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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I finally got my basics together. Lee mold, Lyman dipper, Lyman manual, dutch oven, coleman stove, can of gas, candle, and a wad of old lead, some cleaned declipped wheel weights and a bunch of old bullets that weren't working the way I thought they should. Heavy gloves around my house are not a problem, they're everywhere, I wear glasses for close up work anyway, and my boots and hat don't come off till I know I'm done for the day. I had everything I needed.
Boy! did I learn a lot!!! :-D

1. Lead will not melt on simmer
2. A retired dutch oven that's WELL seasoned is not the ideal casting pot
3. If not working outdoors, it is best to remove lube from old bullets before tossing them in the pot.
4. Basement furnaces get their air from the basement
5. A thoughtful wife checks to see if your ok before she call's the fire department
6. Regardless of how many doors and windows you have open, extra ventilation is a must
7. When an aquaintence gives up casting, melts all of his leftover lead, uses a hole in the ground for a mold and offers it to you, smile and tell him you have plenty
8. Aluminium molds work better hotter
9. A good bullet cannot be cast in a cold mold
10. When a manufacturer says to "touch" certain portions of the mold with lube, "touch" is exactaly what they mean
11. A thermometer is a good investment
12. Casting pots are not that expensive
One thing I could not figure out though: Where did those 5 hours go??
 

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Kinda neat, isn't it? Turning all that junk lead into useful bullets that are worth something. And when you shot it you know you made it. And they're free (OK, I'm conveinently forgetting the start-up costs here but then that is a one time thing). :lol:
Went CAS shooting two days ago and dropped off my customary 600 rounds of .45LC to my mentors. This means I get to do some more casting! :grin: Have so many already cast that I have to think of ways to use them up so I have room for more. (and you have to remember I'm shooting about 500-600 rounds a month--all my own cast bullets).

Keep us posted on your progress
CR
 

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:-D

Tell ya wat Pard, try it onna charcoal grill/forge sumtime! :)

Cast my first using a portable "table top" charcoal grill with the bellows part of an air mattress pump to raise the heat level! :oops: It werks, but jist barely!

Uh, indoors!?!? Not without an exhaust hood with a GOOD fan. As I'm sure you now know.

A dutch oven!!!!???? How much lead wuz you planin to melt at one time? :eek:

Keep tryin Pard, you'll git it right eventually! It ain't the right way, it ain't the wrong way.....IT'S THE COWBOY WAY! :-D
 

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Welcome to the world of bullets casters. I try to do most of my casting in the garage with the overhead door open. When I do cast in the basement I only use lead ingots that I have made before in the garage. I do all of my fluxing in the garage so these lead ingots made there are clean and I can get away with using them in the basement with a minimum of fluxing. The most important thing I learned about casting I learned years ago, I only cast in the basement when my wife is not home. :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
:-D My basement is ground level on one end, garage door open, small door open and 4 windows open! :-D :-D :-D I can't even imagine what it would have been like if it had been closed up!! I tried again today with much better luck!! I think I even got a few useable bullets out of it! Lots of little frustrations, but great fun trying to work them out. I can see that this is going to be a serious wintertime hobby!!! Then in the summer I'm considering visiting parking lots!!!!! Lots of wheel weights just sitting there!!! :-D :-D :-D I can see already I'm going to have a lot of questions, there is no one in the area that I know of that cast to watch, so you folks are gonna get a lot of typing practice!
 

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You should be casting good bullets right away with an aluminum mold. Aluminum molds heat up quickly compared to steel or iron molds. If you are having problems with wrinkled bullets or the mold not filling out completely you are probably running your heat to low. I have my best casting with a temperature running around 800 degrees. Some run the heat around 750 degrees but I perfer it hotter. Running your heat at 800 degrees and using one aluminum mold means that at some time you may have to set the mold aside for a couple of minutes to cool. I usually use two molds when casting with aluminum molds. Once I get going I alternate molds.
One thing I do to any new aluminum mold I get is to go over the cavities with an eraser to remove any small burrs that may be present after machining. Removing any burrs will allow the bullets to fall from the mold easily. I use one of those white erasers that come in a pencil form. The type we use to use when we still used typewritters.
 

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I cast bullets only from the doorway of the garage with the double door fully up. I have two fans behind me on either side blowing air over both shoulders toward the pot. I do this only with fully processed and cleaned ingots.

To clean the lead into ingots I use a gas cooker base with large propane cylinder. I have a large stell (NOT CAST IRON) square melting pot that in a former life was the melting pot on a linotype machine. It was made just for this purpose. I do this only outside on the concrete pad outside my garage.

Tried it once with an old cast off dutch oven and for whatever reason it developed a crack in the bottom and hot melted lead when all over the place. NOT FUN! I don't use cast iron for lead any more. Dunno why it happened and might never happen again in a million years but no more cast iron for me. Steel only.

GB
 

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I find that if I am in a hurry I usually mess up. Casting is a fun, relaxing time for me. I cast in the great outdoor under the car shed. Open all around and the only problem is that the wind always blows over the pot and back to me :eek: I keep "dancing around the pots as the wind changes :) :)

On a previous post we discussed getting wrinkled bullets with new molds either steel or aluminum. All of us had done serious cleaning of the molds to degrease them and still were getting wrinkles. Gave them a light coat of Midway's mold release spray and stopped the problem "right now!"

If you are still having problems and don't have the spray you might want to smoke the molds using a candle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
:-D Well, I'm now the proud owner of 20 gallons of wheel weights, was a good trip to the parking lot!!! :-D Actually it was only 3 tire dealers. I'll hit the rest another day. They all said come' on back for more!! Guess I know what I'm gonna do this evening. Any hints on how to clean them up?
 

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:-D :-D :-D :-D Butler thats what I like.A man that gets his stuff together. :-D :-D .Lp.
 

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Cleaning WW metal

Hi, Butler Ford!

Melting and cleaning up wheelweights is simple.

Please remember that WW are made up of almost anything that melts. It will be to your advantage to sort and melt down as large a sample as you can to get alloy uniformity.

I usually sort into piles by size of the wheel weights. From that, cull out the adhesive strip type weights (used on aluminum mag wheels) and set aside. They can be cadmium plated....strictly bad stuff for you. Cadmium is a known carcinogen. In the ionic form (Cd+6) it is banned from US Military Specifications procurement for that reason.

Uniformly mix your piles into batches for each melt. I use an old steel crucible that holds maybe 30 lbs and melt on an old gasoline camp stove.

Use lots of flux! Avoid breathing the smoke and fumes! Old bullet lube, candles, beeswax, crayons, almost any old crap with high parafin or beeswax content can be used. I've even used rancid Crisco shortening. That got interesting because the stench attracted a prowling coyote up the alley. He peeked around my driveway wall and was eye-ball-eyeball to me from 8 feet away!

Stir and mix frequently and watch the "skin" disappear into the melt. Don't skim off the skin film because that is mostly tin... and you want to keep it!

Pluck out the steel clips, flux some more, and pour into ingot-sized bars for your bullet melting furnace. Stamp each bar with "WW" for identification.

When you crank up your bullet furnace, add tin (common solder wire or bars) to increase the tin content for good mold fill-out.

That's all!
 

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Wheel Weights

OOPS!

Forgot...

DO NOT just toss wheel weight pieces into a pot full of melt. that's a good way to get spattered with molten lead!

Fill the pot first, and add more pieces as it starts to melt. The heated pieces will dry out moisture, oil, etc and prevent spatter.

Some guys use spray engine degreaser and hot water to wash off the lead, but that is not really necessary. Just be careful not to get water into your hot pot!
 

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my :money: : I always leave the pot full at the end of the casting session. As I cast the bullets I add more lead to keep the pot full. If you add a little at a time you don't cool the lead to where it doesn't flow. Using a Lee bottom pour pot for my casting. (I, too, had it leak so emptied it out (pouring molten lead is fun!!) and cleaned out the bottom hole. It was filled with junk keeping it from fully closing)
If I am using ingots I put them on the rim to pre-warm. I have been known to add the WW directly to the pot. Does make a bunch of smoke and I have to flux more often but if they are laying around I will use up (remember I'm lazy)
When I've had enough fun for one day I will fill up the pot and flux it so it's ready to go for the next time. The solid mass of lead will melt quicker than if you add the individual WW or even ingots. I will plug it in, wait 30 minutes and then I'm off and casting.
CR
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ranger, your either an mind reader or you remember being new and the questions that go through a newbies mind. I've heard of leaking bottom pour pots for as long as I can remember. Never could understand why someone didn't just fix the problem, I mean it's not like we don't have the technology. I'm assuming (I know, big mistake) that the problem is from lead supplies that might have a few extra ingredients that really shouldn't be there?
I wondered if I was supposed to dip or pour all the remaining lead in the pot into ingots when I was finished for the session, seemed like a nussiance. I prefer the leave it in the pot method!
Ya did miss one though, do I just throw in a bunch of ww's, skim clips and sludge, flux, stir and start casting, or should I go through a large amount of wheel weights, clean, flux and cast a bunch of ingots for later use?

I know, this probably should be in the casting forum, but I'm casting cowboy bullets for loading over Black Powder and we already have the thread started
 

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Goning to hedge by bets: BF, both.
I have done both as in adding the WW as is and sometimes, when I have plenty of time I melt a mass of them down to ingots. I try to use up the WW as is as this keeps me from doing the WW-to-ingots-to-bullets step. The ingots take up less room and they are all nice and clean. Used to cast for about 30-45 minutes (this was in the summer in the Houston area--hot and humid) and then pour off the rest of the lead into ingots. That way I would "use up" more of the WW. Now that all my WW are melted into bullets or ingots I just put one or two on the rim of the pot and cast away. They get warm enough not to cause the molten lead to "freeze" in the pot and stop me from casting.

If you have problems with your molds getting too hot during casting the straight WW in the pot will slow the casting process down and the molds will have a chance to cool.

POURING MOLTEN LEAD IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!! If you try this use heavy gloves and try lifting the pot when it is cool to see how much it really weighs--it's heavy!! I also unplug it so the cord doesn't become a problem.
 

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I'm going to post a new thread over on the CAS forum about pouring lead if you want to get a bit more info. Please read it before you try it
CR
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ranger, I enjoyed your lead pouring post. A pot full of lead get's pretty heavy, huh!? 'Specially a half full dutch oven!! :-D
Ok, the casting "cookie jar" is about depleated at the moment, so I'm gonna have to wait a while for a thermometer, but I think I can guess pretty close to the temp of the "stew" by the way the bullets are coming out. Howsomeever!! How do you tell when the molds are getting too hot? What happens? Have I screwed up a set of molds? An approximation of how long to let'em cool, assuming aluminium molds?
 

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I doubt you could actually ruin a mould by over heating while casting. Just don't see that as a possibility. When you start seeing frosted bullets you know that either your mould or your alloy one or both are getting hotter than is normally ideal. Don't really hurt nothing other than the appearance of the bullets however and some times with some moulds you'll even find your best bullets as far as fill out and consistency coming when they are frosted.

You can tell after you've done it awhile that the mould is getting a bit on the hot side by how long it takes the sprue to harden and how it looks when you cut it. This will take some time to develop however as right now you have no bank of experience to fall back on in judging.

GB
 

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When the mold/pot gets too hot it takes longer for the lead to "freeze." When you hit the spur plate you get a smear of lead on top of the mold block and on the bottom of the plate. Time to take 5 and let everything cool down.
What this overheating does is slow down the casting process as you have to wait longer between casts. When I use WW right into the pot I find that it slows me down and allows the molds to cool. This is about 1-2 minutes to add the WW, flux or clean out the clips and get back to work.
Some times I will rest the molds on a wet rag and allow the water-going-to-steam process to cool the molds a bit. This can be messy and the steam is hot.

I have also been known to cast from two molds during the same casting session so one can be cooling while using the other. Helps if there are different enough to easily seperate when they are cool.
 

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I will almost always use two or even three moulds when casting. This way I don't have to worry about whether the moulds have properly cooled. Back when my best friend Billy Doss (now deceased) and I used to cast together I did the pouring and he did the dumping. We used four moulds and boy could we make a buncha bullets.

GB
 
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