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Thread: The LEE Furnaces

  1. #1
    Boolit Man trapper44shooter's Avatar
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    The LEE Furnaces

    I am going to choose one of these two pots Lee Precision Pro 4 20 Melting Pot 90947 110V
    Lee 90009 PRODUCTION POT IV 110V the only real difference is that one holds 20 lbs of lead & the other one holds 10 lbs of lead do many of you fellas use these LEE pots?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have had the 10 lb for probably 30 years or more and the 20 lb at least 20 or more both still work great drip on occasion and I mess with them a little and they quit. Buy the 20 the larger capacity is worth the money when you get your molds up to temp and working good you hate to stop and wait on the pot any more than you have to.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Get the 20, it isn't that much more but is much more convenient. Even if you don't use the whole pot the extra capacity make for less temperature drop when you add ingots during a cast.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    I was recently in the same position as you are now. I started my casting using a hot plate and a 1.5qt sauce pan that is about 6" in diameter and using a ladle to pour. I got quite use to that setup as I would pour over the top of the pot and then open and drop the sprue right back in. The biggest draw back with that was for one it took forever to get the pot full and up to temp. But once there it would maintain temps pretty well. Also because of the hot plate it was cumbersome and took up a lot of space and I had to build a wind break around it to keep it hot.

    Recently I changed over to a Lee Pro IV and it works well, took a bit to make the adjustment to the bottom pour but it does fill and heat up pretty quickly. The biggest drawback for me is the pot diameter is small and I cannot ladle out of it easily and it is tight to flux.

    I enjoy this pot and it works well for the batch size I do and would buy another though I would also think hard again on the Pro 4-420 or the Magnum just because I like dropping the sprue back in upon opening the mold. So also consider your batch size when making a determination.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    The 20 pound pot is big enough that if you want or need to ladle cast you can. The 10 pound pot is not large enough diameter to allow ladle casting even if the bottom pour mechanism is removed.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
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    The 4-20 doesn't really hold 20 pounds, not sure what the 10 pounder holds.
    The 4-20 is easy to ladle from with my RCBS ladle, the 10 is too narrow for me to want to try.
    The 10 pounder is easier to see what you are doing when bottom pouring, although both are quite useable.

    I put my ten ponder in a disposable aluminum turkey pan when I first started using it and liked it so much it is a permanent part of my setup now.

    They will both work, they will both leak occasionally (in my experience all bottom pours will). The 4-20 is easier to get to stop leaking, at least for a while.

    Robert

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 40-82 hiker's Avatar
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    IF you are going to get one or the other Lee pot, I would certainly get the 20 pound pot. That is what I use, and it has served me well. After using the 4-20 for the years that I have used it, I think a pot 1/2 the size would be very limiting, but that is JMHO.

    However, I am not a fan of the anticipator on the Lee thermostat. I did get a PID for my Lee pot, and I am truly happy with the setup. YMMV

  8. #8
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    The ten lb. pot has the rod coming in from the back on an angle. This makes it hard to use a ladle. It makes stirring and fluxing a bit more trouble and they seem to drip more.
    The 20 lb. pot has the rod straight down in the front. This gives you much more room for a ladle. Also stirring and fluxing.
    When I had My ten lb. pot I used an old ice tea spoon bent 90* just where it meets the handle. I then bent the end of the handle at 90* so I could hook on a wooden handle. The ice tea spoon have a smaller spoon and longer handle. This fit in the pot great. Oh, drill a few small holes in the spoon. This lets the lead drain back in the pot easily.
    When I got the 20 lb. pot I used the same spoon. Works well in that pot too.
    Leo

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy


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    i don't cast as much as some here do, I have the 10 pound pot 110 volt. It does the job nicely and I have worked with it for several years. However, if you will be casting a lot I too would suggest the 20 pound pot.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Murphy's Avatar
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    I have both the 10 and 20 Lb pots from Lee. My old 10 Lb has been holding up longer than I can remember. I have at least 2 of the 4-20's. The heating elements having given me more issues over time than the 10 Lb pot. But they are worth the investment. I decided several years ago to treat myself to an RCBS Pro-Melt. It's a joy to use. I now fire up my 10 pot Lee at the same time I get ready to fire up my RCBS. I toss my into it as often as I can to stay caught up on molten alloy without having to wait too long.

    Best of luck in your decision.

    Murphy
    If I should depart this life while defending those who cannot defend themselves, then I have died the most honorable of deaths. Marc R. Murphy '2006'.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Got a 20 lb Lee dipper pot. No drips with it and I enjoy ladle casting. Picked up an older RCBS Pro Melt to use with a different alloy and don't care for the bottom pour myself. I need to get a shelf unit for the RCBS and either another 20 lb dipper pot or a larger 40-50 pounder for dipping. The Lee's can also benifit for a PID Controller for more even temps. Right now, just focus on getting the 20 lb pot so you can begin the hands on learning process.

    We pme to the club.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I have 2 10lb pots and 2 20lb pots. My fist was a 10lb that I bought about 1975 and has never given any trouble other than the drip. For my small calibers (22 and 25) the 10lb are fine but when casting 35 cal or bigger I would recommend the 20lb.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    My first pot, a 4-20, is, as noted above, prone to dripping, and has a practical maximum capacity of 17 or 18 pounds. Despite that, it was a good and inexpensive way to cast a boolit in volume, which is easier with a gang mold under a bottom pour of sufficient capacity.

    My main pot is now a first generation ProMelt with an aftermarket PID by Hatch. The 4-20 still is used just as much, but now as a feeder pot over the ProMelt, where the dripping and lower capacity are not issues.
    Last edited by kevin c; 02-27-2020 at 02:22 AM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Have the 10 lbr many years on it. Runs dry fast when casting 45-70.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I'll also recommend the larger pot. I have a 4-20 and it's far from high quality but it is serviceable.

    As others have stated, it doesn't really hold 20 pounds but it definitely holds more than the one rated for 10lbs.

    The design of the Lee 4-20 is an exercise in how to cut corners and still have a bottom pour pot that works. That being said, it is a functional bottom pour pot.
    The 4-20 is notorious for problems such as dripping (The "Drip-O-Matic") and sheet metal screws that don't stay where they should. The end users (that's us) have learned how to address all of the quirks and shortcomings of the 4-20.
    At some point I'll step up to a RCBS Pro Melt but the 4-20 is getting the job done for now. I should have purchased an original Pro Melt before it was superseded by the Pro Melt II, but that ship has sailed.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Size matters...go with the 20. It will safely hold 15 lbs of alloy. I like to keep a bit of freeboard in pot level.

    Wanted to add:
    Be honest with your needs. Both wrt to quantity needed, reliability desired, and your desire/ability to tweak things. Casting 500 bullets a year and having plenty of time to do it, is different than casting 500 a month with limited time to devote to the task. Is a chore, or something you will enjoy doing?

    I have made the mistake of recommending what I use on many threads....they were honest recommendation that work for me (my budget. my quantities, my time resources, my frustration level, and my abilities). I am trying to be better about understand the other persons needs.

    Adding more information about your needs would be helpful.
    Last edited by dverna; 02-27-2020 at 08:44 AM.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Go with the 20# pot. Have had 10# by Lyman, SAECO and Lee and 20# by Lyman and Lee. The Lee can be a bit finicky but it is the only one I kept. Only issue I could see with mine is the mold guide looked flimsy but no ides how well it works as I modded my pot to use the Lyman mold guide. Even the Lyman guide required a bit of modding to use with Lee and NOE molds, but end result is a pot that heats quickly, has low amperage to allow plugging a hotplate into the same circuit, and sufficient capacity to feed those hungry 5 and 6 cavity molds. Only real advice I can offer on use is be sure to lube the sliding rod that holds the handle. In my experience all my bottom pour pots leaked at some point and it just something you learn to deal with.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I have and use both. Which ever you chose will do fine.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Lee has a 20lb MELTER for use with a ladle AND a 20 lb with a bottom pour spout. If you try to ladle out of the bottom pour, the spout does get in the way. I don't have any trouble ladling with Lee or RCBS dippers from the 20lb melter. It has about the same room as my 10 lb Lyman cast iron pot used over a heat source. The Lee melting pots hold up well. Don't bother with the Lee lead Dipper, get a Lyman or RCBS for ladle casting, they work for most 2 or 3 cavity molds. More cavities, you will probably want a bottom pour or a bigger ladle like Rotometal's.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    A lot of fine comments , wish there was a Like Button.

    Really as dverna stated again, your volume makes the most difference. As I stated previously, I don't cast a lot and really enjoy ladling my pours and so far all my molds are 2 cavity. So when I get to looking at another or second pot I am going to seriously look at the Lee Magnum w/o the bottom pour.

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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