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  #1  
Old 04-03-2016, 05:47 AM
Jim385 Jim385 is offline
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Casting lead bullets

I'm looking into reloading. Want to know if it really is that much more economical. I know powder and primers are pretty cheap but how much would you save by casting your own lead wadcutters?
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2016, 06:38 AM
Totally Tactical Totally Tactical is offline
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Cast my own for years. But it was really time consuming.
A few old timers turned me on to Precision Delta.
Now I can get 230 FMJ at a thousand count for acouple of dollars more than what Midway charges for 500.
The shipping is free. And each box contains like 20 extra so I can make some dummies or for press set up.
Very happy with their product

https://www.precisiondelta.com/produ...ts/45-cal.html
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:45 AM
Matquig Matquig is offline
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For bulk .9mm or .45, it is more practical to buy them. For specialty and super hard cast bullets, I found that casting for my .500 S&W and loading my own saved me $40 per box of 20 over ridiculously priced factory ammo. I think it falls in the middle for .44 or .45 Colt. I do like the option of having my own style of lead bullets from my own molds, and especially the use of the brown 50/50 beeswax and alox lube that is not commonly found on production lead bullets. I get all the pluses with little to no leading with that lube; not so much with the blue or red hard wax lube used by commercial casters. It is taxing, tedious, and time consuming to cast, but bullets for 2-3 cents each is hard to beat.
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  #4  
Old 04-03-2016, 11:02 AM
Alex Wilson Alex Wilson is offline
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To answer your question, yes it's much cheaper. I cast 124gr 9mm at a 2.3cents, 10mm 180gr at 3.3cents and 230gr 45 at 4.2cents per bullet. That's very cheap.

If you are thinking about reloading in general I wouldn't worry about casting just yet. It is definitely an advanced technique for reloading.

You need to focus on if you want to reload. Buy a couple books and read them. Dipping your toe in to start is probably a better idea than jumping in head first. I have at least $2,000+ invested in presses, casting, trimmers, powder throwers, dies, ect.

The ABC's or reloading is an excellent start.
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:11 PM
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AndyC AndyC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim385 View Post
I'm looking into reloading. Want to know if it really is that much more economical. I know powder and primers are pretty cheap but how much would you save by casting your own lead wadcutters?
Other than the brass case, the bullet is the most expensive component - from the expensive hollowpoints down through FMJ, plated and then lead bullets - so savings can be substantial, particularly if you can scrounge free/inexpensive lead.

Personal example - I scrounged free lead a few years back at a range but invested some time in melting it down, cleaning it up, pouring into ingots of pure lead and then melting down again to alloy with the right proportions of tin/antimony and pouring into ready-to-use ingots for casting. A fair amount of work went into that, of course, but compared to the $2.50/lb (or thereabouts) that one will pay for commercial bullet-grade lead alloys, it was free (I sold the copper jackets as #2 scrap copper, so I actually made a little money on it).

Bottom line: I'm shooting my .45acp ammo for 4-5c per shot (powder, primer and a tiny amount of bullet lube) - as opposed to 50c or so for commercial ammo and the 15-20c other reloaders are paying using commercial lead bullets. Thing is, it takes an initial investment in equipment - and as Alex said above, it's more advanced than just reloading (but not hard at all).

To give you an idea, here's what a typical caster might start with for equipment to cast & size .45acp RN bullets, ready to reload:

Furnace: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/645...rnace-110-volt
Bullet-mold: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/148...2-ogive-radius
Mold handles: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/117...e-bullet-molds
Sizing die and lube kit: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/116...t-452-diameter
Hardball lead ingot: http://www.rotometals.com/product-p/hardball.htm

Each pound of lead will yield about 30 of the 230gr RN bullets (7,000 grains in a pound) - and you can easily cast 400 or so bullets in an hour from a 6-cavity mold.
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2016, 08:13 PM
markm markm is offline
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Unless you can get lead cheap and and you are really board...
I use to make the rounds to tire shops, they would either give me wheel weights or some would charge 10 cents a pound. I now have 1800lbs of lead out back alloyed up, dies/sizers for all my calibers and it sits there for a rainy day or bommageddon. It's messy and I'd rather buy than mess with it.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:37 PM
Tearlach61 Tearlach61 is offline
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In my town, since shipping scrap metal south is so expensive I can buy lead for something like $0.16 a pound WHEN I have to buy it all. A lot of my lead I pick up for free. By casting my own bullets, I am loading 45 ACP for easily less than half of what it costs to buy 22 LR. The only thing is it is a bit labor intensive. I prefer 4 cavity molds when I can get them. Every now and then I devote an afternoon to casting and generate pile of way 1000 to 1500 bullets then size and lube them in front of the T.V. so it isn't that much of a labor burden. I also have bullets molds for my important rifle calibers (except 5.56) in case those supplies ever dry up.
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2016, 06:38 PM
stevemaury stevemaury is offline
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You don't need a furnace. A small cast iron saucepan on a Coleman stove works just fine. You do need a ladle, though. I would NEVER buy another bullet. I shoot, like AndyC for 4-5 cents a round.
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  #9  
Old 04-04-2016, 06:49 PM
John Joseph John Joseph is offline
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Originally Posted by stevemaury View Post
You don't need a furnace. A small cast iron saucepan on a Coleman stove works just fine. You do need a ladle, though. I would NEVER buy another bullet. I shoot, like AndyC for 4-5 cents a round.
This is the same method I use.
A stainless steel soup ladle and an aluminum muffin pan for ingots.
A bit of candle wax or saw dust for flux. I use a slotted spoon for skimming the dross and a Lyman casting ladle for pouring bullets.
The Lee sizing system is excellent and economical, as is Alox tumble lube.
Check out www.castboolits.com for access to the lead subculture
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2016, 10:35 AM
earlwb earlwb is offline
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Years ago I used to go around and check the road intersections out. Wheel weights would accumulate and I would collect them. Plus I used to check the tire stores out and see if they would give or sell the wheel weights to me too. But one day everyone got interested in making money selling the scrap wheel weights so going to the tire stores and such dried up. But once a month going around and collecting wheel weights worked pretty well still. Unfortunately, the modern wheel weights don't have lead in them anymore. So this source is drying up quickly.

Some guys might do well collecting the old lead pipes though. One can get a lot of lead out of the old lead pipes too. But that only works where they have lead pipes though.
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2016, 01:10 AM
Jim385 Jim385 is offline
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Thanks folks. I'll hold off on casting lead and just learn to actually reload. Are those cheap Lee Loader classic kits any good? They go from $25-$50. What's the catch with those exactly? Im just looking to reload .45 acp for as cheap as possible. Also if yall got any good books or links on how to reload that'd be awesome.
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2016, 04:06 AM
erikk erikk is offline
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Just remember...you get what you pay for Inexpensive and cheap are not the same
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2016, 11:20 PM
mikeingeorgia mikeingeorgia is offline
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Like many things, the only accurate answer is, it depends. It depends on how much you have to spend to get the components. Some are fortunate and have a supply of free or practically free lead, brass, etc. Obviously the less you have to buy, the cheaper the cost will be for you. I learned how to cast because when I started I couldn't find .380 anywhere, so that was the caliber I picked first. It was a good learning experience for sure, and I've since expanded into additional calibers. As far as books go, the Modern Reloading 2nd Edition by Richard Lee is a pretty good one. I'd also give 2 thumbs up to a guy on YouTube named FortuneCookie45LC. He made a whole series about casting. Casting and reloading could realistically be 2 separate hobbies, depending on how in depth you get into either one. For starters though, I'd recommend just buying some factory made bullets and getting the reloading portion pretty familiarized first. Once you're comfortable with that, then by all means give casting a shot. I'd also say to start with pistol ammo since there's generally less steps involved.
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  #14  
Old 06-13-2016, 09:20 AM
earlwb earlwb is offline
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I would agree with the answer about casting in that it depends. I used to be really into competitive shooting many years ago and I used to cast up hundreds or even over a thousand wadcutter bullets at a time. I would size and lube them all and load 500 to 1,000 rounds for target shooting. But the cost for the bullets varied. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy the bullets already made too. I found that sometimes the wadcutter or semi-wadcutter bullets tended to go on sale fairly often. Thus it wound up cheaper to buy the bullets than to make them myself. I still see that today for bullet costs too. Sometimes the 158 grain lead round nose bullets can be had for low cost nowadays too.
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  #15  
Old 06-14-2016, 02:01 PM
walks with gun walks with gun is offline
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I've been casting my own for a good 35 years now, handgun and roundball for muzzleloaders. For the most part Lee molds are really underated, inexpensive, easy to use and available in many bullet designs. The lee push through sizer is also inexpensive and handy if your using your cast bullets in some finiky auto's and will help with total reliability. Liquid alox goes a long way and with a heavy freezer bag is so easy even Hillary could use it (even though she'd lie about it). Friends occasionally drop of lead for me if they come across it and the guy's at the local scrap yard don't have a problem at all with me looking through the lead bins, picking what I need at the time, they sell it to me by the going rate at the time. I couldn't shoot as often as I doif I didn't cast my own. Other benifets are, I hate ordering things and there are no shops with a selection within two hours or better and my daughter and son-in-law have taken in interest in it so along with my father, makes plenty of family time.
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  #16  
Old 06-14-2016, 03:13 PM
Slow bullet guy Slow bullet guy is offline
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Casting is a great way to go if you have time to do it, time to learn it and a source of lead. Also, once you have a bullet mold that you like you will be able to keep loading those bullets even when other bullets are "out of stock/no backorder".
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Old 06-14-2016, 04:27 PM
walks with gun walks with gun is offline
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And you can tell your buddies and family, you did it yourself.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:30 PM
340six 340six is offline
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I cast .452" 45acp 230Gr round nose, 185Gr full wad cutters and 185Gr semi wad cutters #68 style a 185Gr Hollow Point That all work in the 1911 and the 45acp wheel gun. The Full Wad Cutters are real short but are great
Yes i cast and have lots and lots of molds. 50-60% are Custom Brass Hollow point or old styles that are no longer made so any way to get them is customs. And a good bottom pour Lyman pot. My oldest son works at a wheel repair facility where they straighten, weld sand polish and paint wheels. So I have more lead than I ever need. But still keep on stocking up while i can. That will be the biggest cost.
I use Lars {Larry's } While Label Lubes mostly Red Carnuba commercial as i have a heater on my sizer.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:45 PM
walks with gun walks with gun is offline
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To save money on lead, and since I have my own shooting ranges I use large pine, cut into stove length logs and stacked several rows deep with a couple rows of horizontal logs stacked behind them for a big part of my handgun and muzzleloader shooting. As the firewood pieces get wore I can split them up and retrieve the lead. I have over 90lbs. we pulled out so far.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:48 PM
Big Pete10 Big Pete10 is offline
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I cast bullets for many years, then when I bought a .45 Auto I found I could buy good bullets for 28.00 per 1000. Casting with a bottom pour pot and 2 2 hole molds it takes quite a while to cast 1000 GOOD bullets, then you have to run them thru a lubrisizer. A hot job in the summertime in Texas. I can make better bullets than I buy but I'd rather be shooting. I still have all the gear just in case but I have cast a bullet in about 20 years.
Bullets cost a lot more now but so does the good hard lead to cast them.
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:06 PM
LoboGunLeather LoboGunLeather is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim385 View Post
Thanks folks. I'll hold off on casting lead and just learn to actually reload. Are those cheap Lee Loader classic kits any good? They go from $25-$50. What's the catch with those exactly? Im just looking to reload .45 acp for as cheap as possible. Also if yall got any good books or links on how to reload that'd be awesome.
Any of the major reloading companies' manuals (Speer, Lyman, etc) will give you an excellent primer on reloading in general. The Lyman manuals will also provide good information on bullet casting. If you can find a copy of the old NRA book by Col. E.H. Harrison titled "CAST BULLETS" you will have the equivalent of a college degree on the subject.

Started reloading in 1972. Started casting bullets in 1973 or so. Many tens of thousands of rounds later I continue loading and learning. Every time I acquire a new caliber the first things I order are reloading dies and bullet molds.

In my experience, reloading and bullet casting have been the most interesting parts of the shooting sports for me over the past 40-plus years.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:02 PM
340six 340six is offline
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Keep in mind that "Casting" is another whole hobby. I got into it for the same 3 reasons as Reloading.
Plain old 45acp rounds are not much in factory loads so do weigh in start up cost.
The real deal is having custom ammo that shoots better.
Real savings are in cartridges like 44Magnum, 45 Colt, ect
1) I could make lower cost ammo.
2) I could make better cleaner ammo if sized right and good lube was used
3) I could make more accurate ammo
That is...........than buying one size fits all bullets from others
Quality Ammo at a lower cost. I load ammo as a hobby and make good ammo not just bang it out at Speed to have piles. But do have piles LOL.

Just the normal 230 .452" Round Nose (RCBS MOLD)

Some .452" 250 grain that I use in 45acp and 45 Colt (Lyman mold)


Here is some real Target Ammo 185 Grain .452" Lyman #452389. Wad Cutters not Semi Wad Cutters. That I use in 45acp Revolvers and does work in my 1911. But do not have a box stock 1911

A Custom Iron .45 Hollow Point Mold. Most Customs are Brass or Aluminum I have some in both as well. to many probably but it is a hobby
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Last edited by 340six; 06-15-2016 at 01:15 PM.
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