So, after a few chores, and making a lunch-time sandwich for myself and the dawg, I took the pot down and put some scrap lead in it.
|Lee Production Pot IV|
The very first bullet mold I ever bought was one of Dick Lee's tumble lube molds, the TL358-158SWC. You can still buy it from lots of places. Mine is the little 2-cavity mold and if I ever decide to get another, it will be one of his bigger 6-cavity molds, but in the mean time, the little 2-cavity mold has been making bullets for over 20 years, and still throws a pretty bullet.
I cranked up the pot just before one o'clock today and let it heat for half an hour before I even approached it. Fluxed the lead, then started casting. For handgun bullets I don't worry so much about bullet harness. These things are going to be shot at about 750 fps, so hard bullets aren't necessary. Even if I decide to load some in .357 magnum cases, I won't push them much above 1300 fps, so hard bullets really aren't necessary. I generally use whatever scrap is available. Today, it was a bunch of old sprues from earlier casting sessions, and added a little dead soft lead that I had scrounged from roof flashings.
The secret to bullet casting is to be in a well ventilated area (in my case, the garage), wear eye protection, and have no distractions. You'll establish a rhythm and before long, you'll realize you've got a pile of bullets. I stopped halfway through to see about the dawg, refill the pot, and get a glass of ice water indoors. In a few minutes I was back ourside in the heat, with that rhythm until the pot was almost empty. So, I unplugged it, dropped the sprues back into the melt, and cleaned up my work area. After the bullets were cool emough to handle, I put them in a quart zipper bag and weighed them on my household scale. About 5.75 lbs of nice, clean bullets. I estimate a few over 250, based on weight.
That's a pretty good pile of bullets for an hour's casting and a 2-cavity mold. Later this afternoon after the pot cools, I'll put it away and lube the bullets in Alox. After they dry overnight, I'll store them for a future reloading session.