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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a lot of thought and some reading both here and over at the cast boolits forum I finally took the plunge to get into casting my own boolits. I figured I would share my tale and what I have learned so far.

First thing I did was to read "From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide For Handgunners" by Glen Fryxell & Robert Applegate I started out trying to do this as cheaply as I could so I went down to the local bargain outlet and picked up a stainless steel pot and figured I could build a heating element from some old hot pot elements that I got for free. This was to function as my smelter. I ordered up a Lee 2 cavity .452" 255gr RNFP mold, a Lee .452" sizing kit, Lee ladle and a couple sticks of Lyman Alox for lubing the mold handles, pins and sprue plate. Once the stuff arrived I set about trying to cast some bullets. Before I was able to even try casting I realized that my home built smelter wasn't going to work, it just didn't get hot enough. I figured it would work pretty well as a mold warmer but it wasn't going to serve any other purpose. I also found that the Lee Ladle sucks for what it was intended for, that straight handle and open ladle makes it near impossible to keep the molten lead in the ladle. My first attempt was a failure.

I'm not one to admit defeat easily so I decided to bite the bullet (pun definitely intended) and order up a Lee 4 20lb production pot. Once the pot arrived I could hardly wait to get started so out to the shop I went. I got the pot full of lead and started heating the mold up. Once the mold was hot, I lubed with Alox and smoked the mold using kitchen matches. Once everything was ready I started pouring, the first bunch came out with lots of wrinkles, at first I chalked it up to operator error but after a few casts I realized that I must have contaminated the mold when I lubed it. I let the mold cool down and then got out the acetone and a brush and set about cleaning the mold out. Once it was clean and dry I got the mold heated back up and started casting again. After a few casts I had what I thought were pretty good boolits except that they were a little frosty. I backed off the temperature of the pot and they started casting really nicely. What I found when I measure them was that they were dropping at about .453" and 255.8gr was the average weight. Since I don't have a hardness tester I have no way to verify the alloy at this point but since the weight was so close to what it was supposed to be I figured I must be close.

I tumble lubed the bullets using Lee Liquid Alox and then sized them using the Lee Sizer which seems to work pretty well. Tumble lubing with straight Alox sucks though, it's messy and everything sticks to those boolits. I ended up wiping the ogive of the boolits off with a rag after loading them just to clean them up a bit. I have been told that a 45/45/10 mixture of LLA/Johnson paste wax/ordorless mineral spirits cures the issues up so I'll be trying that soon. I have not fired any rounds loaded with these boolits yet but I loaded some up yesterday and am hoping to get to the range on Friday, I'll post my results for sure.

Overall I'm very happy with my results and if they shoot as good as they look I'll be ecstatic. A friend from work offered to trade me 2 brand new Lee molds so I took him up on it both cast .452" 200 RNFP one is a 6 cavity and one is a 2 cavity. These molds shout work well in the .45 ACP cylinder of my Ruger Blackhawk and with any luck they'll work out well in my 1911 too. I tried out the 6 cavity mold and it seems the learning curve is a little bit steeper but after a few casts I had good bullets dropping out of the mold. I don't always get 6 perfect boolits but most of the time I do. I know without pictures it didn't happen so without further delay:


My home built mold warmer, it works surprisingly well even though it's not the job it was intended for.


My new casting pot full of lead shot, I know it's not the perfect alloy but I had about 100 pounds of it and I have more shotgun shells than I'm ever going to shoot already. I figured I might as well use it up.


Boolits, this is the first batch that came out well.


Here's the final product along with the gun that started this little endeavor. I love that revolver but to be able to shoot it regularly, I had to start casting for it.

Well, that's my story. So far I'm enjoying the journey and I can see me acquiring an assortment of molds before this is over with. My next adventure will be casting a .358" 200gr gas checked boolit for use in my 336 .35 Remington with micro groove barrel, Not sure if it will work but I'm going to try it anyway.

Stu
 

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If I can line up a good lead source I'll be following your footsteps casting. Good job.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Worst case scenario there's a bunch of guys selling ingots on ebay. It wouldn't quite as cost effective but still cheaper than buying bullets. My plan after the lead shot runs out is to head down to the local scrap yard and see what they've got for scrap lead if anything. I may try mining the backstop at the range also but I'm not sure I'd be allowed to do it. I'll have to look into that before I try it.

Stu
 

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Worst case scenario there's a bunch of guys selling ingots on ebay. It wouldn't quite as cost effective but still cheaper than buying bullets. My plan after the lead shot runs out is to head down to the local scrap yard and see what they've got for scrap lead if anything. I may try mining the backstop at the range also but I'm not sure I'd be allowed to do it. I'll have to look into that before I try it.

Stu
Our scrap yard wont deal with WW and the soft lead goes instantly, we don't have any ranges to mine and I think somebody must have the tire shops wrapped up. Did find some old lead bullets and such at a gun shop and he offered at .90 a pound. I think that's going to be my best bet
 
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Good post, enjoyed reading it. Sometime try quenching your bullets as they drop out of the mold. Put an old folded towel in the bottom of a bucket and put about six inches of water in the bucket. Drop the bullets right out of the mold into the bucket. The sudden change in temperature will harden the bullets. Another way to add hardness is to take the cold bullets and put them on a cookie tray and into the oven. Since I use the quenching technique I'm not 100% sure of the temperature and time but I believe it was something like 250 degrees for 30 minutes. I'm sure if you search on the internet you can find the correct temp and duration. I broke down and bought a Lyman lubrisizer for sizing and lubing. I like the results better than the liquid alox method. I thought that was pretty messy. With the Lubrisizer you can attach gas checks if your bullet design calls for the. Let us know how your bullets shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the tip Doc I'll check that one out.

Stu
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quick update

I got out this morning to the gun club with my Blackhawk and 40 rounds loaded with my new cast boolits over 9.0gr of Unique. All 40 rounds fired without a hitch and all hit their marks so that's a step in the right direction. I found no trace of leading in the barrel afterwards which I'm pretty happy about also. All rounds were fired at 25yds on a standard B27 target (the only ones I had on hand) except for a few fired at the falling plate rack at 15yds. No issues whatsoever with these boolits so now I have to load up some of the .452" 200gr RNFP for the .45ACP cylinder and my 1911 and try them in both guns, hopefully I'll have a similar experience with these. Here's some pictures:


A picture of the whole target, I'm still getting used to this gun and I need to replace the grips so I can get a consistent and repeatable grip on it. I'm absolutely positive I can tighten that up once I replace those grips.


My last group of the morning, 6 shots fired off hand at 25yds. I could do a little better with a pistol rest but I have no idea where mine is.

Overall I don't think I could be any happier with these boolits, they work great.

Stu
 

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Thanks for sharing. I'm have been reading and preparing to do what you have just done. I have everything but the bullet mold already because I've been making jig heads for years. I have had my "cart" filled several times with molds online but I haven't made the move yet. Your post gets +2 enabler points because I'm about to "checkout" and head done the same road.

Update: just ordered rcbs 44-250-K mold and lyman cast bullet handbook. Just broke the ice I know but it is broken. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Congratulations, you'll love casting. I've been having a blast with it, I just don't have near enough time for my new hobby. You'll have to let us know how those new bullets turn out.

Stu
 

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Thanks, I've been reloading for many years but I'm totally clueless to the process of casting. I have been reading and I can't wait to start this new adventure. Thanks for posting because I literally read your post and it made me take the first step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I started out by reading From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners by Fryxell and Applegate, it's very informative and available for free. I have a copy of it in PDF form on my laptop so it's always readily available to me. Check it out, well worth the time to read.

Stu
 

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Just arrived. Time to do some reading:). I anticipated the arrival and stock by a local tire shop. I know the guys there well and they gave me two 5gal buckets of WW. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1400783616.282344.jpg
 

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Thanks, I've been reloading for many years but I'm totally clueless to the process of casting. I have been reading and I can't wait to start this new adventure. Thanks for posting because I literally read your post and it made me take the first step.
It's not that big of deal Russell to figure out how to do it all . Main thing is your molds have to be the right temp , And you lead in the pot also . #2 your lead mixture has to be pretty Close to the right hardness , or you'll experience Major leading in your guns , and believe me, you don't wanta go through That door . # 3 always remember to install Gas checks on your bullets if your firing them over a 1000 ft per. sc. , but , And you still want your lead hardness mixture right . # 4 Best , less messy lube is to use a liberator / seizer press , like a Lyman to size and lube and install your gas check's if needed .

I use to do a hell of lot of my own casting.... mainly for 44 mag loads , years ago , but finely got discussed with it , cause I always had lead problems in my guns . I KONWE it was my own fault , cause I did my one mixing of the lead , cause I was too cheap to buy it already mixed , never the less I finely got discussed with it and just Quit foolin with it .


I did keep all my casting equipment , thank God" , cause That stuff is not Near" as cheep Now , as what I paid for it back 30 years ago , needless to say . I'm prob. gonna try it again .... (Trying to get up enough nerve to brake down buy the lead) ... It ain~t cheap ether these days . But this time around , I Will be buying it from Co's like Roto Metals that already have it mixed up for you in 5 lb. ingots... about 2 too $3 buck a lb. ... You want to maintain a hardness of around 15 or 16 in most cases , and you shouldn't get much leading in your gun barrels , If Any" , at that hardness level of your bullets .

Roto Metals , sell's what they call Lyman #2 mixture , which is a pretty good all around hardness metal for your different bullet size castings , for your rifle And pistol calibers . So That is the route I will prob. go when I fire my pot's back up , and I am going to do just That" , now after talking to ole Doc. and Travis on the subject , And now" , that I'm finely RETIRED" and have to time to mess with it again , but it's all Really pretty easy to get it all figured out Russell , and I remember I did Really enjoy making my own bullets , back in those day's , but I Sure as heck" didn't like cleaning that stuff out of my gun barrel's , I tell ya That" , but I'm More than sure , if the hardness is Right" , you won't have that problem , cause There IS A MANY Of People out there that shoot Nothing Else but there own cast bullet's , LIKE" Doc and Travis , and have for a Long Time . Both of those guy's have there lead mixing ability's down Pretty Pat . Anyhue.... Jump in there man , Getchur feet wet ...... Dave :biggrin:
 

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I was just on roto metals sight lol. I have been reading all day and just got my set up ready to melt WW's. I'm trying to figure out how to use WW(free) and maybe add something to help harden it up. If that's even needed. No hurry though. I haven't ordered the rcbs lube I matic that I've been eye balling for some time so I have time to figure out some stuff. I enjoy making stuff myself and love learning new skills. Last year I decided to learn to tie my own cast net from start to finish and with that skill I've made an 8' cast net(15,678 knots btw) and several dip nets. Even made my son a hammock. Reloading x 10yrs and making my own fishing jigs too. Now casting has called out to me and I'm ready. Thanks for all y'all's help and I'm sorry for jacking your post Stu925.
 
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