Casting your own

Casting your own

This is a discussion on Casting your own within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I'm toying w/ the idea of casting my own bullets, but I'm unsure exactly what tools are needed, and how easy/ expensive will it be? ...

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Thread: Casting your own

  1. #1
    Member Array Ghuqu2's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Casting your own

    I'm toying w/ the idea of casting my own bullets, but I'm unsure exactly what tools are needed, and how easy/ expensive will it be? Where do you get your lead? I called the local tire stores and metal/salvage yards and they don't sell lead. I have no casting tools, and no foundry experience so any knowledgeable responses would be appreciated.
    Casting for 38, 357, 303 brit, 9mm?

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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Making ammo.
    If you can't get lead readily, it's a waste of time. You can buy it off forums and eBay. Check X-ray places. They have lead sheets they line the walls with.

    You can get started casting for $100-$150 with decent equipment.

    There's a casting forum to check out. [[/url]
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Without finding a fairly steady supply of lead like used wheel weights your kinda outta luck the lead on ebay is kinda high and then you have shipping costs,I buy 5 gallon buckets of lead ww here for 20.00 and I can get over 100 to 150pounds of melted lead from that much.I started casting with a lee bottom pour pot 20# model and the 6 cavity molds,and used lee alox liquid lube for bullet lube,I now have a castmaster bullet caster and star lubrisizer and have about $2000.00 invested but can crank out about 600 bullets an hour pretty easy,I could do around that with the lee 6 cavity molds but theres more work involved.The cheaper you can buy lead the cheaper your bullets are mine are about .01 a piece
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Array sui-juris's Avatar
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    Castboolits website is the best for advice and info.
    I've had little luck finding wheelweights around here. I did score about 100 ILBs at a little mom and pop repair shop. I gave them 50$ for 2 buckets.
    I also bought about 120 ILBs off the internet, total came out to 110$. Shipping was 9$ for 60 , 50 ILBs of lead. Not horrible. Less than a dollar a pound.
    One pound of lead is 7000 grains so that'll get you a good number of bullets.
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  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
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    Check out this web site of a friend of mine that casts bullets. I know pure lead is way to soft and you have to add a couple of things in to get the hardness up. Email this guy and I am sure he will tell you just what all it takes. Personally I would worry about lead poisoning myself or my family. You have to have a lot of good ventilation to do this.
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Making ammo.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

  8. #7
    Member Array xsquidgator's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    There's a casting forum to check out. [[/url]
    For cast boolits, that forum is the place to go. I started there before getting into casting and got more than enough advice.

    If you have a little extra scratch, there are some nice-to-have items that you don't absolutely need that I'd recommend, like a hardness tester and also a lead thermometer (especially the thermometer). My main source of "lead" is actually alloy that seems similar to wheelweights in terms of melting point and hardness, which I would not have known without these two bits of equipment.

    Not to plug for one company, but just like with reloading equipment, you can get a nice economical set of stuff from Lee that will be good enough for hobbyist use and will save you a lot of scratch over the higher-end equipment. I got a Lee melting pot, a bunch of 2-cavity Lee moulds, and use their sizer dies and liquid alox lube and it works plenty well for what I need it for. I can live with sticky or tacky bullets.

    If you need any more motivation, consider the savings! I can make 45ACP with my own boolits for about 4 cents each (powder and primer, and I get the scrap lead alloy for free). $4 for a box of 100 is a lot better than the $30 a box of WWB would cost! And as a bonus, I've found casting to be a satisfying hobby in it's own right, just as I found myself enjoying reloading for its own sake. Do it!

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array ridurall's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    SW Oklahoma
    I've been casting 522 gr .458 caliber bullets for our Sharps 45/70 and have found out that making my own alloy is getting quite a bit more expensive but still worth it. I took a few years off from casting and when I got back into it and went to the plumbing store to pick up some solder I was shocked. I'm running 20:1 lead/tin alloy and 3, 1 lb rolls of solder cost me $35. Just about floored me as I expected to pay about $9 for 3 lbs. The 522 gr bullets are for long range shooting using black powder or 777. Back in the 1980s I cast bullets for NRA Hunter Silhouette and cast, sized, gas checked and loaded 6000 rounds from January to June 1983 before the Nationals. After that I got kind of burned out for a while. Over the years I picked up a lot of reloading equipment and casting equipment and never regretted it. With a little looking around lead can often be found free or at a decent price. The last time I purchased lead it was pure lead at the metal salvage dealer and went for 50 cents a lbs. One thing I recently invested in was a Lee Hardness tester and can't figure out how I got by all those years without it. Shooting long range with the Sharps I need to make sure my alloy is repeatable and with the Lee tester I can make sure I'm starting with pure lead when making my alloy. Over the years I've cast bullets for .308, .375. .357, .452 and .458 and they all are fun to shoot.
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  10. #9
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    I cast everything from 120 grainers up to 850 grainers.

    I have a great lead source, the local nuclear plant where I can get lots of free lead. I too am a resident of cast boolits and it is a wealth of information. They also have group buys of custom molds of which I have several of, these are 6 cavity molds.

    I have made some molds as well as made a casting pot with a bottom pour spout specifically for pouring ingots that works well.

    If you have the tools and the talent, you can make lots of your casting supplies.

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  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Beans's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    AZ Border Territory,
    I have a great lead source, the local nuclear plant where I can get lots of free lead.
    Who needs night sights when you have glow in the dark bullets

    I am envious.

    Lead. read that wheel weights. is hard to get around here

  12. #11
    Member Array REDTAIL's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    I use to cast for the 44 magnum bullets years ago, i use to get all of the free linotype that i could carry from the print shops that were throughout the city of NY back in the 70's & 80's plus weel weights from gas stations and tire places in the city that use to throw out the old wheel weights back then, i use to flux out the metal clean, and bought and used a electric casting pot made by lyman that held apx 3 lbs of hot lead, this system worked great. and i still have coffee cans with cast bullets in them, when i reloaded my 44 magnum and spcl loads i filled the case space, with dacron stuffing to take up the unused space in he cases, the dacron was the pillow type stuffing, the loads were accurate and the linotype lead hard and great for use on deer, wild boar or black bear. the only thing like REBORN mentioned you need to be out doors or in a place with pleanty of fresh air circurlating around you to avoid any breathing in of the lead fumes.

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