Thanks blammer, i am considering getting into this on a small scale just to make shooting my .38 a more common thing. I love the gun (Smith 19-4) but i dont ever seem to have money for bullets to buy, so i would like to cast some.
I have a book here somewhere that tells the basics of casting, so i will have to read it.
If you dont mind my asking, why .359"? Isnt the groove diameter .357"?
Please dont take this as an attempt at questioning your knowledge, just my ignorance of the casting game.
30-06 till i die, the greatest round ever!
I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy!
CEO of a Turdlike People: Turds & Tats Division... (per Ingwe )
With cast bullets it is generally favorable to have your projectile sized .001 or .002 LARGER than bore dia. This is an aid to help reduce leading in the barrel. The general wisdom is to use as large a bullet as will fit in the chamber. (before ordering a sizer, you may want to 'slug' your chambers in your revolver, all of them.)This is easy done. If you already have a projectile (not a round of ammo), measure it and see if it will 'slip' through the chamber on each one of the cylinder. If it does, get a bigger one, by about .001 and try it again. Use the biggest bullet that will 'just' fit through with a hand pushed rod.
Two main factors work in creating a leaded barrel and poor accuracy.
Bullets too small for barrel and poor lube.
More importantly is the throat of each chamber in the cylinder. If you throat is .356 and the barrel is .357 you will generally have a leaded barrel. The projectile will be 'sized' down too small for the barrel and most likely creat leading. Ideally you should have a .358 chamber and a .357 barrel.
hope this helps.
Last edited by blammer; 01/08/13.
Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.
When your ship comes in. ... make sure you are willing to unload it.
I just went through this before Christmas. What I got to start:
- Hot plate from a local HW store $16 - Stainless steel saucer from Walmart $9 - Small stainless ladle from Walmart $4 - 2 bullet mold made by Lee + alox lube from Natchez
I had 5 pounds of lead in my scrap pile, I used that to cast bullets. It is not difficult at all, I bent the ladle to fit my needs and it works well. I cast 200 grain bullets for my 44 Magnum revolver. Even with the twin mold I can cast enough bullets in few hours to last me a month of shooting, money well spent in my book.
Money was tight, otherwise I would buy the 6 mold.
The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts the moment you get up and doesn't stop untill you get into the office.
You need a means to control the temperature, so either add in a thermoter, or forgoe the cast iron pot and dipper and get a lee bottom pour furnace.
The lee 6 cavity molds are a better design than the 2 cavity molds, but it takes some experience to cast a proper cadence to get good bullets from the 6 cavity molds and not get frustrated with the sprue hardening up and breaking the sprue cutting handle.
Hence start with the 2 cavity lee mold. I know lots of people like to bash lee molds, but I've yet to get a bad one. In 35 cal I've used the 105 swc, 158 rf and 158 swc, all have been very accurate. The 105 is my current favorite for very mild recoil, good accuracy, and getting as many bullets as possible out of a pound of lead. I'd still like to try the 125 rf but have had a tough time finding someone that has the 6 cavity varient in stock.
Wow! It is refreshing to read positive comments regarding Lee stuff. I use Lee moulds, bottom pour pots, plus Lee Alox, etc. You can hardly take the chance to mention Lee on some forums. Sounds like I will have to check out the new style 2c Lee molds. I have sent a nasty pile of Lee TL bullets down range over the years. I read an article about casting and TL bullets years ago, written by Dean Grennell. The article got me started.
If there isn't a gun range in heaven, then I'm going to hell!
Marty, here is a pic of my setup, I too wanted to shoot my .45 for cheaper than I can buy them so I did this last winter about this time of year actually. I went to castboolits.com and found some used stuff, I like ladling out of my lyman pot better than the drippy bottom pour I had. all I have to do is plug in my pot, set the mold on it, check it every so often til it's ready. you'll also want something to drop the bullets into, I use an old cookie sheet with some old denim in the bottom, I keep it soaked with water and just a skim over it all, bullets cool a little faster and the denim cushions them when they drop. I also have a piece of 2x2 bolted down to the bench to rest my mold on when I knock the sprue plate with a wooden dowel to open the mold up. that too has a shallow DRY pan to collect the sprue lead. that gets ladled back into the pot periodically. do not put wet lead into a pot whatever you do! any misformed bullets due to a cold mold get put in a small pail after they have cooled to be used in the next casting session. it really is a lot of fun, and as stated above you can do as much or little with it as you want.
Beware of any old man in a profession where one usually dies young.