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Thread: Just Curious

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Just Curious

    Can a stainless steel ladle be properly used to poor lead?

  2. #2
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    You probably can, but how well it'll work without spilling lead all over in an unknown.
    Why not just buy a proper casting ladle, either from RCBS or Lyman.

    Rick
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    When I started I used a stainless steel ladle, about a ¼ cup capacity. It worked, sort of. Within a month or two I bought an RCBS ladle and haven't looked back.

    The spout makes it a lot easier to use than trying to make an accurate pour over the edge of a small soup ladle.

    Robert

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for the responses. I am thinking about to getting set up to make .690 roundball and various sizes of 12ga. buckshot on a small scale. I am just looking for ways to keep the cost down.

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    I use a stainless steel ladle to pour my ingots. For pouring into boolit moulds, you may want to bend it to form a spout. I have wondered if drilling a hole on the side of the ladle would work, but haven’t tried it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 358429's Avatar
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    Use a chisel and dent a v shape on the side of the stainless ladle over a wood block.

  7. #7
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    Then bend the handle 90 degrees.

    But the joy of using a real casting ladle will remain long after the cost is forgotten.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    The open ladle will not be able to pour a clean casting if you have any dross floating on the surface. The side pouring ladle as RCBS or Lyman discharges the melted alloy from below the surface for a dross free casting. The correct tool will usually produce a better product. The greater mass of the casting ladle will help keep the melt temperature up for better fill out of the shot being made. The thin SS ladle cools rapidly. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I would drill a hole aprox 1/2" from the edge, maybe 1/4" in size. Fill your ladle to just below the hole. When you have your hole positioned correctly tip ladle, running the lead out the hole. I experiment with a SS gravy ladle, and it did work. But it was no better than my Lyman, and no way to pressure cast. Did hold more, was good for pouring small ingots.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    In my mind the two pieces of equipment that need not be skimped on are a good ladle (Lyman or RCBS) and a good casting thermometer. I have an assortment of stainless pots and cast on a Coleman stove.
    Rick

  11. #11
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    I found (accidentally) that pouring from the side, like you’d do with an open ladle like the Lee, is the way to get perfect, unwrinkled round balls, even down to .25 and .32 caliber sizes. Pouring or pressure casting from the top, like the instructions say to do with Lyman moulds, produced a lot of wrinkly rejects. The same technique works with spouted ladles like the Lyman or RCBS, with the mould held vertical and pouring from the side of the sprue hole.

    But with any other shaped cavity, like a boolit with grease grooves, the Lyman method of starting horizontal and turning vertical, with a spigoted ladle, is the way to go. Casting boolits from the side from any kind of ladle gets me about the same proportion of wrinkled culls as the other method did for the round balls.

    If all you plan on casting is round lead balls, it would certainly be worth a couple bucks’ expenditure at the Thrift Store to see if side pouring with an open stainless-steel ladle works for you.

  12. #12
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    If you're using a small pot, such as the Lee 4lb; you're better off with the Lyman ladle. The RCBS has big "ribs" on the bottom to stand it up straight. Very hard to use in the tiny Lee pot electric pot.
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  13. #13
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    I certainly understand keeping the costs down.

    But look at the equipment as a once in a lifetime investment. I paid something like $25 for my RCBS ladle twenty years ago, it still works just as well as it did then. I think they are up to twenty eight or nine dollars brand new right now.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If you are set on the soup ladle then also buy a 3/8 24 bolt and 2 jam nuts. Drill a .250 or so hole thru the bolt. drill a 3/8 hole thru the side of the ladle and bolt the bolt in place. Shorten the bolt to around 1" in length. Watch the cheap ladles the handle to bowl joints may not stand up to the weight and heat

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    The small ladle I started with was stamped out of one piece of stainless, nothing to come loose, and I think it was $3 aat Walmart. Probably $6 now.

    Robert

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for all the responses and ideas. I will probably pick up a Lyman or RCBS ladle when I start pulling stuff together. Thanks again

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I started with a big stainless spoon and made boolits , you just have to keep your lead fluxed and skimmed clean.
    But a real ladle is much better and a bottom pour pot is what I prefer.
    Use what you have , you can always upgrade later.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by pastime View Post
    Can a stainless steel ladle be properly used to poor lead?
    Like a couple of previous posters, I use a slightly modified stainless soup ladle for casting ingots but, in my experience, it doesn't work well for actually pouring into a mold. If you can't locate a casting ladle for sale, drop me a PM. I've used a bottom-pour pot for so long I'm not certain sure they are but I know I've got a couple extras somewhere around my workshop.

    Bill
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  19. #19
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    If it has a spout like a gravy ladle.. it will work.. or if you can bend a spout.. if it is smooth side.. I'd pass.

  20. #20
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    I've used a large stainless steel ladle (from Academy) for years to pour muffin pan ingots from my half propane bottle smelting pot. I would not recommend anything but a proper casting ladle, like the Lyman or RCBS offerings, to pour alloy into a boolit mold.
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