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Thread: A newbie makes his first lead muffins

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    Default A newbie makes his first lead muffins

    A few months back I decided to get into boolit casting. I started reading and visiting castboolits forums and started collecting wheel weights and also got a hold of a linotype pig. Today I rendered my first batch of ww's and dropped some lead muffins

    Here's my first setup. I tried the MSR XGK which puts out about 10000 btu's. Well, problem was the flame/heat is to concentrated, does not heat the entire bottom of the pot and I ended up with about 45lbs of mush with about a six inch puddle of molten lead in the middle. I bagged that setup and broke out the ol' reliable, a Sears version of a Coleman stove that I bought used 17 years ago for 10 bucks. It's seen it's share of Moose Hunting camps over the years and just keeps on tickin! I put a heavy duty cast iron grate over the top of the existing one and it was real solid. I didn't take a picture of it but the old stove melted that 45lb hunk of solid lead in that enameled steel pot about 20 minutes I think. I didn't time it but is sure was quick I thought.



    Well, I decided to try the cast iron frying pan that I scored dumpster diving. It worked like a champ. I think it took about 15-20 min or so to melt down about 45 lbs of lead to where I could skim the clips. After dipping most of the lead I could pick it up and easily pour the last 3 or so. It's an old one with a real stout handle. I scored the muffin tins dumpster divin as well, one was good and rusted and dropped the muffins real nice. The other one isn't quite as rusted and a couple stuck on my first batch. I had to employ a few forced extraction techniques but managed to not destroy the whole pan in the process. Only one tin


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    Default It's melllltingngngn!



    I used the stick method I've read about for stirring and fluxing. Seemed to work pretty good I guess.



    Ahhhh, beautiful


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    Default The end result

    I ended up with 72 2lb muffins. A couple were a little light so I figure I made about 140lbs of lead muffins. Too cool. I smelted about 1/3 of my ww I've gathered over the past couple months. It was a great Fairbanks day for smelting, about 70, a nice steady breeze that blew all the smoke and fumes away and not a cloud to be seen.








    Now that I have a supply of lead and some ingots the next step is to order my Lee 4-20 pot this week and get some moulds and cast some boolits. This is going be a blast!

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    To cool
    Now what ya goona shoot the muffins out of
    Andy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    To cool
    Now what ya goona shoot the muffins out of..
    A muffin launcher what else!! I ordered one off ebay today and it only cost me $14995.95 plus a buck 2.98 for shipping. The good news is I'm getting it before the AWB comes back

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    Great looking muffins! I need to start working the three remaining buckets of wheelweights I have in the shed.

    Mike

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Looks like you had a great day with melting metal with fire! Congratulations on getting into the casting thing, I hope you find it as rewarding and enjoyable as I have over the years.

    I certainly don’t want to criticize your operation, because what works for one guy may not work for all, but I would like to offer a couple of “observations” that may interest you…

    First off….. you may wish to consider an alternate type of heating system. For a while I was using a Coleman duel fuel type stove, but discovered that the huge amount of heat radiating off of my lead filled cast iron pot was sufficient to melt the seals on the pressure chamber of the stove….. when this happened it allowed pressurized fuel and fuel vapor to spew out of the duel fuel stove. The results were spectacular to say the least! Think “super nova” as a cup full of superheated pressurized white gas met with flame! Of course this may never happen with your set up, but I am offering it up as something to think about…….. I have found that propane burners such as a turkey fryer burner work very well, are easer to regulate, and by design place your fuel supply away from the heat source.

    Second…. Your skillet will work fine, but I suspect you will be better served with a deeper dutch oven kind of pot, as the greater depth makes it far easier to use a ladle.

    Third… get yourself a proper skimmer. Its like a really big spoon with a bunch of holes in it http://www.theantimonyman.com/?CFID=998057&CFTOKEN=67241899 has just then thing you want, and also several sizes of Rowel ladles. It will make skimming the clips off your wheel weights a breeze!

    Fourth… the next time you’re at Carr’s or Fred Meyer, pick up a box of paraffin wax as is used in canning. It works great for adding to your melt to break up the surface tension on the alloy and aids greatly in separating the dross from the base metal for skimming. Of course, most anything can be substituted with pretty good results, and saw dust, crayons, bullet lube etc. all seem to work ok. Note that smoke and flames are a natural by product of this activity so caution should be observed…..

    And lastly….. abandon the round puck type ingots! And don’t wait until you have several hundred pounds of them before you realize that rectangular ingots fit your casting pot better and are much easier to store! I am speaking from experience here! You will thank yourself later, if you invest in a few different ingot molds from RCBS, Lyman, Seaco and Lee. Each of these moulds (with the exception of the Lee) has the company name embossed into the casting and will mark your ingots with the name. you can then cast ingots of different alloys and write down which is which for future reference. For example, all of my RCBS marked ingots are my “hardball” alloy of 5 parts WW to 3 parts Linotype, and all my Lyman marked ingots are WW + %2 tin. Alternatively, you can use letter punches to designate different alloys if you chose to stick with the round ingots.

    Snyd, I hope this didn’t come off as “preachy” as that wasn’t my intention, but I did think you would enjoy reading what a fellow caster has found that worked well.

    Cheers!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    I just noticed the fire extinguisher there in the background of your photo! Well done! I will confess that I was not quite as prepared when I experienced the “Coleman stove super nova” event…….. Did I mention that when a Coleman dual fuel stove goes super nova the intense heat and flames will quickly melt the stove allowing the weight of the casting pot and all of its molten contents to crush the smoking charred mass of what used to be your heat source, and then fall over spilling its contents of a half gallon of 1000 degree F alloy onto the top of your wooden bench instantly setting fire to everything it comes in contact with? As a side note, I should also mention, that a catastrophe of this type can be magnified considerably by the panic driven application of water from a garden hose….. Lets take a moment to recall some fire fighting basics! Burning white gas + burning wood + molten lead + water = very bad things. Your wise choice of a dry chemical fire extinguisher is a very prudent precaution on your part.

    Now repeat after me in your best Elvis voice……. Ohhhh Momma!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Alangaq,
    Thanks a bunch for all the input. I appreciate it. I'm getting pretty excited about this casting thing and am learning. I've been trying to get started on the cheap and was anxious to get started so I went with what I had. Ya, I definitely need to get a dutch oven and will have to watch it with the coleman stove. I actually have a propane type of deal that shoots out a big blue flame about an inch or two in diameter and it has a flame spreader that disperses the flame. It sticks in the ground, a musher friend of mine used it to melt snow in big pots for his dogs. I may see how that works. I actually have a slotted flipper that I was using to skim out the clips, it's in the first pic. I worked pretty good. I used the other one for skimming dirt. I have a bunch of pure parafin candles, I'll try those next time. I posted this the other day at another forum:

    I too am just getting geared up. I started collecting lead first off. I have been able to purchase a few buckets of WW's, got one freebie and just got a bucket thrown in on the deal when I bought new tires for the car. I need new struts and they'll do the same thing. I think I've got about 5 or 6 buckets so far and was also able to trade some door stops for a 20+lb Linotype pig that was cut in half and being used as door stops! I've got a hundred bucks into my lead so far. I scored a big cast iron frying pan dumpster diving along with 2 nice old rusty muffin pans. I used my old Sears clone of a Coleman stove last weekend and made 140lbs of lead muffins. This week I placed the following order from Lee Factory Sales. I've got 350 bucks total invested including my lead and can cast and size for 45, 44 and 38. I still need a thermometer and will probably get a hardness tester along with a heavy gc mould(s) for 45 Colt/454 Cassul and 44mag and also gas checks. But, I've got a decent stash of heavy Cast Performance bullets for now so I bought moulds for plinkin. I went ahead and ordered lee sizer kits for all 3 calibers cuz I couldn't figure out how to just get one kit with the plastic container and then just the other two dies. Oh well, only 36 bucks for 3 "kits". I figure I'll try alox lube and also try the pan lube method and see what I think of each.

    Product #90947 PRO 4 20LB Melter =$66.98
    Product #90326 6 CAVITY 358-150-1R =$38.00
    Product #90349 6 CAVITY 452-255-RF =$38.00
    Product #90428 6 CAVITY 429-200-RF =$38.00
    Product #90055 NEW LUBE & SIZE KIT .452 =$12.90
    Product #90048 NEW LUBE & SIZE KIT .358 =$12.90
    Product #90062 NEW LUBE & SIZE KIT .430 =$12.90
    Product #90005 COMMERCIAL MOLD HANDLES =$13.70

    Subtotal: $233.38
    Insurance/Shipping: $13.95
    Total: $247.33

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    I definitely agree with Alangaq about the muffin tins. I too did the same thing when I started out and then changed over to the ingot molds. well worth it. Much easier to stack and store in neat tight pile. The rounds one just don't stack well and use up alot of space. Remember when you flux with the candle wax to only skim off the junk not the gray metal that is on the surface. That is the tin that gives the bullet the hardness. Good luck. akraven

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    SNYD... your in FBK?


    gime a holler i have several dutch ovens.. i have scrounged.. more cast then i can carry be willing to toss one your way...


    Vince
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    SNYD... your in FBK?


    gime a holler i have several dutch ovens.. i have scrounged.. more cast then i can carry be willing to toss one your way...


    Vince
    AWESOME VINCE!! PM Sent.

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    That’s interesting stuff, Alangaq:

    I hope to do some more casting this summer.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, and I’ve never done enough to learn much, but I evolved into using the Coleman White Gas stove, and a SMALL Cast-Iron skillet, to melt the lead, a tablespoon to skim, and the skimmings dumped into a coffee can.

    I have the lyman dipper to pour with. I never had an Ingot mold, but I got one cheap about 3 Gun Shows ago.

    I think with the small skillet, I shouldn’t have enough heat reflection to trouble my stove. I never did anyway.

    I plan to cast some round balls and conical for my Muzzle Loaders, and try making some boolits with my Just-In-Case rifle moulds.

    I'll also be working on making round balls over a campfire, using my Bag Mould, and dipper. Fortunately, I have a camp fire place in my back yard.

    Keep it goin Snyd. We need to know this stuff.

    Smitty of the North
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    Ya, it sounds like Alangaq is a voice of experience there. A guy can't be to careful dealing with molten lead. Half the fun has been scoring buckets of wheel weights. 140lbs of lead muffins = 3920 250gr boolits! That's a lot of boolits for a the 45 Colt and 44 mag. Or 6500- 150gr for the 38! Wheel weights are like gold! I'm now on a constant mission to score em whenever I can.

    For years I've wanted to get to a point where I could shoot as much as I want (instead of just 22's) and not be burning 50 or a 100 bucks each time I shoot. I feel like I'm finally getting there. I'm into the casting thing about 350 bucks and that includes probably about 400lbs of ww ingots by the time I get them rendered down.

    It sounds like I need to get some smaller ingot moulds for my next batch of smelting with my new "Vince donated dutch oven". I'll post pics and results of my next "wheel weight smeltdown". Hopefully my pot and moulds will be here in a couple weeks.

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    I wish I could honestly claim that all the info I dole out is from my own brain……. Sadly this is not the case. That http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm forum has been the source of the majority of my knowledge and I must give credit were it is due. Those California bullet casting guys are total lead melting freaks! If it can be done, they have done it, and have instructions on their sight so you can do it!

    But now that you are well on your way to making piles of shoot able bullets, I will mention another money saving tip….. buy your bullet lube off of E-Bay! There is a guy on there (Jakes bullet lubes) and he has every type of lube known to man! I have tried about six or so of them, both soft and hard and have found that the plain Jane, 50/50% Alox (NRA formula) works the best for me. I use it for everything including revolver, rifle and even black powder, although a black powder specific lube might work better in that application, I only shoot about 100 rounds of BP at a time so it doesn’t really matter.

    Good luck and good shootin!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Default What is the price of Lead these days? Before and after Obama?

    Snyd:
    You know WHAT???
    I'd just store those Lead Muffins in a Bucket. (I have a bunch of lead, I've collected, and that's how I keep it together.)

    You probably have enough for a barrel, but a bucket is easier to lift around.

    If the muffins are too beeg for your pot, maybe you could score a SMALLER muffin pan. I was thinking to make some ingot molds outta wood

    I have some UNKNOWN LEAD, that I got at a garage sale. Is it neccessary to make a boolit before you can determine the BHN with one of those testers?

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    Smitty
    A good "seat of the pants" test for unknown lead is can you dig a fingernail into it? A minor scratch with no depth is good lead for bullets. If you can actually dig into it it is too soft. You can add in some lead free solder which is primarily tin/antimony to harden it up. akraven

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    I prefer using the muffin tins to buying ingot molds from Lyman, RCBS, etc. When I melt down wheel weights I do quite a bit at one time, and having a bunch of cheapie muffin tins that I bought at a goodwill store for $0.30 to $0.50 apiece really helps. I have a 12 quart dutch oven that I can completely empty given the amount of muffin tins I have on hand. If I were to buy 3 or 4 Lyman molds and use those, what would normally take me a couple of hours would probably take all afternoon.

    The fact that they don't stack as well doesn't bother me at all. I store mine in containers (usually 5 gallon buckets and wooden boxes), so how they sit in the containers isn't very relevant to me. It probably would be if I stacked them loose up against a wall though.

    Also, the round muffin ingots work very will with my Lee 10 lb. pot. I don't see that a rectangular ingot would work any better for me in that respect.

    Some of the guys on the Cast Boolits forum have welded up ingot molds out of angle iron, and they look really nice. If I could weld I'd do something like that.

    Mike

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    Thanks for the tip, akraven.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    Snyd, got you a pot, does have feet. and lid. i am in and out of town this week.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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