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Thread: About to try casting

  1. #1

    About to try casting

    I'm wanting to start casting. I want to cast small game hunting bullets and serious plinking/casual target shooting rounds for my 243. Rifle is a new (1 year ago) Brno BO98 with a 22” 1:10 barrel. My mold is a NOS Lyman 245496 85gr IIRC.

    I’m on a real budget (one of the many reasons I want to cast), so have gone for a Lee sizing die so I don’t have to buy a lube-sizer (yet…). If it sizers too much I plan on polishing it out a touch. I'll start with Alox lube. The rest I have and am about to make.

    They may be cheap, but I like to make everything I can (I’m sure that’s familiar to a lot of casters). I started with a ladle. Not perfect maybe, but was easy and I’ll make another if I need to improve on it.


    Then the handles, slightly more complex but after getting them set up right they work very nicely – mold comes together with a perfect click and meats precisely all around. It also has no play between either mold half on the handle’s ‘arms’.



    Next is the pot - I'll cut the bottom off a small gas cylinder. I'll mount it over my forge, and either vary the height or use the fan on/off switch for temperature control. If it's not viable I'll use the Burmos pressure stove I'm about to restore. I've bought 2lbs of this - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...=STRK:MEWAX:IT
    I will smelt my own once I've got the hang of casting.


    Now the real reason I'm posting... After a lot of reading I'm still not sure about the pouring technique, I've also tried to find some first-timer tutorials and most don't go into much detail here. Can anyone run me through pouring rate/technique etc.? I think I understand about spotting for mold temperature problems, and am aware I shouldn't go too hot on the forge for my own health's sake.

    Also, with that lead I bought (he calls it 20:1), Should I drop it straight from the mold into a bucket of water? Will that give me a suitable hardness for my uses? I will start without gas checks, driving it real slow and see how my rifle likes it. Is Trail Boss good here or is something else better? Then - what's a good powder for getting the most from cast pills out of a 243 with a gas check? Sub sonic would be nice even as we are allowed silencers here so would be good for rabbits, and my ears.

    Then after I've got a few good pills I can start on the gas checks. I will make a check forming die and mandrel. Probably using boxwood as the main body with steel inserts for the working surfaces. Should they be a tight fit or will the lee die crimp loose ones on? I was planning on starting by using annealed 22wmr brass as the GC material - would this work? If not I'll try other sources...

    Hope there are a few left after the essay - I know there isn't much following for casting here but I also know there are a few that know a lot!
    Last edited by harrygrey382; 08-01-2011 at 17:25.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

  2. #2
    Wow. That's a lot to digest!

    Quickly: Nice job on the home made equipment.

    Pouring. Turn the mold on it's side, put the sprueplate to the ladle spout, and roll upright while holding together. LEave a goodly puddle on top to have a reserve for shrinkage as the metal cools. Preheat your mold by setting it on the edge of your pot while the metal melts.

    Gaschecks. Aluminum cans will work for gas checks. Easier than .22s. Punch them out, draw them in a die.

    Powder: Trail Boss would be my last choice. IMR 4198 has a lot of cast bullet applications and I would recommend it. IMR 4895 is good as well.

    Alloy: 20:1 is a lead to tin mix. I am not big on tin for hardening bullets but it does enhance the pouring properties of the metal. If you can find some hard "chilled" lead shot to add to the mix you'll have something. Hard shot has 5% antimony which will help later on. It's worth cutting open a few shotgun shell to obtain if you can't get it otherwise.

    Dropping bullets into buckets of water is ill advised. Long bullets can literally bend from uneven cooling. I ruined 300, 162 grain 6,5's one night doing that: they looked like bananas. It also hardens the bullet before sizing, which allows the lead to work soften. Additionally, having a bucket of water around molten lead is dangerous. A single drop will send 20 pounds of molten metal everywhere. Worry about hardening after you have the casting down.

    Cast slowly. Look for filled out bullets. Never clack the molds together or beat them apart. They are a precision tool.

    Clean all the copper from your rifle before you shoot lead.

    OK. Gotta go to town before the snows come.~Muir

  3. #3
    Thanks Muir, was just about to PM you actually but I think I'm ready to start now! I'm sure I'll havew heaps more questions once I do. I'll concentrate on load development once I have some nice bullets... Hope you beat the snow.

    Until then, I need to cast!
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

  4. #4
    I would recommend some antimony in the mix.
    You could get some from old style wheel weights or linotype (the preferred option).
    The boolit should be tough and durable to expand (obdurate) into the rifling but not strip because of being too soft or too hard/brittle.
    Pity you are so fay away or we could get together for a chat.
    Good luck with it all and always wear safety glasses and have no expose flesh.
    ATB

  5. #5
    Oh dear Harry ....................................... now you have gone and done it.

    You'll be Paper Patching next for that extra velocity .

    What with the cost of bullets now I have been giving it some more thought as I happen to have a few suitable barrels now. All nice and new we shall see about getting the loading gear set up propely with room to cast. I believe I have most of the stuff now just need to decide which sizer to use and get the dies and punches for it.

  6. #6
    I see my dear Cuz Muir has set you on the right has set you on the right path, I should warn you he will have no end of advice for you.

    What I drop my bullets onto is an old piece of damp towelling, not damp enough to cool any part of the bullet but enough to stop it catching fire! That way they will have a soft landing and not be deformed by the experience.

    these are 243



    Welcome to the dark side.

    John
    A clever man knows his strengths, a wise man knows his weaknesses

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JAYB View Post
    I see my dear Cuz Muir has set you on the right has set you on the right path, I should warn you he will have no end of advice for you.

    What I drop my bullets onto is an old piece of damp towelling, not damp enough to cool any part of the bullet but enough to stop it catching fire! That way they will have a soft landing and not be deformed by the experience.

    these are 243



    Welcome to the dark side.

    John
    Nice grouping - at what range?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    Oh dear Harry ....................................... now you have gone and done it.

    You'll be Paper Patching next for that extra velocity .

    What with the cost of bullets now I have been giving it some more thought as I happen to have a few suitable barrels now. All nice and new we shall see about getting the loading gear set up propely with room to cast. I believe I have most of the stuff now just need to decide which sizer to use and get the dies and punches for it.
    i tell you the man is obsessed !

    but on a good note , i did see him shoot a raggy hole with his mauser 98 this morning after stalking so im pleased he had finally sorted his load out , he really has worked hard art it !

    cheers lee

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgyrog View Post
    Nice grouping - at what range?
    I'm not certain how far he was shooting but I do know he spent a few hours photoshopping powder burns out of the picture.~Muir

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgyrog View Post
    I would recommend some antimony in the mix.
    You could get some from old style wheel weights or linotype (the preferred option).
    The boolit should be tough and durable to expand (obdurate) into the rifling but not strip because of being too soft or too hard/brittle.
    Pity you are so fay away or we could get together for a chat.
    Good luck with it all and always wear safety glasses and have no expose flesh.
    ATB
    It has .22% antimony and .21% bismouth - is this enough? I get what you're saying though. Where would someone pick up linotype? And can you still get old style wheel weights?
    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    Oh dear Harry ....................................... now you have gone and done it.

    You'll be Paper Patching next for that extra velocity .

    What with the cost of bullets now I have been giving it some more thought as I happen to have a few suitable barrels now. All nice and new we shall see about getting the loading gear set up propely with room to cast. I believe I have most of the stuff now just need to decide which sizer to use and get the dies and punches for it.
    Yep I know I've opened up a real can of worms for myself! Do you reckon 1:10 is ok for cast bullets or have you got slower barrels in mind? Would sure love to be building my own dies etc.. If only if only I had a lathe...
    Quote Originally Posted by JAYB View Post
    I see my dear Cuz Muir has set you on the right has set you on the right path, I should warn you he will have no end of advice for you.

    What I drop my bullets onto is an old piece of damp towelling, not damp enough to cool any part of the bullet but enough to stop it catching fire! That way they will have a soft landing and not be deformed by the experience.

    these are 243

    Welcome to the dark side.

    John
    Yep, Muir's given me heaps of tips over the last few months, and I'm very slow to react. Kind of like a heavy flywheel - there won't be much stopping me either! Wow, nice groupings. Assuming 50y or over that is... I'll try the soft landing for them. What mold are you using for those 243s by the way?
    Quote Originally Posted by leec6.5 View Post
    i tell you the man is obsessed !

    but on a good note , i did see him shoot a raggy hole with his mauser 98 this morning after stalking so im pleased he had finally sorted his load out , he really has worked hard art it !

    cheers lee
    Yep, I like the quote "Hobbies, I don't have hobbies - I have obsessions!". I think it applies to me quite well... I was damn pleased about that group. Now I have jackets and a good deer load sorted I can concentrate on casting
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

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