June 28, 2012
By Bart Skelton
I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge - it's been a long time ago. From a very early age, I do remember watching my dad reload handgun ammunition, an activity he spent a lot of time doing when he wasn't chasing crooks or working cattle. When I was eight or nine years old, he'd let me re-prime and size cases. He generally worked with .44 Magnum or .44 Special, but when I was allowed to help, it was always .38 Special, at least in the beginning.
When I got tired of doing the re-sizing work, he'd allow me to cast a bullet or two - only under very close supervision, then size and lube the bullets. It took me a long time to really understand his method of lead-to-linotype mixture. The most important thing to me was getting a good looking bullet out of the mold. I was to later spend many hours at my dad's melting pot casting .50 caliber round balls for my flintlock rifle, which for a couple of years I preferred to shoot over anything else. When I got that out of my system, I went back to casting pistol bullets.
I took a hiatus from bullet casting for a long while, which is unfortunate, since I love shooting cast bullets in the .44 Special, .44 Magnum and .45 LC. I recently fired up my Hornady reloading outfit with the intention of turning out some .44 Special loads, but discovered I had no cast bullets on hand, then discovered my old lead furnace had gone belly up.
I contacted Badman Bullets and had them ship me a some of their 200-grain RNFP bullets. After shooting a few batches of them loaded over 7 grains of Unique, I'm thinking there may be no need to replace my old lead furnace.