Ladle vs Bottom Pour / Linotype vs #2 Lyman

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  • Last Post 22 November 2023
Wm Cook posted this 20 November 2023

The practices I use for casting match quality bullets has been in a state of flux these past couple years.  I’m still learning.  

A new mold came in last week and it caused me to work with a bottom pour vs ladle cast and Linotype vs #2 Lyman as I worked with the bullet to bore fit.

For the past year or so the only bottom pour I’ve done was with mass production 9mm & 7.62’s.  All .308 match bullets were ladle cast using Linotype, single cavity brass.

For whatever reason I’m starting to think that bottom pour allows more consistent mold temp, more bullets per hour and just as consistent bullet uniformity.

Swapping #2 for Linotype made a difference in bore fit with the softer alloy.  Barely noticeable in dimensions but where Linotype stuck in the lands, #2 extracted.  No data +/- regarding accuracy.

What are the pros & cons of ladle/bottom pour, Linotype/#2.  Or is it just personal preference.  I’d appreciate your thoughts.  Bill Cook.

 

My Uncle once told me that you learn something new every day. And when the day comes that you don’t learn anything, well, that’ll be the day after you die.

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OU812 posted this 20 November 2023

Whatever the mould likes. I am sure your single cavity 30 cal requires a faster casting speed to keep at correct temp. I have a double cavity 458 caliber mould that requires slowing down the pace or mould will overheat. My go to method is ladle, but if the mould likes it I will use bottom pour.

Softer alloys will chamber more easily than hard. You can open throat up a tad using lapping compound and 0000steel wool wrapped around bronze brush.

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RicinYakima posted this 20 November 2023

I poured my match bullets with a ladle. For me it was How Long Was The Bullet? I shot 220 grain .30 caliber and 500 grain + in 45/70. Ladle pouring always made more consistent bullets. Short bullets, less than 180 grain in .30 or 405 grain in 45/70 could be bottom poured. 

Pistol and plinkers are bottom poured because I can't shoot any better and who cares?

If the bullet fits the throat, it doesn't matter if Lin-O-Type or Lyman #2. 

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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 20 November 2023

Pretty sure that the difference in fit of the Lino and #2 might just be the amount of antimony. I am surprised that only one more percent of antimony would make the difference but listen the the firearm not the theory. 

With a ladle, the pressure of the lead feeding into the mold from the ladle if held into the sprue hole is going to be consistent every time, and the heat transfer to the sprue plate will be the same.  That said, I have been able to settle into "the zone" with a bottom pour pot and maintain very consistent weight control.  I will not say I have done this consistently, but it has happened when casting therapy was the goal. 

If using a multi cavity mold, I doubt that there is any advantage of the ladle over the bottom pour pot.  My main method is bottom pour, and that might be a factor in my results.

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Wm Cook posted this 20 November 2023

How Long Was The Bullet? I shot 220 grain .30 caliber and 500 grain + in 45/70. Ladle pouring always made more consistent bullets.

Rick could I ask what you mean by consistent?  Length/ size of bullet makes sense.  Even with a 220g 30 cal when bottom pouring I have to go as fast as the sprue sets. I learned that the size of the sprue you leave on the plate will help keep the mold temp up.  Everything here is with single cavity brass molds 30 cal 200 to 220 grain. 

With a ladle, the pressure of the lead feeding into the mold from the ladle if held into the sprue hole is going to be consistent every time, and the heat transfer to the sprue plate will be the same.

Duane I've used that in the past but forgot about it.  I may have been making a false assumption that I need a hot hot mold to fully fill the cavity.  That requires an overflow.  I say that but mention that I have to be very particular about overflow causing the mold to heat up or cool down.  I can increase the mold temp by 10 - 15 degrees with one long overflow pour.  On the other end if I daze off for 15 seconds with the mold held open after the drop it'll cool down just as much.  Ladle casting is easier to control the amount of alloy beyond what fills the cavity.

So dependent upon the length to width ratio of the bullet, ladle casting may be better than bottom pour?  But for match grade bullets <200g bottom pour is equivalent to ladle casting?

Besides aesthetics what is the value of Linotype?  I can ladle cast and bottom pour both Lino and #2 to +/- .2g on 90% of my drops.  Again, single cavity brass mold so the bar isn't set too high here. Bill.

 

 

My Uncle once told me that you learn something new every day. And when the day comes that you don’t learn anything, well, that’ll be the day after you die.

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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 20 November 2023

I do not have nor have I ever used a brass mold so can not address that issue.  I do use a single cavity mold for black powder shooting, but that is very soft lead so again does not address the difference between Lyman #2 and Linotype. 

My casting is primarily 1-3-96 or a mix slightly stronger.  Often with two cavity molds, more likely a 6 cavity mold.  You mention any delay which results in a cooling mold.  This is where the "Bottomless Pit" feature of the capacity of the bottom pour pot excels.  One can quickly fill each individual cavity by tilting the mold and starting at the lower end of the mold blocks.  Filling the lowest cavity and forming a puddle but not overflowing into the adjacent cavity in a start/stop tempo.  There is no pause to fill a ladle, the puddles are connected and look like a nice welding bead and the heat is transferred to the adjacent cavity as you go.  This slows the cooling of the first cavity, which may allow a little more time to have a fluid puddle and feed the cavity to reduce shrinkage voids. 

My needs and method are not the same as one casting match perfect bullets one at a time.  But it can do surprisingly well once the tempo is established. 

 

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Aaron posted this 20 November 2023

I primarily use bottom pour for the majority of my bullets with either 20:1, Lyman #2, or 30:1 alloys. I get better mold fill-out across the spectrum of Lee, Accurate, NOE, Lyman, and RCBS molds. This includes Aluminum, Steel, and Brass. The bottom pour allows a faster cadence to keep the aluminum molds hot for full fill-out and minimum voids. Having said this, know there are a few of my molds which, for whatever reason, cast better with ladle pour metal. For the life of me, I can't determine the reason for that, and it always happens on two cavity molds. Some of the molds like to be gravity fed from the bottom pour spout with about 1" of clearance from the spout to the sprue plate. Go figure. Most however like to be mated with the bottom pour spout inserted into the fill hole on the sprue cutter. The full weight of the alloy above it, ensures proper mold fill-out this way. One must also be careful with this contact method since any small gap in the mating surfaces will result in a jetting stream of molted metal in any direction - including your hand. Hence, it's a fantastic reason to wear leather work gloves.

Using bottom pour with a small dwell time after mold filling, I get MUCH less of a mess on the fill hole and a very small puddle to be cut with the sprue cutter. I'd say there is 10gr of "puddle" on those fill holes versus the 60gr or more on the ladle filled cavities to ensure proper lead draw-down into the cavities.

It always amazes me how molds can be so individual with their fill tastes. I mean, a mold is a mold right? Nope.

 

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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porthos posted this 20 November 2023

i use a ladle. my bullets are +- .01 (1 tenth grain) occasionly 2 tenths. this is out of a well made 2 cavity mold. also i get no wrinkles  can anyone tell me that you get that consistency with a bottom pour.  and, i do not own a PID.

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Aaron posted this 20 November 2023

i use a ladle. my bullets are +- .01 (1 tenth grain) occasionly 2 tenths. this is out of a well made 2 cavity mold. also i get no wrinkles  can anyone tell me that you get that consistency with a bottom pour.  and, i do not own a PID.

You should certainly stick with what works for you!

 

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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Wm Cook posted this 21 November 2023

So in my opinion with individual casters, molds and methods, there's not going to be one answer for this.  In the past few days I both ladle and bottom poured Linotype and #2 Alloy using a couple different molds to get a feel one way or the other.  These small samples are not intended to be definitive proof of anything but it led me to a couple of premature opinions.

  • I can hold a tighter tolerance with either ladle or bottom poured using Linotype.  Traditionally, with all my single cavity brass molds I can hold 90% plus that are +/- .1 to .2g by ladle casting Linotype. With more time bottom pouring Linotype I think I can do the same.  That tolerance might not be needed for accuracy but its a far cry from the ES bottom pouring #2 Lyman.
  • I have a lot of blemishes when bottom casting with #2 Lyman.  I'm not debating whether or not they'll go through the same hole but sorting is required with #2 Lyman and not with Linotype.
  • Bullet base fill seems to requires a lot of attention when bottom pouring #2 Lyman.  I was getting fining with bottom pour pressure casting.  This one of those "to be determined".  I believe I can sort this out. 
  • Ladle casting Linotype consistently drops uniform bullets for both weight and aesthetics.  Bottom pour Linotype comes in a close second.
  • Bottom pouring Linotype will out produce ladle casting Linotype 2 to 1.  At least for me.

With a couple more casting sessions I believe I can sort out what's needed to bottom pour Linotype. 

All of the above is subject to new data coming in the next time I cast.  Thanks, Bill.

 

 

My Uncle once told me that you learn something new every day. And when the day comes that you don’t learn anything, well, that’ll be the day after you die.

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Lloyd Smale posted this 22 November 2023

ive cast 10s of thousands both ways and today i only bottom pour. if ladle makes them anymore consistent group sizes dont bear it out 

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