How hard is casting?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by joncutt87, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. dbach

    dbach Member

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    Casting "Boolets" is just another feather in your hat in the knowledge of firearms, reloading and anything else to do with shooting. All knowledge is good.

    Common misunderstandings.

    Melting lead at the temperatures we use to cast will not expose you to lead vapor. It would take temperatures over 1200 degrees F to generate lead vapor, our casting pots will only reach 900 degrees +/-. Shooting at a poorly ventilated indoor range, or standing over a dry case tumbler is more likely to expose you to lead toxins. The source of the toxins would most likely be from the spent primers.


    A drop of water falling into a lead pot will not explode.
    If you stood over a lead pot and used an eyedropper to introduce a drop of water, it would dance around on the surface of the molten lead and quickly boil away. However if you were to drop a wet object into a lead pot and the object sunk, allowing the water to go beneath the surface you would no doubt get a visit from the tinsel ferry. Lead would go everywhere, and burn most everything it touches. Water below the surface of molten lead at 800 degrees F turns into steam instantly, in the blink of an eye .... so to speak. The water would now be steam and occupy 1700 times the space it did as a liquid. this is what causes the exploding lead pot we all have heard about. A drop of sweat from your brow will not do it.

    For safety's sake:
    Use molten lead in a well ventilated area, preferably outside.
    Do not introduce anything wet to the lead pot.
    Avoid poorly ventilated indoor ranges.
    Do not breathe the dust generated by your tumbler, a mask isn't a bad idea.
    Dry Tumble used casings in a well ventilated area, preferably outside.
    If you use a liquid case cleaner, avoid contact with the contaminated liquid (wear protective gloves).

    Always practice good hygiene when around lead ... in any form.

    Casting bullets is fun and rewarding.

    All knowledge is good.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  2. RustyFN

    RustyFN New Member

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    You are a very brave man. I'm afraid if I tried casting in the kitchen I would wake up the next morning missing a body part or three. :D
  3. al45lc

    al45lc New Member

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    Wow, I can still get wheel weights from my local Big "O" FOR FREE and they are still very good for casting just everyday plinking stuff.
    BTW, I worked a lead reclamation plant for years, ingestion is the big issue for casters, you shouldn't be getting it hot enough for breathing it to be a major issue as dbach pointed out.
  4. joncutt87

    joncutt87 Active Member

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    thanks for all the info guys
  5. dbach

    dbach Member

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    Forget wheel weights, they are next to impossible to get nowdays. Todays tire shops recycle wheel weights for credit towards new weights.

    Recycling lead is good for the environment ...... bad for the reloader.

    Find a plumbing supply and you can buy lead at a reasonable cost.
  6. mikld

    mikld Member

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    If you have a good source of wheel weights I'd say get as many as you can. Meebe make ingots of cleaned WW alloy and sell 'em...
  7. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 New Member

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    You also need a small supply of tin. Plumbers' supply is a good place to start.
  8. joncutt87

    joncutt87 Active Member

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    What about copper casting?
  9. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Copper melts at 1983F. Its common alloys (brasses) above 1500F. These temperatures do not lend themselves to manual die casting in reusable molds.
  10. DixieLandMan

    DixieLandMan Member

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    Well, I finally did it. I cast some bullets. Got home from metal detecting Saturday and got out the melter, lead and molds. Sat down in the garage (with the garage door opened) and casted for an hour or so. It was really easy and not as hard as I thought it would be. I dropped the bullets in the water, recycled the sprue and made more bullets. All the deformed bullets are in the melting pot for next session. After weighing all them, I lubed them up and are on wax paper drying. Should be able to load them up this weekend.
  11. Brisk44

    Brisk44 New Member

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    How hard is casting???? well it depends on your equipment. Most people find a spincast reel easy to cast, with the spinning reel next hardest and the bait cast hardest of all. :D:D:D:D:D:D
  12. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    :lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao:
  13. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

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    Great thread I intend to try casting my own 45 this winter
  14. mikld

    mikld Member

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    Why are water cooling yer bullets? Not really necessary. If you want harder bullets for reduced leading there are better ways to eliminate leading. Bullet fit is key; match the bullets to your gun...
  15. res45

    res45 New Member

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    I've been casting off and on for about 15 years,pretty much only shooting cast lead bullets in both rifle and pistols for the last five. Casting is like anything else it has a learning curve but once you know the basics and gain knowledge of safety,metals,velocity and pressure and how it affect cast bullets it becomes very enjoyable and cost effective.

    Casting is like any other hobby you can go all out with equipment or you can keep it simple and on a low budget. I cast bullets with several Lee tumble lube molds,in most cases no sizing is necessary you simply cast,lube with Alox,load and shoot. I do all my sizing when necessary with Lee push through sizers they will also apply gas checks if there called for.

    I also have several Lee,Lyman Ideal and NOE molds that have the traditional lube grooves as seen on most commercial cast bullets. For these type bullet I use either Alox tumble lube or I pan lube the bullet it just depends on the velocity and pressure I want to push the bullet at,that also determines if I want to apply the gas check or not.

    Basically all my bullets are free with the exception of the ones I apply gas check to,those cost me about 2.5 cents each and I only use gas check for special purpose ammo such as soft alloy HP's or high velocity rifle rds. mainly for hunting purposes.

    Lead or lead based alloy are basically still readily available around here,the local garages or recapping / tire shops are out in the country and they don't recycles so those are easily gotten. I have friends and family that are in the construction business so I get lead from them as well and being in the printing business all my life I've managed to scrounge up a bit of Linotype. I also trade scrap steel and aluminum for lead at the local recycle center.

    As far as lead safety issues after all my years of casting and handling cast lead bullets my lead levels are perfectly normal. I don't eat,smoke or drink while casting or loading lead based bullets. I cast out in the open mostly in the cooler months of the year and I wear gloves while casting and loading and I wash my hands thoroughly afterwards.

    As far as lead fumes the home caster doesn't have much to worry about unless you can heat you lead or lead based alloy up to around 3182 degrees which is the boil and vaporization point of lead. Water is also not a buggy man of lead unless it gets underneath the lead then it turns to steam and rapidly expands and you get a visit form the tinsel fairy,I also warm my ingots before adding them to the pot,water directly on top of molten turns to steam. That being said I don't take any chances and when I do water drop bullet from the mold I set my water bucket off to the side and cover the top with an old towel slightly pressed down to form a V trap with slit cut in the middle for the bullets to fall through.

    One of the bullets I cast NOE double crimp groove 160 gr. gas check HP. Bullet on the left is set up for 357 full house loads,sized to .359 gas checked and pan lubed bullet is cast from 50/50 alloy. Bullet on the right is cast form same alloy tumble lube with Alox and gas check left off fired from 38 snubby at about 800 fps.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
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