OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs...

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by Guest, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. Guest

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    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 782
    (6/10/01 10:46:36 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs...
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    Picked up a used Lee mold for .437 roundballs, my Hopkins Allen Flintlock slugs .435, .440s work best, but only for 3-5 rounds before you have to pound them in, so I've been using .433 for practice, .440 for hunting....437 should be just about right for all my shooting...

    But I know nothing about casting. I have a 50# lead block I used as a wieght in my Stock Car I saved, and the mold.

    What do I need to CHEAPLY start to cast for my Flintlock?

    Can I do it on the porch over a fire with a cast iron pot? What do I use for flux, why do I haveta flux, what the heck IS flux...

    Talk me through it...

    shooter45 us
    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 470
    (6/11/01 7:09:09 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    First of all, what do you use for patches? I remember using pillow ticking. I washed it a couple of times to get the sizing (I think) out of it. Good thick patch material. It could work with the .437 round ball. I prefer to use a Lee melting pot, but you can use a cast iron pot. Always keep your mold hot by dipping the corner of the mold in the hot lead. For flux, I think we used paraffin. Get the lead hot and drop a very small piece of pariffin,about the size of a fingernail, in the lead. Then skim the impurities off the top. I haven't done this in years, so someone else may have a better method.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 383
    (6/11/01 4:40:06 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    Been even longer for me Shooter......but.....

    Polish....are you sure the block is pure lead? A good rule of thumb test is to try to gouge it with your thumbnail. If you can, it's not an alloy. For blackpowder, you want pure soft lead, not an alloy.

    Pariffin is a good flux, but candle wax will do the job also.

    Pure lead isn't nearly as temperature sensitive for good casting as alloy is, so that shouldn't be a problem. As long as it's well molten, you should be OK. As shooter says, keep the mold warm by dipping a corner in the lead, flux frequently, and when things start going right, and you get on a roll and are getting nice roundballs.....KEEP GOING until you've cast a lifetime supply or pass out.....whichever comes first.

    Have a ball.....



    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 461
    (6/11/01 8:39:10 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    "Have a Ball........" (Sigh!)
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1097
    (7/8/01 10:36:38 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    I use thicker patches on the .433s. .15, use .10 on the .440s. (or is that .015 and .010, I forget. The thicker ones are blue and white striped pillow ticking, the thinner ones are all white.)

    I hunt with Speer or Hornady .440s, to be legal, .44 ball is minimum in IN, so that isn't a problem, and they seem the most accurate, but they are pretty tight after a few rounds, so I can't practice with them much. The looser balls print pretty much the same offhand, but I hate buying two sizes for one gun, I hope to cast all my practice stuff.
    Patina is a custom finish that must be EARNED to be appreciated.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1183
    (7/10/01 8:21:04 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    Almost broke my nail on that hunk of lead, so it must be an alloy, huh?

    Is it worthless for casting, then?
    Patina is an acquired taste.

    shooter45 us
    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 662
    (7/11/01 11:12:25 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    I always used pure lead for round ball or maxi's. On your last post you stated after firing a few rounds there is a problem loading. Did you clean the barrel. Not being a smart a$$. Just wondering. I remember cleaning the barrel between 25, 50, and 100 yd. matches.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 594
    (7/12/01 9:02:11 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    Polish.....if you can't make a good gouge in it with your thumbnail, it's not pure lead....it probably wouldn't be a good idea to use it for blackpowder. And since you don't know what alloy it is, or how hard it is, it probably isn't a good idea to use it to cast bullets for metallic cartridge.

    Maybe you'll just have to take up stock car racing again so you can use the damn thing......or do you need a really heavy paperweight?

    I never owned a blackpowder gun, but I used to cast roundballs for my former brother-in-law who owned a few. We used to go down to a housewrecking company and buy old window sashweights.....they were made in pure lead (a few were cast iron). If you can find some of the old lead sashweights.....good luck!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 1269
    (7/15/01 9:05:21 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    No, I know what you mean. I usually run a patch soaked with "Spit Bath" down the bore after every few shots, but the .440 is a tight fit on a clean bore, ANY fouling and it's a hammer.

    Barrel is made by Numrich, and all Numrich .45 barrels take .435 balls, that's why it's tight.

    But until it gets fouled, the .440 are more accurate, and probably have more velocity.

    I usually load a .440 when I'm hunting, carry two "speedloaders" with .440, then all the other balls I carry are the .433...call me paranoid, but when the law says ".440 ball minimum," I like to be careful...there are a few "cowboy" CO's around where I live.

    Three shots is about the max before they get too tight.
    Patina is an acquired taste.

    Grunt
    Member
    Posts: 10
    (11/29/01 1:47:17 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, what do I need to know to start casting roundballs..
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    You have been given some good advice.Let me add that you must cast in a well ventilated area and avoid breathing the fumes.
    Contact a plumber for a source of lead. They use a high quality lead when working with cast iron pipes and should be able to tell you where to get it or may have chunks of used lead.
    I always used beeswax as a flux to bring the impurities to the surface to be skimmed off. I started with an RCBS lead pot and dipper before moving up to an electric pot.

    HAPPY CASTING!!
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