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Thread: ingots & why we smelt first

  1. #1

    ingots & why we smelt first

    being relatively new to casting....i see alot of you make ingots before you cast....

    question is:...do most of you smelt the lead and make the ingots for future casting because it is easier then casting right out of the block with lead and tin...just think making the ingots, makes the smelting a secondary operation.....am i right or wrong?

    making the ingots then makes it quickier to cast the bullets?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



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    The principle reason we "smelt" is to render dirty, stinkin', wheelweights to bright, shiny, metal that we want to put in our casting pots. We mostly smelt outside where the burning rubber, grease, tobacco chaws, and only God knows what else inhabits our Wheel Weight containers can be carried away by the wind . Then we can, in comfort in our snug little casting huts (basement, garage, or in my case, my utility barn with dedicated, heated and cooled, casting area) without breathing noxious fumes or passing out

    Putting dirty metal in a nice bottom pour pot is an invitation to dripping and clogging bottom draw valve, also. Wheelweights smelted in nice ingots also store in a much smaller space after all of the **** including but not limited to steel clips are removed. Yes, most of us use more wheelweights and recycled metals as opposed to clean metals from a refinery (its the cost, you know).

    Dale53

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    ALSO IT allows you to alloy....add a little something.... i do 100-120 lbs ww with about 5 lbs of dental lead.......all i know is the mix works well. i also have some lino/ww mix and some pure lead. all are marked. i typically use muffin tins that produce "rounds" which are about 1.1 lbs each....easy to mix an alloy from. preheat on top of the pot to minimize temp drop when adding to the pot.
    only accurate rifles are interesting

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    As has been mentioned, most of us start with absolute **** we don't want in our homes or our casting pots. Dale got most of it, but missed the most noxious of the lot, used toilet seals.

    Besides being nasty, a lot of this stuff is of unknown content. Smelt it all together, and you still don't really know what is in it, but you do know that it is the same from bar to bar. Your alloy does not change everytime you top up the pot.
    Sometimes you gotta wonder if democracy is such a good idea.

  6. #6

    purifying lead

    so...if i were to sum up the ingot portion of smelting...it would be to purify the lead to make it castable...am i correct?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Yes, and it also allows you to create an ingot size that fits your needs. Some of us are smelting very large chunks of lead. Some of mine weighed 50 pounds.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Not so much to "purify" the lead, as to 'clean' the metal(s) of all the gunk.
    Lead Forever!


    The 2nd amendment was never intended to allow private citizens to 'keep and bear arms.' If it had, there would have been wording such as 'the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. -Ken Konecki, July 27, 1992

    John Galt was here.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Easier?

    I find it easier to feed another ingot instead of stacking up a bunch of wheelweights and then trying to get slag and clips out of the pot.
    Tried that many years ago with a bottom pour and never again.
    Also as hardness changes from batch to batch you can test each ingot and stamp its hardness for consistency when casting a batch of boolits.
    Most beer cans and posts and etc won't know the difference but it still quiets the mind to know you tried for consistency.
    A personal remembrance-KISS* keep it simple s----d.
    *Referring to what folks told me about my programming back in the days.
    Last edited by kywoodwrkr; 10-18-2009 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Used spell check and still fouled a word up!

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Great information !

    As with everything else involved in process, the closer you can stay to uniform, the better the end result will be.

    Of course that includes the remaining exercises in cleaning and inspecting cases, priming, dropping powder, and setting boolits precisely.

    Being a consistent shooter never hurt, either !

    Best


    .

  11. #11
    Boolit Master bbailey7821's Avatar
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    I use a mini-muffin pan for a ingot mold, it fits in the lead pot better and is easier to handle.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Marking your cleaned ingots as mentioned here is a necessary step. I even use different ingot molds for different alloys. Example: a Lyman mold is cleaned WW, an RCBS is used for known bullet alloy, and mini muffin pans for pure lead. Just my way of doing it.....

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Some of us start with this, or worse,



    and end up with this,


  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by 41mag View Post
    Some of us start with this, or worse,



    and end up with this,

    I also like the cornbread stick ingots.
    Are my kids/grandkids more important than "o"'s kids, to me they are,darn tooting they are!!! They deserve the same armed protection afforded "o"'s kids.
    I have been hoodwinked but not by"o"
    In God we trust,in "o" never trust
    Support those that support the Constitution and the 2nd Amendant

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    I use 11 dif ingot moulds. Each for a dif kind of lead. I use up to 9 moulds of each kind.
    The moulds are just an investment, that makes ingot making faster/easier.
    The regular ingot moulds make stacking and storage much easier.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    I wash my wheel weights if they are as dirty as the above batch,then sort for zinc, soww, iron weights, tire valves and stems. Any suspicious weights are tested with wire cutters.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Avenger442's Avatar
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    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.

  18. #18
    I melt a lot of range lead. I agree the that smelting the mess outside makes for a more pleasurable bullet casting experience indoors, but I also like to hardness test (Lee tester) the ingots. It's amazing the BHN variability you get from range lead. I sort the ingots by hardness and blend the ingots to fit the CUP of the loading application. Make sure to let the ingots rest for at least a month or two to age harden and then soften to their long term hardness. Dating the pour date on the ingots with a sharpie helps keep track of the timing.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    I like to mix up large batches of alloy. I now have a 20 lb Lee pot. I melt down a pot full of ww's and cast out in ingots. Put these in one stack, Another pot full, another stack. A keep going until I run out of ww's. When I cast I fill the pot with one from each stack. I plan on cutting down a 20 lb propane tank for melting large amounts of lead These will get stacked the same way and when casting I take from each stack to get a pot full. I have large amounts of ingots of ww's, pure lead, linotype, tin and other alloys I know. Each are marked as such. I can mix and match these different alloys to make pretty much what I want.Any specific alloys are marked for hardness Most of my boolits are ww's but mixing up large batches and using a bit from each batch in a casting pot full helps maintain consistent hardness from one casting session to the next. I have just gotten into casting for rifles that are not pistol calibers. I will need to experiment more with harder alloys and will use this system to find a good alloy and to keep it consistent.Leo

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    duplicate

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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