TO VISIT THE CAST BOOLITS FORUM
I cast, load and shoot lead bullets. I've been doing so for quite awhile now but I'll be the first to admit that I started doing it simply because I'm cheap. Since then, I've come up with a lot of other good reason. Some of these reasons are supportable with fact and some of them are just opinion. Im trying to put together this page because Ive noticed that there is precious little information available on the internet concerning lead bullets and that what information is available is spread out in small bits and pieces. This page will always be a work in progress because Im always learning new things and because my typing skills leave much to be desired.If you have any information, opinions or questions please feel free to contact me. Well, lets see...If you have actually found this site you are either desperate or have progressed beyond the basics of casting so the basics will be dispensed with, at least for the time being. Lets start with one word. That word being -wheelweights. I can already see the raised eyebrows, so let me explain. Im a lazy man.The standard Lyman #2 alloy is an excellent alloy however Im too lazy to take the time to mix it and too cheap to buy it so I was left with the only thing I could think of. Wheelweights. Hither to known as WW.
Wheelweights are, in my opinion, the greatest thing to have ever happened to casters. They are cheap if not free, a almost perfect alloy of lead, tin, antimony and even a little arsenic. Yes, it could be harder but we will get to that later on.
Here is a little hint when it comes to collecting WWs. Tire stores and mechanic shops. Everyone knows that you say? Theres more. I was a mechanic for a large number of years so this is the inside scoop, write this down somewhere.
BEER. Yes you heard me right….a little beer goes a long way. Buying a set of tires? Talk to the man. Don’t just get your tires, then ask for some WWs, you will probably get them but it will cost you. Be friendly, once he realizes that you arent the usual yuppie that thinks hes nothing more than a sub-human grease monkey you have just guaranteed yourself a steady WW supply. A 12 pack will generally get me two five gallon buckets full. Try it!
Once Ive acquired a decent amount of WWs I melt them down into clean shiny ingots. To do this I use a 40 year old Coleman camp stove that I have converted to propane and a four quart cast iron pot. A word of advice here, consult your wife before taking one of her pots. It has been brought to my attention that some women seem to have a rather unhealthy attachment to their cookware.
I perform the initial melting outside because most WWs are very dirty. Once I have these ingots made they can be used in my electric pot inside, albeit in the basement. Concerning ingot molds….I have several, Lyman, RCBS, Saeco etc. But what I now use are small muffin tins. Not the large size, the small ones. They are cheap, light weight and they cool quicker.
Now that all my lead has been cleaned and formed into ingots, I move inside the basement. For casting my bullets I use a Lee Bottom Pour Pot. I think it is an excellent pot that holds 10 pounds of liquid metal. To this liquid I add a 6-inch piece of 95.5 wire solder. Thats 95 percent tin and 5 percent antimony. Sorry, but that is about as scientific as I get when it comes to alloying my metals. Is that the standard 2 percent tin that everyone says you are supposed to add? Dont know. I do know that it works! It certainly aids in filling out my bullets, practically no wrinkles or rounded edges. Hardens my bullets a bit but not too much. In my opinion a bullet that is too hard is just as bad, if not worse, than a bullet that is too soft. But thats something that we will look into later on.
Another issue is mold and melt temperature. There are a lot of theories out there and I have one of my own. Surprise! I cast all my bullets HOT... I have less fill out problems, especially with the larger bullets and we all know what a pain they can sometimes be. I usually cast with 3 molds at a time. That way, they don't heat up too fast. Cant have lead smears on the top of my molds!
I'll admit right now that I dont have a hardness tester.Again, I'm too cheap.I've always used the "thumbnail" test.If a bullet scratches easily with a thumbnail it's too soft.If it requires considerable effort to scratch it then it's good to go.I've found that this method serves me quite well.
Well, in the next few pages I'll attempt to cover equipment, techniques and loading so on the left you will see a list of different pages, click on one of those and enjoy!