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<ranb>
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I am still trying to cast good bullets after trying for over a month. I am using a Lee pot, wheel weights, and a CBE 975-grain brass mold. The mold is smoked and has clean vents. Bullets drop out of the mold with a slight shaking after opening. My problem is that the bullets all look perfect on one side, and rough on the other. The rough side is the side that the lead hits inside the mold as it is poured. Changing the way I hold the mold changes where the rough spot on the bullet is.

It has occurred to me and some of the people who have replied to my previous posts that my problem is inadequate fluxing. So I think I need a lesson in fluxing. I have a straightened out fork I use to mix in soldering flux when the lead is up to about 600 F. I mix vigorously and scrape the sides of the pot while stirring in the flux. My lead pot is a bit dirty, would this be causing my problems?

Any suggestions? How much flux should I be using? Thanks.

Randy
 
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Being of a lazy nature and impatient to boot, I crank the temp. up to 800. I use an old soup spoon with 4 large holes drilled in the bowl. I use a butter knife to scrape the sides of the pot. I use candle stubs to flux with and ignite the smoking mess with a wooden match.
I get the lead up close to temp. throw in a thumb size chunk of parafin, floowed with a burning match then stir with an up and down motion all the way to the bottom of the pot. Forgot to mention I clamp the spoon on the end of the handle with a pair of vise grips, gives me more length and some to hold onto. After the flame goes out I scape the sides of the pot with the back edge of the butter knife. I use a second spoon to lift out the crud.
I'm now ready to cast.
Get mold hot and go for it.
Jim
 
Posts: 5788 | Location: Richmond, Virginia | Registered: 17 September 2000Reply With Quote
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ranb: Yeup you need a pot cleaning. I use a brush chucked into a power drill which just fits that Lee for dia. I remove the stem for this buff cleaning and chuck that stem into the drill too-- a good spin against a wire brush gets it down to metal. Take a piece of slightly bent wire and chuck it again spinning in the drop spout for cleaning.

To flux I use a wire handle swaged into another small wire brush. I get that brush hot by impersing into melted alloy and dip it into pine pitch. Then plunge that brush into the melt which cleans it thoroughly. Dropping a pea size chunk of wax and igniting it isn't much of a flux for real cleaning. A raw potato impaled on an old fork also fluxes quite well. Once the melt is clean-- cover it with generic kitty litter [clay] to keep it from oxidizing. Stirring that litter against the melt also accomplishes a good flux minus smoke as does the spud.

Your mold fillout sounds like dross from the melt and maybe a mold running too cool. That's a large slug to be sure-- getting it all full before too much solidifcation takes place is the challenge.
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
<halfbreed>
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hello all,with a mold this large, would'nt RANB, be much better off with a ladle instead of the bottom pour?
just an amateur observation, halfbreed
 
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Forget the soldering flux! Drop in a pea sized piece of wax, candle wax is fine, stir the crap out of it, and skim it off. Bottom pour pots need clean lead. You might be better to melt the wheel weights in an old pot, and skim off the crap there, before mucking up your spout with crud. I use a bottom pour ladle myself.
 
Posts: 872 | Location: Lindsay Ontario Canada | Registered: 14 April 2001Reply With Quote
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My 2 cents worth say pitch the melting pot and get you a big old iron skillet and ladel. If it was good enough for Gramps, it's good enough for me. [Big Grin]

Casting a bullet that large with ordinary tools may be rather tricky. You need to get it done all in one smooth pour, obviously. I think all the advise you've been given is good. Crank the temp up on your lead. Parafin is all I've ever used for flux. But I would be dipping out of a skillet where you can scoop up good, clean lead rather than suck the crud off the bottom each time. My biggest worry is does the normal bullet ladel CONTAIN 900+ grains of lead. I think the largest bullet I ever cast was 400 grs and it seems like that was about half a ladel full. [Eek!]
Unusual problem. Good luck with it. [Smile]
 
Posts: 19677 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
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Ya know I'm a rough and ready sort.
I'm not into eating the places where the minute ration of food is presented prettily. I prefer to get a mess of food, eat and move on. I'll leave the pretty food to the ladies.
Well, bullet casting is the same way for me. I'm not interested in wearing the right clothes, doing some esoteric ceremony to invoke the gods of lead alloy. I just want to cast bullets, accurate bullets in sizable quanties.
Once I find a proceedure that works for me I keep doing for years.
Jim
 
Posts: 5788 | Location: Richmond, Virginia | Registered: 17 September 2000Reply With Quote
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Well, using a brush on a drill to clean a pot will work, but there is a better way. First, my objection to cleaning with the brush is you will breath in some of the dust kicked up from that spinning brush. Lead oxide equals bad news.
So? What to do? Make sure you have a good pair of long sleeved leather gloves. Drain the pot of all lead, and with the gloves on, pick it up and gently turn it over and gently bounce an edge on the ground while holding it upside down. This is to remove all loose garbage from the mold including any melted lead that did not go out the drain hole. There usually is a little bit left. You'll understand why in a minute.
Then, turn the setting on the pot down to about two or three and give the pot a few minutes to cool down to that level. After the pot has cooled, fill the pot carefully with water. Water?
Yes, water. Allow the water to come to a boil and let it simmer for about five to ten minutes. If you have a stainless steel brush, gently scrub the side of the pot with it while simmering. When done simmering, dump the water into a bucket that you can empty into the toilet later. Remember the gloves, the pot is still hot. Gently tap on ground again to knock out all the loose stuff at the bottom of the pot.
I've used this method on a Lee production pot and the big Lyman 20 pound pot and it works beautifully.
If you do a lot of fluxing with stuff like Marvelux, you know how hard the residue from that can be to remove. That boiling water takes it right out.
Really dirty pots might take two boiling outs, but it will usually do the job the first time.
Paul B.
 
Posts: 2814 | Location: Tucson AZ USA | Registered: 11 May 2001Reply With Quote
<ranb>
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Thanks for the info guys. I emptied out my pot after my last casting session, I will give it a through cleaning before I use it again. I will try the other methods of fluxing too.

Ranb
 
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quote:
Originally posted by ranb:
Thanks for the info guys. I emptied out my pot after my last casting session, I will give it a through cleaning before I use it again. I will try the other methods of fluxing too.

Ranb

Lee says in their reloading manual that Lee moulds have to be used with a bottom pour pot, not a ladle, If you pour into an aluminum mould with a ladle, the side the molten lead is poured against gets hotter than the other side, and one side ends up crappy looking. A bottom pour pot lets you hold the mould vertical. I gathered from your initial post that you are using brass, moulds, not aluminum. From the fact that the side that looks crappy depends on how you hold the mould, I'd say you're looking at the same phenomenon Lee describes and not a dirty melting pot. I'd give your mould a try with a bottom pour pot, holding your mould vertical.

H. C.
 
Posts: 3691 | Location: West Virginia | Registered: 23 May 2001Reply With Quote
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HC, he IS using a bottom pour pot. I've never heard the thing about not using a ladel with Lee molds. Wish someone had enlightened me before I cast umteen thousand perfect bullets with a ladel! [Big Grin] I suspect Lee was trying to sell their lead pots...cause it ain't true.
 
Posts: 19677 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
<ranb>
posted
How I position my mold under my bottom pour pot determines where the rough looking part of the bullet is. Holding it perfectly level under the pot results in a bullet with a rough side because the lead comes out at an angle. Holding the mold at an angle to make the lead stream hit the bottom of the mold first (or near the bottom) helps a bit, but I always have a good and bad looking side of the bullet. The crud making the surface appearance rough looking has to come from somewhere, so I will be cleaning out my pot throughly before I cast again. Thanks.

Ranb
 
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<Yspen>
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I experienced exactly the same problem last week when I used my new Alu blocks ( 430 gr ) and new Lee production pot . No matter how I held the mould I found one side to look rough - exactly how ranb described , normally the side that the alloy hits first .
I found that if I pour the Lino on the side of the coverplate and run into the mould from there the appearance improved - but still not perfect .

The Production pot was new but was shopsoiled and slightly rusted inside ( purchased it with a HUGE discount in the price ) . Seems I will be emptying it tonight and will be cleaning prior to casting again .

Ben
 
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<ranb>
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I think I got it fixed. I drilled out the pour spout with a 9/64" drill bit. My 975 grain mold fills in 1.5 seconds vs 4 seconds now. I cleaned out the pot with a brush and boiling water like the above suggestions. It did not make much differance. After a single casting session, it is as dirty as before. I think it is the faster fill rate that makes my larger bullets look nearly as nice as the smaller ones. I will work on fluxing the lead better.

Ranb
 
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Cover your melt with generic clean kitty litter and it'll STAY clean.

Just try it..
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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RANB, I have enlarged the pour hole before with an improved result as you have done here. Pouring for such a large bullet as you are, I'm sure this is a big help. A bullet should always be poured about as fast as the mold will vent and accept the metal.
 
Posts: 19677 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
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