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Shiny bullets from an old mould!
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November 26, 2023 - 1:57 am
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My latest range session with the 32-40 indicated the need for bullets of a different alloy (20:1 versus salvage wheel weight alloy) from my old Winchester mould. Even with four furnaces I managed to have the wrong alloy in the furnace I wanted to use and the thermometer was carelessly left in an alloy I didn’t want to use. Suffice it to say I melted a lot of lead before I got to pour myself a hot one. Had to learn a slightly different cadence and melt temp with the new/old alloy but once I got it down the old Winchester mould was a joy to cast with! 
When I finally had almost enough bullets things got a little sporty; the pivot screw for the bottom pour linkage came loose and suddenly about nine pounds of molten lead were free to flow as they pleased. I luckily had a few ingot moulds on hand from the earlier alloy change and used them to catch the flow while I tried to fix the linkage. 
Things don’t usually get this exciting in “The Room Where Magic Happens” but I’m glad I was wearing welding gloves and a heavy shirt tonight. Even antique moulds such as this one often have insulated handles and the pour handle on the furnace has an insulated knob so I don’t “need” gloves and seldom get splatters on my shirt….when everything is going as it should. I’m confident those gloves saved me some serious burns and/or a big mess and possibly an every loader’s nightmare; a fire. 
Be safe, wear that PPE!

Mike

 

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November 26, 2023 - 11:15 am
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Nice job and good catch!  Did you use tin, antimony, or something else for the :1? I always cast in a heavy denim apron, welding gloves, and eye pro. You can never be too careful.  I’ll now add a drip pan of some sort near by….

Technically, the glass is always full; half liquid, half air....

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November 26, 2023 - 11:32 am
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Lead pots can be a bomb. I had a small one blow up, not the pot but the lead. I was told it was moisture that caused it. Not matter what it was i still have the scares for where molten lead landed on my arm and neck. 

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November 26, 2023 - 3:59 pm
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rwsem said
Nice job and good catch!  Did you use tin, antimony, or something else for the :1? I always cast in a heavy denim apron, welding gloves, and eye pro. You can never be too careful.  I’ll now add a drip pan of some sort near by….

  

Ron-

I’ve considered adding a baking sheet under the furnace but things would get a little crowded if it were big enough to catch a full pot. I’ll be checking the linkage every session from now on! Getting that tiny screw back into place while wearing welding gloves and keeping the valve closed was a bit of a challenge!

The 20:1 is a commercial lead/tin alloy I use for an 1874 C. Sharps in 45-90. For some reason my Lyman 457193 mould prefers to be poured from a dipper so my only pot with 20:1 alloy is not bottom pour. The Winchester mould works fine with bottom pour so even with a single cavity I could pour a lot of bullets rather quickly. I avoid long casting sessions these days.

 

Mike

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November 26, 2023 - 4:16 pm
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oldcrankyyankee said
Lead pots can be a bomb. I had a small one blow up, not the pot but the lead. I was told it was moisture that caused it. Not matter what it was i still have the scares for where molten lead landed on my arm and neck. 

  

Tom-

Yes, sir! The smallest droplet of water becomes rapidly expanding steam pushing molten lead in every direction it can, quite often out of the pot. When I’m salvaging lead wheel weights or any other scrap lead stored outdoors I wear a face shield, apron, jeans, boots and heavy long sleeve shirt. I’ve had one memorable visit from the Tinsel Fairy and thanks to my PPE my only casualty was a bit of beard hair, a few small burns and a shirt that still has lead specks after many washings. 
Even when melting ingots stored indoors I set them on the edge of the pot to warm them up before adding to molten lead. I also step away from the pot immediately after adding lead to either a casting furnace or salvage pot.

Mike

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November 26, 2023 - 8:12 pm
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Glad you are OK Mike.

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November 26, 2023 - 8:42 pm
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Chuck said
Glad you are OK Mike.

  

Thanks, Chuck. I netted 95 decent bullets and will use them for load development in an article about my adventures with two Winchesters and the 32-40. Lubed and sized them today, resized cases are in the cleaner. I hope the high-priced 20:1 alloy works better than wheel weight alloy!

 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
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January 15, 2024 - 12:21 am
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Casting session went much better tonight, even managed to make my house seem a bit more comfortable during a brutal cold spell. Checked and rechecked all the moving parts, this furnace was refurbished by RCBS several years back but I assembled it when I got it back. It’s not my best furnace but it is a sentimental favorite. An old friend gave it to me when he ordered a new one to replace it. RCBS refurbished it for considerably less than the cost of a new one. I also have a new(er) one in addition to a couple of Lee pots but with four alloys on hand I don’t think I can get by with one furnace, it’s much more efficient to start a casting session with a furnace at least halfway full of alloy instead of waiting for ingots to melt.
Bullets still shiny even with a melt temp of 800 degrees. Fill looks a bit better but targets will tell the tale. Last batch of bullets resulted in a few fliers so will work a little harder on QC this time, may even weigh them to ferret out the likely errant ones. 

I like using that old mould! It has a few issues but I’ll give it another try (or two) before ordering a modern one from Accurate. Sprue plate could be truer and the alignment pins are worn but I’m hoping it will produce good enough bullets for this project. I was tempted to warm up a 32WCF mould that appears to be in good shape but decided against it, for now.

 

Mike

 

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
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January 15, 2024 - 4:06 pm
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Thanks for posting Mike – nice looking bullets and I’m eager to hear how your project turns out.  I have quite a few .32-40 rifles and enjoy this cartridge a lot.  I mainly shoot cast bullets.  I’ve never taken up bullet casting and this thread has reinforced that decision.  The, “learning curve” aspect can be formidable!

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January 15, 2024 - 6:43 pm
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I’m with Steve.  I should learn how but can’t get motivated.

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January 15, 2024 - 9:57 pm
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Chuck and Steve-

A more complete account of this adventure will hopefully be published in an upcoming Collector article. I’m learning this old Winchester mould is not quite as good as I’d hoped but I’m muddling along anyway. At this point I’m committed to this mould but will likely order a better one from Accurate for future production purposes. It’s been a lot of fun using this old mould but I’m struggling to get decent bullets from it. I won’t attempt to write a tutorial on casting or reloading but maybe the story will inspire a few collectors to roll their own. The folks who wrote Lyman’s Cast Bullet Handbook did a fine job of writing about the process. It’s not really all that difficult or complicated but safety and attention to detail are very important.

 

Mike

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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
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