Re: How hard is casting?
Many years ago I helped my friend cast bullets. From that experience alone I would not do it today and here's why:
Years ago lead scrap lead was everywhere..CHEAP. Not true today. In Calif. today tire store can no longer use lead balancing weights (the weights are now steel) and that was the biggest source of lead in the day.
Scrap lead can have any combination of constituents, all unknown to the user. The mix of lead and tin is key to the performance of the bullets. So what will you end up with??? Virgin lead known alloys are expensive. Seems the Chinese have a huge need for lead (batteries and??) and have driven the cost of virgin lead sky high.
Casting lead is dangerous. It must be done in a well ventilated location or inhaling the fumes will eventually lead to lead poisoning. A drop of water that falls into the lead pot will explode and possibly throw molten lead out of the pot onto you. Working safe is the way to avoid any molton lead problems but to me the risk is not worth the reward.
My experience years ago was that the quality of the cast bullets was not all that uniform. Air bubbles inside which effect the weight and balance of the bullet can go almost undetected by the caster.
Once cast there is more work to come. They have to be sized and lubed (another machine you have to buy).
If you have more time that you know what to do with it casting may work for you. I did not enjoy casting years ago and did not see the reward for the effort. Cast bullets are loved by some but even commercially cast bullets always seem to leave lead my guns barrels: Lead that resists easy cleaning and had to be dug out with a pick. Today I use plated bullets for handguns, that don't lead up the bore and have a price point between jacketed and cast bullets and perform like cast bullets.
This is MY opinion and yours and that of others most certainly will vary. I post here to give an opposing view to home casting (or even using cast bullets at all, plated bullets excluded). Some here love casting and have a list of positive reason to cast bullets. They are NOT wrong.. they just have a different view of the situation than me. You decide for you.