The casting of bullets requires time and patience. You cannot take an old iron spoon and hold it over the fire and as soon as the metal liquifies, or can be poured, spill it into a cold mould, and get good results; for instead of a full bullet, you will simply get a shriveled and wrinkled lump of lead. The first requirement is a small kettle. The Ideal melting pot is made for this purpose and will hold about ten pounds of metal; such a body will hold the heat at a more even temperature, which is desirable. There should be a regular steady fire to keep it at the proper temper, not red-hot one minute and so cold the next that it will not flow. When ready to run the bullets, raise the dipper nearly full from the melting pot, hold the same over the pot and connect the mould to the nozzle; then turn the dipper, with the mould connected, slowly to a vertical position, as in the drawing, and the weight of metal in the dipper above the mould will drive out the air and fill out the mould perfectly, assuring good, full, smooth bullets without the spilling of a particle of metal The surface of the metal should be kept clear and the dipper clean. Keep the dipper in the hot metal when not pouring, for it must be kept as hot as the metal, which otherwise will be chilled, and stop up the nozzle. The metal should be hot enough to flow freely, but never red-hot, as a red-heat oxidizes the lead rapidly, forming much dross, which hardens and deteriorates the metal. Sometimes a bullet, when cast, will show the grooves clean and sharply formed on one side, while on the other side they will not; or if it be an Express or hollow pointed bullet, the end of it may show a full sharp impression on one side of the core-peg and not on the other, causing the hole to appear eccentric. This does not imply that one-half of the mould is imperfectly cut, or that the core-peg is not held in the center, as these imperfect appearances may be changed from one side of the bullet to the other by simply tipping the mould from left to right, and pouring it right or left handed. The side of the mould, or the side of the core-peg that is presented to the entering flood of metal, will receive a full impression, while the opposite side may not.
The face of the mould may be fitted too closely, and the trouble may be caused by air being imprisoned when pouring the metal too quickly. To avoid this, turn the mould and dipper slowly, coming to the position in the illustration only when the mould is full, and hold the dipper connected to the mould for an instant, so that the shrinking bullet in the mould may draw the metal from the dipper; for, if separated too quickly, there may be a shrink hole at the base. Those using the cylindrical mould may find an indentation caused by imprisoned air on the side of the point where the former punch connects; pouring the metal slowly as stated above, will overcome this. Do not be afraid to put a little oil on the joint of a mould and on the face of it also, it is a good plan to do this while hot before putting it away after using. A little oil in the mould m*y cause a few bullets to be imperfect by sputtering, but it will soon get over that and be the better for it. Sometimes the metal may solder to the inside of the pouring hole on the bullet mould cut-off, or on the nozzle of the dipper. An occasional touch of the nozzle to a piece of tallow or beeswax will obviate this.
Never strike the mould with a hammer or other metallic substance for it will pean or stretch the side that is hit, and make the bullet out of round. Use a billet of wood to strike the cut-off, or to eject the bullet. If bullet does not drop readily from the mould, open the mould wide, holding it with the bullet downward, and lightly tap on the lower bottom inside face of the half in which the bullet remains. This will be found much better than striking it on the outside, as it drives the mould away from the bullet, while striking it on the outside drives it against the bullet, and sometimes will make it stick more firmly. Never attempt to pry bullets out of a mould. It is impossible to use any metal across the inner sharp edge of a mould without injuring it, the slightest indentation on the edge of a mould will cause a bullet to stick, and the only way to get out any indentation is to have it re-cherried; the cherry should be the last and only instrument of metal that is used in the mould. Round bullets are more apt to stick in the mould than others on account of being lighter in weight and of being held by almost a complete half circle in the mould. Hot bullets should not be dropped on a pine board, for they will absorb the rosin, neither should they be allowed to drop on other hard substances, for it will dent them.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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