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RT58
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Posted: February 02 2017 at 8:06am | IP Logged Quote RT58

I used to cast on the kitchen stove in my apartment using a cast iron plumbers pot and a large cast iron skillet. There was no vent so I opened the windows.

If you're married that might not go over too well with the Mrs., even if you eat out all the time. richhodg66 is right about the smoke.

I used to cast at work too, using a single burner electric range hot plate and the cheap steel pot Lee used to sell.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 02 2017 at 8:40am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I started out casting atop a kitchen stove as a boy with my great uncle Leo. He'd come to visit and his gun gear was in the trunk of his old Ford. He'd smile at my mother and ask if he could teach her son some things. She'd give in because she understood the importance but would always tell us "Now don't make a mess or burn down the house you two." Leo would give her a big hug and tell her all was well. And later, on my own casting round ball for my '51 Navy, I'd be at the stove with a porcelain coated steel pot and the same old Ideal dipper I still use today. I've gone full circle.

As to the smoke when fluxing. I use beeswax. Drop in a chip. Stirring and churning a bit and with the dross removed, little smoke is actually produced. Now when melting scraps and old WW, I do this outside due to loads of fumes and stink. There I use my Coleman stove and the Lyman iron melting pot. After the crap has been removed, a grab of the bail with vicegrips and tipping the pot over the old cast iron cornbread mould, and I've got usable ingots. Well I do if the alloy is right that is.

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JD45
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Posted: February 02 2017 at 12:25pm | IP Logged Quote JD45

Those are good stories!

And I actually have that little Lee cast pot.

I think I'll buy a dipper and a mold soon.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 03 2017 at 10:36am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Is that the little 4# open topped model from Lee? If so, it's a good starter furnace as it's just big enough to dip well from and make enough cast rounds to be useful.

I'd avoid the Lee dipping ladle. Not really good for proper casting. I strongly recommend either the Lyman or RCBS "ball" style dipper. They have round spouts for contact seal with the sprueplate's opening and allows for the rolling of the mould & dipper to get a proper fill. The Lee type just dribbles.

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JD45
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Posted: February 03 2017 at 8:55pm | IP Logged Quote JD45

I've read a ton about casting over the years. And I just remembered this! Ross Seyfried wrote a great article once and said that Rowell bottom pour ladles were the best. Google that name and you'll find plenty. That's what I'm buying now for sure.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 03 2017 at 9:43pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

That sounds like a plan to me if I ever heard one! Go get em. You've got a mess of casting folks here to walk ya through it all.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 04 2017 at 3:31am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I don't ladle pour much any more, but Old Ranger is right about the Lee ladles. They are cheap enough and useful for stirring during fluxing, etc., but for actually pouring bullets, a lyman or RCBS is better.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 05 2017 at 12:04pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Well, back on subject. Taking noylj and RT58 resounding good results of unsized and LLA use into the equation, I attempted a test of my own based upon their practice.

I have a Lee mould, yes a Lee, and it's one of a very few that actually casts a great bullet and I actually like it. But one problem. It barely casts to .4295" at best. The mould is the .429-200 RNFP. Again, a beautiful bullet but one that leaded up like the rest. So yesterday morning I cast some with my soft & mushy metal and found some LLA (circa 1987) and thinned it down with mineral spirits. Coated a dozen bullets and set them off to dry.

This morning I loaded a dozen .44Spl with 5gr of W231 and set out to my pistol range. Fired all 12 with the knowledge that if they're going to lead the bore this would do it. Aside from a reasonable group, I was amazed to see a bore free of lead with just the usual powder fouling! And cleaning revealed zero lead. And y'all know me, I clean like a man possessed.

Gentlemen, this opened my eyes to something that my hidebound and stubborn ways hindered before. Learned three things out of this entire business. 1. Harder lead ain't necessarily all that important or good. Softer, like in the old days still works.
2. If your bullets drop from the mould a might skinny for your old school sizing & lubrication via a press, shoot em unsized.
3. LLA, what you once referred to as "mule snot" and shunned in the past, works!

So in conclusion to what began as "a mistake" dropping pure lead into a harder alloy did in fact turn out not to be a mistake. And listening to my amigos here proved to be invaluable in educating an old school caster in a lesson that was right on the money for success.

Now as best as I can figure this mix is about 2 to 1 WW to lead. Let's hope I got that right.

Again, many thanks to all for your assistance AND your patience with my ornery ways.

Edited by Old Ranger on February 05 2017 at 12:09pm


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REM1875
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Posted: February 07 2017 at 5:42am | IP Logged Quote REM1875

JD45 wrote:
Who here casts on a kitchen stove in a
lead pot?

Is a vent hood fan enough? I wanna hear everyone's
stories, even if its in the past.


I did and I don't think there was a vent hood.
Rinsing off the spoon I was using to drag dross and
flux with put a real nice silver speckled effect
though out the entire kitchen except behind where I
was standing when I put the not entirely dry spoon in
the pot.
That nice silver color faded rather quickly.
Lesson learned.

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REM1875
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Posted: February 07 2017 at 5:56am | IP Logged Quote REM1875

I had my Lee pots on a larger army cookie pan and
stored them in a deer stand on my property. A range fire
turned a lot of it into a lead alum alloy and melted all
the alum and lead I had including pot and most of the
cookie pan into to a large silver colored piles with
some copper wire scattered trough out it- molds too.
The steel survived but rusted quickly from the salt in
my tears..
I replaced what I lost with more Lee bottom pour
electric pots- they took a hell of a lot of abuse prior
to that.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 07 2017 at 10:27am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I'm not going to shoot unsized in my .38Spl's since they drop close to or better than .360" and, of course, they respond well to being sized .3585" with NRA lube. Trying this unsized thing with the .45ACP is questionable. They drop close to .453" and are ever so slightly out of round. Maybe I'll size and lube em and then slosh em around in LLA a bit for additional lube. Worth a try I guess. Then I can see if the softer alloy and LLA makes a difference in the 45.

Also I've lubed 24 of the 200gr RNFP .44s to load in mag cases and I'll load em mild, say around 950fps or so. And that'll tell me for certain if I got it right. I've no need for faster loads. That's plenty for hogs and other "large varmints" that walk, slither, or drive up.

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noylj
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Posted: February 07 2017 at 11:28am | IP Logged Quote noylj

Yes, always better to NOT try something. One can stay in their comfort zone
that way.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 07 2017 at 3:15pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Did I stutter or break into French?
I do believe I had clearly handed you and RT58 a complement on directing me towards testing unsized and LLA lube. Or am I hallucinating on LLA fumes?
And I must have failed to point out the part about 38 moulds dropping at .360" and requiring sizing? No? Oh, I guess the Fairy Godmother wrote that......

Think I'm going on a site vacation. ... got crap thrown at me in another post.... yeah. See ya guys..



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noylj
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Posted: February 07 2017 at 3:53pm | IP Logged Quote noylj

Sorry, but the way I read your post...

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BAGTIC
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Posted: March 02 2017 at 7:06pm | IP Logged Quote BAGTIC

I cast my bullets from WW. I water drop them. I do not size them. If they chamber I use them. I don't worry about obturation or the bullets upsetting to fill the rifling. I start them off big enough. I tumble lube with JPW.

They shoot as well as the commercial lubed bullets I have tried in the past. A lead bullet will accept a lot of swaging down. 2-3 thousandths isn't uncommon and in some guns more. If you are worried about increased pressures just remember to start below maximum when working up your load. Case condition, extraction, primers and chronographed velocities will all help determine when time to stop. I typically find it easy to get 1200 fps, or more, with absolutely no leading in a wide assortment of revolvers.

Sometimes me thinks that some people are overthinking the problem.
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Rex
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Posted: March 02 2017 at 8:33pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

I size mine to the cylinder throat, if not the throats start leading first then things go down hill fast from there. My Smith 686 throats are .357.
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BAGTIC
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Posted: March 03 2017 at 10:10am | IP Logged Quote BAGTIC

Rex wrote:
I size mine to the cylinder throat, if not the throats start leading first then things go down hill fast from there. My Smith 686 throats are .357.



I wonder what happens to those who use soft lead so the bullet will expand (obturate) in order to fill the riflings. Those soft bullets will expand while still in the case. There have been many tests where the barrels were removed from revolvers and the bullets photographed in an already expanded state as they exit the cylinder.

Ironically ATF has not, to my knowledge, persecuted any of those experimenters for possessing and firing smoothbore breechloading arms with barrels under 18.5 inches in length.
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Rex
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Posted: March 03 2017 at 10:58am | IP Logged Quote Rex

Bagtic, I'm not smart enough to figure any of that out. I just do what works for me.
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REM1875
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Posted: March 03 2017 at 11:08am | IP Logged Quote REM1875

"Ironically ATF has not, to my knowledge, persecuted
any of those experimenters for possessing and firing
smoothbore breechloading arms with barrels under 18.5
inches in length."


I guess I would clean em to see if there was still
rifling in any of my pistol or revolvers?

Edited by REM1875 on March 03 2017 at 11:11am


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Buffalogun
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Posted: March 03 2017 at 4:56pm | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

BAGTIC wrote:


I wonder what happens to those who use soft lead so the bullet will expand (obturate) in order to fill the riflings. Those soft bullets will expand while still in the case. There have been many tests where the barrels were removed from revolvers and the bullets photographed in an already expanded state as they exit the cylinder.

Ironically ATF has not, to my knowledge, persecuted any of those experimenters for possessing and firing smoothbore breechloading arms with barrels under 18.5 inches in length.



All chambers and throats aren't cut correctly for best accuracy and no leading. Some firearms benefit from softer alloys. Yours may not. Some may shoot better with harder alloys.


And...removing the barrel from a revolving handgun doesn't change the chambering nor does it change the way the gun was designed to be fired.
The cylinder is still chambered for a handgun cartridge, not a shotshell. I don't think it would be considered a sawed-off shotgun by ATF.


Mike

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