Home Forums Classifieds Blogs Today's Posts Search Social Groups



  
SIGN-UP
Notices

Glock Talk
Welcome To The Glock Talk Forums.

 
  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-26-2010, 13:29   #1
TORCHRIDER
Wake Up America
 
TORCHRIDER's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 856
Should I take the casting plunge? Convince me.

I have been reloading for 30 years and am tired of watching component prices go up and up. I have toyed with the idea of casting my own bullets, but have been concerned about equipment cost, lead vapors, fire, etc.

I think I am so close to taking the plunge that I just need a couple of casters to push me over the edge. Is it difficult? Is it expensive? Is it safe?

Help!
__________________
"Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." Nehemiah 4:14
TORCHRIDER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 13:32   #2
Beware Owner
NOT a victim.
 
Beware Owner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 9,144
Not difficult. Not expensive. Safe. It'd almost be like shooting for free...
__________________
Free men have arms; slaves do not. Tyrants mistrust the people, hence they deprive them of arms.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
Beware Owner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 13:36   #3
TORCHRIDER
Wake Up America
 
TORCHRIDER's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 856
What is a reasonable price for lead? Where do you get it?
__________________
"Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." Nehemiah 4:14
TORCHRIDER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 14:08   #4
Colorado4Wheel
Senior Member
 
Colorado4Wheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: CO
Posts: 14,335
I swear Gio, I did not put him up to this.
__________________
Steve
Colorado4Wheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 14:14   #5
fredj338
Senior Member
 
fredj338's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: so.cal.
Posts: 21,741
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by TORCHRIDER View Post
What is a reasonable price for lead? Where do you get it?
See, there is the rub. I enjoy casting but if i ahd to pay mor ethan $1 for alloy, it's not worth my time for plinking/practice bullets. Tire wheel wts ar teh ptrimary source for bullet alloy. Cast as is, the make a great bullet for any handgun vel. to 1200fps. Water drop them & you can shoo tthem in rifles to 2000fps or so. Ah, but getting a relaible cheap source is getting tougher every year. Here in Kommiefornia & soon to be the rest of the western states, lead ww are banned as of this year. So they are no longer going to be cheap or plentiful. Roofing & plumbing lead from construction sites, scrap lead from stainglass window outfits or buy from some bulk source.
The cost of equip is pretty cheap depending on what you want to cast. It's pretty easy to do from the get go & as safe as you make it. Lead vaporizes above 900deg or so, yo ucast about 700-750deg. The biggest safety concern is the molten lead & sever burns if you get any moisture into the molten lead by accident. It si quite satisfying for most of us that cast, to see scrap lead turned into beautiful silver bullets. The ultimate recycler will dig out the berm he shoots at & recover 100s of #s of range lead & remelt it. I suggest the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, pretty much everything yo uneed to know about bullet casting.
__________________
"Given adequate penetration, a larger diameter bullet will have an edge in wounding effectiveness. It will damage a blood vessel the smaller projectile barely misses. The larger permanent cavity may lead to faster blood loss. Although such an edge clearly exists, its significance cannot be quantified".
fredj338 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 14:23   #6
GioaJack
Conifer Jack
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 10,025
Blog Entries: 3
Casting is simply another facet of loading, no more and no less dangerous than handling smokeless powders, explosive primers or creating completed handloads that have the potential of destroying guns or body parts. Attention to what one is doing is imperative when actually loading or working with molten lead. As a current loader you already know that loading is not rocket science... neither is casting. (If it was I'd still be throwing rocks.)

Do not concern yourself with 'lead vapors'... it takes a much higher temperature to vaporize lead than it does to melt it. Standing behind your running vehicle is by far more hazardous than being in close proximity to molten lead... not including a potential burn hazard if you are inattentive.

The chance of fire is partly dependent on the type of equipment you choose to use. Obviously an open flame heat source will afford a higher fire potential than an electric powered furnace but that being said many, many casters use propane fueled heat sources. Although certainly not as convenient as a self-contained electric pot the system is very effective.

Initial, or even long term cost is almost totally dependent on the individual caster depending on one's level of patience and mechanical acumen. Many casters are blessed with a mind that allows them to build their own melting equipment with materials on hand. Then there are people like myself who demand pop-top medicine vials because we can't figure out how to 'push and turn' at the same time. For us it is both easier and vastly more effective to rely on the talents of those engineers who designed and ultimately market commercial lead melting pots.

Prices for pots vary greatly and range from basically $70 to $500 and up to the $1000 range for a non-commercial automated machine. It simply depends on your wishes, desires, needs and budget.

You will need a specific mould for each caliber, bullet weight and bullet design you wish to load for. It becomes addictive but to start with you really don't need more than one mould until you decide that it is an activity you want to pursue. As with furnaces moulds cover the gambit of materials, sizes and costs.

You can choose between iron, aluminum and brass moulds, cavities from one up to six, (you can order larger moulds but you better have arms like the Incredible Hulk), with costs ranging from less than $20 for an aluminum mould to around $70 for a four cavity Lyman iron mould.

The best, and cheapest source for lead is certainly wheel weights or range lead. Wheel weights requires building a relationship with tire shop owners or employees to assure a reliable supply... range lead requires a bucket, a small trowel and permission from range management to rearrange a little dirt... or the addition of a pair of wire cutters so you can cut a hole in the fence and sneak in at night. (Try the other two methods first.)

Lead alloy can certainly be purchased and as long as you get it for under a dollar a pound you'll still be ahead of the game but free lead makes shooting much more enjoyable.

Do not let your decision be swayed by a 'fear factor' but rather on economics and enjoyment considerations. Good luck.

Jack
__________________
Life is a little bit tragic but mostly magic... Learn to deal with the tragic and CHERISH THE MAGIC

A PACIFIST is someone who won't raise their hands to defend themselves...
A COWARD is someone who won't raise their hands to defend someone else.
GioaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 14:28   #7
GioaJack
Conifer Jack
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 10,025
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
I swear Gio, I did not put him up to this.

I'm not cynical by nature, but I don't believe you. Wait a minute, I am cynical... that's my most redeeming feature.

Jack

Oh, BTW, C4W... the maid was hinting that we too needed a new machine machine... I bought her a smoother rock. I don't know what se was complaining about, after all she gets 'benefits'.
__________________
Life is a little bit tragic but mostly magic... Learn to deal with the tragic and CHERISH THE MAGIC

A PACIFIST is someone who won't raise their hands to defend themselves...
A COWARD is someone who won't raise their hands to defend someone else.
GioaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 14:30   #8
Colorado4Wheel
Senior Member
 
Colorado4Wheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: CO
Posts: 14,335
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
See, there is the rub. I enjoy casting but if i ahd to pay mor ethan $1 for alloy, it's not worth my time for plinking/practice bullets.
7000 grs to a pound. Lets say you have a 20% loss from the scrap to the actual product. Thats 28 200gr bullets or 45 9mm bullets for a $1. Said another way thats $.035 for a 200 gr bullet or .022 for a 9mm bullet. I am paying .076 for my 124 gr bullets now. Thats nearly a $200 savings @ $1 a pound. Scrap price is actually closer to $0.40 per pound. I don't do it yet but that still a pretty good savings.
__________________
Steve
Colorado4Wheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 14:34   #9
GioaJack
Conifer Jack
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 10,025
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
7000 grs to a pound. Lets say you have a 20% loss from the scrap to the actual product. Thats 28 200gr bullets or 45 9mm bullets for a $1. Said another way thats $.035 for a 200 gr bullet or .022 for a 9mm bullet. I am paying .076 for my 124 gr bullets now. Thats nearly a $200 savings @ $1 a pound. Scrap price is actually closer to $0.40 per pound. I don't do it yet but that still a pretty good savings.


Man, you guys and all your numbers. I'm glad I grew up in a time when the really smart people still used an abacus and the rest of us guys only learned to count up to 21... well, in my case... 20 1/2.

Jack
__________________
Life is a little bit tragic but mostly magic... Learn to deal with the tragic and CHERISH THE MAGIC

A PACIFIST is someone who won't raise their hands to defend themselves...
A COWARD is someone who won't raise their hands to defend someone else.
GioaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 15:01   #10
WolfNotSheep
Tackleberry
 
WolfNotSheep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Virginia
Posts: 893
I too have wanted to get into casting for some time now.

Seems to me like it'd be worth your time to get real buddy buddy with a local auto shop to try and hook up wheel weights for free.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you and you post pictures of your set up.
__________________
Civilize the mind, and make savage the body.
WolfNotSheep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 15:07   #11
chris in va
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 3,923
I've only been casting a couple months, but find it enjoyable and interesting, moreso than reloading. Sure theres some initial costs but if you don't go buying the latest and greatest, expense can be kept to a minimum.

For example, I went really cheap to be sure it's something I wanted to continue.

Hotplate...$9
Small cast iron skillet...$10
Used 10# Lee bottom pour (essential IMO)...$25
Various spoons, plates, muffin tins, candles (for flux)...$10
Molds...$40 (still experimenting)
LLA...$6

After that, it's just locating wheelweights at the tire store or recycler and away you go. I already had the gloves and eyewear.

The real shocker is seeing a thousand boolits sitting in a box ready for reloading, and it only really cost you a few hours of time.
chris in va is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 15:08   #12
Colorado4Wheel
Senior Member
 
Colorado4Wheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: CO
Posts: 14,335
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris in va View Post
For example, I went really cheap to be sure it's something I wanted to continue.

Hotplate...$9
Small cast iron skillet...$10
Used 10# Lee bottom pour (essential IMO)...$25
Various spoons, plates, muffin tins, candles (for flux)...$10
Molds...$40 (still experimenting)
LLA...$6

After that, it's just locating wheelweights at the tire store or recycler and away you go. I already had the gloves and eyewear.

So the hotplate works for smelting? LLA? Liquid Lead Alox?
__________________
Steve
Colorado4Wheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 15:10   #13
NW-Warlord
Senior Member
 
NW-Warlord's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Where the Bremelo roam
Posts: 944
Do not get into casting. It is uhhh... too dangerous?


I am getting my WW's for 50-60 cents a pound. They are getting harder to find due to more people picking up casting. So, I have to recommend against you casting. Then again I recommend people don't reload either, I like their brass too much.

If you have a good source for cheap lead it is worth getting into. Just remember that water and molten lead does not mix well, but it will get your attention quickly. Stay safe, and have fun.

Forgot to add: I have been using a turkey fryer to melt large batches to make my ingots. However, I just came across 'waste oil burners' I just built a prototype and it works awesome. I need to scale it up a bit and melt some serious lead.

http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/oilburners.html

Last edited by NW-Warlord; 01-26-2010 at 15:16..
NW-Warlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 15:48   #14
TORCHRIDER
Wake Up America
 
TORCHRIDER's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 856
Hey thanks for the replies y'all. Well, I posted the original message and then stopped by my local tire store. As luck would have it they gave me two 5 gallon buckets almost full of wheel weights. They said I could stop by from time to time and they would give me more. So it looks like I have at least a little lead to get started with.

Question, can you use the stick-on, strip weights or do you need to toss them because they have paper/adhesive backing? My next step will be to get the Lyman book and learn the basics.

What have I gotten myself into?
__________________
"Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." Nehemiah 4:14
TORCHRIDER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 16:12   #15
Bob2223
Jack's buddy!
 
Bob2223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Spencer Indiana
Posts: 1,233
If your getting free wheel weights go for it, you will pay off your casting equip pretty quick!

Bob
__________________
Hornady LNL The ultimate loading machine!
NRA Member
BYSC record holder
Back Yard Shooting Competition
Bob2223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 16:30   #16
WiskyT
Malcontent
 
WiskyT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 11,764
CW4, I use a hotplate. It will not get hot enough unless you modify it. Even on "High" it cycles on and off. No good. You have to open it up and bend the thermostat so it is just running wide open at all times. The plug is your on/off switch. You also can't use too big of a pot. It acts like a heatsinc.

I use a 3Qt STEEL sauce pan that my wife burned some food into. Aluminum is NFG! Al is too weak at the temps that lead melts at. The bottom can and will fall out of an Al pot. Avoid the temptation to use one of the many Al pots that that are always getting thrown out. Cast iron is good but if you have to buy it they are getting expensive.

My 3Qt pot starts out crowned up with range scrap. It takes about 30 minutes to melt. I skim off the jackets etc, flux it with saw dust and end up with about 13# of lead ingots. Not bad for 1/2 hour. I never wieghed it before melting so I don't know the weight of the waste.

To the OP, start out by making ingots with your WW that you got. A cheap Lee ingot mold is all you need. Many people use muffin tins etc but I had mucho trouble with the lead getting soldered to the tins and they got trashed. One Lee ingot mold is all you need since it solidifies in a minute or so and you empty and refill it. By making ingots you will see that there is no great mystery involved in any of this. Bullets are a bit more challenging since they have to be formed just right which takes a little skill. Ingots are easy to do and you will need them in the end anyway.

Don't worry about the tape on the weights, the clips, the cigarette buts etc. All of it will float on top of the molten lead or burn off. Zinc weights must be removed. One Zinc weight will **** up your lead and you can't get it out once it's melted. I never dealt with a zinc weight so someone else can tell you about them.
__________________
Drugs are bad because if you do drugs you're a hippie and hippies suck.
Eric Cartman


"If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting."-General Curtis E. LeMay
WiskyT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 16:30   #17
JMiller
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Heriman,Ut
Posts: 92
I have melted lead for balist in my race cars over the years. You can use the stick on wieghts the sticker floats to the top when melted then you just skim the surface off. You will find a lot of dirt comes to the surface using ww so you need to skim a lot. The metal tabs that hold the lead will also float to the surface and need to be picked out. A pair of piers works well for the metal tabs. I always used welders gloves to protect my hands from possible splashed lead. Lead is heavier than the steel and dirt so when it melt the led stays down and the impurities float to the surface. I just got into reloading and I am still trying to recoup my investment but when I get on top of that I will be casting my own lead for sure. Don't be afraid of lead.
JMiller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 16:35   #18
JMiller
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Heriman,Ut
Posts: 92
I guess I was to slow with my reply wisky got there first too slow. I don't know anything about the zinc weights and I fix cars. Could someone post some pics or something so we can know the diff.
JMiller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 16:44   #19
GioaJack
Conifer Jack
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 10,025
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMiller View Post
I guess I was to slow with my reply wisky got there first too slow. I don't know anything about the zinc weights and I fix cars. Could someone post some pics or something so we can know the diff.

Zinc WW are lighter in color than lead but until you develop a good eye the can easily be overlooked.

The two simplest methods of identifying zinc, (other than looking) is to take a pair of pliers, or side cutters and try to bend the weight. Lead bends very easily... zinc will make your eyes bug out.

The other way to identify zinc weights is that they won't melt in your alloy... as long as you are melting at the right temperature. Zinc melts at a little more than a hundred degrees higher than lead so if you stay in the 720-750 range you're in a safe area.

It seems that with every new supply of WW's I get more and more zinc is showing up. I have noticed that the vast majority of zinc has the word 'MICRO' just under the front of the clip.

Jack
__________________
Life is a little bit tragic but mostly magic... Learn to deal with the tragic and CHERISH THE MAGIC

A PACIFIST is someone who won't raise their hands to defend themselves...
A COWARD is someone who won't raise their hands to defend someone else.
GioaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2010, 16:48   #20
JMiller
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Heriman,Ut
Posts: 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by GioaJack View Post
Zinc WW are lighter in color than lead but until you develop a good eye the can easily be overlooked.

The two simplest methods of identifying zinc, (other than looking) is to take a pair of pliers, or side cutters and try to bend the weight. Lead bends very easily... zinc will make your eyes bug out.

The other way to identify zinc weights is that they won't melt in your alloy... as long as you are melting at the right temperature. Zinc melts at a little more than a hundred degrees higher than lead so if you stay in the 720-750 range you're in a safe area.

It seems that with every new supply of WW's I get more and more zinc is showing up. I have noticed that the vast majority of zinc has the word 'MICRO' just under the front of the clip.

Jack
Good to know thanks. Is this a new thing or have they been out for a while? I ask because I have lots of large lead ingots already from the racing days. That was about 8 years ago so if the zinc thing is new they might be fine?
JMiller is offline   Reply With Quote

 
  
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump




All times are GMT -6. The time now is 14:35.




Homepage
FAQ
Forums
Calendar
Advertise
Gallery
GT Wiki
GT Blogs
Social Groups
Classifieds


Users Currently Online: 1,225
339 Members
886 Guests

Most users ever online: 2,672
Aug 11, 2014 at 2:31