Talk to me about pouring lead

peterk123

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A super cheap toaster oven will work fine if you don't mind a color change in your coatings - $10 second hand Or $25 new

2 quart Dutch oven with lid - $20 Amazon or $23 at Walmart. Lid is handy to keep the heat in. A 1 quart will work if you can find one cheap (1 quart of lead is a lot)

Single burner hotplate $13 at Walmart - file off the stop on the temp control. Once you do that, one full turn from off is usually the right temp

Two channel thermocouple meter from Amazon $16 - makes life much easier.

A mold and ladle will set you back another $30

If you're close to Taunton, pick up a mold and you can cast and coat a few hundred to try it out.
I don't have a .458 sizing die so you would need to pick one up if the mold dropped too large

@pastera is this the one?

 

pastera

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Wickedcoolname

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When I got into casting I just hit up garages and dealerships for wheel weights. So gave me a handful, a couple wanted to sell them, and a local dealer had two 5 gallon buckets full to the top. The guy said if I could lift them I could have them. I got the first bucket onto my tailgate by dragging it close and then doing a modified deadlift. I tried the second bucket but it was so heavy the handle just ripped off the bucket. So I ended up squatting and bear hugging the bucket. I just about caused a double hernia but I got it onto the talegate. It was up there for about before the cables broke on my old Ranger tailgate and both buckets hit the deck. I'm talking hundreds and hundreds of wheel weights. The two shop guys laughed their as of, but I got a lifetime supply of free lead.
I use a Lee pot and some ingot molds. I'll mess around with linotype for hardness, and somewhere in the shop there is a Brinelle hardness tester, but I usually just use my thumbnail. If it scratches it's too soft, if it doesn't it's too hard.
With my free lead and powder and primers that I bought in the late 80s, I can make a box of 50 .38spl 158 gn swc bullets for next to nothing.
 

peterk123

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I got another question for you guys (and there will be more). My reloading has only been when coated bullets. I use them because I don't believe I have ever had to deal with any leading in my barrels since shooting hitek bullets. Are most of coating these days or do you just lube and not worry about it? Lubing certainly seems like a lot less work.
 

peterk123

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Next question. When you scrounge for lead and make your ingots, do you just use a cast iron pot? Or can you use one of the melters that has the bottom pour? Seems like the bottom pourers can get that nozzle gummed up, so I was wondering if it is a bad idea to have dirty lead in there. If I need a cast iron pot regardless, then I just might as well start with that. Pete
 

TrashcanDan

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I got another question for you guys (and there will be more). My reloading has only been when coated bullets. I use them because I don't believe I have ever had to deal with any leading in my barrels since shooting hitek bullets. Are most of coating these days or do you just lube and not worry about it? Lubing certainly seems like a lot less work.
I've tried Alox. Its not a labor intense process, it just takes a while for the stuff to dry.
Powder coating I've had the most luck with. When I was doing big batches, a powder coat gun was the way to go.
The process is longer.
Not the actual time in the oven, just getting from point A to point B.
Never tried conventional lube. Bought a lube sizer, sold it not long after discovering powder coat.

Next question. When you scrounge for lead and make your ingots, do you just use a cast iron pot? Or can you use one of the melters that has the bottom pour? Seems like the bottom pourers can get that nozzle gummed up, so I was wondering if it is a bad idea to have dirty lead in there. If I need a cast iron pot regardless, then I just might as well start with that. Pete
I've always done burn-downs in separate pots. Less likely to gum up the pour spout and easier to do in bulk. I have had better luck "filling it up", meaning just dump anything and everything in there. Adding to it after the fact is kind of tricky, you never know if some of that stuff is holding moisture.
Moisture + molten lead = steam pop = LOOKOUT!
Turkey fryer base, dutch pot thing there, tub of flux, and away you go.
Cleaned lead goes into the clean pot.

@mac1911 made a good sized furnace, perhaps he can be coerced into sharing some pics?
 

mac1911

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I've tried Alox. Its not a labor intense process, it just takes a while for the stuff to dry.
Powder coating I've had the most luck with. When I was doing big batches, a powder coat gun was the way to go.
The process is longer.
Not the actual time in the oven, just getting from point A to point B.
Never tried conventional lube. Bought a lube sizer, sold it not long after discovering powder coat.



I've always done burn-downs in separate pots. Less likely to gum up the pour spout and easier to do in bulk. I have had better luck "filling it up", meaning just dump anything and everything in there. Adding to it after the fact is kind of tricky, you never know if some of that stuff is holding moisture.
Moisture + molten lead = steam pop = LOOKOUT!
Turkey fryer base, dutch pot thing there, tub of flux, and away you go.
Cleaned lead goes into the clean pot.

@mac1911 made a good sized furnace, perhaps he can be coerced into sharing some pics?
i built a bottom poor "smelter" out of a propane tank. It works ok but I need a better valve set up.
My current smelting rig is a cast iron dutch oven , turkey fryer and a sheet metal wind block . Stainless heavy duty laddle and commercial grade muffin pans. All hunted down and found free or cheap.
 

pastera

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I preheat lead to add to the pot in my toaster oven (the one I use for coating) - no moisture and doesn't freeze the pot.

Be careful of splashing too - I caught a small drop on my lip that bothered me for a week from a careless addition of a preheated ingot.
 

DukeInFlorida

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There are three basic factors for success with cast lead bullets:
1) The hardness of the alloy with relationship to the muzzle velocity. The back ends of the bullets, when they see the high pressures, need to be able to OBTURATE (mushroom) correctly to seal the plasma hot gases from slipping by, which is the primary reason for "leading".
2) The diameter of the bullets needs to be right for the bore diameter, typically .001" to .002" larger than the nominal jacketed bullet diameter for that cartridge size. (In the OP's example, 45-70's are .458". so the castings should be .459" or .460" after lubricizing or coating). This also serves to seal the hot gases from sneaking past.
3) The lube needs to be of a hardness, amount, and slipperiness to do it's job down the entire length of the barrel.

Any small errors in any of those three basics will result in less than successful use of cast bullets. There are more factors, smaller details, so read that Glen Fryxell book. One of the ways to allow for those errors is to use a gas check on the base of the bullet.

Think piston rings in the cylinders of the car engines. It would be near impossible to size the pitons so that they fit properly for use in the sleeved cylinders of your engine. So, they use piston rings to make up the difference. Gas checks are like that. The best molds have a gas check shank design so that you can apply a gas check before sizing and lubing. I urge you to consider gas checks and a gas check mold designs for all the large sized bullet castings that you desire to make.

Success with cast lead bullets is not a simple matter of grabbing anything lead, pouring it into any mold, loading them up, and thereby avoiding leading/fouling. There's a bit of science in the equation. The annual workshop is the place to see it all in action, ask questions, and have a hands on experience before "diving into a pool with an unknown amount of water in it", so to speak. While there are a lot of YouTube videos out there, and some of them are very good. NONE of them that I have seen compare with the day long experience of the workshop. I would suggest that before getting in too deep financially with the "wrong equipment" for your needs, mybe you wait until next years workshop, and be there for that. Or, find someone local to you who is a successful caster, and have them teach you personally.

The Glen Fryxell book is a great reference. As is the Lyman Book of Casting.

Also note: Do NOT use jacketed load data for cast lead bullets!! The load data for cast lead bullets is very different than jacketed load data. The lead load data accounts for the obturation needs of the cartridge assembly. Failing that warning could result in your gun having structural failure! < you know what that means>

Just my dos centavos worth. I am the guy who started the workshops ten years ago, and just did my first one here in Florida since moving here, and dealing with my ongoing cancer. Hoping my advice carries some weight.
 
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