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Thread: bullet casting ???

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    Default bullet casting ???

    so i just got a lyman bullet casting kit the one with the press to size and lube them. i did not order the molds or dies or top punchs for it. so i am wondering what to order there?

    i will be casting 45-70 44mags 38s and 500S&W for now is what i want to get setup with. so anyone out there that does it i would love to get more knowed up on this thanks Trevor

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I buy a fair amount of stuff from Midway USA and they have quite a selection of bullet casting stuff and pictures in their catalog. Of course you can go online also. For the 45-70 I use the RCBS 45-405 mould and that is for a gas check bullet so you will need to order 458 gas checks also. The 44 and 38 moulds I would look at would be something with a flat nose and middle of the road weights. Say like 240 grains for the 44 and 150 ish grains for the 38. Don’t bother with gas checks for the 38, but it would be a good idea for the 44. That big 500, I got no idea……Sorry.

    Hit some of your local tire shops and see if you can buy, barter or scrounge some wheel weights. Then get yourself a cheap cast iron pot and one of those turkey fryier setups with the propane burner to smelt your lead down into ingots. Then pour your ingots with one of the ingot moulds from RCBS, Lee or who ever suits you. Don’t worry about adding tin. WW will cast just fine as is.

    Lots of thoughts on moulds and they all work. Lee is by far the least expensive, made of aluminum and easy to use. Perhaps not as durable as the other more expensive moulds by Saeco, RCBS or Lyman. I have moulds from each of them and still use them all. Note that the handles are sold separately for all but the Lee moulds, and they are often not interchangeable without modification.

    Be safe, don’t set yourself on fire, and don’t have any water around as water and lead mixing is a big time no no!

    If you don’t already have a pot with your kit, have a look at the cheap Lee production pot bottom pour over at sportsmans’. They are only like $65 or so and work pretty well.

    Good luck.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Oh, I forgot about your top punches and sizer dies! The Midway USA catalog will cross reference what you need (so will the web site) in the mould section. Pick the bullet you want, order the mould, cross ref the bullet to find the top punch and order the appropriate sizer die according to your barrel dimensions. Usually .459 for Marlin 45-70’s (always go bigger by about .001 to .002) then slug your other barrels by pounding a soft lead musket ball into the muzzle with a wood mallet and measure the slug with a micrometer.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    First buy; The Lyman cast bullet hand book.
    Buy your molds, of cast iron, that will have a crimp groove to allow correct overall seating of your 45-70 so they will function through your gun. The RCBS 405 grain is one such mold. But the sizer die should be determined by slugging all barrels and the buy the top punch to fit the nose of the bullet, in other words to match the die. Lyman molds, for instance, list the mold number, the top punch required, and then the as cast size. The 454424 mold drops 45 Colt bullets at .454" (so they can be sized down to .452") and the 424 top punch fits the nose.

    Typically the sizer die vs caliber listed below.

    38 Spcl. .358"
    44Mag .430"
    45-70 .458" (.459" may fit the Marlin better)
    500 S&W .501"

    Also bullet weight for the molds is approximate as the mix of the alloy. lead to tin ratio, will determine weight.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmk4x4 View Post
    so i just got a lyman bullet casting kit the one with the press to size and lube them. i did not order the molds or dies or top punchs for it. so i am wondering what to order there?

    i will be casting 45-70 44mags 38s and 500S&W for now is what i want to get setup with. so anyone out there that does it i would love to get more knowed up on this thanks Trevor
    Great advice all around!

    I'll add one thing to your shopping list. Get the Lee lead Hardness Testing Kit for around $45 or the Saeco Hardness Tester for around $140.

    There are lots of sources for free lead, but the alloy varies a lot. When you start pushing velocities, hardness will be important, but it can be difficult to determine using the old "thumbnail" test.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I think we have covered most of the bases here, but left out lube! You will for sure want some of that! You will quickly find that there are as many different types and brands of lube as there are bullets and moulds, and naturally some are more expensive that others. I have tried quite a few, and can say that for everything I shoot, the plain old NRA formula (50/50% alox & wax) works just fine. It’s a soft lube so you don’t need a heater but it is a bit sticky so you wont want to lube a bunch of bullets and then store them all together in a bag. And you SURE wouldn’t want to store them someplace hot or you will end up with a bag full of melted goo!
    Poke around on e-bay for the best deals and buy in volume. You will use more than you would think.
    I personally cast piles of bullets and then set them aside only to be lubed and gas checked just prior to being loaded.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    I think we have covered most of the bases here, but left out lube! You will for sure want some of that! You will quickly find that there are as many different types and brands of lube as there are bullets and moulds, and naturally some are more expensive that others. I have tried quite a few, and can say that for everything I shoot, the plain old NRA formula (50/50% alox & wax) works just fine. It’s a soft lube so you don’t need a heater but it is a bit sticky so you wont want to lube a bunch of bullets and then store them all together in a bag. And you SURE wouldn’t want to store them someplace hot or you will end up with a bag full of melted goo!
    Poke around on e-bay for the best deals and buy in volume. You will use more than you would think.
    I personally cast piles of bullets and then set them aside only to be lubed and gas checked just prior to being loaded.
    I use the alox blend most of the time for rifle bullets. For bulk cast handgun bullets, I use the RCBS lube. The alox blend will work fine for handgun too, but the RCBS isn't as sticky and allows me to dump the handgun bullets bulk into larger boxes. I save all my jacketed bullet boxes, then stand the alox-lubed bullets on end in them till the box is full and they can't shift. Makes for convenient storing and organizing them while controlling the lube. Labels go on the end of the box.

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    For lube I've gone with two different sources--Speed Green, which is a lube made buy a guy in Delta Junction with a business called The Bullshop. He has a website, http://bullshop.gunloads.com.

    The other source is Carnauba Red from White Label Lube ( http://www.lsstuff.com/lube/ ). It's made by a vet in Pocatello Idaho who's a really great guy (of course, so is Dan from the Bullshop). He's also got some other lubes. The next time I buy from him I'll probably get his BAC, which doesn't require any heat. The Carnaube Red does like to be warmed a bit to flow good in my RCBS sizer.

    I've tried Lyman's Super Moly, and the 50/50 alox lube but I much prefer either of the two above lubes. I also like helping out the little guy.

    Regarding gas checks, I haven't needed them in any of my .44 mag revolvers, but I know that some guns just don't shoot well without them. Mine are fine with the RCBS 44-250-K bullet, which is a plain based SWC, and I've run them as fast as 1400 fps in a 6.5" Blackhawk. This is using generic wheel weight alloy, air cooled.

    Mike

  9. #9

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    thanks for all the good info just what i was looking for. let me get this right i need to have a mold that is bigger than the bullet that i want so when i size it i can size it down? in just looking to get started with bullets that will work i will get down perfection after i have done it a bit thanks agin Trevor

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    Dittos on the lyman cast bullet book. Then get as many wheelweights as you can beg borrow or steal. If you come across 1000#'s at a great price, $.10 a pound is great, $.20 is good, get it all.

    For bullet lube, lbt is the best commercial lube I've tried. I've done accuracy tests and have found it is superior to most of the lubes out there. I've also made my own lube from beeswax and moly/lythim axle greese. Good but messy. Hard lubes are great for commercial casters as they stay in the bullet when shipped, but perform poorly.

    I've used molds from every manufacturer. I've found Lee molds to shoot as accurately as any, and they are very reasonably priced. They are a bit delecate so you can't abuse them when cutting sprues. If money isn't an object, ballisticast makes what I consider outstanding molds, but they aren't cheap. RCBS molds are very good, Lyman molds are so so, but some of the older ones were outstanding.

    I'd get a 400 gr gc for the 45-70, I prefer LBT style bullets, also known as ogival wadcutters, or by their styles LFN, WFN. For the 38 and 44 I'd get a lee 6 cavity swc in 150-158 gr for the 38 and 240-250 for the 44. Plainbase is fine for milder loads, and you'll find for the time spent casting you might as well make a pile of bullets. The lee 300 rf gc in 44 is a wonderful bullet design. I've cast from lee's 500 mold for the S&W for friends, and they never complained about accuracy.

    I've found that the biggest mistake of new casters is they cast cold which results in incompletely filled bullets, especially true when casting ww's. Get the melt hot, and get the mold hot. I put the molds on the edge of the furnace to heat up while the alloy is melting, and after the lead is melted dip the corner of the mold in the melt for a minute or two. One can cast 40-50 bullets to get the mold hot enough to cast good bullets, or just heat the mold up so your first cast is a good bullet. Some molds are finicky about how hot they are and getting the right fill rate in the mold, other molds are a dream to cast. You'll just have to jump in find what works for you.

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    One important note about gas checked bullets: Don’t make a habit of shooting them over your chronograph! Sooner or later a loose gas check will come off the base of a bullet just as it leaves the barrel and inevitably home right in on your chronograph screen, usually resulting in instant death for your little electronic toy!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    So I'm not the only one :O I was trying to see how fast I could push a 310 gr bullet out of my 480, and since it was a plain based bullet I seated gas checks inverted over the base of the bullet. I knew better, and shot #7 killed the chrono.

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    Actually I was fortunate enough to witness the misfortunes of another shooter whom had a gas check take out his chronograph, and quickly made a mental note to abstain from that practice!

    I was pretty cool……..a nice satisfying “crack” sound and a shattered display screen, but not nearly as cool as the guy with his new 45-70 Guide Gun sighting in his new scope over his new chrono with new 405 grain Buffalo Bore rounds. Seems he forgot to take into consideration the height of the scope versus the bore of the rifle and shot his chrono at nearly point blank range with a 405 grain chunk of lead traveling at 2000 feet per second……………..First shot! Really quite spectacular, and oh so very entertaining!

    The best part is the two or three seconds were the guys face is frozen in that “I cant ******* believe it” expression as the lighter remnants of his electronic toy are still floating gently in the smoky acrid breeze, the main chunk is cart wheeling down the range in a green blur of gyroscopic mayhem, shedding chunks and bits, all the while being chased by various tripod parts and the sky screen rods streaking thru the clear blue sky like little rockets on their way into geosynchronous orbit as the sounds of suppressed laughter starts to resonate up and down the firing line.
    To make the anguish and misery all the more bitter, he has brought along his lovely bride on his inaugural trip to the range and as he turns to face her is greeted with the very same expression that had graced his own face only moments before, but with the added question “honey….. what did you do?....”

    Ahhhhhh, ha, ha, whaaaa, ha, ha, ha!


    So far I have only managed to shoot one of the sky screens off of mine, but I am sure that sooner or later my time will come……… that’s what always happens when I take too much joy out of some poor fellows misfortune! Bad karma on my part………. And I am pretty sure I will have that same stupid expression on MY face!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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