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Lead Casting

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BSA1, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    I have some lead that have steel threaded rod in them. (I don't know what they were used for). Anyway I want to use the lead for bullet casting. How do I separate the steel rod from the lead post? They are small enough to fit in my melting pot but how do I get the steel out (the pot is bottom pour)?
  2. wgaynor

    wgaynor Well-Known Member

    Put it in the melting pot. Wait for the lead to melt, and with a pair of pliers (wear gloves and other gear as you feel necessary), pull the steel out. Same principle for melting wheel weights.

    The lead has a lower melting point than steel.

    I personally would melt the lead, flux it, and pour into ingots from a separate pot than what you pour your bullets from. Keeps the bottom pour pot from clogging up and dripping.
  3. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    That aint no step for a stepper.
    Most anything is lighter than lead and melts at higher temps, thus the lead will melt and everything else will float to the top. Then you take a dipper or large stainless steel spoon and skim it out.
    If the pieces are too large for a dipper, do like wgaynor said and use some long nose pliers and remove it that way.
  4. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    So the steel will float to the top.

    I am first going to pour into ingots as I have everything from wheel weights to lead plumbing to some really soft sheets that came off the roof of a old house. The soft sheets are going into a special marked ingot for use as round balls in front stuffers. The w.w. and unknown stuff I'll probably melt into ingots and stored with some other ingots I have.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  5. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    Yes but I wouldn't melt them in my bottom pour pot because you will be adding trash to the pot that you don't want in there. I melt everything in a dutch oven and pour clean ingots. Only clean ingots go into my bottom pour pot.

  6. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member


    That sounds like good advice as some of the lead is really nasty looking. I may need to call the fire department before I melt the roofing lead due to the roof tar still on it. :eek:

    What do you use to heat your cast iron pot?
  7. RugerBob

    RugerBob Well-Known Member

    If the roofing lead w/tar on it is small enough, freeze it and brake it off before melting. I do that, as long as the wife isn't home.
    A turkey fryer with propane tank works awesome.
    Pick up a dutch cast iron kettle at a yard sale, cheap.
  8. wgaynor

    wgaynor Well-Known Member

    I've used propane to heat my old lead wheel weights, and it works, but can get costly.

    I've used electric burners (have to modify it by removing the thermostat) and it worked ok.

    My favorite method is to get an old grill, fill it with charcoal, and light it up.

    Set the cast iron pot on it and add the lead. Takes about 10 minutes to melt.

    Keep an eye on it though. As soon as it melts, remove the junk, flux it, and pour ingots. If you take your time, you could melt other metals such as zinc due to not being able to control the temp.

    This is my favorite method though.
  9. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    If you shop around you can get by pretty cheap. I bought the six quart dutch oven at Harbor Freight for $12. I bought a Bayou Burner 85,000 BTU burner on-line for $43. I bought a 24 inch and 20 inch solid and slotted spoon for $3 each at a restaurant supply store in town. The thermometer was $35 but you can buy them cheaper. Also the ladle was $35 but can be bought cheaper. The ingot molds I made myself for free from scrap steel. The channel locks for taking off the pot lid I already had.






    The bars go around eight pounds each and the rounds go around three pounds each. They will fit in the Lee 20 pound pot easy. For my Lee 10 pound pot I had to fill the bar molds half way.
  10. wgaynor

    wgaynor Well-Known Member

    Go to a local Flea Market. You can get your cast Iron Pots for $5 along with ladles and cast iron corn bread moulds. They are great for making ingots.
  11. Springfield0612

    Springfield0612 Well-Known Member

    You don't have to use the soft lead just for your smoke poles. Add some pewter and it'll harden up and improve fill out. I add 8oz. of pewter to 5 lbs of soft lead and get 11.5 BHN. If you want to up the hardness a little more you can water qwench them and jump them up to about 16 BHN. For rifle loads you can temper them in an oven after water qwenching and get the BHN even higher to around 20-24 BHN.
    Pewter can be found around town at Goodwill and other 2nd hand stores. If you're paying less than $10 a pound your doing great! Stay away from Wilton "Pewter" it's not tin pewter. If the pewter is that dull silver color and can be easily bent and scratched then your GTG. Melt at a lower temp than lead and flux it them same. When I pour my ingots of pewter I do it on a scale to make sure I'm getting close to 8 oz as possible.

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