Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

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Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby Lostcoast » 03 Mar 2019 23

I've been reading a lot of posts lately about casting bullets and it appeals to me on a lot of levels: it seems practical and money saving, it allows greater independence, it results in highly effective projectiles, and it looks like a lot of fun.

I'm near to buying a Rossi 92 in .38/.357 mag. The use of the rifle will be for "precision plinking" (50 yards and beyond to as far as I can accurately shoot), ranch defense, and hunting deer and black bear. I have a pile of Magtech, Federal American Eagle and LEVERevolution .357 mag ammo but I want to start rolling my own.

So this total cast bullet newbie asks: What all do I need? What bullets and their molds do you recommend for the purposes mentioned above? Which economical but effective casting pot should I get? What lubes etc do I need? Is there a book or DVD that you recommend for a beginner in the art of casting?

Thanks very much.
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby GasGuzzler » 04 Mar 2019 07

Start with a bullet design that only requires tumble lube. There are several options on what to tumble them in. A cheap and simple .357 mold to start with is the Lee TL358-158-2R that should be easy to chamber in the rifle and likely wouldn't require post sizing. Combine that mold with a Lee bottom pour pot model 90009. Buy some known alloy from the internet (other members should have links as I get mine "free" from wheel weights) to start and later you can experiment with smelting your own lead, making bullet lube, post sizing, and adding gas checks to bullets from a different mold.
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby Lostcoast » 04 Mar 2019 21

GasGuzzler wrote:Start with a bullet design that only requires tumble lube. There are several options on what to tumble them in. A cheap and simple .357 mold to start with is the Lee TL358-158-2R that should be easy to chamber in the rifle and likely wouldn't require post sizing. Combine that mold with a Lee bottom pour pot model 90009. Buy some known alloy from the internet (other members should have links as I get mine "free" from wheel weights) to start and later you can experiment with smelting your own lead, making bullet lube, post sizing, and adding gas checks to bullets from a different mold.


Thank you, GasGuzzler - that sounds like very sage advice. I appreciate it!
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby Ranch Dog » 05 Mar 2019 06

GG offers good advice! I would suggest a "TL" mold as well, that is about all I shoot, but given the available selection from Lee and your mention of hunting, I would go with the 358-158-RF. The difference between the design, other than the lube grooves, is the tangent ogive nose vs. the bore rider 2R. The "RF" will provide a much better throat to bullet fit plus the large meplat nose will provide the killing authority that is needed for hunting with cast. The bullet can still be tumble lubed, and I would not worry about whether or not the lube groove fills with lube or not. I would shoot it as cast and not worry about sizing. Keeping it simple, I would buy the 2-cavity mold vs. a six.
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby Lostcoast » 05 Mar 2019 12

Thank you, RD. Is it when one goes to heavier bullets that resizing etc becomes necessary?
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 05 Mar 2019 15

Resizing gets to be necessary when the as cast bullets are too big for your bore and without experience with your gun and a variety of bullet sizes it's a hard thing to know. Best idea and probably most reliable is to "slug" your bore and shoot for a cast size one or two thousands over groove diameter.

Casting can be relaxing or work or frustrating or all three in one session. I started in '69 with a ten pound Lyman pot on a Coleman fuel camp stove and one 9mm mold. Fifty years later I still cast from a pot with a dipper and there are a few more molds in the box. Some of the guns I cast for for fun and at least one if I don't cast I don't shoot. Nice thing about it if one mold gets cranky I can put it down and pick up another. Sometimes you just shut the pot of and do something else.

It's all part of the adventure start slow and enjoy sending you own bullets down range from your own hand made loads.

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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby Missionary » 05 Aug 2019 19

Greetings
Caliber .357 mag is where I started when I got out of the "Green Machine" many years ago. Back then there was no tumble lube. Started out by smearing home made "goop" while watching whatever program. Shots lots of those.
But today we do a bunch of tumble lube. Even tumble many that are not tumble type slugs... and they shoot just fine.
Way down south in Arequipa, Peru till June 2020.
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby rondog » 05 Aug 2019 23

I agree with GasGuzzler, except for the bottom pour furnace/pot. Yes, they can work fine, but they can also leak and drive you nuts. I use a Lyman pot with a dipper, and have no reason to change

I do recommend utilizing a big steel cookie/baking sheet under your furnace to catch drips/spills, and set hot items on.

And a MUST, in my opinion, is a Lyman lead thermometer. A very worthy investment!
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby Lostcoast » 06 Aug 2019 10

Thank you gentlemen, I am appreciating your knowledge and input.
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Re: Feeling the Pull to Cast and Load for .38/.357 Mag..

Postby ddj » 22 Aug 2019 18

Caution! Once you start casting you'll be hooked!
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