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Author Topic: Any reloaders here yet?  (Read 13666 times)

ridata

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Re: Any reloaders here yet?
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2008, 11:08:22 am »
Quote from: THE NORSEMAN
Ridata, you can indeed shoot that cheap, assuming a couple things:

1.  Your casting equipment has paid for itself already.
2.  You're reloading a case you already have.(And not factoring the cost per use of it into this)
3.  Free lead source.

All you need is powder and primer. 

So quite a few ifs, and the biggest being lead?
I'm considering getting into reloading now instead of buying a 200 rn case of .308. Am I correct in thinking that casting your own bullets is used mostly for plinking, and a lot of the time just for handgun loads?
4 to 5 cents/round is mighty tempting, but it looks like 20 cents or so of that savings is from the bullet.

I will probaby invest in some reloading equipment and buy some 308 bullets this year, and if I shoot enough cast some pinking rounds next year. It doens't look all that hard. I have a few sources for lead, I'm not quite sure what sort of lead you need to cast.
If I saw a guy with a 60cu/ft safe filled to the brim with nothing but Jennings, Lorcins and Hi-Points, I'd look at the guy and say "Right on brother".
-Thernlund

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    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #26 on: October 22, 2008, 11:13:04 am »
    Ridata, you got it about right.  In rifles though, even if it's not a 4-5 cent per round thing, the savings can be big.  If your rifle caliber ends in the term "magnum" the savings is HUGE generally.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    JesseL

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #27 on: October 22, 2008, 11:36:12 am »
    I have a few sources for lead, I'm not quite sure what sort of lead you need to cast.

    Linotype is excellent, X-ray shielding is okay but probably needs a little tin added, and wheel weights from tires are very good (and probably the most steady source).

    What  you want is a relatively hard alloy without contamination from things like zinc or calcium (old lead acid batteries are a no go). I've got access to several hundred pounds of old tin/lead solder that does me no good because the tin content is way too high. The alloy should be mostly lead with just a little tin and maybe a trace of antimony.
    Arizona

    xsquidgator

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #28 on: October 23, 2008, 09:28:38 pm »
    Ridata, you can indeed shoot that cheap, assuming a couple things:

    1.  Your casting equipment has paid for itself already.
    2.  You're reloading a case you already have.(And not factoring the cost per use of it into this)
    3.  Free lead source.

    All you need is powder and primer. 

    Indeed.  I don't include the cost brass (save my factory ammo and I also scavenge a lot of stuff people left behind at the range).  I don't include other little things like the cost of electricity to heat the melting pot, and  I haven't included the cost of the bullet lube or other consumables (like a sheet of wax paper to set the tumble lubed bullets on overnight to dry).  But these other things cost next to nothing, maybe a tenth or two of a cent per round. I did spend up to $200 or $300 on reloading equipment, dies, case lube (for rifle brass resizing), tumbler and media, etc.  But, it isn't a lot.  I've reloaded and shot over 10,000 rounds in the last year or so since I started reloading and even if I spent say the cost of one case of 9mm on it, geez look at all the ammo I shot for the same price over that time!

    The 4 to 5 cents each is what I figured my powder and primer costs are (maybe 3 cents each for primers, and about 4-6 grains of powder most of the time with powder at say $20 per pound.  I can get it for less than that buying primers in cases of 5000 and powder in 4 pound or 8 pound cans.)  That's the cost for any pistol round made using my home cast bullets, $4 to $5 per 100 for 9mm, 38, 357, 40, and 45.  I don't cast for 380 so I buy those bullets but being only 90 to 100 grains they don't cost much, and I don't shoot a whole lot of 380 anyway.  But I like being able to make it, since 380 factory ammo is kind of spendy compared to 9mm.  I really enjoy shooting my 40 and 45s, which I just couldn't enjoy back when I knew every pull of the trigger was 30 cents.


    xsquidgator

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #29 on: October 23, 2008, 09:48:38 pm »
    So quite a few ifs, and the biggest being lead?
    I'm considering getting into reloading now instead of buying a 200 rn case of .308. Am I correct in thinking that casting your own bullets is used mostly for plinking, and a lot of the time just for handgun loads?
    4 to 5 cents/round is mighty tempting, but it looks like 20 cents or so of that savings is from the bullet.

    I will probaby invest in some reloading equipment and buy some 308 bullets this year, and if I shoot enough cast some pinking rounds next year. It doens't look all that hard. I have a few sources for lead, I'm not quite sure what sort of lead you need to cast.

    ridata,
    You are correct that most cast bullets are used for handgun.  I cast for rifle too (8mm Mauser and 7.62 for my SKS, AK, and M44) but it just doesn't work the same as for pistol bullets.  In very general terms, (I'm oversimplifying here) you need to be careful about pushing cast bullets faster than around 1000 or 1100 fps.  Push it too fast, the bullet won't stabilize, and accuracy goes to really bad, like a smoothbore musket.  Ask me how I know...  :-X   

    For rifles, I still like making cast lead bullets and loading those up, but I reduced the charges and experimented around with a chronograph until I got ok accuracy.  For example, in my SKS, accuracy got ok again when I slowed the bullets down to about 1200-1300 fps.  (a normal jacketed 125 grain bullet velocity in 7.62x39 is north of 2000 fps).  The cast bullets my mould makes are about 165-170 grains, heavier than the 125 grain normal for 7.62x39.  For plinking they're ok, they certainly are cheap (8 cents per round, the cost of primer and powder).

    I guess for home defense they could be ok, I mean 170 grains going at 1200-1300 fps would still kick some ass over just about any pistol round.  But only for short distances, the cast bullets have a less aerodynamic shape (lower BC) and not going as fast, a much more rainbow-like trajectory than jacketed rifle bullets shot at normal speeds.  Ditto for 7.62x54R and 8mm Mauser.  Fun to shoot but at 100 yards you have to work the adjustable sight up to something like its 600 yard setting to hit with these slow cast bullets.

    You can control this a little bit, like by casting harder bullets (control the alloy, as mentioned before linotype is a holy grail alloy for bullet casters and is about the hardest lead alloy you can make) and by experimenting with different types of bullet lube.  I have been told that you can shoot properly lubed linotype bullets up to 2000 fps with no problems.   I haven't cast any linotype, but I can tell you from experience that you can't shoot wheelweights that fast.  :)
    So, you COULD shoot cast lead rifle bullets, but either you'll have to tone them down to slower speeds, or keep the same speeds as jacketed bullets but maybe have revolutionary war musket kind of accuracy (and that's bad accuracy, take it from me, I mean like maybe not hitting a man-sized target at 25 yards bad)


    Last but not least, let me leave you with one really cool tip, caveat emptor.  Try using (uncooked!!) Cream of Wheat as a case filler material in low charge rifle and pistol rounds, that is, charge the sized/primed case with your powder, then add COW on top of that right up to where the bullet goes.  Seat and crimp the bullet, such that it just compresses the COW on top of the powder.  Being slighly compressed, the cream of wheat will not mix with the powder.
    Why do this?  It will not only prevent leading of your bore, but if you have any leading, it will actually scrub it out.  Doing this, I have made some pretty hot pistol loads with cast lead bullets, and had NO leading.  I mean like good fullhouse 357 magnums with lead bullets, and no leading.  Very sweet.
    One warning: do this at your own risk- I have been told by some (I don't think it's true but I have been told) that over a period of time, perhaps months or so, that the cream of wheat in the case can absorb some of the solvents in the smokeless powedr, and thereby change the burn rate of the powder.  Supposedly this could make the powder burn faster and therefore have higher pressures than planned.  I've never seen this, not with BL-C(2) rifle powder and not with W231 pistol powder.  But, I should mention it just in case.  Load with cream of wheat and you'll have nice clean bores, especially with rifle rounds!  I have had no problems and a lot of success with this.  I use COW for hotter 357 loads with my cast bullets, and pretty much with all my rifle cast bullets.

    MarshallDodge

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #30 on: October 24, 2008, 10:12:11 am »
    Those are some good pointers xsquidgator.  I have never tried cream of wheat.

    I really enjoy reloading and reload for everything I shoot - 9mm, 38 special, 357 mag, 40 S&W, 45 ACP and LC, 17-222, 223, 308, and 30-06.  22LR is the only exception.

    My equipment consists of a Lee Challenger press(cheap), RCBS Rock Chucker and a couple Dillon RL550B's.  I have dies from Hornady, RCBS, Lee, and Dillon.  The Hornady rifle dies work really nice.

    I have been collecting wheel weights and someday I want to purchase the stuff to do casting.
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." -Thomas Jefferson

    xsquidgator

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #31 on: October 24, 2008, 01:19:56 pm »
    Linotype is excellent, X-ray shielding is okay but probably needs a little tin added, and wheel weights from tires are very good (and probably the most steady source).

    What  you want is a relatively hard alloy without contamination from things like zinc or calcium (old lead acid batteries are a no go). I've got access to several hundred pounds of old tin/lead solder that does me no good because the tin content is way too high. The alloy should be mostly lead with just a little tin and maybe a trace of antimony.

    I've forgotten the research I did on this when I first started casting, but another cheap (like free!) thing you can do is to heat treat your boolits.  My wife would kill me if I used our oven for this (supposedly the oven method works really well).  I guess you could say I heat treat my boolits though, I water quench mine when they come out of the mould.  (Tip- put several small blocks of wood to floating in the can or bucket of water, and let the boolits drop onto the floating wood blocks in the water before they roll off into the water.  You'll get a lot of water splashing out of the bucket otherwise and you don't want water splashing near your melting pot or onto your sprue plate knockoffs that will go back into the pot wet if you're not careful.)

    I've forgotten the metallurgy behind it but dropping your boolits into water can harden them by as much as 5-8 Brinell hardness points, by my measurements.  The water quench hardening I think only applies to a thin layer near the surface of the bullet, and you should therefore size the bullets within a day or so of quenching them if you're going to size them.  If you wait maybe a week or so to size them, the sizer die may scrape off the hard layer of lead on the bullet's driving band.  That's what I've been told, anyway.  I recall that the hardening effect from water quenching takes about 1-2 weeks to reach it's maximum hardness, although I have not tested this myself.  If I'm low on bullets to load, I don't pay much attention to how recently I cast them.

    My procedure is to quench the bullets, dry them off, tumble lube with Lee Liquid Alox (mostly to lube them a little for their trip through the sizer die), and then at the same sitting run them through the sizer die (I end up sizing the bullets most of the time, although I don't think it's really necessary).  After they're sized, I'll tumble lube them one more time.  I just started using Rooster Jacket lube for this 2nd tumble lube and I like it pretty well, I get a little bit less leading than if I'd used a 2nd coat of Lee Liquid ALox, and the Rooster Jacket dries to a fairly hard coat that's less messy than the brown, waxy, sticky coating that LLA dries into.  Let dry overnight, and the bullets are pretty good to go!  I may load them the next day, but I'll try to wait up to a week if possible before shooting these recently-born bullets.

    ridata

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #32 on: October 25, 2008, 12:54:04 am »
    Hey xsquidgator, thanks a bunch for the info. It has been quite enlightening. There isn't much point in me trying to start casting now, as winter is coming/here (unless I cast inside which is pretty much a no-go). I'll most likely order reloading equipment tomorrow, and then next spring come review your notes and get some casting going.  ;D I'm already in the trap though, keeping a hawk's eye out for lead that will work...
    If I saw a guy with a 60cu/ft safe filled to the brim with nothing but Jennings, Lorcins and Hi-Points, I'd look at the guy and say "Right on brother".
    -Thernlund

    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #33 on: October 25, 2008, 01:51:17 am »
    Ridata, you've got it all wrong.  You cast all winter while it's cold so all the hot lead doesn't make you sweat.  You do this so you can shoot all summer without casting.

    If you are seriously considering getting into it, a recommendation:  Beg, borrow or buy "Cast Bullet Handbook"  put out by lyman.  That should answer almost any question you have. 
    « Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 09:25:14 am by THE NORSEMAN »
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    xsquidgator

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #34 on: October 25, 2008, 09:21:34 am »
    Ridata, you've got it all wrong.  You cast all winter while it's cold so all the hot lead doesn't make you sweat.  You do this so you can shoot all summer without casting.

    If you are seriously considering getting into it a recommendation:  Beg, borrow or buy "Cast Bullet Handbook"  put out by lyman.  That should answer almost any question you have. 

    +1 on casting in cold weather.  A number of people do their casting outdoors using propane powered setups.  I use a Lee electric pot so I set mine up in the garage, but I keep the garage door open and I open the side door and run a fan in high speed to keep air moving through.  It's least comfortable in hot weather, in the winter when it's cold I'll wear long jeans and a sweatshirt. 

    Al Norris

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #35 on: October 25, 2008, 01:22:34 pm »
    While I don't yet cast, I do the majority of my reloading in the winter.

    I shoot all year long, but in the winter, not as much. So I load up everything I think I'll shoot for the other three seasons. That way, the only loading I do during the summer is for those new bullets or powders I want to try.

    9mm
    .38/.357
    .44sp/.44rm

    .223
    7.65 x 53  Argentine
    .300wm

    dracphelan

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #36 on: October 26, 2008, 06:12:02 pm »
    I reload for 223, 30-06, 45 ACP, and 38 special. I reload all of this on either a Lee Anniversary press or a Lee Hand Press.

    Powderman

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #37 on: October 26, 2008, 06:20:08 pm »
    Hm.  I'll jump in...

    I've been reloading for a long time.  I load for:

    .38/.357
    .40
    .44 Spl and Mag
    .45 ACP
    .45 Colt
    .500 S&W
    .223
    .220 Swift
    .6.5x55 Swedish Mauser
    .308
    .30-06
    .30-40 Krag
    .300 Win Mag
    .45-120 Sharps (black powder cartridge)

    I also cast bullets for .38, .44, .45 ACP and Colt, and for the .45-120.

    I primarily use a Dillon 650 with the goodies; for big rifle cartridges, I use the Lee Classic Cast Iron Press--great bargain and rock solid, too!

    My next project is to get a mold of the proper diameter and to paper-patch bullets for the Sharps.
    Hiding in plain sight...

    Hud

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #38 on: October 29, 2008, 08:12:26 pm »
    Hi all.

    I'm a member of several other forums & just joined here last night.
    I've been reloading for about 5 yrs.
    I use a Rockchucker supreme for loading .45 Colt, .38 Spl, .357 mag, .30-30, .300 Savage, .308. .30-06, 8mm Mauser & hopefully soon .43 Spanish for an 1870 Rolling Block.

    Regards, Hud
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    THE NORSEMAN

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #39 on: October 29, 2008, 10:00:25 pm »
    Now how come we have a bunch of guys posting "I'm here"  But no questions or load data?  Whasup with dat?  Hud, welcome.  Glad to have you.
    This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries

    Oohrah

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #40 on: November 02, 2008, 04:07:43 am »
    Loader since early 60s, starting out with a Lyman 310 nut cracker
    tool.   Currently have 27 sets of different dies I load for and three
    shot presses that I don't use as much as the Rockchucker.
       A few tips from casting days.   Never had sucess with pure lead
    swagged bullets as they were inaccurate and leaded everything I
    fired them in.   All around mixture other than wheel weights was
    one part tin to ten parts of lead.   After around 1000 fps, really
    think gas checks.   Used to use a 180gr with the above mixture
    and a caseful of 4831 behind that gas checked bullet.   Accuracy
    almost on par with the same weight Sierra, and without a hint of
    leading.   Not much expanding in deer sized animals with through
    and through penetration.   Also a gas checked 357 Mag driven
    at near 1300 fps with the same lead mixture gave no sign of
    leading.   Looking at some Lazer Cast bullets at the Sportsman's
    Warehouse today, lead has also drastically gone up more than
    a bunch.   Lead shot also off the chart.   Personally, I think some
    what lean toward sucking it up and stay with the more expensive
    jacketed bullets.   Noticed only a couple of bucks between the
    100gr Hornaday 30 Cal half jacket and SP jacketed in the same.

    Miggy

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #41 on: November 06, 2008, 05:18:41 pm »
    Reloader here too. 9mm and 38spc

    Lee Single stage and in the process of obtaining Mrs Miggy's permission to start buying casting stuff.
    In a world full of Experts, it is good to be someone that just wants to know.

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    xsquidgator

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #42 on: November 07, 2008, 08:39:50 pm »
    Reloader here too. 9mm and 38spc

    Lee Single stage and in the process of obtaining Mrs Miggy's permission to start buying casting stuff.

    GET the casting stuff.  A 20# pot, a ladle, a lead thermometer (optional but I highly recommend it), a set of moulds and you can dive on in.  I was just telling my wife this evening that spending the < $200 I did on casting stuff was the best hobby move I ever made, better than getting into reloading even.  With about 2 hours of work I can turn scrap lead that got thrown away into $40 or more of nice boolits for reloading.  I've lost count of how many times over the past year my casting setup has paid for itself in not having to buy bullets, but it's a lot.  The hobbyist casting setup wouldn't be any way to make a living selling bullets, but it's hell on wheels for making your reloading and shooting affordable.

    DWARREN123

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #43 on: November 08, 2008, 04:46:39 am »
    I only reload for 40 S&W since it is my only handgun cartridge at this time.
    I use 165gr JHP's and plated bullets, 175gr hardcast lead and 180gr plated and JHP's in a XDm. I use Hodgdon Longshot powder and drop 7.5gr for all my loads. This load seems very good for the 3 different size bullets and 3 types of bullets, works well for all.
    HAVE A NICE DAY

    Miggy

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #44 on: November 08, 2008, 11:31:51 pm »
    GET the casting stuff.  A 20# pot, a ladle, a lead thermometer (optional but I highly recommend it), a set of moulds and you can dive on in.  I was just telling my wife this evening that spending the < $200 I did on casting stuff was the best hobby move I ever made, better than getting into reloading even.  With about 2 hours of work I can turn scrap lead that got thrown away into $40 or more of nice boolits for reloading.  I've lost count of how many times over the past year my casting setup has paid for itself in not having to buy bullets, but it's a lot.  The hobbyist casting setup wouldn't be any way to make a living selling bullets, but it's hell on wheels for making your reloading and shooting affordable.

    What a difference a day can make.
    I was amazed when Mrs Miggy last night not only gave me permission but told me to get all I need before it is gone. So I have already on it way the furnace, molds and a couple of other items from Midway (I did not think about the darn thermometer), secured 175 pounds of lead from three sources with one of the sources promising to stay in touch to sell me more (nothing like an underpaid disgruntled worker) plus collected 8 ponds of 9mm brass and a buddy gave me about 200 cases of 38 spcl. I also got into a group buy for an 8 Lbs keg of Titegrup. I just need to get more primers to be happy!

    And I am dusting my ABC of reloading book  ;D
    In a world full of Experts, it is good to be someone that just wants to know.

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    ridata

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #45 on: November 09, 2008, 10:39:15 pm »
    Wow, Miggy, you really did good.  ;D That wife is a keeper!
    If I saw a guy with a 60cu/ft safe filled to the brim with nothing but Jennings, Lorcins and Hi-Points, I'd look at the guy and say "Right on brother".
    -Thernlund

    Miggy

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    Re: Any reloaders here yet?
    « Reply #46 on: November 09, 2008, 11:40:25 pm »
    Wow, Miggy, you really did good.  ;D That wife is a keeper!

    Please refer to the Southern Women thread for further comments on Southern Belles getting riled up  ;D
    In a world full of Experts, it is good to be someone that just wants to know.

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