Ask help to cast my first round balls

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SwanShot

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Does the fingernail test apply ? I ask because I often melt down a mix of bullets from my berm . 9mm , 38, 44, etc. I pour then into small 1 oz. "pucks" to use for casting. I test with my thumb nail and if it leaves a mark I consider it good to go , whether 100% pure or not I don't know. What are your thoughts ? -Thanks
That method works for me but some variation from one batch to another is to be expected.
 

Lynnhawk

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Dear sirs,

I have never casted a round ball.
I do want to make small batches in my backyard (using a mask, etc). Let's say, 50 round balls.

I don't want to buy a electric pot melter.
I do want to use a small iron pot over a propane flame.
I already have a Lyman type lead ladler and the bullet mold.

And I have some lead bullets collected from the shooting range to melt.

But I do not have any experience.

Would you guys point me the correct direction so I can cast some round balls with minimum problems?

QUESTIONS
Did I need anything else?
I see some people using lingot pans..is it necessary?
what would be the best size and shape of a small iron pot to use along with a Lyman ladler?

I am thinking to buy this pot (not affiliated):


Does it fill my needs?

Thanks a lot
Just buy yourself a Lee 10#electric pot …clean it out when your done ….it’ll last a lifetime taken care of it properly…I have had mine for 30 years…bullets,sinkers ,jigs and the list goes in…!!
 
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This is what I use; I do recommend the RCBS bottom pour ladle, filling your mold with it is a breeze.

OOPS! Double post.

casting bullets 001.JPG


lead dipper.jpg
 
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I lay my molds close to the bottom of the lead pot when it is heating up on the stove and the lead is just starting to melt. The gas flame will heat my molds to just the right temperature by the time the lead is hot enough to pour.
 

jmhunt78

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Dear sirs,

I have never casted a round ball.
I do want to make small batches in my backyard (using a mask, etc). Let's say, 50 round balls.

I don't want to buy a electric pot melter.
I do want to use a small iron pot over a propane flame.
I already have a Lyman type lead ladler and the bullet mold.

And I have some lead bullets collected from the shooting range to melt.

But I do not have any experience.

Would you guys point me the correct direction so I can cast some round balls with minimum problems?

QUESTIONS
Did I need anything else?
I see some people using lingot pans..is it necessary?
what would be the best size and shape of a small iron pot to use along with a Lyman ladler?

I am thinking to buy this pot (not affiliated):


Does it fill my needs?

Thanks a lot
Buy a Lee production melter pot. It’s very simple.
 

Johnny Tremain

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The range lead is going to be hard for round ball. Average from our range is about 15-17BHN.

With all the safety stuff, do not forget heavy leather boots.

I wear sandals most of the time. Got a drop ONCE on the top of my foot.
 

Poguetx

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You need to use pure lead for BP, especially if doing revolvers. Range lead will have a lot of hard cast bullets. A friend of mine threw a bunch of wheel weights someone had given him into his lead pot, and when he tried the balls in his revolver, they were much to hard to seat.
 
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I have an electric Lyman pot but have used a setup similar to Eric’s for many years. I still do if I’m melting scrap lead because I don’t want junk in the electric pot. Often when I’m cleaning the scap and pouring ingots I’ll also cast bullets direct from the pot for a while if I’m low on something.
 

flntlokr

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Does the fingernail test apply ? I ask because I often melt down a mix of bullets from my berm . 9mm , 38, 44, etc. I pour then into small 1 oz. "pucks" to use for casting. I test with my thumb nail and if it leaves a mark I consider it good to go , whether 100% pure or not I don't know. What are your thoughts ? -Thanks
The fingernail test is good to see if you have soft lead. I have shot everyting from marbles to ball bearings out of my rifle. They all shoot ok, just a bit higher or lower at 100 yd. I have found no practical difference shooting gooey roofer's lead or pure wheel weights. Perhaps a super crack shot would. I am happy with the majority in the black at 100. That level will hit almost any gong that you can see out to a couple of hundred yards, provided you have figured out your Kewntucky windage for elevation. Some folks will argue with that, but to each his own. The above works out for long guns and MLpistols; you will want soft lead for revolvers.
 
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Dear sirs,

I have never casted a round ball.
I do want to make small batches in my backyard (using a mask, etc). Let's say, 50 round balls.

I don't want to buy a electric pot melter.
I do want to use a small iron pot over a propane flame.
I already have a Lyman type lead ladler and the bullet mold.

And I have some lead bullets collected from the shooting range to melt.

But I do not have any experience.

Would you guys point me the correct direction so I can cast some round balls with minimum problems?

QUESTIONS
Did I need anything else?
I see some people using lingot pans..is it necessary?
what would be the best size and shape of a small iron pot to use along with a Lyman ladler?

I am thinking to buy this pot (not affiliated):


Does it fill my needs?

Thanks a lot
I went with a small iron pot and a label. However with out spending a lot of money I couldn't find an electric burner that would heat until melting. If you are going to make your own RBs or fishing weights bullets, etc the Lee smelting pot with bottom pour spout is the way to go. You can leave the unused lead in it and just start it up the next time. The only time I use the ingot molds is if I want to change from pure lead to harder lead then ill drain the pot. But you can use metal cooky dish for that if you want to.
 
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Dear sirs,

I have never casted a round ball.
I do want to make small batches in my backyard (using a mask, etc). Let's say, 50 round balls.

I don't want to buy a electric pot melter.
I do want to use a small iron pot over a propane flame.
I already have a Lyman type lead ladler and the bullet mold.

And I have some lead bullets collected from the shooting range to melt.

But I do not have any experience.

Would you guys point me the correct direction so I can cast some round balls with minimum problems?

QUESTIONS
Did I need anything else?
I see some people using lingot pans..is it necessary?
what would be the best size and shape of a small iron pot to use along with a Lyman ladler?

I am thinking to buy this pot (not affiliated):


Does it fill my needs?

Thanks a lo

Bullets collected from a berm at a shooting range are generally not pure lead. They are an alloy. Other metals have been added to the bullets to make the lead harder. Round balls cast with harder lead alloy will be slightly lighter and slightly smaller in diameter than what the mold is advertised as producing. It may not be a big deal to you but must folks cast round balls from pure lead.
 
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Frankfort Arsenal has inexpensive mold release and flux. I started with a Lee bottom pour pot, but found it to slow a pour for large balls and minies so I got a ladle, works great for all sizes. I pour and cut the sprue soon after cooling, you’ll notice a color and surface change. But for the first few, I leave the pour in the mold to let heat sink in. The wooden dowel I use is about 1 1/4” dia.. I drilled a 3/8 or 1/2 hole in the hitting end, drove a steel Brad thru that hole about halfway down and poured molten lead in it. This gives you dowel more inertia when striking the sprue plate. If you don’t have mold release, smoke the cavities and sprue plate over a candle. Take it slow, observe all safety precautions recommended and do it when you won’t be disturbed by family or friends. I stand while pouring, but found half sitting on a stool eased the fatigue. Good luck, it’s a great relaxing pastime!
 
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I picked up a cast iron sauce pan about 1 1/2 quart at goodwill real cheap had it for years before going electric pot. A thermometer would be a help but not necessary. Pure lead should run about 750F this is from memory so I could be off a bit. Can't stress the safety stuff enough. Even your ladle and mold can produce moisture so warm them slowly don't plunge them into the hot lead all at once. It is not hard to cast bullets just practice.
 

J. Paul

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Remember, even a drop of sweat falling into the molten lead can cause an explosion of steam almost emptying the pot of lead.
 

kyron4

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The lead I recover from my berm is a mix of FMJ pistol bullets and old round balls. No hard cast or unknown lead, as I'm the only person who shoots at my backyard range. All the pistol lead , after melted out of the jacket, is easily dented with a thumbnail.
 
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The lead I recover from my berm is a mix of FMJ pistol bullets and old round balls. No hard cast or unknown lead, as I'm the only person who shoots at my backyard range. All the pistol lead , after melted out of the jacket, is easily dented with a thumbnail.
bingo! the core of those fmj's is there to add weight for momentum. the purer the lead the heavier a specific volume/mass is.
 
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Remember, even a drop of sweat falling into the molten lead can cause an explosion of steam almost emptying the pot of lead.
Wish people would stop spreading this old wives tale. Only way there's an eruption is if moisture gets below the surface of the molten lead (i.e. water trapped in a piece of lead pipe dropped into the pot).

If you don't want to take my word for it after five decades of casting with lead then here's an excellent video on the subject.

 
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