Which new pot?

Precision Melter, Magnum Melter, Production Pot IV, and Pro 4-20

Which new pot?

Postby kmw1954 » 11 Oct 2019 00

The question isn't as simple or cut and dried as it may seem. What I have found in my casting session is because of some disabilities I have difficulty casting for what to me is an extended period of time. I get easily fatigued. Though the past two days I have done better in the time I can stay active.

On one of the other forums it has been suggested that I try from a sitting position instead of standing. Only I do not feel comfortable sitting in front of a pot of molten metal. Just goes against years of safety training.

Right now I'm casting from a hotplate and SS sauce pan using a ladle and a small 102gr two cavity Lee mold. I have finally found a good tempo to keep the mold hot w/o over heating it.

So my thinking is this one the different Lee Pots.

The 4# pot I think would be to small to ladle cast and the Magnum pot may be larger than I need as I am not using more than 6 lbs at most per session. And that is dependent on how quickly I tire. Either of these I am thinking I could use on a low table that would be just above the height of my lap. Which would allow easy access to the pot with the ladle.

Then there are the bottom pour pots that could be raised to a level that I could also sit and see the spout to fill the mold which may be easier than ladling.

And added advantage with the bottom pour pot would be I could flux with saw dust and leave a layer to prevent oxidation that I am getting now with the ladle.

So now let's hear some opinions or suggestions!
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby Ranch Dog » 11 Oct 2019 06

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Re: Which new pot?

Postby kmw1954 » 11 Oct 2019 11

Ranch Dog wrote:Lee Pro 4-20


A little elaboration would be helpful as to why that one over the others. Other than it's 20# cap. and is a bottom pour.

Is that going to be easier to set up to use so I am not making a lot of movements? If I raise it to where I can see to manipulate the mold will my arms get fatigued?
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby Macd » 11 Oct 2019 11

A bottom pour pot is what I settled for as it gives me much better control of sprues and pour rate. I use the Lee Lead Pot IV. Here is a picture of my setup. The booth is in my workshop and tightly enclosed. It has an old range hood vented to the outdoors. The vent ducting has a helper fan which along with the regular vent fan makes for an very efficient exhaust system. The hotplate is for preheating molds and keeping them hot if I need to take a short break. The old cookie sheets under the pot catch drips and raise the pot to the most convenient height. I use a old cookie tin with a lid for dross. The base of the booth is made from doubled cement board. The molds in the back are held by a magnetic tool holder. These are the ones I use most often. The glass front is an old vinyl slider window half, held at the top by a continuous hinge. Obviously it swings open vertically. I use a portable work bench on which I place a large stainless mixing pot which is lined with an old towel to catch bullets. If I am water quenching a bucket on the floor is used which has a soft funnel top made from towel to prevent any splashing. I have a CO2 extinguisher about five feet from the booth, just in case. The duplex plug used for the booth is on the circuit that also supplies power to fan. The circuit is switched with the switch located at the door to the workshop. I found that a bar stool cut down a few inches with a swivel seat without a back just the right height for sitting at the booth. It lets me turn to drop bullets but if I need to get clear in a hurry standing up and hopping away is almost as quick as backing up if standing. I know this is a lot more than you asked but not much on the go today and a bit bored lol.

casting booth.jpg
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby mikld » 11 Oct 2019 14

I started with a Coleman stove and stainless steel pot, a Lee dipper, a slotted spoon I swiped from Ma's kitchen and a Lee 44 cal 240 SWC T/L mold. I cast outside and could only cast for no more than 1 hour before my back hurt so much from bending over. That set up kept my 44 Magnum fed for about a year. I then got the Lee 4-20.

I understand not wanting to sit in front of 10-20 lbs of molten lead, but there are precautions that can ease one's mind. I made a "casting table". It's a 3/4" plywood top about 12"x18"supported by lengths of 2x6. Very sturdy. I drilled the base of my pot and used 2, 2"x#10 wood screws to secure the pot to the "table". Under this set up I place a cookie sheet, about 1/2" deep. I seriously doubt if I could inadvertently tip my casting table/pot over. If I had any drips (or "runs" :o ) the cookie sheet would prolly hold 10-12 lbs of alloy. With the additional 8" of height above the bench, and if I lower my adjustable stool a bit I can easily see the spout and it's a comfortable position, so if I wanted to I could cast for 3+ hours comfortably...

I purchased my Lee 4-20 Pro about 30 years ago. I only put clean alloy in it and empty and clean the pot no less than once a year. Empty the pot, wire brush the ID, clean and lap the needle valve and it's good to go for another year. I get no drips/runs and casting is a breeze. I for one don't flux and leave flux residue on top of the alloy, just like a lot of other casters do, and not a reason, in my mind, for using a bottom pour pot... :mrgreen:
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby kmw1954 » 11 Oct 2019 14

Thanks for the replies. I'm asking these questions because I want to be reasonably sure I'm buying the correct pot to begin with. Don't want to buy one and then later find I should have bought the "Other" one. So as much info as you experience folks can offer the better.

I have tried to honestly list my capabilities and my desires as to what I want to do. Again I have Zero experience with any of these pots so I am completely clueless. So much so that as of today I haven't even actually seen any of these pots so I can't even judge the sizes.

All I know for certain is that there has to be a better way than what I am using right now. The pot I have is 5.5" in diameter and with that amount of surface area I know it's oxidizing metal at a high rate. Though it does make ladling very easy.

Just received a horrible phone call. have to go.
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby kmw1954 » 12 Oct 2019 01

So sorry for running off, but just received horrible news that my SIL was in an accident and did not survive. He was only 42 years old.
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby Ranch Dog » 12 Oct 2019 05

kmw1954 wrote:So sorry for running off, but just received horrible news that my SIL was in an accident and did not survive. He was only 42 years old.

Sorry to hear about your son-in-law. My prayers for your family, especially your daughter. I lost a spouse in an accident when I was in my forties. My heart goes out to her.
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby RBHarter » 12 Oct 2019 08

My sincere condolences to you and your family .



I have a magnum melter .
I float about 1/10 of a charcoal brickett in it it removes or rather deprives the pot top area of room air as the charcoal burns off . I do long sessions and 25-30# at a time when doing 45s with just a quick flux when I add metal .
Just a Red neck,White boy, Blue blood American.....
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Re: Which new pot?

Postby kmw1954 » 12 Oct 2019 12

Tragic story started Tues. when his dump truck overturned while he was unloading. Guess he didn't realize just how injured he was and only went to an Urgent Care instead of an ER. Thank you all for the kind words.

Last night while I couldn't sleep I went up and finished weighing all the cast bullets I did in these last two sessions and I believe they came out rather uniform. About 1 grain deviation from high to low. Though most were within .6gr.. Also counting them up I just cast just short 900 bullets in these two sessions.

Still trying to decide which pot or which technique I want to use. Bottom pour or ladle. Pro 4-20 or the Magnum Melter. The small 2 cavity 102gr bullet mold fills up pretty quickly with the ladle. So how controllable is the bottom pour with this small a mold? With the ladle I pour over the top of the pot and the excess just runs back into the pot.
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