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Thread: Bottom pour or ladle and pot

  1. #21
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    There is also the Hassle Factor, especially when starting out on a budget. A bottom pour pot needs very clean metal going in; any impurities will get between the shutoff plug and the spout, resulting in leaks, drips and bits of this and that in the castings. Even the normal oxidation of the melted lead can do this, so more maintenance is required on a bottom-pour pot.

    So unless you plan to buy certified metals for starters, and stick with them, you will need another pot right off the bat for what is miscalled “smelting” around here; i.e., melting down range scrap, wheelweights or other lead findings, skimming off the dirt and oxides, and pouring clean ingots to use in the bottom-pour pot.

    A ladle pot can do double duty this way. I abuse my Lee pots shockingly, alternating “smelting” and casting. My first, a 10-lb’er, only lasted thirty years doing this. When it conked out, I was so disappointed in Lee’s product quality, I bought a 20-lb Lee Magnum Melter to replace it.

    I save all the skimmed-off dross until I get a potful, cook it to salvage the last few ounces of lead contained therein, and then shovel out the dross with a big spoon, add more lead and cast. When the ladle gets coated with lead, I bang it on the edge of the pot to dislodge the clinging gunk. Even with this treatment, the new Lee pot will outlast me, of that I’m certain.

  2. #22
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Another consideration when casting the big bullets 400 grns + is there arnt many in a 10 lb pot. A 20 lb pot is better and even bigger may be a plus. Casting the 510 grn lyman govt round nose and not adding sprues until refilling the pot, It really empties fast LOL. You may spend more time in a session waiting for the pot to come up than actually casting. Go to a 2 cavity mould like my 45 cal 550 grn and the 2 sprues and the 10 lb pot is empty fast.

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    One advantage of using a gas burner is that I drop my sprues right back into the melt because I can adjust my heat as needed. Yes, to do it well you need a thermometer that is capable of 1000 degrees. You can't put a PID on a gas burner for some strange reason - yeah, sarcasm. I have always used a ladle and strongly recommend either the Lyman or the RCBS for use.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  4. #24
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor0812 View Post
    Thanks for the input. I'll be doing large 45 cal bullets, 500+ grains, so I'm leaning ladle. I've got large propane burners but wondering if the electric furnace would be more consistent for heat?
    I don't know that the temp is any more consistent with either gas or electric; but I do know that I am a lot more comfortable casting with an electric pot, whether I am ladle casting or bottom pouring. The insulation does make a difference.

    A Lee 4-20 is okay as a bottom pour plus it is easy to ladle from.

    Robert

  5. #25
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    One advantage of using a gas burner is that I drop my sprues right back into the melt because I can adjust my heat as needed. Yes, to do it well you need a thermometer that is capable of 1000 degrees. You can't put a PID on a gas burner for some strange reason - yeah, sarcasm. I have always used a ladle and strongly recommend either the Lyman or the RCBS for use.
    Thanks for the input. I've been wondering about the difference in the ladle designs. The Lyman I've been looking at does seem like it would be capable of more accurate pouring

  6. #26
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    I don't know that the temp is any more consistent with either gas or electric; but I do know that I am a lot more comfortable casting with an electric pot, whether I am ladle casting or bottom pouring. The insulation does make a difference.

    A Lee 4-20 is okay as a bottom pour plus it is easy to ladle from.

    Robert
    Thanks. I was thinking the same thing about the 4-20. Probably the direction I'll end up going for casting.

  7. #27
    Boolit Buddy
    DHDeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor0812 View Post
    Thanks for the input. I've been wondering about the difference in the ladle designs. The Lyman I've been looking at does seem like it would be capable of more accurate pouring
    Well, there you go again. The ladle is also a preference thing too. I started with a Lyman and then got a RCBS ladle. I haven't used the Lyman since I opened the package that had the RCBS in it. As I started casting BIG bullets like some other BPCR shooters here, I needed a lot of alloy in the mold in a hurry. My RCBS holds more alloy than my Lyman. I opened up my spout (drilled it) so I get a good flow. I also have an old RCBS aluminum ladle that holds even more. I've replaced the wooden handle at least twice over the years. It's funny how you like what you've learned on.

    I also have a big Rowell ladle that I use for smelting and making ingots but it's just too big for casting for me.

    You won't be wrong regardless of what you do.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    GONRA votes for "electric pot, bottom pour". My olde Potter has verked perfectly for 5 + decades...

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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