October 2nd, 2016

Instructional DVDs Show How to Cast Bullets

bullet casting video Sinclair

We’ve done some bullet casting in the past, both for handgun bullets, and the large, heavy (400gr+) projectiles used with Black Powder Cartridge Rifles. We can say, unequivocally, that newbies should seek out the assistance of a skilled, experienced mentor, who is familiar with the important safety procedures that must be employed. Working with molten lead can be dangerous. And it also takes some skill to get good results (without visible casting flaws), particularly with very large bullets.

That said, there are valuable resources that can help you get started with the casting process. Wolfe Publishing offers two DVDs that cover the bullet casting process from start to finish. Bullet Casting 101 takes you through the basics: showing you how to choose the correct alloy for your application, prep molds, maintain the optimal temperatures, and lube and size bullets. The important steps are laid out clearly. In addition, Bullet Casting 101 helps you select the right equipment and preferred molds for your particular application. (To create uniform rifle bullets that shoot accurately, you really do need high-quality molds.)

Casting Bullets Handgun

Casting Bullets HandgunWolfe Publishing offers a companion DVD, Casting Premium Bullets for Handguns, that covers more advanced techniques for high-volume pistol bullet production. This DVD covers both single-cavity molds and multiple-cavity “gang” molds. (Gang molds can be frustrating at first; it is harder to maintain perfect temp control and mold separation is more complex). The DVD also reveals the sources of most common casting flaws, and explains how to detect cracks, voids and other problems.

You’ll save considerable time and effort if you really understand how to avoid common mistakes before you start pouring lead. And you’ll get the best results if you learn how to “blend” the optimal alloy for the job. Maintaining the right mold temperature is also critical for good results. These topics and more are covered in these two DVDs, priced at $16.99 each from Sinclair International.

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November 2nd, 2013

Last U.S. Lead Smelter Closes — Will This Affect Bullet Production?

The last primary lead smelter facility in the United States will be closing soon. The Doe Run Company smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri has been operating since 1892. The facility will be closed permanently under pressure from the EPA. According to MSNBC.com: “Doe Run Co. was ordered by the EPA to install new pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act. The company will instead close its lead smelter.”

Doe Run started life in 1864 as the St. Joseph Lead Company, better known as St. Joe, which started lead mining on a small scale in southeastern Missouri. In 1892 it started up its smelter in Herculaneum, where all smelting was consolidated in 1920.

Doe Run Co. Company lead smelter plant Missouri Herculaneum plant closing shut down

Cause for Concern? Our readers have been concerned that the closure of the Doe Run smelter will lead to serious shortages in raw materials for bullet-making. Readers fear that bullet-makers won’t be able to source lead, and so the output of bullets and ammo would be reduced. Curtailed bullet production would lead to higher prices, it is feared.

As it turns out, the situation is not as dire as it seems. At least one bullet-maker says the Doe Run smelter closure will have no immediate effect on its raw material supply chain.

Sierra Bullets Responds: Lead Smelter Closure Should Not Cause Supply Shortage
Addressing the issue of supply shortages, Sierra Bullets posted a notice in the Sierra Blog on November 1, 2013. Sierra Bullets Plant Engineer Darren Leskiw stated that the Doe Run smelter closure should create no problems for his company because it uses only recycled lead:

We have had many customers contact us about the closing of the last primary lead smelting facility in the USA. This facility is operated by Doe Run and is located in Herculaneum, Missouri and is just about a 3-hour drive from our facility in Sedalia, Missouri.

The main question asked is “Will this shut down your supply of lead?” The answer to that is no. First, Sierra buys lead from several different vendors to maintain constant supply. Second, this facility only smelts primary lead or lead ore. This is lead ore that has just been brought out of the earth. Sierra uses no primary lead at all and never has, so we use nothing directly from this facility. The lead we buy from Doe Run comes from their recycling facility in Boss, MO that is about 90 miles away from the smelter that is closing.

The facility we buy from is still going strong and delivering to us as scheduled. The lead from this facility is from recycled lead, mostly coming from car batteries. This is a continuing “in and out” cycle for them and the smelter closing will not affect this facility.

Our supply should not be in jeopardy and we do not anticipate any changes in our supply chain at this time. Could the lack of primary lead create a little more demand for recycled lead? Sure, but how much is unknown. Could this increase in demand also create an increase in price? Sure, but again, by how much is unknown at this time.

There are many other primary lead smelters in the world and so the flow of primary lead will not be shut off. Where there is a need for primary lead, I am sure there will be a salesman more than happy to pick up the business. In short, we do not see any reason for alarm. We expect our supply to continue and keep feeding our production lines which are still running 24 hours per day to return our inventory levels to where they should be.


Lead Smelting Operations Have Moved to Mexico
Posting on SnipersHide.com, one industry insider says shooters should not be overly concerned about the Doe Run shut-down, because smelting is still being done in nearby Mexico:

“The lead industry has been transitioning out of the United States for over a decade now. 85% of the lead smelting industry capacity migrated over the Mexican border where there are [fewer environmental regulations]. The remainder of production capacity will be online and running by the third quarter of 2014. There has been no production disruption to speak of in obtaining lead or lead products. The auto battery industry among others has prepared for this eventuality for some time….

The last lead smelter closing in December did not have enough capacity to supply even 10% of the battery industry much less the ammunition industry. The lead being used in ammunition today hasn’t been coming from the United States for years already. The closing of that plant will not have any appreciable effect on lead availability at all. There is a great deal of lead processed here being extruded, made into shot, converted to wire, etc., but the smelting operation is only one part of the production process.”

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June 12th, 2012

Anti-Hunting Group Lawsuit Seeks Ban on Lead-Containing Ammo

lead ammunition component EPA banThe anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and six other groups last week filed a lawsuit designed to pressure the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into banning traditional ammunition containing lead components. EPA has twice denied petitions filed by CBD to ban traditional ammunition, citing correctly that it does not have the authority to regulate ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. If bullets with lead components are restricted, this would affect target shooters as well as hunters because nearly all match bullets employ a lead core.

“This is a frivolous lawsuit clear and simple,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for NSSF. “There is no sound science that shows the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition.” NSSF called on industry members, hunters and shooters to support an amendment to the Farm Bill that contains legislation that would clarify the exemption.

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May 5th, 2010

Paco Kelly’s Acu’Rzr Tool Reshapes Lead Rimfire Bullets

Here is an interesting tool that lets shooters re-shape and uniform the tips of their .22 rimfire lead bullets. Paco Kelly’s Acu’Rzr comes in two basic versions, the “Phase III Nasti-Nose” and the “Phase IV Baby Scorp’n”. The Phase III tool produces a deep-dished hollowpoint (like an ash-tray) that opens quickly and efficiently. There is also a Phase III insert that creates a flatter, open dish HP for target shooting. The Phase IV Scorpion tool creates a deep hollow point with a central post. The internal post in the middle helps achieve deeper penetration in game. The designer claims that ammo modified with either tool is more accurate because the bullet diameter “comes out the same every time”. In addition to the Phase III & IV tools, which reform one round at a time, Paco offers a Maxi series for bulk production. These let you process either three rounds at once (Maxi 3) or four rounds at once (Maxi 4).

Lead Bullet Accurizer

Why re-shape lead rimfire bullets? The first reason is accuracy. The tool’s designer, Paco Kelly, claims you can improve the accuracy of budget-priced ammo by using the dish nose rod with the Phase III tool: “The dish nose forming rod is for accuracy and paper targets. It makes very sharp and clean cut holes in paper. And the consistency of the [re-shaped] bullet diameter pulls the group together.”

Lead Bullet Accurizer

The main reason to use Paco Acu’Rzr tools is to improve perfomance on small game such as squirrels, prairie dogs, and jack-rabbits. Kelly says: “Unlike most commercial 22 rimfire ammo with small holes and negligible HP expansion, the Nasti-Nose will open even with standard velocity ammo. Yet it will NOT explode on contact like the hyper-velocity ammo. For small eating game, such as squirrels, the Hyper ammo is too much and the medium-velocity, hollow-pointed commercial ammo often fails to open. But not so with the Nasti-Nose.” The idea, Kelly suggests, is that you get reliable expansion with medium-velocity ammo, without destroying the game the way hyper-velocity ammo does.

The Phase III tool costs $65.00, while the Phase IV tool costs $75.00. The Maxi 3 which does three (3) rounds at once, costs $100.00, and the four-round Maxi 4 is $128.00. All tools can be customized for target rifles or European chambers. To order, contact Paco Kelly, P.O. Box 1170, Cortaro, AZ 85652 or use this ORDER FORM.

EDITOR’s NOTE: Do NOT use this tool with premium-grade rimfire target ammo. It won’t help. Use it with the cheaper bulk-pack ammo. Also, we have not tested the reformed ammo on live targets, so you have to draw your own conclusions as to its benefits on small critters.

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