Help with making .58 cal Minnie balls

ChapK

Private
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
40
Location
South Dakota
I want to start making my own .58 cal Minnie balls. Can someone give me the basics? I shoot an 1861 reproduction Armisport Springfield. I have been buying both .577 and .575 cal from Track of the Wolf. I just purchased a Euroarms Enfield Musketoon. Haven't shot it yet.

-My my understanding is that I need a lead pot caster. They have those at my nearby Cabelas. Where do you get lead ingots? Specific website like midway USA? I understand I also need casting flux?

-What tools and bullet molds are need for .58 cal? What lube sizing tools and dies are needed?

By the way, I am active duty Air Force stationed in SD, so I am not near any places where N-SSA events take place. I just target shoot for fun. I want to get into skirmishing when I get stationed back east or retire in East TN. Thanks for all the information you can provide.
 

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Legion Para

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There are numerous videos on YouTube which might be helpful. Some are more professional than others.

 

Tin cup

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Jan 9, 2010
Messages
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Location
Texas
You have to have soft/pure lead...go to a metal scrap yard look for used house roof vents (see attached photo) and melt them down for bullets. DO NOT USE WHEEL WEIGHTS, too hard, and many are made of ZINC these days! But, the lead needs to be DRY, no moisture, when you melt them down, or you will have hot lead explosively flying all around you if any moisture is introduced into the pot! Wear safety glasses.

As far as a "pot"...a stainless, or steel pan can be used over most any constant heat source, or you can buy an electric lead melting pot like one of Lee Precision's...http://leeprecision.com/bullet-casting/electric-melters-or-furnaces/
You can get as low-tech, or high-tech as you want. I use the 4-pound Lee pot, requiring a ladle, and actually find that method works great for me in ALL my casting usage.

One thing you have to understand, is that if you are shooting repro Civil War rifles, it's best to know what your BORE size is, before you get a bullet mold. Let's say you have an ArmiSport 1861, and it's bore size is .580"-.581" in diameter. You will need bullets that are 1-2 thousandth's of an inch UNDER the bore size to be accurate. Making bullets from a Lee .575" 500 grain minie bullet mold, and expecting them to be accurate in that big of a bore, will more than likely disappoint you, as it did me.

You are asking good questions, and continue to do so, we will help, and remember, there are no dumb questions here!

Kevin Dally
 

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Tin cup

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Location
Texas
You can order lead from http://www.rotometals.com/product-p/leadingotpure1lb.htm if you have no other way of obtaining it. Just remember, there is 7000 grains to a pound, so you will only get about 14 bullets out of a pound. So if you do a lot of shooting, you will need a lot of lead!

You will have to have your mold HOT, and it needs to be filled quickly so it will fill out properly/consistently.
Lube...you can buy stuff like bore butter at a local shop, or you can obtain pure beeswax from a craft shop with a candle making area, and mix that with pure olive oil (or shortening) like I do. I melt it over low heat, and take a pair of pliers, gently grab the nose of the bullet and dip the base of the bullet into the melted wax, up to the top lube groove, and place it base down onto wax paper till it cools for handling/sizing.
Fluxing...http://www.midwayusa.com/product/593033/frankford-arsenal-cleancast-lead-fluxing-compound-1-lb I have known of folk using pine-wood saw dust for fluxing their lead.

USE BLACK POWDER ONLY! (No Pyrodex, or BP substitutes!)

Kevin Dally
 
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Booner

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May 4, 2015
Messages
2,250
Location
Boonville, MO
the lead needs to be DRY, no moisture, when you melt them down, or you will have hot lead explosively flying all around you if any moisture is introduced into the pot! Wear safety glasses.
No truer words have ever been written!
Also, the fumes coming off the melted lead are very unhealthy. I use a fan to draw the fumes away from me.
You might be interested in this book-->
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dagger dog

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Joined
Feb 25, 2011
Messages
59
Location
Hoosierville South Central
Water on hot lead melt not to dangerous, hot lead melt on water VERY DANGEROUS, and you will have a visit by the Tinsel Fairy, she's gorgeous but will maim.

try the castboolits web site, plenty of helpful people and loads of information.
 

DixieRifles

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Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Messages
4,960
Location
Collierville, TN
The first time.
My first set-up was much like the second video. I used a cast iron pot and ladle and heated it over a portable heating element from my college days. This works but I finally invested in an electric smelter as in the first video.

I have always used candle wax to flux the lead.
One time I washed the candle off and was doing something that allowed a drop of water to fall into the molten lead. POP! A small portion of the lead exploded and one landed on my fore arm. It dries instantly but I still have that scar.
 


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