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Thread: ingots & why we smelt first

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    I recently bought 450# of lead from an estate sale marked 90-5-5 for 60 cents a pound. the ingots were old and nasty looking. I melted them in three lots of 150# and some of the ingots boiled like a witches cauldren. I start with a pot full of ingots then bring it up to melting temp. I fluxed each batch once with sulfer and 2 - 3 times with pine sawdust to get them clean. Now I have 3 stacks of 150# of ingots which I smelted again in three batches with 50# from each stack per smelt. Now I have 450# of 1 Alloy which I'll have XRF'd so I'll know the alloys as well as the hardness. I use 10 5 cavity molds I made out of 5 1/4 long 1 1/2in angle iron cut at a bevel so they drop out of the molds easilly. these ingots stack and fit in all my pots nicely and also fit tight in a small shipping box.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Fargo ND
    In my case I cast with a small Lee Dipper pot. So once a year I have put together a batch of alloy to run with. I prefer about half COWW and half range scrap, with some tin added.

    I like to leave it a little on the soft side, around that 10 bhn mark. Suitable for Pistol loads, and with the addition of a little more tin rifle.

    I don't flux in my casting pot, never really seen the need. I do scrap off scum off the top a couple of times.

    For years I did everything on the kitchen stove with a cast iron pan. But the little Lee Dipper pot is perfect for sitting down and casting a hundred whenever I am in the mood.

    I just bought a big cast dutch oven and will be smelting a big batch one of these days.
    I have 150# of COWW waiting in the wings and some range scrap.


  3. #23
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    So. Indiana
    In my 20 lb. lee production pot, if the wheel weights are clean, they just go right in. I have about 300 lbs. of ingots right now, and since I am good on homemade shot for awhile, this will last at least 3 years. We deal with 2 big tire shops. One shop gets all kind of garbage (tobacco chew, cigarette butts, valve steps and ?) in the buckets, the other shop is very clean.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
    Uncle Grinch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Middle Georgia
    I use muffin ingots for wheelweights, corn sticks for Linotype, Lyman ingot mold for rifle alloy and Lee ingot mold for pistol alloy. This way I always know what I'm casting with.
    Shoot Safe,

    Retired Telephone Man
    NRA Endowment Member
    Marion Road Gun Club
    ( www.marionroad.com )

  5. #25
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    I've been burned by not pre melting into ingots....all kinds of trash. plug a bottom pour with a 100 plus lbs in it just one time.....youll never want to do it again.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Tempe, AZ
    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger442 View Post
    I only use a Lee mold then mark my lead with a permanent Sharpie. Wheel Weights-WW Range Lead-RL Pure Lead......etc. This way when I mix an alloy I can mark what it is and what it is for.
    Interesting. I've found that Sharpie pretty much wipes right off of the ingots that I've cast?

  7. #27
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    Some benefits to Smelting and or alloying in a large batch before casting are. 1) in larger batches things go faster as to cleaning and fluxing. 2) its easier to get a consistant base from the smelted scrap in large batches to work from. 3) you can alloy a larger batch of metal to what you want and have the same thing longer in the normal size pots. If you do 4 100 -150 lb pots of a given alloy and label them as to pot number and alloy pour 2 lb ingots or slightly bigger. Then when loading your pot 1 ingot from each of the alloy pots together. This makes the alloy supply effectively 400-600lds of the basic same alloy. Another reason to pre melt and smelt is to clean the trash crud and dirt from the metal before putting it in the good casting pot.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check