View Full Version : What type pot for melting?

03-30-2009, 03:10 PM
Hi, All. I'm new at casting. Have my Lee mold and sizer on backorder. I just got my first bucket of WWs. I just had a question about the best type of pot for melting them. Does it matter if the pot is ...Steel. cast iron or aluminum? I was wondering for both my initial smelting and fluxing and later for the actual bullet casting..Thanks for any help.

03-30-2009, 03:13 PM
cast iron for "smelting" and a lee bottom pour for casting 20lb'er don't ya know.

Tom W.
03-30-2009, 03:20 PM
Yes, DO NOT use your casting pot for smelting, and do not use aluminum for smelting....Cast Iron seems to be the best for smelting. ...and do it outside...

03-30-2009, 03:20 PM
What RunfiveRun said.

Welcome to the addiction and the site.

Pepe Ray
03-30-2009, 04:31 PM
Do NOT use aluminum pots for ANY casting.
When I began my casting career, I swiped on of my wife's Extra Heavy Duty ( read-EXPENSIVE ) aluminum pots. It worked well for several sessions on my Coleman camp stove. Then one day I noticed that it rocked on the stove. On further inspection found a large bulge in the bottom. BOY!! Did I luck out. I'd shut the operation down JUST before the bottom gave out. Never again.
Pepe Ray

Slow Elk 45/70
03-30-2009, 04:39 PM
Ditto on cast Iron as best for smelting, and the Lee 20# lead pot for casting as it is the least expensive and the quality is usually good.

03-30-2009, 04:41 PM
Thanks guys. I'll avoid the aluminum.

03-30-2009, 04:48 PM
I've heard of cast iron pots breaking apart but it's what I've been using.

03-30-2009, 04:59 PM
Aluminum will fail, cast iron may fail, steel will flake with use and stainless will work great. I'm to cheap for stainless so I use cast iron or steel depending on how much I have to smelt (I have a much larger steel pot)

03-30-2009, 05:17 PM
I use a Harbor Freight cast iron Dutch Oven (6 quart) with a lid (can be quite useful when using scrap that could possibly contain a lose cartridge - use your imagination:groner:). It is reasonably priced, made heavy enough and if you do NOT bang it around should last nearly forever. Do NOT bang on it as it probably is possible to crack it.


This holds about 150 lbs and is plenty for me to deal with. Further, most fish fryers (or turkey fryers) will put out enough heat to drive that quantity. I leave the legs on the dutch oven as they will keep it from sliding off the burner.

Here is the best buy on a fish fryer (this is what I use):


Send the aluminum pot to the kitchen and don't even THINK of using it to smelt lead.

Recently, my brother and I smelt 650 lbs in an afternoon and put into small ingots (-3 lbs each) of VERY clean metal suitable for quick use in my RCBS casting pots.


03-31-2009, 08:10 AM
I use a $9.00 cast iron dutch oven that will hold about 80 lb of wheel weights.
This over a real heavy turkey cooker / fish cooker propane burner.
I use a tiger torch to accelerate the melt and have molten lead in under five minutes.
The cast iron pot gets a layer of beeswax or parafin wax after each use as well so it doesn't rust. That burns off on the next smelting session.

Clean lead casts better bullets.

03-31-2009, 08:22 AM
Mran..For the actual casting I can highly recommend the Waage Electric casting pot. VERY consistent temperature. I have no idea why, but they do not show it on their website..but if you call and order they are very helpful.