Lead Casting

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by evltwn, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. evltwn

    evltwn
    Gold Hill Oregon
    Well-Known Member

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    I've been casting my own boolits for years. I had about 440 pounds of range lead to smelt, so I set up the 60,000 BTU burner, put on my cast iron pot, arranged my tools, molds, etc on my table, and before I lit the burner, I put on my hat, respirator, welding sleeves, gloves, over old jeans and sturdy boots.

    Good darned thing, as halfway into it I got a rather spectacular visit from the "tinsel fairy". For those unfamiliar, ANY moisture introduced into molten lead (621.5 F) causes an explosion, showering the general area with what appears to be tinsel. I did things the same way I always do, and cannot explain the errant moisture.

    My point is, although you may have been pouring forever, you just never know when things may go bad, and if not prepared, you can suffer severe injuries. Please take the time to acquire and wear the proper protective gear. I did, and as a result I got the bejesus scared out of me, and 131 ingots!
     
  2. Don H

    Don H
    Oregon
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    Wow! Glad you are okay!

    Do you think there was some slight moisture accumulation on the range lead you had laying around?
     
  3. 2506

    2506
    Seattle
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    Safety is no accident.
     
  4. evltwn

    evltwn
    Gold Hill Oregon
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    Well, I just don't know for certain...I had the lead in a 55 gallon drum cut in half,stored in the garage. I scooped it into a coffee can to add to the pot. I used a coffee can so it was in between me and the pot when I added the lead, just in case. I usually leave a couple of inches of molten lead in the pot. I ladle out the lead to pour into my ingot molds.

    I failed to add in the original post that I also wore a leather apron. I have found that if prepared for the worst, you may (or may not) escape with little or no injury. Gosh, what a fun hobby!
     
  5. 10 Spot Terminator

    10 Spot Terminator
    Central Oregon
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    I always start my melt cold to allow any potential moisture to evaporate well before reaching the molten state. I have an 1100 watt hot plate with a 2 qt. pour pot to pre heat any lead that I wish to add to any pot with melt in it . It took a mere drop of sweat from my brow dropping into my 20 lb. lee pot to get my attention. By the way I keep a clean hand towel on hand when casting in the summer to keep my face dry . Imagine that .

    10 Spot
     
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  6. OFADAN

    OFADAN
    Brownsville, OR
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    Glad you okay! What type of respirator do you use? Which cartridge?
     
  7. WillametteWill

    WillametteWill
    Willamette Valley
    Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks for the good info. I'm planning on getting into casting in the next few months and I'm trying to learn all I can as I prepare.
     
  8. evltwn

    evltwn
    Gold Hill Oregon
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    Sorry it took so long to respond, OFADAN. I use a 3M respirator from Lowes, using the magenta colored cartridge, sku 60923. It won't seal tightly over my bushy (think those duck guys on TV) beard, but its better than nothing. Just remember to work outside and stay upwind...and wear a face shield as well. My mask is wearing its share of tinsel, and I did get a small burn on my throat. What we do for fun!!!
     
  9. OFADAN

    OFADAN
    Brownsville, OR
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    Thanks!
     
  10. Sstrand

    Sstrand
    La Grande OR
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    evil
    I have a scar on my hand going back to about 1960 from getting a DROP of water in the lead pot!
    Try arc-welding in running shoes sometime . . . It is really hard to run a good bead while doing the Cha Cha.

    Sheldon
     

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