Casting furnace

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by texaswoodworker, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

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    I'm looking into furnaces, and I'm stuck between two.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/645810/lee-pro-4-20-lb-furnace-110-volt

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/476462/lee-melter-furnace-110-volt

    All I need is a basic furnace that is easy to use, reliable, and will help me get into casting. I like how the LEE Pro 4 allows you to poor from the bottom, but is it really worth the extra money, or should I just go with the cheaper version that is ladle only?

    Also, do I need a bullet sizing press, or is that an optional thing? I origionally planed on getting one, until I saw the prices. :(

    Thanks
     
  2. eldarbeast

    eldarbeast New Member

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    I love my bottom pour smelter. Lee Precision makes great reloading equipment. Been using my Lee Progressive since 1989.

    eldar
     

  3. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

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    I've had great experience with LEE too. :)
     
  4. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Bottom pour. No ladle needed. Melting wheelweights, steel clips float to top.
     
  5. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

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    Bottom pour it is. :D

    Now, as for the bullet sizer, do I NEED it? Those presses are expensive. :(
     
  6. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a 20 lb open top for cleaning up lead and a 20 lb bottom pour for casting.
     
  7. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    I own both of those. Get the one that you listed first. It is a great melter. Bottom pour is the only way to go. I havent used the other one in years. But they both still work. My bottom pour has made tens of thousands of bullets. And it is still going strong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  8. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    They are nice..... It depends on what your shooting and what molds your using.. You do want your lead round to be slightly over sized..

    I would look for a used lubi-sizer.. They size and lube, none of the messy tumble lube. They look just like store bought lead projectile.
     
  9. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

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    I plan on using LEE molds, and they say they are precise enough that you won't need to size the bullets most of the time.
    If I can find a used lubi-sizer for a good price, I'd get it. Otherwise, I think I'll wait on it. Right now, all of the bullets I make will be for my M1895 Nagant, so I won't really be reloading for accuracy. Just cheap shooting. :D
     
  10. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I do not have much faith in Lee for furnaces. I have used Lyman and RCBS furnaces in the past. My two RCBS furnaces have literally thousands of pounds of lead through them. If I had to get a new one, I would probably go Lyman even though they are much more expensive than the Lee stuff.

    I also do not care for the Lee Tumble Lube molds. I am "old school" and use a Lyman 450 lubrisizer with heater plate. The more traditional looking bullets are my preference.
     
  11. eldarbeast

    eldarbeast New Member

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    There snobs everywhere you go these days...

    *Shakes head sadly...*

    eldar
     
  12. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Snob? Because I like to buy quality? OK. There are cheap skates everywhere you go these days...

    *Shakes head sadly...*
     
  13. eldarbeast

    eldarbeast New Member

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    Touche, mon ami, touche!

    The problem today is when someone can't see what real quality is!

    Value for your money as well as value for the products. I have never had a problem with Lee Precision products.

    eldar
     
  14. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    Once upon a time, a young feller I see every now and then (he hides behind the bearded, grizzled jerk in the mirror) got into casting his own bullets for a pair of double barreled black powder pistols (matched pair, .36 caliber, beautiful).

    I used a cheap Lee pot, Lee mold, Lee ladle. Didn't need any sizing. I used store bought lead that I believe was premixed for bullet casting. I don't know for sure that it was, but it all worked just fine.

    I followed the directions, everything turned out just fine.

    One thing I learned, keep the mold hot. If the mold is cold, when you cast it, you'll have lines and grooves in the bullet. This is bad. This is where a section of the bullet hardened fast, leaving the rest to cool a little slower. I've had more than one shot split into multiple pieces upon firing.

    It's a learning process, Tex. Have fun.

    PS. From my own experience at starting from the same point you're starting from, I would get the bottom pour and nix the ladle. Costs more overall, yes, but doing away with the hassle of the ladle is worth it. The ladle often is just barely small enough to fit into one of the smaller smelting pots (I haven't looked at the ones you've linked yet), and a bottom pour will allow you to completely drain it.

    Watch for rust in the pot. That sometimes happens after they're heated to those kinds of temps.

    Edit to add: I looked at the pots you linked. The second one is the exact model I had. Spring for the bottom pour. It's worth it. After the cost of a ladle, the price difference really isn't much at all. I think I paid around 10 bucks for the ladle, leaving a difference of about $15 or so. Well worth it. Very well worth it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  15. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    This is almost identical to what I had, but a matched pair. This one is larger, a howdah pistol. Meant to be loaded as a 20 gauge + .50 caliber ball. Mine were a smaller version loaded with .36 conical round.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker New Member

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    Right now, money is tight, so I will go with the LEE unless I find a Lyman or RCBS for a simular price. I can't wait to start. :D
     
  17. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    I'll be getting a flat rate box sometime in the next few days to send that lead to you.
     
  18. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not really. My "smelting pot" is a LEE. My casting pot is RCBS.

    There is a difference in quality. A VERY VERY BIG difference.

    And a good lubrisizer is a must. I like the Lyman.

    The star is the best by a wide margin, But it's priced out of my range.
     
  19. therhino

    therhino New Member

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    I own the "Lee Production Pot" that is a taller, thinner, and overall smaller version of your linked bottom pour pot. Mine is this:
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/637732/lee-production-pot-four-furnace-110-volt

    I use mine exclusively for reclaiming pewter for resale on eBay, but the mechanics are similar. Mine tend to clog from time to time when I'm trying to pour, but that might be either because I melt at lower temps, smelt dirty metal (tarnish and dust on most everythign I smelt), or because I pour my pot empty at theend of every session. That lets the dross get down low in the pot, and often into the pour spout.
    If I remember right, lead casters don't empty their casting pots. They let a little bit sit in the bottom after cooldown to ensure grime doesn't end up in the spout when you load fresh ingot or scrap into the pot for a new melt.
     
  20. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    you are a very fortunate man, sir.