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Eturnsdale 10-22-2012 01:33 PM

Copper Cast
I posted this in a thread a while ago, but yeah. I should have made a thread for it instead.

Anyway, I have a near endless supply of copper from work. They just throw away the used up tips and cones instead of recycling them. So I was wondering how difficult it would be to cast some copper bullets. I know that copper melts at a much higher temp than lead. That is a given. But I do have a small propane forge in my shop that gets up around thirty five hundred. So melting it wont be a problem.

My questions are more about the feasibility of this. Am I going to have to get different molds or anything? When buying copper jacketed or copper plated the boxes state the diameter as .451, but HC lead comes in at .452. So will using molds intended to bring lead to .452 with copper be a bad thing? Do ya still have to lube the bullets like you do with lead?

I already know that if I use a lead mold that is supposed to give me 230 gr bullets with copper my weight is going to be different. But I imagine I could just come up with some different load data.

res45 10-23-2012 04:21 AM

Well there are a couple issues that might arise first off you will need a steel mold since Aluminum melts at 1220+ degrees and copper melts at 1984 degrees. You also have to deal with the issue of cutting the sprue off a solidified copper bullet plus I don't think any standard bullet mold would hold up to the heat issue long term.

Solid commercial copper bullets aren't cast there either go through a multi stamp forging process to form them or are individually milled form a solid copper slug.

Not trying to discourage you but sounds like lots of work and some issues to figure out. I cast lead and may consider swaging my own pistol bullets at some point but I'm going to leave the solid copper bullet to the experts.

Eturnsdale 10-23-2012 04:39 AM

I wouldnt think that cutting the sprue would be much of an issue. And my molds are steel.

I figured the issues would be more something like impurities in the cast, or oversized slugs.

But thanks, and I look forward to hearing more.

Vikingdad 10-23-2012 04:51 AM

I have cast brass before, never thought of trying copper (brass melts from 1500 to 1800 depending on its content). I wonder if a bullet resizer would work on copper or is it too hard? You could probably alloy it to soften it up some, but I have no idea what with.

Eturnsdale 10-23-2012 05:06 AM

Brass depending on the mixture of copper to zinc is around a 3 to 4 on the Mohs scale where as copper is like 2.5 or 3.

I'd think that if the sizer was a carbide type it would be possible. But even steel should work (for a while anyway), normal mild steel is like 5.5

Vikingdad 10-23-2012 05:13 AM

Also think about how that copper slug will affect the bore of your gun.

Vikingdad 10-23-2012 05:14 AM

You know what I would do? Hoard all of that copper and bring it in to the recycler. They pay good money for clean pure copper. Then buy some lead.

Eturnsdale 10-23-2012 05:18 AM

What do you think Ive been doing? ;)

On average I find between ten and twenty pounds a week laying on the floors. Thats just from walking to the break room to where I work every day, and from walking from the time clock to my station and back at the end of the day. I worked a shutdown about a year ago and found almost sixty pounds worth of tips and cones while we were cleaning.

I just wanted to know if there was another way to use this stuff.

Eturnsdale 10-23-2012 05:21 AM


Originally Posted by Vikingdad (Post 986454)
Also think about how that copper slug will affect the bore of your gun.

What do you mean? I don't see how a solid copper slug would do anything different than copper jacketed.

Vikingdad 10-23-2012 05:27 AM


Originally Posted by Eturnsdale (Post 986460)
What do you mean? I don't see how a solid copper slug would do anything different than copper jacketed.

The copper jacket is specifically alloyed for that purpose. Just think how different lead alloys can screw up your bore, lead it up if too soft, etc. Copper will be no different, and I suspect would be more difficult to get the alloy the same every time. I'm just spitballin' here.

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