". There is a lot of satisfaction with reloading and a huge amount more from reloading your own cast bullets. Besides, it's fun. There are good texts and manuals and excellent forums (I joined castboolits in 2008 and have used info from the members many, many times). Of course the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbooks (I prefer the 3rd over the 4th) and many good texts are available. One excellent source of info is on the LASC site, "From Ingot To Target" Cast bullet reference on lead alloy's, min / max pressure, lube, shrinkage,.

You will get thousands of dire "warnings" about safely dealing with lead from using a fan to using a full haz-mat suit with PPE everything. Use common sense and you'll be fine. I have been casting bullets for 30 years and up until a few years ago had annual blood tests/physicals and lead levels were consistency normal. I started making sinkers when I was 12 on Ma's stove, 60+ years ago and never any "tensile fairy" visits or eruptions, just using common sense and thinking...
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Old 07-25-2021, 04:07 PM
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If you keep the ingots covered surface oxidation will be minimized.

The cleaner the ingots the better.

And another aspect of the craft:

Learn to powder coat (PC). After running a Lyman Lube Sizer, powder
coat is the way to go. Not as messy, guns stay cleaner It's much
better.
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Old 07-25-2021, 04:49 PM
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If you keep the ingots covered surface oxidation will be minimized.

The cleaner the ingots the better.

And another aspect of the craft:

Learn to powder coat (PC). After running a Lyman Lube Sizer, powder
coat is the way to go. Not as messy, guns stay cleaner It's much
better.
That makes sense. I think Iíll cut a piece of visqueen to size to cover it and lay a piece of plywood over it and still have some shelf space for light items.

I have been powder coating for a few months now. I started buying ďas-castĒ bullets and PCing them and sizing.
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Old 07-25-2021, 05:03 PM
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I've started casting my own as well. I've skipped lube and went straight to PC, however now I'm thinking of adding lube-a-master or lyman as well, cause my 700 grainers for 500 Mag just get too fat to fit into cylinder with PC.
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:01 PM
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Here is what it looked like after stacking, less all the loose 1/2 lb. ingots. I had envisioned that stacked brick look like in Goldfinger, but itís all good. I donít think Iím going to have to worry about lead for awhile
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Old 07-26-2021, 05:04 PM
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I have 23 50 cal ammo cans with ingots in them. About 80 lbs each And as far as shot I have 6 -5 gal buckets full. More than 300 lbs each 2 each for 20-28-410 loads. At least a ton of #9 mag shot 9 cases of loaded 20 ga 6 cases of 28 and at least 10 cases of 410. Real cases not flats and haven't shot a round of real skeet in over a year and a half. Then I have a bunch of range lead and soft lead ingots picked up here and there. Even have over a 100 lbs of 50/50 lead tin solder from yard sales etc. When you lose your sight it is hard to shoot. I still shoot but nothing hard recoiling. I wish I had someone in the family to pass most of the reloading/casting stuff to pass it to..all the grandsons are back east making a life for themselves. I am taking pics this afternoon of molds etc I got in group buys on Cast Boolits and many from gun shows too. Most are unused or used very little. Been selling more than I have been buying in guns. already have disposition of my stuff set up for the future. Selling the casting stuff has been very hard for me to do...but it will have to go. I am trying to keep enough boolits and stuff to keep me shooting into the future however long or short it may be.
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Old 07-26-2021, 06:39 PM
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Here is what it looked like after stacking, less all the loose 1/2 lb. ingots. I had envisioned that stacked brick look like in Goldfinger, but itís all good. I donít think Iím going to have to worry about lead for awhile
You'd be surprised how quickly you can go through it. Get some 6 cavity molds and that pot says "Feed Me".
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:58 AM
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I've started casting my own as well. I've skipped lube and went straight to PC, however now I'm thinking of adding lube-a-master or lyman as well, cause my 700 grainers for 500 Mag just get too fat to fit into cylinder with PC.
Get a noe sizing die and you can dip lube then run the bullet through the sizer on your reloading press. It works well for small batches of bullets you donít shoot all the time
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:00 AM
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Get a noe sizing die and you can dip lube then run the bullet through the sizer on your reloading press. It works well for small batches of bullets you donít shoot all the time
That's the sizing system I'm currently using Lee APP and Lee/NOE bushings. Good idea about pan lubing, since Lube-a-matic's are nowhere to be found.
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:24 AM
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Got a Lube-a-matic a couple or 3 of older Lyman 45s and a Star sizer. The 45s are set up for single bullets and never changed. I will keep a couple of them but the Star and the RCBS are going to get sold. Talked to the metal dealer yesterday and it seems they are going to buy 2 tons of the ingots I have. (They are also taking a load of scrap iron with 'em when they come). They are gonna pick it up so it will all(well not all) be gone tomorrow. And I don't have to do anything except get the lead out of the garage. I woulda done it yesterday...but it was a 100 out there. LOL. Talked to another fellow and he wants a ton of the shot. . Now I can buy another S&W or two....well...maybe one. Gotta pay for the new heating/AC system we just had put in the house.. Got central heat so I don't have to cut near as much wood. That stuff ain't cheap these days.
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Old 07-27-2021, 10:40 AM
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A year or two back I realized I was down to under a ton of WW mix. Even though I am a few years short of 70 I think it's enough.

I PC some bullets but find i do most with a good lube and sizer.
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Old 08-08-2021, 01:11 AM
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I have only been casting for a few years. I am pleased that you can get into casting, or even reloading, with little cost. I can get by with a 20 pound Lee pot, three Keith molds, and three Lee push through sizers in my single stage press. I tumble lube with Lee liquid Alox and Johnsonís paste wax, 50-50. It seems to work fine for revolver under 1000 ft./s.

It doesnít take a lot to make your own bullets. For ventilation, I only cast outside. Most of my lead is range scrap. We make things so complex, and I appreciate good tools, but you can really do a lot with a few simple tools.

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Old 08-08-2021, 01:50 AM
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Started casting when I got out of the navy in 1967. All I use is wheelweights with 2% tin and never found a reason to change. There was a dump where I worked and the splicer crews used to clean out their trucks. Always would find partial bars of solder and the lead from cable. When I moved didn't know what to do with all that. Ended up stuffing ammo cans full of lead and solder. My favorite cast bullet rifle is a Finnish model 27 in 7.62x54r. Lymans 314299 is a natural in this rifle. Early on with load developement I found IMR 4759 was the powder in this rifle. So much so, I never tried anything else. Managed to squirrel enough to last until they shovel the dirt over me. And definitely check out the castbullets website. Well worth your time and effort. Frank
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Old 08-08-2021, 07:18 AM
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Develop a safe method for smelting and casting. No smoking( if you do) and Make Sure NO BEVERAGES anywhere close to lead pots. Being in Florida I try to cast in winter( if you can call it that) in garage with door open and large box fan to the side of pot blowing Out. Have some protective clothing such as shop apron, gloves, ( nomex flight gloves are great)jeans, leather shoes ,clear face shield and hat/ cap. You do not want a visit from the “ tinsel fairy”. Been casting since late 70’s and keep Pb in metal ammo cans. I only size with RCBS sizer and dies since 70’s.
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