What: A bullet mold was used to make bullets. Minie balls, seen in the picture to the left, were used primarily in muskets and rifles. A conical bullet was primarily made for pistols.
To make the bullet, lead was melted over a fire. A wooden handle casting dipper was used to pour lead into the closed mold through a sprue or hole. Once the bullet was cool enough, the mold was opened. The bullet was dropped into water or something soft because it was still easily damaged. Any scraps were remelted and used again.
Making bullets was dangerous work. The lead could easily burn. Another problem was people getting lead poisoning because of over-exposure to the lead.
Who: The pioneers would have to make their own bullets if they could not easily purchase bullets for their needs.
Last updated: February 24, 2015