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Home Cast 45 Bullets

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Rodger Barthlow
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Post by Rodger Barthlow Mon May 29, 2023 12:36 pm

I cast my own .45 bullets and was curious if there was any other cheap skates like me who do the same thing?

My favorite is the 130 H&G 200gr button nose. I use a 3 cavity Saeco mold and I use a variety of alloys from wheel weights with 50-50 tin lead plumbers solder added to range scrape and other lead alloys and use a muffin pan to make my ingots.

I ran out of my already cast stash and had to cast some new bullets and found for some reason my mold wasn't closing tightly and was getting some edges that need to be removed from the bullets sides and base. These bullets were also on the heavy side, 202grs -203grs, they also were over size in diameter .453"-454". I cast about 100 of these before I noticed that the mold wasn't closing tight, could be I'm have a strength problem due to a shoulder injury but as tight as I squeezed the gap was still there, so I adjusted the pins and got it to close tight with a firm grip and also tightened the sprue plate.

I added some commercial bullet scrap to my wheel weight mix (Magnus old stock commercial cast bullets) I had bought at a gun show which was claimed to be from Tar-corp. metals and was very hard.

I wanted to see if I could get a true 200gr bullet out of this mixture and the first couple after I got the mold up to temperature were a little light but well formed, 198-200grs. I try to cast at around 800 degrees, the first bullets that showed no defects looked good but the base showed shrinkage so I either had a mold not up to temperature or the alloy wasn't hot enough. As everything heated up the base cleaned up and everything that came out looked good.
 I cast in my equipment shed and took my new bullets inside for inspection. Some had air vent hairs but for the most part they were clean.

Time to sort by weight and measured the diameter of the bullets. The scale showed my new bullets after the mold adjustment was closer to 200grs and the right diameter the first 50 as the mold and alloy heated up the weight and diameter also increased, weight ran from 198-202grs and the diameter ran from .451"-.452". Most were 201-201.5grs with some 201.6-201.8grs. the lighter bullets were .451" diameter.

Has what I have found to be normal for hand cast bullets from the alloys I have been using?
I never used to check the weight too closely till I bought an electronic scale last year and just visually inspected the bullets for defects since these were for practice only.

I use Zero 185gr LHPSWC for other matches that I run through my Lyman 450 bullet sizer and then Liquid Rooster lube and bake dry in a toaster oven, helps to keep the leading down and they are a little more accurate at 50yds then my cast bullets.
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Post by Wobbley Mon May 29, 2023 1:02 pm

I have hand cast bullets and they’ve shot well. Now I shoot machine cast. I can buy them coated for not much more than the price of the alloy. So I buy them or “borrow” a casting machine from a friend in that business. I’ve tried swaged, and machine cast shoot just as well so…
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Post by USSR Mon May 29, 2023 2:54 pm

I cast all the handgun bullets I shoot, including .38 hollowbase wadcutters.

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Post by Rodger Barthlow Mon May 29, 2023 4:05 pm

USSR wrote:I cast all the handgun bullets I shoot, including .38 hollowbase wadcutters.

Don
What variations in weight do you see casting 200gr .45 bullets with the use of wheel weight alloy?
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Post by USSR Mon May 29, 2023 4:28 pm

Rodger Barthlow wrote:
USSR wrote:I cast all the handgun bullets I shoot, including .38 hollowbase wadcutters.

Don
What variations in weight do you see casting 200gr .45 bullets with the use of wheel weight alloy?
I don't cast anything with straight wheel weight, as I like to match the tin content closer to the amount of antimony.   For the most part, I am seeing variations of about 0.5 grains.   Of course, you can always sort them by weight if you are so inclined.

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Post by Rodger Barthlow Mon May 29, 2023 11:01 pm

Thanks for the reply. When I first started casting I used range reclaimed lead and then got into wheel weights adding it to my range lead and then picked up some plumbers 50-50 lead tin solder and added that to the mix for the tin. My alloy is close to the Lyman #2.
Years ago I bought out a shooters casting equipment and he had a lot of commercial cast bullets which I smelted down and made ingots to add it to my base mix. So far it has lowered the variations in weight and diameter I was getting. 
What I save casting my own for practice I can buy good commercial bullets for matches.
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Post by NuJudge Sat Jun 03, 2023 11:24 pm

Yes.  I like the Lee 200 grain bevel based wadcutter in .45 acp caliber.  

I don't save much money on .452" bullets.  I save a lot on the odd-balls.  I have a .45 acp S&W 25 that I bought here that has .455 and .456" cylinder throats, and I intend to cast several different bullets in quantity this summer.  I've had other pistols that have odd groove diameters, such as all my Walther and Beretta 9mm pistols, which all have groove diameters just under .358".  

I shoot a lot of cast bullets in obsolete military and sporting rifles which have odd sized bullets.

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Post by USSR Sun Jun 04, 2023 2:13 pm

NuJudge wrote:I have a .45 acp S&W 25 that I bought here that has .455 and .456" cylinder throats...

Ah, yes, the Model 25 conundrum.   I have a 25-2 and 25-5, both of which have .455" throats.   I had several moulds made that cast .45 caliber bullets large just for them.   On the other hand, I have a really nice 4" 25-5 that had undersized throats that I had to have opened up.   Go figure.

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Post by Tim:H11 Sun Jun 04, 2023 3:17 pm

45 ACP: 
Lee 452-200-SWC Six Cavity. I used wheel weights for a long time. Shot great. 

45 Colt:
Lee 452-255-RF Double Cavity. This one is a new adventure.

38 Special:
Lee TL358-158-2R Six Cavity. Absolutely love this mold. Spent air gun lead and this mold is what I use for DR. 

Lee TL358-158SWC Six Cavity. Not a bad plinking bullet but not good enough for competitive target shooting. At least for me and the powders I tried. The round nose just kicks butt every time. 

I also have and use round ball molds for .319 up to .457. Also Lee molds.
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Post by dannyd93140 Sun Jun 04, 2023 3:24 pm

I mostly cast everything I shoot.

Home Cast 45 Bullets 1be62110
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Post by bruce martindale Sun Jun 04, 2023 8:35 pm

Jason, can you add photos?  Thanks

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Post by Tim:H11 Sun Jun 04, 2023 9:08 pm

bruce martindale wrote:Jason, can you add photos?  Thanks

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Post by Tim:H11 Sun Jun 04, 2023 9:08 pm

Home Cast 45 Bullets Ff3e8410
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Post by NuJudge Sun Jun 04, 2023 9:48 pm

On those Lee aluminum molds, I hope you're using a better lubricant than what Lee suggests.  For 2o years, I have been using what I believe to be synthetic 2-cycle oil minimally applied to the locators and to bottom of the top plate.  It used to be sold on the Cast Boolit website by Bullshop.  Before it, I had serious Galling issues, but not now.

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Post by Tim:H11 Sun Jun 04, 2023 9:56 pm

NuJudge wrote:On those Lee aluminum molds, I hope you're using a better lubricant than what Lee suggests.  For 2o years, I have been using what I believe to be synthetic 2-cycle oil minimally applied to the locators and to bottom of the top plate.  It used to be sold on the Cast Boolit website by Bullshop.  Before it, I had serious Galling issues, but not now.

Alright.. nobody hate me here but I honestly don't have time to take care of a cheap tool. I don't lubricate these molds. I just use them. They're like the Harbor Freight of bullet molds. When they have a problem I'll chunk em and get a new one. They're cheap enough. Or used to be. I just bought a two cavity mold this past week for less than $30. The six cavities do cost more but still not like a good quality steel mold does. For these Lee molds, I've broken a .319 ball two cavity before, I've warped a six cavity .452 mold before.. I just use them. Sounds bad but thats just me. I'm more of a "have hammer, will fix" kind of person sometimes lol!
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Post by bruce martindale Mon Jun 05, 2023 7:37 am

If you get a Lee mould that you like, hold onto it. Their product lines change and some VERY good shooting moulds are dropped just because they may not be big sellers.

Thanks

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Post by USSR Mon Jun 05, 2023 10:26 am

Some advice from a long time caster.   Every mould has it's own casting characteristics and idiosyncrasies, so the idea that you're going to get another mould of the same make and have it perform like the last one is wishful thinking.   Rather than buy a cheap commercial aluminum mould and have to learn to live with what they think you should have, I would strongly suggest that you do some research into what you want, and have a quality brass mould made to your specifications.   Buy quality and cry once, buy cheap and .....


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