Wanting to Start Casting
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:00 PM   #1
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Default Wanting to Start Casting

I was browsing online and I saw how cheap casting your own bullets can be. Roughly $.08/round versus $.30-.45/round with FMJ bullets from the factory. I primarily want to cast for 7.62x39, .303 British, and 7.62x25 (I have heard that casting the x25 Tokarev round isn't the best choice due to the high velocity of the round). Start up costs can be generally low if you really look hard for components. I've seen a few videos on casting and it looks simple enough. I've seen the Lee 10 pound pot is probably the best one for beginners, and Lee bullet molds are east to find, gas checks are plentiful too. I can get lead for free from my dads friend who owns a tire shop and get the lead wheel weights, but I'd have to add tin and antimony and I know to keep an eye out for zinc weights cause they'll ruin the batch. I've read the casting section in Richard Lee's Reloading Manual (aka the reloading Bible) and I have a pretty good understand and the "do's and don'ts". Will this be the more economical choice? I haven't made a single round yet because I want to figure out if I should cast from the start or wait until I gain some experience? Any and all feedback is appreciated!
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:13 PM   #2
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Texaswoodworker is getting around to casting the Tokorev rounds. I'll send him a PM with a link to this thread, I seem to recall he started a thread on it and it looked like he was learning quite a bit. Y'all can compare notes.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:14 PM   #3
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Im a gun smith working on getting my ffl and my mentor casts his own bullets but he referred me to not start out casting my own bullets until I got some experience under my belt and he has been doin gunsmithing for 25 plus years so I take what he says faithfully but that's my opinion if u feel ur confident in casting then don't let no one make u second guess ur self

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Old 01-12-2014, 07:17 PM   #4
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The only way to get experience, in my experience, is to DO.

I cast my own for a while, .36 conicals, for a pair of old BP double barrel pistols. Yes, there's a learning curve. Many of mine split when I shot them. I learned that you have to keep your mold pretty warm, and pour steady. Otherwise, the bullet won't cool evenly, and can leave a seam of sorts.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaitsev44 View Post
I was browsing online and I saw how cheap casting your own bullets can be. Roughly $.08/round versus $.30-.45/round with FMJ bullets from the factory. I primarily want to cast for 7.62x39, .303 British, and 7.62x25 (I have heard that casting the x25 Tokarev round isn't the best choice due to the high velocity of the round). Start up costs can be generally low if you really look hard for components. I've seen a few videos on casting and it looks simple enough. I've seen the Lee 10 pound pot is probably the best one for beginners, and Lee bullet molds are east to find, gas checks are plentiful too. I can get lead for free from my dads friend who owns a tire shop and get the lead wheel weights, but I'd have to add tin and antimony and I know to keep an eye out for zinc weights cause they'll ruin the batch. I've read the casting section in Richard Lee's Reloading Manual (aka the reloading Bible) and I have a pretty good understand and the "do's and don'ts". Will this be the more economical choice? I haven't made a single round yet because I want to figure out if I should cast from the start or wait until I gain some experience? Any and all feedback is appreciated!
I would start out casting pistol bullets. Rifle bullets require a gas check and you have to cast a very hard bullet not to foul the barrel. I have heard people say they could cast accurate rifle bullets (internet). But what I have seen is about the speed of my 91/30 (about 4")
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:20 PM   #6
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7.62 Tokarev.

I have not started casing for this round yet, but here is what I learned about it.

Velocity plus soft lead equals a really fouled barrel. What you want to do is cast your lead so that it is pretty hard. You also don't want to have that bullet screaming out of the barrel at 1600-2000 FPS. So what you want to do is try to keep them under a certain velocity. I have read that anything over 1000 FPS might need a gas check. If your bullets are hard enough, you should be able to push it a little faster. I shoot hard cast lead out of my 357 Mag at a touch over 1000 FPS, and have not had a problem with leading. I would consider the gas checks for HARD cast bullets if they are going to be hitting anything over 1300-1400 FPS. Though, you might have to do a little testing to see what causes leading or not.

Good luck.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:33 PM   #7
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I have cast .309 gas checked bullets from pure wheel weights. I add nothing to the mix. I use those bullets for 7.62x39, 30-30 win, 7.62x54R, 308 win and 30-06. I push them fast. I can shoot full powered loads. They hold nice groups too. I do not have leading problems with any of my rifles.
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by texaswoodworker View Post
7.62 Tokarev.

I have not started casing for this round yet, but here is what I learned about it.

Velocity plus soft lead equals a really fouled barrel. What you want to do is cast your lead so that it is pretty hard. You also don't want to have that bullet screaming out of the barrel at 1600-2000 FPS. So what you want to do is try to keep them under a certain velocity. I have read that anything over 1000 FPS might need a gas check. If your bullets are hard enough, you should be able to push it a little faster. I shoot hard cast lead out of my 357 Mag at a touch over 1000 FPS, and have not had a problem with leading. I would consider the gas checks for HARD cast bullets if they are going to be hitting anything over 1300-1400 FPS. Though, you might have to do a little testing to see what causes leading or not.

Good luck.
He wants to cast 7.62x39 which is going to require a full load to make the rifle function. 303 british is about the same as a 308. Nothing he wants to cast is a slow load. It's not like you can load a 1,000 fps round for anything the OP mentioned. If one doesn't put enough powder in the case you will have detonation. He might get away with playing mad scientist using powders that are designed for low recoil shotgun shells (green dot) for the bolt action rifles. That is on him...
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:03 PM   #9
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My casting experience before I started was zero. I did a lot of reading and vid watching first.

Couple of major things:

Ventilation. Extremely important. Do it outside or you will need a fume hood to extract vapour outside. I used an old dry exhaust vent hooked up some duct work with an inline duct fan and built a hood out of scrap and plywood lined the floor with sheet metal to prevent fires from splatter.

Safety gear. Minimum wraparound safety glasses face shield preferred, welders gloves and cotton or leather long sleeve outerwear.

Reason for safety gear is the silver dragon lurks in every smelting pot. Liquid lead erupting in a violent explosion from a drop of sweat is no joke. Smelting and pouring lead is extremely dangerous and doing it indoors without a fume hood is beyound stupid. At some point the dragon will visit you and nothing says trip to the burn ward like unrestrained molten lead explosions. You may have a house to come home to if your lucky.

Bullet casting can be safe and enjoyable if you follow safety procedures with the correct gear.

If your interested in my setup I'll be happy to take pics
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:09 PM   #10
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Please do. I'm interested. I'm somewhat in the market for the right .45LC revolver and I'll definitely get into casting my own if I get one. It's a bit of a longer term/indefinite goal though.
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