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Thread: Lee 4-20 Pot Plugs Up, Why? How do I stop that?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    The LEE pot has 2 settings, plugged or leaking.

  2. #22
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeet1 View Post
    If your alloy is solidifying in the spout, if the alloy is not up to temperature or you just added more to the pot, the easiest way I have found to get the spout flowing again is to use one of those BBQ lighters with the long extension and heat the spout up with it. It will soon start flowing again and once it starts to drip open the valve wide open for a few seconds and the heat of the lead in the pot will take over. I hope this is clearer that mud.


    Ken
    THIS.. is what i found works. I bought a new pot because i couldn't get the old one to pour anymore. Then the new one had issues w/in the first hour! i cranked up the heat... (not PID atm) waited 10 minutes... tapped off the solid drip from the spout and lifted the lever. Nice stream! Sense then... i just run it on high basically... i cast the bullets fast enough that i run out of lead fast.

    something that i haven't learned/figured out is WHY temp matters.. i mean.. why not just run it on high and go to town? That's what i do. as long as the sprew "clouds over" w/in 3-4 seconds. if it takes longer.. i turn it down a bit or add more ingots (mixed unknown metals because it was made by my uncle and father in law who are now both deceased).

  3. #23
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Chambers View Post
    The LEE pot has 2 settings, plugged or leaking.
    HAHAHAH yes... i support this.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

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    I run the temps on my ProMelt at 720 - 730. I control the frosting with my casting speed. Much below 700 and the flow seems to be sluggish.

  5. #25
    Boolit Buddy bbogue1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Chambers View Post
    The LEE pot has 2 settings, plugged or leaking.
    yup, seems that way, dang persnickety pot. I have cast thousands of pills with this pot and now it is giving me trouble. More heat is the answer. I used to run the pot on 4-5, but now I need to move to 6-7 for the stream to flow correctly. Used to be I could cast even with a moderate wind by sheltering the pot. Using the same shelter in a slight breeze the spout still froze up. All my casting this last time was in the mid 80's ambient temp. Don''t know why the change, it just changed. Thank you guys for being such a help.
    In dealing with potential dishonesty or corruption, Something you might keep in mind is a revealing quote by S.W. Erdnase in his book The Expert at the Card Table "Almost every ruse in the game is more or less dependent upon another one."
    Politicians are like babies diapers, they should be changed often and for the same reason. Mark Twain

  6. #26
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I cast indoors with an exhaust fan pulling air away from me towards the outside. I never have a breeze blowing directly on the pot. I turn the dial all the way up to get things hot and flowing them turn it down to about 6-7 after the mold gets hot.
    I never let the pot run empty unless I am going to clean it thoroughly. There are frequent drips which are easily stopped with a light tap on the top of the valve screw(Lee 20lb pot) r a quick turn with a screwdriver.
    When adding fresh lead, sometimes the mix will cool enough to stop flowing. I can either wait for it to heat up or use a torch on the nozzle.
    When it plugs, which happens rarely, I use the large paper clip held with pliers to open it up.
    This has worked for me for years and thousands of boolits.
    I am not casting for rifle at this point. I may need to get more consistent if I do, but until then, this works for me.

  7. #27
    Boolit Buddy bbogue1's Avatar
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    Found the reason my spout was so cold. Heated up a full pot of lead to 750 F and waited half an hour. Using my digital thermometer I found the alloy was 750 while my spout was 522-515F. I measured the bottom of the pot and it was 700 F. there was lead oozing out around the spout.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	228876 Bottom lifted to see the lead that oozed out. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	228877 The spout with ooze attached Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	228878 The solidified ooze removed. Essentially the bottom cover of the pot was stealing the heat from the spout. I removed the lead that had leaked out, cleaned up the pot including sanding the hole for the spout both inside and out. There was a slight ridge around the hole left from forming the pot and punching the hole for the spout. Reassembled the pot using a new spout. I'll test it first thing tomorrow morning. By the way the nut is 11/16 and the threads are 7/16 X20. The spout is a small funnel with no shoulders. Quite a piece of engineering.
    In dealing with potential dishonesty or corruption, Something you might keep in mind is a revealing quote by S.W. Erdnase in his book The Expert at the Card Table "Almost every ruse in the game is more or less dependent upon another one."
    Politicians are like babies diapers, they should be changed often and for the same reason. Mark Twain

  8. #28
    Boolit Master


    randyrat's Avatar
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    To clean your casting pot use a DRY paint mixing stick split into quarters, so you can get inside near the spout. Just scrape the inside of the pot when full of melt and is up to temp. The junk raises to the top and is scraped out..This results in perfect pouring and no plug ups, no dripping.
    The paint stick turns into black carbon, the carbon makes the impurities float.

    Be sure to dip the stick slow the first time or you will have Tinsel fairy dust all over

  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy bbogue1's Avatar
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    I have heard of this method. Quarters of the paint stick the long way so they are long and thin right? Thanks, I like being able to scrape all around the spout control rod. Where do you get your paint sticks?

    While I had the pot apart I cleaned it out pretty well. Here is a photo of the pot without the spout before I sanded the ridge and other bumps out before I replaced the spout.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is another after sanding with 400 grit. Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by bbogue1; 10-15-2018 at 10:53 AM.
    In dealing with potential dishonesty or corruption, Something you might keep in mind is a revealing quote by S.W. Erdnase in his book The Expert at the Card Table "Almost every ruse in the game is more or less dependent upon another one."
    Politicians are like babies diapers, they should be changed often and for the same reason. Mark Twain

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy bbogue1's Avatar
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    I fully melted about 10 pounds of alloy, waited 15 - 20 minutes and tested the new spout. Wow poured like new. Unplugged the melter and let the alloy solidify. Heated it up again and set it at 7. When it clicked off reaching temp, I did some measuring. Spout 620-650, bottom cover up to 1/2" from spout 325 - 330 and the alloy was at 820. The ambient temperature was 51 with no wind.

    Thank you all for helping solve this riddle. I see some lead to throw down range coming soon.
    In dealing with potential dishonesty or corruption, Something you might keep in mind is a revealing quote by S.W. Erdnase in his book The Expert at the Card Table "Almost every ruse in the game is more or less dependent upon another one."
    Politicians are like babies diapers, they should be changed often and for the same reason. Mark Twain

  11. #31
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I get my paint sticks a Lowes or Menards.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    I do not stick any wood utensils in my Lee pot. Debris will get trapped under the melt. Lead is not like water. Lead is heavy and keeps everything trapped. You have to vigorously stir to bring any debris to the top. Once I stopped using wood utensils and sawdust in the Lee pot leaks and stoppages have become practically nonexistent.

    A few people have pointed out above what I do. Keep a BBQ lighter on hand to heat up a frozen spout. Have a pick, paper clip, nail or some piece of metal on hand to clear any debris from the spout if it gets plugged. Keep your hands far away when doing this because when it lets go, it lets go.

    I tend to empty the pot completely once or twice a year. I take some brass brushes and clean the pot. Tools require maintenance and a lead pot is no different.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master


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    This is why I suggest a lite piece of wood, such as , a paint stick. A lite piece of wood will burn quicker and turn to Carbon, carbon make impurities float.
    So you have a choice of two different methods now.

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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