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Old October 23rd, 2012, 10:44 PM #11
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Mostly I started doing this because my cost for 240gr .44 bullets was about $.14/ea but I can benefit on the .357 as well.

I was planning to pan lube everything but the liquid alox would be much faster. It seems like pan lubing would making for nice clean bullets and not kind of brownish looking bullets but have a longer prep time.

After you lube with allox and size the bullets do you assemble a full cartridge and tumble them so there's not left over allox on the bullets later?

I'd like to have some nice looking bullets when i'm all done .

I'm planning 125gr .357, 240gr .44 and 115gr 9mm.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 10:59 PM #12
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Leave the Alox on the nose/exposed areas- it does no harm. Alot of it cooks off when you fire it, which is what you want. The bullets wont turn black/oxidize with the Alox on the exposed areas anyways.

The tumble lube method is fast, and works well. If you want clean bullets, then you may have to invest in a lubrisizer, heater and top punches. The way I look at it casting bullets is supposed to save you money - and the more you have to buy (stick lubes, lubrisizers, top punches) just ends up taking more space, and money.

I also like liquid Alox -because it does not run in hot weather when applied on bullets (but it will get soft) Some stick lubes - the lube will run if the ammo is left in the hot sun etc.

I think some people find the smell of liquid Alox objectionable - I dont mind it. One bottle does LOTS of bullets. You also do not have to lay that stuff on heavy with pistol bullets.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 07:00 AM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Half-cocked View Post
Is there an easy way to separate lead from a lead/zinc alloy?
You do it one piece at a time with a pair of wire clippers. If you can make an impression very easy it is lead. If it really hard you have Zinc. 90% of wheel weights today are Zinc and not worth the effort of going from shop to shop asking for WW anymore these days to me.

Even less interested in sorted all that dirty, greasy, grimy, junk. In the end I would rather pay someone the going $1.00 / pound to buy their ingots. I'm always looking for fellas who have ingots for sale. I'm running low now.

I got a box of about 15 pounds of WW from a local tire shop and when I got done sorting all the junk I didn't have enough usable lead to fill a tuna fish can. Then still having the thought of having to clean the grease off of them.... I threw it all in the trash and walked away. What a waste of time.

Now I just buy ingots from whoever has a good price. I'm shopping now, so, if you have a good price let me know.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 03:06 PM #14
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I'm still getting about 85% good lead in WWs that I'm able to obtain. To sort them, I have a very large pair of steel metal snips (they weigh about 6-7 pounds) that I hit with the weights, one at a time of course. You need something large, solid, and steel to do this, because you are sorting them by the sound they make. A vise also works.

If the weight is zinc, it makes sort of a sharp "tink" sound. If it's lead, it makes more of a dull "bap" sound. With a little practice, you will learn to easily recognize the difference ... most of the time ... especially with the larger weights.

I sort them into three piles (not counting the lead stick-ons), according to sound. There are the ones that are clearly lead, those that are clearly zinc, and ones that I'm not sure about. I test this last bunch by trying to cut into them with a pair of long-handled dykes. Lead will let you make a good dent, but zinc will hardly make a scratch. If I have some that I can cut into, but not as much as the ones that are clearly lead, I put them aside in case I want to cast weights of some sort in the future.

I do use a propane rig for melting WWs, but am mindful of how much I let the material heat up. Once I get some melting started (using known lead, like mis-cast bullets from an earlier casting session), I adjust the heat down so that adding a handful or two of new weights cools the mix down to where it gets sort of mud-like in consistency for a minute. That lets me know that I'm staying close to the melting point of the lead. If any zinc should happen to sneak past my testing, it will float, like the metal clips, as the lead starts to liquify. At that point, I quickly scoop out all the floating material and toss in more WWs.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 02:31 AM #15
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Well, here are some of my first bullets!

44 Magnum RN 240gr:



357 Magnum FP 125gr:

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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:33 AM #16
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Well, here are some of my first bullets!
They look good, but you can probably get rid of that slight seam that's showing in the picture. Even if you don't get rid of it, you should do these things anyway.

First, adjust the tension on the bolt that holds your handles together. Tighten it until they just start to not open and close smoothly, then back off just enough so that they do. This will help the halves of your mould mate together correctly. Then do the same thing with the screw that holds on the sprue plate (be sure your screwdriver fits exactly!). This will help to keep the base of your bullets from having a little ledge on the edges.

Clean the faces of the mould halves very carefully--90% alcohol works well--then smoke the moulds with the carbon from something like some burning kitchen matches (what I use).

LUBRICATE the mould carefully, with the correct lubricant, and in the manner that the maker describes. This is absolutely critical. Don't use the thing again until you've got the prescribed lube, and be sure that you lube all the prescribed points (only!) in the manner that the manufacturer describes. Don't rely on anyone's homebrew advice on this one until you are certain you know what you are doing. Not only will proper lubing make the mould halves seat together flush, it will also prevent the mould from galling. You can ruin an aluminum mould very easily! (Note that you are *not* to get lube into the bullet cavity. You are lubricating pivot points and the guides that help to seat the mould halves together properly.)

Again, they aren't bad, but these things can improve them a bit, and help you to prolong the life of your mould, as well.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 05:08 PM #17
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I am preparing and lubing the molds as instructed by Lee. Also, I did about 800 more bullets today and the problem was mold temperature. The ones today turned out perfect!
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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:40 PM #18
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I am preparing and lubing the molds as instructed by Lee. Also, I did about 800 more bullets today and the problem was mold temperature. The ones today turned out perfect!
You are also breaking in the mould, and learning how to use it more efficiently. It gets better an better over time!
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:10 PM #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justler View Post
I am preparing and lubing the molds as instructed by Lee. Also, I did about 800 more bullets today and the problem was mold temperature. The ones today turned out perfect!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Machodoc View Post
You are also breaking in the mould, and learning how to use it more efficiently. It gets better an better over time!
Justler, Machodoc is right. Casting good boolits comes with experience. Keep at it and learn to recognize the signs of molds and pots becoming too hot or cold. Also don't be afraid to cool your Lee mold by dipping its edge in your quenching bucket when it becomes too hot. The combination of molten lead and water with you in between takes practice. But once you get the hang of it, casting terrific boolits will happen.
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