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Old December 6, 2009, 11:08 AM   #1
Join Date: August 28, 2009
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Lee production pot temp question.

I just opened my 10 pound Lee Production Pot. This is the bottom pour model that Midway had on sale for $44.95 recently. Anyway, the directions do not tell you what temp the variable knob thermostat will give. All it says is the high setting will stabilize at 900 deg and the low at 450 deg. It also says to cast at the lowest setting that gives good fill-out.

My question is does anyone on here have one of these pots and a thermometer to know what each number on the dial actually gives in the lead? Also, what number setting are you guys using for your wheel weight alloy?

I wiped out my new pot and plugged it on set on #9 and dropped one of my muffin ingots in it. I was surprised at how fast it melted. The entire ingot was turned to liquid in less that 5 minutes. I had 4 ingots melted in less than 20 minutes. I did use a propane torch to speed things up a bit and to make sure the ingots were dry since they had been snowed on yesterday. So far, I'm very happy with it. I poured some alloy out the bottom to see how that worked and was very happy that I had no drips and it worked perfect!
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Old December 6, 2009, 12:31 PM   #2
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I up graded from the 10 pound to the 20, a few years back. First off I don’t think any two pots will heat the same. I start out on 10 and after I have the lead melted and fluxed. I turn the control back too 7. And it works good for me. Others may be up or down from my settings. Two things I would suggest. Make sure the ingots are dry. A little water in the pot can be real dangerous. The other, only use clean ingots in the bottom pour pots. I know guys that melt W/W in there pot and then cant figure out why the pot drips. Or will not shut off. All in All the Lee is a great pot for the Money
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Old December 6, 2009, 01:14 PM   #3
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This is my first electric melting pot but I have done a ton of reading on them. I melt and flux all my wheel weights in a large pot over a propane burner so the ingots I put in the Lee pot will be pretty clean.

#7 setting worked good for you on the 10# pot, but do you know what temp that actually was? I'm not sure if I even need to know what the temp is if the mold fills out nice and I'm getting shiny bullets out of it with clean sharp edges. I guess I am more curious to know than have a "need to know" .
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Old December 6, 2009, 02:10 PM   #4
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What Hornady said is correct. The numbers mean nothing EXCEPT as a reference. By that I mean if you get good fill-out at 7, then write that down, along with what lead you used in which mold. That reference should work the next time you fire it up.

If you are really wanting to know, then one of the thermometers sold, like the Lyman or RCBS, should be on your wish list. They are fairly accurate, but the scale is divided into 1-10, meaning one mark on the dial is 10 degrees! You'll go bug eyed trying to discern less than 10 degree swings of temp.

Then comes the tendacy of the lee pots to have a built-in tendacy to have huge swings of temp. from when the pot is full, to when it's less than half empty. By huge I mean 50 degrees! That's enough to cause a lot of difference in the weight of the bullets you're casting. As well as dimensional differences,(too large/small), and fillout problems.

The main problem with the lee pots is the fact that they don't read pot or actual lead temperatures. The thermostat is located right under the knob on the top of the tower it's located in. It simply reads the air temp INSIDE the tower! it works----,,well sort of. The further the lead is away from the thermostat as it falls lower in the pot as you cast, the higher the temp as the air temp also falls. That causes the thermostat to think the lead is cooling so it kicks the heating element on more often.

The ONLY solution I know of to that temp. swing is the PID I made. You can see it right here in the bullet casting forum.
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Old December 6, 2009, 03:35 PM   #5
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I have SS probe type thermometers and tested my propot and my RCBS pot.

Dun Du will not believe this, I hardly believed it my self. I tested my 10 lb Lee pot from 5 to 10...and it is amazing how close the numbers coincide with hundred degree marks. 5 = 500, 6 = 600, 7 = 700 8=800, 9= 900 and 10 = 960 F

Just as it should be! For once. Prolly why so many folks use 7
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Old December 7, 2009, 11:01 PM   #6
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Thanks Edward, that is what I was looking for. I'm sure other people have done that too. I hope more people weigh in on this.
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Old December 8, 2009, 07:05 PM   #7
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When I started bottom pourin I ran it just hot enuff to keep the spout runnin , after a spell I got a thermometer & it said 650f but that would vary according to alloy .

I thought I was hotter than that so I try to run `bout 750 with some Isotope lead I have , abit cooler with wheel weights.

Basically I look for a temp that the mold & alloy will like , the thermometer just lets me know the temp so I can have a settin to work with & repeat.
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Old December 8, 2009, 10:52 PM   #8
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I set mine at about 5.5 for WW ingots. Nice mold fill out, no wrinkles in my 9mm.

No real need to use a propane torch. Leave it about 1/4 full when you turn it off. Next time you cast, that will melt in about 15 minutes and ready to toss in a couple more ingots. Helps to set it at 7 or 8 at first though so the added ingots don't chill the lead already in there.

What really surprises me is how effective the pot really is. Many times I've accidentally dribbled lead out of the spout and think, "oh crap that one is a dud" only to whack the sprue and find a perfect boolit sitting there. Amazing.

I tell you what, the first cast session was really frustrating. The first hole would fill fine, the second only halfway. Takes a while for those molds to settle in.
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Old December 11, 2009, 03:27 PM   #9
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I just went and bought a thermometer. My furnace heats to different temps depending on how full it is as well as the air temperature.

Relying on the heat knob to tell you what temp you are at is like relying on the throttle position on your car to tell you how fast you are going. You might get close, but you might be way off and not even realize it.
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Old December 16, 2009, 08:39 AM   #10
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Lee 10

I melt down my wws in an old cast iron pot on Coleman Heatmaster. Then into ye olde muffin tin. Always clean lead into the bottom pour.
I haven't concerned myself with the actual temps - nice to read that info. I run the pot at setting 8 most of the time. When I am using a Lee six cavity mold, I run the melt hotter as that sucker needs to be kept HOT in order to drop all six consistently the same.
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