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Discussion Starter #1
Somebody on here wanted to learn a bit about casting their own & I thought I'd write a bit about what you needed & how to do that. Plus all the other casters out there will have something new to post about.
There are many brands out there. I'll tell about what I use & perhaps others will share their experience & we'll have a well balanced article right here.
Equipment you need:
A furnace or casting pot. I use a Lee. 10 or 20 lb. Electric,bottom pour.Bottom pour is easier to use but sometimes will leak. Jiggle the valve thing & it will stop.
Molds. I use Lee & Lyman. Lee makes aluminum & they work pretty well but they cool fast. So it is a bit harder to keep them at the temp you want. Lyman's are steel & once they get hot they stay hot pretty well. Some molds have handles,some do not. It will say in the ad. If it don't,ask on the phone,cause you got to have handles.
A Sizer. I use a RCBS Lube-A-Matic 2. You'll need a die for each caliber & a top-punch. You'll need lube. RCBS sells lube that is good & Hodgon's Alox is real good. These are hard lubes. for the RCBS.
Other types of sizers use semi-liquid lube that needs a heater.

How all this stuff works:
You need a source of lead. For CAS & informal shooting,wheel weights are great. For muzzle-loaders you need pure lead.
If you want to shoot lead at magnum speeds,you'll need make your own alloy using lead & linotype. Or you can use lead & lead/tin solder. Lyman # 48 tells about their metal that you can mix with wheel-weights to get a decent bullet hardness. Brinell hardness of 20 is fine. 10 is even OK in most applications. Gas checks can be used on the bottom of the bullet to keep it from leading at hi-speed.You don't need to buy a hardness checking tool unless you intend to drive these bullets real fast.
I use wheel-weights for most things. I use pure lead in M/L.

Now,you put your metal in the pot & turn the heat up. Be sure you wear safety glasses & gloves. NEVER EVER LET WATER COME INTO CONTACT WITH MOLTEN LEAD. IT WILL EXPLODE OUT OF THE POT ONTO YOU.
On a Lee pot,after the metal melts,set it on 8 or so & cast a bullet.
You hold the mold under the spout & lift the valve handle & fill the mold full at one time. If you stop filling for any reason. Just dump that bullet on a surface that it won't hurt & start over. Wood works well for that. Then later you can remelt it & use it again.
You can make wheel-weights harder by dropping the fresh-cast bullet into cold water. I use a big coffee can. A 5 gallon bucket works well,too.
To tell if your temp is OK,look at the bullets. They should be a nice shiny sharp edged bullet.If they are glazed,the temp may be too low. I've cast some that were glazed & shot them anyhow in CAS loads. They worked fine in CAS.
There is a bit of trial & error in this as you get things adjusted correctly. But it is not a big deal. In an hour or two,you'll be casting like you been doing it for years.
For a softer bullet,like for muzzle-loaders,I use a towel laying on plywood. Dump them gently on the towel. If a hot bullet hits hard it may distort & it won't be accurate. You can use a wooden dowel to hit the hinge part of a mold to knock out a contrary bullet. DON'T HIT THE MOLD ITSELF. If you hit the mold you might distort it. It will never cast right again if it's distorted.Never put oil in a mold. Just leave the last bullets you cast in it. That will protect it from rust.
After casting you need to size them. This is straight forward. You run a bullet into the sizer with a stroke of the sizer handle & back out again. There is a adjustment on top of the RCBS unit that you tighten to apply the lube. If there is not lube all around the lube groove(s),tighten it a bit & run it in again.If there is lube on the bullet but not down in the groove(s),adjust the sizer to shove the bullet further in & try again. There are directions with the equipment & once again,once it's adjusted,you'll size & lube with no trouble.
I wipe the base of my lubed bullets on a towel so that the lube can not contaminate the powder. Then they are ready to load.
100 45 Colt rounds,for CAS cost me $3.00 total. But this stuff takes time so you have to see if it's worth it to you to do.
Jose Grande
P.S. You have to flux your lead. I use pure beeswax. A small chunk is all it takes. Mix it through the molten lead & all the impurities will come to the top where you can skim off the dross with a spoon. I made my own with a wooden handle.

66 Posts
Good primer, jose. Let me add this time- and money-saving tip:

Find a Fry Daddy (or similar) at a garage sale. Hotwire (bypass) the thermostat, and plug it in next to your bottom pour pot. Fill it with ingots and it will give you a ready supply of molten lead to ladle into your casting pot.

I find it a real luxury to keep my Lee bottom pour topped off and not have to wait for the temperature to come back up before casting more boolits; less thawing of the spout too, especially when using the six cavity molds.

I put mine inside a heavy dutch oven to make sure it doesn't tip over, and to hold the heat in. Hope this helps.


4,992 Posts
Good idea GoatLips thanks for the tip. That would work good for me I could cast some wheel weights for my rifles and have straight lead melting for some conicals for my muzzle loader after I empty the first pot. One of my Rummage sale finds was a larger cast iron ladle that I suppose plumbers used. It is great for ladleing larger qualities of lead or wheel weights. Jim
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