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.
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.
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.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”
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.