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Thread: Newbie equipment recommendations

  1. #1

    Newbie equipment recommendations

    So I was recently given 360lbs of lead sash weights.

    My current lead melt pot is a Lee electric that holds maybe half a pound of lead at a time. Given to me by my father in law. I have only casted maybe 15 bullets myself so far.

    First I want to melt it all down and clean up any impurities.

    What would be the best tool for processing a few hundred lbs down into manageable ingots?



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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Most folks use a large pot and a propane turkey fryer. I use a cut off propane tank for a pot set in a car rim with a wood fire underneath.

    I've never seen lead sash weights. All the ones I've seen were steel.

    The small lee dipper pot, the precision melter, is 4 pounds, if that's the one you have. I used one a while and it worked but was a blessing she I could upgrade to a magnum melter.

    Welcome to the forum and howdy from KY!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    monadnock#5's Avatar
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    Propane burner and a cast iron pot on a fixture that will handle the weight. Don't use stainless or aluminum pots, as they are both prone to sudden, catastrophic failure. Candle wax and wooden paint stirrers for fluxing. Long handled spoon for skimming the dross. A ladle and an ingot mold.

    Don't forget your PPE. Work boots, long pants, long sleeve shirt, safety glasses/face shield......better to be safe than sorry. Good luck.
    You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
    Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Anything for fumes? I have a respirator. The pink p100 filters are for particulates. Anyone know what filter for fumes working over the pot?

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    This is something best done outdoors. Particularly if you have a significant other you'd like to stay on the good side of. Or out in the barn maybe.
    You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
    Winston Churchill

  6. #6
    I was planning just outside the detacted garage door. Just not sure how harmful the fumes are long term you know? Minimize poisoning and all that.

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Stay up wind , when you flux before skimming light the gas/smoke that will get rid of most of it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I keep a box fan behind me pointing towards my back / pot to keep fumes heading away from me. It helps.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I love my cast iron tea kettle for melting scrap lead. It was well rusted - and therefore cheap - decades ago at a flea market; I've seen similar Chinese new ones at Harbor Freight for not much. Of course any modest size cast iron pot will also work well but the kettle's spout makes for easy and safe pouring.

    Don't sweat too much about lead fumes, if it was a truly deadly threat everything you see and read about casting would have a skull and crossbones label on it. Just have a little ventilation and don't stick your face over the molten metal as you work and you'll be fine. And don't lick the lead gray stains on your fingers away when you finish!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    If I remember correctly, lead is like water in that it can exist in 3 states. Solid, liquid and vapor. 1200F is about where the transition from liquid to vapor occurs. A good thermometer should prolly go on your list.

    Some years ago there was a poster who claimed to work for an industrial lead smelter. He said that one could turn a whole vat of lead into dross by continuously fluxing and skimming. Getting your melt much above 700F isn't necessarily bad, but isn't helpful either.
    You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
    Winston Churchill

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Find a 30 pound empty refrigerant can cut it in half works great for processing scape lead.Heating and cooling dealer should have one for free.

  12. #12
    Okay one more question. I'm casting for a cap and ball bp revolver shooting a Johnston and Dow bullet.

    I cast a few and they do feel harder to seat then the .454 RB from hornandy that I have.

    Did some more reading, and I think the few I made might have some antimony content.
    Did get a good ring sheared off but it took some cranking.

    Is there a way to confirm the presences of antimony or not?

    Is there a way to flux the antimony out? Like crushed glass or sulfur?

    If not are the hard cast that I made safe to shoot?

    Or should I repurpose the batch?

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    Last edited by johnsonian09; 02-24-2021 at 10:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Similar to lead used in sailboat keels, lead sash weights are not likely to be
    the pure lead you would want for black powder shooting.
    During smelting pure lead is more likely to show rainbow golds and purple colors on the surface of the melt.
    Alloys usually look like liquid silver or grey without those colors. You probably do not have pure lead.

    When smelting, lighting off the flux makes a lot of smoke and flame, depending on what flux you use.
    I would not want that smoke residue anywhere near inside my house or garage.
    Set up 20 feet out in the yard on a blind side of the house, I can walk around all sides of the burner
    and can stay upwind of the pot no matter how the wind shifts.

    Study up on the "tinsel fairy" - avoid her and be safe.
    .

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsonian09 View Post

    If not are the hard cast that I made safe to shoot?

    Or should I repurpose the batch?

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    I have never read of a way to remove antimony.

    Firing hard bullets should not damage the gun but loading them could damage the gun. The extra strain on the loading lever and the pin that holds it in place is the problem.
    Spell check doesn't work in Chrome, so if something is spelled wrong, it's just a typo that I missed.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I got a pile of those sash weights crom a local newspaper that went digital in the 90's

    Mine were 100% linotype from the presses.
    Took about till 2014 to use it all.

    I cut mine to size with a sawzall and just dropped it in the pot.

    You can shoot the harder stuff in BP but as you found out it's not easy to seat and can bend the ramrod on a pistol.
    My feed back

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...t-Small-anvils

    I also leave feed back

  16. #16
    After doing some reading I dont think what I have is pure linotype. Just because it turns into a milkshake-frosty mix as it cools off in the pot.

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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Might not be.
    Melt it around 450 -500 that is where lead, lino, and wheel weights melt.

    Anything else will no melt or seperate and float to the surface.

    I only know mine was pure cause i picked it right up from the newspaper shop.
    They were hoping to sell it as window weights since they had no luck selling it as print type.

    They still had the 3 cast iron molds out in the back parking lot and the melting setup when i picked it up.
    The company had regulated the job to their two maintenance men and they ran the ad in their paper for pure linotype window weights.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by monadnock#5 View Post
    If I remember correctly, lead is like water in that it can exist in 3 states. Solid, liquid and vapor. 1200F is about where the transition from liquid to vapor occurs. A good thermometer should prolly go on your list.

    Some years ago there was a poster who claimed to work for an industrial lead smelter. He said that one could turn a whole vat of lead into dross by continuously fluxing and skimming. Getting your melt much above 700F isn't necessarily bad, but isn't helpful either.
    Interesting in every respect. Thanks for posting.

    Cheers

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Pure lead or as close as you can get is the way to go for cap & ball . You should be able to at the least scratch it with your thumbnail .

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub
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    Before I started out melting Wheel Weights and Scrapyard found Lead scrap, I build myself a decent Pot out of a worn Brake Rotor Pot from a F250 by welding a round 1/4" Steel Plate to cover the Wheel Studs holes. Now I had a nice big heavy Duty Pot to which I added a set of Steel Legs.

    For Heat I used a Propane Tiger Torch blowing straight down into the Pot. It took less then a hour to melt about 150 Lbs.Scrap into Ingots.

    All melting was of course done done outside with a nice Breeze moving the Fumes downwind.

    Cheers

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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