Lee Pro 4-20 Melter

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  • Last Post 05 November 2009
CB posted this 28 April 2009

I purchased one of these 20 pound pots and the liquid lead just poured out of it. I could not control it. I talked to tech support at Lee, did some more work adjusting it, same thing happened. I returned it, got a new one, same thing happened.

Who has a nice bottom pour 20 pounder or larger? I do a lot of casting and need the capacity. Right now I am using my 20 plus year old Lee 10 pounder and it works great.

Jerry

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454PB posted this 28 April 2009

Jerry, the Lee pots can be problematic at first, but a little effort will make it work fine.

You probably have some junk stuck in the valve. Try running a dental pick or a finishing nail into the drain hole while the pot is hot. You may have to do this with the pot empty the first time to avoid a mess. Place an ingot mould under the valve while you get it cleared.

After it's clear and sealing properly, the same procedure should be performed every 300 boolits or so. Turning the rod occdasionally also helps prevent crud accumulation.

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CB posted this 29 April 2009

Jerry You can always get one of those Magma pots, I have seen one in action and it has a lot of capacity. Something like 90 lbs. Problem is the price tag $575.00, but it is the Caddy of electric pots!

http://www.magmaengineering.com/products-mainmenu-64/masterpot

Bill Ferguson has a pretty darn nice one also

http://www.bulletmetals.net>http://www.bulletmetals.net

However it is a ladle dip pot...

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CB posted this 29 April 2009

I've been thinking about getting a Magma pot, dipping is no big deal. I do have several dipping ladles from the small one for molds to a good size one for pouring ingots.

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CB posted this 29 April 2009

Here is where life gets interesting, I am getting another Lee Pro4-20 and I am will order a 40 pound Plumbers Furnace most likely Friday or Monday.

After talking to the Lee people, I have decided to give the Pro 4 another try, but I do need a large pot for some of the “production” working that I am doing.

So I will do all of the suggested mods that I have gotten here and a couple of similar things I got else where on the net.

Thanks,

Jerry

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WILDCATT posted this 17 May 2009

one thing that is done with lee pot is to put a weight on the rod some put vise grips on.I am considering a special weight.I have not had the problem.also dont smelt ww in the pot use another pot, cast Iron kettle and turkey burner.I use a plumbers burner but dont know where you get them.atleast not here in south.

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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 17 May 2009

On the 10 pound Lee pot, it is very easy to just unscrew the knob on the lifting handle, slip on an egg sinker and put the handle back on.  Add as many as you think you need.  Yes, I make sinkers with those bad zinc ww that come along.  Duane

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CB posted this 17 August 2009

Jerry

I had a Lyman bottom pour element went bad. I have a Lee 10 works great still use it. I also have a Saeco bottom pour works great. I don't like the pour in the middle of the Saeco pot but with practice I guess it will work out. I use the Lee 10 mostly for pour and the Lee 4 for dipping.

Stephen Perry

Angeles BR:fire

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Dicko posted this 04 November 2009

Hi Jerry,

I have never used the Pro 4-20 but I have used three of the smaller production pots for years with never a problem.   But I have an answer that might surprise you.   I would have recommended that you buy the dipper only version of the pot, but now you've got it I recommend you block the spout and ladle cast.

Ladle ( dipper ) casting gives better quality bullets and better control of the casting.  Some moulds need different pouring pressure than others.   Worse, some moulds need different pressure cavity to cavity.   That is controlled by pouring height.   That is much easier with a dipper than bottom pour.

Top quality rifle bullets can only be cast with a dipper for reasons I will explain another time.

Dipper casting is only slightly slower than bottom pour with better quality and fewer bad bullets.

Dicko

 

 

 

 

 

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KenK posted this 04 November 2009

Dicko wrote: Top quality rifle bullets can only be cast with a dipper for reasons I will explain another time.

Dicko

 

 

   

  I much prefer casting with a ladle myself but I strongly disagree with the statement that it is the only way to cast top quality bullets.  CBA match results show otherwise.

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Dale53 posted this 04 November 2009

Dicko wrote: Top quality rifle bullets can only be cast with a dipper for reasons I will explain another time. Dicko"

This patently not so. One of the best ASSRA shooters I have met (and I have met a lot of them) casts perfect bullets bottom pour (he has set a number of National records).

I bottom pour everything, from BPCR (40/65, 45/70, .45/90, as well as modern rifle bullets and hundreds of thousands of pistol bullets). Until I lost vision in my right eye I was competitive all over the country. I still shoot a LOT but these days it is pistol as I have to shoot with my left eye (I am right handed).

The ones who can only cast good rifle bullets with ladles have just never learned to cast with bottom pour. It's just a matter of skill, nothing more.

Dale53

 

 

   

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Dicko posted this 04 November 2009

I am entertained by the notion that I lack skill because I find ladle casting better.   I have cast hundreds of thousands of quality bullets for demanding customers so I have good reason for my opinions.   I have no problem conceding that minor cosmetic imperfections do not make a bullet less accurate.    I mention that because I found that bottom pour can in some circumstances leave cosmetic faults on the bullets.   It is more obvious on long slim rifle bullets.   I found this with all bottom pour pots including Magma.   The old ladle casting method in which the dipper and mould are brought into hard contact and rotated thro 90 degrees eliminates that completely and produces bullets so smooth they look chrome plated.

I want the best quality and that gets it.   I recently cast a batch of 500 grain 458 bullets from an RCBS single cavity mould.   Every bullet was within 0.20 grains either side of 506.   That's a lot closer than most jacketed bullets.   The surfaces were perfectly smooth with no imperfections whatever.   Anyhow, readers are free to test both methods to see what works best.   That's why we offer advice, isn't it ?

 

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billwnr posted this 04 November 2009

Not true Dicko, I think it's based on the individual mould. I have two separate moulds. One prefers a bottom pour dipper and the other gives better bullets with the Lyman side pour. Then...there's my one pistol mould that does good with a bottom pour pot.

Depends on the mould.

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tturner53 posted this 04 November 2009

Casting 500 gr. bullets within .2gr is amazing. Everytime I think I'm almost “there” somebody raises the bar! I'm curious, what do your customers do with the cast bullets? Maybe some of them would like to join the CBA and shoot a postal match with those big guns. Tim

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Dicko posted this 05 November 2009

Yeah, Bill, moulds can have their own character.   I have two identical moulds, one of which likes greater pouring pressure than the other, so I have to pour with a fuller ladle and from a greater height.    I've even got a mould that has to be poured a different height for each cavity, otherwise I get inadequate fill out in one cavity or over-fill in the other.  I did not say that good bullets can't be cast from a bottom pour pot, but in 20 years of commercial casting I have never found a mould that did not cast as well as or better with a dipper.   To emphasise it further, I have had trouble getting consistently good quality with bottom pour from time to time with some moulds, but I have never had a mould that would not cast good bullets with a dipper.   That's why I argue the superiority of the dipper.

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Dicko posted this 05 November 2009

There's no magic to it, Tim.   Think about it, the cavity does not change, so if you fill it fully and properly the resulting bullets should be exactly the same size and thus the same weight.   Most times a double cavity mould will show a slight difference between cavities, because of normal tolerances in manufacture.   That can't happen with a single cavity so the bullets will almost always be more consistent than bullets from a double cavity mould.   As might be expected, the variance is bigger with multi cavity moulds, and I have a six cavity 45ACP mould which has one cavity that cast a full thousandth bigger and one grain heavier than the others.

The real challenge is to get that consistency from different batches of alloy.   You can do that with virgin lead and antimony by accurate weighing, but it is near impossible with scrap because the content is unknown.   But it is possible to get within half a grain each way batch to batch even with scrap.  

Note that 1% variance of antimony ( eg 10% instead of 11% ) changes weight of a 500 grain bullet 2 grains, so accurate blending is important.

Having said all that, precise weight consistency is not the most important factor in accuracy.   Other factors like bullet design, fitting the rifle, loading techniques, are bigger factors. 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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