Casting bullets

I poured my first casting today. .45. 200gr. (.452) corrected according to the mold.
The weight is actually 212gr and .445.
Anyone else cast? Had issues like this?

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Rarely will a mold provide the exact weight as advertised unless you use the exact same lead mix the manufacturer uses. Mine never match. I adjust my powder weights to get the desired effects. I have SEVERAL THOUSAND rounds I’ve loaded this way and never had a problem other than a bad primer. My .45 180grs throw closer to 210 but I use a purer lead that weighs more.

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Oh! one warning. Most molds are slightly oversized. You need to run them through a sizing die before loading. This is where you’ll get a uniform size and you’ll likely shed some weight off.

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Mine were slightly under in size. :man_shrugging:

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Could be the mix. As lead cools it contracts some. Depending on the alloy it could just be contracting. All of my molds have been oversized a couple thousands. What brand mold are you using?

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I am using Lee 452 -200 RN. 2 cavity.
I bought a Lyman book on reloading, that has some info in it.
I am using recycled lead from spent ammo and some other repurposed lead bullets.
It is my first time casting…any input is welcomed. The bullets are nice and shiny!

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Your mix is why it’s off weight and size I would say. I would recommend getting a sizing die and allow the bullets to rest for a few days after casting as it takes a while for them to settle in their final size. I’ve measured mine over a week and saw it slightly shrink then grow. It’s a negligible amount though.
If you want to learn more about casting then check out the cast boolits forum. They were a great source of knowledge for me when I got started 10 years ago.
The things I watch for are

  1. Uniformity
  2. smoothness
  3. filled base

A uniform bullet will obviously be more accurate but will perform better in all guns. For my Cowboy Action bullets it’s not so much a concern but my hunting bullets I’ll toss back at least half if I don’t like the looks of them. If it’s inconsistent then your mold or lead may be too cold.

Look at the texture and smoothness of the bullets. If it starts dull your mix is cold, if it appears frosted then it’s too hot. A mirror-like look is what you want.
Too cold may mean that you don’t get the cavity completely full throwing off your accuracy.
Too hot makes it brittle. If it’s for hunting then it may explode on impact and not have enough penetration.
Also watch the sheen of the spru. Wait for it to flash before opening the mold.

The base is also important. Check that the spru hole is completely filled. You want to fill the spru hole completely leaving a little cap. As the lead cools in the mold it’ll pull some of the still molten lead in to fill the last of the cavity. I dump the spru castings off back into the pot some will say not to do that but for what I load mostly it doesn’t hurt and I’m more concerned about volume.
Btw all of my molds and casting pots are Lee. Check the screws on the spru plate often as they tend to work loose. Don’t over tighten as it’s just aluminum and the threads will pull easily.

Last few tips are safety related.
Water plus molten lead equals BOOM and molten lead flying through the air. Make sure your everything is dry or heats up with the pot gradually.

Gloves, long sleeves, pants, closed toe shoes are a must as you will drop hot lead. I’ve got a quarter sized scar on my arm from when I dropped an ingot into my pot and didn’t realize there was some trapped water inside. It blew a large plop of molten lead on my arm.

If you don’t wear glasses then wear them. Lead will sometimes pop if an insect drops in as well.

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Thank you for all the info. this is great!

Yeah. It’s good to learn from other’s mistakes. Eventually you’ll get into water dropping and tempering, moly coating, gas checks and the like. Remember to go slow and get the process down. Speed will come.
If you do a lot of volume shooting you can get 6 cavity molds which are much faster. Then mixing your own alloys can be a fun challenge. I bought 100lbs of lead in a pig ingot. Hard to work with but cheap. I just add tin and a couple of other metals to get it where I like it

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@Locke @cico7

I have been reading your posts for an entire day and still have no idea WTH you guys are discussing. Shame on me, not you. And, I have had a few messages that others here are clueless as well.

So… one of y’all want to give the rest of us an overview? But, only if what you are doing is legal.

Thanking you in advance,
The Entire Gun Community

My understanding is they’re casting their own projectiles (bullets)

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We’re discussing casting lead projectiles for reloading our own bullets.

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I never knew that was a thing. Very, very cool. :+1:
Maybe if you had posted some pictures… lol.
But feel free to. I’m interested.

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Are you the type that can’t read books without pictures lol?

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Here’s a relevant picture

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Do you do calibers other than 45? How many do you usually make in a batch? Thanks.

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My first ones matched too cool. I heated up the mold and got just right except, they we not smooth.
I need to smoke the molds more.

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I cast for .38spc .357 mag .40s&w .45 colt and apc. I also have a mold for 7.62 at .312 for Mosin Nagant. I was thinking of loading it for 7.62x39 but it may foul out the gas port. I also cast .457 for my muzzleloader.

Depending on the mold I may cast 7-800 at a time. If I need more I can cast a couple thousand in a day or two. I then leave them to rest for a couple of days before I size and lube them. I load as I need them. Usually a few hundred at a time. This past weekend I loaded 500.

Now let me preface all this. I used to have a construction company and reclaimed several hundred pounds of lead for nothing but time. Cost is negligible for me.

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You may need to add a bit of tin. You can get some copper free solder at Home Depot or Lowe’s melt a little bit in at a time and it’ll smooth out the alloy. Too much will make it brittle so I would also increase the temperature of the pot and preheat the mold.
I let my molds sit on top of the lead to preheat before casting.

I started with a 2 cavity mold, I have a 6 but I am going to get the 2 first.
I have been reclaiming lead from the range to start with. I washed the spent bullets down
and shook them out in a strainer for a couple days to dry as best a possible.
I need gloves yet and better eyewear.

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