View Full Version : Always Something New to Learn Casting

04-08-2006, 10:07 PM
After nearly forty years of serious casting, and over thirty years of serious rifle casting, I am learning or relearning simple things every time I fire up the Coleman. Today was one of those magic days when everything went right. Instead of stopping at my usual 200 mould cycles I carried on for over 300 because perfect boolits just kept on coming. (I cast standing so I can have a running start in case of lead spills. I get tired after a couple of hours on my feet, but making good boolits goes a long way to ease fatigue.)

I've been giving fluxing with a stick a try lately, and finally got it right today. What works best is keeping the stick in the pot LONG ENOUGH. I use a 1" X 2" stick, so that the square edges scrape the sides of the pot while stirring. Today I tried stirring for at least a full minute, until burnt stick powder comes to the surface, which leaves a good shiny surface after skimming. Less stirring results in a
curdled look.

Also, I am a compulsive counter. I have to know how may boolits I have made. Guess I need an incentive to keep going. Usually I count drops, but I usually forget the count. Today I dropped the boolits in a countable-at-a-glance pattern that yielded thirty boolits before it was time to add metal, flux, lift the drop pad, and roll the accumulation over to the storage pile. This time, knowing how scatter-brained I am, I set aside one bullet each time and simple multiplication gave me a running count.

Nothing earth-shaking, just a couple of little tricks that make it easier to stay chaned to the casting bench.

04-09-2006, 07:32 AM
.............Get one of those cheap mechanical motion counter deals and mount it so it counts the times you lift the furnace valve.

HA! I just had a mental picture flash through my noggin of a guy standing there with a Lee 6 banger. Boolits banked up about shin high all around his feet and overrunning a box on the bench. He's nearsightedly peering at his counter dealie. "Hummmm, 4,672 times 6".


04-09-2006, 10:44 AM
Rick, with my state of the art Coleman/Potter foundry, I would have to hose camp the motion sensor to the ladle! I thought I was the only unreconstructed boolit dipper until I recently exchanged some Emails with another caster who has had Lee, Lyman, and RCBS furnaces. He calls all three makes "dribblemeisters," but is trying again with a new Lee. I never had an RCBS, but the Lee and Lyman have driven me back to the old reliable white gas and ladle outfit. I'm sure it's just me, but even though production is higher with bottom-pour, I can make more GOOD boolits per hour with the ladle. However, most of my moulds are one and two cavity, except four cavity 9mm NEI and H&G .45 SWC peestol moulds. Six holers might indeed change my mind if I had any.

04-09-2006, 11:39 AM
I have never been one of those "lucky people" where everything happens perfectly on the first try. However, I am a determined feller. I started out with a Lyman cast iron pot on a cook stove in the kitchen. After a couple of minor "incidents" it was necessary to find a better place and a better way (this was when I was but a lad, living at home). I bought a Lyman 11# bottom pour. No, I did NOT get perfect results every time. Yes, it did drip from time to time. I kept at it, and LEARNED to cast and cast VERY well with this pot. I solved the drips (just rapped the top of the valve rod with the sprue knocker from time to time). I learned to keep an ingot mould under the spout. It nicely catches "run over" and drips. When full, return to the pot (gee, now, that wasn't so hard[smilie=1:). I learned the some moulds require pressure casting and some prefer to drop the mould up to an inch or so below the spout. Keep notes and use what works. After a while, you come to REALLY appreciate the efficiency of a bottom pour pot.

I now have two RCBS pots (the first bought many years ago and the second from an Estate). If I have to replace one of them it will be a new Lee 20-4 simply because of value for the dollar.

Just for your information, I cast pistol bullets, Schuetzen bullets, and big, heavy Black Powder Cartridge Bullets. I have always been a competitor, and have always been competitive. My revolver bullets have been successful on small game and large white tail deer. I also cast the "winning" bullet for a friend who harvested a VERY large buffalo with a heavy duplex load from my reloading bench (one shot, one kill).

So-o-o, I am a bottom pour man but it DID take a bit of "learning" (just like everything else I have ever done worthwhile):mrgreen:.



04-09-2006, 12:16 PM
I dont have room to inventory over run so any overage on orders is wasted time. I hang a log counter over my pot and click for each cast while waiting for the sprue to draw. Oh yea I do the math first for the number of clicks needed so I dont throw off my rytham while casting.
Had a couple clickers in a steamer trunk left over from the old days. My boys call it the timber fallers treasure chest.

Blacktail 8541
04-09-2006, 12:20 PM
I'm still learning just like eveyone else. I do tend to have a fast learning curve though. I use my bottom pour RCBS for the bullets that I want to make a lot of in a hurry, because I go thru them in a hurry. I ladle pour for my single actions because I seem to produce a little more cosistant bullet. I really like both methods and will do one or the other depending on my mood at the time, useing a ladle is very relaxing while the bottom pour seems to take a little more concintration to make things come out consistant. I to am a little crazy about how many I've produced and count all the time. I hope that goes away.

04-09-2006, 05:26 PM
That's my feeling too, Curmudgeon. I have three bottom pour furnaces, Lee, Lyman, and RCBS. The only thing I get when I use them is a bigger pile of rejects, sooner! Maybe one day I'll learn.....then again, maybe not. I'm almost too old to learn new tricks. :-D. -JDL

04-10-2006, 01:59 AM
I can make more GOOD boolits per hour with the ladle. However, most of my moulds are one and two cavity, except four cavity 9mm NEI and H&G .45 SWC peestol moulds. Six holers might indeed change my mind if I had any.

The old #1 Rowell will handle 230 gr. six cavities with ease, but you knew that already. :)

If you ever get the chance, pick up one of the Coleman three burner camp stoves, lots more room on board.

You can set a dribble master either right or left of the center burner to feed your iron pot, you can then put a hot plate on the other side to keep your molds hot.

You also get a bigger fuel tank, and that center burner will flat crank out the BTU's for melting WW's, you can work thru a 5 gal bucket pretty quick with a 4 QT dutch oven.

Good luck