Lead stockpile. I really need to start casting.

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by 76Highboy, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    8,558
    I have been reloading since I was a teenager as my father got me started. I used to cast bullets with my father, however once I moved out I continued to reload, but my father did my casting in trade that I supplied the lead (i have always scrounged my lead from anywhere I could find it) for both of us. That way we both pretty much got our bullets free other than I pitched in for worn out casting E.Q. Now I have about 500+ pounds of lead and I want to begin casting and I know the basics. I want to be casting by summer (I had the cash but bought an Old Model 3 Screw Ruger Super Blackhawk 44mag, so now I need to start saving again).

    I am open to advice on what to buy, what works best, and should I buy used through a gun show, or go new. If you have advice to give, that would be awesome.

    Also, the new Ruger is so sweet (with a primo action job). Thanks.
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    18,236
    Location:
    Heart Of Texas
    Lee production pot
    Lee molds
    A dipper
    some Lee liquid alox and sizers (optional)

    Should get you goin for about 100 bucks depending on how many molds you need.
  3. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    8,558
    I picked up some .357 cast bullets and the used molds that were used to cast the bullets, but the bullets are over sized. Is there something wrong with the molds, or should I buy them knew. That is why I stopped searching for the molds used and considered new. I definately like the Lee brand. Thanks.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  4. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    NW Louisiana
    Make sure you have a supply of decently priced lead before you start anything...I cast at one time when I could haul off all the wheel weights I wanted with tons of gratitude for the tire places...but times have changed and wheel weight arent what they used to be...

    By the time I order lead and tin and pay the shipping, its near as cheap to order the ready made boolits...:(
  5. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    18,236
    Location:
    Heart Of Texas
    Most cast lead drops out a little oversized. All of my Lee molds would consistently drop bullets .001-.002 over their labeled size. i.e the .429 mold for the .44 mag would drop me .431s.

    That is perfectly normal and a characteristic of the lead alloy you use. Pure lead drops the fattest and hard alloy drops closest to mold size. Or maybe its the other way around. Not exactly sure about that one But i know its one way or the other.
  6. thomas44

    thomas44 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    Messages:
    577
    It's been awhile since I have done any casting, but I thought the bullets were supposed to be a little oversized so you can lube and size them all to the same diameter. I recall having a piece of equipment called a "lubrisizer" or something like that. It would lube and size in one stroke.
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    8,932
    Location:
    Northeast Georgia
    There is probably nothing wrong with the molds, the bullets will have to be sized, you can use something like this: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/343992/lee-bullet-lube-and-size-kit-356-diameter

    Or use the more expensive type where you can change the dies for different calibers: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/172702/rcbs-lube-a-matic-2 Man, these thing have gone up since I bought mine!!
  8. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    17,607
    Location:
    Australia
    i'm a cheapskate so use a 1890's rolling table and rough cast a tad oversize ,
  9. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Location:
    western wyoming
    Mold sizes will run larger in diameter and lighter weight the harder the alloy. Most molds are standardized by using a 20-1 alloy or 99% pure lead. For your .44 Mag Lyman #2 alloy or Wheel weights will work fine for velocity up to 1,400 FPS. You may want a gas checked bullet even though handguns rarely get above the 1,500 FPS at which a gas check is really needed. Most of the Ruger .44s run a bore size of .429 so a .430 should work just fine. If you should get leading in the throat slug the bore to regulate your bullet size. As mentioned lead Wheel Weights are being replaced by zink and steel so the price is going up. You may want to consider buying 1,000 hard cast bullets unless you are shooting more than a 100 rds. per month. Casting equiptment, bullet lube, and gas checks plus lead is getting expensive.:):)
  10. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    8,558
    Most of my lead is wheel weights. About 200 are are bran new in the box because a local tire store (chaijn of stores) sent them all to one location and by chance they said that if I hauled them that they were mine. Actually, there might be more than 200 lb. My father has always used whel weights so I am thinking they should work.
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    18,236
    Location:
    Heart Of Texas
    Just be careful they arent zinc. Set your pot for 660 degrees which is the temp pure lead melts at (all other lead compatable metals melt at lower temps). Zinc melts at a higher temp so if you have a pot at 660 and it all melts but a couple of floaty weights toss them out they arent lead.

    If you run the pot hot enough to melt the zinc and it alloys with your lead its permanently alloyed and any bullets you cast, IF you get them to fill the mold, wil look galvanized and will be extremely brittle and tend to flake apart.
  12. DixieLandMan

    DixieLandMan Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    764
    Location:
    Alabama
    I have yet to cast my first bullets but I got the Lee molds with the tumble lube style. Do I still need to resize or will they work just fine. Got molds for 9mm, .38/.357, .41 Mag and .45 ACP.
  13. al45lc

    al45lc New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,124
    Location:
    colorful colorado
    As to a supply of lead, I walked into a Big O tire store and was told I could have all the old wheel weights I could load. Yes, they are nasty and need cleaning, but for free it was worth my time to do the initial smelting outside and burn off the majority of residue.
    I now have a huge stockpile of lead for casting, I ended up taking 3- 5gal buckets (HEAVY!) and still have more.
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    18,236
    Location:
    Heart Of Texas
    They will shoot fine as cast
  15. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,764
    JLA I say ditto to your list of equipment. The lee production pot I have won't get hot enough to melt the zinc weights i've run into. I just pick 'em off the top of the molten lead where they float. I mostly use wheelweights for my casting & Lee molds rule for price (others I have with the handles cost me right about $100 ea compared to the Lee's which can be had handles & all for $19) and for ease of use/quick heat up.

    Bullets as-cast are preferable but that doesn't always work out. I already have Lee luber/sizers for .358", .430" & .309" because my bullets were just a little too large for chambering. I bought a 6 cavity mold for 45acp bullets & merrily casted up a few hundred & loaded them up without checking & they would n't chamber. Crap!
    Today I just got a nother Lee luber/sizer from Graff's in the mail for .452. The 45 cal bullets were dropping out measuring .452" on one side & when rotated 180 degrees they were .461":eek:

    My Lyman 450 lubrisizer sits dusty under my bench as I now only use the Lee alox & their sizers. I think it's worth trying your bullets as-cast but make sure to measure 'em on two sides. The content of your lead will affect the end size of your bullets.

    I had tons of fun recently using the Lee 1 ounce 12 ga slug mold. You just cast 'em up & load the slugs using your regular wads & Lee's load info. Makes a cheap slug load that flies pretty well. Pure lead for those loads. This kid's fun to watch although I'd recomend spending a few bucks & going Lee on the mold & load info:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g06a6RWC4A
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  16. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    18,236
    Location:
    Heart Of Texas
    I have read the 6 cav LEE molds have alignment issues on occasion causing the fat side you experience Pops. I always had a stick of bullet lube handy to keep the alignment pins and mold hinge lubed during sizing, it helps the mold align easily without galling.
  17. Clipper

    Clipper Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    Messages:
    543
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    I suggest you visit Midway USA for the sizing dies for you bullets. I have the .357 sizer and the .45. It is simple and cheap! ALOX works well with the sizing die, and it screws on your press. I also have a Lyman sizing press with .358 and .452 sizing dies, but it is a PITA to use compared with the Lees. About $50 bucks should buy all the sizing dies you need for .38/.357 and .45.

    Should anyone covet my Lyman sizing press, PM me, it is an older one, but I have no use for it any longer.
  18. Orin

    Orin New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    115
    You may want to degrease wheel wieghts before scrubbing & smelting. Try what's called wash thinner by painters - still cheap if you get it at an auto paint supply. Its lacquer thinner. Put in a clean sealable gallon can (also from the paint supply), load in your wieghts & slosh around a few times. Pour thru a metal colander. Such dries very fast & leaves no residue of its own.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Next Level Of Reloading:Casting And Loading Lead Bullets Jan 23, 2014
The Ammo & Reloading Forum not happy with lead bullets right now Dec 24, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum lead mine closure Dec 7, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum My indoor shooting range bans lead bullets Oct 30, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum No Jacketed after Lead Ammo Oct 24, 2013