My First Cast Bullets

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by steve4102, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    I cast a few 200gr LSWC today. My first attempt at bullet casting. Most of them turned out like the ones on the left. A few of them had imperfections like the ones on the right.

    Bottom right was bad and went back into the pot. Top and center right have what I call a "crinkled" look. My question is about the top right crinkled bullet. Do you guys shoot bullets with this type of imperfection or do you throw em back into the pot?

    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  2. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    The 3 on the left look fabulous. I will be curious what the pro's on the forum say about the top right one.

    I can't wait until Christmas when I start casting bullets. It looks like your having fun there.

  3. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    Alot of questions here Steve. How many cavities does your mold have. Of all the bullets in the pic how many were from the same mold,,, if any?
  4. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    It's been quite a few years since I've poured lead with a friend's rig...mainly fishing jigs but I'd do a batch of round balls for my CnB revolver when the supply got low.

    The ones on the left look great. All of em on the right I would chuck back in the pot. If it was a problem. Bullet...I'd melt it down again.
    Those top two with the little swirls will be weak...the line is a cold spot where the loead cooled before it had a chance to flow the entire mold.
    The lines might just be a surface imperfection or it might be a parting line that goes all the way through. They might hold together or they might not.
    Were these some of the first ones and your mold was possibly a bit cold?
    Those rounded edges are also indicators of a cold pour....the lead didn't flow into the corners. Actually, the bottom left one looks a bit rounded on the leading edge too.

    I used to enjoy playing with the lead pot but I never did get my own setup.
    The only pouring I do these days it re-babbiting old machinery bearings...same concept except I just use a little handheld cup and my old cast-iron portable forge table for heat instead of an electric casting pot.

    Just make sure you be safe when casting. Adequate ventilation is a must have...and no water anywhere it can splash into the pot!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  5. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    left are great, right have wrinkles; usually mold not heated up enough or lead is not hot enough. I would maybe shoot the top right for practice without much concern but if I saw the lack of definition in the top ring, I would chuck it back into the pot usually. The bigger the bullet, the less little imperfections affect accuracy.

    A tiny cavity (especially in the base or inside the grooves) I don't mind in pistol, small wrinkles I don't worry too much until they're very noticeable, lack of sharp edges is usually a trip back into the pot.

    top right and bottom right are the best of the worst; the middle right would for certain not be good. Bottom right is better than top right IMO.
  6. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    bottom left is missing a tiny bit on the edges in front ring also, just noticed. Still good though
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Yep, I would throw those three on the right back into the pot. Not only could the little imperfections make a difference in the weight of the bullet, the gas could escape around the rounded edges and the bottom right one with the "track" in it.

    What size bullets are they (diameter)? If they are for a revolver I might even have kept the bottom right if the crimp was rolled and it was crimped below the little "track".
  8. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    It's just a cheap Lee 2 cavity mold. All from the same mold, but not from the same cavity, I think.

    Lead was heated and poured from an old Do-It Mold Hot-Pot I use to make lead head jigs.

    I tested the temp of the lead (once) and it was about 750*, is that good or should it be hotter?

    .452 200gr SWC fpr my 45 acp.

    Thanks guys.
  9. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    Don't remember exact temps, but it's relative; if you are frosting right off the bat, you're over temp. If you are getting wrinkles that's fine at first but if you've been casting for a bit then you're likelye under temp. Aluminum molds should be casting good by 30 pours, steel may take upwards of 60-70 pours to heat up perfect.

    Bigger (higher cavity) will take a bit longer also but with double cavity, you should be seeing good pours at 30-40 casts max. If not, turn up the furnace. Better to go slightly hot at first to get good pours then back off the temp slowly
  10. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Jan 11, 2010
    i'd toss em , if you use a two shot mold its 2 goes and your in front again and agree, too cold when it was poured

    pour a bar first , when everything from the melting pot including spout is warm

    then pour for projectiles , you can loss a lot of heat that way

    get everything warm i normally do two shots ( pours ) to ensure its all good and toss what i have just cast without looking

    do a run of ten pours and check , they should all be spot on

    your doing fine , its just practice .. and observing and thinking .. and remembering what worked best for you and what you have ..
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  11. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lompoc California
    Something I've noticed too is technique with your casting. Some molds prefer a faster pour, some slower, some right at the nipple of the (bottom pour) spout, some with 1/2" of drop. I would find the sweet spot in your pour distance as well as watching the temperature. It could be your melt is not hot enough or your mold. You really want nice crisp edges with the mold completely filled so that you have correct weight and all the driving surface possible.
  12. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    I melted everything down and started over. My little melting pot will get the lead up to 825*+ if I let it sit long enough. I did that, got the mold good and hot and all is well. Not a crinkle or uneven fill in over 200 bullets.

  13. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    If you're using a thermometer, drop the temp to 750 degrees or so. Hotter alloy will many times produce small bullets. A lot of casters use a hot plate to maintain an even mold temp. and bring the mold up to operating temp. I've found my Lee molds like to run an alloy 750-800 degrees with a nearly that temp. mold.

    Like mentioned above, technique will play a big part in getting good bullets every time. I have one mold that will not produce good bullets when used with a bottom pour, but drops "perfect" bullets with few culls right from the first pour when I use a ladel...
  14. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    yeah, 750' is about where you want to be for the most part. I bottom pour always (just a preference, not because it's any better) and usually hold the mold about 1/2" below the spout. You develop a 'timing' on how long to hold it open to fill the cavity and allow enough overflow for a good sprue puddle on top.

    My 6 cavity molds I hold right up to the spout and go down the line, then I run a 'bead' of lead over all the cavity sprues to create only 1 complete leftover piece, much easier to get back into the pot.

    I'm itching to try out my new 500gn mold for the .458...
  15. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    You can drop the temp if you add a little tin. I sometimes will add a 24 inch piece of 1/8" round 95/5 solder, that is 95% tin and 5% antimony. That little bit of tin will help fill out the mold very nice.
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