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Lead Furnace Poll

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by LAH, Jan 22, 2003.

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  1. LAH

    LAH Member

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    Being a bullet caster I'm often asked which equipment to start with. Over the last couple years I've recomended the RCBS bottom pour 20 pound pot. It's been a good pot in the past without the spout freeze of the Lyman or the drip of the Lee. Has any of this changed? Should I change my advice to new casters? I use 40 pound Magma furnaces for the most part and have never used Lyman, RCBS, or Lee pots but keep informed by mail we receive and input from casters like yourselves. I try to do this ever so often to refresh my data. Off board answers are also welcome. Thanks and God Bless. www.creeker.net
     
  2. Poodleshooter

    Poodleshooter Member

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    The Lee production pot still drips, but not badly. IMHO, spout freeze is more of a "too cool" or "too dirty" problem. My Lee drips whenever I introduce a dirty lot of lead, or when I keep it too hot (easy to do when you don't have a thermometer).
    I'm a cheap caster (all Lee stuff). I'd like to hear more experiences besides my own.
     
  3. boondocker

    boondocker Member

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    Hi Fellas

    This thread may be interesting to me as all I ever had was a Lee 4 Pnd. I am wondering if I should get a bottom pour to speed up production some. Will these furnaces work with single and double cav. molds. Thanks Boon
     
  4. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Over the years I've used Lyman, Saeco and RCBS pots. I've been well satisfied with al three.
     
  5. The Shadow

    The Shadow Member

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    My Lyman works ok for the price, just wish it was larger, no real problems.
     
  6. LAH

    LAH Member

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    Hey guys looks like not many have opinons about furnaces. The over view I get off the boards is the RCBS is the best overall.

    The spout freeze with the Lyman comes when using a couple moulds at once and having to add lead fairly quick. This isn't much of a problem for the low volumn caster.

    Seems 99% of the Lee production pot users I've spoken with have leaky pots.

    I have always recomended a bottom pour furnace over ladle casting, especially for the novice. I just feel it's easier, quicker, and not near the mess. I'm not knocking ladle casters so please don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are ladle casters, HEE HEE.

    Boondocker the bottom pour pots will work fine with double and four cavity moulds. You have only to move the mould to fill each cavity. The Magma pots we use have an interchangeable orifice for either single pour or double pour. The double works for two or 4 cavity moulds.
    Poodleshooter I think you'll find the iron moulds from Lyman and others easier to use simply because they are easier to close. I use a Lee mould here in the hollow and know you can make good bullets with them so I'm not knocking Lee users but for speed and production use, IMHO they are just too fragile.

    Cheygriz I started with a Saeco 10 pound pot. It worked great for 25 years but was just too small.

    Shadow if you need something larger you might try two 20 pounders or take a serious look at the Magma Master Pot. It's a 40 pounder that heats quickly. I have no trouble running three 4 cavity or four 2 cavity moulds under it and adding the alloy as I go along. It keeps all up to temp. just fine.
     
  7. KP95DAO

    KP95DAO member

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    I wasn't going to weigh in; but, I shall. I have used a Lee for the last 20 years and you will have drip problems if your lead is dirty. This can be compensated for by good fluxing and cleaning every once in a blue moon. I still have my original pot though I had to replace the heating element about two years ago. The element was low cost and the instructions made it easy. If I thought the RCBS pot would make that much of a difference I would buy it. I don't, so I haven't.
     
  8. braindead0

    braindead0 Member

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    I like my Lee 20# bottom pour, the thermostat seems to do a good job of controlling the temp (I do have a thermo ;-), and the dripping is minimal.. I can live with a bit of dripping, and pay 75% less that RCBS (last time I looked).
     
  9. Poodleshooter

    Poodleshooter Member

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    Yeah, I know that they're much better, but I get a fair amount of use out of my Lee's. I'm actually pretty rough on them. I've heated my Lee R.E.A.L. muzzleloader mold so hot that the retaining pins fell out of their recesses. I had to stake them back in (easy with aluminum mold blocks). I find that as you said, the Lee's misalign and are hard to close. I solve this by whacking the base of the mold blocks on a flat piece of wood after each cast, which realigns them quickly. I try to whack the steel center pin to get bullets out of the mold.
    I will have to shell out for a real Lyman one of these days when I get into casting centerfire rifle bullets. I only cast for muzzleloader and shotgun slugs right now (pure lead, or as close as I can get to it).
    Hey, has anybody figured out the relative temperatures attainable using the Lee heat settings on their production pots? Also a good recommendation for a lead thermometer would be nice.
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    I never had a problem with my Lee as far as drips go, BUT I always have had very clean lead in my finishing pot. Cook your lead out and get it nice and clean, then pour that into ingots. Use your ingots for your lead pour pot, and you're set.
     
  11. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Member

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    I have a Lee bottom pour. I like it, but it drips. Looking at the prices of the "better" furnaces, I would rather spend the extra cash on Lyman and RCBS moulds, and stick with my "cheapo" furnace!
     
  12. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

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    Saeco & other pot repair

    The California Saeco 1,000 watt Cast iron post were guaranteed to last a lifetime and have since the late 1940s. As a retired Saeco I have addresses of two sources that can repair the old Saecos whose thermostats wore out after 25 years of "commercial" use.
    Saeco pots never leaked!

    Ask For my sources for repair if needed and a place to read my free for the reading very large post of
    "Lead Poisoning Incidence, Prevention and Treatment"
    And
    "Shooters Elbow And Dr. Recommended Exercises"

    coffeyn1@juno.com
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2003
  13. lead foot marv

    lead foot marv Member

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    newbe well i've cast and loaded for 40 or so yrs and i have a saeco lead furnace and am in need of a thermostate for this unit i have had it put away for20 yrs because of thr thermostat and found it the other day so if mr coffe or any one can direct me it will make my day contact wanted and needed
    this is an extremely great site
    leadfootmarv
     
  14. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    In my experience to date, all the manufacturer's put out a good pot for the money they cost. I have and use a small 10 pound Lee, but feel their 4-20 pot is the best value for the money. Once someone wears it out, they can repair it cheaply or opt for a more expensive pot.

    All the pots eventually wear out due to thermostat or heaitng coil failure, so it's more a matter of how much one has or is willing to spend. One cannot lose when it comes to casting bullets and casting equipment.

    Dave
     
  15. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Wow, this is an old thread!

    I have the feeling that the lee pro-20 has come out since this thread started. I have one that does NOT drip! The problem with the lee production pot was and is the valve rod is at an angle to the bottom of the pot. The new pro-20 has the rod going straight down at 90 degrees into the valve. This uses gravity to seal the valve closed.

    Keeping the lead clean is certainly important. Fluxing, scraping the sides of the pot, and skimming are also important.
     
  16. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    I'm a big fan of the Lee pots- they're only a fraction of the price of their competitors and they work.

    The bottom pour drip issue with te Lee pots is easy to fix. With an empty pot, remove all of the harware holding the valve in place, chuck a flat screwdiver blade up in a drill and spin the valve against the valve seat while applying pressure- you are simply lapping the valve into the valve seat, no more leaks!

    Don't ever run the pot dry- always leave 1/2" of alloy in the bottom of the pot- this wil keep grit and debris from plugging the spout or setttling in the valve seat causing leaks.
     
  17. LAH

    LAH Member

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    Good advice Cracked Butt.
     
  18. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Marv, try to contact Paul "Fitz" Jones on this site. If anyone has a thermostat for your Saeco it would be him. I may not be 100% right on the username but it is close.......
     
  19. Sven

    Sven Senior Member

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