View Full Version : 1st ladle casting session and some ?

03-08-2007, 04:29 PM
I've been lurking around here a while and finally got around to registering as a member. Before moving to NC my Dad and I would frequently cast bullets out of his bottom pour Lee lead pot. Having established myself here in NC I decided to start casting myself and I decided to go with the ladle method. I'm using Lee's 20 lb Magnum Melter pot and an RCBS dipper. My alloy is ignotized wheel weights.
I have a lead thermometer and kept the pot at about 800 degrees.

My dipper is encrusted with lead--is this normal? The lead flows freely out the hole but my dipper is coated with lead.

I was casting a .45 cal bullet out of a Mountain Molds brass mould and this performed perfectly dropping bullets that measured .453" in diameter. My other mould was RCBS' 44-250-Keith. This gave me some trouble with some "finning" at various times throughout my casting. I measured these bullets and found that a good portion of them had a base band that measured .428" while the middle band and driving band measured .430". Some of the bullets had all three bands measuring .430".

What am I doing wrong here? Should I remelt these bullets with the undersized base bands? Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
Russell in Salisbury

03-08-2007, 05:52 PM
I would say you are depending on the sprue to fill the boolit. Not good! Hold the ladle tight to the plate for a longer period to allow the boolit to suck molten lead from the dipper instead of the sprue which hardens faster then the boolit in the mold.
What your getting is common when pouring fast and tipping off the dipper real quick, pouring from a heighth and depending on a hardening sprue to feed a boolit or running a mold past the bottom pour spout too quickly fill all cavities.
What happens is that the mold fills right off but when the sprue hardens first it sucks the sides of the boolit towards the center. Nothing says the boolit has to suck the sprue, the sprue can also suck the boolit.
Some guys pour from a heighth but keep pouring for a long time keeping the sprue molten, it works but is very messy.
One other thing, never stir with the dipper and try not to let the spout go under the lead. Wipe the spout often to keep it clean and make sure the hole stays free of slag.

03-08-2007, 05:58 PM

03-08-2007, 06:05 PM
Russell, Finning usually occurs when something, e.g., a burr on the cavities/mold faces, a stray drop of alloy on the mold faces, prevents the blocks from closing tightly. Then too, the alignment pins may not be properly adjusted (They should protrude equally.), which will also prevent tight closing. You can check for this (pin protrusion) quite easily with a cold mold & a vernier caliper or even a micrometer. Burrs can be felt with your finger & fingernails: Drag them lightly over the mold faces & cavities to see if they catch or snag. Alloy can be seen. Lastly, with the handles attached close the mold tightly, hold it up to a strong light and look for light showing between the halves. If present, burrs can be removed by using a fine-cut file or stone on the offending face. If alloy drops are the problem, heat the mold to operating temperature, i.e., cast with it, apply a tiny bit of bullet lube to the drop and rub it away with a few layers of cotton cloth. Alignment pins can be driven in (or out) with a brass drift, but it may help if you apply penetrating oil to them and let them sit overnight. (You'll have to clean the mold again though.) Once you're done, add the handles, close the mold and again look for light betwen the blocks. Btw, I have the RCBS 250-K and have had no problems with it at all. Also, you might try casting at 740-760 deg. for the RCBS mold.