Lee Pot and Mold

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Staestc, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    The FedEx dude snuck by and left a box on my porch yesterday while we were gone! :D

    Got a Lee Pro 4 20 lb pot and 452-230-TC mold. I'm gonna have to clean out enough of the garage to get to my file cabinet that has all my lead and stuff in it before I can do anything though :mad: And then I will have to smelt some of that to clean it up. But I can't wait to start!
     

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  2. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    Congrats. Just make sure you have good ventilation and preheat your tools.
     

  3. jordan89

    jordan89 New Member

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    And where some freaking safety equipment! Molten lead isn't the most stable thing. I'd wear a face shield(safety glasses at the very lest), gloves, and some sort of apron.

    But that aside, have fun!
     
  4. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    Good advice, and thanks. I've cast lead before, just never bullets. I have a bunch of old soldier molds, car molds, fishing molds, etc. I was outside, in a breeze, upwind of the pot. I use my long welding gloves and I am working on the ground for the most part.

    I managed to get to all my molds in my garage, and scavenged up all the lead I had accumulated over the years. I smelted 24 lbs. of ingots out of them yesterday and I have another 10-12 lbs left in the pot. But I suspect there is no tin at all in the mix yet, so I am going to get some WW and I will mix bits of this into that and hopefully end up with a decent alloy for some bullets.
     
  5. Intheshop

    Intheshop New Member

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    Spend some time getting your "setup" just right.The chair to casting pot relationship is critical for my old bones,haha.As posted...get the ventilation just right as well.I usually am good for about 3 hours before needing to give it a break.......but thats lots of bullits!

    We have a bunch of steel moulds as well as aluminum.It never ceases to amaze,how well those Lee moulds work.They'll eventually loosen up.....but dang thats tens of thousands of bullits.Shopnut
     
  6. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    Yeah, have been thinking about that positioning thing. I don't know, but it would seem to me that I need to have the pot high enough that I can, at least till I get used to it, see the spout on the bottom without leaning over the whole time. I am sure I will pour some, then make radical changes till I find something that works for me. I still have not figured out where I will cast yet! :eek: But I am anxious to cast some bullets. My scrap lead that I have smelted may not be hard enough, but hell, might as well give it a try!:D
     
  7. oldpapps

    oldpapps New Member

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    Staestc,

    Have you given any thought to 'sizing and lubing'.
    One more step that makes a difference.

    Back in the late 60's I would cast bullets and rub Lyman lube into the grease grove by hand and load them with out sizing. I was in the AF and just happy I could afford powder and primers. They worked and I shot a lot of them on BLM land in Montana. But I had a lot of time to scrub lead out of that old S&W Model 28. Didn't load it very hot at all. Still leaded badly. Later I got a Lyman 450 and began using gas checks. Big difference and the leading went away.

    Lead is fun. Keep it very dry when you do a melt.
     
  8. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    I got the Lee sizer kit with their liquid Alox lube when I ordered the pot. I may try one of the home brew pan lubes too later. I've been reading a ton on alloys and lubes over the last month.

    I also saw a video on the aftermath of a lead smelting accident from water! Drops of lead stuck to the guys sun glasses got my attention!!
     
  9. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    Yep getting a visit from the silver dragon is not fun. Lead is very reactive to moisture. Even a drop of sweat will cause issues. You also don't want to put a cold ladle into the pot or pour into a cold mold.
     
  10. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    Fired up the new pot for the first time. Cleaned the pot, cleaned the mold, smoked the mold. Everything went great and I am way excited about how they turned out :D Cast about 100 .45 bullets. I only culled 3 or 4 during casting, but I am sure there will be some more when I examine them with my reading glasses on instead of my safety glasses :eek:
     

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  11. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    Tough to see the pic but they look Damn good to me.
     
  12. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    I used to cast .36 for some sweet pietta double barrel pistols I used to have. I would put the lead, ladle, and mold all in the pot together to get it all nice and hot. had much fewer defects that had to be recast, and the ladle poured much cleaner. And yeah, I've had sweat drop into it. Not cool at all.
     
  13. stick_man

    stick_man New Member

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    One thing to keep in mind is that the fastest way to turn that bottom-pour pot into a "drip-o-matic" is to smelt your wheelweights or other dirty lead in it. Smelt in a different pot (non-bottom pour) and cast from the bottom pour. Old dutch ovens or stainless pots work great for smelting. DO NOT USE ALUMINUM pots for smelting. It is just asking for disaster.

    Lots of great info about casting is available from places like LASC, Cast Bullet Association, and CastBoolits.com as well as the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook (3rd or 4th edition are both excellent).

    Be safe and happy casting.
     
  14. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    I have read about the Lee drip problems a lot before I got the pot. I smelted all of my lead outside in an old pot over my propane turkey cooker, double fluxed with parafin and sawdust, then cast ingots in dollar store muffin pans. Nothing went into my casting pot but the ingots and flux. So far, have not had a single drip :) Fingers are crossed on that. Also, kept a cast iron skillet handy for any possible emergency where I could not get it to shut off at all, since that happened once to a friend of mine :eek:

    I'm gonna go though these closely today when I size and lube them, but looking at them again last night, it looks like very few imperfections big enough to be any issue. I did note from one of my pictures that the bullets cast first are shiny, and the later bullets were starting to look a little frost. But I was getting fast by then, and the mold was getting hot and probably needed to be cooled down a bit.

    I can't wait to shoot my first cast boolits! :D
     
  15. stick_man

    stick_man New Member

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    Bad news Travis, you're addicted now. Next thing you know, you will be buying more molds, then buying new guns to cast for, then searching for lead anywhere you can think of to find it. You'll be dreaming of the silver stream, carrying empty buckets with you everywhere you go, hoping to find a tire shop that will give or sell you some wheelweights. There is no cure.

    Welcome to the addiction! :D
     
  16. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    Thanks. I am already looking at moulds for my .357/.38 specials :eek: It was way too much fun casting this first batch. Probably get a LSWC for those first.

    And it gets worse. I was reading about casting when I first started reloading. Now I am watching YouTube videos on swaging and I just started casting! :D:eek:
     
  17. Staestc

    Staestc New Member

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    Almost forgot. I culled another 5 bullets from the batch when I examined then closely this morning for defects. All 5 were cases where I slopped some lead into the second cavity accidentally when I over filled the first, leading to what looks like it could be a two part bullet when I finished the second. I should probably pour both cavities without pausing between them. I got them all coated with liquid Alox and have them drying now. The couple that I culled while casting were all cases where I did not fill out the base completely. I need to load and shoot these, the get to casting up about 500 more!
     

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