Re: Who's casting lead bullets tonight?
I have been bullet casting for close to 30 years. It's my primary load in the 1911, and I cast for my Sharps 1874 using a 518 gr. round nose. Here are a couple of things I've learned. That doesn't mean what I do is THE way, but it's what works for me.
First; I use cast iron molds from Lyman, RCBS etc. I find them to last longer and don't overheat as quickly. I use a temperature controlled, bottom pour pot that holds 20 lbs or so (Lee Production Pot). My alloy for handgun is range lead with a small amount of tin, about 2%. The tin allows the alloy to "wet" to the mold and make a crisp edge for the grease grooves. In pistol I usually only visually sort for obvious defects. In the rifle I weigh and sort/discard on a bell curve.
I prefer to run my bullets through a luber/sizer. I chose a Star because it's so much faster than anything else out there. For convenience I use one of the higher temperature lubes and have a lube heater on the sizer. The finished bullets don't stick together because the lube is fairly stiff at room temperature and the finished bullets store well. In the rifle I use my own recipe along with either wheel weights and tin or 50/50 wheel weights and range lead with a little tin. These bullets are heat treated and aged prior to lubing/sizing.
I don't own a thermometer. Trial and error has allowed me to find the sweet spot in the casting furnace. I flux with sawdust as it's the best material for maintaining a clean alloy. The sawdust reverts to charcoal and scavenges residual aluminum, copper, and zinc from the melt and provides an air barrier to the outside world to prevent the tin from oxidizing off the top of the melt. I usually cast a bunch in one session and use them over time. I try to do a couple of thousand .45 bullets for the pistol and run them through in one session. With a four or six gang mold it doesn't take very long.
My standards for pistol are for reasonable functional accuracy in the 1911 but I shoot for group in the rifle. One of my loads gives me one hole accuracy at 100 yards out of that rifle.
Hope this helps.
Life's too short to shoot an ugly gun.....