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Dusty Boots

Casting vs buying

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If you shoot/practice an average number of times (with property that allows you to have a range) is it worth casting your own bullets or purchasing them?

Given you reload and will be shooting .38 specials and 45-70.  Factoring in (I have no experience with cast/purchased bullets for 45-70), I want the most accurate load possible for the 45-70, also consider the political climate (for those of you with a crystal ball). Or is it a buy the .38 and cast the 45-70?
Thanks for your thoughts,

DB

 

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Posted (edited)

I cast - reload and shoot for all caliber rifles and handguns  in the safes except for several jbullet caliber rifles.  Also for nearly every cast caliber have several weigh molds, especially the single shot target rifles.  Cost effective? Yes because for many of the calibers there are no commercial bullets made for the rifles 

BTW, my lead alloy inventory is 1700 lbs ... use it or it goes in the Will for the kids to sell

Edited by John Boy
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I used to have a virtually unlimited supply of free lead, so I used to cast a lot. Any more, I buy most of what I need and just cast some specialty stuff that isn't available from commercial casters.

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If you buy your bullets...you have more time for shooting... (Full disclosure: I am @Bullets By Scarlett :wub:) HOWEVER, I do think I have some valid points for you to ponder:

1) you will shoot/practice a LOT more with the 38s than with the .45-70.  There are a LOT of weights/profiles for the 38 Special... that would mean a lot of molds... buy the 38s. - at least until you settle on a weight/profile THEN, if you're so moved...buy the mold.  You'll have to cast so many of these that it might take some of the joy out of casting - it becomes like work.

 

2) the .45-70 are big - 405gr is what you will probably settle for (its what I shoot in my 1885 Hi Wall and LOVE IT).  I have a few pards who cast the 405 and really enjoy it...then, when you shoot it, hit the target at 200+ yards, you'll be incredibly satisfied that YOU cast/sized/lubed or coated the bullet that hit the mark.

 

3) This should have been first - figure out where you will source your lead.  There is NO SHORTAGE of lead but there is not a lot of "free or cheap" lead...and wheelwrights are mostly zinc now.

 

Of course, if you cast your bullets, you'll have to buy something else from me in order to get your FREE HUG WITH PURCHASE! :D

 

Big hugs!

Scarlett

 

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Posted (edited)

I find it depends on three factors. 

 

Those that favor casting your own are:

You have enough time to scrounge low cost lead  or a good supplier who doesn't mark it way up (ahem, RM)

You need or want special designs (perhaps because you know your long range rifles shoot a particular design better, for example)(or your lever rifle needs a real long nosed bullet to feed well)

You enjoy heavy, hot, tedious, repetitive, dirty work

 

JUST saving money is not all that good a reason. 

 

Wow, looking back over those comments, I ALMOST wonder why I cast all my own slugs.   :lol:  But I sleep easy at night not worrying about where my next 10K of bullets will come from, or if the PO will drop the case in the sorting room or off the tailgate of the truck.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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It mostly depends on how much you value your time, and do you have more time or money. If you have a good job and/or also able to work overtime often, just buy them, especially if it is mostly 38 specials. If you are going after that last percentage of accuracy for your long range 45-70, or you shoot Blackpowder or some other specialty caliber, then maybe it will be worth it to cast your own.  I personally am a stay at home dad, so money is tight, plusIi reload for 4 shooters in my family, 2 of which shoot BP, so I pretty much have to cast my own or not shoot nearly as much as we do. Just remember, it is pretty much a whole new hobby that will take up as much time and space as your reloading does, so make sure you can really do it

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If you are shooting a single shot .45-70 you may find that the 405 gr will not reach out as far as you want.  You will find it hard to find just the right 500+ gr bullet or you may find paper patch is what you want.  Cost will start to become a factor in buying big bullets.  To get out to 1000 yards and hit the target it takes weight as the wind will move the 405 all over the place. 

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I used to cast a lot of my stuff when I could get free wheel weights. Now, I use mostly premade stuff except for my really odd ball military surplus stuff.

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I started casting 17 years ago when my usual bullet suppliers were out.  I’m retired.  I have the time, I enjoy it. I like the freedom from supplier shortages.  I don’t care about cost considerations, not because I am wealthy (I’m not) but because a few cents one way or the other are insignificant.  I practice mostly with .22s, saving the center fires for matches.  The skills are transferable.

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If you don't already have a very cheap supply or a large amount of lead that you've picked up in the past, the cost of purchasing lead alloys doesn't seem to be much less then buying finished bullets. The exception being good black powder bullets and long range or other specialized bullets. I've only cast big lube bullets not regular bullets for smokeless.

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3 hours ago, Scarlett said:

If you buy your bullets...you have more time for shooting... (Full disclosure: I am @Bullets By Scarlett :wub:) HOWEVER, I do think I have some valid points for you to ponder:

1) you will shoot/practice a LOT more with the 38s than with the .45-70.  There are a LOT of weights/profiles for the 38 Special... that would mean a lot of molds... buy the 38s. - at least until you settle on a weight/profile THEN, if you're so moved...buy the mold.  You'll have to cast so many of these that it might take some of the joy out of casting - it becomes like work.

 

2) the .45-70 are big - 405gr is what you will probably settle for (its what I shoot in my 1885 Hi Wall and LOVE IT).  I have a few pards who cast the 405 and really enjoy it...then, when you shoot it, hit the target at 200+ yards, you'll be incredibly satisfied that YOU cast/sized/lubed or coated the bullet that hit the mark.

 

3) This should have been first - figure out where you will source your lead.  There is NO SHORTAGE of lead but there is not a lot of "free or cheap" lead...and wheelwrights are mostly zinc now.

 

Of course, if you cast your bullets, you'll have to buy something else from me in order to get your FREE HUG WITH PURCHASE! :D

 

Big hugs!

Scarlett

 

I got my bullet shipment yesterday. Great bullets, great service and great hugs. No I don’t cast.

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I cast most of the bullets that I load because I have all the equipment and lead from 50 years of doing it that way.  And being seriously retired,  I have the time. It's something to do when the weather conditions are right - usually in the winter when it's just comfortably cool out. Otherwise,  I'd buy my bullets.  

 

Sawmill Mary now only shoots her "lipstick" Hi-Tek bullets from Missouri Bullet Company.  

 

We have bought a lot of bullets while at big shooting events - including some from Scarlett.  

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my Dad taught me how to cast, been over 50 years now

 

I look at casting as a stand-alone hobby.  I like it and have the  time

 

Powder Coating (PC) is also a separate hobby and I get a kick out of the colors..  

 

It is up to you to determine if you have the time to do so.  Otherwise you will spend a bit more

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Buy my SASS bullets.  Cast my 45-90 and 40-65.  I can’t buy good enough quality long range bullets.

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I cast more just because I enjoy it .

Its my winter hobby to cast my bullets that I roll all sommer long .

Screenshot_20191219-064623_Photos.thumb.jpg.da0e4b71adc1c86bbb1280d1167cb5b8.jpg

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I use to cast when I shot 44's. I would go to events (back years ago) and the vendors always had an abundant selection of bullets even 160 grain 45's but no 44 stuff. If they did they had 200 grain lead. I wanted lighter so I had to start making my own. That was also before Gov't over-reach and you could just go get wheel weights from a tire shop............lol.

 

When I went to 38's I dropped the bullet making like.....well......hot lead. 

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Here Down -Under  is expensive if you buy from  the commercial  bullet makers...I have a Magma Caster & 50 various molds & buy lead locally..supply myself & sell to Pards for a reasonable price...being retired I have the time & enjoy making them.

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I like making mountains of plump, shiny bullets.  I have molds for smokeless and BP but my main efforts go to BP, the smokeless molds are now mostly for "just in case" purposes.  One of the advantages to casting is that you don't have to settle for unacceptable when it comes to long distance.  Only the most perfect of 405 grain hollow base bullets make it into the reloading room to be fed to my trapdoor.  I generally keep a third to half of what I cast.  The rest go back in the pot.  If you check and weigh store-bought before making your distance ammo,  you will acquire a collection of rejects over time.  How do I know?  People give them to me because I cast!  Main match ammo is about volume, not total perfection.  For main match ammo, I'm not so finicky.   "Close enough for Cowboy" is just fine.  There are so many options for smokeless bullets in pistol calibers, it may not be worth your time if you have a reliable supplier with reasonable quality control.   Find a pard that is set up and can give you some tips and let you try it out  before you invest in your own equipment.  Kind of like what we tell new shooters before buying guns.  If you find you like casting, go for it.

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On 8/9/2020 at 6:43 PM, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

I find it depends on three factors. 

 

Those that favor casting your own are:

You have enough time to scrounge low cost lead  or a good supplier who doesn't mark it way up (ahem, RM)

You need or want special designs (perhaps because you know your long range rifles shoot a particular design better, for example)(or your lever rifle needs a real long nosed bullet to feed well)

You enjoy heavy, hot, tedious, repetitive, dirty work

 

JUST saving money is not all that good a reason. 

 

Wow, looking back over those comments, I ALMOST wonder why I cast all my own slugs.   :lol:  But I sleep easy at night not worrying about where my next 10K of bullets will come from, or if the PO will drop the case in the sorting room or off the tailgate of the truck.

 

Good luck, GJ

I'm in this Category " You enjoy heavy, hot, tedious, repetitive, dirty work".   I find shooting boring but love cast and reload.    

 

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My wife and I shoot anywhere from 9,000-10,000 cast lead .38's, .44 mags, .45 Colt, .45 acp's, ,32-40, .45-70 & 6.5x55mm's during an average year, I'm retired and I still don't have enough time to cast my own bullets.

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On 8/10/2020 at 9:29 AM, SOUTH-PACIFIC,SASS #59402 said:

cast the 45/70 get the rest from outlaw bullets by waimea out of central florida

He do make good bullets, don't he?

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Cowboy Junky said:

I use to cast when I shot 44's. I would go to events (back years ago) and the vendors always had an abundant selection of bullets even 160 grain 45's but no 44 stuff.

Badman Bullets is the only place I've found who offers a light (165 gr) .44 bullet. - I just ordered 5,000.

Edited by Three Foot Johnson

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Like everything, casting vs buying is relative. My time is worth quite a bit. I’ll buy for cowboy but for long range casting is imperative.  

Ymmv

Gringo

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I cast bullets 30 years ago when I shot NRA muzzleloading competitions.

Sold my gear.

Bought new casting gear late in 2019.  Enjoy casting .454 round balls for cap&ball pistols, .45 230-grain for ACP, Long and Cowboy Specials, and .310 bullets for .300 Blackout.

I like the Lee tumble lube molds, no sizing.

I can still find free lead.  Note the free battery lugs becoming .45 slugs.  Just add a bit of tin from 50/50 solder.

20200322_175018.jpg

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