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Bullet casting


Red Cent

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I didn't see what type mold he used, aluminum or steel. I would expect the aluminum to vary a fair amount.

 

For me, I'm just casting for Cowboy so a few grains one way or the other won't bother me but I do plan on weighing some samples next time I cast just out of curiosity. I generally care more about the hardness of the allow, trying to keep it at 12 or lower on the Brinell scale. I kind of like making my own bullets and when its all said and done, I can cast 200 grain bullets for about 3-4 cents each. The cheapy part of me enjoys that as well.

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Cowboy main match - a variation of 3 grains will not be possible to measure on your match results, for our purposes.  

 

For long range side matches, BAM Wild Bunch rifle matches, shooting Buffalo rifles at 500 years, that much variation is SUSPECTED to enlarge groups a fair amount.....

 

I've seen similar results reported in articles since C.E.Harris was writing for American Rifleman.  So nothing newly valuable to me in this report.

 

And, yep, seconding LG, almost all precision bullet casters use a hand ladle rather than bottom pour pot.

 

Good luck, GJ

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23 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Be'n able to hold a +/- of one gn is not hard with a tightly controlled alloy temp and a good mould.

Also add a consistent quality in the alloy and make sure to stir the pot often.

I ladle cast only...

OLG

Holy smokes, how long does it take you to cast 1000 bullets with a ladle pour?

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Do my casting in the fall/winter.

Only cast for our 2 Sharps rifles. Cast a 540gn Creedmoor bullet from 30:1 alloy.

I will cast up about 2K bullets. These are match grade, and I can hold +/- 1 gn easily.

Use a Lee 20lb pot and only buy certified alloy.

I go for quality-Not quantity.

OLG

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Casting for Cowboy I still use a soft alloy. When I cast for long range I will use a harder alloy. It still is soft but not as soft as my CAS BP bullets. I will pretty much use whatever comes out of the mold for Cowboy, for long range every bullet is examined and then weighed for consistency.

kR

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Ask him how many long range bullets LG shoots in a year. I bet not as many as my wife, 2 kids and I do in SASS matches. How you cast is determined by what type of shooting you do and how much accuracy you need.

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Actually casting fully filled out bullets that drop with a 1gr Bell Curve weight if ones casting technique adheres to "The 8-Phase Casting Cycle",written by Daryl Hedges ...  http://www.longrangebpcr.com/8Phases.htm
I cast Pb bullets ranging from 22LR up to 50-70 and with a ladle pour - clean mold - properly fluxed melt in a consistent rhythm and can have a pile of bullets up to 550grs in a 1gr Bell Curve weight.
The keys to this are:
* 1st, the sprue plate on the mold is properly tightened so that with the flip of the wrist holding the handles - the plate freely swings open. The same is for a 1x or multiple cavity mold
* Cleaned mold and melt fluxed - 2x times - stir the flux to the bottom and sides of the pot
* Heat the mold and melt up to a temperatures so that with ladle spout in the sprue hole, slightly tilted to allow mold air to escape - pour the melt into the mold for 5 seconds
* The proper melt & mold temperature should allow the sprue puddle frost in 5 - 10 seconds depending on bullet weight
* I wait 5 - 15 seconds, depending on bullet wight, before cutting the sprue plate to insure the all the melt in the mold has completely hardened
* Then the sprue is cut with the plate in a downward motion to insure the bullet base is cut completely flat
* Drop the bullet on a folded cotton towel and continue to cast in a smooth rhythm
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1 hour ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

Ask him how many long range bullets LG shoots in a year. I bet not as many as my wife, 2 kids and I do in SASS matches. How you cast is determined by what type of shooting you do and how much accuracy you need.

I cast for cowboy, my DA revolvers, and my semi autos in 9mm, .38 and .45 for banging on metal plates. That totals well over 3000 per year. I cast for 2 days when the weather suits me. Bottom pour is faster and works great for my purpose.

I have also done extensive instructional video production work for Rimrock Corporation. They make ladles, reciprocators, and parts handling equipment for the aluminum casting industry. Their general purpose ladles all dip and top pour. However, the applications with specialty metals or where dross is not tolerated use a bottom pour ladle. Bottom pour has the ability to drop a shot without any dross at all. Just saying.

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Pards, the author was writing about precision rifle bullet casting for the rifle shooting segment of our industry.  His intent was to talk about high-precision casting.  He really didn't explain that intent or even his conclusions very well in his article, let alone his techniques for casting.   The info he put in the article shows that he is not even getting to the weight tolerances that many of us in the rifle bullet crafting hobby can hold.  

 

This article has little that directly applies to most of the casting that most of us do for Cowboy shooting.  Except perhaps for clean the alloy well, and discard the first 20 or so bullets cast from cool-ish molds.

 

Perhaps we would all be more satisfied just treating most of that article as "so what...."  That's what I'm about to do.  :lol:

 

And, yes, the techiques that JB has laid out will quite often make for some wonderful shooting slugs for precision rifle work.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

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50 minutes ago, Mossy Pops said:

I cast for cowboy, my DA revolvers, and my semi autos in 9mm, .38 and .45 for banging on metal plates. That totals well over 3000 per year. I cast for 2 days when the weather suits me. Bottom pour is faster and works great for my purpose.

I have also done extensive instructional video production work for Rimrock Corporation. They make ladles, reciprocators, and parts handling equipment for the aluminum casting industry. Their general purpose ladles all dip and top pour. However, the applications with specialty metals or where dross is not tolerated use a bottom pour ladle. Bottom pour has the ability to drop a shot without any dross at all. Just saying.

Tell ya what-Take a survey of the top BPCR shooters, and I will guarantee you they all ladle pour.

Why, better control of bullet weight and fill out. Remember-We cast 500+ gn bullets for accuracy.

We do not use specialty metals, just lead and tin.

Flux the melt and skim the dross. Stir the melt with the ladle, every time you cast.

You don't have to bottom pour to be dross free.

OLG 

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Your encouragement is limitless Garrison Joe. I apologize for wasting such valuable space with the drivel. It seems that in most anything, you have skipped Casting 101 and went directly for the graduate course. However, I need to do research and communicate with people to find the ins and outs of casting, rifle chambers, rifling twists, and, if I need it, some instructions how to shoot black powder. However, I think I will ignore your remarks GJ. Even if you do announce to the world that you know everything. You really need to step out of the box and examine you.

"This article has little that directly applies to most of the casting that most of us do for Cowboy shooting." Didn't intend it to GJ. Something you assumed. I have a C Sharps Hi Wall coming in soon along with a MVA scope and I want to do the rig justice. It was a step to learn about the approaches to bullet casting.

No, I ain't getting mad. And I ain't leaving SASS. And I ain't leaving the wire. You are one of those "consider the source" people. 'Course, Pat or Allie may step in here and take out my response to your insulting answer to my attempt to discuss bullet casting. Have a good day GJ.

 

 

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Fluxing never gets rid of all the dross. Let the melt sit, and you can get oxidation. Add an ingot, and you can get more dross. It all tends to float on top of the melt, which is why a bottom pour casting pot tends to have much less dross. Ladle casting works great for precision long range bullets, but for Cowboy shooting where I need to cast in volume, I prefer my bottom pour pots. And even though that article didn't apply to most of what I cast, it was still interesting.

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I used to cast 45 ACP for IPSC (now USPSA). I still have the Lee 10# pot in the garage somewhere. I can remember that sucker needed bottom cleaning quite often. I guess I can use the pot for melting and temp control. One bottom pour ladle coming up.

Lumpy says I need to pucker up and get a real good mould. This is De Ja Vu all over again. I ain't spent so much money since 2000 getting into cowboy.

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26 minutes ago, Red Cent said:

Lumpy, a bunch say they use the bottom pour ladle. Since the fluxing gets rid of the trash, why the bottom pour?

Far less spillage and better fill out.

The amount of dross is somewhat dependent on the temp of your melt.

I cast my 30:1 alloy at 760-770*.

OLG

 

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I'm not into castings I'll spen  money and buy quality Bullets for the sharps who sells them?

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Blacky, it is like cowboy or anything else. You will get out of it what you put into it. Honestly, I am not into this as I was/is with cowboy but  If I spend as much time leaning to cast as I did in practicing cowboy, I can get it down.

I have Lee moulds for the 38-55 but all I hear is "no, no, no, no,". Seems a good mould will run around $150.00 - $200.00.

And remembering the casting, I can remember the glitches that would really mess with the "The 8-Phase Casting Cycle" timing. I also remember prepping and heating the moulds to maintain temperature.

I need to go buy a manual.

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On 8/21/2017 at 2:41 PM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

I've seen similar results reported in articles since C.E.Harris was writing for American Rifleman.  So nothing newly valuable to me in this report.

 

And, yep, seconding LG, almost all precision bullet casters use a hand ladle rather than bottom pour pot.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

C. E. "Ed" Harris taught me to cast. He always used bottom pour pots and no fluxing in the pot, we had figured out 1/4" clay kitty litter on top prevented dross build up. The only fluxing we did was when processing wheelweights, range lead and Linotype into ingots. The only time we worried about exact alloy temperature was during processing the ingots; for casting cast them hot enough to be uniformly frosted and drop them in a bucket of warm water. Aluminum or cast iron molds will produce very consistent bullets if the caster is consistent in their method, even cheap Lee molds. Typical results were 75% or so match quality bullets, 5% or so with visible defects and the other 20% good enough for practice or plinking. Consider that Ed and I shot on a High Power rifle team for 4 years shooting the 200 yard reduced NM course using cast bullets (mostly the test single cavity molds for Lee's 155 and 160 7.63x39 bullets) at a maximum of 1850 fps with as issued 03s, 03A3s and a P-17 and a few of us made Master. It ain't rocket science, folks get too wrapped in the black magic and/or exact science.

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Ron-Casting match grade, large caliber BPCR bullets is a differnt world.

If bottom pour worked that well for BPCR, we would use it.

Did you ever push your lead  bullets out to 600+ yds?  Are they gas check type?

We shoot 600+ yds all the time in BPCR and no gas check bullets allowed in our comps.

Ladle pour works for several reasons.

Use what works for you.

OLG

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Quote

... for casting cast them hot enough to be uniformly frosted and drop them in a bucket of warm water.

Quote

Typical results were 75% or so match quality bullets, 5% or so with visible defects and the other 20% good enough for practice or plinking.

* Ron - frosted bullets?  Really have the temperature cranked up too high! Cast with a thermometer at the melt temperature that frosts the sprue puddle in 5 seconds ... and you will never have frosted bullets

* Why is it casting the way I explained - in the beginning of the session I will have only  just one or two bullets that are not fully filled out with sharp GG bands and sharp flat bullet bases.   Visible defects of 5%? Not in my casting sessions

And 20% just good enough for practice?  Either Ed Harris taught you wrong or you didn't listen to him closely.  I have never had this rate of deficiency with any of my 200 plus molds - cast 22LR - CAS bullets and those for my non CAS rifles up to 550gr

There is only one way to cast good bullets - the right way and your way is not the right way in my book with frosted bullets and a 25% poor bullet casting session

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5 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Ron-Casting match grade, large caliber BPCR bullets is a differnt world.

If bottom pour worked that well for BPCR, we would use it.

Did you ever push your lead  bullets out to 600+ yds?  Are they gas check type?

We shoot 600+ yds all the time in BPCR and no gas check bullets allowed in our comps.

Ladle pour works for several reasons.

Use what works for you.

OLG

 

Mauser 71/84 a few times but those were paper patched, different critter.

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4 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Yup-That bit about dropping frosted bullets into warm water makes no sense at all.:rolleyes:

OLG

4 hours ago, John Boy said:

* Ron - frosted bullets?  Really have the temperature cranked up too high! Cast with a thermometer at the melt temperature that frosts the sprue puddle in 5 seconds ... and you will never have frosted bullets

* Why is it casting the way I explained - in the beginning of the session I will have only  just one or two bullets that are not fully filled out with sharp GG bands and sharp flat bullet bases.   Visible defects of 5%? Not in my casting sessions

And 20% just good enough for practice?  Either Ed Harris taught you wrong or you didn't listen to him closely.  I have never had this rate of deficiency with any of my 200 plus molds - cast 22LR - CAS bullets and those for my non CAS rifles up to 550gr

There is only one way to cast good bullets - the right way and your way is not the right way in my book with frosted bullets and a 25% poor bullet casting session

 

It makes perfect sense when real wheelweight alloy has 3.5%-4% antimony and .25% arsenic allowing heat treating or quenching to get the BHN up to around 22. High Power 800 aggregate is 88 shots, 40 of them rapid fire. 2 sighters, 20 shots offhand about one shot about every 30 seconds; 2 sighters then 2 10 shot strings sitting (60 seconds per string); 2 sighters then 2 10 shot strings prone (60 seconds per string); 2 sighters then 20 shots prone one shot about every 30 seconds . 20+ BHN and gas checks is the only way to guarantee no leading in milsurp bores under those conditions. You can cast shiny then heat treat in your oven or you can cast frosted and drop in the bucket of water for the same result in less time and not have to bake lead alloy in your oven. Yes, that is exactly the method Ed used for military cartridges from 6.5mm to 8mm.

Match quality was determined by weight sorting +/-0.5gr match, anything more practice.

 

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I made my own 44 180's for years because I had too.......now I buy 38's because my time is more valuable. The cast iron stays more consistent in temp than aluminum.....that's the main difference. Once you learn the process it's fairly simple. 

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Frosted cast bullets is a sure sign the alloy is way too hot. Also will be undersized for the dia wanted.

Water dropping any non-ferrous alloy doesn't do anything for 'heat treat". That is a metallurgical fact.

In fact-The lead softens up a good bit after about 6 months.

Gas cks are not allowed in SASS or BPCR comps.

OLG

 

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I need to borrow some arsenic from my wife. Pretty sure I saw her with some before supper last night. I'm tired. Gonna go lie down........ :blink:

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