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Thread: Casting Bullets

  1. #1

    Default Casting Bullets

    I am interested in some information on casting bullets. I have a Rugger Red Hawk in 44 mag, 7 1/2" barrell stainless. Need information on a mold, whitch brand mold do I need? Where do I get the mold? I have several 5 gallon buckets of old wheel weights and about 100 lbs. clean soft lead. I already have a lead melting pot with bottom pour. Need information, or would I be better off buying cast bullets from somewhere else? THANKS

  2. #2

    Talking Casting

    Casting can be fun and allow you to shoot more often. Remember to do it in a well ventalated area so you don't get lead poisioning. I don't know what you expect for a bullet for your 44. You can get moulds from LEE, LYMAN, RCBS,SAECO. These can be moulded to your specs. as far as hardness and weight within reason. You will also need a swaging tool to make these bullets the right diameter, most cast bullets are moulded a couple of thousandths oversize. There are volumes of info on the net about casting and different lubes. ENJOY!!!

  3. #3

    Default

    I'd pick up the Lyman cast bullet manual as a first step. All you ever need to know about casting methods and equipment in the front sections.

    As a guess, I'm betting you'll get the best performance from pure wheelweights at something under 1400 fps, and 1300 fps is better. The pure lead will be useful for other things, but I'd save it till you have been casting a while. Wheelweights are a dandy place to start for handgun bullets.

    As for moulds, there's quite a price range with Lee the cheapest. Not a ding at Lee, cuzz I have and use lots of theirs in addition to RCBS and Lyman. Unless you're really lucky, the bullets come out of all moulds slightly bigger than you want, so they have to be run through a lubricater/sizer to squeeze them down to the perfect diameter. Not a huge liability because it also neatly applies the lube at the same time. Since wheelweights cast slightly smaller than pure lead, you might be able to get by without a lubrisizer for your 44 bullets, but you'll still have to lube them. That can be done several ways, but I'll leave it to the Lyman book to help you make up your mind.

    From among my 44 moulds, the ones that gets the most use are 240 gr flatpoints. Kind of a standard bullet for the 44 mag as well as the 44 special, both of which I shoot lots. I've got double cavity moulds in that weight from both Lee and RCBS, and you can't tell the bullets apart.

  4. #4

    Default Casting Bullets, etc.

    A great resource, and a great place to start, is the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. You can order it directly from Lyman or Amazon, and I'm sure there are other sources you can find on the Web. As brav01 said, there are lots of mold sources: Lyman, RCBS, Saeco, and Lee to name the most popular. The nominal mold/bullet diameter for a 44 magnum is .429 -.430 inches, and the "standard" 44 mag bullet weighs 240 grains, although you can go lighter or heavier (about 200 grains to 300 grains).

    Along with a mold, you'll need a set of mold handles. And I would also suggest a lead dipper/ladle. You can certainly try to use the bottom pour spout, and you might use it very successfully. Just be careful that it doesn't get stuck in the open position and wind up with 10-20 pounds of molten lead all over your workbench. I gave up on bottom pour spouts a long time ago, but then again, I'm not into mass production and "gang molds". Also get a pair of good, heavy duty leather work gloves, safety glasses and small fan to blow away the fumes and supply you with clean air.

    Wheelweights are OK for pistol bullets if you don't push them too fast, but don't add any additional lead. Lead will only make them softer. You can harden them up a bit by adding tin or linotype. You can also quench the bullets in cold water or heat treat them in the oven to raise their hardness.

    After casting, I lube the bullets with a commercial bullet lube consisting of Alox and beeswax (available from Midway and other retailers). I do this by standing the bullets in a small loaf pan and carefully pouring in the melted lube (there's a discussion of this in the Muzzleloding Forum). When the lube cools and hardens, I press the bullets out of the cake of lube with my thumb and they're lubed. To lube more bullets, just press them into the holes created by the bullets you just removed and rewarm the loaf pan in a frying pan filled with about 1" of water. Kep the heat very low. NOTE: there are other lubing methods, including using a lubri-sizer.

    After lubing comes sizing. For this you will need a sizing press. Lyman, RCBS and Saeco all make sizers or lubri-sizers that run about $125-$150. Lee makes a little die/kit that screws into a standard reloading press (for about $12.50 from Midway). What sizing does is make all the bullets the same diameter, as pre-determined by the die into which the bullet is pressed. For the 44 mag, you will find dies running from .427" up to .431 inches. The most common are .429" and .430". You need to "slug" the bore of your Ruger, or take it to a 'smith and have him slug it for you, and then choose the right die. I believe it is generally recommended to use a die that is .001 larger than your groove diameter.

    Also, at the same time you are sizing the bullets, you should apply a "gas check" (a small copper cup) to the base of the bullet (if the bullet is designed to accept a gas check; not all are). Gas checks have numerous advantages, which I won't go into here.

    So that's it: cast 'em, lube 'em, size 'em & gas check 'em. CAUTION: Casting lead projectiles can become addictive.

    Good Luck.

  5. #5
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Cast Iron View Post
    I am interested in some information on casting bullets. I have a Rugger Red Hawk in 44 mag, 7 1/2" barrell stainless. Need information on a mold, whitch brand mold do I need? Where do I get the mold? I have several 5 gallon buckets of old wheel weights and about 100 lbs. clean soft lead. I already have a lead melting pot with bottom pour. Need information, or would I be better off buying cast bullets from somewhere else? THANKS
    If you want a custom 44 mag mold you can have one made to your specifications from a single cavity to six cavity .
    I had Veral at LBT make me a 360 Grain LFNGC bullet for the 44 mag .It is a shooter for sure !!!!!!
    LBT molds , NEI molds and mountain molds are some of the businesses that make mine . Lee also will do custom molds for you.
    I am currently in a group buy for a custom Lee six banger mold for the 500 magnum .

    Cast away .

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  6. #6
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    Default

    Go here and join:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

    Most of these guys are experts.
    Tennessee

  7. #7
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default You could do a LOT worse...

    My best performing, and favorite .44 bullet is the Lyman 429421 cast hard and sized for the pistol. Keith's 240 bullet. A GOOD one! Big driving band, big lube groove, good crimp groove, full diameter shoulder, effective for paper punching or hunting.

  8. #8
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    I haven't cast for a 44 in several years, but when I did, I found Lees 300 gr rf gc was an excellent heavy bullet, and their 240 gr swc also shot very well.

    I've cast 1000's of pounds of straight wheelweights and they make outstanding bullets. You do have to cast hot to get complete fillout of the mold, and IMHO the biggest learning curve is getting the mold and melt hot enough.

    For lube I've found LBT's blue is about as good as it gets in commercial lubes, and you can also make an excellent one by melting moly-lithium axle grease with beeswax. Flammable and stinky so do it outside with care.

    You can cast better bullets than you can buy as you can tailor the alloy and sizing to your gun. I haven't bought handgun bullets in years.

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