Molding Your Own Shotgun Slugs, Birdshot and Buckshot At Home
It must be noted first that lead is a toxin and must be handled properly to prevent lead poisoning. Always wear protective gloves, face mask and eye protection when handling molten lead or lead bars.
Years ago to make shot artisans poured molten lead through a sieve to form the shot and as the shot dropped through the small holes air pressure or surface tension formed it as it fell through the air. Then the shot fell in to water to cool. It cooled quickly maintaining so it was able to hold its shape. The size shot was determined by the size sieve used.
Machines that make shot today have the same basic concept except you normally place lead bars into a chamber to be heated up by heating elements. Then once the lead is liquefied, it begins to drip through holes into a cooling liquid. You need to use a cooling liquid higher in viscosity than water. You can mix water and liquid soap or use flame retardant hydraulic oil for your cooling bath. You are essentially tempering the shot and using just water tends to deform the shot. The “drippers” are what determines the shot size so you would have to have several sizes unless you are making just one size shot.
Pure lead is too soft for shot, so you will have to use an alloy. Some use what is called “wheel weight lead”. It has other minerals in it that make the shot harder.
An essential component for the shotshell handloader who wants to save money and produce shot pellets customized to specific hardness requirements. The original Littleton Shotmaker was legendary among serious shotgunners; this model incorporates improvements that make casting your own shot easy and repeatable. It’s like having your own shot tower in a compact package that takes up less than one cubic foot of space. Produces up to 45 lbs. of No. 7½ shot per hour. You can easily experiment with different lead alloys to produce harder shot for less deformation, uniform patterns, and more hits. Simply place at least 6 lbs. of clean lead, with impurities removed, in the Shotmaker’s aluminum alloy ladle, and flip the switch on. When the lead reaches its melting temperature and liquefies, it’ll begin pouring out the Shotmaker’s drippers in little streams that are actually individual lead balls. As they drop into a pan of coolant you provide—ordinary motor vehicle anti-freeze works best—you’ve cast your own No. 7½ lead shot. Durable, steel-and-aluminum construction with heavy-duty electrical components ensure years of trouble-free service.
The lead is melted in the trays from heating elements underneath. The molten lead then drips through the shot holes into the cooling bath. Once liquefied, the lead will drip quickly through the dripper into the cooling liquid.
|You can get Burgess Bullets Littleton Shotmaker on Brownells|
Lee Eighteen cavity Buck shot moulds are available in 3 sizes: 000 Buckshot, 00 Buckshot and #4 Buckshot. Precision-machined moulds produce 18 linked pellets per cast, allowing one to easily cast over 2000 pellets an hour.
|You can get LEE Buckshot Moulds on Brownells|
Aluminum slug molds are inexpensive and you can purchase one practically anywhere for less than $50USD.
Mold for shotgun slugs; note the hollow core, which helps the slug maintain its balance by putting the weight on the end of the slug.
What you will need to make slugs using the pictured device is lead, welder’s gloves, facemask, a heat source, vessel to melt lead in and a small metal ladle that has a small slot for pouring. Make sure the vessel is large enough so you can dip a ladle in. You can purchase lead specifically for making your own ammunition or you can collect wheel weights from any junk yard or ask your local parts store.
You will notice once the lead begins to melt that junk will be floating on top, this is all of the impurities in the lead, such as dirt, and other contaminates. Ladle this to the side and scoop out. The liquid lead will be slight thicker than water in a molten state.
Close the mold tightly, place the slag cutter over the hole on top, and lock in place. You will be pouring the lead through the hole on the slag cutter, which will be lined up with the mold chamber. Dip some lead and make sure you have your gloves, facemask and safety goggles on. You have to move quickly so the lead does not cool. Pour into the hole until lead comes back out the hole, while pouring slightly jiggle the mold to remove air bubbles. Once full, slide the black bar away to cut off the slag. Open the mold and tap on the backside to knock the slug loose.
|You can get Lyman 12 GA, Slug Mould on Brownells|
|You can get Lee Shotgun Slug Mould here: Brownells|
Lead Melting, Lee Production Pot IV
Large, deep pot holds approximately 10 pounds of lead. Melt time is less than 20 minutes. Pour spout up front where it belongs so you can see what you’re doing. Infinite heat control. Uses only 500 watts of power during heat-up and a lot less to maintain temperature. Large, stable base for safety. 4″ of clearance under the spout is high enough to accept all brands of bullet molds and most sinker molds. Melter is capable of reaching 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
|You can get Lee Production Pot IV on Brownells|