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Old 07-23-2016, 07:33 PM   #1
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Casting your own bullets

So I was thinking about casting my own bullets since I have 4 tons of lead in my yard, has anyone done this? Will it hurt semi auto guns? I was told it would wreck an AR because of the gas chambers but what about a 380?
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:10 PM   #2
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No problem casting bullets for a 380. I shoot cast lead bullets all the time in my Ruger LCP (commercial, not my cast bullets). Lead bullets will play havoc with an AR15's gas system, don't do it. Lead bullets should never be used in any firearm that operates on a gas system. They will foul the gas system very quickly.
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Old 07-23-2016, 10:30 PM   #3
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Casting lead is not very healthy, do it in a well ventilated area. The gas from molten lead can cause serious health problems. FYI
Edit to add: No gas operated at all, blow back, bolt and Levers OK. You do have to get the residual lead out of the barrel to keep accuracy.

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Old 07-24-2016, 01:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Carriecarlson67 View Post
So I was thinking about casting my own bullets since I have 4 tons of lead in my yard, has anyone done this? Will it hurt semi auto guns? I was told it would wreck an AR because of the gas chambers but what about a 380?
When I was a teenager, I used to cast a LOT of round balls. I had fun doing it, and the savings made it possible for me to shoot a lot more.

I never got into casting my own for modern guns, as the whole sizing/annealing/lubing thing didn't excite me. But I reloaded and shot a lot of other people's cast bullets.

The downside of cast bullets is leading of the bore. That just means that you need to spend more time cleaning. If you have to go out and buy lead, it might not be much economic incentive to cast your own. But if the lead is free, then it might make more sense.

Just avoid your super turbo magnum loads. Keep the pressures and velocities sane, and you'll be fine.

What kind of lead do you have? Wheel weights? Linotype? An abandoned lead mine?
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:49 AM   #5
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I cast my own bullets for years. I had free access to large quantities of lead. I cast for .38/.357, .41 and .44 caliber revolvers. At the time that met all of my practice, competition and hunting needs.

Here are two secret to keeping the lead from clogging up your barrels. If you make pure lead bullets, keep the velocity under 1000 fps. If you choose to go over that, then add tin and antimony to the lead mix. A good source of this is bar solder or wheel weights (Check with your local tire store for old weights that they remove). Mix at a ratio of 1 lb of bar solder to 10 lbs of lead.


This makes the lead bullets much harder. I used hard cast lead bullets to shoot metallic silhouette matches. I pumped .357, .41 and .44 magnum loads up to 1500 fps. There was NO barrel leading!! The bullets were so hard that you could not even dent them with a thumb nail!

As long as you can get the lead for free, you can economically cast bullets. If you have to pay for lead, you are wasting your time. I did most of my casting during the winter, when it was cooler and I was not shooting competition as much.

Others mentioned the NO NO of using lead bullets in gas ported firearms, so I won't bore you with any more on that. Ask away if you have any questions!!
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Last edited by Lineman; 07-26-2016 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:41 PM   #6
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Another tip is make sure the bullet is .001 to .002 bigger then the bore so it seals good and eliminates gas cutting.


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Old 07-26-2016, 08:07 AM   #7
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We got 3 counter weights from the factory my boyfriend works, each weighing in at about 2 ton, so with 6 ton of lead sitting in the yard we have a hard time paying for lead. I shoot about 100 rounds a week through my Kimber Bel Air 380 so we were just looking into doing it a little cheaper!
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Old 07-26-2016, 11:32 AM   #8
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You'll need to figure out a couple things.

First off, pure lead isn't hard enough. It's not critical because you're just making plinking ammo. If it's difficult to mark it with your fingernail, I'd call it good to go. If you can gouge it, then you'll need to mix it with antimony.

The other interesting problem is how you're going to chop off manageable chunks from a giant ingot.
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