New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

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BJK
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New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by BJK » Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:59 pm

More heat.

Clearly my old propane burner wasn't hot enough for me to refine the WWs that I was planning to clean up. So I dropped back and put a smaller pot of lead on that had already been cleaned up. The burner was touch and go even with that small pot. But never having cast anything before I just had to try. First I figured try using the failed buckshot to warm the mould. I got tired of that pretty quickly. So I poured lead over the backside of the mould in an effecot to warm it. That was stealing a lot of heat from the lead, and the burner really was the pits. So I got out a propane torch and added that heat to the pot. Maybe I was impatient but I didn't think the mould was getting hot enough. I dipped the end of the #4 buckshot mould into the lead and previously I would get the top shot to fill out now I could start to get lead into the bottom shot but they just wouldn't fill out. I'm thinking that I just didn't have hot enough lead and the mould wasn't hot enough.

But the burner isn't working right, so I have a new one on order. One said to be resistant to wind since I melt outdoors.

Comments? Anything I'm told is more than I know so don't be shy about adding even the most basic of information. I'm a sponge at this point.

TIA

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GregP42
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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by GregP42 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:51 pm

Have you looked at the cast boolits forum? http://castboolits.gunloads.com there is more info there than you can shake a stick at.

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BJK
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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by BJK » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:14 am

Thanks. I didn't know it existed.

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dellet
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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by dellet » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:27 am

Lyman’s bullet casting handbook,

Thermometer.

How you go about heating the lead can be argued, but until you have consistent lead and mold temps all you will get is frustration.
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BJK
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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by BJK » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:50 am

Yup. On CastBoolits at least one gent mentions that the mold needs to be HOT(!) otherwise it's just a royal pain. So I was on the right track. I can check the temp'. But I'm waiting on my new burner to ship; everything is on hold.

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Netpackrat
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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by Netpackrat » Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:12 am

Success at casting is all about the temperature of the lead and the temperature of the mold. Everything else is just minor details for the most part. But I will say that using wheel weights for making buckshot is a real waste of good alloy that could be put to better use as handgun or rifle bullets. I did a little bit of buckshot casting early on but quickly switched to buying swaged shot in 25lb bags.

Granted, availability is not what it once was, but at least while 00 is scarce, #4 still seems to be available from Hornady:

https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/pr ... uctId/6843

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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by BJK » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:24 pm

Thanks for the heads up re: the #4 buck. I cancelled one order where I was told it would be 3 months and placed one with Grafs. So between my burner coming in eventually and swaged shot becoming available I should be good at some time. The burner shipped today. Who knows when the shot will ship?

:D But as to the wheel weights. I have something like 1500# of them (really- 2 55gal drums is how I bought them years ago) and I'm not going to live forever. I think I can spare 30# for buckshot but I doubt that I'll ever need that much. Heck, at this point I want to cast #4 buckshot just because it appears somewhat difficult to do to this noob. I just love a challenge, and I have this mold just sitting here... :D

If #4 buckshot had been available when I was in purchasing mode, that is, before buying the mold, I never would have bought the mold, or found one in the UK. I couldn't find one in the USA, not even round ball molds intended for fishing or slingshots. I never wanted to get into casting in the first place and I would have been tickled to limit it to slugs. Or, if 1 3/4" buckshot and slugs was more reasonably priced and available I never would have gotten into casting and the wheel weights would still be sitting there just holding down a stationary engine.

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Netpackrat
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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by Netpackrat » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:21 pm

BJK wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:24 pm
:D But as to the wheel weights. I have something like 1500# of them (really- 2 55gal drums is how I bought them years ago) and I'm not going to live forever. I think I can spare 30# for buckshot but I doubt that I'll ever need that much. Heck, at this point I want to cast #4 buckshot just because it appears somewhat difficult to do to this noob. I just love a challenge, and I have this mold just sitting here... :D
Been there, done that. Grew up in and used to own a tire shop. When my brother and I sold the shop, I had boxes full of ingots my dad and I had cast up over the years, and I also cleaned out whatever used wheel weights we had on hand. That was a whole lot of lead... Over the years, I have sent almost all of it downrange, and I only have a few ingots left now. I sure wish I still had some of the many buckets of wheelweights we gave away over the years of operating the shop. I actually bought some 5lb ingots of hardball alloy from Rotometals this year. :oops:

Edit to add, these days when I have to take tires to a shop for work (which I HATE doing even more than I hate working on tires, which is saying something) and I know they are going to be pulling off the old weights anyway, I always take them off myself first and toss them in with my dwindling supply of ingots... Even though I don't own a balancer I keep a set of wheel weight pliers for that sole purpose.

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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by BJK » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:12 pm

That's gotta be the pits bigtime for you. But If I live 20 more years I'm betting my bullet consumption will be wayyy down by then. I'm almost 70 and I don't begrudge giving business to folks who make coated bullets for a living. They have more time than I do. I'm too busy in retirement. So anything I do with the WWs will be done soon. I think I have enough.

Just an off the wall question.If you belong to a range have you considered mining the berm for lead?

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Re: New to casting- problems but I think I have the solution

Post by BJK » Sun Nov 01, 2020 9:39 am

OK, so I got the #4 buckshot making down pat. Making them is no problem for me now thanks to online gents and their tips. And learning to cast lead with the buckshot mould made what follows super easy to pull off. But I ran into a few problems with slugs that I didn't run into with the buckshot.

Thursday my Lee 7/8 oz 12ga slug mould came in. Friday was a clear blue sky with no wind. A perfect day for me to cast since I cast outdoors, so cast I did. One problem I had was in keeping the mould too hot (maybe) and not allowing the slug enough time to get solid. I was moving pretty fast. Including melting the lead, in slightly less than 1.5hrs I made a hair over 124 slugs. I lost count but that's pretty close 🙂 .

The first to come out of the preheated mould had what I consider to be minor cosmetic lines that look like creases, but I see no reason they can't be used. Then as the mould heated up some more they were perfect. I just need to slow down a bit and allow them to get a bit more solid. I looked at the sprue lead and they looked solid, but clearly some weren't. Many had the sprue cut off and others had the sprue smeared off if that makes sense. I don't think they had enough time to fully solidify. Lotsa lead in the nose of a slug.

But everything considered I think that if someone can't cast slugs they should just give up. It was that easy.

Now I need to cast a few hundred more so that I have enough to play with through the winter. Friday the weather was in the 40s and not exactly the temp' I wanted, but I definitely don't intend to cast when our true winter temps gets here.

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