From Ingot to Target:
A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners
Glen E. Fryxell and Robert L. Applegate
Foreword by John Taffin
From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners
A joint effort by Glen E. Fryxell and Robert L. Applegate
Foreword by John Taffin
About the Authors . . . Pg 5
Acknowledgements . . . Pg 7
A Few Words about Safety . . . Pg 9
1. Introduction: A Brief History of Bullet Casting . . . Pg 11
2. Bullet Casting 101 . . . Pg 19
3. Alloy Selection and Metallurgy . . . Pg 27
4. Fluxing the Melt . . . Pg 37
5. Cast Bullet Lubrication . . . Pg 41
6. Throat and Groove Dimensions . . . Pg 56
7. Leading . . . Pg 58
8. Idle Musings of a Greybeard Caster . . . Pg 66
9. Moulds and Mould Design . . . Pg 73
10. Gas-checked vs. Plain-based Bullets . . . Pg 87
11. The Wadcutter . . . Pg 97
12. The Keith SWC . . . Pg 106
13. Casting Hollow Point Bullets . . . Pg 118
14. Making Cast HP moulds . . . Pg 131
15. Hunting with Cast Bullets . . . Pg 136
16. A Few of our favorites . . . Pg 148
Appendix A: How old is your mould? . . . Pg 173
Above: Left to right
MP Molds Clone of the RCBS 45 caliber 270 Gr. SAA
SAECO #382 35 caliber 150 Gr. PB SWC
On the cover:
SAECO #068 45 caliber 200 Gr.
ECO #264 6.5mm 140 Gr. SP GC
Two RCBS 44 Caliber 300 Gr. Flat Point Mould Halves.
One Mould was converted to Cramer style HP by Erik Ohlen with gas check shank
removed from one cavity, casting one HP GC and one HP PB.
Second mould casting both cavities flat point, one plain base, one gas check.
Two moulds, four cavities, four different styles of hunting bullets.
This book is copy right protected (copyright ? 2011). All rights are reserved by the authors. No part
ay be copied, reproduced or transmitted in any fashion without written permission of the authors.
Cover and index page photography by Rick Kelter
Published exclusively at www.lasc.us
Foreword: by John Taffin
In many ways it seemed like only yesterday I began casting bullets. In
fact it has been nearly one-half century since I started pouring that first batch
of molten alloy into a single cavity mould, or mold if you prefer. It was in my
mother's kitchen, at my mother's stove, next to my mother's refrigerator. It
wasn't long before the whole top half of the side of her refrigerator was covered
with speckles of lead. Now my mother was the most fastidious of housekeepers,
however she never complained. Looking back I can only assume she thought it
better to have me making a mess in her kitchen rather than running around
doing something of which she didn't improve.
At the time I was working for a large wholesale warehouse catering to
plumbing and building contractors. This gave me access to both 100# bars of
lead and one pound bars of tin. There was also a reciprocal agreement with a
few other businesses allowing employees from one place to purchase from the
other at wholesale prices. From the now long gone Buckeye Cycle I was able to
order two Lyman single cavity molds, #454190 for the .45 Colt and #358311
for the .38 Special; a Lyman #310 "Nutcracker" Reloading tools with the dies
for both .45 Colt and .357 Magnum, and I was ready to cast bullets. Those two
molds are gone as it wasn't long before I graduated to multiple cavity moulds;
however, I still use that #310 tool to pop primers from cartridges cases fired
with black powder.
Living as we do in the Instant Information Age, it is sometimes difficult to
believe how little information was available or how difficult it was to find in the
middle of the 20th century. I had read Elmer Keith's "Sixgun Cartridges and
Loads" which gave me the very basics. Much of the rest I learned over the next
four decades by trial and error and casting and shooting thousands upon
thousands of cast bullets in hundreds of sixguns. Casting bullets opened all
kinds of doors for me. Most importantly, casting allowed the shooting of vast
amounts that would never have been had I found it necessary to buy my bullets
from other sources. The only way to become even reasonably adequate with a
sixgun is by shooting a lot, and only casting my own bullets allowed this. All of
my shooting experiences, the vast majority of which has been with home cast
bullets eventually led to my position as Field Editor with "American
Handgunner" and Senior Field Editor with "Guns" magazines. Along the way, I
not only managed to acquire a pretty good knowledge of cast bullets but also a
working collection of approximately 250 bullet moulds from virtually every
manufacturer. With this background in mind I now turn to the volume you hold
in your hands.
Glen Fryxell is a chemist by trade and a bullet caster by choice. He knows
more about casting bullets than anyone else I know. Rob Applegate is both an
excellent gunsmith as well as a maker of custom bullet moulds. Put the two of
them together, and virtually every aspect of cast bullets is covered in what
comes the closest to ever being called "The Complete Book of Cast Bullets."
Only their modesty prevents them from using this title and instead of going
with "From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners."
I found two things of major importance as I read this book. 1) The things
What is the bore diameter of a 32 40 cast bullet?Twist rate is one in 16 inches, and the bore has a nominal groove diameter of .320 inch. Research indicates this .320- inch figure may have deviated some- what over the last 125 years. Most .32-40 cast bullet shooters load bul- lets that measure somewhere in the vicinity of .321 to .323 inch.
Title: From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners
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