lead bullet making

I thought about just emailing the RCM premier expert on bullet casting, but maybe somebody else has something to add.
Ammo prices are climbing outa sight. So i want to get into casting my own 9mm and .308. My interest peaked when I learned my 1919 and MG42 will eat unplated bullets. I always knew the Uzis and Suomis would eat anything.
What all equipment will I need? What should i expect to spend to make 10K of each bullet? (If i can't break even at 10K, I'll keep buying from Berry and Pats)
Karl
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On Sun, 30 Sep 2012 05:58:43 -0500, Karl Townsend wrote:

You've probably already thought about this, but figure out the total weight of your 10K worth of bullets, figure out how much you'll need to spend on the lead, decide on what seems to be a reasonable wastage figure (10%? 5%?), then figure out if you're saving anything right there. If not, then you know why prices are high, and you know the value of proceeding.
Figure out how much you want/don't want the EPA breathing down your neck because you're using Oh So Terrible Toxic Lead while you're at it.
--
My liberal friends think I'm a conservative kook.
My conservative friends think I'm a liberal kook.
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wrote:

thaought I'd get way more interest in this topic. guess i should've said I'm doing this because bamma is runing everything and has to be stopped<VBG>
Seriously, I'm hoping to use an old forklift battery for the lead. from what little i've read looks like (expensive) linotype is the preferred source.
Karl
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Karl Townsend wrote:

The forklift battery will certainly give you a good deal of basic lead, but I think you will need to find a source for the proper alloying metals to get the hardness and whatnot for basic lead bullets. If you perhaps get fancy and make jacketed bullets the lead alloy is probably less important. I hear soft copper tubing works well for jackets.
As for commercial ammo prices, as far as I've seen they have been pretty stable for the past year or two after the shortage ended. Everyone likes to hype up Obummer as the reason for higher ammo prices, but in reality the brass, copper and lead metals markets have much more to do with it.
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On 9/30/2012 5:52 PM, Karl Townsend wrote:

You might get better response at rec.guns.
David
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On 9/30/2012 6:52 PM, Karl Townsend wrote:

Years ago I was in the market for a couple 'hundred pounds of lead and figured that I could get it from the old batteries that are left at the dump. I took one home, cut it up, and found this weird spongy stuff inside. Undaunted, I put the spongy stuff in a crucible and melted it. The yield was pathetic! Mostly a heap of dross.
A total waste of effort.
YMMV, maybe Bob
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On Sun, 30 Sep 2012 17:52:04 -0500, Karl Townsend

Personally...Id stay away from battery lead. But then..forklift batteries are far bigger than automotive batteries
Wheel weights are much better btw..they come close enough to #2 alloy as is.
Gunner
Liberals - Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of every country save their own. Benjamin Disraeli
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wrote:

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Nope, a lead acid battery is mostly oxide of one sort or another, only the connectors are bulk lead and they make those as short as they can. You are NOT going to reduce lead oxides with anything you've got in your basement or garage. I've got several tons of wheel weights for pistol bullets along with other lead-based scrap. Sometimes you can make deals with tire shops, sometimes scrapyards will sell them. You DO have to be careful with what you put in the pot, some wheel weights are zinc and just one small one will spoil a whole batch of bullet metal. Makes it so they won't cast. One commercial caster I knew had that happen to him, he made up some big cannonball sinkers for the open-sea fishing crowd to get rid of the potfull. Dropped one and it chipped the concrete floor. Said if they didn't get the sinkers back, they were better off.
Now as to your intent to run them through automatic weapons, you can't run them at the same velocity as service ammo, even gas checks wouldn't let you do that. Probably won't function the gun at the velocity you'll have to use to keep from leading up. With both guns, the boosters are going to get a nice bath of lead vapor, eventually you get to remove it. I'd consider that idea a non-starter. Now for pistols, lever guns and bolt actions, lead bullets will work fine if you load within the limitations.
Stan
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I don't shoot enough pistol ammo to really make this pay. A fella on the Weapons Guild forum claims great success using 168 grain cast .308 boolits with a gas check in his 1919. Its a reduced powder load, don't remember exact specs without pulling up the thread. I think I'd best look for independant confirmation before moving forward.
Karl
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On Mon, 01 Oct 2012 18:11:17 -0500, Karl Townsend

Its been years..but as I recall..thats a modified recoil cycled weapon isnt it? You will probably have to reduce the strength of the action springs as the firing pulse will not have anywhere near the recoil energy
Gunner
Liberals - Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of every country save their own. Benjamin Disraeli
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wrote:

It has a booster on the end to adjust recoil. If needed I'd make one with a smaller ID and change boosters for lead. If i buy a mold, do you know somebody that would cast up a few for trial? I've got enough hobbies, don't want to do this if it don't work, But if it does, I'd quit flinching on taking it to the range; 500 rounds is typical if I take it out.
karl
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Karl Townsend wrote:

There is a guy on AR15 who shoots a 1919 with cast. Says he has no problems other than needing to clean the booster more often.
I have shot my Mini (.223) with cast and not had a problem. They are not tack driving loads but work. Gas checks and lube are a must.
--
Steve W.

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On Tue, 02 Oct 2012 07:49:03 -0500, Karl Townsend

Id cast you some if you would like. Ive got the molds already. Im in the process of setting up to melt down about a ton of wheelweights that Ive got stockpiled..so it will be a month or so before I can get any bullets turned out. Casting/smelting when its 107F out..is not as much fun as it used to be.
Though casting and sizing 500 bullets might take me even longer when Im already low on the stuff I normally use.
I can probably send you a hundred or two though.
Gunner
Liberals - Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of every country save their own. Benjamin Disraeli
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On 9/30/2012 6:58 AM, Karl Townsend wrote:

DO NOT USE BATTERY LEAD!!!!!!!!!
Here's your shopping list: _____________________________________________________ From midwayusa.com:
Lee 6-Cavity Bullet Mold TL356-124-2R 9mm Luger, 38 Super, 380 ACP (356 Diameter) 124 Grain Tumble Lube 2 Ogive Radius Product #: 476412 $39.49
Lee Commercial Bullet Mold Handles for 6-Cavity Lee Bullet Molds Product #: 117892 $11.49 on sale
Lee Pro 4 20 Lb Furnace 110 Volt Product #: 645810 $58.49
Frankford Arsenal CleanCast Lead Fluxing Compound 1 lb Product #: 593033 $9.99
Lee Alox Bullet Lube 4 oz Liquid Product #: 466811 $5.89      Lee "Modern Reloading 2nd Edition, Revised" Reloading Manual Product #: 639649 $18.29
Lee 4-Cavity Ingot Mold with Handle Product #: 361222 $9.99 on sale
TOTAL:$153.63 plus shipping ____________________________________________________
From eBay:
Lead ingots made from wheel weights will cost about $65.00 delivered for 50 pounds Or, find a friendly tire shop. _________________________________________________________
In addition you will need some bench space, a 5 gallon bucket full of cold water, a tin can to put the dross in, a big spoon or ladle, and a few other things you already have. Great book, read it!
Grand total: $218.63 plus some freight = 2,282 124 gr bullets at about $0.095 each. After the initial investment all bullets will cost $0.028 each
Let me know how I can help.
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wrote:

thanks Tom,
Don't i need a sizing die?
To run .308, the bullets need to be hard, they reference linotype or alloying the wheel weights. Do you know about this?
Is working in front of a fan enough to keep the lead fumes safely away?
Karl
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On 10/1/2012 12:19 AM, Karl Townsend wrote:

With the Lee molds you usually don't need to size, especially for pistol. Lee makes a good cheap set-up for sizing if needed. I like tumble lube, others don't. Linotype dropped in cold water will be about the hardest you can get. You will have to keep your rifle loads lower than jacketed. Wheel weights are just fine for pistols. If the boolit is too hard it won't obturate and it'll lead the barrel, too soft and it leads the barrel. Same with too fast and too slow. But, once your load is dialed in you are in One-Hole City! WAY better than factory and only $2.50 a box of 50. (if you get free wheel weights)
I have an exhaust fan in my laundry room that I think is sufficient. I get my blood-lead levels checked twice a year, is was high once but is back to normal just by using latex gloves. I cast and shoot 1k/month.
Get the book first, it's a cheap investment and is a great first loading book, you WILL buy a couple more over time.
Look at the forum: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ Absolutely EVERYTHING about casting is here.
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It's counter-intuitive, but don't have the fan behind you, or even behind at an angle. Have it blow R-L or L-R across your pot.
As far as concerns "lead fumes" -- WHAT lead fumes? At correct casting temperatures, no significant or harmful amount of anything lead-bearing will get into the air that you don't throw into the air with your tools.
The flux fumes may or may not be injurious, depending upon what you use.
Chronic breathing of even simple animal grease smoke ain't all that good for you.
LLoyd
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On Mon, 01 Oct 2012 05:47:48 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"

While I do most of my major bullet metal preparation outdoors...I do cast indoors. I simply installed a bathroom fart fan in a piece of paneling that I place in a window behind the casting area and turn it on. Sucks any fumes and toxins right outdoors. And helps keep a bit of a breeze blowing around me. Not much of one..but enough to help keep me cool(er)
Gunner
Liberals - Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of every country save their own. Benjamin Disraeli
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I really should have added, and didn't, that it's skin contact and absorption through ingesting lead residues that is your real hazard when casting.
Unless you were to convert lead into a gas or some super-fine aerosol that will float in air (don't know how you'd do that, actually), there are no "lead fumes". But flux fumes? Lotsa!
LLoyd
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On 10/1/2012 4:00 PM, Lloyd E. Sponenburgh wrote:

It's the lead oxides and the dross that floats to the top that's the nasty. It's water soluble and can be absorbed through the skin. Doc told me to wear gloves.
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