Dipper Casting Fun

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  • Last Post 31 May 2017
BigMan54 posted this 28 May 2017

Tried some dipper casting today. I was melting some alloy of unknown hardness to get some bullets to test in my SAECO LEAD HARDNESS TESTER.  I use  a small RCBS cast iron pot over a single burner propane stove to blend small batches.  I have a single cav IDEAL #452460 to cast TEST bullets as the SAECO tester is set up for .308cal, .358cal & .452cal. It also requires a flat point. I usually cast 10-12 bullets & mark them as to date & alloy ID.

This time after I was finished I decided to try a bit of ladle casting for some serious shooting. I didn't need any more .45acp bullets,  so I drug out an old single cav  IDEAL mold that had been frozen to its T/C handles since I bought it for cheap at a gun show 40+yrs ago. I also used my new LYMAN Digital Thermometer to maintain a temp of about 725 degrees. 

Boy Howdy!  I thought casting 10-12 bullets at a time was slow. Casting 50+ took time off my life I can't spare anymore. However out of the 58 #429251's that I cast, I ended up with 56 perfect gems. And to top it off, the "frozen" screw fell out after about 40 bullets. Just screwed it back in & kept on casting. Almost every bullet fell straight out without a tap of the old mold mallet. And the molds screws came free after the session too.

But it was kinda fun to see how the "Dippers" do it. All I can say is THANK THE GOOD LORD for bottom pour pots.  

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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OU812 posted this 28 May 2017

I have both the Saeco and Lee hardness tester. The Saeco will give you a close ballpark figure, but the cheaper priced Lee is more accurate (requires good eye site also).

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BigMan54 posted this 28 May 2017

Good eye sight is something I no longer have.  And I found the reverse to be true. My late friend Matt, my he rest in piece, had the Lee. Had perfect 20/20 vision. He thought the SAECO to be more accurate. 

We tested them both on alloy he had purchased from Rotometals.

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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OU812 posted this 28 May 2017

Uh...OK.

Lead with antimony can take up to Two weeks to harden. For instance I take measurement right after casting and  lead bullet measures 11 BHN... Two weeks later the same alloy bullet measures 13.4 BHN. That's a 2.4 BHN increase according to the Lee. 

Saeco cannot measure in tenths...only ballpark figures. Saeco can be hard to see also. I have both types and regret buying the Saeco.

The Lee can also measure larger ingots and pointed bullets.

I like ladle casting, but it requires more work for me. Bottom pour is more productive, less dross, less sprue overflow.

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BigMan54 posted this 31 May 2017

 I do generally wait at least 10-15 days to test. I test 5-6 bullets after 10 days & then 5-6 after 14-15 days.  I quench LINOTYPE for auto's & rifle bullets for target shooting. Waiting a month before sizing & lubing. But I don't bother to test known alloys.

You're right about sprue overflow.  It's a pain.

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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Duke M posted this 31 May 2017

If I want the most perfect bullets I can get, Schuetzen or BPCR for example, I ladle cast. For example, a custom .322" base pour mould for my Ballard. Once everything is up to temp and running well I cast 110 bullets. 103 of them were 202.8 to 203.1 grains. I cannot do that with a bottom pour pot.

On the other hand if I want 200 to 500 bullets quickly, it's off to the RCBS bottom pour and a double cavity mould. If I need a coffee can full of handgun bullets, it's the Master Caster for sure.

Duke

 

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