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After shooting those test bullets in my 380's I decided I have to do this cast boolit thing.

The other day I scored a bucket of lead wheel weights that was not sorted and dirty as sin. Took a couple evenings to sort it all at a casual pace. Turned out to be about 60% COWW, 20% SOWW and 20% scrap zinc, steel and misc. garbage. So from what I understand I must have gotten lucky with these percentages.

So for melting I had an old 1500watt 2 burner hot plate and two different pans I was able to scrounge up at the flea market. One is a 9" cast iron skillet and the other is a 1qt SS sauce pan.

I started with the skillet and quickly found a couple issues. One is the plate does just get hot enough to melt lead, Two, it doesn't get hot enough to heat the 9" pan all the way out to the edges.. Next I think I overloaded the pan to start as it took forever to start melting and would freeze up easily when I pushed more lead into the molten puddle. The good about this is it didn't get hot enough to melt zinc. Later today I may try melting again only this time using the smaller pot just to see if it makes a difference.
 

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Good luck with your big learning curve!
Thanks darbo, being retired I have more time than anything else including sense!

Went out and melted some more this afternoon only this time used the small sauce pan and it went much better. Still not the fastest system but I believe I can live with it this way. Melted and cleaned about 10lbs, took about 2hrs total.
 
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After shooting those test bullets in my 380's I decided I have to do this cast boolit thing.

The other day I scored a bucket of lead wheel weights that was not sorted and dirty as sin. Took a couple evenings to sort it all at a casual pace. Turned out to be about 60% COWW, 20% SOWW and 20% scrap zinc, steel and misc. garbage. So from what I understand I must have gotten lucky with these percentages.

So for melting I had an old 1500watt 2 burner hot plate and two different pans I was able to scrounge up at the flea market. One is a 9" cast iron skillet and the other is a 1qt SS sauce pan.

I started with the skillet and quickly found a couple issues. One is the plate does just get hot enough to melt lead, Two, it doesn't get hot enough to heat the 9" pan all the way out to the edges.. Next I think I overloaded the pan to start as it took forever to start melting and would freeze up easily when I pushed more lead into the molten puddle. The good about this is it didn't get hot enough to melt zinc. Later today I may try melting again only this time using the smaller pot just to see if it makes a difference.


Welcome to the wonderful world of casting. It's really not that difficult once you get the basics down. You'll probably want to start powder-coating also as it makes reloading so much cleaner. I was in the shop earlier today casting and coating some 175gn 40 cals in anticipation of my TH40 showing up by next week. Going to work up some loads for the gumballs tomorrow (300 total).
 

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At first I think I'm going to try tumble lubing as that is how some of the samples I received came and they worked very well and were not really smokey.

Still a few things I need to get, like a smaller strainer or slotted spoon, fluxing wax, gloves and a dipping ladle for filling ingot molds
 

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Get rid of the cast iron pots and go find an old steel coffee can. all you're doing at this point is smelting and cleaning the lead alloy to make ingots, not to cast directly into boowits. Get a second larger steel can for your slag and dross. For the fluxing (cleaning) of the lead and separate out the impurities you can use sawdust, borax ( I use 20 mule train borax out of the box) and get the small muffin pans or the cast iron ears of corn for cornbread molds. When you smelt the lead and clean out as much of the slag and dross as you can, pour into the molds and LEAVE IT BE for about 5 minutes. any sooner and the centers of the ingots will still be molten. Remember, you are working with molten lead and lead oxides. Do NOT do this indoors without massive ventilation (unless you enjoyed eating paint chips as a kid). 3/4 of a 5 gal bucket of mixed wheel weights should yield somewhere near 60 lbs of lead ingots.
 

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Peacemakr40, thanks! From this bucket I got about 79lbs of COWW and 20lbs of SOWW, I didn't bother to weigh the zinc, steel and scrap.

Found a small stainless sauce pan that when 1/2 full holds about 10lbs so I feel it should safely hold 15lbs and still be stable on the hot plate. It also melted pretty quickly and held heat very well and with the lid it works even better. Today I was at the Ace store and picked up a lb. of paraffin wax for fluxing.

Looking forward to tomorrow so I can render some more and try this new mold. Will see how frustrated I can get. Al the very least everything gets dumped back into the melt.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
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So here are the results of my maiden attempt which worked out to 80lbs of COWW's and a photo of my makeshift work bench. The small pot actually worked much better than the skillet.
 
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