Casting furnace question

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2frogs posted this 3 weeks ago

I've been doing all my bullet casting with a propane burner. What's a good furnace to start out with.?. Not sure how much I want to spend as I don't really cast a lot. Basically for 38/357 and now for the 243. I hear the lees leak a lot?. And I think I'm going to get away from the ladle. So I'm open to suggestions from you more experience folks kklks.s

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Bud Hyett posted this 3 weeks ago

I've used RCBS pots, both bottom pour and ladle. They are reliable and RCBS will rebuild them for a modest fee. One bottom pour is forty years old, finally was rebuilt.

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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2frogs posted this 3 weeks ago

That's good to hear.

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Mal in au posted this 3 weeks ago

Have 2 RCBS pro melts both over 40 yrs,still working perfectly! Cheers Mal in au.

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delmarskid posted this 3 weeks ago

Lee makes a 20 pound dipper pot. Mine works fine.

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John Carlson posted this 3 weeks ago

I use the Lee 20lb bottom pour.  As long as I keep the mechanism clean there is little dripping. 

I use a separate PID controller and consider it a must for match quality bullets.

John Carlson. CBA Director of Military Competition.

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Boschloper posted this 3 weeks ago

I use the Lee Magnum Melter 20 lb. dipper model. Couldn’t be happier. When it dies I will get another just like it. Just checked Midway, it is on sale $71.

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Eutectic posted this 3 weeks ago

I have had several LEE pots. They work and are inexpensive, but the temperature control is poor. You definitely want a thermometer!

I have a RCBS which is 40 years old and going strong. I use the thermometer to set the dial which is only close to temperature.  

Note: All bottom pour pots leak. About once a year I disassemble, clean everything, put a little fine valve grinding compound on the valve stem and rotate it for a minute by hand.  It is perfect for about a month, then it starts leaking slowly about a drop a minute. This slowly increases with use until it becomes bothersome.

That is what the pan under the spout is for.

The new RCBS pot has digital temperature control, $293 on Midway. I might try for a used one on EvilBay, RCBS service is very good, and they are built to last. 

Steve 

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Shuz posted this 3 weeks ago

I have used many different pots over the past 60 years of my casting, and the best by far is the RCBS Pro Melt. Very expensive compared to a Lee, but in this case you get what you pay for. If you're lucky, like me, you may be able to pick up a used one.

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John Alexander posted this 3 weeks ago

The only unsatisfactory melting pot I have ever had wasn't a Lee.  I have hadgood luck with both 10 and 20 pound Lee pots. Their customer service has been excellent.  John Carlson's and Eutectic's comments about maintenance and dealing with drip match my experience.

I am a recovering depression baby, not a trust fund baby, and the price difference is too much for me.

John

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Little Debbie posted this 3 weeks ago

I have had a Lyman, RCBS, and Lee bottom pour pots. 
The Lyman was used and gave up the ghost quickly. I didn’t  know it’s history so I won’t judge.  I’ve had and RCBS for 40 years or so with 0 problems.  They are different now and very expensive.  I wouldn’t buy a new one. I’ve had two Lee bottom pours, a 10 pounder that was my first furnace over 40 years ago. When I bought my RCBS I gave that pot to a friend who is still using it. I have a 10 year old 20 lb Lee that I operate in tandem with the RCBS.  It works great . Both leak unless you empty the pots after casting in a regular basis and clean the pot. Pull the stopper rod a couple of times a year and cleaning it is necessary for leak free operation. They leak from getting suspend dirt particles on the cone portion that prevent the rod from sealing the spout.  A thermometer is needed for both so you can set the temperature accurately.  If I had to replace the pots the Lee 20 bottom pour would be the only thing I would purchase.


 

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MarkinEllensburg posted this 3 weeks ago

It was sometime in the early 90's that I started casting. Purchased a Lee 20# bottom pour. plus I think a lee mold. I used that for years although there were gaps in there that I didn't cast much. Early on I was before children so cast lots. Then the twins came still cast lots when they were real young. Years later inherited an RCBS and now use it as my main furnace. Has a better mold guide, sits taller on the bench, think it holds more too. Yup both of them leak. I keep a muffin tin under the spout and dump it with the sprues, about every third drop. Also acquired and old Lyman or Ideal that I have not even plugged in. I recall that in the 60's my dad cast lots with a furnace that looked the same.

If I was starting fresh today I think I would buy a Lee 20# bottom pour.

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porthos posted this 2 weeks ago

i have a 30+ year old lyman 20# ladle pour . don't think that is made any longer. if and when that quits; i will buy a Wagee. it is made by a company that makes commercial furnaces. i think that Buffalo arms sells them and that is what they use.

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Sevenfan posted this 2 weeks ago

Fairly new to casting and acquired my "starter set" from Shuz. Vintage Lyman Mould Master, heavy cast iron bottom pour pot. Like it a lot, bypassed the thermostat and run off a PID. Started have difficulty with it dripping, well, running, despite multiple cleanings and "lapping" the spout/rod, not resolved but haven't given up yet.

Bought a new Pro Melt 2 and had to send it back because when assembled lift handle and stop rod were in a hard bind against the brackets. Replacement was better but not perfect, build quality isn't what I've come to expect from RCBS. That aside, it casts well and doesn't drip but does take 45mins to bring 10 1lb ingots to casting temp. Integral PID vs in the melt is probably why and PID display is poorly located IMHO. I've read of others bypassing the internal PID and using an external one with the probe in the melt like I did with the Lyman, I may do that after the warranty runs out.

Recently started draining the pot when finished and propping the lift handle up so the stop rod is not resting on the spout. So far, so good. 

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OU812 posted this 2 weeks ago

The PID on my new RCBS is the best, but I can cast the same using a simple Lee dipper pot and accurate probe thermometer. I have discovered that the RCBS, Lyman and other thermometers vary alot...as much as 50 degrees.

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BigMan54 posted this 2 weeks ago

The new RCBS & Lyman pots with built-in pids are made in china. I think the warranty is only one year. 

The old pots were Great. Neither RCBS nor Lyman can rebuild the old pots, no parts left.

Maybe better to go with a Lee 20lb bottom pour. At least Lee will sell you the parts to be build it.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Rich/WIS posted this 2 weeks ago

Have had 10# pots from Lyman, SAECO, and LEE.  Also 20# from Lyman and LEE.  FWIW all leaked to some extent.  Currently have had a LEE 20# for over 10 years and it has performed admirably and dripping is minimal.  Only issue was the mickey mouse mold guide.  Took a Lyman guide and marked where it needed to go and then took the base off the pot and drilled it for shoulder bolts to mount the Lyman guide.  Have not noticed any problem with temp control.

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2frogs posted this 2 weeks ago

Decided to stay with my propane stove. Adds heat to my shed.no Spence in spending money for what I can do with out. Appreciate all your post. Thank you..

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Tom Acheson posted this 2 weeks ago

Had a 5# Lee and then a Lyman 20# which eventually died. Because my casting involved large, single cavity molds for black powder shooting, I decided to get a Magma 40# pot. I wanted alloy uniformity for a large batch of bullets without having to add or mix a new batch of alloy before the desired bullet quantity was made.

I ordered it without the annoying bottom pour feature and asked for the bottom of the pot to be low, close to the bench top. The top opening is 5” diameter (larger than Lyman and RCBS) which works better for ladle only use.

If I had to buy another but smaller pot, it would probably be a Lee, based upon the feedback here on the declining quality of recent RCBS units.

Tom

 

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pcmacd posted this 2 weeks ago

I've been doing all my bullet casting with a propane burner. What's a good furnace to start out with.?. Not sure how much I want to spend as I don't really cast a lot. Basically for 38/357 and now for the 243. I hear the lees leak a lot?. And I think I'm going to get away from the ladle. So I'm open to suggestions from you more experience folks kklks.s

For years I used a Master Caster, but the 40# pot just wasn't big enough to do a thousand 200 grn swcs w/o having to re-melt sprues.
Sold the MC, and for less than what I got for it I bought a Cast Master with PID - 80# pot.  240 volts and heats up relatively quickly.  Awesome stuff.
I use a small LEE bottom pour for small batches of stuff.  Yes, you have to remove the plug and run the snout over a wire wheel from time to time, and I've had to clean up the seat with Clover compound and a drill more than once, but it is an excellent value. When the pot invariably burns thru they will send a new one for free.
I've read of heartache and headache with the digital RCBS and Lyman pots, but have no personal experience there..

 

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2frogs posted this 2 weeks ago

Interesting post. Like I said, gonna stay with the propane heater. Works good enough for me...plus adds heat to my shed..lol..

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delmarskid posted this 2 weeks ago

I cast a lot of bullets on a coleman white gas stove. Funny thing though they will melt a plastic fan in a range hood exhaust rig. WHUP. WHUP. WHUP. PTHTTTT!

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