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Thread: A myth about water and molten lead

  1. #41
    Boolit Master uncle joe's Avatar
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    I always add my ingots with a pair of pliers and add it slowly, slow enough it melts off the bottom of the ingot before i get it down in the melt, this way i know the ingot is hot enough that there will be no water following it under the surface. I also use a plastic shoe box from wal mart for quenching, I drilled a hole in the top and glued a plastic funnel in the hole, so I can drop the boolits and not worry about it splashing up into the empty mold.
    Last edited by uncle joe; 09-01-2010 at 08:21 AM. Reason: added pic
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  2. #42
    Boolit Man Jech's Avatar
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    I do the same when adding new ingots to the production pot or smelting pot...always wear the longest welding gloves I can find as well as eye protection and a baseball cap with the bill forward to make sure tinsel doesn't sneak behind the lenses when raining from above. While standing at max arm's length, pliers are used to slowly slide the ingot into the melt.

    I love your contained quenching box there uncle joe, I just might have to set something up like that for myself!

  3. #43
    I'm A Honcho!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207 View Post
    There are people that SWEAR it happens. I believe they believe it, but I also believe they are wrong. Whatever causes the issue, the water/bug/raindrop/snowflake has to get under the surface. It's simple confusion of the facts. No harm intended, but it perpetuates the myth.
    I have in my younger maybe dumber days did as other have said and poured water into molten lead, with a welding mask and a decent outfit the first time. I was fairly confident that things were not as others have said they are............IE things were exaggerated.

    BUT one time when smelting it started to rain, and those raindrops hitting the melt did not cause the tinsel fairy, but there were enough violent pops and thumps in there that I got a board over the top of that pot pronto.

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  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    well bret i know it happens have scars to prove it. now i think the warnings are a bit overboard. but then if you do keep bending safty rules sone you will bend them too far.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master Clark's Avatar
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    I was casting bullets when I was 14 in 1965 by drilling holes in a fire brick with my father's 3/8" electric drill.

    I told myself these were 38 caliber.

    I heated coffee cans with lead in the bottom over a little cast iron Hibatchi by using oil left in the bottom of 2 stroke oil cans.

    One blew up in my face.
    My face was silver colored.
    My mother drove me to the doctor.
    The doctor started peeling the lead off my face.
    I had one piece in my eye that had cast into the concave reverse image of my eye ball.
    My face looked like a pizza, where each red scab as a piece of pepperoni.
    The next morning, as I walked into first period shop class, the instructor said something to me about melting lead.
    I figured he had advance information, and there was no way he could have figured that out.

    My theory has always been that a rain drop went down one of my casting holes.

  6. #46
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    Brick, concrete, and stone hold water. That is why you never use river rock, or rock that has been buried around a fire pit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    I was casting bullets when I was 14 in 1965 by drilling holes in a fire brick with my father's 3/8" electric drill.

    I told myself these were 38 caliber.

    I heated coffee cans with lead in the bottom over a little cast iron Hibatchi by using oil left in the bottom of 2 stroke oil cans.

    One blew up in my face.
    My face was silver colored.
    My mother drove me to the doctor.
    The doctor started peeling the lead off my face.
    I had one piece in my eye that had cast into the concave reverse image of my eye ball.
    My face looked like a pizza, where each red scab as a piece of pepperoni.
    The next morning, as I walked into first period shop class, the instructor said something to me about melting lead.
    I figured he had advance information, and there was no way he could have figured that out.

    My theory has always been that a rain drop went down one of my casting holes.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  7. #47
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    I might have told this one, will keep it brief.

    Around age 12? I melted WWs and poured it into a pail of water to make "art".
    Looked pretty good, smooth flowing shapes with blobs, etc.

    Years later a friend and I were casting, I had found the artwork lead and stuck it in the pot.
    One piece must have had a tiny drop of encapsulated water in it.
    The pop was not huge but it splashed a blob of lead onto the brim of his cap.
    Could have been worse.

    Find it hard to believe a drop by itself would force it's way under the surface of the melt.
    I've water dropped many times, keeping the bucket lower and away from the pot!

  8. #48
    Boolit Bub JanZ's Avatar
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    A cautionary note about fishing sinkers

    Out here on the west coast every now and then you get a deal on two pound to five pound rock cod sinkers and most of the time they are great material to add to the pot.

    These are used for deep water fishing out here so it's not uncommon got them to be dropped into 500 feet of water, most of the sinks are cast in a hurry and have voids in them and those voids are filled with water, at five hundred feet the pressure is about 4080 psi.

    That water is trapped in those sinkers and if you drop a cold 3# sink into a half a pot of melted lead, well let's just say the Tinsel Fairy came to visit me once with one that had a water filled void. It was a KA-BLOOIE!!

    What I ended up doing was to set all the used sinkers aside and stack them into an empty pot a few at a time and cook them a while at lower heat until all the hissing stopped, no more TF.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob208 View Post
    well bret i know it happens have scars to prove it. now i think the warnings are a bit overboard. but then if you do keep bending safty rules sone you will bend them too far.
    I have no doubt something happens. I just don't believe it happens like some people think. By all means, use whatever safety methods you deem appropriate. But lets try and use some common sense in our explanations of HOW things happen.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master

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    I have a few tiny scars on the top of my hand from small specs of melt popping out when I drop sprues back in the pot. I say that to say, you are dealing with molten metal, burns are gonna happen regardless. The size and frequency is totally up to the caster. The absolute fear mongering is what is ridiculous. It is almost like people consider it a badge of honor to have had a visit from the "Tinsel Fairy" and lived to tell of it. Common sense rules the day. I sit and think to myself how some of these little girls would shrivel up and die if they saw me sitting at the door of my garage in the rain with a pot of water next to me and my flip flops on. Oh, and on a short glass topped table of all things, OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!
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  11. #51
    Boolit Buddy Paladin 56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanZ View Post
    These are used for deep water fishing out here so it's not uncommon got them to be dropped into 500 feet of water, most of the sinks are cast in a hurry and have voids in them and those voids are filled with water, at five hundred feet the pressure is about 4080 psi.
    Not to stir the pot so to speak, but the pressure in 500 feet of sea water is only about 224 psi, which is still plenty to force its way into any crack or crevice and cause problems.

  12. #52
    Boolit Bub JanZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin 56 View Post
    Not to stir the pot so to speak, but the pressure in 500 feet of sea water is only about 224 psi, which is still plenty to force its way into any crack or crevice and cause problems.
    I stand corrected must have hit times rather than divide on the calculator. For that pressure you'd need to be about 10,000 down, give or take a few thousand feet.

  13. #53
    Boolit Master
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    When a mold is 500+ degrees and you get a drop of water in the cavity from water dropping, that water drop or drops in the cavity will absoluty be gone before you can pore more lead in it. I have had it happen a number of times. If you want to test it just dip the edge of the mold in the water and see how fast it evaporates.

  14. #54
    Boolit Master lcclower's Avatar
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    Question, when that TF visits, how do you get lead spatters off brick?

  15. #55
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lcclower View Post
    Question, when that TF visits, how do you get lead spatters off brick?
    With much consternation and a little blue air in the vicinity...

    About all you can do is get a small tool and have at it. I spilled a little on a concrete pad in the back yard and wound up letting most of it come off of it's own accord.

  16. #56
    Boolit Master Cadillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurch View Post
    With much consternation and a little blue air in the vicinity...

    About all you can do is get a small tool and have at it. I spilled a little on a concrete pad in the back yard and wound up letting most of it come off of it's own accord.
    My pressure washer removed some spills from the driveway, but I had to crank it up, 4000 psi. It removes a little of the concrete if you're careful and a lot if you aren't.
    There is some ammo and more ammo. There is never enough ammo!

  17. #57
    Boolit Mold glockster157's Avatar
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    My tinsel fairy story goes like this. I was casting from a bottom pore pot with a Lee 158 SWC mold in August. I was sweating profusely. I believe a drop of sweat went into one of the mold cavities as when I did my next pore, about 1 or so seconds later, it exploded, blew all the lead out of the mold, luckily most of it went away from me and hit the wall. Taught me a lesson and I am very careful now about water and molten lead. Sounded like a 22 going off by the way.

  18. #58
    Boolit Master

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    Uncle Joe has a good idea. With all due respect Chevroner, I had exactly that happen with a 32 cal. mold about two weeks ago. I have been casting for over 40 years and this was the first time. It blew lead out of the hole in the sprue plate.

  19. #59
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    The tinsel fairy visited me when melting battery plates did not have any trouble until I pushed a plate under liquid lead before it got hot. I was quite surprised by the force it sent lead over ten feet most of it missed me I never got it all off the brick wall behind me though.

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefly1957 View Post
    The tinsel fairy visited me when melting battery plates did not have any trouble until I pushed a plate under liquid lead before it got hot. I was quite surprised by the force it sent lead over ten feet most of it missed me I never got it all off the brick wall behind me though.
    You shouldn't be melting battery plates in the first place.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


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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