No, I’ll Continue to Buy My Lead Shot, Thanks

I’m never opposed to making shooting more affordable. I load my own own shotgun shells and am surprised more shooters don’t do it. For a cash outlay starting around $150 (depending on the press – less if you buy one used) you can easily knock $1.00 to $1.50 off the price of a box of 25 shells compared to retail. If you shoot much at all, that’s a pretty quick return on your investment. I know the price of a bag of #8 has gone through the roof in the last couple of years, but casting your own shot? I’m not sure molten lead is something I really want to mess around with. It’s always been a personal goal of mine to never spend any time in a burn unit. Who knows, I might even be able to get my insurance agent to pay me not to install one of these babies. Lemme see…where is his number again?


  1. avatar John says:

    My Grandfather casted his own lead slugs for his Remington model 1858, which I now own.

  2. avatar DonWorsham says:

    Dan, not including the cost for equipment, what does it cost you to make 25 rounds? How many times can you re-use the hulls?

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Depends on the hull. I would get 8 reloads out of a Rem Gun Club or 10 out of a STS hull.. The trick is low power loads and careful loading.

    2. I stocked up on ingredients and components a while back so my prices aren’t up to date. But last time I checked, I think it cost me about 4.90 a box or so. I’ll try to update my prices, do a new calculation and write something up.

      As for how long the shells last, I get at least 7-8 reloads out of a shell before they start to get ragged. Sometimes more. But I buy premium stuff to begin with. I find Remington STS target loads work best for me.

  3. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

    Casting really isn’t any more difficult or dangerous than…say…frying a turkey or building a shed.

    If you have a good source of lead you could really do well by making your shot. That tool has been around for years and seems to work quite well, but pricey at around $450

  4. avatar justin says:

    My dad has a shotgun reloading unit and I’ve been thinking of getting the materials for reloading and making some special shells like flechettes and buck and ball ammo or just making some 00 buckshot.

  5. avatar Van says:

    Don’t forget about exposure to lead through the fumes. No thanks.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Wear an organic mask and use proper ventilation and work outside.

  6. avatar John says:

    Not interested in casting lead for shot, but I love to cast pistol bullets. A useful skill to have in your collection. It’s probably not for those with a high yearly round count though.

  7. avatar GS650G says:

    Get a littleton shot maker and some lead weights from a tire shop. When I reloaded I got a few hundred pounds of lead from tire shops around me for free, I left them a 5 gallon pail to pitch them into and came by once a week for the lead.

    I melted the lead weights down and removed the scag from the top and fished the steel parts out with a magnet. The lead was poured into ingot and sinker molds and then to the Littleton. The lead went to a mixture of water and antifreeze which was circulated through a radiator to remove all the heat generated. Finally all the shot was washed with a degreaser in a mixer before being laid out to dry on a box platform.

    Nearly free lead which cost 40 dollars a 25lb bag to buy. I don’t make it anymore since I gave up trap shooting but I was able to get reloading down to 1.50 a box this way.

  8. avatar Bigross says:

    I cast my own fishing jigs and i must Say its A lot of fun and you will not burn yourself if you take your time

  9. avatar Andy says:

    Shenanigans! Casting lead is no more dangerous than cooking at your stove.

    You never hear people say “I eat at restaurants, and I never cook my meals! I don’t want to go to the burn unit!”

    Driving your car is a lot more dangerous and sometimes fatal. Doesn’t stop people from using their cars every day. You could be a safe driver, and still get hit by some other bozo on the road.

    However, you have FULL control over your actions/safety when you’re casting bullets and shot.

    There is inherent risk in everything you do on a daily basis. It’s doing things correctly/safely that mitigates the risk.

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