Saturday, March 14, 2009

The day in pictures......

Sleeping in till the princely hour of 7am, I woke to a hot cup of coffee and warm corn bread, both of which I made. There was a box of corn bread mix on the counter this morning, and I took that as a hint. Somebody wanted corn bread for breakfast.

After coffee and corn bread, it was off to the gun show at the club. Not quickly, mind you, as Saturday morning road blocks abound:

The club was more crowded than I have ever seen it, with vehicles parked in most available spots and half a dozen guys directing traffic. Since I have a 4x4, I parked in the corn field and wandered on in. $3 entry and $4 for a kewl club patch, and I had three large rooms of 'gun stuff' to shuffle through. Cheek to jowl, but no hard feelings at all. Shootin' folk are pleasant folk, and I heard 'excuse me' and 'pardon me' a dozen times in as many feet.

At the show I met two of the heirs, and middle son showed me a shootin iron he had just bought. I'm not happy about him spending the money, but he did listen to all the advice he's been asking for the last few months and bought something decent and sensible. Pictures another day... when I borrow it from him for a while (g). Oh... he also has this grand plan that I'm going to teach him to reload (good) using my components (bad) and buy him a reloading outfit for his next birthday (maybe).

The obligatory gun show haul reveal:

Nothing special, as funds are thin at the moment. A pound of the powder I prefer in 9mm and 45acp warm loads, a brick of small pistol primers as I was near out, and a box of 9mm bullets which were priced under market. A Lee auto prime, to join a reloading kit I am assembling for a friend, and a Lyman 9mm mould (used).

After a few hours in the gun show, it was up to the secluded fifty yard pistol range for some practice. There's a military rifle shoot next weekend, and I had to scrape enough rust off my skills that I might avoid embarrassment. An hour with the CZ452 served it's purpose, as I put myself through each position. Firing fifty rounds just as in the match, it all fell back into place. Lets hope it stays there till next week :-)

The Lyman mould is for something special I have in mind. It's a truncated cone, not my favorite bullet for the 9mm, but it was bought with a more unusual purpose. I have other moulds for the 9mm already, but they are aluminum and I need steel this time. You see, I want to try and cast solid silver bullets to make jewelry with. Silver bullets in a nickel case with a silver bail for a silver chain. I've spoken with an artist in New York who is doing something similar and wish to give it a try myself.

Why a steel mould? The Silver needs to be upwards of 2000 degrees F, and the aluminum mould melts at 1400 degrees F, give or take a few degrees. I suspect that would not work so well (g).

After getting home, the reloading bench was cleared and set up for 9mm single stage loading. An hours work gave me a few boxes of very nice FMJ bullets with a warm load of the Power Pistol, and a handful of experimental rounds to try out. 158 grain Ranier plated soft lead hollow points in front of a lighter load of the Power Pistol. The bullets are .358" made for a .s8 special, but are very soft. Even if they are .002" over standard 9mm size they loaded fine and chamber nicely. Being softer than the lead bullets I cast, I don't expect high pressure at all. The real question is, will they shoot well?

After the reloading, the bench was cleared again, and out came the casting pot. Mounting the Lyman mould in a set of handles I bought years ago, I cleaned the mould with alcohol swabs, and then smoked it with kitchen matches as a mould release agent. As the lead pot heated, I preheated the mould with a propane torch. Once it was all at proper temperature, I started casting from the new mould. The first two dropped out less than perfect, but after that they fell like clockwork. In minutes I had a hundred to load and test in my 9mm pistols.

Setting aside the Lyman mould to cool, I preheated my Lee 9mm round nose gang mould. In another thirty minutes I had cast perhaps three hundred more slugs. All that remains is to run them through the lubrisizer for sizing and lube, and then load them in cases already prepared. I expect that will happen tomorrow!

Putting away the casting gear, I moved on to taking photos of an Ex-sniper Mosin 91/30 for an upcoming Carteach0 post.

There seems to have been a theme to the whole day. I can't quite place my finger on it..... but it will come to me eventually.

1 comment:

James R. Rummel said...

I've cast silver pistol bullets before. Used a small iron skillet and a blow torch to melt the silver, and a steel mold like you have purchased.

I did the work outside on a flat part of my concrete drive way, since there was nothing inflammable around in case of spillage. Word to the wise, there.

The hot tip (pun alert!) is to heat up the mold with the torch before trying to pour the molten silver. You are just asking for trouble if you try to pour hot liquid metal in a cold steel mold.