Casting Your Own Bullets

Electric melting pot.

This is the old discontinued Lee electric "Lead Pot".
It used to be a popular piece of equipment for casting bullets.

      Casting your own bullets is a very interesting and rewarding experience.   Anyone that reloads handgun ammo should at least give it a try.   If you happen to be one of those "crafty" shooters that enjoys tinkering, this could be the perfect hobby for you.   You may find that you'll enjoy shooting even more if you can cast your own bullets.   One thing is for sure, you'll learn a lot about bullets.   Back in the early 1970s (in simpler times), I enjoyed casting my own bullets to save money.

      Bullet casting should obviously be done where there is excellent ventilation and a good fan.   During the last decade, there has been an enormous amount of needless panic about the danger of handling lead.   The lawyers (and liberals) would have you believe that the fumes from casting your own bullets can kill you.   Well . . . . I don't think so.   If you use the least bit of common sense, you'll have no problems at all.

      I was lucky to have learned how to cast bullets from an old geezer who was known locally as the "master bullet caster".   His real name was Jim Combs.   He was retired, and he lived in New Port Richey, Florida.   A good shooting buddy of mine introduced me to Jim back when I had a bit more money than spare time.   (I've found that I never seem to get both at the same time.)

      Jim began every day long before the sun came up.   Even before putting his morning coffee on the stove, he would turn on his electric Lee Casting Pot and setup the work area in his covered breezeway.   By the time the sun came up, he was almost done casting bullets for the day.   By then he had a few hundred more cast bullets in his inventory.   Jim started every day with that same routine.   That added to the mystique of his bullet casting.   I couldn't help from noticing that he made some great looking .45 ACP and .38 Special bullets.

One pound lead bars ...
This is thirty pounds of lead ingots just waiting to be melted in the pot and cast into bullets.

      After trying Jim's bullets, I was really impressed!   He casted some of the most accurate 200 grain H&G .45 ACP semi-wad cutter bullets that I've ever used, so I bought his entire inventory of .45 ACP bullets.   The biggest problem I had then was to figure how I was going to relocate my new stockpile of bullets (over 1,500 pounds) back to my home in Tampa.   Over the next few months, I finally relocated all those bullets.   We had great times testing the accuracy of Jim's cast bullets compared to other brands.

      Being retired, Jim's only income came from Social Security and selling his cast bullets.   In those days, it was easy to get a good supply of lead.   He used to visit all of the tire shops in the area, and everyone willingly gave him all of the used wheel weights that he could drive away with.   Jim was also known as the "lead guy".   Over the years he accumulated a massive amount of lead, and he made an impressive inventory of top quality cast bullets.   Being a thrifty guy, Jim stored his bullets in discarded metal coffee cans that he collected from his friends and neighbors.

Different types of Bullet Molds
This is a good selection of bullet molds that you'll need to begin casting your favorite bullets.

      That bullet supply lasted me for several years.   I often found other shooters that wanted to get their hands on good cast bullets, so I called Jim to see how his new inventory was going.   That's when Jim and I got together to cast bullets.   He had a very simple lifestyle that was totally free from stress, and that added extra fun to the whole casting process.

      Jim had decades of experience casting bullets, and it was easy to see that he really enjoyed doing the job right.   He got me interested enough to start collecting my own casting equipment, and that's when I began casting my own bullets.   It wasn't that expensive to get started, and I knew that sooner or later casting my own bullets would soon pay for itself.

75 grain Wad-Cutter bullet mold

This 75 grain Wad-Cutter is a very unique bullet for the .38 Special.

      I have read every book I could find on bullet casting, and I learned a lot of technical tips for casting quality bullets.   I remember one interesting article that explained a very unusual cast bullet that the author used at his indoor shooting range.   It was a 75 grain, .38 caliber, wad-cutter bullet that had an extremely mild recoil similar to shooting a .22 rimfire.   However, that particular bullet was only available to shooters that could cast their own with a special bullet mold - the Lyman # 358101.   Unfortunately that mold was discontinued many years ago.   The article went on to say that you would probably never find one of those rare bullet molds again, unless you came across some old gunshop and found one back on a dusty shelf somewhere.

      Well . . . . one day while on a business trip, I visited one of the oldest gunshops in Florida, and they just happened to sell reloading supplies.   I looked through their bullet casting supplies, and I was shocked to actually find one of those old 75 grain bullet molds still in the original box.   It must have been sitting on that shelf for years.   What a stroke of good luck!   I snapped it up, along with another interesting bullet mold.   They also had a great bullet mold for my .44 Magnum.   It was an RCBS mold for the 250 grain semi-wad cutter bullet.   That was one of Elmer Keith's favorite bullets; so of course, I just had to get that one too.

      That's when I began collecting my own supply of lead (planning for retirement), then I had it melted into hundreds of one pound ingots.   I was careful to add just enough lineotype and antimony to create the perfect lead alloy.   Having it all melted in one operation ensured the lead would have uniform hardness.

Lyman Model 450 Lubrisizer Press

This press resizes and lubes your cast bullets.

      This bullet sizing press is required for the final step in bullet casting.   It helps you push each bullet through a special bullet sizing die.   This operation requires a press like my old Lyman Model 450 "Lubrisizer".   The press automatically lubricates the grooves in each bullet with wax as they get resized.

      I seem to never have enough spare time for casting my own bullets anymore.   My time is now mostly spent designing new reloading tools and making Innovative projects related to shooting.   However, I'm glad that I had the chance to learn about bullet casting from a pro.

      I still have over 200 one pound lead ingots.   Due to the current political situation, bullets are now in very short supply (thanks to liberal politicians).   If we don't get more shooters involved in protecting our gun rights, we may all need to learn how to cast our own bullets.   Get involved by letting your elected officials know that you'll vote them out of office if they don't start protecting your gun rights.

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