Bullet casting question

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by mjforster, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. mjforster

    mjforster New Member

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    I am beginning to get into bullet casting and reloading my own ammo. I currently own 2 guns. 1 is an xd-45 and the other is a bushmaster m4. a guy that i work with gave me about 20 pounds of scrap lead he had. My question is can i use just this lead to cast bullets for both of these guns or will i need to add some additonal stuff to the mix? any info would be greatly appreciated. i will also be getting some wheel weights.
  2. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    I don't know what your Bushmaster is but if it is a 223 and gas operated forget shooting cast bullets because it is simply not the way to go. Velocities are way too high and the gas system cannot stand crud and cast bullets make crud. As for your 45, cast bullets work great and just about any lead will work and wheel weights are even better. I would suggest that unless you are going cast bullets for fun and experience you would be far better off just to buy bullets. I started casting years ago because I shoot several old guns that at the time I could not buy bullets. Today that is not true because all this cowboy shooting has brought out good quality and cheap commercially cast bullets for most all of the old guns I have. I still cast a 280 grain LBT 45 acp bullet, a 45 Colt 335 grain LBT and a 300 grain .408 that I shoot in my 40-82 and 40-65. If you decide to start casting lets us know and I can give you some pointers that right now would be meaningless.
  3. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    gas operated rifles are a huge challenge to shoot lead out of, it can be done, but it takes a LOT of patience.

    the .45 should be easy.

    First off is the lead you already have pure lead? if so it would be too soft for anything but black powder.

    when you do get some wheel weights you can mix them 50/50 with the pure lead, and it should work beautifully in you .45, you can even use straight wheel weights.
  4. carver

    carver Moderator

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    It's been my experience that any lead bullet moving at over 750 fps will lead the heck out of the barrel. Wheel weights work really well. As for pure lead, you will need to mix in some harder materials in so that you can shoot them with out leading your barrels. All that powder burning behind that lead bullet will melt it and leave horrible deposits of lead in the lands and groves.
  5. mjforster

    mjforster New Member

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    thank you for the info. i do believe my bushmaster is gas operated so i will for now just buy bullets for that but will plan on getting ready to cast for my 45. are there any good manuals out there about casting? i am getting a melting pot from a guy i work with and am going to try to get a mould this weekend. thanks again for the help and im sure i will have a lot more questions once i start reloading.
  6. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    Lyman has a book dedicated to casting, and their regular re-loading book has a chapter that is very helpful.


    I regularly shoot plain based lead bullets over 1200 fps in a handgun, and gas checked bullets over 2700 fps in a rifle.

    Lead is only deposited in the bore for two reasons.

    1. improper lubrication. The lube needs to be soft enough to lubricate, if it looks like crayon wax, all it's good for is coloring pictures.


    2. undersized bullets. If the bullet is too small to swage into the the lands and grooves of your barrel, the gasses behind the bullet will leak past the bullet, and "cut/melt" the lead like and acetylene torch cuts steel.


    Shotgun loads are shot in excess of 1200 fps, and if the powders/gasses don't melt the PLASTIC wads and hulls, how can it melt lead?
  7. frank1947

    frank1947 New Member

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    I have been casting many years, if the lead that was given to you is pure you need to add tin and antimony you can find these alloys on the internet but your best bet with pure lead is to find some linotype ebay has lino and mix 50/50 and you will have a great bullet, normal casting we use Wheel weights bought from a tire shop at about 50 cents to a dollar a pound, then add one pound of 50/50 bar solder 50% lead 50% tin this will give you a lyman #2 mix with 9 pounds of wheel Weights when you dump your bullets dump them into a bucket of water this will further harden them. As far as your rifle goes you could use pure linotype that would be really hard and very capable of speeds over 2000 fps the lyman #2 mix is good to over 1400 I shoot a 9mm 124 at those speeds in my Open Class gun, you can also make your own bullet lube
  8. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    I hope you also understand that you also need to lube and size the bullets you cast. Here are just a few of the questions you are going to have if you continue on your quest to start casting bullets. How come the mold appears full yet the bullet is not fully formed? How come the bullets look like they are frosted? How do I maintain the temperature of the lead? How come when I cut the sprue it leaves a drag mark on the back of the bullet? How come my bullets look good in the mold but are dented upon close inspection after they are cool? These are just a few of the questions you will have and that is what we are here for.:)
  9. frank1947

    frank1947 New Member

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    Everything h20king said is true but if you really want to do it, it is a great hobby, lyman 49th edition will tell you about all the things h20king spoke about and unless you really shoot hundreds of bullets a wk I do not think it is worth it economically speaking, but if it something you just want to do and money is not a big issue go for it. You can sell them and make pretty good money if you can get wheel weights cheap or free. then you can do real well I get mine free but it takes to much time with a 4 cavity mold
  10. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    One hint

    You can use pure lead for handgun shooting if you use the load info from Speer for their swaged bullets which are pure lead. They limit their loads for the pure lead. Wheel weights are better for casting & more powerfull loads.
    Lyman's #2 alloy is a little better & can be shot faster than wheel weights.

    I like to shoot bullets as-cast & I rarely use my 450 lubrisizer any more. I just cast em & coat em with Lee liquid Alox. Way easier & faster.

    Save your pure lead for muzzle loader bullets & shotgun slugs.
  11. mjforster

    mjforster New Member

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    The guy I got the lead from does not think it is pure lead but just to be safe i will be waiting til i have some more wheel weights to use. I also am planning on buying some linotype on ebay. What do I need for resizing and lubing? Also will i be able to use pure linotype for my m4 which is .223?
  12. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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    Go to this site and get yourself the "Cast Bullet Handbook" and the LBT Brinell hardness tester. Linotype is very hard and does not work well except in full power loads as they will not seal properly in the bore. With the hardness tester you can find out what that 20 lbs of lead really is. Wheel weights are usually between 12 to 16 on the BH scale. I like a hardness of around 14 for low power loads.


    http://www.lbtmoulds.com/hardtester.shtml

    The book is here!

    http://www.lbtmoulds.com/books.shtml

    Best book on the market.......can't be beat!

    Good luck!

    IPT
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  13. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    Well as you know I have tried to talk into just buying bullets but it sounds like you are going to cast and I commend you. If so I would suggest you start off with casting and shooting pistol bullets before you attempted the 223. I am telling you that cast bullets in a gas operated gun is going to be challenging and you might become discouraged and throw in the towel if you start there. Also it has been suggested by one member that he doesn't size his bullets he just cast them and sprays them with lube and loads them. Your gas operated AR won't like that at all and you probably couldn't hit a house at 100 yards with your 223 assuming you even get a round in the chamber utilizing unsized bullets. The reason for this is that raw cast bullets are usually about .005 bigger than they should be and they are not totally concentric. Sizing them fixes that. My point being a bullet even 2 or 3 thousands too big probably won't chamber in your AR. A question I have for you and please do not take offense as I am only trying to help; do you understand how a gas operated action works? If not tell us and I or someone else will surly tell you.

    Ron
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  14. mjforster

    mjforster New Member

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    I have no idea how a gas operated action works. I have only started using my second ammendment right over the past few months so I am really learning a lot about guns in general and would really like to learn as much as possible. I really don't plan on casting any .223 as of now. Maybe somewhere down the road i can learn that. As of now I would like to focus on learning to cast for my .45. I am doing this along with reloading so I can afford to go shooting more often but the biggest reason is I am trying to pick up a good hobby to keep me busy during the long Wisconsin winter. I would greatly appreciate just about any ammo or gun info i can get. Thanks again for everyones help. I am going to pick up a couple books on reloading and casting this weekend so I can start my studying.
  15. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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    Use of lead bullets is a real no no in a gas operated weapon. As the bullet starts down a barrel, some of the gases pushing the bullet melts a little bit of the bullet base. This gas, still pushing the bullet will then pass by the gas hole located in the barrel BEFORE the muzzle. Some of the gas, as the bullet passes this hole, will be diverted into the gas system which pushes a gas piston to operate the bolt and causes extraction and reloading of the next round. The gas hole will accumulate this bit of molten lead and get into the gas cylinder and piston coating them and the hole with lead. The lead will eventually clog the hole and the coated piston will become too big in the gas cylinder to operate the weapon. Cleaning will be your worst nightmare.

    Glock and certain HK semi auto pistols with polygonal rifling are also a no no with lead bullets.

    A good bullet for a 1911 style pistol is the H&G 68 200 grain semi wad cutter, NON-Bevel based. I use 5.3 grains of WW231 powder for a very accurate load in my pistols.

    IPT
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2008
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