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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I'm going to bite the bullet or shall I say boolit and plunge into casting.

On hand already us a turkey fryer, and I have a propane tank with the value out and filled with water that I'm going to empty and cut open. As I gave seen these make for nice smelting pots.

Looking on fleabay I have seen that I can get a used production pot for the same price almost as a new one so I think I'm going to skip the used pot and go new. Now I've read a lot about just getting a 20 lb to start and don't fool with a 10lb. Is this true.

Anyways is like tips and suggestions please.

Calibers to start with are .380, and .45acp. Then I will move to .44mag as it probably takes a little more time and I want to know about the gas check deal and it its needed etc? Then on to the .30-30 and .35rem

So here us my shipping list, am I on track?


Please note that Delivery method is ignored if you are ordering gift certificates or electronically distributed products.
Items
MOLD D C 356-102-1RClick here to view parts$ 19.00 x = $ 19.00Delete item
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MOLD 6 CAV TL452-230-2RClick here to view parts$ 38.00 x = $ 38.00Delete item
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COMMERCIAL MOLD HANDLESClick here to view parts$ 11.48 x = $ 11.48Delete item
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.356 BULLET LUBE&SIZ KITClick here to view parts$ 15.48 x = $ 15.48Delete item
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.452 BULLET LUBE&SIZ KITClick here to view parts$ 15.48 x = $ 15.48Delete item
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PRO 4 20LBClick here to view parts$ 57.98 x = $ 57.98Delete item
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INGOT MOLDClick here to view parts$ 8.98 x = $ 8.98Delete item
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LEAD LADLEClick here to view parts$ 3.28 x = $ 3.28Delete item
Update itemSubtotal:
 

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I don't much favor the TL designs. I've never gotten one to shoot as well as a traditional design and since the traditional designs take film lube every bit as well as the micro band designs, I stick with them. Consider the 452-230-TC instead.

The Lee size kits are a good product. Try loading as cast before you spend time sizing. You may be able to avoid that step altogether.

The Lee ingot molds don't thrill me. The 1/2 pound sticks have no utility and there are only 2 one pound cavities. Go with the Lyman if you want a real mold or find some thrift store muffin tins. You are going to need 4 or 5 molds with a propane tank smelting pot. Otherwise you'll spend your day waiting for lead to cool. I use 5 RCBS/Lyman molds plus the 2 one pound cavities in a Lee. By the time I fill the last, the first is ready to dump and refill.

The Lee lead ladle is 100% worthless. Too small, short and flimsy. A wooden handled kitchen spoon is what you want.

Yes, the 4-20 is a much better product than the production pot. The valve system alone makes it worth the additional cost.

The more cavities you cast the harder it is to get consistent product. There is no law that says you have to fill all 6 in a 6 cavity mold while you are learning.

Rest the mold on the rim of the pot while the lead comes up to temperature to preheat.

Make sure the sprue cutter handle is completely closed on the mold before you fill it. The handle loses leverage very quickly as it opens. A cold sprue and slightly open handle equals a broken sprue handle.

Get a wire fried foods scoop to remove the big trash from your smelt. Get a good cast iron ladle to fill the ingot molds. Here are my smelting tools:

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok so where can I get a cast iron ladle? Also what material should the spoon and muffin tins made of? I have head there are materials to stay away from

So is this a better mold for the .45acp

Also should u go ahead and buy the size it wait?
 

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Steel tins are fine if you set them out in the rain to rust first (other wise the ingots solder in). Aluminum tins release from the get go. The down side of muffin tins is that they are built pretty flimsy and bend easily. You also have to have them on a surface and bring the lead to them to fill. I like the Lyman molds with the handle. I bring them to the pot and fill them resting on the lip then turn and place them on the cooling table. I find that more efficient than carrying ladles of lead to the cooling table.

The spoon can be steel or stainless. Plastic handled spoons can work, but you need to be careful the plastic doesn't melt while you are stirring and skimming. The commercial one piece spoons work also, but the handles get hot right through your glove if you keep them in the lead long.

I got that ladle from eBay. I see ones just like it all the time. What I did was keep low balling until one came home cheap. Avoid the ones with the short handles.

You can get Rowell ladles online from Advance Car Mover Company. They aren't cheap, but they are pretty nice equipment. What I have is equivalent to the Rowell #3 in capacity. The Rowell #4 would be good too if you are a move the lead to the mold guy. It takes 2 hands to use. I would avoid the temptation to get much larger than that. Big ladles make it tough to get lead out of the bottom of the pot.
http://advancecarmover.thomasnet.com/category/rowell-ladles

Better... That's pretty tough to say. The truncated cone design has a reputation for good feeding in autos. That particular bullet has a nice strong base band and a large bearing surface. Both of those are features I like. I would pick it in a heart beat over the tumble lube round nose. Others may disagree. Let them make their case. :)

The Lee sizing kits are cheap and come with lube which you are going to need anyway. I'd drop them on my order...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I meant this mold

6 CAVITY 452-228 1R
$ 38.00 x = $ 38.00
 

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I shoot a lot of the 452-228-1R. It is the bullet I load for USPSA revolver with my 625 and I also use it in a Kimber 1911. Somewhere between 3 and 5,000 of them go downrange every year from those platforms.

That bullet is NOT hardball profile. It needs to be loaded very short for guns with tight chambers / throats. I make them 1.245 OAL which works great in the Kimber, but my 1917 vintage Colt Government Model will not feed it reliably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I want reliability. I have loaded 400 or so rainier 230 round nose to a little over specs at 1.209 and they seem to feed well so far
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
are the prices i posted normal or are they sale prices? i want to jump fast if they are sale prices that is for sure. in my lee catalog they have the furnace listed for $92 so i was just wondering
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
still trying to figure out what to do but i got lucky today and picked up 1.5 5 gallon buckets of wheel weights from a local tire store
 

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You can get all of that Lee equipment from any online supplier (Midway USA, Grafs, Midsouth, etc.) check a couple places and see if the prices are in line.
 

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+ Lee 20# pot. With a 6 cavity mold and heavy bullets a 10# pot runs dry fast. Also the Lee 20# has a
mold rest that you will appreciate with 6 cavity molds.
- Lee ladle. It's too small to cast big bullets. Only useful to stir a small pot with.
+Don't forget safety equipment. You need a full face shield, leather welder's gloves, an cotton/leather apron, cotton long sleeve shirt and pants ( lead will melt polyester into your skin ) and leather boots.
+For ladles, try Rotometals http://www.rotometals.com/Ladles-for-Casting-s/8.htm

"When using 6 cavity molds, if you fill all 6 cavities at once when the mold is cold. it will be almost impossible to open. You need to start by filling one cavity, and when the sprue cuts easily, fill 2 cavities, and so on until all cavities are up to temperature. When properly heated the lee 6 cavity will cut the sprues like butter and you will empty a pot fast. "
From one of Ranch dog's posts.

M.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Those are nice looking tools
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What about thermometers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just want to keep my smelt temp right so I don't contaminate with zinc. Are there ones to buy or are we stuck with the $40 casting thermometers?

I'm guessing with those tools thick thick gloves are necessary since the handled Prolly get really hot
 

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I low balled a bunch of industrial 200 - 1000 degree thermometers on eBay until one came home cheap. (Detecting a trend?) It's a Tel Tru with a 4 inch dial and a 12 inch stem. I rigged up a wire stand to hold it in my casting pot. The long stem is nice because it gets the dial up and out of the way.


I don't use the thermometer to smelt. I just don't walk in the house and let the pot cook. I watch it loosely and when the majority of the lead gets molten, I give it a stir and use the wire skimmer to pull any zinc and steel off the top and throw it away. Then I flux, skim dross and cast ingots. It takes a long time between hot enough to melt lead and hot enough to melt zinc.
 

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Oh, and as far as gloves go, I use standard leather / canvas gauntlet work gloves. Sometimes I'll wear a pair of brown jersey gloves inside them. But generally, I'm not holding my ladle handle long enough to get burned. The spoon stays in my hand a lot longer as I stir, flux and skim. Hence the wood handle recommendation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i have plent of elbow length welding gloves at the house so they should work.

for thermometers it seems this one is used alot ofer at the cast boolit forum. $24.95 shipped: BBQ-TT-200-5-200/1000
http://www.kck.com/tel-tru_grill_smoker_thermometer.html

is the 5" stem long enough? it has a clip for the side of the pot. also it reads 200-1000 degrees
 

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That thermometer will work just fine. The dial can be "in the way" when stirring or fluxing. I would rig a wire stand like mine rather than use the clip to make it easier to insert and remove.
 
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