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Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 02/23/2009
Posts: 182
Making Lead Bullets

Hey folks, thinking about taking my reloading to the next level.  Can someone enlighten me as to how hard it is to make effective lead bullets?  Cost, time, can you hunt with these, etc.  I believe you can hunt with them as I've heard stories on the board about some of you doing so, but I'm not sure what you took.  Big game?  Elk, deer, coyotes?  Thanks,

Critter's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4079
I thought about it years ago

I thought about it years ago and then forgot about it.  The extra equipment that you need to buy such as a melting furnace or a pot to use on your camp stove, a sizer/lubber witch I believe that you can also use to put on gas checks, and if you want to check the hardness of your bullets the tool that does that.  That along with going around to the tire shops picking up wheel weights to use in your bullets or even trying to do the mixing yourself just didn't add up for me.  I have found that if you want to shoot cast bullets that there are enough makes on the market that you should be able to find one that will suite you and they really are not that expensive. 

As far as hunting with them I don't see why not.  You don't want to load them up to the same speed that you do with a copper jacketed bullet due to excessive leading in the barrel but they work in both rifles and hand guns.  In pistols all I shoot except for my hunting loads are cast bullets without gas checks.  It is a lot cheaper to reload them and then shoot reduce loads just for the practice. 

Now as for my muzzle loaders I cast my own bullets but then they are made out of pure lead and don't require a sizer or extra steps to get them ready.  Just melt some lead, poor into a mold, let cool, lube, load, and shoot.  That is unless you are using a round ball then just forget the lube. 

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3190
I do cast bullets. For 32

I do cast bullets. For 32 Long, 38 Spec and 30-06. According to Richard Lee, you can get some pretty good velocity from them. Not so expensive as you might think. I have a Lyman Lubasizer I seldom use any more. Does a great job but my Lee sizers do the same job with less effort. To lube I have gone to Lee tumble lube. Tumble lube is inexpensive and works fine. I have some very good Lyman molds but my inexpensive Lee molds throw just as good a bullet.

As far as hunting, I've never shot anything with the 30-06 but have with the 38 and 32 Long. All rabbits but I see no reason the 30-06 with it's 180gr bullet right at 2000fps wouldn't make a decent deer load out to 100yds. It groups just under 1" at 50 yds and about 2" at 100yds. I think the stabilization is falling apart at 100yds due to low velocity. Have cronographed it at 2000fps @ 12yds.

I've used several different powder's from Red Dot, 1200fps loads to IMR4064, 2000fps loads. The 4064 loads were light according to Lee. I also use a quarter sheet of toilet paper tamped down on the powder to hold it in place. For metal I use either straight wheel weight or pure lead mixed with 50/50 wiping solder. Hard to find good bullet lead anymore but I've got about a lifetime supply right now unless I get crazy about shooting plus about 200 more pounds of pure lead if I can find tin to mix in it.

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Location: Palmer Ak
Joined: 03/23/2007
Posts: 131
Casting boolits

Might check out the cast boolit forum, I cast most of what I shoot. 264, 35 ,375 ,44 ,45, 45/70 ,475. I even run a few 224 for low power loads out of the 223. If your one that has to have the best there is,then getting into it can be a lot of money,my molds are a mix of lee Rcbs ,Lyman.I use mostly GC designs, with Lee push through dies for sizing, and Lee tumble lube.A Lee bottom pour furnace. Most of the bullets are straight WW, some molds need a little tin to help fill out, but most are WW. The 44 and 45 will both shoot cloverleaf groups. The 45/70 shoots well but I'm still working on finding the right bullet powder combo.The other cal are somewhere in development.

All in all if I had to start from scratch ,I would do it,look for someone in your area that can or will help you get started, do some reading ,check out the forums, and be a little patient ,if people hear your looking for things like molds, lead ,burners, cast iron pans, these things show up, or one of your friends will see something at a yard sale.Learn all you can without spending money, When you do get started don't stress. this part should be as much fun as reloading.

Alex

JackHamr''s picture
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Joined: 10/15/2007
Posts: 54
I agree on the Cast Boolits

I agree on the Cast Boolits forum .. I am amember there .. I have been doing it for thirty years now .. Plenty of great info over there

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