Bottom pour pot etiquette

popper

Well-Known Member
I took the silly screw out of the top 'arm' (allows the stem to come out if I ever drain it), put a tap handle on the stem. Adds weight and I give it a short 'twirl' after a pour. Use a cheap 'dental pick to clean the spout if it slows. I don't use any sawdust for flux, tends to clog the spout. Just bees wax.
 

Creeker

Well-Known Member
I use only one pot. Each time I begin with a full pot & cast till it's empty. I do scrape the sides every 4 or 5 pot fulls. Once every year or so I will clean the pot good & pull the spout.
 

robertbank

New Member
I just use WW alloy for both pistol and rifle, I water quench my rifle and 9MM bullets by dropping them into a bucket of water straight from the mold. All other pistol bullets are air cooled.

Once a year I cast bullets and balls for my BP Remington 1858 44 using pure lead. I drain my WW alloy out into bricks and drop in lead ingots. Reverse the process when done.

When I finish I leave the pot full.

I have a 20lb Lee put above a RCBS 20lb pot. I refill my bottom pot from the top pot. The top pot gets all the sprue from casting as I cast. I add new ingots as required into the top pot.

This works for me and meets my needs. I apply GC 's to 9MM bullets when they are destined to my Walther PPQ polygonal rifles barrels. and any other situations I think they would help or serve a purpose.

Merry Christmas
Bob
 

robertbank

New Member
My pot drips or plugs up a lot like me. Sometimes I have to put the ingot mold under it to catch the drip. Other times I have a bent paperclip available to clear the clog like an enema
Well put this. Applies to most of us. That might be good or bad depending on your "point" of view. Good one my friend, good one.

Take Care

Bob
 

D Crockett

New Member
well I used to work in a reloading shop one day the boss asked me if I knew anything about casting bullets . I tell him I have cast something out of lead for a lot of years I have casted fish sinkers ,dive weights. I even made art out of lead and a ant hill that a friend told me how to do it turned out really neat . he then asked if he bought a pot to cast bullets with would I do it. shure turns out he got me a 40 lb Magma master caster and I cast a lot of bullets on that pot . it brakes down one day and I tried to fix it I worked on it for 3 days and still could not get it to work . 2 days later a new Magma pot shows up at the shop . then I got a rcbs promelt for my personal use mostly for bp bullets . I cast for my boss and good friend till he passed away from Cancer his wife tells me to take all the molds lead and casting michine and a star size michine home withe me . so I have then 40 lb pot that works and one that does not and a rcbs pro melt pot. I send the pot that did not work back to Magma and $35 I gets fixed fast foward a few years at a grauge sale I find another 40 lb Magma pot for a cheap price now I have 3 of the 40lb Magma pots and a 20 lb RCBS pro melt pot D Crockett
 

Walks

Well-Known Member
My old Pro-melt doesn't drip, rarely plugs up. I keep it clean and empty/clean it after every session. I don't have a dedicated casting area, so I have to setup and break down every time. Same for My old Mag-20.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
My RCBS developed a healthy drip after a couple decades of use.
My Magma 40# is set up for ladle and hasn’t dripped once.
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
I never completely empty a pot...............overworks the heating element. I just leave an inch or so of alloy after done casting. I cast outdoors so portability is also a concern..............otherwise I'd have Magma 40# pot.
 

pcmacd

New Member
I had trouble with my Magma Engr Master Caster leaking lead out the spout when warming up with a bunch of solidified lead in it. The heaters are on the bottom of my older model so the lead would get liquid there first, and the solid lead atop would form a seal. I guess the lead expanded enough to then be forced out of the spout. After that happened a couple of times I started leaving it empty.
 

Snakeoil

Active Member
My first pot was a small hand dip Lyman that was a perfect example of false economy. I now use it to cast sinkers occasionally. Bought a bottom pour Lyman and it shorted out on my first casting session. Figured that was strike 2 for Lyman. Sent it back and bought an RCBS. That was maybe 25 to 30 years ago.

Plugged the spout on the RCBS because the artillery sized round I was casting with my Paul Jones mold came out fugly when bottom pouring. So I hand dipped bullets with a single cavity mold all the time I was shooting BPCR. Learned to hate casting bullets.

Now that I'm shooting smaller calibers and more frequently, plus the addition of gray hair, I've returned the pot to bottom pouring and try to use multi-cavity molds. I only cast with 20:1 alloy so the complications of different alloys don't apply.

I flux using Brownell's flux that I've had for years. It became one solid piece over time and I've had to crush it up to use it. It does not smoke and that is important since I cast in the basement. It is almost gone so I'll need new flux. Suggestions are welcome. Or I'll just order more from Brownell's.

I have never put anything on top of the melt, probably out of ignorance. I've read here where some want a layer of carbon on top, I assume to prevent oxidation. Not sure if it helps keeping the tin in solution. I see wax is a common choice. But I would expect wax to smoke like mad so have never tried it. Please correct me if I am wrong. I flux and then remove any bad slag. I know the frosty silver is tin and just try to flux that back into solution. I only skim after fluxing. Don't see a need to skim when bottom pouring.

I have had a spout drip once or twice. Had to dump the pot and clean the spout. Do not go crazy scraping the sides each time I cast. Not sure the purpose of doing that since it just gets crudded up again. Not sure if that crud on the sidewalls has any effect on bullet quality or casting. Would like to know if it does. Probably insulates the pot a bit so can see too much crud being a problem.

As mentioned, I do flux during the process. All my alloy is premixed. For years I bought 20:1 from NEY but lately am using my own mix of virgin lead and tin. Someday, might move to range scrap. But I can afford new alloy so will probably leave the range scrap to guys on a budget.

No PID on my pot. The dial pretty much stays set to a line I put on the pot many years ago. I do check with a thermometer before I start and if I add to the pot during casting.

I will say that my hatred for casting has pretty much gone away since going to multi-cavity molds and bottom pouring. I made a device to grip the sprue plate on my NOE mold so I can cut 4 sprues without a mallet. It bolts to the bench which means no juggling during the casting process. Always hated using a mallet. Although it is necessary if bullets stick now and then. Made a mallet specifically for casting. It's a mini-billyclub made from rock maple with a lead core.

Any suggestions to improve my process or materials are appreciated.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
........I made a device to grip the sprue plate on my NOE mold so I can cut 4 sprues without a mallet. It bolts to the bench........

Any suggestions to improve my process or materials are appreciated.

Not sure I have any useful suggestions to improve YOUR process, but you may have one to improve MY process.

Care to share a photo of your "device to grip the sprue plate...?"

Single and double cavities - easy with a glove;

LEE six-cavities, odd, clumsy, but easy enough;

NOE and Arsenal four-cavity moulds have the same shape sprue plate, and I don't know which end which way the part you whack is suppose to go, so I typically put it on the far end, away from the handles. It works OK, but could be more convenient. Last week, I inadvertently mounted of of the two I was getting ready to use with the whacking part closer to the handle. I figured "what the heck, I'll try it."

Using a 1" diameter phenolic mallet (which was my dad's way of doing it), locating the sprue plate "backwards" didn't work out so bad, except that I chewed up the mallet face a bit because I locate the hinge NUT, from the handles UP, because I invert my moulds to dump the bullets, and prefer to whack the BOLT HEAD, instead of the threaded end and the nut. That was a long sentence and may not make sense, but I'll leave it stand and cross my fingers.

Anyway, your idea is intriguing.
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
Molds with any amount of cavities, should be able to open with a gloved hand, providing the mold is up to temperature. Alloy composition has no bearing, either. Rawhide mallet is useful for the first few pours, as well as, freeing sticking bullets.
 

Ian

Notorious member
Don't over think it. Don't let bullets/ingots/sprues hit the bottom, don't empty the pot completely, use only clean metal, and you'll never get crap coming out of the spout. float a metal plate on the melt to melt your sprues and culls without pulling the oxide skins to the bottom. Stir the alloy once in a while, when you're done casting pull the plate and flux the dross with whatever ( I detest borate flux but I also installed a ventilation fan and ductwork over my casting pot) before shutting it down. I don't have plugged spouts or any other issues with my bottom pour pots because I never let junk get down to the bottom where it breaks the surface tension of the lead and migrates to the spout in the first place. Keep all the oxide dross on top or where it can float up and either flux it back in or just skim it. Tin will not separate from the alloy. Most of the time anymore I don't even bother recycling the dross or fluxing in my casting pot, I just skim it off and save it all in metal juice or bean cans and deal with it when I'm rendering alloy outside.
 
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Jeff H

NW Ohio
Don't over think it. Don't let bullets/ingots/sprues hit the bottom, don't empty the pot completely, use only clean metal, and you'll never get crap coming out of the spout. float a metal plate on the melt to melt your sprues and culls without pulling the oxide skins to the bottom..........
That's where I am on this aspect of using a bottom-pour. As stated before, I can only fill my pots half-full until I close up the sprue orifice some. I also had to stop cycling sprues into the pot because of this.

Half the volume of melted metal increases the percentage of shhhh...tuff that gets drug into the mix. I cast until I have just a bit left in the bottom and STOP, put the moulds on the hot plate, reintroduce the sprues and make up what was lost to good bullets with CLEAN metal. Let it come back up to temp and stir it well ONCE (with a wooden stick, sorry guys - it's a magic stick and I'm not giving it up), but I DON'T touch the sides or bottom. All that forms on or comes to the surface is oxides and I skim that and keep it to infuse into the big pot next time I "render" bulk raw material (wheel weights). The pot stays clean enough that I don't have to clean it much and don't have crap come loose and suspend itself in the alloy.

I buy every bit of what Ian is saying, even though I do it slightly differently. I've had a lot of culls for inclusions in the past, to include cute little charcoal briquettes I made by using sawdust on top of the melt to prevent oxidation. My culls have been low for a long time now, but since I started running a half-full pot, I've gotten pickier too, and my production of GOOD bullets went up such that running half a ten pound pot didn't hurt near as bad as it might seem, production-wise.
 

Winelover

North Central Arkansas
Don't over think it. Don't let bullets/ingots/sprues hit the bottom, don't empty the pot completely, use only clean metal, and you'll never get crap coming out of the spout. float a metal plate on the melt to melt your sprues and culls without pulling the oxide skins to the bottom. Stir the alloy once in a while, when you're done casting pull the plate and flux the dross with whatever ( I detest borate flux but I also installed a ventilation fan and ductwork over my casting pot) before shutting it down. I don't have plugged spouts or any other issues with my bottom pour pots because I never let junk get down to the bottom where it breaks the surface tension of the lead and migrates to the spout in the first place. Keep all the oxide dross on top or where it can float up and either flux it back in or just skim it. Tin will not separate from the alloy. Most of the time anymore I don't even bother recycling the dross or fluxing in my casting pot, I just skim it off and save it all in metal juice or bean cans and deal with it when I'm rendering alloy outside.
confused-face-smiley-emoticon.gifNeed to take your own advise Ian.

He who over thinks everything.chain.gif