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Successfully melted lead, Casting question.

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by BSA70, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. BSA70


    Aug 14, 2007
    Thanks for the info I received here. I finally melted some shot bullets, cleaned the trash out, fluxed, and poured ingots.

    I will be only pouring .38/.357 and would like a nice mold. Would like to go iron. Any suggestions for the most economical choice. Would the aluminum last just as long?

    Will I have to get another die for my hand press to size the bullets or will they work right out of the mold.



    Aug 16, 2009
    I have aluminum molds and haven't had any problems so far. As far as sizing the bullets go IIRC if you get the tumble lube bullet style mold you shouldn't have to size them, also don't buy a lee sizer if you get one.

  3. mnhogrider


    Sep 10, 2007
  4. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO

    Always flux thoroughly before you remove weight clips or any other dross present.

    The tin and antimony will stick to the clips and anything else and end up being removed from the alloy without fluxing.

  5. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    You may be able to load the bullets as cast, depends on their final size & how they fit in your gun. Yes, iron molds will usually last longer than alum. They are just less likely to get dinged or gouged, especiallly the cheap/soft alum that Lee uses. If you only want a 2cav, then good molds can be had for around $60+$25-$35 for handles. I like the RCBS molds for 3cav, always cast nice bullets w/ very little breakin time. The Lee molds will work, maybe your best bet for just starting, but their QC is terrible & they can be great or need a bunch of tweeking to get them to cast perfect bullets. A 150-160grSWC design is pretty versitile.
  6. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    If you're starting out, I'd recommend aluminum. It will last as long as steel, IF you take care of it. However most people starting out don't take care of their moulds. You can ruin a set of steel just as you can ruin a set of aluminum ones.

    You will cut the sprue too soon, leave a smear, and mess up the mould cleaning it up (steel or aluminum). You bang the moulds out of alignment, not season the steel and let them rust, etc, etc, etc.

    Until you get familiar, it's less expensive to mess up a set of aluminum ones.

    You can get a set of Lee aluminum moulds for 1/3 the cost of some steel ones. They make good starter moulds. If you take care of it, you'll still have a good useful mould. If you don't you haven't messed up an expensive one. I've had good luck with the Lee Tumble Lube moulds. Haven't had to size them yet, and the Alox tumble lube works for me.
  7. +1

    Exactly what I was thinking.... first mold I had got abused pretty badly. You can go with iron or steel molds right off the bat if you do your homework and know what NOT to do. I haven't gotten out of the kiddie pool yet and am still casting with my Lee molds.
  8. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Here's the deal with sizing IME. Most of my bullets need to be sized because there will be one in 10, 100, or even 500 that is too big. If you get a too big bullet, the round won't chamber. We're talking about thousandths of an inch making a difference.

    My Lee 38 cal TL drops bullets at 0.360". That, combined with a thicker piece of brass and the tight chambers on all my Ruger's and I get rounds I have to really push into the cylinder, or worse, I push them in really hard and they won't go all the way in, then have to be pounded out.

    So, I have made it a point just to order the biggest Lee sizer for the caliber and running all bullets through it. I can run 500 bullets through in maybe half an hour or less and it ensures that all ammo will fit in all of my guns.

    If you don't get the sizer, and end up needing it, you'll have to order it seperately and get raped on the shipping, or wait until you have other things you need. For what they cost, I would get the sizer with the rest of the order.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  9. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Lee solved that with the FCD! :supergrin:

    Duck and Cover!

    Very clever of Dick Lee. Make moulds throw large projectiles, then size them with the FCD. Just kiding. I like my Lee moulds and my FCDs.
  10. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Actually, that's how Ed Harris reloads 32ACP (maybe others). He uses unsized bullets and just runs the rounds through an FCD.