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Using an electric pot for casting balls

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curly7557

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I have been using the same 10 lb. bottom pour since 1975.
I personally have never had my pot empty out on it's own but it will drip while heating.
I have cut a small tin can to fit under the spout to catch what leaks.
I did have a friend who's pot leaked out all over his bench a couple of times. We found he was not getting his lead clean and was messing with the spout and plunger. We gave his pot a good cleaning, including the spout and plunger. Worked fine after we filled it up and cleaned the lead!
But we also cut a 3/4" oak dowel to fit under the pot, counter sunk a hole on one end to fit the spout.
Kinda a safety for a bottom pour. He uses a pair of pliers to put it in place when
he is done for the day.
"He has forgotten from time to time without a major spill".

Clean your lead after melting, pre-heat your mold and leave a good puddle on your spur cutter.
It's been working for me.
 

M. De Land

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I bought a used Lee electric pot from a buddy for a good price and yesterday I tried casting some balls with it. I was expecting some minor issues and maybe a new learning curve when using it. Wellllllllll.......I found it was extremely easy to use, convenient, less messy, safer than using propane to heat a ladle, and on and on! When I went to sort out the finished balls, looking for wrinkles, bad casts, etc. I didn't find any! I found some balls with a little hole in the sprue, but I think that is remedied with better timing and better technique at the end of each pour. It's so much better than screwing around with a propane torch, and jockeying a mould and ladle in mid-air for a good pour. It's like going from a bicycle to an automobile. I'm impressed.
Balls are the easiest projectiles to cast and as a consequence are the perfect learning medium. But , ladle casting is more precise and will produce better conical bullets. There are a couple of reasons for this. 1. The pressure through the pour spout is always the same from the ladle resevoir . 2. The alloy dip is always from the center of the melt for most consistent heat and clean alloy, not just the bottom of the pot. 3. It is much easier to control slag and other impurities from getting into the casting. 4. You have more flexibility in the speed of the pour at the same pressure from the ladle resevoir. 5. Ladles don't drip like bottom pour spouts when they get a bit of dross in them.
Most of the mid and long range shooters I have competed against in Black powder target rifle (BPCR) can keep 500 grain plus bullets within .75 +/- grains of the target weight they are aiming at and most use a ladle. That means a total spread of 1.5grains from heaviest to lightest in a bullet that weighs over 500 grains. Some of them can keep it to 1 grain spread but I have never seen the need for the extra work to get them that close which usually requires a sorting regimine.
 

M. De Land

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I was talking about electric pot use. Most folks also use a PID controler (Proportional-Integral-Derivitive) which digitally controls the current into the pot for a more even heat control.
 

bisleyjohn

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This is my ‘hot corner’ in the small fettling shed I built.

It has a steel top (grounding for the welder) firebricks and, just out of shot but within reach, a dry powder extinguisher.

The Lee pot sits in an oven tray to catch any spillage. The gloves sit on another oven tray in which I place the balls to cool.
BCBBCFE9-63B4-4F7B-A080-24B001208443.jpeg


small screwdriver for ‘twiddling’ the plunger if it starts to drip, and an ingot mold as first catch on drips.

Welders gloves, half face mask, goggles which cover my reading glasses.

Cotton trousers over my Sheplars best leather ‘cowboy’ steel toe working boots.

Trying to reduce the risk, molten metal inside a working shoe is no fun, don’t ask me how I know that.
 

M. De Land

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It is a good idea to have some cross ventilation when casting although there is no real danger of breathing in lead vapor if keep under 900 degrees F. Most good casting is done between 750 and 800 degrees F. Mostly the ventilation is for removing the smoke when fluxing.
 

bisleyjohn

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I cast with the doors and windows open and use bees wax for fluxing.

There is a tub of fluxing agent on the bench but the bees wax smells nicer!

I meld my lead twice, once to clean and make into ingots, after which the pot is usually given athorough clean, and then use the ingots later. There is a stack of ingots next to the mask.
 

SDSmlf

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My experience with the Lee Bottom Pour is similar to what @oldwood stated. The larger balls (54 cal and up) and most conicals just don’t come out as consistent with the bottom pour. Get much better results with a ladle when casting bigger stuff.

Actually have a natural gas casting bench/table the old man made in the 1960s. Years ago I felt I should remove the asbestos that covered the metal shroud around the burner. Didn’t change performance. Lead and asbestos, the good old days...... Have not fired up the gas burner since I got my first Lee electric pot 20 years ago or so, but the bench is a good place to store lead.
 

bisleyjohn

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Speed is the key, and two molds. I have drilled out the spout hole for faster flow and rest the second mold on a cold steel block to keep the temperature even. I do a couple with each mold in turn. I put them on the rim to warm when I switch on. This way I can usually avoid the common pitfalls of creasing, frosting, cavities and part fill. I cast up to .69 with about 95% success, sometimes even better.
 

rp77469

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This is my ‘hot corner’ in the small fettling shed I built.
My curiosity has gotten the best of me. What is a fettling shed? To me, that would be a place where a crafter of custom hand planes plied his trade. Bullet casting equipment just seems a bit out of place in such a building.
 

bisleyjohn

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:)
verb
verb: fettle; 3rd person present: fettles; past tense: fettled; past participle: fettled; gerund or present participle: fettling

trim or clean the rough edges of (a metal casting or a piece of pottery) before firing.

Source Google dictionary.

In 'old English' also used to mean make or mend something..

I also have a small bench/desk with a faux leather high back chair where, on warm days, all I fettle is a few zeds! ;):):cool:
 

rp77469

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:)
verb
verb: fettle; 3rd person present: fettles; past tense: fettled; past participle: fettled; gerund or present participle: fettling

trim or clean the rough edges of (a metal casting or a piece of pottery) before firing.

Source Google dictionary.

In 'old English' also used to mean make or mend something..

I also have a small bench/desk with a faux leather high back chair where, on warm days, all I fettle is a few zeds! ;):):cool:
Thank you. I collect and restore old hand planes as an interest/hobby. I had only heard the term used in describing the fine tuning of the plane for performance. Learn something every day.
 

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