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Kursk: If you want CHEAP .45ACP ... cast the bullets! If buying factory bullets, you won't save all that much. If you dig in the ARCHIVES, it has been described before how to get all the stuff you need and at reasonable prices.

Son prefers the LEE Loadmaster over the Pro 1000. These are not expensive progressive presses compared to others and work just as well. Add a tumbler and media for your brass.
For the bullets, a large (turkey fryer) burner and a cast dutch oven pot ($30) and 5 ingot molds. Get the LEE 6 cavity 45 230gr round nose mold and handles. Your total investment will be under $300 and pay itself back in a matter of months. (not including a decent bench to mount it all on)

Find a local service shop that does tires (helps if they service your cars). They often have to pay someone to haul off their discard wheel weights. My shop is more than glad to have us empty their buckets, often yielding several hundred pounds. 30% trash, 30% alloy weights, and 10% in metal clips but a couple bucket loads can be reduced to 2lb coffee cans full of pure ingots.
Those ingots then go into the lead pot to churn out about 1000 cast bullets in an hour and a half. It's all in the ARCHIVES here.
A few thousand brass, collected from discards at the range seem to last forever and some have gone around 10-20 times! End results are 50cal ammo cans filled with 45ACP at a nickel @.
Thorough tests have found them to be more accurate than factory new and our guns like them enough that I even carry them. Proven 99.9% reliable!
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
db, do they have to be resized after casting? I've cast my own lead jigs in the past but used a smaller electric pot.

i'll have to look into this a little more as it's always best to ask lots of questions (at others patience albeit) before sinking some cash. Thanks for the info you guys.
 

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Kursk, You are so in the right place. Your enthusiasm is well appreciated and encouraging, we all can use a dose of head stuffing. I have thought that maybe there has been a time or two where I could have spent time doing other things rather than bullet building, but usually come to my senses and confess, that I was just temporarily confused. Ears,eyes and mind open, you will be good at reloading. Actually, I think you already are.
 

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db, do they have to be resized after casting? I've cast my own lead jigs in the past but used a smaller electric pot.

i'll have to look into this a little more as it's always best to ask lots of questions (at others patience albeit) before sinking some cash. Thanks for the info you guys.
All these questions are good, but you could ask better questions if you take a break and read some of the links already posted especially the LA Silhouette Shooters links. Depending on your lead alloy, bullets shrink more or less. or expand a little whatever.. they do not pop out of the mold the size of the mold in every case .. you have to size ( not resize) the bullets if they do not cool to the proper size. And cast lead bullets change as they get older, mostly in hardness, sometimes in dimension. So depending on how long a cast bullet has been on the shelf waiting to be loaded things could change from one batch or source to another.. usually not enough to make any big differences , but the bigger the bullet the bigger the change.. so being set up to size the bullets is only a good thing if it is necessary.. I think you can get a Lee sizer for under 21 bucks description here http://leeprecision.com/bullet-casting/lube-and-sizing-kit/ good price here http://www.midwayusa.com/product/116429/lee-bullet-lube-and-size-kit-452-diameter ignore the directions on the Midway page, somebody screwed those up badly. And you have several options , not just .452 slug your bore and you want .001 larger than your bore.

Hi tech ammo has FMJ 230 grain in stock http://www.hi-techammo.com/ for 14 cents each and when they have them the Nosler JHP's are similarly a good price. Another thing you will find when buying components.. if you buy in bulk you will get massive discounts .. a bullet will cost 30 cents when you buy 100 but if you buy 2000 they cost 20 cents ..

Something I do pretty regularly .. when I find a really good deal like 20 cents for a 30 cent bullet.. I will buy several thousand and package up half or 2/3rds for 28 cents per 100.. and sell them at gun shows.. they move well.. my customers save a couple cents and shipping per bullet and I get 300 free bullets out of every thousand . the 700 I sell cover or nearly cover my costs, I'm not going for break even.. I have nothing against shooting 5 cents JHP's in 45 acp ( What this Country needs is a good 5 cents JHP) . And I shoot a lot of JHP for free, or around a nickel, except cost of powder and primer and my time. Especially JHP.. most folks just want 100 or so for defensive carry and can't afford to train with JHP .. so I share just a little bit of my savings and get free bullets .. I think it is a win -win.. you will never pay your table fees that way.. but having small stuff for sale does increase your table traffic and folks see folks buying from you, it helps sales on the other things on your table.

Quick example .. Hi-tech has them for 14 cents .. only FMJ 230 grain Midway has is $57 and change for 250 or about 23 cents.. I would sell my 14 cent bullets in a 100 count baggie for 20 cents .. sell 700 and I break even not counting shipping.. I get 300 free for shipping.. that is cheaper than cast or plated / 45 acp I can move about 3K at most gun shows .. those 55 grain .223 at 10 cents sell for 15 cents in 100 count bags real easy and fast... of and to "count them" you just take a 50 round bullet box and drop two in each chamber and dump them in a bag .. takes about 2 minutes being careful.. but then I have had a lot of practice.

Just saying
 

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Measurement of the cast bullets says they do not need resizing but son likes to run them through a sizing die anyway. It is crucial to lube them by rolling around on wax paper and ALOX lube but don't slather it on too thick ... a tiny bit goes a long way.

Key to production speed is how you do it ... detailed before in ARCHIVES
Melting down the wheel weights is a chore best done in bulk in the large (cast iron dutch oven pot) on the large single propane burner. Meltdown about 30lb in the pot at a time, scoop off the metal clips and the alloy (non-lead weights) and keep adding more and repeating until you have nearly a full pot. Turn the flame down to just enough to keep it molten. Stir and bring any residue and crap to the top and skim. Use a 2oz stainless ladle to rapidly fill LEE INGOT MOLDS (5) in order and set aside. By the time you fill the last one, the first one has hardened enough to dump into a 5 gal bucket of water. This becomes a continuous process. It will take about 1 hr to melt down 100lb of weights and turn them into about 3 2lb coffee cans of (clean and ready to cast from) ingots.

Some other day ... when bored with nothing else pressing to do ... fire up the small electric LEE casting pot (with pour spout).
Coating the 6 cavity mold with FRANKFORD ARSENAL DROP OUT graphite spray speeds production and ensures the cast bullets don't stick in the mold block. One you get everything up to the right temperature, it becomes a continuous process of filling the mold, wait ten seconds, and dump in a 5 gal bucket of cold water. Once you get the hang if it, you can churn out about 1500 an hour.

DRY the cast bullets by placing the coffee cans full of them on your grill on low heat and warm just enough to evaporate any water.
Store the cans full of cast bullets for another day ... when you will empty a batch out to lube with ALOX and let dry. Return to the can and set aside.
Another day, you MAY want to run these through the sizing die ... or not.

Another day, when you have a few hours, load up the progressive press and start pulling the handle! You can churn out a couple hundred finished bullets an hour!
Helps to have extra sets of case and bullet feed tubes you can pre-load so you seldom have to stop to fill them.

There are not a lot of options in 6 cavity molds. The LEE standard 230gr round nose is the best. Buy a couple as they are often out of stock and they do eventually wear out, get warped, and otherwise reach a point of replacement but you will get several thousand castings from each set.

At a cost of about 5 cents @ (primer and powder), compared to factory ammo ($25 and up a box), by the time you have cast 3000, you have recovered your investment in equipment that will go on to serve you years into the future.
The reloaded rounds shoot just as well (in some cases - better) than factory rounds. We have been settled on 4.5gr of Bullseye, which chronos at 820fps and was the most accurate from test loadings from 3.5 - 5.5gr.
Note that the same cast bullets also work well in 45LC which makes for cheap practice rounds for the Judge Public Defender.
All of which translates into - the ability to go to the range and blow off a couple hundred rounds in a practice session for a few bucks instead of breaking the bank and maybe shooting one box of factory!

BUT ... before you start spending money ... WAIT for powder to become available again! It has been totally absent for over 1 year now! Primers are abundant and the price has not jumped much.
You can clean and prep and prime your brass and cast your bullets but without powder ....
I'm sitting on several thousand cases ready to go and plenty of cans full of bullets ready to load when I can get my hands on as little as a 1 lb bottle of powder!
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Well thanks guys I really appreciate all the responses. BTW, I did read part of LA SIl website and I already knew that molten metals shrink. I am very familiar with injection molding and the engineering tolerances than need to be built into the steel molds based upon the linear shrinkage of different plastics. In this case we have aluminum molds that expand and shrink also with the molten lead.

I have watched a few youtube videos showing guys cast their own bullets also. I do read a lot so don't think I don't. I am simply trying to get as much info as possible.

Oh, I did use a micrometer on a few of my spent jacketed 45's and they are WAY under .451. These are WWB. I know they deform but even the most concentric bullet was a few thousands under. Right around .444 to .448. The micrometer is accurate and it is a Brown and Sharpe.

Edit: I have a silicone base mold release that I use for my silicone molds when I cast resin parts. It is sprayed on lightly and will dry on it own in a short time. I wonder if I can use that to lube the lead before resizing???
 

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Kursk.. it is not about the mold expanding and contracting with the lead. It is about different alloys of lead dropping out of the same mold with different diameters. Different alloys of lead will cast different sized bullets out of the same mold. The Same alloy out of the same mold will have a different diameter if you air cool, water quench, or oven temper it to get a specific hardness because of the way those factors create different crystalline structures in the solidified lead alloy. Different hardness of bullets affects if you get leading or not and a good gas seal .. Harder is not always better, too hard a cast lead bullet and too low a pressure will lead up a barrel just as fast as too soft a lead bullet and too high a pressure, the former because it does not always seal and you get gas cutting, the latter because you get too much seal and friction against the bore.

You turn lead into gold using the magic formula of alloy hardness proper to chamber pressures and bullet size .001 larger than the bore, while chanting the magic words "Always wear safety glasses" .
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 · (Edited)
Ok so I stop in at a Scheels store and they have a whole rack of 1lb'ers and 8lb'ers on display. I asked if the had any W231 or Hodgon and they said that they are all out except for a couple other powders, and that there was a factory fire.

So I ask what the other powders were and they had IMR 4350 which immediately rung my bell and I snagged 1lb can of that for me -08 and .280. Cost was $26 or so. I talked with another person there and he swore that Accurate #9 is what he uses for .45acp. I looked in the Nosler, Hornady, and Lyman books and couldn't see that powder listed for the caliber. He told me to just reduce the load. Well, since powder is so hard to get I picked up 2ea. 1lb cans of the #9 for $23 a can and 1000 large pistol Winchester primers for $35. Not the best price but I didn't want to waste money on gas.

I was going to buy the lyman book but the hornady and nosler books seemed much nicer except that hornady book was $35 vs. $24 for the lyman and $25 for the nosler.

They were totally out of sierra .284 bullets and I figured I would look on-line for those instead of paying $35 for the hornady 154grainers.

They had cast bullets for $56 230gr rnfp...passed on them.

Can anyone verify I can use that #9 on .45acp rounds or is the info I found after I got home true that it is too slow?
 

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I use #9 for .327 Federal magnum.. pretty sure you aren't going to find any recipes using it for 45acp, and I wouldn't try it as a reduced load.. never trust undocumented info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 · (Edited)
That's a shame but a lesson. I did find where people have used it with the #7 load data and it worked fine for them.

Here is a link: http://www.accuratepowder.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/WP_LoadSpec_1-23-14.pdf

ACCURATE NO. 9
230 (L) PENN T-HEAD 5.7 720 6.7 855 19,961 1.505

http://blog.westernpowders.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/LoadGuide-45AutoACP+P-update1-28-14.pdf

Well, not sure what to do with that powder now as it cannot be exchanged. I'll likely put it for trade/sale in the local shoppers guide and hopefully unload it. Definitely a lesson learned.
 
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