What lead pot do you use and/or recommend?

#1
I use the Lee’s now, a 10 & 20#. I like the 10# the best because of the actuating lever.

If you were getting a new pot which would you get? My budget is 250-300 smackaroos.

Thanks, Malcolm
 
#2
I like both of the Lee BP pots but for single and double cavity molds use the 10 pound more than the 20. It is easier to see how the stream enters the sprue hole with the 10 pound pot. I have installed a bracket on several of the pots so I can interchange one PID unit with any of the pots which seems to help with my casting. My casting area might be considered "confined" so the boxy appearance of some of the other furnaces does not appeal to me. But everyone has different tastes and requirements. Keep them clean and they work with minimal attention. They are inexpensive enough to allow me to keep a pot for several different alloys and not have to switch back and forth.
 

Cherokee

Well-Known Member
#4
I used Lee #20 pots for many years, if one gave out or leaked too much, I got another. Couple years ago I opted to add an RCBS pot and like it much better, but it is above your budget. For your budget, go for the #20 Lee. I have my pots on a riser at eye level so I can see the lead enter the cavities.
 

CZ93X62

Active Member
#5
I've had a couple Lee pots (10 pounders), and they were both usable and serviceable tools that I got a lot of use out of. Around 2003, I was in a pawn shop near the office and found an RCBS Pro Melt for sale, NIB. $50. WRAP IT UP. This is the older version, made in 1988 per the box stamping. WHAT AN UPGRADE. I am SPOILED.

Some of you might recall from the older editions of Handloader some ads in the back section from an "Arthur Green", a metals dealer in Beverly Hills, CA. About the time of my furnace purchase I had need for some casting metal, and after some phone-message-tag I arranged to meet him at his office for merchandise pickup. Just the trip in from where i was living then was an *adventure*, and it got no less exciting once at the office address--can you say "SKETCHY?" Mr. Green was great, and explained that his office's neighborhood had degenerated of late. I noticed that he had several RCBS furnaces just like mine on the floor, and remarked that I just bought one myself. He said that his never break, and they get used 2-5 times a week. All of them. "That furnace will last you the rest of your life" was his remark. OK then. I went home richer in casting metal and knowledge than I had arrived, and the added spice of dodging ne'er-do-wells and non-specific low-lifes added some spice as well.
 

Ole_270

Active Member
#6
I've had one of the newer Lymans with the PID for a year or so. Poured a couple hundred pounds out of it. Not as much use as many here, but I've had no trouble with it. Turned the mold guide at an angle and set my NOE, Accurate and Lee 4,5 and 6 cavity molds on the top rail since they don't fit in the track.
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
#7
Wow Al, you got out of Art Green's office that easy. Been there many times myself and agree completely that he was the nicest guy you could hope to meet . . . But he would talk your ear off for hours on end if you let him.

My RCBS is also from that time, right about 1988 and it was $80 new in the box in the store. I remember being in that same store just a few years later just shocked. Wow $100 for the same pot. Times sure have changed.
 

Cherokee

Well-Known Member
#8
I never used the mold guides with the Lee or RCBS pots, this pic of my RCBS shows a support I built that I set the mold on to pour into the mold. Have same set up on my Lee's. I don't do HP's so this works for all my molds.
RCBS Pot Setup 01.jpg
 
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fiver

Well-Known Member
#9
I'd look at the RCBS too for that price range.

I talked to Art on the phone several times back in the 90's.
I think I'd still be on the phone with him but someone showed up at his place and he had to go, I bet we talked for about 3 hours the last time I called him, some of it was even about lead alloy.
 
#11
I have a Lee 20 lb I plugged the spout and removed the mechanism to ladle cast with. I rarely pull my thermometer probe when running it and keep levels at nearly the same to minimize temperature swings.
 
#13
Have four furnaces, three different makes, different alloys in each.

The 20# Lee is leaps and bounds over their 10 pounder. I keep that filled with pure lead for muzzleloaders.

Have a RCBS ProMelt that operates off 220 volts. Picked that up cheap ($160), a few years ago, off GB. Vast improvement over the Lee offerings, but no PID.

Bought a Lyman Mag 25 to see what all the PID hoopla was about. Nice, but not necessary. As a bottom pour, I find the flow rate a little lacking. Currently, I have the spout adjustment bottomed out/shut off, for ladle casting.

Last purchase was the RCBS "Easy Melt", a dedicated ladle casting pot with PID. No spout actuator to get in the way of a #2 Rowell ladle. Picked this one up when RCBS was offering a $25 rebate so the pot ran @ $80 delivered. Couldn't pass it up. The only thing I'm not crazy about is the the shutdown procedure. RCBS recommends not unplugging the pot till the temperature is at or below 160 degrees. That can take several hours.......
 
#15
Good morning
WE use a Lee #20 with the spout for most mold pouring usually loaded with WW or Range scrap. Gets dumped after each use as sometimes I like to pour some WW / Lino mixed 50/50 for some special slugs.
Then there is an old #10 always full of 40-1 .
Then there is a another #20 for using a dipper for "special molds" that just do not like spouts. It gets dumped after each use.
 
#16
Used a gas ring and a cast iron pot for years, got a Lee 10lb pot but had the permanent leak, blocked it up slung the pouring gubbins and I had an adequate dipping pot but was too deep and narrow and didn't carry enough lead. Sprung for an RCBS Promelt and felt I had arrived at last and ran two for 20 odd years. I took a step backwards when Lee brought out their larger pot as I bought one of them out of optimistic curiosity but it went the journey as it leaked and leaked regardles of the "fix" applied.

As I refined my casting technique I felt the need for more capacity, dithered about the Magma but the cost was just too much, then Stephan came along and I got my forty lb dream pots. Selling one of my Promelt's paid for my first Stephan pot, still use the remaining RCBS along with a Lyman dipping pot and the two 40lber's.

Stephan's 40lb pouring and dipping furnaces.

I suspect that with shipping and the exchange rate it might not be as good a buy to people across the pond but it has certainly scratched my upgrade itch.

I am casting away with no niggles or wished for improvements, other than the impossible wish that they would go back to lead alloy wheel weights.

I would certainly still recommend the Promelt, a bit above your budget perhaps, but the difference in casting is light years ahead of the Lee stuff that it is well worth the little extra. Second hand is always a good option but I doubt second hand Promelts linger so luck and timing might be required in such a search.

Personally I found dipping with the cast iron pot and gas ring better than using the Lees.
 
#17
What got me started in this whole rabbit hole, was a itty bitty bottom pour pot. I would guess it held maybe 5lb at the most, cast iron base, even the switch the cord ran through had its own round cast iron base. Switch was the old round one like in gpa's barn. Heating element went bad. I thought I was into casting hard core at that point,:rofl: I must of had at least five molds!
What to do. A lee 10lb pot was ordered. I thought it was huge. I used it for several years. Worked like a champ. Moved to some bigger calibers, so I bought a 20lb pot.
I used it,I fought with it off and on, on a regular basis. I ran it for probably ten years or more.
One of my older shooting buddies health got bad and he decided to sell ALL of his treasures. So another shooting pard and I told him we wanted it all. Took us close to 2 years to finally get it all bought. He was gracious enough to let us buy as we could. Dropped several K on that deal. Tons of lead, dozens of molds,sizers,lubes,antimony, sizers,presses,primers, powder, jacketed bullets, tens of thousands of gas checks. One lead pot for casting and it was an RCBS.

So that is what I use a large majority of the time, I would say this one is a 90's model. He had worn one out and replaced most parts at least once.
I do now have a lee 10lb pot. IMHO it is in ways better than the 20. I use it for 22's and some 32's.

I really need to step up and get a PID and quit messing around. I had a chance a while back to run one and I was quite impressed with it.

FYI, they all drip at some point. Now that I am dangerous and have a lathe, I have plans for fixing my RCBS.
 
#18
I run a Lyman Mag20, the older style. After my hassles with Lyman customer service I won't buy another pot from them. Mine was new when I bought it, and went through a spell of burning up heating elements. I now know how to get around Lyman for elements, but I have to bend them myself. No Biggie, it's kind of like bending brake line or other small tubing. When my thermostat (bi-metal controller, actually) croaked, Lyman wanted $120.00 to replace it. Plus shipping. $60.00 later I had built the PID that now gets used on both electric pots, and my heat-treating/powder coating oven. Ironically, I haven't had any more heating element burnouts since I switched to PID. My recommendation? Anybody but Lyman, their lack of customer service is legendary. And give yourself extra points if you find a pot from a reputable maker, and it already has a PID.
 
#20
I have a lee 10 & 20. Recently got the RCBS easymelt for ladle casting. (At the moment, I do ladle casting only since I have found I get better bullets with lower reject rates). I like it very much, the PID controller is nice- one thing less to worry about. But, at the end of the day, I make just as nice bullets with the Lee. Matter of taste, really.