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Lead reloaders - looking for advice

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Bajakiter, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Bajakiter

    Bajakiter Salem New Member

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    So I have been reloading with plated projectiles for a few years and am thinking about moving to cast. I will mainly be loading for my .40S&W but possibly setting up for .45ACP. My question is - any gotcha's moving to cast?

    Thanks!
     
  2. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    When I have used plated bullets in the past, I have always used the exact same load data as for cast. I mainly load 200 gr. SWC's in the .45 with Titegroup as my most common pistol powder(I use it for .40 as well). I personally see no reason to use plated any more. I save thousands of dollars a year casting my own. Cast bullets really shine in revolvers. I have only used gas checks for hot .357 mag loads and only very hot loads. They are in my opinion a waste of time and money. Enjoy loading cast bullets. I hope you cast your own. It is very rewarding.
     
  3. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    If you're not going to slug your bore/throats, buy small quantities first to see if they lead or not and give good accuracy. Convention is to try, for example, .358's for a .38/357.
    Many manufacturers offer a sample packet/selection for not much money.
     
  4. cpy911

    cpy911 Newberg Active Member

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    Generally no check needed for pistol velocities below 1300-1400 FPS if using hard cast that fit your barrel correctly. For anything more, it is a good idea to check them.
    I shoot 30-30 RNFP 150gr about 2100-2200 FPS. These are lubed and gas checked.
     
  5. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I don't shoot cast bullets in my .357 or .41 Mag anymore because I got tired scrubbing that much lead out of my bore. I would use commercially cast "hard" lead bullets. If I tried to run them at any where near magnum velocities they would load up the rifling. If you are able to cast your own, and make them harder than what's available, you may have better results.
    I do use them in some of my .45 ACP loads, but those aren't at top velocity. Gas checked would be worth trying, in my opinion.
    But, I doubt I'll spend another cent on lead bullets. The plated ones, or the cheaper jacketed ones aren't that much more and clean up time is nil comparatively.
     
  6. Bajakiter

    Bajakiter Salem New Member

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    Thanks all for the responses!
     
  7. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    I've been casting for my 9mms and 44mags and I would never go back to plated/jacketed projectiles for plinking. The savings are huge compared to buying bullets. I hunt for cheap lead/tin and to cast 100 9mm projectiles it is costing me $0.40-$0.50. There is an art to casting bullets but after a few sit downs at the melting pot you pretty much have it figured out. It is fairly easy to cast 1,000 bullets per hour with a lee 6 cavity mold and a lee production pot.

    SANY0368.jpg
     
  8. cybin

    cybin Missouri New Member

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    I'm getting ready to start casting my own lead bullets,but have for the last 30 years shot cast bullets from different casters. I have been buying 125 gr round nose for my 9mm for $32.00 for 500 bullets--with my reloading a box of 9mm's cost me about $5.00 a box. Same cost for 45 acp, and only a few cents cheaper for .380 and .38 special and .357 mag.

    Only one time had a leading problem and that was with some .357 cast that were cast too hard--which was a surprise to me--seems like you can go too hard with the lead and cause leading as well as too soft.

    Last year I saw an article on checking your hardness with lead pencils. (The artist kind) Very interesting article--I'll help someone find the article if there is an interest.

    cybin
     
  9. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I "mine" my lead from the local indoor range (I'm a member, and received permission), and pour 9 mm, .38, .357, 40 S&W, .44 specials and .44 mags. They run about 18 Brinnell and do not lead up my bores. Quite a satisfying hobby, not to mention the savings in money and the frustration of trying to find bullets on the store shelf.
     
  10. Bajakiter

    Bajakiter Salem New Member

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    Goodness, now I want to start casting.....I think my wife would use one of my own productions on me as we have a newborn to contend with and I already "spend to much time on my hobbies!" :cool:
     
    Dyjital and (deleted member) like this.
  11. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    Time to train before that sentiment gets out of hand! It will only get worse!
     
    never4get and (deleted member) like this.
  12. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    More important than slugging your bore is to measure the chambers in your cylinder if you are loading for a revolver. Ideally(for me), on a .357 the bore will slug .357 and the cylinders .358. You will find huge differences in the chambers of Colt revolvers and fairly uniform ones in S&W' and Ruger's. The point of this is that you want as little deviation at all from the cylinder to the barrel. If your barrel slugs .358 but your cylinders are .360, going with bullets sized .360 should cut groups in half. As always, YMMV.
     
    Janes and (deleted member) like this.
  13. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I use to cast my own but, I quit. I sold off all of my casting euqipment before I left Hawaii.

    Why?

    Too much of my time was being expended.

    1) Digging up the berm at the local outdoor range. Hot, dusty, dirty and each shovel full felt heavier than the last one. Then, cleaning and drying.
    2) Casting ingots. Or, melting the used bullets and going straight to casting new bullets. It's not that fast to do, even with a 4 bullet mold.
    3) Sizing......one bullet at a time. Pull handle, over and over.
    4) The lube was sticky and collected dust over time. The newer lube "wax style lube" requires a heater.

    The equipment cost and gang molds cost. Thankfully, they last a long time.

    In the end I felt that my time was better spent working OT and buying bullets. Also, back then buying bullets was a tax deduction for me. YMWV.

    Aloha, Mark

    PS......Considering the current amount of bullets that I shoot per year, buying ready made cast bullets w/ USPS one price shipping is cheap and saves me time. Not to mention, that the lead fumes can cause health problems. It's not only YOU, consider the other members in the household (and neighborhood)?
     
  14. springfield0612

    springfield0612 Poulsbo Member

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    I solved this when I first started casting this year. I took a propane tank, emptied it, and cut it open using a 4 1/2" angle grinder with a metal cutting wheel. Cut the top off of the tank, affixed the top of a 5 gallon bucket to it using screws, added a handle to carry it around. Filled it with shreded rubber, and snap on the bucket lid. Affix your target and shoot. One bullet catcher cost about $20, lead recovery is 99%, and now I just recylce my lead alloy that is all ready set. No digging, no dust, no making ingots and fluxing. Do it once and your done. We recycle our brass, clean it, process it, and reuse it. I figured why not the lead as well? Now after the first time shooting my lead I consider it free. I'm loading .45 acp and 9MM for the cost of powder and primers.

    Bullet trap ideas for recycling lead - Page 33

    I like free stuff!
     
  15. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I could only wish that I had land....lots of land. And, that it would be legal to shoot within my County, City limits, subdivision....LOL.

    I don't want to even take the risk of having an airgun BB/pellet trap in the back yard for my son.

    But, your idea of a "bullet bucket" sounds like a fun project and a usable soultion to recycling your lead bullets.

    Aloha, Mark
     
  16. mtnpastor

    mtnpastor Kern River Valley, CA New Member

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    Hi cybin. I am also a new member of Northwest Firearms. I am interested in the article about checking lead hardness with lead pencils and possibly some others are also. Have you tried selling any brass on this forum yet?
     
  17. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    My advice, follow the suggestions about measuring throats, bore diameter.
    Also, it seems that too soft of an alloy, at too high of a velocity equals leading, and too hard of an alloy at too slow of a velocity equals leading.
    And, use a good lube, some of the harder ones on commercial cast bullets don't seem to work as well as some of the softer ones.
     
  18. zeppelin

    zeppelin Benton County WA Active Member

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    Buy yourself a Lewis lead remover from Brownell's @ LEWIS LEAD REMOVER FOR RIFLES & SHOTGUNS | Brownells. Keep your velocities on the low side. In my experience the .45 ACP lead 200 gr SWC will deliver fine accuracy out of a 1911. But when I tried shooting lead bullets from a Browning Hi Power, accuracy tanked. I also had some problems with revolvers and lead bullets. When I shot lead out of a Ruger SP-101, the cylinder face got so leaded up it wouldn't turn after a few rounds. Lead bullets can be cheap, fun, and accurate but lead bullets do offer some "issues" such as barrel leading, toxicity, sometimes accuracy problems. Which is not to say you shouldn't have a go at it.
     
  19. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    Here is a good cast bullet site:

    Cast Boolits

    I once bought a box of factory 210 GR swaged lead SWC for my .41 mag., and those bullets leaded really bad, way too soft of an alloy...

    I don't do nearly as much casting now, but have in the past cast thousands of .45 200 gr. bullets out of a H&G #68 gang mould, and also .357 SWC, out of another H&G mould.

    About the only casting I have done in the near past is 250 and 300 gr,. .44 mag., "Keith" style, and also have an NEI 300 gr. .44. But, I still have many other moulds, mostly handguns, but a few rifle moulds. (I wish I'd never sold the H&G molds, though...

    I chronographed some of the 300 Gr. NEI bullets out of my 5" bbl. .44, at 1385 Fps., without much, if any leading, and 1459 Fps. out of a 7-1/2" bbl., using the same charge of 296, also without much if any leading.

    A lot depends on alloy and velocity, along with trying to match bullet to bore/throat.

    Also, as has been mentioned, the toxicity of lead has to be considered, good ventilation is a must, along with washing up after casting.

    A good friend of mine had to stop casting bullets because his lead levels went way up.
     
  20. Nickb

    Nickb Moxee Active Member

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    I load .45 and .44 mag with lead (I will be loading some .40's for my boss, already have the bullets just need to set up the press)

    I have had really good luck with Missouri Bullets. I use WST for the .45, no leading, real soft shooting. I have loaded a few thousand plated bullets from Ranier but they are so dang soft, I much prefer the lead.
    As for .44 mag, I shoot them out of a Marlin 1894, I have had good luck with that saw well.
    10 shots at 50 yards,
    598d4fe141cc6f83ce92c079c39a9268_zps161cd2b9.jpg

    My local post office hates me, I usually get 2000 45 bullets a month, just under 70 pounds in a medium flat rate box.
    3297f25257f436dca41ca74326cbcf08_zps6f7026ff.jpg