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Thread: Something I learned last weekend, about temp

  1. #61
    Banned 45 2.1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodsteel View Post
    ..... if you don't like discussions of advanced boolit making .....
    Actually, all that you all have been discussing is the "basics" to cast a boolit that is actually worth trying to get a really decent repeatable group out of. Very little past that has been discussed on the site.

  2. #62
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    Sorry if I offended any of you guys. I personally think you are the heart and soul of the best and my favorite site on the internet. I just wanted to point out that one does not have to get all this technical to cast boolits nor do they need lots of equipment. I am not anywhere as experienced as probably any of you. I do have a technical background but I have no interest in high performance, accuracy, effectiveness or even self defense loads. I have found casting boolits to be a fun little hobby that can be done with some cheap stuff. I do think equipment is often over emphasized but I know lots of people love gadgets. I spent a career trying to simplify large industrial facilities and that is part of my personality. I even know what galena and think dam few of you ever cast with it unless you refined it ...........a lot.
    Closest recorded range Chrony kill (3 feet with witnesses)

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45 2.1 View Post
    Actually, all that you all have been discussing is the "basics" to cast a boolit that is actually worth trying to get a really decent repeatable group out of. Very little past that has been discussed on the site.
    Well you get what you pay for. Some information is cheaper to experience than to be taught.
    Tim Malcolm
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by olafhardt View Post
    Sorry if I offended any of you guys. I personally think you are the heart and soul of the best and my favorite site on the internet. I just wanted to point out that one does not have to get all this technical to cast boolits nor do they need lots of equipment. I am not anywhere as experienced as probably any of you. I do have a technical background but I have no interest in high performance, accuracy, effectiveness or even self defense loads. I have found casting boolits to be a fun little hobby that can be done with some cheap stuff. I do think equipment is often over emphasized but I know lots of people love gadgets. I spent a career trying to simplify large industrial facilities and that is part of my personality. I even know what galena and think dam few of you ever cast with it unless you refined it ...........a lot.
    It's not the equipment you have, it's how ya use it.

    You have no interest in accuracy?
    You have no interest in effectiveness?
    No interest in self defence (and in the same vein "hunting") loads?

    You do know that firecrackers are a cheaper way to make something go bang right?
    Tim Malcolm
    MBT custom rifles & gunsmithing
    www.goodsteelforum.com

    "He who is enslaved by the compass has freedom of the seas"

  5. #65
    Boolit Man Quiettime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geargnasher View Post
    ....The problem with a bottom-pour pot is they shoot a low-volume stream of high-pressure lead that splashes in the cavity and sometimes plugs the sprue hole before the cavity is filled because you just can't get enough volume out of it to keep the pace up and mould/plate hot enough to work right. ...
    BOOYAHH! And that's what I figured out today.

    After an hour of casting and keeping the mold on the "hot plate" (actually I have a little mini-stove that I use, but it gets "really hot"; I put a new battery in my Ratech today only to find out it is trashed, so I still don't know the exact mold temp) and stilll having wrinkles, I finally figured out I needed to adjust the flow down a little bit and this helped a lot.

    I did manage to cast about 300 nice boolits, ever-so-slightly frosty. I'm not going to tell you how many I threw back in the pot.

    I also watched the pot heat up a lot closer than I have been. Using COWW ingots today rather than the range scrap ingots I had been previously using, the RCBS (not Lyman, doh! Getting old I guess) thermometer showed about 550* when they started melting. I tried running it at about "750*" for the said hour or so after that but still ended up cranking it up a bit over "900". Once I figured out the spout deal, I tried turning back down and still was getting dribbly pour and rounded bases so I turned it back up a little.

    #1. I need another thermometer, at least to "check" mine.
    #2. I need to get a new Ratech and/or get the mold temp probe setup from NOE (I went ahead and had my mold drilled just in case).
    #3. NOE HP mold does not fit very well under the Lee 420. Could not use an ingot mold to catch the drips and they would frequently impede the movement of the mold during pour

    All-in-all, a successful casting session. I kept this thread in mind and I think I am headed in the right direction.
    Last edited by Quiettime; 04-05-2014 at 05:44 PM.

  6. #66
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    Try adjusting the valve to open more with cooler alloy. COWW usually melt around 600 F or so unless you've added some tin, then it drops a bit. Also, try casting FASTER. The hot plate/oven/preheat concept is just to get the mould going faster, the hot metal you pour in every few seconds is how you keep it hot. If the mould isn't staying hot enough, increase your speed.

    Think four complete casting cycles per minute and 725F alloy. Going over 750 defeats the benefit of tin in the mix (for casting purposes) and the surface tension of the melt actually becomes stronger at that point.

    The middle parts of your boolits exhibit exactly what I like to see in my own boolits (because I find it easier to get good fillout that way), a very light "frost" appearance. This means that part of the mould was up to a good casting temperature, some who prefer shiny boolits or slightly fatter boolits might say TOO hot. I notice a pour wrinkle on the HP nose and a pretty bright sheen near most of the tips, indicating that part of the mould was cooler than the middle and also indicating your pace is too slow to keep the HP pin warm enough, even with (I presume) 900 degree alloy. Same for the bases. Remember, it's all about MOULD TEMPERATURE, which means if the mould is too cold, cast FASTER. This is not meant as negative criticism, just pointing out how to give yourself clues to observing temperature differences in the mould just by observing the boolit's appearance "on the fly" as you are casting them. All shiny, all frosty, no matter as long as you like them and can get them formed fully.

    Now, go shoot some of those things! I got a handful of them myself yesterday from another member and I'm going to be slinging them through a single-shot .30-30 hopefully tomorrow....

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  7. #67
    Boolit Master leftiye's Avatar
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    Having your mold up to a correct temp consistently via use of a mold heater in your casting cycle will remove the need to cast frantically. It will allow frosting (or not, as you desire) at almost any lead temperature irregardless. This though 700 to 750 seems to werk best. It will further keep the hollow point pin, and the nose of the mold and cavity - at that same temp as the reas of the mold. One can approach the "keep 'em all" situation in casting by this technique. But it isn't a high volume way to go.
    We need somebody/something to keep the government (cops and bureaucrats too) HONEST (by non government oversight).

    Every "freedom" (latitude) given to government is a loophole in the rule of law. Every loophole in the rule of law is another hole in our freedom. When they even obey the law that is. Too often government seems to feel itself above the law.

    We forgot to take out the trash in 2012, but 2016 was a charm! YESSS!

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodsteel View Post
    It's not the equipment you have, it's how ya use it.

    You have no interest in accuracy?
    You have no interest in effectiveness?
    No interest in self defence (and in the same vein "hunting") loads?

    You do know that firecrackers are a cheaper way to make something go bang right?
    Goodsteel, I love to plink.

    If anyone wants a good cheap way to precisely check a thermometer, thermocouple or any other temperature reading device, get a brand new Lee 4 pound pot and some pure tin. The melting temp of PURE tin is 449.5 F. As long as the tin is pure this melting point does not vary and is a widely accepted primary temperature standard.
    Closest recorded range Chrony kill (3 feet with witnesses)

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by geargnasher View Post
    There's a three page thread going on here in Castboolits that asks "what temperature do you cast at?", in which the majority of the replies demonstrate that few people are aware of or consciously consider the difference between mould and alloy temperature and how that relates to boolit quality.

    Gear
    I adjust the temperature of my alloy to best suit my mold.

    Old-time casters understand what I just wrote perfectly, so let me explain to some of the newer folks.

    I have different molds that have different requirements so far as heat is concerned and how well/how long they will hold a temp, etc. I've found the easiest way for me to get consistent boolits is to keep my alloy at consistent temps to facilitate the mold temperature staying consistent.

    With my Lee ProIV pot, which I ladle cast from, I do not have a PID so instead I rely on my thermometer to tell me what the alloy is doing. The alloy temp will fluctuate depending on how full or how empty the pot is, which in turn will affect my mold temp (transfer of heat) which in turn affects the consistency of my boolits.

    So, if I keep my alloy for my beloved Lee TL158SWC two-banger at a reading of around 775F, adjusting the temp if and as needed as I go through alloy, AND I keep my casting cadence and rhythm and timing consistent (thank you, BruceB!), then my mold stays at a consistent temp that allows it to produce superb boolits.

    I have another mold for RN230 grain boolits that doesn't need as hot of an alloy, plus this being a steel mold PLUS producing a larger boolit with a larger mass, the mold temp can easily get hotter than I like and not produce the quality of boolits I want.

    So with this mold, I slow my casting cadence down so as to allow a bit of cooling in between casts. Likewise, I carefully monitor the alloy temp.

    I'm with Gear on the mold temperature, but in my case, I've also learned how to manipulate it or regulate it with alloy temperature as the two do work hand-in-hand. The mistake is to place too much, or even all, emphasis on one factor or the other. Most new casters are concerned with alloy temp. Older casters are more concerned with mold temp (and condition).

    Good stuff.


  10. #70
    Boolit Master leftiye's Avatar
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    I adjust my mold temperature to make slightly frosted boolits with 700 degree alloy. Mold heater. A hotter mold makes better boolits (so long as melt isn't too hot ). I'm thinking of putting a PID into the aluminum plate on my hotplate in order to reduce temp swings of the mold. I don't worry about cadence. I inspect (with magnification) as I go, no throwing half of them back when I'm done. Mold's the right temp, lead's the right temp.
    We need somebody/something to keep the government (cops and bureaucrats too) HONEST (by non government oversight).

    Every "freedom" (latitude) given to government is a loophole in the rule of law. Every loophole in the rule of law is another hole in our freedom. When they even obey the law that is. Too often government seems to feel itself above the law.

    We forgot to take out the trash in 2012, but 2016 was a charm! YESSS!

  11. #71
    Boolit Man Quiettime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse View Post
    ... The mistake is to place too much, or even all, emphasis on one factor or the other. ...
    It is a lot to manage at once. I'm reminded of my mother, cooking a big meal and all the things she has going at once.

    One thing I have come to understand is that how you set everything up is critical to success. Dean Grennell wrote about "therbligs" in The ABC's of Reloading and it makes a big difference when you have everything arranged correctly. Right now I'm using a folding table but I'm looking forward to custom-building a casting bench.

    But enough typing, it's time to make the boolits!

  12. #72
    Boolit Master Whitespider's Avatar
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    Ooooopps... double post.
    Last edited by Whitespider; 04-27-2014 at 12:10 PM.

  13. #73
    Boolit Master Whitespider's Avatar
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    Gadget technology is overrated.

    I don't use a thermometer... don't even own one... never have.
    My heat source is the electric burners on an old kitchen range.
    I dip alloy from old cast iron cookware.
    Although I do have a bonafied boolit casting ladle, I often use an old cast iron open-top ladle.
    I regulate the temperature of both my alloy and mold by intuition, gut-feeling and what I see dropping from the mold.
    My boolits are shiny, well filled-out and consistent in both weight and diameter.

    Oh, and speaking of Dean Grennell and The ABC's of Reloading...
    He wrote in one of those editions that there are some people who, for whatever reason, are incapable of casting a decent boolit no matter how hard they try... LOL‼
    I remember when I read that I prayed I wasn't one of those people.
    *
    *

  14. #74
    Boolit Man Quiettime's Avatar
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    That's awesome. Getting a thermomter helped me immensely. I couldn't get any consistency before. Now I'm starting to be very happy with my boolits. I would never recommend to a beginner to not use one.

  15. #75
    Boolit Master woodbutcher's Avatar
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    Hi gear.Great post.Outsanding information.Some of the posts that I see here and at other sites that I frequent,remind me of an old joke.
    There was a professor at a well known place of "higher education"that would always leave his students with a little gem at the end of each class.One day he said,Students,remember this."Anything conceived by the mind of man is possible".
    From the back of the room comes this voice that says"Heyyyyyyyy professor,did ya ever try to strike a match on a marsh mellow".
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    Leo

  16. #76
    Boolit Master Whitespider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiettime View Post
    Getting a thermomter helped me immensely. ... I would never recommend to a beginner to not use one.
    No, I wouldn't either... but at the same time I likely wouldn't tell them they need one.

    I mean, knowing that an alloy temperature of 700 works best when the shop is 65 with 40% relative humidity in April does me no good in July or November... heck, chances are it does me no good tomorrow. With the pot a bit over full (20 pounds or so) I have a base setting on the stove burner I use... which is really all a thermometer would do for me, supply me with a base setting. I adjust from there as conditions and/or mold dictate... sometimes hotter, sometimes cooler. There's a small fan mounted on the wall for cooling the mold or sprue as/if needed, such as when I begin to see some frosting. Sometimes I hold the mold with the sprue plate facing the fan, sometimes the mold bottom, sometimes one side or the other, sometimes full, sometimes empty, sometimes open, sometimes closed, sometimes every pour, sometimes every 2 or 3, anywhere from a 2-count to a 10-count (actually, I mount a ticktock clock above the fan)... it all depends on what I see dropping. I don't care to adjust casting rate except as a last resort; as a ladle caster I have a rate that's comfortable and works for me... not "speed casting", but not dilly-dallying either (although, doing the fan thing does adjust it slightly). But I like shiny boolits, and that's what I adjust for... shiny, well filed out, sharp cornered boolits.

    Seriously... I'm unable to see where an alloy thermometer would be of any sort of aid to me.
    But I do believe a mold thermometer, say some sort of wireless constant read-out, would be immensely advantageous... maybe some day as technology progresses.
    *

  17. #77
    Boolit Man Quiettime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitespider View Post
    Seriously... I'm unable to see where an alloy thermometer would be of any sort of aid to me.
    But I do believe a mold thermometer, say some sort of wireless constant read-out, would be immensely advantageous... maybe some day as technology progresses.
    *
    It might help you get the shiny boolits you desire quicker without having to cast and adjust as much. Also might help you keep from destroying a batch with zinc contamination when smelting or keep from oxidizing the expensive tin out of your melt.

    You made me laugh about the humidity in April, and it's true, whatever you think you know, there are always other outside forces acting on your results. The proof really is in the pudding and if what you're doing is working then you're GTG...but someone else reading the forum trying to learn how to do it may not have the same luck, and that's what Geargnasher is trying to prevent.

    That said, I did learn yesterday that my RCBS thermometer wasn't as off as I thought. The Tel Tru I ordered from NOE actually read about 30 or 40 degrees higher than the RCBS...so I really was running 1000 degree metal.

    I also learned from my new mold block thermometer that it takes a little bit longer to get the mold up to temp with my "hot plate" than I thought. I was probably starting at <200 degree temp so that's why it took so long to get good boolits. With 750 degree lead the mold seemed to "like" running between 400 and 425 degrees. Below that I seemed to get a lot of rounded bases.

    I'd like to see a little lower mold temp. Still can't really get the drip-o-matic adjusted to suit...either pours too much and splashes out of the mold or drips constantly...but it was a good session with about a quart and a half of good boolits. Still learning but I know a helluva lot more than I did a month ago

  18. #78
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitespider View Post
    Gadget technology is overrated.
    Not for me, I love my gadgets .

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by geargnasher View Post
    "Frosting" is an effect caused by two things in combination: The presence of antimony in the mix, and a very hot mould.

    The temperature of the metal going into the mould has zero to do with whether or not the boolit surfaces will have the "frosted" appearance, that is 100% a function of mould block temperature and cooling rate, or rather the SLOW cooling rate, of the alloy. The more slowly an antimonial alloy cools, the more time the antimony dendrite crystals have to form lattices, and the appearance of a textured surface becomes present.

    For example, I can literally pour 800-degree wheel-weight metal into a 200-degree mould and get shiny, wrinkled boolits with rounded edges. I can also pour 650-degree wheel weight metal into a 450-degree mould and make boolits that are so frosted and undersized that they appear as rough and dull as freshly-broken cast iron, or appear as if they were sand blasted. The difference is the temperature of the MOULD, not the alloy. And, of course, the presence of some antimony in the mix. Tin/lead alloy or pure lead always casts fairly shiny, regardless of mould temperature or alloy temperature.

    The general rule for most of the ternary (lead, antimony, tin) alloys that we scrounge up for making boolits is to run the pot below 750 degrees F., or really about 100-150 degrees hotter than the fully-liquid point, and to preheat the moulds somehow (dip a corner in the melt for a while, set across top of pot for a few minutes, or improvise a "mould oven" using a hot plate and metal box) so they come up to casting temperature faster or start out at casting temperature. THEN, as you cast, maintain a pace that is brisk enough to keep the mould hot enough for good fillout.

    Casting good boolits is all about consistency. Constant pot temperature is important, this is what your thermostat and thermometer are for. Constant mould temperature is even more important, and that is controlled simply by adjusting the timing of the various pouring, waiting for sprue to set, cutting, opening, dumping, closing, and refilling operations. Casting boolits is like driving a car on the highway, you have to constantly make slight corrections to steering, throttle, brake, etc. and watch your mirrors, the road, anticipate hills and valleys to keep the speed consistent and in the "zone" that you want to be.

    You'll have to experiment with timing operations and pouring stream adjustment, technique, sprue puddle size, etc. while watching for frosting, rounded edges, filled bases, air bubbles/voids in the bases, wrinkles, shiny spots, frosted bands/shiny noses, sprue flashover time to give yourself clues about what is working and not working with a particular mould, alloy, and atmospheric condition.



    Here's a quick and dirty method that works every time. Turn on the pot and start melting your alloy. Stir it with a spoon as soon as it starts to get mushy and watch the thermometer. Once the metal thins out like thin porridge, keep a close eye on temperature, it should remain constant as the phase changes. Once the last bits of grainy metal go away, the temperature should start to rise again (the metal is past the phase platau). Record the phase plateau temperature and add, say, 150F to it. Allow the alloy to reach this temperature and adjust the pot to maintain it. Spoon in a layer of pine sawdust on top of the melt and stir the alloy gently to flux and reduce oxides. Skim if you want, or not. Dip a corner of your mould down int he metal and hold it there until the alloy no longer sticks to the blocks when you withdraw it, this could take anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. Dip the tip of the sprue plate in the alloy too, for about ten seconds, then close the mould and start casting. The mould should suck the pot temperature down 50 or so degrees depending on the size of the mould. Fill, cut, and dump the first few castings quickly and glance at the boolits. If shiny and wrinkled, keep casting culls as fast as you can until they start to fill out and get an even, satin frost all over. From this point on, you can play with the timing and sprue puddle size to control mould block and sprue plate temperature to keep the mould temperature and boolit quality even from nose to tip.

    This works with any alloy, any pot, any pouring technique, and any mould (except non-antimony alloys won't frost, you just look for sharp edges and good fillout with those) and any weather. Don't forget to glance at the pot temperature once in a while and make sure it stays 100-150 above the fully-liquid point that you recorded first thing. It's all up to mould temperature and technique after that, and trust me, quit dinking around with pot temperature, it is not going to do you any good.

    One more thing, to emphasize what MT Gianni wrote, IF your thermometer is off even 200 degrees, if you do as I described above, it won't matter because you only want to obtain an alloy temperature that is a certain amount above fully liquidus with ANY alloy, and your thermometer is good enough to give you that valuable reference point even if it is not giving you an exactly accurate temperature reading.

    Gear
    Very good info there I've been casting a year but new here,thanx gear

  20. #80
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    I have a Lee dripper with PID control, use the hot plate to preheat the moulds. Previously had been running 720F for 4x Al. moulds. I pour really big puddles to begin to get the sprue plate up to temp faster, then try for smaller puddle. Now I just got a 2x Al. with the slotted plate. At 720F, hard to get good fill. I dropped to 680-690F and WOW. First - minor dripping! More than 650 165gr rifle boolits, maybe a dozen bad pours - yes, make sure the plate is all the way closed. Culled for rounded shank base - 26 poor - barely visible. I'll shoot these sans check anyway. All this in 2 hrs including fill & refill time & dump sprue cuts back, plus a rest break for me. Experiment and find what the mould really wants! Temp makes a difference as much as size.
    Whatever!

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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