Casting... Minimum stuffs?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Crpdeth, May 23, 2009.

  1. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Location location
    I've been reloading for several years now, but just haven't gotten into the whole casting thing yet. Money is tight right now, but I am afraid to wait too much longer if you know what I mean...

    What should I buy to start out? I just ordered a .452 mold and ladle, I know that I need a pot and intend to use an old Coleman stove.

    I have a ton of hardened lead ingots, anatomy, ww's etc, so I'm good to go there.

    What should I concentrate on now? Books, etc?

    Remember money is tight... I'm going to be taking my lunch to work instead of eating out, just to afford this stuff, so any economical tips are appreciated as well.


  2. Just some of the equipment you will need are, bullet mould and handle,lead pot (preferably and electric furnace/pot for controlled heat), rawhide or wood mallet, a bullet sizer/lubricator and bullet lube. You already stated that you have lead. Lead is also getting hard to come by these days. Cast in a well ventalated area and do not breath the lead fumes. I would also suggest getting a book on bullet casting and read it well. The initial cost of your equipment is a little high, but, your savings in the long run (if you do a lot of shooting) will be great. You also get the satisfaction of shooting your own bullets.


  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    You have three choices when it comes to lubing your bullets, and three when it comes to sizing.

    1 - Don't size. Many people shoot the bullets as cast. I don't, but many do.
    2 - Bench mounted sizer/luber. I bought a Lyman 450 waaay back when I started. Cons - the machine itself is very expensive (125, at midway). Every caliber needs a different die. That's another 15 or so. Every bullet nose shape needs a different top-punch. That's about 10 more.
    3 - Lee press-mounted sizer. I love these. I haven't used my Lyman since I discovered these things. You need one for each caliber. Cost is less than 20 bucks. Screws into your loading press. Good to go.

    1 - The aforementioned bench-mounted luber/sizer. If you shell out the bucks for that, it lubes as part of the sizing stroke.
    2 - pan lube. This involves standing all your bullets on their bases, in a cake pan (or something similar) and melting bullet lube, then pouring it into the pan until the level of the lube covers as many grease grooves as you want. Then you let the lube harden, and cut the bullets out of the lube with a tool called a "cake cutter". You can make one of these (in your case, for a 45) by getting either a 45/70 rifle case, or a 30/06 case, and cutting the head off, and (for the ought six) the neck, so you have a 45 caliber brass tube. You set the end of the tube down over the nose of a bullet, and push downward, cutting the bullet free from the lube. As you do more bullets, they stack up in the tube, until they start to come out the top. This is very cheap, very easy, and slightly messy.
    3 - Lee Liquid Alox. Drop your bullets into a container of some kind, squeeze a bit of the liquid alox onto the bullets, and then swirl them around in the container until they are coated. The instructions say that you then take them out, and set them on their bases on a piece of wax paper, to dry. I don't. I just leave them in the container. Go get them the next day, and run them through the bench mounted sizer. This is the easiest, and more importantly, the cheapest way I've found.

    I cast for years with a Coleman stove, a cast iron pot, a Lyman ladle (I don't like the Lee ladle), a hammer handle and a folded bath towel. I have used old candle wax, beeswax, and bullet lube for flux. They all work. I have finally joined the 20th century, and bought an electric bottom-pour lead pot. Aside from that, everything else is the same.

    I recommend you buy the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, and READ IT. I emphasize that, because a lot of people (and I'm one of them) will buy a reference book and skim it. No. Read the book, before you even fire up your stove. You'll be glad you did.
  4. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Location location
    Thanks a lot guys, seriously, I intend to read and re-read on this stuff before delving into it. I joke around a lot, but I really do like my face just the way it is. :D

    Also, thank you both for putting so much effort into your well thought out responses, they are valued greatly.

    Midway never sent me a confirmation email regarding my purchase, which is "in stock", hopefully they will tomorrow.

  5. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I use lee equipment also, and nearly everything i cast has a gas check. One reason is so i can push them to jacketed velocities without leading and another is so i can use a softer alloy for better expansion properties. I use nearly pure WW alloy from local tireshops. They are happy to sell it to you since its illegal to throw it away and the scrap man wont give them very much for it. The tireshops in my area sell it to me for $40 a 5 gallon bucket full, which can be in excess of 200 pounds. Thats alot of bullets for 40 bucks. Good luck Crp, casting is as addicting as reloading itself;) Just be sure to do it outside:eek:
  6. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I can't add anything to the items you need to get started. What I will offer is a little piece of advice, learned the hard way. If you are in a hot climate, do not stand over the melting pot while sweating. :eek::eek: I have a scar on my right eyebrow from where I was looking into the pot and a drop of sweat dropped into the molten lead. :eek: The sweat will explode upon contact with the lead. Keep all water away!!:D
  7. doug66

    doug66 Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Like Alpo said, get Lyman's cast bullet manual. The cheapest way to get started would be to use Lee tumble lubed micro band design mold. Lubed with Lee liquid alox. I use them for 45ACP,44mag,38/357mag. loads under 1100fps. I never sized any, good results.
  8. Popgunner

    Popgunner Active Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    I use the Lee liquid Alox-Midway has it. My 450 lubrisizer sits unused nowdays. I shoot 'em as-cast when possible which most of the time. Very simple process but I would spend a few bucks on the Lyman cast manual. It's great to have & gives tons of loads for cast bullets. The Lee second edition has a few cast bullet loads as does the Speer & regular Lyman manuals. If you can find a copy of Complete guide to handloading by Phillip Sharpe it's a great one to have for cast info. If you like casting you'll want as your next buy an electric furnace(pot). so much more convenient that a ladle. Have fun!
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I use a lee production pot, 110 volt so I dont have to unplug the dryer everytime I want to cast some more slugs. I do all my casting outside on the front porch on calm days. I dont like casting in the wind, I use lee aluminum molds and they cool too quickly in a good cross wind. Since I have a pot with a spout on it all i use my dipper for is skimming the crud off the top when I flux the lot. I would strongly recommend an electric pot with a pour spout. They sure make things easier and safer.
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