Oh boy. I've been a bullet caster for 25 years now. Since finding this forum though, my casting has increased exponentially.......as has my stock of bullet molds.
I've always been a ladle caster but last year for Christmas my wife got me a 20# Lee drip-o-matic bottom pour. Wanted that just so I could have 20 pounds of lead hot and ready instead of my little Lee and Lyman mini-mag type melters.
It's got a thermostat on it right? Well, kind of. I disliked it pretty much until I got the hang of using a bottom pour pot but still had some issues and on my big bore stuff (.35 and up defined by me...) I always ladle poured.
You know the story. Lead too hot. Lead too cold. Play with the thermostat until I thought I had it about right which was setting number 8 on the pot thermostat. I would turn it down to 7 when it got really too hot and thought I had it right on. Molds still got hot very fast so there was some frustration involved.
Reading about casting temps on this forum, the use of thermometers, and the fact I can't afford $350 for the RCBS melter I would like, and not wanting to spend $50 on a thermometer I just trudged along.............until a week or so ago.
Then I found a place that I believe makes the Lyman and RCBS 200-1000 degree F thermometers but their price is $19 -- that I will gamble on.
It came in yesterday and I fired up the pot after making a bracket for it -- if anyone has pics of how they mount their thermometer I'd certainly appreciate it BTW.
Turned the pot on to get the melt going, set it to #8 to get it up to temp and let it melt. Then I put the thermometer in the mix.
I just about went poopy. At what I thought was the proper setting my lead temp was almost 850 degrees...........oh boy, here we go. Kept turning pot back until I reached just shy of 750 degrees and started casting. Many problems just went away...........and the correct setting for this temp with a full pot is setting number 5...FIVE, not 8!!!! Much nicer bullets, drops better, more consistent pours. As I understand it from reading posts, ideal temp is somewhere between 700-750 degrees with some posts saying to cast at even lower temps.
Maybe this should be a sticky, I've researched the stickys, done searches -- I KNOW somewhere on this forum is a post about "what temperature should I have my lead at before I cast?" but have been unable to find it.
I realize it depends on what alloy you are using, but what do most of you with thermometers use as your ideal casting temp for WW lead and Lyman #2 mix? Steel molds? Aluminum molds? Brass Molds?
I've seen Fryxell's chart on the melting points of different alloys, but that still doesn't tell me what temp to actually pour at.
What do you say? Tell me your temps! Man I learn something new every day here.............
PS - Here's the link to the people who will get you a casting thermometer for $19 + $9 UPS:
They are EXCELLENT people to deal with also...................