Casting question. [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Reagan40
10-29-2010, 20:37
I tried the search feature without any luck. I am sure this has been asked before, but I am thinking about starting to cast my own bullets. I have been reloading successfully for a couple of years. First, I would want to start casting for my S&W.357 magnum revolver. I am sure it would be fine. Then I thought about casting .45acp and 9mm since that is what I shoot the most. The problem is I just have this fear that shooting lead bullets out of my HK USP .45 and my S&W M&P 9 will hurt the guns. Is this fear justified? Should I worry about using cast lead bullets with an auto loader?

GioaJack
10-29-2010, 20:57
The only concern with shooting lead, (given reasonable velocity limitations) is the Glock OEM barrel controversy.

In truth God invented lead specifically to be formed into bullets and shot out of guns... all other uses are simply byproducts of it's intended use.

Get a copy of Lyman's book on casting, it will answer a great majority of your questions... and start scrounging wheel weights. Good luck.


Jack

Reagan40
10-29-2010, 21:02
Thanks Jack. I will get the Lyman book and begin studying. The next question is, should I really add one more time consuming activity to this hobby? My wife is going to dump hot lead on me when she realizes that I will be spending more time on the shooting hobby.:supergrin:

GioaJack
10-29-2010, 21:13
Well, let me put it to you this way, I've been casting and loading for over 45 years... and I have three ex-wives.

You're gonna have to make up your own mind... for me it's been worth it. :supergrin:

Depending on your casting set up, the location of your equipment etc., a casting session can be as short as 2 hours to produce a week or two worth of bullets, (depending on how much you shoot), or it can last a whole day and knock out a month or two worth.

For me casting is much more relaxing than shooting or loading. Most casters on the forum have somewhat similar attitudes although there are a few who look at it as a necessary evil. Either way, after you amortize the cost of your equipment you'll save a huge amount of money. I load 100 .45's for under $5.00.


Jack

WiskyT
10-29-2010, 21:44
I keep all of my casting equipment in a 5 gallon pail and cast on the tailgate of my pickup truck. If you hide the bucket and only do it when she's not home, she'll never know.

fredj338
10-29-2010, 22:34
Casting is a great extension of your shooting hobby, BUT, unless you have a source for cheap or free alloy, it can be a losing proposition money wise. At $1/#, your 230gr 45acp bullets are going to run you about $35 for alloy, then you have to lube them, say another $1 & then throw in $1 for elec or propane/1K. So $37/1K is about half of buying them, BUT, it will take you some 2-3hrs just for casting & lubing & sizing. Then throw in cost of gear. Now if you pay more for good alloy, you can see the "savings" shrinks quickly. It is a labor of love though, some guys enjoy casting more than reloading (me).
Lead bullets won't hurt a gun, but are not their best in polygon rifling. I think the USP45 is polygon, so while you can shoot lead bullets in them, cleaning has to be more frequent to avoid leading issues. Not trying to turn you off to the idea, just know what the potential pitfalls are before buying all the stuff. Cost of alloy is #1 & cheap/free is getting harder every day w/ lead ww going bye, bye.

shotgunred
10-30-2010, 10:52
I took Fred's point to heart and went to the local scrap yard and checked out lead availability. They have tons on hand and want 60 cents a pound. they cautioned me though when they get enough on hand they load up a rail road car and ship it out. So buy it when it was there as they could not guarantee it would be available when I wanted it.

so 7000 grains in a pound.
9mm 124 gr will cost around $10.80 Per K
40sw 180gr will cost around $16.20 Per K
45ACP 220gr will cost around $18.75 Per K
Plus the cost of necessary alloy.

Looking at my current cost 9mm will save me $60 a K and 40 will save me $83 a K. Probably less than that but still a good savings.

fredj338
10-30-2010, 12:21
I took Fred's point to heart and went to the local scrap yard and checked out lead availability. They have tons on hand and want 60 cents a pound. they cautioned me though when they get enough on hand they load up a rail road car and ship it out. So buy it when it was there as they could not guarantee it would be available when I wanted it.

so 7000 grains in a pound.
9mm 124 gr will cost around $10.80 Per K
40sw 180gr will cost around $16.20 Per K
45ACP 220gr will cost around $18.75 Per K
Plus the cost of necessary alloy.

Looking at my current cost 9mm will save me $60 a K and 40 will save me $83 a K. Probably less than that but still a good savings.
SR, hedge your cost calculations a bit for loss in wt do to dross & misc like ww clips. As much as 15% loss, so your 60c/# alloy is closer to 70c. Also, pure lead isn't really suitable for anything but sub 900fps vel & is diff to cast w/ for bullets (not so much for smooth RB like Jack uses. Maybe that's why he has women problems, smooth balls?). Adding 1% tin helps castability greatly, but also adds cost. Straight ww or 50/50 lead/ww mix works well for higher vel but may still need some tin to cast well, epsecially for bullets like the Lee TL style or smaller caliber bullets. Just more things to keep in mind.:wavey: Still cheap shooting if you can keep your alloy cost around $1/#. Now when the govt starts making you get a permit to handle lead as a biohazard, well, things will change then for sure.

shotgunred
10-30-2010, 12:27
Most of my lead is pure lead so I knew I was going to have to add tin. I am going to start with some ww lead I have. I don't need any bullets eight now so even if it took till spring to figure it all out I ok with that.

WiskyT
10-30-2010, 14:01
One good thing about buying lead from a scrap yard is you don't have to do any running around. For $120.00 you can get one ton of lead in your pickup truck and be done with it. I bet I've spent half that much on dicking around trying to get wheel weights before I wised up and started using free range scrap from my club.

MajorD
10-30-2010, 14:14
you can safely shoot lead in any gun really even glocks- hardcast bullets and use of a bore brush every couple hundred rounds or so is all that is to it. remember lead is much softer than a copper jacket so no you are not going to hurt a gun with lead.
just consider(and this comment comes from me being a long time caster)
cost of supples molds sizers etc.
casting then sizing bullets is very labor intensive- considering I shoot about 20k in handgun a year in order to cast size and box up enough bullets for a year I would have to cast/size etc for about 5 straight days- back when I was a poor college student and I spent my "spring break" bullet casting it made sense- now that I have a good paying job and can get bullets for 60 bucks a thousand not so much any more.
And unlike reloading setting up and rolling on bullet casting is just to much hassle to do just to cast a thousand or so bullets.

fredj338
10-30-2010, 15:08
One good thing about buying lead from a scrap yard is you don't have to do any running around. For $120.00 you can get one ton of lead in your pickup truck and be done with it. I bet I've spent half that much on dicking around trying to get wheel weights before I wised up and started using free range scrap from my club.
Very true, most scrap yards around here don;t even sell lead. So scrounging is about it. I could probably seriously mine the berm at my club & pull out a ton of useable metal. Pretty soon, that's all that will be available here.:crying:

WiskyT
10-30-2010, 16:00
Very true, most scrap yards around here don;t even sell lead. So scrounging is about it. I could probably seriously mine the berm at my club & pull out a ton of useable metal. Pretty soon, that's all that will be available here.:crying:

I never tried to buy it. I just thought about it at one point. Our indoor range has a trough that all the lead falls into. You just scoop it up with a hand trowl into a bucket and bring it home. You end up with a surprising amount of jackets, but they float on top easily enough.

One thought about buy scrap lead from a yard, I wonder if it includes battery plates. Depending on who you believe, they can be bad juju.

GioaJack
10-30-2010, 16:16
I never tried to buy it. I just thought about it at one point. Our indoor range has a trough that all the lead falls into. You just scoop it up with a hand trowl into a bucket and bring it home. You end up with a surprising amount of jackets, but they float on top easily enough.

One thought about buy scrap lead from a yard, I wonder if it includes battery plates. Depending on who you believe, they can be bad juju.


As the young'uns like to say, 'been there, done that'... not anymore.

You can hermetically seal yourself in a clear plastic bubble and you'll still end up getting burned by that insidious acid. Plus breaking through the cases of batteries is a whole lot tougher than it looks. It's just flat not worth it.


Jack

WiskyT
10-30-2010, 16:24
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As the young'uns like to say, 'been there, done that'... not anymore.

You can hermetically seal yourself in a clear plastic bubble and you'll still end up getting burned by that insidious acid. Plus breaking through the cases of batteries is a whole lot tougher than it looks. It's just flat not worth it.


Jack

Oh yeah, definatley not worth cutting open a battery, even if the lead is safe to use. I meant that the scrap lead might have battery lead mixed in with it. I've read that battery lead has all kinds of compounds on it that can be real bad when it gets melted down.

GioaJack
10-30-2010, 16:43
Oh yeah, definatley not worth cutting open a battery, even if the lead is safe to use. I meant that the scrap lead might have battery lead mixed in with it. I've read that battery lead has all kinds of compounds on it that can be real bad when it gets melted down.


I haven't done it in over 30 years, as far as I know it was pretty much pure lead back then. Certainly didn't have any problems melting or casting with it... mixed it with range lead which was pretty much all I used back then. (Got an unlimited supply from the air base indoor range where they shot .38 wadcutters or from our two department ranges.)

Have no idea what battery plates are made out of now but why wouldn't unwanted metals flux out? :dunno:


Jack

WiskyT
10-30-2010, 16:48
I haven't done it in over 30 years, as far as I know it was pretty much pure lead back then. Certainly didn't have any problems melting or casting with it... mixed it with range lead which was pretty much all I used back then. (Got an unlimited supply from the air base indoor range where they shot .38 wadcutters or from our two department ranges.)

Have no idea what battery plates are made out of now but why wouldn't unwanted metals flux out? :dunno:


Jack

They have these newfangled batteries these days. They call them "maintneance free" and I hear you don't have to add water to them. Supposedly they have some kind of oxides, or sulfides, or peptides or whatever and they can be real bad, as in poisonous, as in chemical warfare agent poisenous, if you get a whiff or two when they get melted.

GioaJack
10-30-2010, 17:14
Interesting to know... I'm going to buy three, send them to the ex-wives and ask them to melt 'em down.

Watch the newspapers, we should have our answer in a few weeks.


Jack

WiskyT
10-30-2010, 17:17
Interesting to know... I'm going to buy three, send them to the ex-wives and ask them to melt 'em down.

Watch the newspapers, we should have our answer in a few weeks.


Jack

Have them do it indoors for the full effect.

GioaJack
10-30-2010, 17:21
Have them do it indoors for the full effect.


I didn't know there was anyway else to cast. :dunno:

That reminds me, I'll have to take a picture of the new range hood I had the SIL install over my furnace in the gunroom. Works great.


Jack

WiskyT
10-30-2010, 17:28
I didn't know there was anyway else to cast. :dunno:

That reminds me, I'll have to take a picture of the new range hood I had the SIL install over my furnace in the gunroom. Works great.


Jack

I wanted a real range hood in our kitchen, but the wife wanted one of those microwave combo thingies. It sucks at sucking. We even had it vented outside instead of the bootleg recirc through the charcoal filter thing. It's basically useless. It saves space, but our kitchen is pretty big with plenty of room for a regualr microwave oven. Anyhoo, make sure the SIL vented the thing outside so as not to decrease his waiting time on all your gear.

My2Dogs
12-29-2010, 04:39
Here is my experience I purchased 71 pounds of range lead from a scrap yard at .50 a pound, I got 45 pounds of lead and the rest was copper jackets and garbage. so I paid 35 dollars for 45 pounds of lead I guess, it was my first session of making lead "muffins" I had a good time. hope this helps you Reagan40 now I have to get the lee pot and bullet cast I think I can get what I need for around 125.00.

dudel
12-29-2010, 07:25
One good thing about buying lead from a scrap yard is you don't have to do any running around. For $120.00 you can get one ton of lead in your pickup truck and be done with it. I bet I've spent half that much on dicking around trying to get wheel weights before I wised up and started using free range scrap from my club.

I hate to admit it; but I've gone green. I recyle lead from my own berm.

Does that make me an eco-terrorist? :supergrin:

Don

Colorado4Wheel
12-29-2010, 08:51
I use range scrape. It shoots great. Casting takes a good amount of time and can be expensive if you want to save time. I tried to use the cheaper methods for sizing and just didn't like it. So in the end to save time and use the lube I wanted to use I ended up getting a Star Sizer. Thats expensive but it was worth it for the speed and what I wanted to shoot. If I were you I would get a Lee Two Cavity mold for your .357, get a Lee Sizer setup @ .358". Get the 20# pot. You can then try your hand at casting for a relatively cheap amount of money. You can try them with out sizing but the tumble lube. Then sizes some and try those. If you decide you like the Tumble Lube and this basic setup your set. Your also starting with what should be the easist caliber and your not buying new barrels. As far as the HK and Glock. I know nothing about HK's but I got to assume it DOES NOT have gas ports so as long as the bullets work in the barrel you can shoot lead all you want through those guns. But don't count on it working. Try it, but you might end up fighting a loosing battle getting lead to work in those barrels. Notice I used words like "might". You will have to try it to see. You can do a lot of things to make them work in those barrels. Typically you just experement with harder vs softer, slower vs faster powders, different lubes. That type of thing.

fredj338
12-29-2010, 12:29
I hate to admit it; but I've gone green. I recyle lead from my own berm.

Does that make me an eco-terrorist? :supergrin:

Don
Casting & recycling your bullets should allow you a carbon credit against the gas you put in your car. I'll have to write a letter to Al Gore & see if I can get that going for all of us that cast & mine the range berms.:tongueout:

Patrick Graham
12-29-2010, 12:36
A few hours worth of picking up range lead off the berm surfaces.

http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m54/nfe6848m/65_lb.jpg

Comes out to about this many bullets.

http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m54/nfe6848m/DSC02345.jpg

labdwakin
12-29-2010, 13:50
One good thing about buying lead from a scrap yard is you don't have to do any running around. For $120.00 you can get one ton of lead in your pickup truck and be done with it. I bet I've spent half that much on dicking around trying to get wheel weights before I wised up and started using free range scrap from my club.

Ahem... Wisky? didn't you mean $1200?

I cast my .45s and shoot them in 1911s, Vaqueros, and my HK 23... the 23 has the same type barrel as your USP, my only recommendation is that you watch your velocity closely because they act really funny if you get them too hot. Other than that, just be sure you scrub it out really good after every 200-300 rounds.

WiskyT
12-29-2010, 16:35
Ahem... Wisky? didn't you mean $1200?

I cast my .45s and shoot them in 1911s, Vaqueros, and my HK 23... the 23 has the same type barrel as your USP, my only recommendation is that you watch your velocity closely because they act really funny if you get them too hot. Other than that, just be sure you scrub it out really good after every 200-300 rounds.

Wow, and math was my strongest point, now spelling and grammer will have to do.

No HK's in my house, too spendy. IF I need a gun and can get a new HK for $398.00, I'll have one, as long as the mags are available from CDNN for $10.00.

WiskyT
12-29-2010, 16:36
Oh,and that's one of the very convenient things about auto rounds, most of them are running at or about 1000fps anyway.

labdwakin
12-29-2010, 16:38
Want to keep .45s slowed WAY down in an HK to keep the leading down... or at least that's what worked best for me

WiskyT
12-29-2010, 16:44
Want to keep .45s slowed WAY down in an HK to keep the leading down... or at least that's what worked best for me

I haven't loaded 45 and I don't use an HK, but I have found I can get factory velocies in 9mm(1150fps with a 125) and 1000fps with a 180 in 40SW with Unique at less than a max load. If I try that with Bullseye, I get a real mess. I think you could get 900fps in 45 with Unique based on my expirience with 9 and 40.

fredj338
12-29-2010, 18:57
I haven't loaded 45 and I don't use an HK, but I have found I can get factory velocies in 9mm(1150fps with a 125) and 1000fps with a 180 in 40SW with Unique at less than a max load. If I try that with Bullseye, I get a real mess. I think you could get 900fps in 45 with Unique based on my expirience with 9 and 40.

Yes Whisky, Unique is actually a great choic efor running 45acp+P loads. Pretty easy to get to 900fps w/ a 230gr anything.