The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools
Old April 10, 2014, 01:43 AM   #1
chris in va
Senior Member
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 12,513
Lee bottom pour rust

Three times in as many years I've had to drain all lead and brush rust out of the spout which has caused excessive dripping. This time it was so thick it formed a ring inside that needed a Dremel and cutter tool.

So what would cause this?
chris in va is offline  
Old April 10, 2014, 06:11 AM   #2
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,562
I went from

Pouring a high amount of Navy ship ballast which was clean lead and relatively pure to wheel weights which were dirty and included other metals in the alloys.

I got hold of hundreds of pounds of ship ballast about thirty five years ago and have been making bullets from it for a long time. I guess I shifted over to wheel weights about four years ago, maybe more.

I noted the same phenomenon. Hole pretty quickly gunked up. I have gone through two Lee Production pots. Old one which experienced mostly ballast had to be cleaned maybe once in thirty years. Then moving to weights the thing clogged up pretty quickly. I replaced it partially to correct the problem but that was not successful

I think it has less to do with the alloy than with the trash that is in the weights.

I toyed with the idea of smelting the weights in a simple heated pot and then just using the Lee pot for casting. I think many others may have arrived at this method already.

Haven't tried it yet, but I have some of the stuff I need ordered to do it.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old April 10, 2014, 09:51 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: January 27, 2010
Location: AR
Posts: 1,196
I have been thru 3 Lee production pots. Two had the same problem you described. I enlarged the hole which helped. I also keep a length of .041 stainless steel safety wire handy to force thru the hole when it will not pour. It works. You have to be extremely careful when enlarging the hole with a drill or it will pour to fast.
I accidently turned one of my pots into an "ingot only" pot as I made the hole too big. So like Doc, I have a dedicated pot

It is not just Lee pots that have such a problem. Seems the others brands suffer as well. I have determined it as the nature of the beast when it comes to casting. It is typical for hard cast despite how much you stir and flux. It drips or it will stop up.

I also recommend leaving at least 1/2" of fluxed lead in the pot when you finish.
chiefr is offline  
Old April 12, 2014, 07:35 AM   #4
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,023
I think all pots suffer those same symptoms> nozzle leakage. I don't leave any lead in my pot after a casting session even though its instruction booklet suggest too. Although for long term storage I flux near a full pot of casting material prior to final filling up to its pot brim. (Done so to prevent pot rusting.)

While the pot is still a little warm after its been drained of its lead (and having just enough heat left to melt wax) I simply drop a chunk of bees wax down near its nozzle orifice with its valve stem moved to its opened position. Not allot. Just enough wax to coat the pots orifice and allowed to drip out. Then again with another chunk of bees wax dropped with the metering valve in its closed position and left to puddle and thicken. That preventive procedure seems to work for me in-between frequent casting sessions to keep its nozzle from leaking or plugging. Although occasionally drastic moves have to be taken. Not often but every now and then. Full removal of the valve stem itself that requires a good scrubbing of its entire valve stem surface or shaft assembly with semi-coarse steel wool is required.
I've never seen a Lee's valve stem up close. But suspect its having a different stem shape altogether than that of a Lyman's. I'm not sure but I do believe Lyman rust blues their furnace valve stems to better its metering also.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old April 14, 2014, 07:44 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: May 18, 2011
Location: SE VA.
Posts: 106
I cast about 15-20k bullets a year. I have used the same Lee down pour pot for 10 years or more. I have never had the rust problem you mention. When it starts to drip I empty and clean it. This happens maybe 4-5 times a year. I melt and alloy my lead outside in a cast iron pot. When melting wheel weights or anything else dirty I put a lot of attention to cleaning the lead with a strainer or any way I can. I then alloy the lead with tin and/or antimony depending on what I want. I only put clean lead alloy into my Lee pot. I flux and clean my lead as I cast. I only mention this because I am interested to hear how other people process their lead. I am curious if the processing causes the rust problem or if I am just lucky. Any ideas?
kerreckt is offline  
Old April 14, 2014, 08:18 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: July 26, 2011
Posts: 957
Lee Pot Drip

I clean my Lee 10 lb pot when i am done for the day. When empy and still hot, i blow remaining deposits out of the hole. After it cools i pick out any remaining lead with a screw driver. The sealing valve is removed and cleaned with steel wool. Before storage, it gets sprayed with WD 40. Never put scrap in the pot. Use a seprate unit to make ingots. I use an old coleman camp stove & 40 lb pot. Other caster have said to leave alloy in the pot when done casting. I have not tried it. Cleaning works for me. From Lee > -
Dripping valve Pro 20 Series Melters
Posted by Steph @ Lee Precision on 10 January 2012 07:47 AM
If the valve drips, simply rotate the valve with a screwdriver. If this does not cure the drip, check the valve linkage for binding due to corrosion or damage. The moving points of the valve linkage should be lubed with a high temperature anti-sieze lubricant, like Permatex #133 or equivalent, found at any automotive or well-stocked hardware store.
and more
Lead pot spout leakage
Posted by on 20 October 2011 12:36 PM
Leaking from the valve on a Production Pot is usually caused by dirt in the valve seat. Usually, twisting the valve rod side to side with a screwdriver in the slot provided at the top of the valve rod will solve the problem. One can also try fluxing the melter to remove these impurities.

The only home remedy that can be used is to lap the valve rod in place with valve grinding compound. This is available at automotive supply stores. Remember also to keep the melter clean by frequently fluxing. This will limit the amount of sediment that finds its way down to the valve seat. Due to the corrosiveness of lead alloys at elevated temperatures, it is quite difficult to keep the valve in perfect leak proof condition.

A slow drip can be considered normal after some use. If it is excessive, we can reseat the valve. Return your pot along with $8.00 to cover the cost of shipping and handling.
243winxb is offline  

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:53 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07511 seconds with 9 queries