One guys exploration into casting bullets...

Michael J. Spangler

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I didn’t have a thermometer. I’m waiting for one to arrive in two weeks.
Since they melt at different temps, can’t I get creative and separate them? I have about 30lb in this questionable batch. Like if I raise temp to 800 get all nice and liquified and then let the temp drop, I can strain the zinc as it hardens and the lead is still molten... wishful thinking perhaps...

This tool is how I dealt with screening the range scrap from molten lead once it was time to get the crap out and load a new batch.

anyone wanna lend me a high temp Thermometer til Halloween? How much luck will I have w a infrared laser thermometer pointed at outside of crucible?
View attachment 400258
If you get it hot enough to melt the zinc you can’t save the alloy. If you can keep it at about 600 degrees or so then the good stuff melts and the zinc floats on top. Then you can skim them off the same way you did with the jackets.
You can borrow my digital thermometer if you want.
 

mark2215

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I didn’t have a thermometer. I’m waiting for one to arrive in two weeks.
Since they melt at different temps, can’t I get creative and separate them? I have about 30lb in this questionable batch. Like if I raise temp to 800 get all nice and liquified and then let the temp drop, I can strain the zinc as it hardens and the lead is still molten... wishful thinking perhaps...
Nope, unfortunately once they are liquified they become one. It is possible to chemically separate but this involves sulfur and lots of heat and toxic fumes which would not be worth it. I know, I made the same mistake when I first started, melted a batch of wheel weights and there were a bunch of damn stubborn ones that wouldn't melt nearly as easily. Yup, they were zinc. I got them to melt and ended up with almost 75# of useless lead/zinc ingots.
 

mac1911

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I didn’t have a thermometer. I’m waiting for one to arrive in two weeks.
Since they melt at different temps, can’t I get creative and separate them? I have about 30lb in this questionable batch. Like if I raise temp to 800 get all nice and liquified and then let the temp drop, I can strain the zinc as it hardens and the lead is still molten... wishful thinking perhaps...

This tool is how I dealt with screening the range scrap from molten lead once it was time to get the crap out and load a new batch.

anyone wanna lend me a high temp Thermometer til Halloween? How much luck will I have w a infrared laser thermometer pointed at outside of crucible?
View attachment 400258
Theres no easy way to get zinc out. If you think you have 30lbs or so of zinc that batch is now good for fishing weights or a door stop. Unless you find someone who wants it.
Sorting wheel weights can be a pain but it gets easier the more you do.
The good thing is theres a wide gap in melt temp
Wheel weights around -500-600'f zinc is closer to 775+ 'F
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeOz63v4eYM

Now we need to source LP PID controlled smelting pots!
 

NewBeige

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Theres no easy way to get zinc out. If you think you have 30lbs or so of zinc that batch is now good for fishing weights or a door stop. Unless you find someone who wants it.
Sorting wheel weights can be a pain but it gets easier the more you do.
The good thing is theres a wide gap in melt temp
Wheel weights around -500-600'f zinc is closer to 775+ 'F
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeOz63v4eYM

Now we need to source LP PID controlled smelting pots!
damn I wish I had seen that video 24 hours earlier lol. I’m going to collect more straight scrap lead and next time I decide to play w the range scrap I have left over I will do another run of weights etc.

At some point today I hope to attempt to season my MP molds. Thinking of using the kitchen stove for lack of a better device. Or should I splurge on a Walmart hot plate?
 

Michael J. Spangler

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damn I wish I had seen that video 24 hours earlier lol. I’m going to collect more straight scrap lead and next time I decide to play w the range scrap I have left over I will do another run of weights etc.

At some point today I hope to attempt to season my MP molds. Thinking of using the kitchen stove for lack of a better device. Or should I splurge on a Walmart hot plate?
The kitchen stove will be fine. If you have an electric you’re good to go. If you have gas I would put some type of steel plate or even one of your cooking pans on the flame and put the mould inside that. Try to keep the heat a little more even.
 

NewBeige

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The kitchen stove will be fine. If you have an electric you’re good to go. If you have gas I would put some type of steel plate or even one of your cooking pans on the flame and put the mould inside that. Try to keep the heat a little more even.
It’s a gas range. I will see if the Admiral will allow such an experiment w her precious stove and pans.
I have an aluminum mold and a brass mold. Should these be handled differently or separately? What temp am I aiming at getting the molds upto (w laser thermometer, this should be my new question about everything lol)
 

Michael J. Spangler

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It’s a gas range. I will see if the Admiral will allow such an experiment w her precious stove and pans.
I have an aluminum mold and a brass mold. Should these be handled differently or separately? What temp am I aiming at getting the molds upto (w laser thermometer, this should be my new question about everything lol)
I wouldn’t worry about any issues with pissing off the boss lady. Clean the Moulds well and you’re just heating chunks of metal. No nasty results.
I can’t remember but I think they suggested about 400 degrees in the oven.
 

mac1911

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damn I wish I had seen that video 24 hours earlier lol. I’m going to collect more straight scrap lead and next time I decide to play w the range scrap I have left over I will do another run of weights etc.

At some point today I hope to attempt to season my MP molds. Thinking of using the kitchen stove for lack of a better device. Or should I splurge on a Walmart hot plate?
Any smelter/caster that has delt with wheel weights has a batch or 2 of bad alloy now.
Its really not worth the effort to salvage it beyond a 2nd try with your thermometer and run it at proper temp. If you get it to 650-675 and its mush use it to cast other things, like door stops, sinkers, or have fun with cheap cookie molds like X mas trees and such

Like to find some toy solder molds or even some guns or tanks
 
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pinebrother1

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Guys, I just found this thread from the seminar crew. Hopefully it's alright if I jump in. I've also been busy sourcing equipment and raw material, but clearly not as busy as NewBeige - way to get it done! Michael has already graciously helped with a few questions. Was wondering if Pastera could share the model number for the Amazon PID controller. Sorry if it was noted somewhere else and I missed it.
 

mac1911

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Guys, I just found this thread from the seminar crew. Hopefully it's alright if I jump in. I've also been busy sourcing equipment and raw material, but clearly not as busy as NewBeige - way to get it done! Michael has already graciously helped with a few questions. Was wondering if Pastera could share the model number for the Amazon PID controller. Sorry if it was noted somewhere else and I missed it.
Its hear somewhere
 

mac1911

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damn I wish I had seen that video 24 hours earlier lol. I’m going to collect more straight scrap lead and next time I decide to play w the range scrap I have left over I will do another run of weights etc.

At some point today I hope to attempt to season my MP molds. Thinking of using the kitchen stove for lack of a better device. Or should I splurge on a Walmart hot plate?
Heres the one i did a while back. My production crew had the day off and youtube been slacking with getting checks to me!
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1axMm-NT9o8
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Guys, I just found this thread from the seminar crew. Hopefully it's alright if I jump in. I've also been busy sourcing equipment and raw material, but clearly not as busy as NewBeige - way to get it done! Michael has already graciously helped with a few questions. Was wondering if Pastera could share the model number for the Amazon PID controller. Sorry if it was noted somewhere else and I missed it.
Sounds good to me!
 

rep308

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Not to be a killjoy here but I hope you are getting your blood lead levels checked during your annual physical.

I worked in a PCB fab shop and the company would check my lead levels 2x per year to cover their butts. I was shooting a lot of lead back then in what turned out to be a poorly ventilated range. My high lead levels were from shooting, not work, but got me to take more precautions.
 
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mac1911

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Not to be a killjoy here but I hope you are getting your blood lead levels checked during your annual physical.
I think if your smart you will be fine. When my dad had rental property we de leaded the units ourself.
per state regulations and such. i also get lead levels checked yearly. When asked my Dr about it he said my levels
Where well below nornal. IIRC it was .03 i did not even ask last visit.
Just keep exposure to a min. masks,gloves, dont lick your fingers.

i told my dr i cast fishing weights and he said " just dont eat drink around the lead when working with it, theres other thinvs especially at your job to be more worried about"
 

pastera

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You understood right. I don’t disagree with Mark at all and I often add lead to a molten pot. I always know that the lead is bone dry and or pre heated and there is no chance of explosions.
However I think it’s more of an advanced class discussion and I think it would be irresponsible of me to teach the finer points of it in the intro class.

Same goes for any hobby and any tools. You need to do what you’re comfortable with. Some guys use push sticks with saws. Some don’t. People from each group will cut their hands.
Concur - preheated ingots are safe as they have no nooks and crannies to retain moisture.
Junk for smelting usually does have areas that can trap moisture - even rocks can trap water and explode.

If you have poured out ingots then the amount of lead left should go solid in under two minutes. Even if it's slushy, a 1/8" of lead at the bottom will be fine.

You only have one set of eyes - are they worth saving two minutes?
 

pastera

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Theres no easy way to get zinc out. If you think you have 30lbs or so of zinc that batch is now good for fishing weights or a door stop. Unless you find someone who wants it.
Sorting wheel weights can be a pain but it gets easier the more you do.
The good thing is theres a wide gap in melt temp
Wheel weights around -500-600'f zinc is closer to 775+ 'F
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeOz63v4eYM

Now we need to source LP PID controlled smelting pots!
I hear you - honey do list is shortening and I can stand upright without drugs and a TENS.

Going to be building them this week.
You should be pleased 😉
 

NewBeige

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Update: I have seasoned the molds I had delivered this week with a Walmart hot plate and an unshot AR500 target for a plate. 6678D1D9-FA71-476C-B2CF-AC60B346644E.jpeg
B19DB949-43D3-4DDE-B242-F920E8AFED24.jpeg


I might get to try casting a few bullets later today but figuring out how to do it with the crappy rainy weather and proper ventilation will be difficult.

It’s nice to know I’m getting close to not caring much about this anymore:
5ECBA669-B1EF-41E0-830B-D74411237743.jpeg

and if I get around to it (and the batch of WW test out as being ruined) I think I might make one of these monster sinkers. But the idea above for a doorstop sounds cool too (til you kick it).
 

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Michael J. Spangler

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Update: I have seasoned the molds I had delivered this week with a Walmart hot plate and an unshot AR500 target for a plate. View attachment 400648
View attachment 400649


I might get to try casting a few bullets later today but figuring out how to do it with the crappy rainy weather and proper ventilation will be difficult.

It’s nice to know I’m getting close to not caring much about this anymore:
View attachment 400653

and if I get around to it (and the batch of WW test out as being ruined) I think I might make one of these monster sinkers. But the idea above for a doorstop sounds cool too (til you kick it).
Keep up the good pace man. You’re doing a good job.
People ask me questions about ammo availability and pricing all the time. I tell them I have no clue. They think I know it all.
I’m too smart to know it all. I cast my own and keep away from the factory bs
 

NewBeige

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What are you using to test hardness of the allow? Cabine Tree or the Lee setup?
I haven’t gotten that far yet. My plan was to cast a few hundred, get the molds working right and then move onto hardness, coating and sizing.

What’s your suggestion for those three next steps?

I also need to find the right temp on my used Lee bottom dispensing pot. I believe Knob Creek had it set to 7 when it was in the box I bought it from him in.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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I haven’t gotten that far yet. My plan was to cast a few hundred, get the molds working right and then move onto hardness, coating and sizing.

What’s your suggestion for those three next steps?

I also need to find the right temp on my used Lee bottom dispensing pot. I believe Knob Creek had it set to 7 when it was in the box I bought it from him in.
You need the thermometer to check the temp. You can’t trust those dials. Shooting supply had the digital ones for $25 or so. Not good for coating but fine for ballparking alloy temp.
Don’t worry about hardness. With the coating you just need to be hard enough to not get squished down by neck tension. You will be fine.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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Yep that all works. You could also just get (much preferred way) a single stage press and the regular Lee sizing dies. More versatile really. You can use the single stage for tons of work.
You can borrow my electric thermometer if you want. It’s a little melted but works well.
Do you have a toaster oven?

What color hi-tek did you order?
 

Fixxah

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I haven’t gotten that far yet. My plan was to cast a few hundred, get the molds working right and then move onto hardness, coating and sizing.

What’s your suggestion for those three next steps?

I also need to find the right temp on my used Lee bottom dispensing pot. I believe Knob Creek had it set to 7 when it was in the box I bought it from him in.
I have the Lee. Once I found what ww were at with a little bit of 95/5 solder, I was good to go. The alloy gets a little harder after a while. Not sure why or forgot. Haven't been making bullets or reloading in years.
 

NewBeige

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Yep that all works. You could also just get (much preferred way) a single stage press and the regular Lee sizing dies. More versatile really. You can use the single stage for tons of work.
You can borrow my electric thermometer if you want. It’s a little melted but works well.
Do you have a toaster oven?

What color hi-tek did you order?
Thanks for the offer. I have a toaster oven but I can’t find the rack that the food is supposed to sit on. So I might fashion something for that. I also have to go back to savers to hopefully return (I’m sure they have a zero return policy with my luck) all the crappy pewter I bought. Might get a toaster then. I still have my eyes out for the convection oven but apparently chicks like those because there are non of them at savers. I swung by today and there was a line to get into savers at 330pm on a Saturday. Obviously I kept going to my next stop
Which lee single stage kit do you suggest? Can you post a link? Thanks!

With shortages of this and that occurring lately, is there anything else I should be ordering soon?
My goal is to only have to rely on the outside world for primers and powder for unlimited 9mm shooting fun.

And Hi tech was gunmetal and gold.
 

Michael J. Spangler

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There was a deal on a convection oven at wal mart at one point. It’s was like $40-$50 or so. Black and decker I think.

I would go with this one if you’re worried about budget Breech Lock Challenger Press - Lee Precision

if budget isn’t a huge worry then I would go for a Rock Chucker

I would just keep on top of your lead stash. Your coating and Powder.
Brass can be reused but now that you’re reloading your own cast you’re going to want a lot more on hand.
When I was buying bullets 300-400 pieces of brass was enough for me. Load a couple hundred have some in the tumbler getting ready to load.
Once I was able to make all the bullets I wanted that number increased a bit.
 

mac1911

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Thanks for the offer. I have a toaster oven but I can’t find the rack that the food is supposed to sit on. So I might fashion something for that. I also have to go back to savers to hopefully return (I’m sure they have a zero return policy with my luck) all the crappy pewter I bought. Might get a toaster then. I still have my eyes out for the convection oven but apparently chicks like those because there are non of them at savers. I swung by today and there was a line to get into savers at 330pm on a Saturday. Obviously I kept going to my next stop
Which lee single stage kit do you suggest? Can you post a link? Thanks!

With shortages of this and that occurring lately, is there anything else I should be ordering soon?
My goal is to only have to rely on the outside world for primers and powder for unlimited 9mm shooting fun.

And Hi tech was gunmetal and gold.
Thanks for the offer. I have a toaster oven but I can’t find the rack that the food is supposed to sit on. So I might fashion something for that. I also have to go back to savers to hopefully return (I’m sure they have a zero return policy with my luck) all the crappy pewter I bought. Might get a toaster then. I still have my eyes out for the convection oven but apparently chicks like those because there are non of them at savers. I swung by today and there was a line to get into savers at 330pm on a Saturday. Obviously I kept going to my next stop
Which lee single stage kit do you suggest? Can you post a link? Thanks!

With shortages of this and that occurring lately, is there anything else I should be ordering soon?
My goal is to only have to rely on the outside world for primers and powder for unlimited 9mm shooting fun.

And Hi tech was gunmetal and gold.
Take that pewter if not going to use it and find something cool to cast with it?
 

mac1911

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What are you using to test hardness of the allow? Cabine Tree or the Lee setup?
I have been using the pencil test. It is working for my needs. i would li!e to test it against a tool to see how Im doing.
 

mac1911

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Thanks for the offer. I have a toaster oven but I can’t find the rack that the food is supposed to sit on. So I might fashion something for that. I also have to go back to savers to hopefully return (I’m sure they have a zero return policy with my luck) all the crappy pewter I bought. Might get a toaster then. I still have my eyes out for the convection oven but apparently chicks like those because there are non of them at savers. I swung by today and there was a line to get into savers at 330pm on a Saturday. Obviously I kept going to my next stop
Which lee single stage kit do you suggest? Can you post a link? Thanks!

With shortages of this and that occurring lately, is there anything else I should be ordering soon?
My goal is to only have to rely on the outside world for primers and powder for unlimited 9mm shooting fun.

And Hi tech was gunmetal and gold.
Honestly i think your running in to many directions.
Do you have primers and powder?
Take what you have in indoor alloy, wait for your thermometer and then start casting some bullets.
Its going to take a little time to figure out the casting. Get to know your alloy,pot and mold.
 

pastera

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What are you using to test hardness of the allow? Cabine Tree or the Lee setup?
I don't test - probably should.
Straight range lead with 1% tin
50/50 Clip-on and flashing + 1% tin

It is soft compared to commercial bullets bit runs fine in 380,38 and 357 when coated with HiTek
I did have to go to a slower powder than 231 for 9mm
 
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