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School me on lead casting please

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by eseaton, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. eseaton

    eseaton 'OP'

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    I want to begin casting bullets and 12 gauge slugs. I will be obtaining a lead melting furnace from Lee and have a slug mold. Today I got about 40 pounds of lead wheel weights.
    Can you tell me what I have to do to use these weights for casting slugs? Is the lead from these weights soft/hard enough to use as is? Do I have to add anything to the melted lead to make it usable? What kind of product do I use to prepare the mold for hot lead? I have no experience with the lead furnaces and the entire process so ANY info and experiences you can share with me will be greatly appreciated. Things to absolutely do and those to absolutely stay away from including equipment recommendations. By the way, I am in the need of a lead furnace and related equipment including a mold for buckshot if anyone has any for sale at a reasonable price.
    Thanks to all.

    eseaton
     
  2. JesseCJC

    JesseCJC

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  3. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

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    Yeah, the Lyman book is a good primer for casting.

    You will also want to read everything at: http://www.lasc.us/ArticlesFryxell.htm

    Also read a good introduction: http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

    And, for your questions about alloys: http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletAlloy.htm

    Then, head over to the premier cast bullet site on the web: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/index.php

    My suggestion is that you read all these sources before purchasing any equipment. Then, come back here, or to the cast boolits site, with your questions.
     
  4. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Excellant advice! Casting bullets is a lot easier to get done w/ less research than for reloading, but most questions will be answered by reading the Lyman book & hittng the LASC website. I have never cast SG slugs, but bullets require lubing & IMO, sizing as well. This can be done as simply as the Lee ALox sizing kit on your press, or more efficiently/faster on the Star/Magma sizer. You can even cast very useable SD LHP.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    WW by themsleves make exc bullet alloy upto 1250fps or so. They can be water dropped to make them hard enough for rifle vel to 1800fps or so. Again, the process is too envloved to cover in a single reply & the Lyman book covers things nicely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  5. NailShooter

    NailShooter

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    ...EXACTLY 16" on center

    Well, 40 lbs. of PB would cast about 1,200 230gr boolits (assuming zero waste). I don't think that's too bad a place to start. Even if you had no lead at all, I'd say get the casting furnace and some molds for calibers you shoot. Lee makes some pretty reasonably priced ones that work well. If you come across cheap bullets, buy 'em. As you come across lead, glean it. If the dot gov doesn't want you to have boolits, well you can always find a way to make your own if you have the stuff to do it. Regards,

    Nail
     
  6. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    40# of WW is not 40 # of lead. You need a good supply of lead to cast or it's not worth the start up.
     
  7. srd

    srd

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    Actually you need a good supply of wheel weights to start up not Lead unless of course either you are casting for black powder or you have a supply of tin and antimny to add to the pure lead...no trying to be picky about how its explained but there is a difference.
     
  8. JesseCJC

    JesseCJC

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    kind of splitting hairs there as while antimony by itself is not as easy to find as 2 dollar tin solder from radio shack and you dont have to have the antimony to harden up the alloy. Either way I still stand by that it's not worth dropping close to 200 for supplies when all you have is enough for 60 bucks worth of boolits.

    yessir
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  9. hoffy

    hoffy

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    it will force you to become a scrounger. That said, I have not looked for lead since all this foolishness with components started, been lucky.

    big +1 on the Lyman manuals. As for WWs straight, I us them for 44mag up to 10.0 grains Unique w/o alloying. Many commercial casters I think cast their pistol bullets too hard, at times as bad as too soft, re leading. I have bought bullets meant for 45 acp that were as hard as some 30 cal linotypes I ran years ago.
     
  10. fredj338

    fredj338

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    As Jesse stated, you don't need antimony to get a good bullet alloy. Tin & lead work fine upto 1200fps+. The LHP shown were cast from 25/1 lead/tin mix. They expand quite well & no leading to 1200fps+.
    Getting suitable alloy cheaply or free is a challenge & getting tougher as lead based ww are getting banned in more & more states. You can buy premade alloy, not a bad idea for the newb, one less thing to wqorry about, but if you pay much mor than $1.50/# you can just buy bullets w/o all the fuss. Your 40# of ww should yield about 34# of alloy. Make sure you sort & throw out zinc, steel, alum or plastic ones. If in doubt, try cutting it w/ wire snips, if it won't cut it is NOT suitable for casting bullets.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  11. JesseCJC

    JesseCJC

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    deleted
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  12. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

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    I don't know, I've thought a lot about it and I just can't see myself casting bullets. For what they cost and the time it would take you it just seems like I have other things to do. :dunno:
     
  13. sarge

    sarge Millennium Member

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    It's just a part of the sport. It's not for everyone.
     
  14. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Well you certainly don't bullet cast if you are a time/value type of guy. I stopped for along time, didn't have the 2-3hrs per 1000 trying to work, raise three boys (soccer, baseball, etc) go to school part time, reload, shoot a match every other week, etc. So I have only been casting specialty bullets, like LHP. With the recnt increase in component cost, I have been gathering lead & have started firing the pots up again.
    It's almost therapy compared to reloading. You have to pay attention, but not like reloading. You get to take raw ugly scrap lead & turn it into shiney new bullets. Then, if you are really stingy, you can collect them after practice & melt them down & do it all again! The ultimate green recycler.:supergrin:
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010