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Thinking of getting into cast lead bullets anyone local to PDX able to advise?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Goosebrown, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. Goosebrown

    Goosebrown Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I have many years experience with reloading but always jacketed bullets. I am interested in getting into cast bullets with gas checks for some vintage rifles. Does anyone have any time to meet up for a beer on the west side of Portland/Beaverton and chat for a while?

    Like to get a picture before I proceed.

    I am going to be loading for a .311 barrel. I have not slugged it but believe that this is probably correct. I want to use gas checks. Think I need a lube-a-matic press. What dies do I need? What lube to use?

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/17...let-sizer-and-lubricator?cm_vc=ProductFinding
     
  2. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    FWIW.........I use to cast my own bullets for pistols NOT rifles.

    I stopped and sold off all of my equipment. Because, I found that I was spending way too much time vs. just making OT and spending the money to just buy bullets. And, I'm not saying that I'm Donald Trump rich.

    OK.......so figure this.......

    Spending your time to digup the back stop. Assume that they'll let you for free? Sifting the dirt and carrying home the bucket of used bullets.

    Then, you get home and get to work melting. You could make bullets directly or make ingots and make bullets later. Melting pot, elec or gas? How big? Where are you gonna do this without smoking out the neighborhood? It's toxic afterall.

    OK, you've bought some expensive molds and handles from Lyman, the 2 cavity kind. Maybe, I should have gotten the 6 cavity molds? Think production. Oh well........

    So, you've made some bullets. Not to mention the mistakes. So, how many were actually produced for that afternoon? Oh well, they are pretty and all for free.

    Next you break out the sizer. BTW, mine looked like yours. It was slow work and messy. One bullet at a time, up, down, replace with a new bullet. Crank the lube handle every so often. Which brings up the subject of lube. Easy answer: Alox 50/50.

    Humm....for pistol bullets that hard wax stuff is great. But, you'll need to buy the melter and the different lube. Awww....forgetaboutit.

    The bullets are made and lubed.....what about storage? OK, just put them on the side for now. Oooops....a month later there was dust all over them. Note to self: Keep dust off of the lubed bullets. Avoid the mess.

    But, they were free! So, how many days/hours did I spend doing that? And really, am I getting a more accurate butllet? OK, Ok, ok....it was FUN, right?

    Aloha, Mark
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
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  3. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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  4. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty straightforward. Some people like to machinegun factory loads downrange wholesale, some do Schuetzen and others do stuff in between. It's all good.
     
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  5. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    If I were closer I'd meet up with you but nothing would be accomplished there that could not be here.. online.
    It seems you've already got a fair handle on the fundamentals and want to learn more.. castboolits dot com is the super place for all things cast. It's awesome.
    And I think most people reload rifle shotgun or pistol to be more independent.. not to necessarily realize monetary savings, per se.. though of course very often a single factory rifle round can be $5 and a handcrafted one can easily be just a few cents.
    Good luck.
     
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  6. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I've cast my own bollits for 30 years and never touched a shovel to dig up used ones... And never will..

    Using the proper mold I can cast a few thousand in an afternoon easily. And that's at a relaxed pace.
    I use an old Star lubrisizer so that's easy!

    Rifle casting is pretty much the same. Get yourself a lead hardness tester.
    Start buying all the scrap lead and wheel weights you run across...
     
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  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Yep. With the current price of clean, ingotized lead at $1/lb, screw that biz.. unless you really want to - and there's no law against that or hard work or experience.. smelting or gathering of any sort included. I still smelt/gather when I need to but the good thing about lead is it has a fairly long shelf life (see, that was a joke right there!) and will generally hold its value. It's a commodity. It actually makes much better bullets than gold like that was a secret. true story
    Yea, get some lead. And stuff.
     
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  8. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    As many have pointed out......"it depends." Aka: Your experience will vary.

    The Star lube sizer for mass production is the way to go (though expensive). If you're only doing a little (small production batch), the RCBS (I had a Lachmiller) will do fine.

    Let me qualify that...........
    I was shooting 2700 competition back then. So, keeping me in bullets was a big expense (I lived in Hawaii). Not to mention, that finding a good source of cheap/suitable lead was not easy. Thus, the mining of the back stop and the whole bullet casting adventure.

    One good thing though......I learned to stock pile (brass, powder, primers and bullets).

    Of course, when I stopped shooting competition. Well, things got easier for me.

    Aloha, Mark
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
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  9. Goosebrown

    Goosebrown Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I am really pounded at work and all these responses deserve more thought and attention than I can give right now.

    I think that for .45 I can get pretty cheap copper coated or lead. Around $100 for 1000 bullets so I am going to buy for now.

    On the rifle front, I think I want to get premaid bullets, maybe shooters supply, and then use gas checks as I want to be around 2000fps or so. That means a press and a die to affix the gas check and I am golden.

    I may try the smelting at some point, but for now I think, based on what you all are saying, that might be a step I can wait on.

    Thank you all.
     
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  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    What .30 cartridge are you considering loading for?
    I'd hate for you to give up though many certain things, from knowledge to goods, need to ultimately be gotten by anyone going down this path.
    I'm pretty sure I have some ready to go 190gr Lyman 311334's that I'd give you. I know for a fact I have a bucket of 30-06 loaded with those.. that I won't give or sell though.

    294d1069393123-looking-mold-info-lyman311.jpg
     
  11. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Whew for awhile I thought you would be more compition searching for molds and scrap lead and wheel weights...I'm not quit done with my mold collection or my lead hoard. :)
     
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  12. ron

    ron Vancouver, Washington Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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  13. Goosebrown

    Goosebrown Beaverton Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I am shooting .303 in a 1917 Lee Enfield No 1 Mk III* in service rifle. (I suck so far!)(But I am 20/20 on the target in 1 minute 30 seconds.)(Trying for the mad minute of 15 rounds in 60 seconds all in the black which is what the Brits shot in 1914 when the war started.)

    I want to be able to shoot a lot without paying a lot.

    Main motivation is that the silhouette range at Tri County limits you to lead cast or lead nose under like 2500 fps. (I don't know the exact number without the rules in front of me) But the net is I can't use surplus on the silhouette range, where I want to shoot. If I buy speer bullets it is $.27 a bullet and if I do lead it is under $.05 a bullet or $.08 with a gas check. I also like that I can download the ammo to kick less.

    Just a theory.
     
  14. therealhitman

    therealhitman USA Well-Known Member

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    Thousands of hours of experience to peruse on castboolits.com
     
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  15. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    Are you planning to shoot over 2000 fps? If not, you won't need gas checks.
    Slug your barrel. Be sure bore is copper-free and smooth.
    The only die you need is a sizing die and that is generally needed if you are using gas checks.
    I only sized the bullets so I could apply gas checks for my .30-06, .30-30, and 7mm TCU going over 2000 fps. The sizing die was the nominal as-cast diameter. I have not found sizing to increase accuracy and have not found any problem with as-cast bullets in any of my guns (pistol, revolver, or rifle), and improper sizing will destroy accuracy quicker than any thing else. Other than that, I pan-lubed or, later, tumble lubed.
    Alloy was the same 12 BHN I used for pistols. Never had any leading.
     
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  16. whiskeybill

    whiskeybill Battle Ground, WA Well-Known Member

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    You will want a reference for casting, and the Lyman cast bullet reloading manual will be a valuable resource. It is a great learning tool for casting lead bullets and has a lot of reloading data for cast bullets. Buffalo Arms in Idaho caters to the Black Powder casting crowd but they have bullet molds, bullet sizer dies, and even some hard to come by military brass on hand, as well as bullets and lubes.
     
  17. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    icon6.png Saving Money
    For my cast bullets, I decided to try and beat the cost of copper gas checks, aprox. $35.00k and bought a gas check cutter. $100.00

    Right away I found it was very difficult to make the cutter work in my RCBS jr.press, so I bought a 1 ton Arbor press.$50.00

    The Arbor press was great, but the cutter kept falling over, so I had to buy some oversized drills and counter bore the press anvil to hold the cutter. $25.00

    Now for material: My local Sears has .014 aluminum flashing 50'x6". You can special order it from their supplier, for $40.00 a roll. Cut into 3/4" wide strips, that's approximately 800 strips per roll.

    By being careful, I can punch 8 GC per strip giving me 6,400 gas checks per roll. That's a savings of almost $5.00.

    At this rate I'll only have to shoot about 6,400 .459 cal. bullets (275lbs of lead) to amortize the cost of making my own gas checks.

    After that, THEY'RE FREE !!! woohoo.gif

    Been thinking about saving some more money by buying a..... veryconfused.gif veryconfused.gif veryconfused.gif veryconfused.gif

    Oh! Can't forget the the cost of Kelvar gloves and a box of Band Aids for handling the cutout scrap material. It's sharp as Razor Wire.

    There's also the saving I made by buying a .22lr adapter for my wife's pistol. ($250.00) Now, I can save a lot on the cost of 9mm....which I reload and don't "buy" anyway....o_Oo_O
     
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  18. tashworth1

    tashworth1 oregon McMinnville area Active Member

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    saving money. not really
    being self productive in bad times. go for it