View Full Version : Question about Cast Boolits

11-18-2009, 07:14 PM
I am able to sign in in the general and Reloaders Guide but when I try to sign in in the Cast Boolits section it does not recognize my username or password. Can anyone help, trying to learn and ask as many questions about making and using cast boolits to save money on my shooting expense. I can get free WW at the local tire store once a month.

11-20-2009, 04:24 AM
when versifier see's this he might be able to help you some.
in the mean time you can ask a ton of questions here and i bet they can be answered here.
versifier knows the lee stuff rather well and i can answer most questions about the lyman,rcbs etc type stuff.

11-20-2009, 02:06 PM
I have cast iron pot that I can melt down the WW in. I will be using my fish cooker outside to doe this with. After removing the clips, what do I do next.

11-20-2009, 04:03 PM
As to your difficulties next door, go there to the members list and see if you can find your user name there. If so, go to your User CP page and see what your status is. Contact one of the moderators over there like Buckshot and he will straighten things out. If you cannot find your user name on the list, then your registration for some reason did not go through.

Smelting 101. I like to sort my WW's first and get all the trash out (sometimes they use the bucket to throw trash in, too, valve stems, etc). The tape-on ones are very close to pure lead - if you cast muzzle loader balls or bullets, save it separately. Then I like to go through and try to spot all the zinc weights (you can usually tell them because the clips are riveted on, not cast as part of the weight, sometines it says right on them Zn). It is extremely important to remove all of them. Zinc has a higher melting point than lead does, so if you miss a few during initial sorting, they will be floating on top when the clips melt free and you can skim them along with the clips at that point. Get them out of there as quickly as possible, don't wait to be sure everything has melted. If even one melts in, the entire batch is useless for casting bullets as it will not fill out in the mould properly. Don't get too worried about it, you will catch onto how to spot them quickly - if in doubt, try to cut one with a pair of side cutting pliers - they are much harder. Better to toss a few good ones if in doubt though.

Be extremely careful that nothing you add to the hot smelter or casting pot is wet or damp. Any water will explode into steam coating everything around including you with molten alloy. (Search "tinsel fairy" next door.) If you store ingots outside, bring them in the day before to warm up - any condensation on one when it is added to a potful of molten alloy will usually empty most of the pot. Aloe - fresh - is very good for burns. ;)

At this point, some like to make up the specific alloy they will use. If you are using just one specific alloy, this is the easiest way to go, but you probably should stick to the basics first. You will need some sort of mould or moulds for ingots, too. Make sure they will be of a size that will fit into your casting pot.

Others just like to separate the base components into different batches and smelt them separately: pure, WW's, linotype (if you are lucky enough to find some). I like to write on each ingot (after it has cooled!) with a black sharpie to identify it later. Some casters like to use a different ingot mould for each component to avoid later confusion (old cast iron corn pone or muffin pans are very popular). I use different mixes for handgun bullets (1/2 WW's, 1/2 pure), rifle hunting bullets (all WW's), and rifle target bullets (1/2 linotype, 1/2 pure). I mix them up in the casting pot for each batch of bullets as needed, and add a little extra tin in the form of 50/50 solder to aid fillout.

So, you have a smelter full of melt with all the clips skimmed. Now you need to flux. Proper fluxing helps to make sure none of the component metals will separate and gets rid of the last of the imputities. There are a ton of different things you can use for flux. I advise you NOT to use a product like marvelux because it absorbs water and will rust your casting pot if you leave it full. I use old candle wax, a lump the size of a gumball. Toss it in, stir it, making sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the smelter to free up any impurities, then light it on fire, stirring the whole time. You should only be skimming minor amounts - if you are getting large amounts of shiny metal, reflux. Skim the dross into an old tin can with the clips and zinc weights. You should be left with a smelter full of nice, clean alloy. Pour it into ingot moulds.

Be aware that smelting is going to initially produce a lot of very nasty smoke, which you can lessen somewhat by removing as much trash as possible, but your WW's will still have a good coating of oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, etc., from the garage.. Obviously, this is an outdoor only activity. Keep your neighbors in mind, too. It is not unusual for in an urban setting for someone to call the fire department, so give it some thought. Don't try it if it's too windy, though, as you will have problems keeping a constant heat under it. Also, don't even think about doing it on a rainy day (Tinsel Fairy again). Odds are good there will be minor or major spills, so pick a spot clear of flamables that you can clean up easily after (the middle of an asphalt driveway is not a good spot, neither is a garage if there are petroleum residues on the floor).

Lead hygiene. Don't handle anything during the process that you will be eating, drinking, or smoking without washing your hands first. You won't be working at a high enough temperature to produce lead vapor (unless you get it onto a cigarette), but metalic lead and lead oxide can get onto your hands very easily. Both are water soluble and easily washed away. If you empty your pot after casting bullets, be aware of the yellow powder residue on the inside. This is lead oxide. It is highly soluble and very toxic if it gets into your body, so don't breathe any of the dust. I like to clean my pots on a very windy day with the wind coming from one side so the dust doesn't end up on my clothes or in my lungs. Casting does not require temperatures hot enough to produce lead vapor (the most toxic form) and if you wash your hands everytime before you touch anything other than your casting tools, your exposure will be minimal. Case tumbling produces hundreds of times more airborne particulate lead and lead oxide than casting does and is the single biggest source of lead contamination for reloaders and their families.

11-20-2009, 11:10 PM
Thank you for this information. I have removed several zinc WW and have separated the taped on WW for my White Muzzleloader. I am planning to reload for my rifles and handguns and appreciate all I can learn. Have a friend that is experienced in cast boolits and he is going to help me get started during the holidays.