Casting Bullets — By Scott Mayer

It’s Past Time To Start Casting Your Bullets

Growing up I was captivated by the accounts of the late Col. Harrison and his experiments with cast bullets in high-power centerfire rifles. Performance there is tough to accomplish, but for handgunners the bar is set much lower and with ammo still being scarce and expensive, you really should consider setting up to cast and load your own not only to get through the rest of this tough patch, but so you’re still shooting a lot during the next.

A 0.385-inch die is usually used to size bullets for .357 Mag. or .38 Special.
A 0.385-inch die is usually used to size bullets for .357 Mag. or .38 Special.

The equipment you need consists of a lead furnace, bullet mold, and sizing/lubricating tools. Getting set up for only one caliber can knock you back as much a grand, or as little as $100, and fortunately even the cheaper bullet casting equipment is good and will last so long as you don’t abuse it. Lead is cheap, and you can get it from most scrap or salvage yards.  One warning–don’t use lead plates from lead-acid batteries. They give off a poisonous gas when melted.

 

 

The process is simple. Melt the lead, heat the mold, get the lead into the mold and you have a bullet. That bullet comes out of the mold as bare lead and a little over-size, so you have to run it through a die that sizes the bullet down and forces lubricant into the groove around it. After that, it’s ready to load.

With cast bullets, you can shoot a lot more for less money. Note that some manufacturers recommend against cast bullets.
With cast bullets, you can shoot a lot more for less money. Note that some manufacturers recommend against cast bullets.

You can keep bullet casting that simple, or advance and discover a whole world full of really cool ways to experiment for different levels of bullet performance. For example, you can change how hard or soft the bullets end up by using different lead alloys, quenching or air-cooling, or age hardening. You’ll find that you will get better (or worse) accuracy by tweaking the size of the bullet in 0.001-inch increments, and that different lubes can change the accuracy of a load. Either way, you end up shooting a bunch more, and that’s what counts.

 

Scott Mayer

www.tacticaltshirts.com

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

 

 

 

Scott Mayer

Scott Mayer

Writer at John1911
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.

In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.
Scott Mayer

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