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Old July 4, 2011, 03:30 PM   #1
studman5578
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First day at the furnace

Whew! first day was a success. I got outside at about noon on saturday and smelted till about 430. It was a cooker here in the chicagoland area, about 95. It didn't help that i hadn't bought any kind of regulated cooking device so I was stuck using my parent's burn pit. It was a massive pain in the butt trying to keep the temperature hot enough so yesterday I went out and bought a propane fish fryer from Bass Pro for about 40$ and WOW the difference! I was able to melt down about 20 lbs of lead in 10 min! Definitely worth the purchase. I've made about 40 pounds of ingots (I had to try out my new setup after I got it of course), I've only got another 1500 lbs of lead to go! Is anybody interested in lead in the area? I'm fairly certain its pure lead without any additives (I have't purchased a hardness kit yet so I can't say what the BHN of it is) so if anyone is willing to pay more than scrap price (.40$/lb last I heard), PM me!
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Old July 4, 2011, 09:40 PM   #2
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Sounds as if your hooked studman !!!!!!& already remedied the most common mistake of noobs , not enuff heat (shoulda seen da mess I made of things !!)

Make sure you have it hot enuff & flux well (I use parriffin wax) so ya keep any tin in your melt .

When ya get ya some wheel weights go slow ,as most lead WW are phasing out to zinc ones & there no good for bullet casting !!!!WW & your soft stuff 50/50 should do `bout anything ya want ,except for the upper pressures in magnum loads.

How ya gonna cast , ladle or bottom pour ??????

Caliber ???, ya may wanna hang on to that soft stuff , most handgun calibers will shoot acceptable groups with soft ( dented with thumb nail , but not scratched) 10-12 bhn alloys.

Some muzzle loaders will trade ya for the soft stuff!!

Have fun , BE Safe !!!
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Old July 5, 2011, 08:29 AM   #3
studman5578
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GP100,

I was thinking about getting some antimony alloy from rotometals and using that to harden my lead. I am going to try for a hardness of 14 or so and am going to cast 9mm, 38 SPL, and 45 auto with that hardness. I might make it a bit harder and make some 357 mag with GC using that. Do you think that would be an acceptable hardness for the lighter caliber loads (the 14 for 9, 38, and 45)? Do you do any of that kindle casting?

Also i noticed that when I was melting with the fire pit, my ingots came out multi-colored rather than just the metallic silver. I'm assuming that this is due to it not being very hot when I poured the mold. Is this assumption correct? Are there any flaws to these ingots/should I recast them?

Thanks.
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Old July 6, 2011, 12:58 AM   #4
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If its pure lead, that's probly why its colored.

Personaly, I would try and find some wheel weights and make a mix. Maybe they're hard to find there. You could just add 2 or 3% tin (solder) to the pure lead and have a good mix too. Make it 20/1 or 30/1. I aint tried it myself yet as I have plenty of WW and pure lead, but its been used for MANY, MANY years. I think it makes a more malable alloy vs just antimony.

With gas checks you dont need a real hard alloy. I'm shooting 9mm and 357 at hot loads with air cooled WW alloy and gas checks. As long as the boolit fit is a couple thousands over your bore size, your good to go.
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Old July 6, 2011, 04:58 AM   #5
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studman 5578

The only caliber I`d be worried bout is the 9mm, it works at a higher pressure than the others ya have listed .

reloader28 hits on a good point as 2% tin helps with castability of alloys .If your goal is 14bhn you`ll need more than tin & Rotometals is a good source of ready to melt alloys !! Another good way is to buy linotype ! & may save a buck or 2. Good fit is a must !! no matter how hard a bullet, if it`s undersized leading & inaccruaccy is inevitable

A higher tin content won`t harden any futher ,but will make the bullet tuffer.

If your seeing blue/gold colors ya probably purty close to pure lead & hot , the reason ya did`nt see it on the turkey fryer is the heat is much more controllable & if ya think the first ingots were fluxed & clean enuff ,there good to go !!

For my shooting I generally stay sub sonic 1100-1200fps & my alloys generally run 10-11bhn without problems , I generally run a .001-.0015" over throat size on the revolvers & as big as will chamber reliably on my buddies autos (he casts em but uses my sizer)
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Old July 6, 2011, 05:27 AM   #6
Maxem0815
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I have been casting bullets since about 1970 I had used pure lead for Black Powder balls & minie's. After years of experimenting I found that a good hard lead is 20 pounds lead and 1 pound tin. I also use babbitt in the same proportions babbitt makes the lead harder but good for anything hot using a gas check.

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Old July 6, 2011, 12:05 PM   #7
rbf420
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im in the same boat u were, using a fire pit and looking to upgrade, i have a few questions if you dont mind...how many pounds does ur new fryer hold? how Sturdy? how much propane does it use per smelt, and how hot can you get the temp? and was it the aluminum one that you Purchased?
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Old July 6, 2011, 02:20 PM   #8
studman5578
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rbf,

The fish fryer i use is a bass pro shop brand, it cost 40 dollars in the store at their chicagoland location. Here's the link to it:

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shop...05245/-1631022

It has a pretty intense heat output, and can melt about 15 lbs of lead in about 10-15 min. I don't know about propane usage yet, I've been able to smelt 150 lbs of lead in the past few days on a fresh can, that doesnt seem close to empty. I'll let you know how much I'm able to do before the can runs out.

I bought a pressure cooker from goodwill for about 3 dollars and its built pretty well, though the plastic handles have all melted and broken apart so there are only screws sticking out of it. I think the most i've had in there is about 70 lbs, and the stand holds up OK. I could probably fit about 100 lbs of lead into my pot without overflowing, but it'd be close and I have no need to pack it that full. The stand kind of wobbles but I'm not alarmed by it. I probably could have put the screws on there tighter when i assembled it (they're phillips with a nut, not hard to do), and I'll probably end up doing just that before I smelt next. I don't have a thermometer, but would assume it gets pretty hot due to the melting time.

The setup seems to modestly conserve heat energy with the shielding around the burner, and you can be standing right next to it and not feel the heat unless you're directly down wind (not like the saturday's camp fire), which is also a good indicator if you're inhaling vapors.
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Old July 6, 2011, 02:41 PM   #9
studman5578
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reloader28,

Do you use gas checks on your 9mm as well? What hardness do you use? I just figured that 14 would be a safe bet, I'm really not sure what kind of hardness I should have. I haven't looked in my areas for WW, but it sounds like it might be a good idea to start. Whats in the WWs that make them more hard? And could i just water cool the boolits to harden them up some more?

GP100man,

Do you use gas checks on your subsonic 9mm? What do you melt down and mix to get your 10-11 BHN lead? Do you ever have a problem with your 9mm cycling when you have a subsonic velocity?
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Old July 6, 2011, 10:48 PM   #10
reloader28
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I use plain base gas checks on the 9mm. I had fits with my brothers 9mm and tried everything I could think of to make it shoot good without leading the barrel. No luck until I got these checks and now its completly lead free and accurate even with hot loads.

I'm using air cooled WW with a hardness of around 12-15 according to my Lee tester. I dont know if water dropping pure lead bullets does anything lasting, but water dropping WW or WW/pure lead bullets does make them harder. I get around 21-23 with WW and 15-17 with WW/pure lead/tin (50/50/2%).

The bullets will get a little harder over time, thats why I put the spreads in the numbers. You can add more or less tin or add more antimony from lead shot to tweek if you want. I keep mine simple for remelting my reclaimed bullets. I use plain WW for general shooting and varmints, and 50/50/2% either water dropped or heat treated and anneal the nose for hunting purposes.

The key to water dropping is to keep a consistant count when your making them. I usually knock the sprue cutter on count 20 and drop them in a 5 gal bucket of water. I'll make probly 40 bullets getting everthing to a constant temp and get my count figured out before I knock them in the bucket. Then, about every 20 I'll knock out a pair on my towel to check and make sure everything is still good. Thats my method anyway.


Opinions and methods vary and this is just what I do. It works good for me. The nice thing about casting is you can make them however you want.
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Old July 7, 2011, 06:14 AM   #11
GP100man
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studman5578

I`m sorry ,but I`ve only loaded 9mm for a revolver & cycling was`nt an issue .

Reloader28 seems to have more exp with autos & gave a good explanation that seems to mirror alot of 9mm shooters .

My base source at the moment is isotope containers

http://www.fellingfamily.net/isolead/index.html

this site will give ya a good explaination of the alloys used & lab tested levels of tin & antimony.

Alot of it over on http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ for `bout $1.00-$1.25/lb. delivered .

Some times according to supply ya may have to wait for a demand

I like it it comes very clean & ya know te alloy content so ya can controll the bhn & cost of alloys !
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Old July 7, 2011, 06:30 PM   #12
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Studman, sorry for the hyjack, but I'm curious...

GP100
Is that 6 gun a dedicated 9mm or is it some kinda conversion?
I actually dont look at guns much in the stores, (safer and cheaper that way).
I aint seen one of them. What is it? Does it shoot good?
I'm interested more in 6 guns than auto's, tho I'm not too picky if its mine.
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Old July 8, 2011, 02:28 PM   #13
studman5578
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Haha no worries. I was wondering the same thing myself... Let's see a picture!
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Old July 9, 2011, 06:51 PM   #14
rbf420
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just went out and bought the same fryer, did a little melting today, i noticed i had to turn it up fairly high to get to the proper temp though... works good and seems sturdy, using a dutch oven pot... it works well thanks for the help.
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Old July 10, 2011, 09:15 AM   #15
studman5578
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Glad it's worked out for you! I hope to get to mine sometime this week... let me know how much lead you're able to smelt before your LP tank runs out.
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Old July 11, 2011, 04:49 PM   #16
GP100man
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9mm six shooter

A Blackhawk convertible, 2 different cyls.
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