Just cast some 9mm bullets

I started with the silver stream last year (autumn) with #4 buckshot, possibly the most difficult thing to cast, then 7/8oz slugs, super easy. But I think I was ultimately happy that I started with the most difficult projectiles to cast. That baptism taught me a great deal and lots of experienced casters can’t cast #4 buckshot.

With that experience under my belt and 1500-1800# of wheelweights on hand, and a shortage of many things needed to feed my pew pew addiction I ordered moulds and the time was right yesterday to use one.

After setting up outside, I cast outside so the weather needs to cooperate. I made (by weight) 457 bullets. A first for me. I was sooo thankful that I bought an 8 cavity mould so that I could cast without hurrying and still get a decent number made in such a short period of time (1.5 hours). I need to work on getting some shade, and I need to coat and size the bullets but I’ll get that done, maybe this w/e since the heat is on the way and I’ll stay indoors. Then I need to work up a load for them.

Next on the agenda, once I prove out the 9mm bullets, are bullets for 300BLK subsonic.

I wish it too was an 8 cavity mould but it’s not.

I might get a mould for 300BLK supersonic, but that’s just a thought at this point.

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Need to start stocking it up and getting molds. Gonna take some Dinero. So many calibers and sizes/weights. It will be worth it in the long run. Are you powdercoating your boolits?

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I got that 300 mold without the lube groove cuz i powdercoat mine.

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My plan is to wet coat.

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MAC82, That’s just a representation of my 300BLK mould. edit: CORRECTION! That is the exact mould, except mine has provision for a GC. The actual one I bought has a place for a GC should I decide I want to add one. Someone on the CAST BOOLITS forum suggested that they could be more accurate with a GC. I wish I could remember what actual mould it is. It’s probably marked on it but it’s out in the shop and I’m in here. I’m pretty sure that’s close to what it looks like though. As with the 9mm mould I got as many cavities as I could.

I need to get another (maybe) for use with a Contender .32/20 barrel. I was looking for a 300BLK barrel for it when it hit me that the .32/20 would do. All I need to do is get it threaded. Since it’s a single shot it can use a flat meplat for max’ wound channel. Right now I load 125s to 2000fps but I don’t shoot many of them. Maybe for the .32/20 I’ll get a lighter bullet mould and drive it subsonic & supersonic. The Contender doesn’t care which it fires. And the 125s I load now won’t expand at 2000fps. We’ll see what I do, if anything. Right now I have a full plate and probably won’t get to the .32/20 until next year.

edit: I checked lighter NOE moulds in .310/.311 and didn’t see much in stock for the .32/20. Sure I could get them in 2 cavity, but I cast for production so that I can load and shoot.

I went to coat the bullets today and the bottles that I bought to store the mixed coating dissolved in acetone has a seal in the lid that dissolves instantly once contacted by acetone. So those plans fell through and new bottles are on order.

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If you need .30cal gas checks let me know. I got gas check forming dies.

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I’ll remember that, thanks. But right now I have 2k in stock and no known use for them, yet. I bought them on speculation that I might need them at some point. Hopefully never.

The moulds I have my eye on… They’re for use in a .32/20 Contender with a .308 bore and a subsonic load. Just for quiet kicks and maybe vermin. They should be fairly quiet with a can and fast powder. I never expect to use them in the 300BLK. They’re just the wrong bullet entirely for semi-auto. If NOE made 8 cavity moulds I’d be on them like stink on feces.

But we’ll see what I get and how good coated bullets are. I’ve used commercial coated bullets but never pushed them hard. From what I’ve read I can do that and they work fine.

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I did the wet coat of the Hi-Tek coating the other day, 2 thin coats to build up the required thickness. Then baked after each coat @400°F for 12 minutes. I gave them the solvent and smash tests and they passed. Before they hardened a bit (lead hardens a bit in the first few weeks after casting) I wanted to size them and got that done last night. Nothing about casting is at all difficult. It always struck me as alchemy.

I did lose a few more bullets due to culling. That’s in addition to the culled bullets that I put back into the melt pot as I was casting. I don’t think it was more than 10 lost. They’ll get melted down next time I cast.

My gear is rudimentary and mostly is being done with stuff I already had on hand. My propane burner I’ve had for decades, it’s from a turkey fryer that I bought for brewing. I was talking to another gent who has cast in the past and he told me that he melted lead over a wood fire. My melting “pot” is an inexpensive 8" cake pan. I did have a really cheap stock pot that I used, but during a melt it developed a leak and I had to put a wet towel on the leak to stop it and that pot is obviously no longer in use. I’m looking for a CI dutch oven for smelting wheelweights. I’ll find one at a garage sale for not much $ I have no doubt of that. But I’m in no hurry. My dipper is specifically made for casting. Obviously the moulds are also. I buy the moulds with as many cavities as I can find for the sake of production. An 8 cavity mold makes 4x as many bullets in one pour as a 2 cavity (I did that in my head and I didn’t even get a college degree!) and that piles the bullets up pretty fast. I cast so that I can shoot. I don’t cast to use up my precious time so production speed means something to me. All of my bullet moulds are aluminum which makes for a less expensive mould. My ingot molds are all homemade or were liberated from other uses. A few are made from angle iron with welded ends and form a V shaped ingot. The rest are mini bread loaf pans. The oven I use to bake my coating is an old toaster/broiler that we replaced. I put a temp’ probe in it to find where it needs to run to give me what I need for successful coating. I put my bullets in a silicone ice cube tray to keep them from sticking together, but I could just as easily use 1/4" hardware cloth. I like the ice cube tray idea that I was given from the Cast Boolit forum. Other than keeping them from sticking to each other they also prevent contamination. My point is that other than moulds casting can be done on the cheap. As long as one can get by with moulds with fewer cavities Lee makes fairly inexpensive moulds. Maybe they also have 5 cavity moulds? I don’t remember. When I was buying ALL Lee moulds were out of stock here in the USA. I bought my 12ga slug mould out of the UK. Manufacturers are trying to get them back into stock. I talked to the maker of NOE moulds and was told that he’s putting in 3x the hours and still can’t keep moulds on the shelves.

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Is casting addictive? Maybe. Last week I cast maybe 150 bullets for subsonic 300BLK. using this mould:

I ran into problems with the mould overheating, but with the wisdom of others solved it today. Last week I cast maybe 150 bullets and coated and sized them and put them on the shelf for load development.

Using the solution for mould overheating* I cast more 9mm today. Using the heat solution I cast what looks to be maybe 1k bullets today in about 2 hours and that includes lead melt time. I’ll have a better count after I coat and size them. But I was able to cast at my speed and not be slowed down by the heat of the mould.

Some day I need to work up loads for these bullets. The point isn’t to cast and merely put them on the shelf to look at.

Today was a very successful day. Things are coming together.

(the symbol that follows is supposed to be an asterisk but the software wont do it unless I put text in front of it) * wet shop towel with a pool of water underneath. Just a few seconds on it every other pour and don’t forget the sprue plate.

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I need to get out and cast some more hope i find time next week. Pics or it didn’t happen. :grin:

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I can do pix.

Todays bullets, that’s a 6" CI frying pan.

And l-r one of todays bullets, a coated 225gr .309, and a coated .356. It’s what todays bullets will look like. Sorry it’s out of focus, the camera focused on the carton in the background. The coated 9mm is showing reflections on the meplat, it’s fully coated “Old Gold”, even the meplat.

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Looking good

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Shiny :star_struck:

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Look like silver but much heavier and don’t sound like silver when they bump. Silver has a distinctive sound and it isn’t the sound of our current “silver” coins.

Anybody want to buy some silver bullets for vampires? I have some oceanfront land in Nebraska for sale too.

Soon the newly cast bullets will be the same “Old Gold” color of the one on the left. I need to coat them and size them before they harden somewhat in a week or 2. I could probably still size them after 2 weeks but I never intend to deliberately test the force needed to push them through the sizing die in my press. It’s easy enough to take a day when I can’t do anything outdoors to leisurely coat, bake, and read while the job is getting done. It’s a laid back job. After coating (2x) the clock starts again on sizing before they harden a bit 2 weeks later.

I intend to use old gold for velocity limited bullets for target and such and the red coating for other more serious uses like game. On a deer they just drill a hole which means bullet placement is critical.

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Can someone please explain the reason for coating?

I have never tried to cast anything precise so I have no idea if that is why.

And I don’t reload yet.

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It’s dead simple to explain. (I hope. If not ask specifics.)

The short version is that it’s a polymer bullet jacket instead of a lubed lead bullet or a lead bullet with a copper jacket.

Lead by itself will lead the bore; that’s a huge problem. 300 years ago the lead ball was kept away from the steel bore with fabric and grease. The faster one pushes a lead bullet the more the problem of leading comes to the foreground (I’m leaving out a great deal). Jumping to today(ish), harden the lead by adding tin and leading is reduced and velocity is upped. But tin is expensive. Or one can lubricate the bullet by adding a lube to the lube grooves of a bullet to reduce/prevent leading. One can also make bullets with a pure lead core and a copper jacket with the right dies and press (it’s called swaging), but that can get quite costly. Rather than swaging lead into a jacket one can cast a lead bullet, coat it in a polymer, and that will, after sizing it, result in a “jacketed” bullet that won’t lead the bore up to substantial velocity with minimal cost and little $ outlay. Backing up, old school lubed bullets work, I’ve fired thousands of them, but they are dirty and produce smoke. Coated bullets are clean and don’t smoke. Another benefit is that if one isn’t pushing velocity one can pretty much ignore lead hardness as it refers to leading since the coating contacts the bore and not the lead. Think of it as a bullet jacket. If one uses a sound suppressor, the can stays clean.

When I was researching how to produce my bullets I found all sorts of reasons on the plus side and very few on the minus side. One is start up cost.

My gear consists of the small bottles with nozzles to hold the mix, a discarded HDPE freezer container to mix the bullets and mix, a few ice cube trays, and my oven is an old toaster broiler that we replaced. Also some 1/4" hardware cloth to allow the coated bullets to dry on before going into their cubicles in the ice cube trays before being baked. The ice cube trays are me gilding the lily to keep the bullets separate (not needed but inexpensive).

All of the advantages of a jacketed bullet but done at home with no sophisticated gear. One gent told me that he was pushing them to 2500 fps and getting sub MOA @ 1000 yards (or was it meters? IDR).

The bottom line is that coated bullets do much of what jacketed bullets can do with a much less costly cast bullet made from wheel weights and done at home. Would I push them to 4k fps? No.

If purchasing commercial bullets, coated bullets save A LOT of $. I’ve used them for years I just never thought to make them myself until antifa and biteme produced the bullet shortage of a year ago. When I write “bullet” I mean the cartridge component and not the hellyweird bastardized version of the word meaning cartridge.

Just a word of warning… if you think that you’ll ever need to make your own bullets and live in a state that still uses clip on lead wheel weights buy all you can find now. I bought mine 15 years ago (1500-1800#) and due to my age it’s a lifetime supply. I never thought I’d ever need them but bought them “just in case”. The “Cast Boolit” forum has an excellent thread that shows what is usable and what is junk. Tip: zinc will poison your lead, but it can be removed.

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Right, I did consider the leading aspect, but was thinking that the bullets could possibly be plated as well (though I am not sure if the plating would just be too thin).

And I hadn’t even looked into the cost aspect if plating would even be an option.

Thank you for the explanation!

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I have never heard of anyone doing home plating. I’m not saying that someone isn’t I just never heard of it. But coating bullets is so easy. If anyone was plating today I think they’d give it up and switch to coating. FWIW, the plated bullets that I’ve used have been great (Berrys 124 9mm double struck).

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OK, quick instructions for the way I wet coat bullets… It’s incredibly easy!

Mix up the powder with acetone using the supplied instructions. Put a mess of bullets in a container of choice. Put some, not much, liquid mix on the bullets and agitate to coat them. You should barely see the liquid covering the bullets. Spread the bullets out on hardward cloth to dry, this happens quickly. If the right amount of mix was put on the bullets there won’t be any excess pouring out of the container. I just eyeball the amount to use. Use less than you think if should take. After they dry either spread them out on an appropriate pan or I use a silicone mini ice cube tray and each bullet gets it’s own cell. Bake at 400° (or hotter) for at least 10-12 minutes. Hotter is OK and longer is too that hurts nothing but the final color. Baking sets the polymer. Allow them to cool and repeat the coating/bake cycle. After the 2nd coat it should be obvious that they are fully coated and they get tested for integrity. With rag dampened with acetone rub the bullet vigorously for a few minutes. The polymer should stay on the bullet. The 2nd test it to put the bullet on a hard surface and smash it with a sledgehammer. The coating should adhere to the lead. That bullet has been destroyed, just remelt it and cast it into another bullet. Mistakes get remelted too.

Next step is to run them through a sizing die which brings all of them to the same exact diameter that one chooses. All of my 9mms like a .356 diameter bullet so that’s what I size them to. Sizing is a very fast operation. After that they can be loaded. The bullets achieve full hardness by sitting for 2 weeks. They can also be made harder by water quenching after the last bake cycle.

There is also a way to dry coat bullets, but I’ve never done it.

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