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Thread: ingots & why we smelt first

  1. #21
    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.


  2. #22
    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.

  3. #23
    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 )

  4. #24
    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.

  5. #25
    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?

  6. #26
    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.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
    Traffer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Central Wisconisn
    I have a 4lb lee pot so I smelt first in a much bigger rig. I make the pucks from muffin tins and they work well in the little lee pot. Also, I use a white-out pen from Dollar Tree (2 for $1) to write on the puck so I know what it consists of.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    I sort range lead into cast, jacketed, plated and misc. I stamp ingots with an old screwdriver. WW, cast, jkt, plt. Mix according to how hard you want the bullets to be.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Washington County, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by Leftoverdj View Post
    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.

    Bingo- the homogenous stock pile.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Michigan Lansing Area
    Because this pile of pipe wouldn't fit in my little 20#electric casting pot.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    For me the same as others, my lead supply is variable and sometimes somewhat cruddy. Making ingots from a batch of scrap leaves me with a cleaner and consistent pile of lead. I often use bread loaf pans to make 10# slab ingots about 1" thick. Good for storage. Those then get mixed in large batches to make the 1 - 2 pound ingots I'm going to cast with. I do generally pour some of the big batches of raw material into muffin tins or angle iron molds, just to have some smaller sized chunks for getting weight right for a recipe. I use the alloy calculator from here to figure out what my mix will yield, and try and get my stuff tested at the scrap yard.

    Making a 50 or 100 pound batch of some alloy which I then have gunned makes for a consistent casting process (temp and tempo) as well as consistent results (weight, size, hardness). And if I like it I can use the same mix again. 32# of that and 60# of this plus 3# of that solder is a lot easier than trying to do that as 1/5 those amounts to make a 20# batch in the casting pot. I can be a 1/2 pound off on something and in a 100# batch it doesn't matter much. With 3# of solder if the solder is 30% Sn or 33% Sn won't really change the percentage of Sn in that 100# pot.

    I can add a couple of pounds of alloy ingots to the casting pot as I use it up. Beats having to finish a pot and try to mix another small batch that matches the first.

    I can pull a couple of bread loaf pans worth of dross and clips out of a 100# batch of COWW's and that would be stuff I don't want in the same pot I cast from. We don't even want to talk about the dross from that pipe. Lime scale was the nice part of it.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  11. #31
    This was a very good read for me. Thanks

  12. #32
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    The Tinsel Fairy can hide in the unsmelted lead and empty a pot of lead all over. I never put anything in my casting pot that I haven't smelted.

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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