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  #1  
Old 01-18-2013, 7:22 PM
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Default Got 66 lbs of lead for freeÖ

I donít cast but I do reload; Iíve done some casting research in the past to understand what itís all about but never actually started doing it.

I came across some lead and it gave me the kick in the rear I needed to get into castingÖ

I figure I just start slow and do everything one step at a timeÖ I will probably start by cleaning and processing the lead into ingots but can anyone guide me in the right direction?

Iím looking to learn a little more about metallurgy typically seen in cast bullets, melting points/optimum temperatures to use, items required, and to understand this process a bit more overall.
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Old 01-18-2013, 7:27 PM
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Damn man, im a few inches from deciding to buy a bunch of casting equipment and just jump in headfirst.
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Old 01-18-2013, 7:31 PM
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What type of lead....what calibers you plan to cast them into?? Smelting is pretty straight forward.....heat and flux (lot of guys use saw dust, but wax works too) to get all the gunk out. If it's wheel weights you want to keep the temp around 700 degrees and not have any zinc get melted into the mix as that will mess up the alloy quick and make the melted result unusable for casting bullets. I believe zinc melts at a little higher temp than the lead. Zinc is also harder so a pair of side cutters will help detect any questionable piece......much harder to damage a zinc weight than a lead one. Zinc will also sometimes be stamped with its elemental code Zn.
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Old 01-18-2013, 7:32 PM
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Processing lead is overrated, just throw in the pot and keep it under 700 degrees, pour, lube, shoot. Been doing it this way for tens of thousands of bullets with no problems.
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Old 01-18-2013, 7:32 PM
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go over to castboolits site you will learn more thasn you want there
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Old 01-18-2013, 8:13 PM
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I suggest Lymans cast bullet handbook for starters -
Visiting castboolits may also prove helpful.
i also suggest you do some reading or get some advice from another caster before just melting your "lead" into ingots.
Improper smelting can lose some of the desirable other metals such as tin and antimony --
I don't want to make it seem like nuclear science but there is no sense buggering up a good mixture. -- You wont ruin it, just make it necessary to replace the lost items for a proper mix.
my tuppence
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Old 01-18-2013, 8:23 PM
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OP, where in So Cal are ya? Maybe some is close and can give a hand. What equipment do you have now if any?
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Old 01-18-2013, 8:30 PM
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yea jsut a cast iron pan and a coleman stove is all you need ooh and some dirty muffin tins to make ingots

the only thing i really needed to buy is the molds i use a spoon for a dipper
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Old 01-18-2013, 8:56 PM
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Check out http://castboolits.gunloads.com
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Old 01-18-2013, 9:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon View Post
What type of lead....what calibers you plan to cast them into?? Smelting is pretty straight forward.....heat and flux (lot of guys use saw dust, but wax works too) to get all the gunk out. If it's wheel weights you want to keep the temp around 700 degrees and not have any zinc get melted into the mix as that will mess up the alloy quick and make the melted result unusable for casting bullets. I believe zinc melts at a little higher temp than the lead. Zinc is also harder so a pair of side cutters will help detect any questionable piece......much harder to damage a zinc weight than a lead one. Zinc will also sometimes be stamped with its elemental code Zn.
Lead is mostly reclaimed lead from shooting ranges… lead shot, slugs, bullets that have hit backstops… lead is pretty dirty/contaminated but free from any casings and things of that nature.

The intent is to cast for 9mm, .45 ACP, .357 Magnum

Last edited by ExtremeX; 01-18-2013 at 9:28 PM..
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Old 01-18-2013, 9:21 PM
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Dang it. i thought you were giving away free lead...
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Old 01-18-2013, 9:26 PM
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Reclaimed range lead is great for those applications. This lead will range between BHN 10 and 14. I use it for everything from light .38 Special all the way to full-house .44 Magnum.

What matters most are two things:

1.) proper sizing for your gun's chamber(s)/bore, and
2.) proper lube.

"Proper sizing" means the maximum size to where the round will still easily chamber in the gun.

"Proper lube" means the right type and enough of it.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2013, 9:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Sheldon View Post
OP, where in So Cal are ya? Maybe some is close and can give a hand. What equipment do you have now if any?
I am in the San Diego areaÖ only equipment I have at this point in time is reloading equipment, nothing casting related.

Iíve started my search looking for a portable/outdoor propane stove and a cast iron pan just for the cleaning / ingot process.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gunboat View Post
I suggest Lymans cast bullet handbook for starters -
Visiting castboolits may also prove helpful.
i also suggest you do some reading or get some advice from another caster before just melting your "lead" into ingots.
Improper smelting can lose some of the desirable other metals such as tin and antimony --
I don't want to make it seem like nuclear science but there is no sense buggering up a good mixture. -- You wont ruin it, just make it necessary to replace the lost items for a proper mix.
my tuppence
Thanks for the tips, I donít intend to rush in on it just because I got some "lead", but I wanted to understand more about the metallurgy standpoint as well before I turn up the heat so to speak.
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  #14  
Old 01-18-2013, 9:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madjack956 View Post
Dang it. i thought you were giving away free lead...
If I was selling it for giving it away I would have put it in market place forum… but I did get some free lead

Hopefully what I got is usable for hard cast bullets.
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Old 01-18-2013, 9:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy T View Post
Reclaimed range lead is great for those applications. This lead will range between BHN 10 and 14. I use it for everything from light .38 Special all the way to full-house .44 Magnum.

What matters most are two things:

1.) proper sizing for your gun's chamber(s)/bore, and
2.) proper lube.

"Proper sizing" means the maximum size to where the round will still easily chamber in the gun.

"Proper lube" means the right type and enough of it.

Thanks Cowboy T

Thatís good to hear, Iím not quite at that stage yet but I do know some of the basics.

I still havenít make any decision to use in terms of lube and size tools. I understand lee has a cheap option using a die for a single stage and some liquid alox. And then the more elegant solutions like those luber sizers press looking units.

Itís a new venture, so chances are I would like to keep it cheap, but if this becomes something I continue to do Iím sure I would step up to some decent stuff.

Question: Does the lube / size process also determine which types of molds you get? I see various different types on the market aside from the different shapes and sizes for the same caliber.

By the way, I watched your Lee die setup video not too long ago, thanks for that. I finally got around to loading 9mm after starting with .223 and .45 ACP (RCBS Dies)
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Old 01-18-2013, 9:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohoki View Post
yea jsut a cast iron pan and a coleman stove is all you need ooh and some dirty muffin tins to make ingots

the only thing i really needed to buy is the molds i use a spoon for a dipper
That's how I learned!

I will say, though: I bought my Dad (who taught me how to cast) a Lyman bottom-spigot furnace and that thing worked great! It's worth the $50-$100, for sure...
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Old 01-18-2013, 9:39 PM
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Lyman bottom-spigot furnace and that thing worked great! It's worth the $50-$100, for sure...
I did see those in operation on a couple you YouTube videosÖ coupled with those 6 cavity molds they really seem to speed up the entire process.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:47 AM
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Chat more with bohoki -- he is the most frugal caster I have seen -
More expensive, bigger, faster is not always needed or better --
Nothing wrong with using a pot, hand dipper and single cavity mould --
I know a lot of folks use inexpensive lee aluminum moulds with success however they are limited to .27 or 28 cal and larger --
The Lee size/luber is inexpensive and good -- I would certainly start with one -
Lyman/saeco/RCBS sizer/lubers are more expensive and faster --
Star is the ultimate sizer luber but costs a small fortune - the dillon of lubers --
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:05 PM
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:34 PM
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I'd be interested in lending a hand Extreme, let me know.
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Old 01-19-2013, 1:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjskalka View Post
Processing lead is overrated, just throw in the pot and keep it under 700 degrees, pour, lube, shoot. Been doing it this way for tens of thousands of bullets with no problems.
Sorry, but to the benefit of the OP, I'd have to point out that this is just plain wrong. Processing of lead is very, very important in order to remove all the grime, crud and other various junk such as wheel weight clips, etc. Ever melt a bunch of "lead" only to find out that it contained zinc? Not very fun.
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Old 01-19-2013, 2:07 PM
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Sorry, but to the benefit of the OP, I'd have to point out that this is just plain wrong. Processing of lead is very, very important in order to remove all the grime, crud and other various junk such as wheel weight clips, etc. Ever melt a bunch of "lead" only to find out that it contained zinc? Not very fun.
Clips and zinc will float in lead, easy enough to scoop out even if you have a bunch of them. Fluxing the lead with some saw dust has always done the trick for me, so I suppose I do "some" cleaning of the lead. I also don't understand why most casters feel the need to form lead muffins. Unless you're dealing with ballast from a boat, most lead will fit right in a 20lb Lee pot without needing to be in the shape of a muffin. For the larger pieces, a sledge hammer and a cheap hatchet will make quick work of the oversize lead. I used to be very anal about casting when I first started but soon realized all the extra steps I was taking during the process didn't yield better results. YMMV but I would rather spend more time shooting and loading up those cast bullets than spend twice as much time hunched over a 700 degree furnace on my weekends. -Chris
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Old 01-19-2013, 6:11 PM
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I melt old tire weights in an old pot on my old coleman camp stove. Use a little parafin wax and pour into an old muffin pan makes great ingots.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:29 AM
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I'm in the San Gabriel Valley though OP, so no help here.

I have a Lee bottom pour and it is nice. They aren't that expensive...saw them on sale somewhere recently for $58 or so. I have 2 of the Lee 6 gang molds (9mm and 38) and another on the way (a Lee copy of the H&G 45 cal 200 SWC) as well as an original H&G 4 cavity mold for the 45 cal. 200 gr SWC. The H&G mold is steel and pretty heavy compared to the Lee aluminum molds. I am anxious to try out the new Lee mold and see if my production rate goes up compared to the 4 cavity mold I have been using and if the lighter weight is better......gotta think it will be!!
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Old 01-24-2013, 7:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeX View Post
Iíve started my search looking for a portable/outdoor propane stove and a cast iron pan just for the cleaning / ingot process.
I have an old BBQ with a side burner that's just taking up space here. All you would need is a propane tank. Should be able to find an old cast pan at a thrift shop.
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Old 01-24-2013, 8:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjskalka View Post
Clips and zinc will float in lead, easy enough to scoop out even if you have a bunch of them. Fluxing the lead with some saw dust has always done the trick for me, so I suppose I do "some" cleaning of the lead. I also don't understand why most casters feel the need to form lead muffins. Unless you're dealing with ballast from a boat, most lead will fit right in a 20lb Lee pot without needing to be in the shape of a muffin. For the larger pieces, a sledge hammer and a cheap hatchet will make quick work of the oversize lead. I used to be very anal about casting when I first started but soon realized all the extra steps I was taking during the process didn't yield better results. YMMV but I would rather spend more time shooting and loading up those cast bullets than spend twice as much time hunched over a 700 degree furnace on my weekends. -Chris
Seriously?

I got an A in psychology so I think I am qualified to answer this.

For MOST casters seeing ingots piled up is a representation of value and for many that is as close as they will get to having a pile of gold because piles of gold never looked like a collection of wheel weights and fishing sinkers.

Now stop pissing in our punch bowl. We all do it for ingots.

Okay, on a serious note, I think it is because most casters want to think that they are being responsible and making ingots of CLEAN lead is what will make them feel better and it will look neater all stacked up in the corner somewhere. Like Fort Knox.
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Old 01-24-2013, 9:11 PM
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i like muffin size ingots cause i know if i put 6 of them in my pan turn on the heat and walk away in 15 minutes they will be melted i like doing the work of purifying so i dont have to when i want to cast i got some real gungy lead once and the smoke from the random stuff mixed in turned my stove white
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