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Thread: Time to upgrade my lead pot????

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Time to upgrade my lead pot????

    Been out of this for a while and I think it might be time to upgrade to a bigger, better lead melting pot...what would you guys buy if you wanted the best, easiest to use pot and why??? Pretend money don't matter, but you don't want to get into automated stuff. Not casting all day long, but I will sit down and cast 300-600 bullets at a time running 6 and 8 cavity molds both aluminum and steel. Thanks in advance for any info, it is greatly appreciated!!!

  2. #2
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    HATCH's Avatar
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    Time to upgrade my lead pot????

    Master Pot by magma
    $600

    Why get it? Holds 40lbs
    It is bottom pour.
    You can upgrade to a Master Caster machine by just ordering the frame kit

    Second choice
    Lee 4-20 bottom pour
    Itís cheap, it works. Only @$80
    20lb capacity


    I started out with a Lee 4-20 bottom pour.
    Still have it. Itís full of pure lead as I only hand cast
    Black powder balls with it. And thatís been a LONG time since I did any.

    Purchased a Master Caster machine, automated it and never looked back.
    Pay once, cry once.

    With your 300-600 bullet casting session, bigger is better
    Don't like being hammered by the Cast Boolits Staff, then don't be a nail.
    The rules are simple to follow.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    For my volume of casting, a few hundred at a time, my Lee bottom pour works great. Working on a PID for more stable temperature. Dropping a new ingot that is too cold can stop the flow until the pot recovers. So I use my toaster oven as an ingot preheat.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Not knowing what you have now, or had in the past, here are my recommendations:

    For ladle use, if money is no object, the Waage pot. I think you have to call them about it. Supposed to be the cat's behind of dipper pots.

    For considerably less money, the Lee Magnum Melter. Advertised as 20 pounds, the pot looks the same size as the 4-20 so probably 17 pounds or so, but it works well. If I had bought it first, I wouldn't have got into the bottom pours.

    You could add a PID to it and still be cheaper than the Waage, I think. I have not used a PID, yet.

    For bottom pouring, new, the Magma system. I don't remember reading anything bad about it. Used, an original RCBS Promelt.

    Less money, the Lee 4-20. It is a lot closer to the RCBS than the price suggests.

    PIDs can be added to any of the electric pots if desired.

    Robert

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    3-600 at a time I would get a Lee 20 pound and use your other pot to feed it with liquid lead with a scoop ladle and you will be fine. If you want to do more, I like an older RCBS by far.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    That's about how many I run at a sitting in my old RCBS Pro-Melt, but I only have two cavity molds now.

    With extra ingots pre-warmed on the side, I rock along just fine with it.
    I run it down, then add about 5-6 pounds of the too hot to touch ingots to it.
    As it finishes coming up to temp, I'm ready to get up and take a few minutes break anyway.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


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  7. #7
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    i would grab a Lee 4-20, it will last you a decade and parts will always be around and easy to come by. pretty dang reliable really.....
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    My choice would be an old rcbs pro melt with an added pid, if i needed more production it would be the magma master pot. And for a ladel pot the Wage.

    If you enjoy the break between filling the pot the smaller RCBS pro melt would be the way to go.

    For ladle casting you realy need a lead melter the lee magnum melter and a pid works just fine.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    For high production sessions, a bottom pour with a mold guide might be easier on the wrists than a pot using a ladle.

    A twenty pound pot only filled a bit more than 3/4 full will do a thousand 115 grain slugs, though a bigger pot or stacked pots will do more or bigger slugs as needed.

    PID takes temp regulation off the list of variables needing constant monitoring and control tweaking.

    So, with a generous budget, my vote goes to the Master Pot. Second choice goes to the original RCBS ProMelt, which is what I use in tandem with a Lee 4-20 feeder pot, both PID controlled. The Lee 4-20 with PID and the patience to deal with the infamous Lee lead drip sculptures is the inexpensive third option.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks fellas for all this info so far....I will be taking a serious look at all of the above mentioned pots now. Thanks again!!!!

  11. #11
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    hate to offer a suggestion that is probably not "do-able"

    As Mitch said ▲ the original Pro-Melt with a PID. I turn the pot's temp setting all the way up and let the PID do its thing.

    I can case around 500-600 per 45 minute period (200 gr RNFP .45 caliber) = just over 17 lbs. Using Lee 6-gang mold

    have a cover for pot and if I add the sprues back every 4-5 casts the temp will keep up with these additional of lead to the pot. Large, room-temp ingots will take the temp down to below cast temp--then have to wait a few minutes for it to come back up

    45 minutes is also my "it's no fun any more" threshold so I can break here and reload the pot for the next time--I keep my pot full between casting sessions.

    problem is you can't find the pot anymore
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  12. #12
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    I generally cast 500-1000 at a time using 5 & 6 cavity BRASS molds and the Lee 4-20's come thru every time! Just keep feeding it pre-heated ingots (on my electric mold heating hot plate) and the beat goes on. No sweat doing 1000 at a time with a bottom pour and large count cavity molds. Forget those 1 & 2 cavity molds from a century ago. I have a need for speed and my equipment give it to me............every time..............without fail.

    No PID's needed or wanted here. It's all based on skill and knowledge of metals and casting.

    (and, my 4-20's do not drip! You just have to know how to tune them up to prevent drips! It's called "wisdom".)

  13. #13
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    Bottom line is a Lee 4-20 is a good pace to start.

    I just reread the post. As I just said, a Lee 4-20 is a good place to start, but if he is ready for more, I’ll pass and let others with more experience with the bigger pots weigh in on their experiences.
    Last edited by GregLaROCHE; 01-19-2022 at 06:55 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    Well, again, thanks for all this info!!! So, I ordered and have today received the Lee 4-20. Have just finished this afternoon "rendering" about 75 pounds of good clean ingots {with a separate set up}. I looked for the old RCBS unit, but they are just not available within reason...I found one, but the cat wanted $750. I figure if the Lee don't do it then I will order the new RCBS with the PID, haven't lost anything as I will still use the Lee.
    After reading some of the other posts on here I noticed several remarks about how ladle cast bullets can come out "better looking" than those cast with bottom pour pots. I started casting bullets a long time ago with one of those little steel Lee pots you use on a gas stove and their ladle. It was slow, but I couldn't afford to shoot any other way, so I just did it. I have to say that those bullets did in fact look better than the ones I cast with my previous set-up I just upgraded. I think ladle casting might be a challenge with an 8 cavity mold. I don't know, what do you guys think about ladle vs. bottom pour as far as quality of appearance???? Thanks again for all this info, it is greatly appreciated!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I bought the Lee 4-20 and it wasnít long before I spent the coin on the current RCBS.

    The constant dripping just wasnít worth it. Even meticulously-clean, it dripped non-stop.

    The PID has been a revelation.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    My first electric pot was a Lee 4-20. I did lap the valve and seat with 800 grit clover compound before I ever plugged it in. It still dripped a little bit, but no deluges of molten metal.

    I also ladle cast several hundred pounds of boolits from it; the drip art was self limiting, on mine at least. It would slowly drip and eventually build up to clog the spout, problem solved.

    I have never used an eight cavity mold, but I have used several four and six cavity molds; both bottom pouring and with an RCBS Ladle. Depending on the size of the boolit and capacity of the ladle, you may have to double dip to fill the mold. I have done it, it does work.

    Honestly, I like ladle casting better, but good boolits can be made with bottom pouring. I do think it is easier to get good fillout by using a ladle, but either system will work. All it takes is practice, and mistakes can be remelted.

    Robert

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master


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    In your first post, unless I misunderstood, you indicated money was not a big issue, and you buy a Lee.

    You are using 6 and 8 cavity molds to produce 300-600 bullets at a time

    ????

    I am going to make an assumption, You have physical issues that prevent casting for more than 45-60 minutes at a time. I am not quite that bad but I cannot cast for hours at a time any longer.

    What I did may interest you. Got a Master Caster. It will cast 350-400/hr but is easy to use. It will do that using dual cavity molds that cost about $100.

    If my assumption is incorrect, good luck with the Lee.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for the replies fellas...here is a quick report on how this thing worked today as well as some of my issues and findings. First off, I am happy to say that Lee must have solved the constant drip thing. The old one I had did it. It was a a Pro IV with the 10 pound pot. Never did get it to stop and I was worried about this one being worse with double the capacity. But, not a drip one!!!
    Just to clarify, I bought the Lee first because midway into this the prospect of ladle casting came up. I want to try casting with a ladle and didn't want to spend money on an expensive pot that may not get used with the bottom pour.
    As far as using this one, I ran out about 600 bullets in a little over an hour. I had to adjust the flow and also the strange little "mold guide", which I am still not sure I have it right. But I successfully cast 600 bullets, so I cant be too far off.
    Probably the biggest thing I didn't like is the location of the bottom pour spout itself...it is way back under the damn pot. It would be so much better if it was out near the edge so it would be easier to see. First thing I had to do was make a riser to mount the pot up higher so I could see under it to cast. I was worried about the capacity and running on 110V, but it seems to have plenty of power and melts a pot full of 1 pound bars in reasonable time. Once I got going I realized that the very next thing I need to do is remove that stupid little mold guide and smooth and polish all the edges...it had some burrs and scratched up the bottom and side of one of my aluminum molds. I would suggest to anyone that gets one of these pots new to do this before startup, or get rid of it and use something else. On my other bottom pour pot I used a machinist Vee block and a wrist pin in the vee to slide the bottom of the mold on. It worked fantastic and was really nice and smooth.
    Dverna, I have no physical restraints, just time. I typically don't have hour after hour to set and cast bullets, as much as I would like to. Money is not an issue at all, I will use the Lee whether I buy a new RCBS or not. I will say that I had zero issues maintaining the correct temperature, so I don't know what a PID would do for me at this time.
    Tomorrow I will take a whack at ladle casting and see how that goes. That will be a walk back in time...haven't ladle cast any bullets since 1977. Thanks again fellas!!!!!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I went from a 10 lb Lee to a 20 lb Lee but the best quality improvement was with a PID. It’s a revelation to keep your casting temp to within 2 degrees F. It removes a huge variable from casting and allows more quality casts and fewer rejects regardless of the pot you are using. Tim

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msinc View Post
    I need to do is remove that stupid little mold guide and smooth and polish all the edges..
    I have a old Pro-Melt and it has a mold guide.
    I never could get it figured out and finally swung it out of the way.
    I just free hand hold the block about a inch or so under the spout to make the pour.

    As I got older, comfortable posture in my wheeled office chair that can push back about as fast as I can jump while standing,
    and having the pot at a comfortable height became more and more important.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.

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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"
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check