A simple start with casting

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  • A simple start with casting

    I just use a simple garage sale set up (this post is another salvage from shooting.com.au forum):
    With this, there is only four dedicated pieces of casting equipment needed other than usual reloading gear to case and load your first cast bullets:

    Bullet Mold
    Lead Ladle (mine is RCBS)
    case mouth expanding die (I use the Lee universal expanding die although Lyman M die very popular)
    sizing die (I use Lee, 0.311 for 30-30 and .358 for 35 Whelen)

    Plus - Safety gear! I use mesh face shield, cotton work shirt, cotton jeans, close leather shoes, gloves when working with molten lead. Always wash hands after handling lead.

    With cast iron pot, gas ring and ladle. I have found an electric hot plate to be really useful for pre-warming molds, ingots and lube for pan-lubing. For a simple ingot mold I use a muffin tray.
    These pots and pans are marked Pb only - not for food use.
    I approached the local tire shop to buy Wheel Weights (clip on WW - COWW)

    I cast the Lee 309-150-FPGC and the 309-170-FP GC from COWW, clip the Gas Check (GC) on with finger pressure, pan lube using this method:
    Pan lubing - 70% bee wax, 26% vaseline, 2% lanolin (sold at pharmacy's) and 2% crayon for colour (by weight). The ingredients get melted together on the electric hot plate (also really useful for pre-heating molds) and then poured over boolits that have been stood on their base in the biscuit tin. On cooling the pancake of solidified lube and boolits stuck in them are popped out of the tin and the boolits pushed out base first, ideally when the lube is still a little soft and in a plastic phase.

    Pour the wax around the standing up bullets, cool to a soft plastic consistency, remove from the mold and then push the bullets out base first:

    Then through the Lee push through sizer.
    For 30-30 I use the Lee .311 sizer to crimp on the GC and size the boolit (also neatens the lube in the grooves ready for loading).

    These particular cast have had a GC applied, sized, then heat treated and then lubed. To avoid work softening the oven heat treated and quenched bullets are sized them before heat treating, then lubed. For the air cooled 30-30 they are gc, lubed then sized. The fastest I have taken bullets so far is 2200fps in the 35 whelen with 200grain .358 gas checked. Nil leading.

    I use LLA (Lee liquid Alox) for pistol velocity rounds - the little Lee TL-314-90-SWC in the 30-30 and 38/357 pistol bullets in the 35 whelen.
    For the Lee TL314-90-SWC I use straight Lee Liquid Alox or the recluse 45/45/10 Tumble lube made easy method:
    I have not been able to source American JPW wax here so I use the carnubra wax from gilly Stephenson:

    The case mouth must be expanded a little more with cast bullets, even with a gas check in place as they are not strong enough to open the case mouth themselves, unlike jacketed.

    Further reading:
    http://www.m1911.org/ezine/casting.htm - excellent one page tutorial with great photographs. I do the same apart from pan lubing rather than lubrisiser.
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ - US based forum dedicated to cast bullets and general shooting
    http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_textonly2.pdf - excellent free eBook
    http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/ClassicWorks/default.html - NRA cast bullet handbook as a free .pdf (also classic works like Townsend Whelens American Rifle)

    Load data for cast (more moderate velocities):
    ADI free pdf - has trailboss lead loads, also loads for AR2206H and AR2207 in 30-30 and some older calibres - look in the single action cowboy data.
    Hodgdon Youth loads data - allows you to safetly reduce AR2206H (H4895 is the Hodgdon name) for cast bullet velocities using their 60% rule.
    Email ADI to ask for information on your calibre.
    The Lee Modern Reloading 2nd manual has a good deal more cast load data.
    Lyman reloading handbook - now up to 47th Ed?.
    Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 3rd and 4th Ed.

  • #2
    Great post thank you


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      Macca commented
      Editing a comment
      Great information , thanks for that .

      Cheers Macca.

  • #3
    Excellent article and pushes home the thought that much of the required gear can be simple and very inexpensive. My burner was fabricated from a few simple bits I bought at "Trash & Treasure" for under $30, and by adding gear over the last 40 years I now have over 100 moulds and cast for almost all my rifles and pistols

    Much of the gear can be found cheap at gunshows where blokes have tried and failed, finally selling off cheap !
    Hold still varmint, whilst I plugs ya!