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'Rolling Your Own'...bullets

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I'm looking for further information on making my own bullets from the casting to the coating. Anyone else doing this?

What are some of your go to sites for information, equipment and supplies?😜

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I cast and coat my own Bullets. The cast boolits forum has been invaluable source. Lots of very good and knowledgeable folks on that site.


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49 minutes ago, RAP said:

I cast and coat my own Bullets. The cast boolits forum has been invaluable source. Lots of very good and knowledgeable folks on that site.


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What a site!!! Thanks!

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Cast and coat most of the handgun bullets I shoot.

Castboolits is a pretty good site, they get way off in the woods sometimes though. AR15.com has some pretty serious casters in their Reloading subforum.

If you have specific questions you could ask here, won't get quite the traffic.

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I started casting my own bullets a few years ago, the Cast Boolits forum was invaluable for getting started.

When my bullet supply started getting low and I needed another case of bullets I decided to start casting. I started with 9mm and challenged myself to buy all the casting equipment , sizing die, coating materials and even the lead for the same price as a single case of bullets. That’s exactly what I did.

Over the years, I’ve upgraded my casting setup to make things faster but it’s definitely not a hobby you want to jump into if you can’t give up some time, but the money you’ll save is crazy.

It’s a game changer when you realize you’re hand loading 9mm ammo for less than a nickel a round.


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7 hours ago, Beef15 said:

Cast and coat most of the handgun bullets I shoot.

Castboolits is a pretty good site, they get way off in the woods sometimes though. AR15.com has some pretty serious casters in their Reloading subforum.

If you have specific questions you could ask here, won't get quite the traffic.

Having a good background in metal casting and mold handling, that part is not going to be a problem at all (including the safety aspects). What has me searching to fill the mental void is the coating. From what I've gleaned from the Castboolits forum is either electrostatic (powder coating) or dry tumble. I have a grasp on electrostatic but not a clue on dry tumble. How does the powder stay on there...by some electrostatic function during the tumble??? Thanks.

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28 minutes ago, razorfish said:

When my bullet supply started getting low and I needed another case of bullets I decided to start casting. I started with 9mm and challenged myself to buy all the casting equipment , sizing die, coating materials and even the lead for the same price as a single case of bullets. That’s exactly what I did.

Over the years, I’ve upgraded my casting setup to make things faster but it’s definitely not a hobby you want to jump into if you can’t give up some time, but the money you’ll save is crazy.

It’s a game changer when you realize you’re hand loading 9mm ammo for less than a nickel a round.

1.) What would you guess is your time involvement for let's say 300 rounds?

2.) What's you choice for method of coating?

I like that "9mm ammo for less than a nickel a round" comment since I have the time!!

Thanks!!

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Have you thought about using HI TEK coating? For me it’s easier and faster. I use the powder version of HI TEK.


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Having a good background in metal casting and mold handling, that part is not going to be a problem at all (including the safety aspects). What has me searching to fill the mental void is the coating. From what I've gleaned from the Castboolits forum is either electrostatic (powder coating) or dry tumble. I have a grasp on electrostatic but not a clue on dry tumble. How does the powder stay on there...by some electrostatic function during the tumble??? Thanks.


There are two main types of bullet coatings. One is Powder Coating (the one where the powdered paint sticks to the bullet) and the other is Hi-Tek coated bullets (a wet coating method).

If you want lots of pretty colors and want to make small batches of bullets, powder coating is the way to go. Personally I use Hi-Tek coating. Send Bayou Bullets a twenty dollar bill for the coating material and add a little acetone and you’re on your way. I cast in bulk (no less than 45 lbs of bullets each batch) and Hi-Tek is great for batch coating bullets.


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1bc2ff4e2d4dbd21ee05911bf88fa7f2.jpg1bc2ff4e2d4dbd21ee05911bf88fa7f2.jpg

Here is a picture of my cast and HI TEK coated 9mm Bullets.


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1.) What would you guess is your time involvement for let's say 300 rounds?

2.) What's you choice for method of coating?

I like that "9mm ammo for less than a nickel a round" comment since I have the time!!

Thanks!!

 

Hmm... It takes me about three or four hours to cast 45 pounds of bullets using a six hole mold (about 2,500 130 grain 9mm bullets). Coating these bullets takes another hour and half but most of that time is just waiting for something to dry/cool down/heat up. Applying the coating to the bullets takes less than 30 seconds and I use two coats.

 

The part of the process I hated was sizing the bullets. (Each coated bullet must be sized after casting and coating) I started with a Lee push thru die and eventually came upon an old Star Lubri-sizer some years ago that made things somewhat easier. I’ve now added a 3d printed bullet nose down collator so sizing three hundred bullets takes me less than five minutes.

 

Again, I do things in large batches so I might cast bullets over several evenings before coating. As long as I stay a few thousand bullets ahead of the game I can always find time to cast an hour or two here and there. Note that like any other “hobby” there’s a good bit to learn but eventually it will be second nature to you. Enjoy the process... I actually enjoy the casting process... melted lead still amazes me. default_smile.png

 

c98424e5815c4b47c0e868c34c79125c.heic

Fresh batch of 9mm...

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I agree, casting, coating and sizing in large batches is the way to go. I use off season (winter months) to do most of my bullet casting.


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57 minutes ago, RAP said:

Have you thought about using HI TEK coating? For me it’s easier and faster. I use the powder version of HI TEK.

That's one that I've noticed in my recent searches.

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I agree, casting, coating and sizing in large batches is the way to go. I use off season (winter months) to do most of my bullet casting.


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I also went to the powdered Hi-Tek coating when it came out. I now coat in 15 pound batches because 15 pounds of bullets takes 1 tablespoon of coating. (1ml per pound of bullets and there’s 15ml in one tablespoon). Basically, I got tired of measuring and 15 pounds is about all I want to swirl around a five gallon bucket for twenty seconds.

Also, I have three drying racks so three batches of 15 lbs is easy for me.

Here’s a video of the making of my 3d printed bullet collator...




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57 minutes ago, razorfish said:

If you want lots of pretty colors and want to make small batches of bullets, powder coating is the way to go. Personally I use Hi-Tek coating. Send Bayou Bullets a twenty dollar bill for the coating material and add a little acetone and you’re on your way. I cast in bulk (no less than 45 lbs of bullets each batch) and Hi-Tek is great for batch coating bullets.

The HiTek method sounds to me like the way to go. I think that I saw instructions for the wet process somewhere. Thanks for the images of your cast and coated bullets. I like seeing that they are no lube groove bullets and the mold company name.

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Jared at Arsenal Molds is a great guy and makes very good molds. I have another Arsenal Mold of similar bullet profile for my 40.

Once your set up for HI TEK you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quick the process goes.


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2 minutes ago, razorfish said:

 


I also went to the powdered Hi-Tek coating when it came out. I now coat in 15 pound batches because 15 pounds of bullets takes 1 tablespoon of coating. (1ml per pound of bullets and there’s 15ml in one tablespoon). Basically, I got tired of measuring and 15 pounds is about all I want to swirl around a five gallon bucket for twenty seconds.

Also, I have three drying racks so three batches of 15 lbs is easy for me.

Here’s a video of the making of my 3d printed bullet collator...

 

...so when are you going to convert the sizer to mechanical power😉?

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Just now, RAP said:

Jared at Arsenal Molds is a great guy and makes very good molds. I have another Arsenal Mold of similar bullet profile for my 40.

Once your set up for HI TEK you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quick the process goes.

Thanks, looks like I'll be getting touch with Jared.

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...so when are you going to convert the sizer to mechanical power?


I might get around to it one day but I’ve got a brass processing press I’d rather motorize first.

Believe it or not, I can now pull the handle on my sizer as fast as I can (doesn’t take much effort). I was hoping for one pull a second but I easily size 80 to 100 bullets a minute. It’s barely even a chore at this point.


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1 hour ago, Bench said:

What has me searching to fill the mental void is the coating. From what I've gleaned from the Castboolits forum is either electrostatic (powder coating) or dry tumble. I have a grasp on electrostatic but not a clue on dry tumble. How does the powder stay on there...by some electrostatic function during the tumble??? Thanks.

 

I dry tumble PC without BBs. There is static generated while tumbling, that's why they get wrapped up about using #5 containers.

It works ok, I think I get more smoke/ejecta than with Hi-Tek or Blues. I have been considering applying Hi-Tek, the time for two coats has me hesitant.

 

1 hour ago, Bench said:

1.) What would you guess is your time involvement for let's say 300 rounds?

2.) What's you choice for method of coating?

I like that "9mm ammo for less than a nickel a round" comment since I have the time!!

Thanks!!

 

300 bullets would take me under an hour to cast and coat maybe another 10-15 minutes to size once they cooled.

I usually cast a pot or two a session in an hour to 1.5, 15-20lbs, if the pot freezes I'll tumble some and get them in the oven. If not then there's almost another hour for two sessions of tumble for a few and bake for 20. 

 

NOE also makes no groove molds in their HTC line, I think Arsenal molds are just as good and better priced, but there are fewer options. I'm currently using NOE's HTC 358133RN.

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The actual time involvement in Hi-Tek is minimal.

 

20 seconds swirl.

 

Let them dry.

 

Bake them.

 

Let them cool. 

 

20 seconds swirl.

 

Let them dry.

 

Bake them.

 

Done.

 

total time under a minute.

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46 minutes ago, ExStreetWalker said:

The actual time involvement in Hi-Tek is minimal.

 

20 seconds swirl.

 

Let them dry.

 

Bake them.

 

Let them cool. 

 

20 seconds swirl.

 

Let them dry.

 

Bake them.

 

Done.

 

total time under a minute.

Now that sounds like something I can handle😜

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3 hours ago, razorfish said:

I might get around to it one day but I’ve got a brass processing press I’d rather motorize first.

Believe it or not, I can now pull the handle on my sizer as fast as I can (doesn’t take much effort). I was hoping for one pull a second but I easily size 80 to 100 bullets a minute. It’s barely even a chore at this point.

 

What lead alloy are you using or straight lead?

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4 hours ago, RAP said:

I agree, casting, coating and sizing in large batches is the way to go. I use off season (winter months) to do most of my bullet casting.

There's not much shooting at all here during winter except indoors so I just may plan on starting then.

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59 minutes ago, ExStreetWalker said:

The actual time involvement in Hi-Tek is minimal.

 

20 seconds swirl.

 

Let them dry.

 

Bake them.

 

Let them cool. 

 

20 seconds swirl.

 

Let them dry.

 

Bake them.

 

Done.

 

total time under a minute.

The issue for me is bake time, if I actually want to get them done, I don't have to stand and watch, but I need to be putting another basket in every whatever minutes so I can't exactly go do something else.

 

PC is minus dry time and entire second coat time. Tumble 30-45secs, dump on screen, shake, put in oven for 20 minutes. Repeat until out of bullets.

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