Monday, January 21, 2013

All in a day's work. How I spent inauguration day.

Today was a prep day -- we cast about 800 230 Grain .45 ACP lead bullets and deprimed a couple thousand pieces of .45, .38 & .30-06 brass, as well as sorted a mess of range pick-ups. We will eventually run the .45s through a Dillon RL1050 after we have components to build a couple of thousand of them.
Sorry about my absence from the blog but I have to tell you the camaraderie and repetitive manual labor went well together. I really enjoyed the break from the computer.


Toastrider said...

No apologies needed. I was kinda envious, to be honest :) But I did manage to avoid President Zero's second crowning, er, inauguration.

Crustyrusty said...

Cast boolits... cool.

David Forward said...

If you don't mind me asking, did you really utilize old wheel weights in your casting? Also, did you add any other metal to create an alloy?

I'm asking because a few of us here are experimenting with some cast gas checked slugs for .308 Win, .300 Win Mag and .338 Win Mag.

We're basing out experimentation on a scarcity of traditional alloys. And we have used wheel weights and played with different additives of tin and other soft metals typically found in salvage yards or junk piles.

Scott J said...


I have been a caster since the run on ammo caused by Obama's first election and do not claim any special expertiese. has many members with far more knowledge than me.

However, I'll gladly share what I've learned in the 4-ish years I've been casting:

I have only cast for handguns. I use straight clip-on wheel weights for alloy. I segregate stick-on weights out into their own melt because they're pure lead and will soften your alloy if you mix them with the clip-on.

Earlier on I was adding 2% by weight of silver solder to the melt for the tin but found I can get just as good fill out by running the mold and melt at the right temp (arrived at for my gear by trial and error).

Boolit to bore fit is critical. Too small and you get a leaded mess or as I've been fighting with 9MM you get tumblers.

Hardness isn't the end all, be all many think it is. I found I get better bore fit and feeding if I air cool. I only water drop these days for special applications like .44 plain base pushed really fast.

One thing you must do is make sure you don't get your alloy contaminated with zinc. It ruins fill out. I sort them from the wheel weights by pinching everything I melt with plires. You can bite mark lead. Not zinc.

I highly recommend anyone wanting to get into casting spend a couple of weeks lurking on The knowledge there is immense.

David Forward said...

@Scott J: Thanks for the great advice not only on your experience, but also for the referral.

We've been having good luck using the clip or hammer on weights so far, and decided early on not to use the zinc variety. From what you are saying, we made a good initial guess as to quality.

Also, we've made some pretty decent gas checks (necessary on rifle calibers) by making our own simple tooling and "punching" aluminum cans. One of the guys came up with the recommendation to use a very thin sheathing aluminum which is very common so we'll be trying that next.

A couple of the guys have even developed a process of "recycling" primers. So far we've had fairly consistent ignition with the chem mixture they came up with -- essentially all primers are mag grade primers. The hassle is opening and smoothing the head of expended primers. We're also looking for a somewhat relatively common material to make primers with.

We all have large stocks of ammo and components (I have enough for over 25K assorted calibers), many of which is cached in what we believe secure and spread out locations. However, in the event of the SHTF for real we have to able to adapt beyond the cached equipment and ammo, and not being count on being readily able to resupply from the enemy.

We all spent way too much time deep in enemy territory while in the service and know from experience a lot of the logistics problems -- especially without a REMF support group with armored vehicles or ROMADS.

Anonymous said...

Slacker! Didn't even size or lube them! lol Can't think of a better way to spend coronation day.

Grouchy smurf said...

Mike :: I know very little about Guns but I know when I saw the first formation of Marines march past the reviewing stand about 5:14 eastern time on CNN the first group had what appeared to be ww2 rifles on their sholders with open bolts. Now I was thinking this must be some type of Military tradition, proving that the weapon was unloaded when marching past the President,or someone is afraid of a Marine with a loaded or the other.

SWIFT said...

My neighbor is a competition pistol shooter. (Mostly cowboy type shoots. .44-40) He casts his own bullets using wheel weighs and antimony. I never thought to ask him the formula, an oversight that will be corrected ASAP. Other friends and I, prior to the crunch, purchased pre-cast bullets at a gun show. They are experimenting with putting a copper wash on the bullets, like Russian ammo, to limit fouling.

Roger said...

I spent most of the day reloading .223 match ammo for my EEEeeevil Black Rifle.
It usually works out to about 3 hours reloading time to one hour shooting time. More if the local shooters have "donated" piles of their once fired brass. (God bless 'em)
Then finished the day by cleaning that same evil black rifle.
Molon Labe

Anonymous said...

Time reloading is rarely wasted :-)

Dakota said...

I got a couple hundred pounds all in small bars for casting and some linotype stuff. Squirreled it away 20 years ago and I guess it is time do get after it. Thanks for reminding me.

SciFiJim said...

Just to help everyone. The casting website is

I use the same username on there. The wealth of information is incredible.