View Full Version : first casting.... failure

August 19, 2009, 10:19 AM
well i got everything i needed to try and cast boolits. it did not go well. lol i found an old propain grill and tried using it as a heat sorce( it was a small one). it did not work... it would melt the lead but the lead was not ho enough, also the mold did not get hot enough. im going to try a turkey fryer next, it uses natural gas. but at least i got to try it! lol


PS. sorry for the stupied post, but wanted to tell someone... LOL

August 19, 2009, 12:12 PM
Heat and time.

These are the 2 key items in melting lead. It takes a while for the pot to. Get hot and even longer for the contents of said pot to gt to temp. This could be 15 minutes to half an hour or more. The first potfull takes the longest. The next not so long as you already have a hot pot.

I melt my WW in a cast iron fry pan on the side burner of an old worn out gas grill. It works but takes a while to heat things up.

I've read that a burner from a fryer works well. (Think I'll have to go look at the thrift store)

August 20, 2009, 06:59 AM
Casting over any fire can get old in a hurry. The hot gasses fan out around the pot, can scorch your hands and dipper/ladle handles in short order. Getting a turkey fryer is a good idea, but use it ONLY for melting lead to clean it, and cast ingots to put in an electric casting pot.

Get either a simple electric melter, then use a ladle to pour the lead into the mold, or get a bottom pour electric melter. I have and use both, depending on which mold I happen to be using. Some work better with a ladle, others work well with a mold guide under a bottom pour furnace.

Two of the best are as follows;



Then there's the 20 pound melter without bottom pour capabilities;



You can, of course, buy Lyman or RCBS pots, but at $231.00 for the lyman as compared to the lee same capacity @ $51.49, well you don't get 4 times the quality from the Lyman!:mad::eek:

August 20, 2009, 09:21 PM
+1 on Lee pots. My bottom pour pot leaks ocassionally, but is not a big deal at all.

August 20, 2009, 09:38 PM
+ICH.... have two lee electrics myself...wouldnt want it any other way

August 22, 2009, 09:26 AM
I've cast thousands of bullets through my Lee 4-20 bottom pour and had good luck. A small vice grip clamped to the top of the needle rod will keep weight on it and prevent most drips.

I'd also recommend buying a small single burner hot plate (around $13.00 at WalMart, IIRC). I use this to get the mold up to temp and to pre-melt lead for the bottom pour. Dropping a cold ingot into the Lee bottom pour can cause the spout to "freeze" as it drops the temp of the melt. If you pre-heat your mold to the proper temp, you will be able to easily open the sprue cutter by hand. No banging on the sprue cutter, especially important with the Lee molds, IMO.

August 22, 2009, 03:55 PM
Hi Dale,

May I suggest that you purchase a good casting thermometer. You will realize great results by casting within a range of 650-700 degrees Farenheit (depending on the size of the bullet). Your alloy will also need to be adequate and clean in order to cast quality bullets. Monitor your alloy's temperature constantly - your bullets will show their beauty if you do this religiously.

Good luck!

August 22, 2009, 04:38 PM
May I suggest that you purchase a good casting thermometer. You will realize great results by casting within a range of 650-700 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the size of the bullet).

+1,2,3 a whole bunch!:D

I played it by ear, and the seat of my pants,(both of which will get burned if you get too close to the lead), but won't tell you actual temperature. If you keep notes,(I don't), you can correlate temp with how a certain alloy fills out the mold, whether the bullets are frosted, and just when the alloy turns from solid to liquid,(which can give clues to it's make-up). The scale on the lee melters is for reference only, they do not correspond to any actual temps.

August 22, 2009, 07:58 PM
Ohhhh Snuffy! You are a remarkable man! Keeping records of temperature vs. mould(s) is paramount to having successful casting sessions. And it also eliminates the unnecessary 'downtime' fumbling to get the bullets to drop correctly. Horray for meticulous record keeping!

August 22, 2009, 08:17 PM
If you have the mold. You are hooked. You can’t beat the cheap bullets .I would go a head and get the Lee pot. And also while you are at it get the Lyman or RCBS cast bullet book. Just starting out it will pay for its self. One recommendation. If you use wheel weights. Which work great. Don’t melt them in the lee pot. I use an old Dutch oven And pour in muffin pans. Then drop the clean pigs in the Lee. Most guys that complain about the Lee bottom pour pots. Get them gummed up with the trash in the weights.

August 24, 2009, 08:00 PM
I have the Lee 10lb production pot. I started with a small cast iron pot. It took a little more work, but it's good if that's all you have. I love the bottom pour. It make's the experience much more enjoyable. When I see the cost of bullets, I knew the small investment of the production pot and mold would soon pay for itself. Citywaterman

September 14, 2009, 10:34 PM
I just got successful boolits created this weekend.

I smelted wheel weights in a cast iron pot and poured ingots into an old cast iron corn muffing mold.

Previously, I tried making boolits using the big ass tin ladle I used to fill the ingot mold. I used the big ass cast pot over the turkey cooker.

Too much lead at one whatck to fill the boolt moulds.
Too hot tin handle burnt me
Flames on the bottom of the pot produced too much heat and open flames and burner noise distracted me.
Just too darn too hot.
Danger Warning Caution!

I ordered a little Lee dipper from midway for about 4 bucks.

I bought a small electric lead melting pot from neighbor.
It only holds about 5 lbs max.

The first 20 booliots I cast were wrinkly and the sprue plate took a lot of whacking to swing outta the way.

Once I got the mould up to heat, the Boolits filled out in the mould and the sprue plate cut the lead easily, as long as I didn't dawdle.

I am using 2 lee aluminum moulds, both 2 cavity moulds.

one is a 125 grain .356 ( actually produces a 130 gran boolit with my wheel weight ingots).

and one is a .358 that throws a boolit that comes in at 112 grains.

What woks for me:
Work briskly, but deliberately. Pour the lead into each hole - I have best results creating a bridge between the two holes deliberately. More lead mass means a slower cool time.

I set down the lil dipper and pick up my stick and when the puddle cools, I tap the sprue plate outta the way.

Important: Work on a workbench of some sorts. Make it comfy so you can focus on the task at hand. padding under foot or a nice barstool or chair, whatever makes it easy to focus on having fun.
I put a sheet of aluminum under my work area. Spills cleanup easily that way.

Expect a ton of rejects at first.
no problemo- just toss them back into the melter.

When you mould gets too hot - take a break!

Wear long gloves and eye protection and have adequate ventilation and lighting.
You can't prove those sandal clad feet attached to legs wearing shorts were really mine.

Have fun with it!