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Thread: Suggest A Propane Burner For Melting

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Suggest A Propane Burner For Melting

    I'm trying to get things set up for my next big melt of wheel weights. So far I have my eye on a medium sized cast iron skillet or dutch oven to melt in, but I don't have any idea what burners out there are sturdy enough to support a heavy pot full of even heavier lead.

    What burners have folks used? Any to avoid? Any "great deals" out there?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Here's the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-M...opane+fish+fry

    Get one listed as a fish fryer, NOT a turkey fryer. Reason? The turkey fryers come with a timer that turns off the gas after 18 minutes. Real PITA, and when they break (like my old one), all you can do is get a new part from the manufacturer and you will pay thru the nose.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  3. #3
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    This is what I bought for my lead dripping. Have not smelted on it yet.
    https://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic.../dp/B0002913MI
    If you are concerned about the weight I would support the melt pot with heavy angle irons and blocks and slide the burner under it.

    If you want faster they make a double jet for 60$ which is still pretty reasonable IMO.

    I cut a chunk out of the outer ring on mine so I could get the dripper ramp over my coolant tank.

    Between dripper ladle, and a full load of lead I'd estimate around 100 lbs mine took with no issues.

    But, better to be safe than sorry. Also better to do 2 smaller batch's and not risk disaster if in doubt.

    Common sense rules.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use a double burner from Camp Chef 30,000 BTUS each burner and it should support 40+ lbs without a problem. Can be had at Dick's for around $100.

  5. #5
    if you decide on a top down setup a good aspirated burner would work well, check out zoeller burners, primarily used for forging but work great for kilns and smelting as well. just make sure you get a good pressure regulator valve, they dont like bbq regulators.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master



    jmort's Avatar
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    I always recommend this for $65 and free shipping.
    210k BTU. Very sturdy and low center of gravity.
    https://www.webstaurantstore.com/bac...554BPHP17.html
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    sledgehammer001's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	223374This is what I use. Mine has held up to 75# with no issues.
    https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/out...ildCatid=27742
    if it doesn't fit, don't force it. Get a BIGGER HAMMER!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I got two out of dumpster. I just set my fat butt on it. Gave a few bounces. It was study enough to hold my 250 pound **** so it is good enough for 100lbs of lead. Bot of them are good to go. Take a walk around thrift stores, goodwills, and hardware stores. If it can hold you bouncing on it then its good to go. You can get buyou burner for Lowes for like 60 bucks.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    Mine is a turkey fryer from Walmart. It doesn't have a timer that turns it off. I got an old circular saw blade to put on top of the ring to keep the dutch oven from having an unstable perch.
    Tom
    μολὼν λαβέ


    Did I ever mention that I hate to trim brass?

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ask your yard sale scrounging friends to stay alert for an old turkey cooker. Got mine that way for $20. I haven't given it the bouncing test, but it will hold a dutch oven 3/4 full of lead.

    Two simple modification I did that helped:
    1. lowered the container support to get lead pot closer to the flame, and
    2. cut up a large metal coffee can to make a 10-inch diameter wind shield that goes around the burner. Could just as easily bend one up out of sheet aluminum.


    Heard a member here talk about using one of those hand-held propane flame thrower-like devices that some use to burn off unwanted vegetation. He set it up on a support under the smelting pot.

    In the beginning I tried a gas camp stove. Took forever to melt a small pot of lead, and I've never seen one I'd trust with more than a few pounds of Pb.
    Last edited by PBSmith; 07-08-2018 at 10:22 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSR View Post
    Here's the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-M...opane+fish+fry

    Get one listed as a fish fryer, NOT a turkey fryer. Reason? The turkey fryers come with a timer that turns off the gas after 18 minutes. Real PITA, and when they break (like my old one), all you can do is get a new part from the manufacturer and you will pay thru the nose.

    Don
    It takes a lot longer than 18 mins. to get the oil up to frying temp. and at 3 mins a pound for the bird it takes 45 mins. to fry a 12-15 lb. turkey.....what's the reason for a timer that shuts off every 18 mins.
    That's idiotic .
    Back in the day we made jet burners from an old steel tire rim with the flat side up . The center hole was where the burner shot it's flame and the pot sat on the flat rim w/ steel bars welded across for the pot to sit on , steel legs welded on to support a 30 gallon crawfish pot or turkey frying pot. Not hard for a Cajun with a welder to make , everybody made them before Bayou Classic started making lighter weight cookers....the tire rim home made ones had one drawback...they weighed a ton .
    !8 mins. on then off isn't going to fly around here. I'll just dig out the old home made one I got from my Daddy that's somewhere in the garage .
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Some great advice here.. If you can't stand on it, don't try to smelt on it..
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    In my experience a metal shroud to direct all heat to the bottom of whatever youíre melting in makes things much more efficient. Especially if thereís some wind.

    Go with a Dutch oven with a bail that goes from one side th the other. I have been using a big cast iron skillet and it is a pain, there is only one handle on one side and with all the weight it is really unbalanced. I have to clip on vise grips on the opposite side and pouring ainít easy. With a bail from each side you can hold the pot with one hand and tip it with the other. Much more precise. Iím planning to update soon. I assume you will be using it for melting and pouring ingots.

    PS watch out for the fumes. Itís no joke. Next time I melt I will be wearing a respirator.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    When we built my scrap-lead melter, we welded two large washers (one on each opposing side) with a bit over a one-inch hole. I have two jack stands and set them high enough that I can suspend my pot just shy of touching the burner unit by passing a 1" steel bar through the holes in the washers. we also fitted a lid and fabricated a spout on the lip of the pot. I can use a pair of vise-grips to tip the pot if I choose. Works like a dang!
    R.D.M.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    I bought a propane brinkmann's smoke & grill combo that had the vertical (r2-d2 style) smoker, a propane burner stand, a big al kettel for deep frying turkeys or big pots of corn on the cob/greens/beans/chille/etc & a large cast iron pot (8 qt) with a strainer basket for deep frying fish.

    Took an old propane tank and cut the brass valve off leaving the bottom in 1/2 of the valve still there, it has 2 small (1/4") vent holes in it. Used a 4 1/2" 1/16" thick cutting wheel/angle grinder combo and cut around the body of the propane tank. Cut just below the weld and the reinforcement ring will stay on the top 1/2 of the tank. The top 1/2 becomes the lid.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Fill the propane tank converted to a smelting pot up, I typically put #130 of range scrap/lead in it. Keep the lid on and turn the propane base all the way up. Keeping the lid on will keep the smoke down and if there's any popping going on, it will contain any lead splatter. +/- 20 minutes later turn the heat down, pull the lid and stir/flux/remove the junk. Add any tin, etc at this time. The cleaned/fluxed alloy.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I use nothing more then a long handled ladle to fill the ingot molds to make ingots from the pot of alloy.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    130# of range scrap typically makes 100# batches of alloy. The batch of alloy pictured above made 101.4# minus the bucket.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    If I'm melting clean lead, lead without a lot of trash I do 150# batches with the same setup.

    I chose the brinkmann smoker combo for it's versatility along with a strong base with more than enough btu's.

    FWIW:
    I like to smoke the turkeys rather than deep fry them. Fill the water pan with spices, give the turkey a rub with spices, use sugar maple for smoke. Put the turkey on the bottom rack just above the water/drip pan and put italian sausage on the rack above the turkey. Run the smoker @ 220*/225* and the sausage drips down on the turkey as it cooks sealing/flavoring the turkey. Takes +/- 4 hours and the turkey pulls apart. Personally I like a light honey colored smoke on turkeys.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    More smoker porn:
    Built this rig last year, it's portable/trailer with a 275 gallon turned sideways with racks and a rotisserie for hogs/ 50# chunks of beef/pork/etc. Smoking 2 turkeys, 2 briskets, sausage, rack of ribs, country style ribs & chicken thighs & legs along with a pot of smoked dipping sauce.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Anyway I've use that brinkmann's propane base for 10+ years with pots of alloy up to 150# with no issues & just did that 100# pot 2 weeks ago.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
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    One word of caution. Frying pans are not stable. They are large around and shallow and you will have a tendency to try and pick it up by the handle. Bad move. That much weight can easily get out of balance and spill on the ground.....AND YOU! For an experiment, try filling a skillet with water almost to the brim and then pick it up and transfer it to somewhere else without spilling a drop. Now imagine that weighs 10-15 X more, AND it is 700+F.

    Avoid frying pans all together. They are dangerous for what we do. Use high walled Dutch ovens or propane cylinders cut up like above.

    And leave the frying pans & skillets in the kitchen - - - where they belong.

    bangerjim

  17. #17
    idn what all the talk is about. just get a turkey fryer from bass pro or cabelas free shipping when they are on sale b4 thanksgiving i got 1 last year 22$ with tax. works great. i only process about 100# a year

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    I would suggest finding a Cajun fryer; a cast iron burner in a heavy steel frame to hold the weight. If you can or know one that can weld a burner out of an old water heater works great. An old propane tank with the top cut off with a skirt around it to hold in the heat makes the very best pot as it can hold 200+ pounds. I set mine up with a bottom pour.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    A word of caution about using cast iron pots for melting lead with propane heaters. I've been castings since 1957 and now cast with a propane-fired turkey burner setup. About a year or so ago, I was casting using a cast iron pot and noticed lead oozing out of what I thought was a pin-hole leak near the top of the cast iron pot. After casting I looked at the "pin-hole" and discovered it was instead a crack in the top of the cast iron pot that was moving downwards. Obviously, the propane fast heat-ups caused a fast thermal expansion of the cast iron pot and caused the crack. Lessons learned? Always use a formed metal pot to melt lead in when using propane heaters. What you don't want is a catastrophic failure of a cast iron pot, filled with molten lead, and a lap full of molten lead.

    Best regards,

    CJR

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    I started with a turkey fryer burner and it was slow, so now I use a Harbor Freight high intensity propane weed burner, the model with the piezo-electric starter button under my half-a-30gal-air-compressor-tank smelter. I open the idle valve up a quarter or so of it's capacity and apply it to the bottom of the pot and it's melting WW's in a few minutes. Plenty of extra capacity for big heat jobs. The heavy weeds along the fence don't stand a chance.

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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