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31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cast bullets

We cast them
We lube them
We size them
We load them
We shoot them
We LOVE them
and now we powder coat them

ive been powder coating for about 1 1/2 years
and yes ive used
pan lubing (messy and time consuming but it has a place)
alox tumbling (messy,sticky,die filling,gooey,stinky,smokey and it has no place)
and the wonderful and easy 45/45/10 tumble (hardly messy,cheap,easy,sorta stinkey,not very smokey, and very effective)

i tried the shake and bake powder coat because i thought it looked fun,simple,not messy,cheap,effective and very cool looking.

the claimed benefits of powder coating
1. No leading
well yes, and its true but you still must have a bullet that fits the throats and bores just like always. if you shear a coating off a bullet it will lead just like a plain cast bullet that you sheared the bands off of.

2. can run cast at jacketed speeds
yes you can in hand guns as long as the bullet fits the gun (fit is still king)

3. ranges that require FMJ,TMJ bullets may allow shake and bake powder coat as they are fully coated

4. totally replaces conventional lubing systems
ahhh no...... all of the old style lubes still work as they always did. dont need to change for the sake of change
but that said, if one never changes, one never learns, one never progresses

down falls of shake and bake powder coating
1. different
2. makes some folks uncomfortable, as you might be having to much fun (the range chic's love cool bullets :greenlittle:)
3. i have yet to see any real qualifiable data on whether powder coating has any detrimental or positive effect on accuracy/consistancy. ive shot alot of these in 9mm,.38,.357,.40,.45acp,.45 colt. and i cant give you that answer, as im not good enough of a shot to give a answer!
4. time.... in the smaller quanities that most of us deal with powder coating doesn't really consume more time. but if one was casting and loading to feed a shooting team, 45/45/10 would be the winner or maybe Hi-Tek coating as there is no working with a individual bullet except for sizing, which most of us do most times anyway

on to the process.....
remember this is only how "I" do it, it is not the only way, nor is it probably the best way
but it is "my" way, and my way is always changing as i work out easier,faster,better (percieved better in many cases) methods

Equipment list
1. Cool Whip tub or some other closable #5 (recyclable symbol 5) container

i like these for the smaller batches of varied colors, they dont leak powder and they store airtite

but use what you have or find, heck folks have used styrofoam coolers
its all about imparting a static charge

2. Toaster oven or spare oven in the shop or garage
garage sale,thrift store

be inventive!
the big thing to remember is the oven must be able to reach and hold 400degF with out big temp swings
if in doubt use a cheap oven thermometer to help keep track of the temp

3. tray for in oven
they come with trays, but most of them have ribs in the bottom of them
so find,bend,cut a tray thats flat,fits,and you can move about easily

4. tweezers to pick bullets out of the tub with
any will do, but i like ones with ridges to hold a bit of powder, that keeps from rubbing off the uncured powder
i see many folks using forcepsthey work but some cumbersome compared to tweezers

end of part 1

31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
part 2

5. parchment paper for the pan liner
this powder coat will bond to most anything, and your tray is no exception
many use this teflon coated foil

and some use silicone baking sheets

i use parchment paper cheap,works perfectly,can reuse MANY times

works a treat on the bottoms

6. air soft BBs
plenty of folks say "only the black ones work!"
well they all seem to work

7. powder coat paint
lots of folks use Harbor Freight red (white wont cover,yellow not so good either and the black has some controversy surrounding it)

but my faves are better quality powders from places like
the powdercoat store
powder buy the pound
or even Amazon sells it via many vendors

end of part 2

31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
part 3 Puttin on the Pretties

now we get to the real work here....

take one of your cool whip tubs or what ever container you wish to use
and put a couple layers of BBs in the bottom

and add a teaspoon or 2 of your paint

and add some clean grease free/waxless bullets to your bowl

put on the lid and start swirling them around
keep doing that for a couple minutes'then shake them up and down
a few times, youll know your done when they look like these

they dont have to be perfectly covered as the paint will flow as it cures

and put them out on the tray with your tweezers

repeat as necessary

then get you oven fired up to 400degF
and just slide the tray right on in there

set your timer for 15-17 minutes
the real procudure for curing the paint is to bake for 10-12 minutes after the powder has started to flow (turn shiney)
so i have had great luck with the 15-17 minutes
but your mileage may vary!

end of part 3

31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
part 4 Shiny Awesome Greatness

after the DING of the timer
pull those bad boys out of the oven to cool

when they are cooled down
you can size them as needed
the prefered sizer is the Lee push thru
as the "lube sizers" can scratch the coating with the holes in the sizer die

thats it!! load as normal for a lead bullet
make sure you have enough bell to keep from cutting into the coating
for those wondering how well powdercoat adheres to a bullet, do the anvil test!


2,160 Posts
Well there's something new. (To me)
Thanks for taking the time to share.
Cool stuff.
I don't cast my own so I guess I could melt the lube out of my store bought bullets and tool up for sizing.

Or maybe I should start casting..............
I guess the wax on swaged bullets would be impossible to remove or use as is.
Swaged are so soft, wonder if they would melt while curing the powder coat?

12,933 Posts
Very good post guncheese,

I been doing it about a year now, and I do it pretty much the same procedures you posted.
I use a cheap needle nose plier with tips bent , and circular shaped to pick up the powdered bullets, and I do heat for 20 minutes.

The swirling action for 3-4 minutes, and then shake up and down is important to create the static to make the powder stick.

It is a fun part of reloading, and I NEVER have leading problems, and you dont need lube anymore for cast boolits.

I can get same , maybe slightly better accuracy , over lead boolits.
I have not chronograph the difference yet, but they are suppose to be faster.

Inexpensive tinkering...;):D


475 Posts
It would be a very good way to distinguish different ammo, without really looking at it (for bad eyes). Never ceases to amaze me, what they come up with...........................
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