- FAQs » Bullet Casting
MAG 20 FURNACEQ: My Mag 20 furnace is leaking from the spout. How do I clean it?
A: Completely drain the pot and allow it to cool. Remove the shut-off rod and clean the end with steel wool. The spout can be cleaned out with a paper clip.
Q: Do the numbers on the temperature dial refer to any specific temperature?
A: The numbers are simply a reference point for you when casting.
Q: What is the max temperature of this furnace?
A: Between 800 to 850 degrees.
MINI MAG FURNACEQ: Does this furnace have an adjustable thermostat?
A: No, this has been preset for you and is not adjustable.
4500 LUBE/SIZERQ: I have a model 45 lube sizer. Will the current sizing dies and top punches work with this?
A: Yes, the current ones will work on your early 45 sizer.
GAS CHECK SEATERQ: Can I use this for the old style 45 sizer?
A: No, this will only fit onto the Lyman 4500, 450 models and the RCBS model.
UNIVERSAL LUBE HEATERQ: What temperature will this heat to?
A: The heater will heat the lube sizer to between 120 and 130 degrees.
Q: Can I use this for the old style 45 sizer?
A: There are no mounting holes drilled for the 45, however you can drill into it as long as you stay away from the heating element-this goes in straight from the cord.
BULLET LUBEQ: Can you recommend a particular bullet lubricant for a given application?
A: Each lube is recommended for different purposes as follows:
- Super Moly Bullet Lube: All purpose, high performance lubricant. Has Molybdenum Disulfide added for increased velocity. Works in lubricator/sizers without a heater. Recommended for any shooting situation.
- Black Powder Gold Lube: Specifically formulated for black powder shooting. It has a high melting temperature which makes it ideal for long range shooting. This does not require a heater when sizing and lubricating.
- Orange Magic Lube: Great lubricant for high velocities with lead bullets. It has a low smoke output which makes it perfect for rapid fire pistol shooting. Recommended for use with a lube heater.
- Alox Lube: Best all around to 2000 fps. Made up of 50% Alox and 50% Beeswax. This is the standard NRA formula.
- Ideal Lube: Best for low velocity pistol shooting to 1200 fps.
BULLET MOULDSQ: What is the composition for #2 Alloy?
A: This is made up of 90% lead, 5% tin, and 5% antimony.
Q: How do I make #2 Alloy?
A: To make 10 pounds of #2 Alloy, use either of the following recipes: 9 pounds of wheelweights + 1 pound of 50/50 (lead/tin) bar solder or 4 pounds of Linotype +1 pound of 50/50 bar solder + 5 pounds pure lead
Q: Where do I find lead alloys in my area?
A: Check with your local gun shop for sources or contact a local foundry.
Q: I understand Marvelux is a recommended fluxing agent for casting. Where can I obtain it?
A: Marvelux can be purchased from Brownells. Their website is www.brownells.com
Q: How often should I flux my alloy?
A: Alloys should be fluxed whenever the surface is not mirror-bright or has impurities floating on the surface.
Q: How do I know if my bullet is designed to use gas checks?
A: The bullets which will require gas checks are recessed for them.
Q: Can I put a gas check on a bullet which was not designed for one?
A: No, we do not recommend doing this.
Q: Do I have to install a gas check if the bullet is designed for one?
A: Not necessarily. If you will be keeping the velocities very low, you can get away without one. Remember, using a gas check will reduce leading and improve accuracy of the bullet.
Q: I am getting excessive leading in my revolver early in the barrel. What causes this?
A: This is likely caused from a bullet being sized too small for your particular gun.
Q: Can I shoot my pistol/rifle bullets as-cast?
A: No, these will cast slightly larger than recommended and are designed to be sized down for proper fit.
Q: What is the maximum amount a cast bullet can be sized?
A: We do not recommend sizing down more than .002" to .003" as this will cause severe deformity to the bullet, causing decreased accuracy.
Q: I have one of your hollow base bullet moulds. When do I remove the hollow base plug, before or after opening the mould?
A: This should be removed prior to opening the block.
Q: Can I use mould handles from other manufacturers on your moulds?
A: Sorry, these are not interchangeable with others. The use of other manufacturer’s handles will damage the alignment of the mould blocks.
Q: What do the numbers and letters on the block halves stand for?
A: Each mould block is stamped of course with the bullet number it will cast. The letters following this number are our reference which tells us exactly which cherry was used. This also tells us its vintage. There are block numbers, each mould will have the same numbers stamped on both halves. This matches up the mould halves in case they are separated.
Q: What is the proper way to measure a cast bullet diameter?
A: It is most accurate to use a micrometer to determine the diameter.
Q: I have lost the hollow base (or point) plug from my mould. Can I buy one separately?
A: We will need to have the mould returned to us as each plug is hand fit to each block.
Q: My mould is casting a couple grains lighter than what is indicated on the charts. What can cause this?
A: This can occur if there are air bubbles in the bullets or if they have not fully filled out. Weights can also vary if casting temperatures vary. The moulds do have a +/- tolerance of 5% as all alloys will not produce the same bullet weight.
Q: How can I tell if my mould blocks are too cold or too hot?
A: If the bullets are dropping out wrinkled, they are too cool. If the bullets have a frosted appearance, the mould is too hot.
Q: If I cast bullets with something other than #2 alloy, how will this affect my bullets?
A: Wheelweights will produce bullets weighing more and casting smaller than with #2 alloy. Bullets cast in linotype will be a larger diameter but weigh less.
Q: I don’t see the mould I want on your website. Do you still make any of the obsolete moulds?
A: All the moulds currently available are included on the website. The best source for acquiring the old moulds would be the company listed below. They specialize in locating old moulds. Please contact: M&P Cast Bullets 44 Martel Way Brattleboro, VT 05301 802-254-5296
Q: Do you make custom moulds?
A: We do not currently make custom moulds, however we would recommend contacting:
Clancy, MT 59634
NEI Handtools, Inc
51583 Columbia River Highway
Scappoose, OR 97056
Q: Is there anything I can do to make the bullets harder?
A: Cast bullets can be heat treated to increase their hardness providing your alloy has some antimony present. To heat treat your bullets: Cast your bullets in the normal manner, saving several scrap bullets. Size your bullets but do not lubricate them. Place several scrap bullets on a pan in your oven at 450 degrees and increase the temperature until the bullets start to melt or slump. Be sure to use an accurate oven thermometer and a pan that will not be used again for food. Once the bullets start to melt or slump, back off the temperature about 5 to 10 degrees and slide in your first batch of good bullets. Leave these in the oven for a half hour. Remove the bullets from the oven and plunge them into cool water. Allow them to cool thoroughly. When you are ready to lubricate, install a sizing die .001" larger than the one used to initially size them. This will prevent the sides of the bullets from work-softening from contact with the sizing die. Next apply gas checks if required and lubricate. These are now ready for loading.
TOP PUNCHQ: Do your current top punches and sizing dies fit the old 45 lube/sizer?
A: Yes, they will fit the 45 as well as the RCBS lube/sizer.
H & I SIZING DIESQ: How do I determine the proper sizing die for my particular gun?
A: We recommend slugging the barrel. Select a sizing die that is .001" over your groove diameter.
Q: How do I slug my barrel?
A: Slugging is done by driving a soft pure lead slug through the barrel and measuring the raised grooves present on the slug. A lead round ball used for muzzle loading that is slightly larger than your caliber can be used for this.
Q: I have run my bullets through the sizing die, however they do not come out at the expected diameter. These were cast in wheelweights, would that make a difference?
A: Yes, bullets cast in pure lead or wheelweights will come out smaller, bullets cast in linotype will come out larger. This is due to the spring-back of the bullets being sized. The sizing dies are made to produce the diameters using #2 alloy.
Q: I am looking for sizing dies and top punches for my muzzle loading conical bullets. I don’t see them in your chart. Do you have them?
A: Actually we do not recommend sizing these bullets. They should be shot as cast. Lubing should be done by hand.
Q: Why are they called “H & I “ dies?
A: An early Ideal parts breakdown used the letters “H & I” to identify the die parts. This description became common for the die.
MOULD HANDLESQ: How do I determine whether I need the large or small mould handles for my mould?
A: The large handles will work with any of our current single or double cavity moulds. The small will only be used with early 1" x 1.2"single cavity moulds.
GAS CHECKSQ: How do I seat gas checks?
A: Gas checks are pressed onto the bullet base either by hand or on the 450 with a gas check seater. The bullet is then run through the sizing die as normal.
Q: Are the current gas checks crimp or press fit?
A: Our gas checks are all a crimp-on style.