From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners©
A joint effort by Glen E. Fryxell and Robert L. Applegate

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Glen E. Fryxell  
Rob L. Applegate


By: John Taffin

          In many ways it seemed like only yesterday I began casting bullets. In fact it has been over one-half century since I started pouring that first batch of molten alloy into a single cavity mould, or mold if you prefer. It was in my mother's kitchen, at my mother's stove, next to my mother's refrigerator. It wasn't long before the whole top half of the side of her refrigerator was covered with speckles of lead. Now my mother was the most fastidious of housekeepers, however she never complained. Looking back I can only assume she thought it better to have me making a mess in her kitchen rather than running around doing something of which she didn't improve.

          At the time I was working for a large wholesale warehouse catering to plumbing and building contractors. This gave me access to both 100# bars of lead and one pound bars of tin. There was also a reciprocal agreement with a few other businesses allowing employees from one place to purchase from the other at wholesale prices. From the now long gone Buckeye Cycle I was able to order two Lyman single cavity molds, #454190 for the  .45 Colt and #358311 for the .38 Special; a Lyman #310 “Nutcracker” Reloading tools with the dies for both .45 Colt and .357 Magnum, and I was ready to cast bullets. Those two molds are gone as it wasn’t long before I graduated to multiple cavity moulds, however, I still use that #310 tool to pop primers from cartridges cases fired with black powder.


          Living as we do in the Instant Information Age, it is sometimes difficult to believe how little information was available or how difficult it was to find in the middle of the 20th century. I had read Elmer Keith’s “Sixgun Cartridges and Loads” which gave me the very basics. Much of the rest I learned over the next four decades by trial and error and casting and shooting thousands upon thousands of cast bullets in hundreds of sixguns. Casting bullets opened all kinds of doors for me. Most importantly, casting allowed the shooting of vast amounts that would never have been had I found it necessary to buy my bullets from other sources. The only way to become even reasonably adequate with a sixgun is by shooting a lot, and only casting my own bullets allowed this. All of my shooting experiences, the vast majority of which has been with home cast bullets eventually led to my position as Field Editor with “American Handgunner” and Senior Field Editor with “Guns” magazines. Along the way, I not only managed to acquire a pretty good knowledge of cast bullets but also a working collection of approximately 250 bullet moulds from virtually every manufacturer. With this background in mind I now turn to the volume you hold in your hands.

          Glen Fryxell is a chemist by trade and a bullet caster by choice. He knows more about casting bullets than anyone else I know. Rob Applegate is both an excellent gunsmith as well as a maker of custom bullet moulds. Put the two of them together, and virtually every aspect of cast bullets is covered in what comes the closest to ever being called “The Complete Book of Cast Bullets.” Only their modesty prevents them from using this title and instead of going with “From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners.

         I found two things of major importance as I read this book. 1) The things I've learned about cast bullets and casting bullets are true. 2) There was still much I needed to learn. Both what I know and what I needed to know are found in this book. Any well-informed sixgunner, even if they never intend to cast their own bullets, will find information here that simply make shooting more enjoyable. Which is better, plain-based or gas checked bullets? Why do soft bullets shoot well while hard bullets lead the barrel, and vice versa? How does bullet lube work? What is this mysterious thing called flux? How important are cylinder throat and barrel dimensions? Do cast hollow point bullets really work? Can one hunt with cast bullets, and if so which ones work the best?

          As important to me as the how-to information is the historical background. Over the years many men have contributed to our knowledge of bullets in general and cast bullets in particular. In these pages you will find such cast bullet pioneers as Elmer Keith, Phil Sharpe, Jim Harvey, Ray Thompson, Veral Smith, and my dear friend, J.D. Jones. Understanding their contributions simply makes shooting sixguns all that more enjoyable.

          If you have never cast a bullet but are planning to start, read this book first. Keep it at hand, and refer to it often. If you are an experienced bullet caster, stop, do not cast another bullet until you have read this book. You might be surprised at how much you have to learn. Rob and Glen have done an admirable job of gathering and presenting valuable information on what many think is a somewhat mystical or magical art. The doors are open, the lights are on, and the magic and mystery have been dispelled. This volume is a most valuable addition to both my loading room and my library. I expect all other dedicated sixgunners to also find this to be true.


John Taffin

Boise, Idaho


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