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OK, I also have decided to cast my own bullets. So far I have accumulated the following:
1 bucket of wheel weights
Pot and heating source
Lee bullet mold


I have already started melting down the wheel weights and skimming off the slop on top, I use a piece of angle iron as a makeshift ingot mold. I know I need a few other things but I have a few quick questions.

Can I use straight wheel weights?
I've read that parrafin makes for a good flux, how do I use it if so?
Will I need a sizer and lube tool or can I circumvent this and lube manually?
What about water quenching for harder bullets?

Sorry if I'm beating this to death, but I've never done this before, any help is appreciated!

TIA
 

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Parafin should work OK, but I think that Marvelux would be better. It has qualities specially made for fluxing that other products don't have. I use straight wheelweights, with a little tin solder added for better mold fillout. I water quench mine when casting for the .44mag, but with .45acp I would want them softer. Straight unquenched should work perfect. You don't have to have a lubrisizer if you get a microgroove bullet mold and "shake and bake" them with liquid alox. Depending on how "round" your mold is and how close to spec it is on diamter, no sizing should be needed. It helps with accuracy if lead bullets are just a little large anyway.
 

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There is a casting thread down below you might want to read. Lubing with Alox has it's drawbacks; the lube gets all over the bullets (if you use the shake method mentioned) and really gums things up (magazines). I've had trouble getting Alox'd bullets into tight (Freedom Arms) chambers. Try it and see how it works for you; if it starts to mess your magazines/feeding ramp up look around for a lube/sizer tool.
 

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Look for "Walking Point" current posts here in the "Reloading" forum.
good stuff on casting.
 

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you should not have a lot of scum from w/weights. if fluxed properly all you should skim out is dry black powder. hope this helps.
 

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Just take a small piece of parrafin and drop it in the pot. It will either ignite on it's own or you can light the smoke with a match (fire is good). Stir throughly after the fire goes out and skim off the crap. What will be left is shiny lead that's ready to cast.

You need a ladle if you're going to go that route, or a bottom pour melting pot.

You need heavy leather gloves and safety glasses for safety reasons. Make sure you cast in a well vented area, although I've found that casting has a lot less fumes than the initial wheel weight melting.

I found that water quenched wheel weights will perform as good as laser-cast bullets (zero leading) and air dropped wheel weights are as good or better than most commercial bullets. My air dropped wheel weight bullets lead only slightly, much less than the $42/1000 T&T bullets I tried last week.

Generally speaking, my understanding is that straight wheel weights will cast well, but so far I've added a little solder or unused commercial bullets to my wheel weights, so I can't say for sure.

There's an aging process with air dropped versus water dropped bullets, so how fast you plan on shooting them, or how likely your wife is to give up freezer space can affect the decision on what to do, although not quite the factor that velocity is.

I've been hearing some not so good things about Marvelux from people who might know what they're talking about, so I think parrafin is worth a try in the beginning. At less than $1.50, it's an easy test.

Many say that sizing may not be needed, but I like to size my bullets. I use the cheap Lee sizing dies that work on a regular press.

As far as lubing goes, you can put your bullets in a ziplock bag, dribble in some Lee liquid alox, and tumble the bullets until all are coated. Drop them on wax paper to dry(Lee instructions). Instead of waiting for them to dry, I use a hair dryer on them for a few minutes and they're ready to size. After sizing them, I repeat the tumbling process for high velocity loads (letting them dry overnight) and am contemplating not relubing low velocity bullets.

Keep in mind that I only started casting last Thursday, so I am far from being any authority. Of course I've tried to research my project as well as I could.

I'll be happy to answer, or at least try to answer any questions you may have.
 

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I hate to admit that I'm this anal, but I've actually been wiping the lube off the exposed portion of the bullet as I'm boxing them.

Since I discovered the ziplock bag lubing method, this may not be something I continue doing.
 

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You've been getting good information in your research on bullet casting. I've been casting 10 years, reloading for 20 yrs and shooting for 30 yrs. Casting has added a great new aspect of experimentation to my handloading. My experience has been with revolvers, T/C Contenders and rifles. The autoloading game is new to me, in fact yesterday a finally took possession of my first 1911 type pistol. I bought a Kimber Classic Custom Target. Hope to shoot it this afternoon if things work out. I've been casting Saeco #130 185gr SWCs. Mine are dropping at 200gr because I'm using straight WW. The info in this forum regarding COL and powder recommendations etc has been very helpful. The non-autoloader types are less finicky.

About Marvelux - it works good for its intended use but I found it promoted rust on my pot, dipper and any metal objects nearby.
The label says it prevents rust but I found this to be untrue. I used up my jar and never bought more. Old candles work great. My flux is red Christmas candles - wife burns them one time and chucks 'em, I grab them from the garbage.
The one tip I wish someone told me when I started is to not use the hardwood stick the mould makers say to use to open the sprue plate. My first Lee mould I ruined when I didn't hit the plate square and bent it. I use welders gloves and 2 cavity moulds open very well just using the heel of your gloved hand with the mould resting on the table. My Saeco 4 cavity 45cal opens with an easy push of the hand. When moulds are hot they are easily damaged.
Hope to participate more in this forum, and I'm sure I'll be here about any problems with my new Kimber.
 

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Howdy Valkyrie,

I think you'll find bullet casting an enjoyable and educational, albeit time-consuming, part of handloading.

If you will be casting bullets of strait wheelweight metal, you'll probable find it necessary to run the pot pretty warm - around 800 degrees F or maybe even a little hotter - to get bullets with good, sharp driving bands and grease grooves. A little tin in the form of 50/50 bar solder can be helpful, but it does drive the price up some.

When you melt your wheelweights, what little tin there is in the alloy will float to the top of the pot right along with the crud and the little clips that held the wheelweights to the wheel. The tin will appear as a thin gray scum on the surface of the alloy. Flux and stir the pot thoroughly to get the tin back into the alloy before skimming off the crud and clips. The surface of the alloy should be bright and shiney.

On the subject of flux material - over the years I've probably used just about all of the commonly recommended stuff. Marvelux really seems no better or worse than most anything else, just more expensive! I use sealing wax (paraffin) or a small amout of solid bullet lube. If you haven't already done so, get a good book on bullet casting. Lyman has one, and I believe RCBS does too.

The name of the game in bullet casting is "experiment". Different temperatures, alloys, as-cast diameters, sized dismeters, bullet lubes, etc. It all makes a difference in the quality of the finished bullet. Have fun.-TR
 
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