Lyman Casting Guide

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1. Bullet Moulds and Their Care
Your bullet mould is a piece of precision equipment
tight container with a bag of desiccant crystals or a
Melting lead and casting lead objects
which, with care and common sense, can easily last
piece of VCI paper. Moulds preserved in this fashion
will expose you and others in the area to lead, which
a lifetime. Before using a new mould, it must be
do not require cleaning before their next use.
is known to cause birth defects, other reproductive
cleaned with a suitable solvent, such as alcohol or an
Whichever preservative system you choose, store the
aerosol degreaser, to remove the protective film of
harm and cancer.
mould in a dry place of relatively constant
oil. Never cast bullets with oil still in the mould as
temperature. Note: Leaving the last bullet in the
the oil will vaporize and leave an undesirable baked
mould cavities offers little, if any, protection.
REDUCING EXPOSURE: Lead contamination in the air, in dust, and on your
on residue.
From time to time, check the sprue cutter plate. This
skin is invisible. Keep children and pregnant women away
After casting, clean your mould. Wipe off any splashes
plate should swing freely, without vertical play. IF
during use and until cleanup is complete.
or smears of lead with a rough rag. If the lead splatters
too tight, air cannot escape, and the base of the
Risk can be reduced - but not eliminated - with strong ventilation;
are difficult to remove, re-heat the mould blocks until
bullet will not fill out properly. If too loose, the sprue
washing hands immediately after use of these products before eating or smoking;
the lead wipes off easily. Never use an abrasive material
will extend beyond the base of the bullet. A bit of
and careful cleaning of surfaces and floors with disposable
or scraping tool to remove lead from the mould. When
graphite or Motor mica, sprinkled between plate and
wipes, after lead dust has had a chance to settle. Use a
your mould is clean, allow it to cool, then re-oil it with
block, will greatly reduce friction.
lead specific cleaner with EDTA, or hand soaps specifically
rust preventative oil. This oil must be removed each
time before casting.
designed to remove heavy metals.
Alternatively, store your cool, clean mould in an air-
2. Lead Alloys and Gas Checks
3. Mixing Your Own #2 Bullet Alloy
Pure lead is suitable only for muzzle loading conical
must be pressed onto the base of a cast bullet. The
Over the years, Lyman has used several different lead
Finding Alloy Components:
and roundball projectiles or shotgun slugs, not for
purpose of this cup is to protect the bullet base from
alloy materials as standards for bullet-making. These
Wheelweights are available at many gas stations or
centerfire rifle and pistol bullets. In the latter
the burning effect of hot powder gases. Gas check
alloys varied in their composition and were identified
application, it is too soft to adequately resist the
automotive tire and service centers.
bullets, since they can be driven at higher velocities
as #2 Alloy, #4 Alloy, and #6 Alloy. Today, only the
thrust against the rifling and will rub off, streaking
than plain base bullets, will give flatter trajectories
Bar Solder (50/50 lead-tin) is available from plumb-
hardest of these alloys, #2 Alloy, is recommended for
the bore with lead deposits. To harden pure lead into
and greater energy. Even with a gas check, however,
ing and hardware stores.
a better bullet material, tin must be added.
all centerfire rifle and pistol loads. For muzzle loading
the lead alloy bullet cannot be driven as fast as some
Linotype may be obtained from a local printer,
Tin and lead mix well when melted, and a good
jacketed bullets or it may lose accuracy and lead the
bullets and shotgun slugs, use only pure lead. Making
although this material is becoming increasingly scarce
bullet alloy should always contain tin to enhance
#2 Alloy is reasonably easy. A mixture that
and expensive.
castability. The presence of antimony in the alloy,
A careful study of the Lyman Cast Bullet
compares very favorable may be made by
Pure Lead may be found at junk yards, or
especially for gas check bullets in rifles, has an
Handbook, 3rd Edition, will give you recommend-
melting down a few commonly available
purchased from a local plumber.
advantage. It hardens the alloy, making the bullet
ed loads and velocities for gas check bullets. This
components. Some of these materials may contain
less liable to gas-cutting and more capable of with-
data can also be found in the Reloading Handbook,
small traces of other metals, but from a practical
standing higher velocities. Because antimony
48th Edition, and the Pistol and Revolver
standpoint they may be considered "pure".
shrinks less when it cools, bullets of antimony alloy
Handbook, 2 Edition. Note: Gas checks can only be
will cast a little larger than softer alloys.
used on bullets which are specifically designed for
The gas check is a shallow gilded metal cup which
them. For complete product information, write for
your free catalog.
6. Loading Cast Bullets
Keep in mind that cast bullets are more fragile than
Today, many shooters believe that maximum
Edition, available from your local Lyman dealer.
jacketed bullets. Use Lyman's "M" Die or Multi-Expand
velocity means maximum performance. These
Lyman mould blocks-in single, double and four
shooters, thinking only of jacketed bullets and the
cavity sizes-are available in many different proven
Powder Charge Die (for pistol calibers) in the appropriate
hottest possible loads, put together the same high
bullet designs. Each bullet design is identified by a
caliber to flare each case mouth to prevent shaving away
intensity "package" for all shooting requirements.
six-digit number, such as #358429. For a listing of
bullet metal. Lyman three-die rifle and pistol sets include
Actually, a round loaded with enough potency to
available Lyman, refer to the current annual Lyman
this important expander die. If you have a two-die set of
crumple a charging grizzly is neither pleasant to
any brand, the Lyman "M" Die, which may be purchased
shoot nor truly efficient for such applications as
Detachable mould handles are available in two sizes
separately, will expand the set's capabilities to producing
recreational or competitive target shooting. The bul-
to accommodate blocks of single, double, or four
excellent cast bullet handloads. See our annual catalog for
let caster soon learns that over 90% of his shooting,
cavity size. A bullet caster may interchange the
detailed listings of all reloading dies, including the "M"
for fun and for game, can be done more effectively
blocks on his handles as he wishes, provided he uses
Die and Multi-Expand Powder Charge Die.
and enjoyably at a lower velocity with cast bullets. A
only that size block for which the handles are
cast bullet is only 1/10 the cost of a jacketed one, and
intended. It should be noted that all current single
Formula A
Formula B
an entire lifetime of shooting cast bullets will not
and double cavity moulds require the large mould
9 lbs. Wheelweights
4 lbs linotype
wear out the bore of a rifle or pistol.
1 lb. 50/50 bar solder
1 lb 50/50 bar solder
This booklet covers the essential facts of making cast
5 lbs lead
bullets. For a complete handbook on the subject, we
Makes 10 lbs #2 Alloy
Makes 10 lbs #2 Alloy
recommend the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, 3rd
Composition and Hardness (BHN) of
Safety Precautions
1. No casting should be done without basic safety
Useful Bullet Alloys
7. Never drop poorly formed bullets or sprue cut-offs
garb. This includes long pants, shirtsleeves, sturdy
back into the molten lead in the pot. This can cause
gloves, eye protection (such as goggles), and closed
molten lead splashes, which can seriously burn the
top shoes.
user or damage property. Always use caution when
2. Keep all flammable items away from casting area.
adding bullet metal to a furnace or pot containing
Do not operate unit on flammable materials such as
molten metal.
paper, wood, or carpeting. Keep primers, loaded
8. Do not continue to cast if distracted.
Lyman No.2
ammunition, and other shooting accessories away
9. Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling lead.
Taracorp Magnum 92
from casting area.
10. Do not run unit dry without lead, except during
1 to 1 Lead/Lino 92
3. Casting should be done in a well-ventilated area.
initial warmup period.
Avoid breathing fumes and dust from furnace.
11. Keep the plug dry.
4. Never allow moisture near molten lead. When
12. Always wash hands after handling lead. WASH
10 to 1
moisture is introduced to molten lead, a terrific steam
16 to 1
explosion occurs and molten metal sprays not only
and will rub off on your fingers.
20 to 1
over the immediate area but also over the bullet caster.
13. Be certain to place and use the melting pot where it
30 to 1
This moisture can be introduced by a wet ladle or dip-
cannot be tipped or knocked over. Never leave a unit
per. ALSO: Never put a COLD dipper into a lead pot
40 to 1
Lyman Products Corporation
as it will act in the same manner as water. Warm it first.
14. When finding lead to use in casting, never use lead
Pure Lead
5. Keep children away from casting and reloading
from any kind of battery.
475 Smith Street, Middletown, CT 06457
15. Keep bench area clean from sprue and droppings.
Printed in the U.S.A.
4/04 IBM - 2996032
6. Never pick up unit when heated.
Always clean casting area afterwards. Periodically

4. Bullet Casting
A. Necessary Equipment:
* Bullet Mould
* Mould Handles
* Bullet Metal
- Made from appropriate lead alloy.
See section on lead alloys.
* Lead Pot or Electric Furnace
Figure 1
* Fluxing Material - Tallow, beeswax. Lyman Ideal
bullet lubricant or Marvelux may be used.
* Lead Dipper - For pouring and stirring metal.
* Hardwood Casting Mallet -For opening and
Figure 2
Figure 4
Figure 3
closing the mould sprue cut-off plate.
* Small Cardboard Box - To receive sprue, scrap,
three-quarters full. Adjust furnace temperature as
pour easily through the dipper, it is ready for casting.
purpose. Never strike the mould blocks themselves.
or rejected bullets from your mould.
necessary. In about twenty or thirty minutes, when it
Fill the dipper with metal and place the spout of the
Your first bullets will be somewhat flawed because
* Cloth Pad - Any old cloth made with natural fiber
becomes liquefied and flows freely, the bullet metal
dipper against the pouring hole in the mould with the
the mould is cool. Casting bullets, one after the
material which may be used as a pad to soften the
will be ready for fluxing. For fluxing, allow adequate
mould turned on its side as shown in Figure 1.
other, will bring your mould to the correct tempera-
fall of the hot bullets as they drop from the mould.
Holding the mould and dipper together, slowly turn
ture. Wrinkled bullets indicate that the mould, or
Must not be synthetic since hot bullets may melt it.
To flux the metal, merely drop in a small bit of
them into a vertical position, with the dipper on top
metal, is too cool. Frosted bullets indicate the mould,
* Protective Clothing - Includes glasses, gloves and
tallow, beeswax, bullet lubricant or Marvelux. A
of the mould as shown in Figure 2. If you are using
or metal, is too hot. Good bullets should be clean,
apron for protection against spatters. Shirts should
smoky gas will rise from the pot. To eliminate this
a Lyman Electric Furnace with the bottom-pour
sharp, and fill the mould. They need not be bright
be long-sleeved, trousers full-length, and shoes
gas, light it with a match (Marvelux does not need to
feature, the mould is held about 1/4" below the
because their color will depend largely on the
close-topped. No slippers or sandals.
be ignited.) Stir the mixture with the dipper. Metal
spout. Be generous with the metal and let extra run
mixture of the alloy being used. Antimony alloys are
B. Preparing Metal (Melting & Fluxing)
which has been properly fluxed will have a mirror-
onto the mould's sprue cutter plate. This extra metal
duller in color than those of pure lead. Imperfect
bright surface flecked with a small quantity of black
is called sprue. When it hardens, which takes only
bullets should be collected and, along with the sprue
If using a lead pot, place it securely on a gas or elec-
or brown impurities. Skim off these small flecks of
seconds, pick up the casting mallet and tap the sprue
and other scrap, returned to the pot. Never dip your
tric stove and put a quantity of bullet metal into the
foreign matter.
cutter plate sharply as shown in Figure 3. This will
cool mould into molten bullet metal because the
pot. Add metal as needed to raise the level in the pot
Flux the metal whenever it seems to need it.
separate the sprue from the base of the bullet. Drop
rapid temperature change may cause permanent
close to full. Set the lead dipper in the pot to preheat
the sprue from the base of the bullet into scrap box.
block warpage.
it. If you are using a Lyman Electric Furnace, plug in
C. Casting Bullets
With the mould held close to your cloth pad, open
the furnace and turn the thermostatic control to the
the block and let the bullet fall to the pad. If the
three-quarter mark on the scale. Place a quantity of
Note: All pictures are for demonstration only.
bullet does not drop readily, use the mallet to rap the
bullet metal into the furnace. After it melts add alloy
Always wear safety glasses or goggles while casting
handle hinge pivot sharply as shown in Figure 4. use
as needed to raise the pot level from about half to
When the metal has been fluxed and is hot enough to
only wood (or similar non-marring material) for this
5. Lubricating and Sizing
A. Necessary Equipment

down to the various specific requirements of the
sandths of an inch larger
guided into it as you pull down on the operating
* Bullets -- You have cast these already.
shooter. Since the as-cast bullet's diameter and
than the slug will be
handle. Use only enough force to fully seat the gas
* Gas Checks -- If your bullet design requires them.
weight relate to the metal alloy used, Lyman center-
best. The Lyman #4500
check. After all the gas checks have been installed,
* Lyman Bullet Lubricant -- Either Orange Magic,
fire bullets have been designed with #2 Alloy as
Lube/Sizer sizes bullets
remove the Seater and size and lubricate normally.
to a uniform diameter.
Ideal, or Alox/beeswax.
standard. With a different bullet metal, there will be
Use of the Gas Check Seater ensures the squarest
It also forces lubricant,
* Lyman #4500 Lubricator & Sizer -- With correct
minor variations in weight, length and diameter.
possible bullet base regardless of the type of gas
under pressure, into
top punch and sizing die for sizing your style and
Passing bullets through a bullet sizing die gives them
bullet grooves and
checks used. A good square bullet base translates
caliber bullet.
their finished sized diameters.
seats gas checks when
into improved accuracy.
* Lyman Gas Check Seater -- Now delivered with
B. Choosing a Bullet Sizing Die
required-all in one
our #4500 Lubricator/Sizer. Also available separate-
simple operation.
ly, and fits old #450's and the RCBS Lube-A-Matic.
Place the gas check, if
* Lyman Lube/Sizer Heater -- Was designed for
one is required, in the
today's high temperature lubes. It heats the 450
center of the sizing Figure 6
Lube/Sizer to the right temperature, allowing
as shown in
smooth, effortless bullet lubrication. Not needed if
Figure 6. The bullet is placed, base down, on top of
the 4500 with built-in heater is used.
the gas check. If a gas check is not being used, place
the bullet, base down, in the center of the sizing die.
Align the point of the bullet so that it centers itself in
Before your newly-cast bullets can be loaded into
Figure 5
the top punch and pull the handle down firmly. Hold
cartridges, two further operations are necessary.
The correct sized diameter for your cast bullet
the handle down firmly while turning the ratchet
These are:
depends upon the groove diameter of your gun. The
handle slightly to force the lubricant into the bullet
1. Lubricating: Casting bullets are designed with
exact sized diameter is a determination that only you
grooves. See Figure 7.
lubricating grooves around their circumference.
can make. Experienced shooters usually prefer
When you raise the handle, the bullet will be
These grooves must be filled with a suitable
bullets sized above exact groove diameter.
ejected, completely sized, lubricated, and ready for
lubricant to prevent barrel leading and maximize
Figure 5 shows how to determine the groove diameter
loading. However, if the gas check will not fully seat
of your gun. Carefully drive a SOFT lead slug
accuracy. Lyman Alox Bullet Lubricant is generally
through the lightly lubricated bore. The slug should
on the bullet using only finger pressure, the Lyman
recommended for this purpose.
be large enough so the some excess lead is shaved
Gas Check Seater should be employed for best
2. Sizing: Lyman bullet moulds are designed to cast
off as it enters the muzzle. Insert a cleaning rod into
result. To install, raise the #4500's push rod until its
bullets slightly oversize, compared to a given jacket-
the breech and carefully tap the slug back out of the
top bears against the bottom of the sizing die. Then
ed bullet diameter, in order to properly fit the some-
barrel. With a micrometer, measure the diameter of
slip the Gas Check Seater around the threaded push-
times wide range of factory barrel dimensions in the
this slug at its WIDEST POINT. This is the groove
rod adjusting screw so that the push rod is held at the
same caliber. This larger diameter ensures the cast
diameter of your firearm at the smallest part of the
base of the sizing die. Next, a gas check is set, cup-
bullet has sufficient diameter so that it may be sized
rifling. Using a sizing die up to a couple of thou-
side up, in the center of the sizing die and a bullet
Figure 7