One guys exploration into casting bullets...

NewBeige

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My girlfriend and I recently attended the casting seminar held by Michael Spanner. I learned a lot and got to cast my first bullets. It was also a great crew of folks to spend the day with and learn.

IMG_6515.jpg

I have many questions that I want to bring to the forum and get your guys (and gals) take on it. I'll try to be organized and I hope including thumbnails of the relevant photos doesn't bother people. If it does bother you all, I will include full size images in the future.



Project 1 Casting Ingots: I have about 100lb of range scrap that I'd like to smelt, clean up and cast into ingots. IMG_6645.jpg
I have acquired a stainless steel pot that I hope to use as a crucible, various spoons and scoops, IMG_6651.jpg, two RCBS ingot molds, some mini muffin tins, and a bunch of metal that I believe to be pewter.IMG_6652.jpg I'm picking up a turkey fryer tomorrow.


Q1a: Do I need to add pewter to range scrap to make my lead into the right formula for casting bullets? I got the impression that we were adding pewter to the wheel weights that Mike had but that range scrap would already have the right mix.

Q1b: Are there any problems with the materials I have shown so far?

Q1c: Why not skip the turkey fryer and just take the grate off my gas grill and set the crucible on the burner covers and cook it up like that? Seems like most gas grills would also be sturdier than the small turkey fryer.

Q1d: Why not just get rid of the flame all together and go the hotplate method that one of the class attendees described a few times? (maybe my batch volume is not going to be practical for his method)

Q1e: So I picked up a "Masterbuilt Turkey Fryer with timer" and will use it under whatever crucibal I go with. IMG_6669.PNGIMG_6666.PNG

Q1f: Another crucible option: I also picked up a 11lb older used propane tank from a friends house. From all the warnings Ive read online, I think I might want to have someone else do the cutting in half part. I really liked the door prize at the seminar and would be willing to pay another member to cut one of these tanks open safely. The one at the seminar was painted blue and should be in this picture IMG_6514.jpg



Project 2 Casting Bullets: Once I have a bunch of ingots, I will cast 9mm at first. Michael was kind enough to size my bore and my Canik TP9sfx came in at .355 max and my Sig p938 was 355.5 to 356/357. I maybe possibly expanding to shooting 38 and 357Mag in the next year. I have yet to fall in love with revolvers.

I also purchased a Lee production pot from member Knob Creek's personal collection that I will use for my initial casting setup.

I have been looking at 9mm molds and they are becoming harder and harder to find. I would prefer to avoid lubing and would follow Michael's Hi Tech coating method, therefore a mold w the lube ring in it seems to be a waste ( and harder to coat).



Q2a: What mold should I buy? The first 3 that I have been giving consideration to are:

MP 356-125 2R 6 Cavity Bevel Base
MP 356-125 2R 6 cavity Bevel base mold ~ MP-molds

MP 356-125 2R 8 Cavity Flat Base Mold
MP 356-125 2R 8 cavity Flat base mold ~ MP-molds

or the only one that is actually in stock now:

MP 359 -125 Hollow Point PB 4 Cavity

MP 359 -125 Hollow point PB 4 Cavity mold ~ MP-molds

or another from NOE that might fit the bill but only puts out a 354 but thats without the three coats of mikes fancy coating:
HTC354-115-RN-V6 5 cavity BB | NOE Bullet Moulds



Project 3 Coating:

I like Mikes method and I wont try to repeat it properly here but I am going to follow his method, so I am looking for counter top convection ovens on craigslist in the meantime.

Q3a: Do I need to coat in any particular time frame after casting? Can I wait 6 months?





Project 4 Sizing: I have a Dillon 650 that I will be loading with, however I don't have anything to size my future cast and coated bullets down to the 355 that my Canik apparently wants. my current setup: IMG_6650.jpg

Q4a: What device can I get to size my 9mm cast and coated bullets down that will add to my capabilities and not just be redundant with the functions of the 650 press?



Project 5 Making Ammo: I have previously loaded a few thousand 9mm rounds on the Dillon 650. My only problem is a sideways primer every once in a while. The ammo has performed well but they were always store bought FMJ bullets so I don't know what to expect in switching over to handmade bullets. I took a bag of unsized coated 9mm bullets from the casting seminar but I don't have anything to size them with so I don't want to just load them up and shoot them quite yet.

Q5a: Once cast, coated, and sized, are there any differences I should look out for when I finally do a run of assembling ammo?



If you read this far, I have to say a big thanks and I hope to see you at the next NES event. This hands on casting seminar was awesome
 

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Rocco Mozz

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Hey M, its Ben from the same casting seminar. I hope everything’s going well. It’s awesome to see how much equipment you’ve acquired over the time since the casting session. I’ve bookmarked your thread and I’m looking forward to hearing from other people and meeting up soon to smelt and/or hit the range. We’ll be in touch!
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Alright! another one bit by the bug I love it!

I know there are others that will chime in on here too.

For 9mm I prefer a hardenable alloy. Did you get the copy of the alloy calculator spreadsheet? I would try to aim for something more like wheel weights. The pewter will give you a lower surface tension and fill out the mould better. Not a lot of hardness but it does give toughness.
I prefer the harder alloy so that when I coat it I can drop the whole batch into a bucket of cold water as soon as it's done baking.
This will increase the hardness slightly at first and continue to increase it for a week or so as it age hardens.
I prefer this for 3 reasons. one being that 9mm operates at a higher pressure and benefits from a harder alloy that won't strip out on the rifling. The second and most important reason is neck tensions. Most 9mm dies are meant to load .355 or .356 diameter bullets. If you run a softer alloy bullet at say .357" diameter the neck tension can squeeze the soft bullet down, resulting in an undersized bullet that can lead and be inaccurate and or tumble.
The harder alloy will not deform under the neck tension. You could also work with a larger diameter expander in the 9mm which will allow the room for a .001" larger bullet in a softer alloy.
That being said you're going to want to add some lead shot/linotype to get the antimony up to the 2-3% Range

Your materials/tools all look good. Stainless should all be fine. Sometimes the less expensive stainless pots have pretty cheap rivets and if the lead is up to level they may leak.

Gas grills can be used but you might run into a weight issue. They're not as stout as a turkey fryer and they're also a lot higher off the ground. If you have a spill height is your enemy. You don't need 700* lead splashing around.
Also it's best to keep the lead splatter away from the tool you use to cook your dinner.
The hot plate probably won't get you the heat you need for a proper smelt. @pastera would be the guru when it comes to those plates.

Cutting a propane tank isn't that scary but if you're not used to running metal cutting tools and don't have them at you disposal then don't bother.

I would go with whatever 9mm mould you can get your hands on right now. Let me tell you from experience it will not be your last. Anything from MP is going to be a work of art. Hi hollow point moulds cast almost as fast as his solids. They will last a long time and you won't regret it. You can also run them with the pins reversed to cast solids. @Knob Creek can tell you how fast they ship their moulds. Also look into breaking in a brass mould before use.

You can wait as long as you want to coat. You can coat them and wait a month before you bake them. Then you can wait 6 months before the next coat. No issues there.

I would get a simple single stage press. That and a Lee push through sizer is all you need (or if you want fancy the NOE push through sizers are super nice!) You can always use it for brass prep, bulge busting, on press trimming, etc in the future.

If you want me to size those bullets let me know and we can meet up. I'll size them for you.
As far as loading the biggest issues with cast are as follows

Proper bullet diameter - we covered this in the class and slugging your bore should give you the proper answer.

Neck Tension/Crimp - as stated in the beginning of this post you need to do some math. If your bullet wants to be .357" and your brass is .011" at the mouth then your finished cartridge diameter measure at the case mouth (crimp) should not be less than. .379" diameter. Crimping more than this will make the case mouth cut into the bullet making it undersized. So don't over crimp and make sure your alloy is hard enough or your expander is the right size for your bullet.
You can test this by loading a dummy round and then pulling the bullet. If you see that the brass has undersized your bullet you need to adjust one of the above mentioned processes.

Bullet shaving - You need to bel the case mouth a little more at the powder drop station. This will prevent the case mouth from scraping off the coating or the lead. Both of those would end up with a smaller diameter bullet = leading/tumbling/inaccuracies

Thanks again to the bot of your for showing up and asking lots of questions. I can't wait to see what you make!
 

NewBeige

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Im glad to hear that I have been getting the right stuff together.

My source of lead is the remnants of a range cleanup day. When you say I should add some lead shot or Linotype, what makes you know that I would need it? This is from a no rifle, handgun only indoor range (if that makes a difference).

I’ll look around for a single stage press.
Are these the NOE sizer you recommend? 001 Push Through Size Die Body | NOE Bullet Moulds

I have started talking w these two craigslist sellers...
what’s your take on this monster? Worth the $400?
C8414075-F0D6-40B9-A6B3-A5DED14D6ACC.pngwhat’s your take on this deal for lead:
5448B58E-8F22-48A7-A9FA-7231C2A207B6.png
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Range alloy is generally a mix of jacketed/plated and some cast. The former being soft alloy that has to be soft enough to be swaged into shape. The latter is cast and usually a harder alloy.
The majority being the jacketed/plated nowadays means the alloy will be pretty soft.

Yes those are the push through dies. Buy a body and buy interchangeable sizing inserts.

I wouldn’t waste my money on that melter unless you can find replacement parts for it. What is the capacity? Also it doesn’t appear to have a bottom spigot so you would need to ladle cast which would slow down the process a bit.

As far as alloy from Craigslist or any other source or pre cast items (sinkers/ingots/bullets) I am always a little skeptical about the alloy and wether or not it will work for me. I prefer the alloy in its “virgin” state ie wheel weights. Flashing. Shot. Linotype.
Then I know what I have and how to mix it.

That being said it’s a little high price wise too. Castboolits website has a guy selling good alloy shipped for about $1 a pound and he will tell you what the alloy is.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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So I checked the Craigslist ad and it might be worth it for the 150#

I would ask him what alloy/material he used to cast all of them. Looks like a lot could be pure lead round balls for muzzleloaders.
Then try to beat him up a bit on price.
 

pastera

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$400 for the pot isn't a good deal
You can get a new RCBS or Lyman bottom pour with PID controller for that
Check the local thrift store and see if you can't get a cast iron pot and a hot plate - that will let you ladel pour and smelt for cheap.
Range lead with 1% added tin is usually fine for 9mm with a slower powder like autocomp or silhouette. This is assuming you are using HiTek.
The problem then becomes base swaging from too small of an expander die.
To check, load a dummy bullet and pull with an impact puller. Measure the bullet at the base with micrometers - if it didn't swage down then you are good to go. If it does swage then you can try a 38/357 expander (I have a lathe and make my own custom expanders so I'm not sure which ones work)
 

mac1911

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Im glad to hear that I have been getting the right stuff together.

My source of lead is the remnants of a range cleanup day. When you say I should add some lead shot or Linotype, what makes you know that I would need it? This is from a no rifle, handgun only indoor range (if that makes a difference).

I’ll look around for a single stage press.
Are these the NOE sizer you recommend? 001 Push Through Size Die Body | NOE Bullet Moulds

I have started talking w these two craigslist sellers...
what’s your take on this monster? Worth the $400?
View attachment 397664what’s your take on this deal for lead:
View attachment 397663
looks like a lot of round ball,
As for the pot...$400 is to much. Unless its of known good quality and parts are out there. Now if electric smelter is to work better for you its a possibility. I have to know why he wants $400 and the actual size of the pot.
 

pastera

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Star sizer is the standard to measure by if you are lubing.
Depending on the price (@Fixxah - how much???) - pick one up
Lee APP will size coated bullets faster than a Star for a lot less but it can't lube. It can, however, decap for wet tumbling as fast as you can pull the handle with a case feeder (even Lee's shaker type is fast)
 

mac1911

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My girlfriend and I recently attended the casting seminar held by Michael Spanner. I learned a lot and got to cast my first bullets. It was also a great crew of folks to spend the day with and learn.

View attachment 397580

I have many questions that I want to bring to the forum and get your guys (and gals) take on it. I'll try to be organized and I hope including thumbnails of the relevant photos doesn't bother people. If it does bother you all, I will include full size images in the future.



Project 1 Casting Ingots: I have about 100lb of range scrap that I'd like to smelt, clean up and cast into ingots. View attachment 397581
I have acquired a stainless steel pot that I hope to use as a crucible, various spoons and scoops, View attachment 397582, two RCBS ingot molds, some mini muffin tins, and a bunch of metal that I believe to be pewter.View attachment 397584 I'm picking up a turkey fryer tomorrow.


Q1a: Do I need to add pewter to range scrap to make my lead into the right formula for casting bullets? I got the impression that we were adding pewter to the wheel weights that Mike had but that range scrap would already have the right mix.

Q1b: Are there any problems with the materials I have shown so far?

Q1c: Why not skip the turkey fryer and just take the grate off my gas grill and set the crucible on the burner covers and cook it up like that? Seems like most gas grills would also be sturdier than the small turkey fryer.

Q1d: Why not just get rid of the flame all together and go the hotplate method that one of the class attendees described a few times? (maybe my batch volume is not going to be practical for his method)

Q1e: So I picked up a "Masterbuilt Turkey Fryer with timer" and will use it under whatever crucibal I go with. View attachment 397585View attachment 397586

Q1f: Another crucible option: I also picked up a 11lb older used propane tank from a friends house. From all the warnings Ive read online, I think I might want to have someone else do the cutting in half part. I really liked the door prize at the seminar and would be willing to pay another member to cut one of these tanks open safely. The one at the seminar was painted blue and should be in this picture View attachment 397587



Project 2 Casting Bullets: Once I have a bunch of ingots, I will cast 9mm at first. Michael was kind enough to size my bore and my Canik TP9sfx came in at .355 max and my Sig p938 was 355.5 to 356/357. I maybe possibly expanding to shooting 38 and 357Mag in the next year. I have yet to fall in love with revolvers.

I also purchased a Lee production pot from member Knob Creek's personal collection that I will use for my initial casting setup.

I have been looking at 9mm molds and they are becoming harder and harder to find. I would prefer to avoid lubing and would follow Michael's Hi Tech coating method, therefore a mold w the lube ring in it seems to be a waste ( and harder to coat).



Q2a: What mold should I buy? The first 3 that I have been giving consideration to are:

MP 356-125 2R 6 Cavity Bevel Base
MP 356-125 2R 6 cavity Bevel base mold ~ MP-molds

MP 356-125 2R 8 Cavity Flat Base Mold
MP 356-125 2R 8 cavity Flat base mold ~ MP-molds

or the only one that is actually in stock now:

MP 359 -125 Hollow Point PB 4 Cavity

MP 359 -125 Hollow point PB 4 Cavity mold ~ MP-molds

or another from NOE that might fit the bill but only puts out a 354 but thats without the three coats of mikes fancy coating:
HTC354-115-RN-V6 5 cavity BB | NOE Bullet Moulds



Project 3 Coating:

I like Mikes method and I wont try to repeat it properly here but I am going to follow his method, so I am looking for counter top convection ovens on craigslist in the meantime.

Q3a: Do I need to coat in any particular time frame after casting? Can I wait 6 months?





Project 4 Sizing: I have a Dillon 650 that I will be loading with, however I don't have anything to size my future cast and coated bullets down to the 355 that my Canik apparently wants. my current setup: View attachment 397592

Q4a: What device can I get to size my 9mm cast and coated bullets down that will add to my capabilities and not just be redundant with the functions of the 650 press?



Project 5 Making Ammo: I have previously loaded a few thousand 9mm rounds on the Dillon 650. My only problem is a sideways primer every once in a while. The ammo has performed well but they were always store bought FMJ bullets so I don't know what to expect in switching over to handmade bullets. I took a bag of unsized coated 9mm bullets from the casting seminar but I don't have anything to size them with so I don't want to just load them up and shoot them quite yet.

Q5a: Once cast, coated, and sized, are there any differences I should look out for when I finally do a run of assembling ammo?



If you read this far, I have to say a big thanks and I hope to see you at the next NES event. This hands on casting seminar was awesome
Just be very careful of the stainless pots. They become brittle after some use. Just get a LP tank or a caet iron pot. I keep going back to my cast dutch oven holds aprox #50 lbs of lead. Its much easier for me. If im trying to blend a large batch of alloy I run the LP pot wich holds about 100lbs.
As for your alloy. If your casting for non magnum pistol loads range scrap should be plenty good.
The turkey burner looks a bit rough and one of the weaker ones. A new stand and 20psi regulator/hose are not to expensive
I paid $25 for a turkey fryer from a yard sale complete with a LP tank aprox 1/3 full.

I would smelt what you have , make some small ignots from the pewter in roughly 1oz pills.
After you get used to casting you can always add 1-2% pewter to your casting pot vs the smelting pot.
MOlds, cant help all mine are old , lee and most where free.
I load target loads for 38,9 and 45 lower end of velocity and find any range or wheel weight alloy to do just fine. Even straight wheel weight alloy in my rifles up to 1600 fps work fine. i gas check any bullet over 1200 fps.

Your lead alloy in the want adds.
$1/lb is about the max I pay unless its a known alloy and clean.

Sizing , I have been using Lee push throughs for years .
Picked up a lubersizer 400 from wegman for a good deal. Works well.
Lube: for pistol i just use lee tumble lube.
Have not jumped into coating yet
 
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mac1911

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$400 for the pot isn't a good deal
You can get a new RCBS or Lyman bottom pour with PID controller for that
Check the local thrift store and see if you can't get a cast iron pot and a hot plate - that will let you ladel pour and smelt for cheap.
Range lead with 1% added tin is usually fine for 9mm with a slower powder like autocomp or silhouette. This is assuming you are using HiTek.
The problem then becomes base swaging from too small of an expander die.
To check, load a dummy bullet and pull with an impact puller. Measure the bullet at the base with micrometers - if it didn't swage down then you are good to go. If it does swage then you can try a 38/357 expander (I have a lathe and make my own custom expanders so I'm not sure which ones work)
went to the thrift stores the other day, line out the door ! Did not bother to wait.
Scored 1# of pewter for 1.50 at a yard sale sat.
 

pastera

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I should have read the entire thread before posting (was on my phone pre-coffee)

Q1 -
If you are doing regular 100lb batches for smelting, you don't want to use a hot plate. Turkey fryer is the way to go.
A stainless steel pot is fine
DO NOT USE YOUR GRILL!!!!!!!!! Nothing that touches lead should be used for food, ever! (Yes, I am shouting loudly)

Q2 -
The lube grooves are not an issue - A load from a manual is based on the bearing surface as calculated with the grooves. A smooth sided bullet casts easier but will have a, slightly, different load profile.

I'm going to go against the grain here and say don't get a MP mold as your first mold. The Lee 120-TC is a very easy mold to cast and load, the 2-cavity is $20 at Shooting Supply.

Q3 -
You do not need a convection oven to coat Hitek. A $20 toaster oven will successfully coat bullets with one caveat, the color will not be consistent. If you want to get the bright colors then you will need a very consistent temperature but to cure the coating you only need to have the bullets reach 180C for three minutes. A $20 toaster oven and a $20 amazon thermocouple meter will achieve this very easily.

Q4 -
Answer previously - If you have a 650 then a Star or Lee APP will keep up the supply of bullets needed to feed that beast.
If the 650 isn't yours and you just have access to it, then I would suggest getting a Lee Pro 4000 in 9mm. I believe you can pull the indexer and use it as a single stage for bullet sizing.
 

Knob Creek

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$400 for the pot isn't a good deal
You can get a new RCBS or Lyman bottom pour with PID controller for that
Check the local thrift store and see if you can't get a cast iron pot and a hot plate - that will let you ladel pour and smelt for cheap.
Range lead with 1% added tin is usually fine for 9mm with a slower powder like autocomp or silhouette. This is assuming you are using HiTek.
The problem then becomes base swaging from too small of an expander die.
To check, load a dummy bullet and pull with an impact puller. Measure the bullet at the base with micrometers - if it didn't swage down then you are good to go. If it does swage then you can try a 38/357 expander (I have a lathe and make my own custom expanders so I'm not sure which ones work)
I see that same same $400 pot in other places like FB Marketplace for $200. Still not a deal IMHO. Years ago I would use a Coleman Camp stove to smelt lead.
 

NewBeige

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looks like a lot of round ball,
As for the pot...$400 is to much. Unless its of known good quality and parts are out there. Now if electric smelter is to work better for you its a possibility. I have to know why he wants $400 and the actual size of the pot.
The round ball is 150# for 100 bucks so I'm going to go pick it up today. The person selling it is a local outdoorsman hero that I wanna meet anyway.

The electric pot is now down to $300 if I pick up today and he says it holds 80lb of lead, which would work perfectly. I looked it up (Contenti Supply Company) and a new one is $900 lol Electric Soft Melting Furnaces
 
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Michael J. Spangler

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The round ball is 150# for 100 bucks so I'm going to go pick it up today. The electric pot is now down to $300 if I pick up today and he says it holds 80lb of lead, which would work perfectly. I don't have a make or model number on the pot.
I would be careful with the pot. If you can’t find replacement parts it would be a crap shoot. Especially since you can get a nice RCBS or Lyman for around that $$
The 80# capacity is very tempting but you would still need to ladle cast with it.
 

mac1911

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The round ball is 150# for 100 bucks so I'm going to go pick it up today. The person selling it is a local outdoorsman hero that I wanna meet anyway.

The electric pot is now down to $300 if I pick up today and he says it holds 80lb of lead, which would work perfectly. I looked it up (Contenti Supply Company) and a new one is $900 lol Electric Soft Melting Furnaces
Only reason I would get electric if if propane use outside was darn near impossible or some how more of a fire hazard?

I would invest $200-300 in other things.
 

mac1911

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I would be careful with the pot. If you can’t find replacement parts it would be a crap shoot. Especially since you can get a nice RCBS or Lyman for around that $$
The 80# capacity is very tempting but you would still need to ladle cast with it.
Also not a a must but really you should have a small 10-20 lb pot for casting and a larger pot for smelting.
 

NewBeige

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I would be careful with the pot. If you can’t find replacement parts it would be a crap shoot. Especially since you can get a nice RCBS or Lyman for around that $$
The 80# capacity is very tempting but you would still need to ladle cast with it.
It retails for $900. here is a link to the unit. Look for the 80# one: Electric Soft Melting Furnaces
I just got off phone w the retailer in RI and he said its made by Waage. the replacement elements are $100 for the bottom and $100 for the side element. Link here: Replacement Elements On Waage Electric, Inc.

As far as the pewter goes, I think I'm going to practice and test my equip to make small "pewter pills" as was mentioned above. how big is a 1oz pill?
 

mac1911

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It retails for $900. here is a link to the unit. Look for the 80# one: Electric Soft Melting Furnaces
I just got off phone w the retailer in RI and he said its made by Waage. the replacement elements are $100 for the bottom and $100 for the side element. Link here: Replacement Elements On Waage Electric, Inc.

As far as the pewter goes, I think I'm going to practice and test my equip to make small "pewter pills" as was mentioned above. how big is a 1oz pill?
I use a small , cast iron pan that I think is a egg cooker. Small stainless condement cups work you just need to mark tbe level. If i think i need to add tin to my alloy , i usually do it in the casting pot after i smelt what every alloy and scrap pewter i have.
i put aprox 18lbs of alloy in my lee bottom pour.
If i feel like I need tin i will drop aprox 3oz of tin in and flux it well.


I picked up one of these at a yard sale

- 80% of my casting/smelting gear comes from local yard sales and such. Also again just mention what your looking for often. I mentioned I needed lead at a nieghbor hood party and one of nieghbors relatives says " take what you want out of my truck" he had aprox 100lbs flashing and a bucket of large sinkers missing they "eyelets" .

Found similar cups at wal mart on the clearance rack. 8 for like 2.89 . i also made zinc ignots with them. i knew a old timer who paid my extra to melt my zinc wheel weignts for him. He used them for cannon balls.
 
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NewBeige

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Mike: my idea was to use the 80# electric one to smelt scrap and ladle out into bar molds. I have a Lee bottom pour unit that I bought off Knob Creek for casting bullets. I was not envisioning using the 80# unit to cast bullets.

mac1911 - I have a decent source of range scrap lead. I have 5 5gal buckets worth of it to smelt into bars. That’s the scope of project at hand right now.

I feel like I need to do a practice run, which is why I was asking if and how to do “pewter pills” So I could practice w that and then set aside some real time to start going after the lead I have in buckets.

Related issue: my boat is still in the water so this is the peak in my season of conflicting recreational options available to me. So in a few weeks guns will be hobby #1 yet again.

report on the craigslist lead: all the closed containers you see are actually cast bullets that the seller didn’t want to be seen on CL. There is a ton of different sizes of round ball and a few Bullets that I didn’t recognize but I took a photo w the micrometer measurement I got off written next to them. Not trying to take the thread in a different direction.... just tying up a loose end from earlier.
L to R: 9mm for reference, .475 bullet, .736 round ball and .377 thing (looks like the blade lock/grip on an old style exacto knife)FE731949-8CFB-4090-8836-CC5C35CE7216.jpeg
 
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Michael J. Spangler

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Got it. Understood. I still think you’re better off with the stainless pot and a turkey fryer for smelting.
The bigger capacity the better. 80# capacity for lead won’t hold 80% of range scrap. Then once it’s all smelted and cleaned it will be even less. You need room to stir things around and you’ll end up with maybe 40# in there.
You could buy a nice turkey fryer burner and one hell of a stainless steel pot for $300 and have money left over.
Also the electric melters usually don’t have the oomph for smelting. A turkey fryer can be upwards of 200,000 BTUs. That pot runs around 2900 watts which a quick search says is about 9000 BTUs

I would get your burner fired up and drop all of your pewter in there. It’s going to melt nice and fast and relatively clean. It will give you a quick test run.
Tin is about 2/3 the weight of lead. So you would need about a 650is grain bullet mould to make a 1 oz tin ingot.

Seeing as you’re going to do a test run with smelting and pouring it won’t hurt to play around a bit. Try filling the muffin tins just a little bit or even using a tablespoon or teaspooon as an ingot mould.
I used to have a few hundred pounds of lead sap weights that I swear were cast using a teaspoon as the mould.
 

Artie

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Q1f: Another crucible option: I also picked up a 11lb older used propane tank from a friends house. From all the warnings Ive read online, I think I might want to have someone else do the cutting in half part. I really liked the door prize at the seminar and would be willing to pay another member to cut one of these tanks open safely. The one at the seminar was painted blue and should be in this picture View attachment 397587
The blue smelting pot at the seminar was the 3rd one I have made from 20lbs propane tanks, 1 for me, 1 for a friend, and 1 for the seminar. I am unfamiliar with 11 lbs tanks. It takes a minimum of 2-3 days to make; break the valve off, wash out with soap and water, drain and sit upside down for a day to gas-off, cut in half and then grind the edges. I painted just because it was in cosmetically bad shape and the 1st use will burn off all that paint. If you can find me an empty 20lbs tank, I can trade you the one I currently use so there isn't a long wait or a need for a 2nd meetup, no cost. I am in the Attleboro area. It won't be painted and will have been used. Let me know and we can set something up.
20201009_080651.jpg
 
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NewBeige

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thanks so much for the offer!
so based on this webpage, I actually have a 33lb tank. 2ft tall and 1ft (that’s a 5gal red gas tank next to it in my photo) Understanding Propane Tank Dimensions - Gastec Online

So I think this tank could be made into a pretty large crucible. Larger than the one you have (and I assume like). Anyone have thoughts on going bigger?

A7770CBC-AA64-4A0E-9254-2A77963113E4.jpeg

The turkey fryer test went well this AM. Has a timer on it and the flame adjusted nicely all the way to HUGE.
B7EADC30-068E-4BE5-A5A2-36B8A38E41B9.jpeg
BEC85306-F5B2-4625-9568-2396BCD59173.jpeg
C6F8A243-12BB-44D8-A169-9BC16F5DE4D1.jpeg

Any other members want to get together to watch, hang out and or melt some of their own stuff?
I have a decent size backyard. Use zip 02746 for distance.
 
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