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Looks Like I'm Getting Into Bullet Casting

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  • #16
    I don't believe I've ever paid much attention to how warm the base of my furnace gets. If yours is like mine, the pot sets up off the base with plenty of room beneath it. Mine sits directly on top of ceramic floor tiles I have on a table made from 2x4s and OSB with no issues, and it has sat directly on the OSB with no problem. This table is in my carport with one of those metal carport tops on it that is open on both ends and open on the sides for 5 feet up, so it gets plenty of airflow....but limits my casting during wet weather.

    I don't see any problem with bolting your pot down, but I've never felt like mine was unstable in the least. If you have a full pot (mine's a 20 lb pot), it ain't going anywhere unless you try picking it up or something substantial hits it...hard. Even toward the end of the casting session when the lead is low, mine's never felt like it would tip easily....but there's nothing wrong with clamping it down if you want to be 110% sure.

    I use a thermal underwear shirt folded up to drop muzzleloader balls (from dead soft pure lead) and bullets onto. When they first drop out, they will still be (extremely hot) just a little soft and prone to deformation, so the material of the shirt will cushion them and the material thermals are made from don't seem to stick to the hot lead like some towel material can.

    With my cartridge bullets (from harder wheel weight/range lead/diving weights), I've been dropping them into a bucket of water on the floor to harden them. I'm still experimenting with the right lead hardness for .45 Colt and .38 Special. I may be making them too hard, which can also cause excessive leading if they're too hard to fully obturate.


    I'm using regular size muffins for my ingots. I just cut the pans so that there are only two muffins to a pan and they fit under the pot/spout easier. Fill one, carefully set it aside to cool and harden (which doesn't happen quickly) while I'm filling another one. I flip them over when they look firm enough (5 mins or more) and scratch either and "S" or an "H" on them with a nail so I'll know what to use them for.

    Leather welding-type gloves are your friend.
    Last edited by PlowboysGhost; October 31st, 2018, 10:39.
    "I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race." -Edmund Ruffin *
    At a little creek called Bull Run, we took their starry rag...to wipe our horses down with, and I ain't here to brag.

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    • #17
      Thanks for the info. I'm not so much worried about tipping the pot over myself as I am concerned with it getting bumped off of the cart while it's just sitting in the garage between uses. My pot, by the way, is the Lee Pro Pot IV, which has a 10 pound capacity. I may finally get a chance to try it out today - I just want to make sure it heats OK before I drill any holes in it to bolt it down, just in case I would have to send it back for a refund. If it makes it through its maiden voyage, then I'll mount it permanently.
      Freedom Of Speech does not include freedom from consequences.

      When riding a horse, remember that you are not in control, but are just another voting member.

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      • #18
        I expect your maiden voyage into casting to go a little smoother with 140-grain roundballs than mine did with 500+ grain Minies. Once the mould heats up to operating temperature, the useless wrinkled bullets will go away quicker with the smaller ones.


        Best of luck and let me know how it goes.
        "I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race." -Edmund Ruffin *
        At a little creek called Bull Run, we took their starry rag...to wipe our horses down with, and I ain't here to brag.

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        • #19
          Well, life got in the way again. I found out that my older brother had called the paramedics, and they took him in to the ER. Doctor said that there's maybe something going on in the back of his brain, but they won't know for sure until they do a CAT Scan and MRI, and not to come back until tomorrow as they'll be running tests. He's diabetic and lost his right leg a few years ago to loss of circulation, but when the doctor was asking him questions about what was bothering him, he told the doctor that he couldn't wiggle his toes on his right foot any more! So at least has his sense of humor.

          I did finally make it to WalMart and got the last few items I needed, but then it started to rain. I forgot that my scrap lead was on my , so about all I did was move it inside the garage to dry it off. Maybe tomorrow or Friday now.
          Freedom Of Speech does not include freedom from consequences.

          When riding a horse, remember that you are not in control, but are just another voting member.

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          • #20
            Finally was able to block out a couple of hours to do my first run at bullet casting. I decided I would start with .454 round ball for my 1860 Army clones. Actually, everything went well. The hardest thing was cutting up the scrap lead - old plumbing roof vents - with my tin snips. The Lee Production Pot IV, which is a 10 pound bottom pour pot, ran a LOT hotter than I expected. Never having plugged the thing in before, I had no idea where to set the dial, so I just set it on the low side of middle range. After I got some lead in there and melted, and stuck my thermometer in, it went to 1000 degrees plus! I kept turning it down, and finally had it all the way on its lowest setting, and it was maintaining 800 degrees.

            I used candle making paraffin to flux it with, which worked pretty good. Just a pinch every so often as I added more lead seemed to be about right. I got a lot of slag out of it, but considering these vent stacks were covered in paint and tar and who knows what else, I was pleased with how it cleaned up.

            I smoked the bullet mold - a Lee two-cavity mold - then left in sit on the pot with a corner in the molten lead for a couple of minutes, then started casting. The first two balls to drop out of the mold were gorgeous! I never had a single scrap ball. I dropped them on to a folded 100% cotton hand towel in an aluminum baking pan, which worked out great, and I knocked the sprue plate open right over the pot so that the sprue dropped right back in to be recycled.

            Here's a pic of my setup as it stands right now:



            I clamped the pot on the left side of the cart with a big c-clamp. I plan on bolting it down, but am thinking of raising it up on a shelf or something, as I had to keep bending over to fill the mold cavities which was killing my back! In the middle is the aluminum cake pan that i dropped the balls in, with another pan to the right to collect the slag.

            I also used a mini-muffin pan to mold a few ingots. These are the perfect size to drop into the pot for melting.

            Here's a pic of my first production run:


            Freedom Of Speech does not include freedom from consequences.

            When riding a horse, remember that you are not in control, but are just another voting member.

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            • #21
              Looks like you're out of the gate running just fine. Those bullets look good from here.

              I cast with my Lee pro 4-20 bottom pour on a table that's tall enough that I have to make an effort to see the entire bottom of the pot...and I'm 6'2". That seems to keep me from stooping over any to make sure I'm lined up with the spout.

              I usually start my pot out with cold lead on setting 9 or 10, but then back it down to about 7 once the lead starts melting (for small .38 -.45 cal bullets and .530 roundballs), and then just watch the bullets for signs of being too cool or too hot. When I cast 580-grain Minies, I have to run the pot hotter.

              I never did buy a thermometer, though I intended to. I'm really surprised yours was running that hot on settings that would make me think it would be cooler, but as long as you have a thermometer and know what it's doing, you're good.

              My (roofer) brother gets me some of that lead vent flashing and I find it plenty soft enough for blackpowder. I cut mine into small pieces with an old pair of scissors.

              I hope you realize that you have started something that will likely turn into an addiction...and additional moulds have a way of just appearing on your shelves...
              "I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race." -Edmund Ruffin *
              At a little creek called Bull Run, we took their starry rag...to wipe our horses down with, and I ain't here to brag.

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              • #22
                How do you get those roundballs so shiny? Polish them somehow? Cast bullets always are dull looking. The ones you made........look like they are chrome plated!!!

                I can see you taking the photo.......in EACH one of them!! LOL!!!
                And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgement was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Rev. Chap.20 Vs.4)

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                • #23
                  I have a bunch from soft lead that are still shiny, but seems like with time and handling they get dull.

                  I melted down about 400 Hornady .454 roundballs that are dead soft and they were dull before they melted. The bullets and balls I cast with them are shiny as they can be right out of the mould, and kept in an airtight container they still are after awhile.
                  "I here repeat, & would willingly proclaim, my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race." -Edmund Ruffin *
                  At a little creek called Bull Run, we took their starry rag...to wipe our horses down with, and I ain't here to brag.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Led View Post
                    How do you get those roundballs so shiny? Polish them somehow? Cast bullets always are dull looking. The ones you made........look like they are chrome plated!!!

                    I can see you taking the photo.......in EACH one of them!! LOL!!!
                    I wish I knew! Maybe I should offer to cast some .45 Colts for the Lone Ranger, huh?

                    I suppose it's the lead I'm using. It's old roof vent flashing from a roofer that lives in the neighborhood that comes off of roofs he's replacing. It's very soft. But I did absolutely nothing to clean it or remove any of the impurities before it went into the pot. When I melt it it's covered with old paint, tar, bird poop, old spider nests. and who knows what else. Once it melts all of that stuff either vaporizes, or it floats to the top as slag and gets skimmed off with an old spoon. Every once in a while, as I add more lead to the pot, I toss in a pinch of paraffin candle wax - it smokes for a few seconds then the smoke bursts into flame. Pretty cool to watch - impressed the heck out of the grandkids that were just coming home from school while I was casting my first batch.

                    But yeah, I noted how shiny those balls were compared with the Hornady ones that I have. At least I can tell them apart.
                    Freedom Of Speech does not include freedom from consequences.

                    When riding a horse, remember that you are not in control, but are just another voting member.

                    Comment

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