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Old 03-22-2011, 11:56 AM
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Default Easiest Way to melt lead?

I usually get one small bucket of wheel weights at a time, but I just came into a large quantity. In the past I have used my 4# small Lee electric melting pot and it took all afternoon. Now, it looks like it'll take days.

I don't want to invest a lot of money in a large smelting apparatus. Any suggestions on what I could use? I have a gas stove in the basement.
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:25 PM
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You already have the main thing you need, the gas stove. Is it one that can be moved outside? If so, all you need is an old cast iron or stainless steel pot to melt in. DO NOT USE AN ALUMINUM POT! IF the stove is fixed in the basement, you'll have to have some major source of ventilation to get the fumes out.
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Old 03-22-2011, 04:45 PM
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The stove in the basement is not a good idea. The fumes will stink you out and it's not healthy.
Get yourself a propane turkey frier/fish frier and a 20# tank. You can probably find one on craigslist used. Get a cast iron dutch oven or skillet and set it up on the turkey frier gas jet base. Then you'll need one of those 1 lb ingot molds or an old muffin pan.
You can smelt all those wheel weights pretty quickly with this setup.
I found a turkey frier kit that was opened & incomplete at a local retail store I got for 20 bucks. The gas jet base was all there and that's all I cared about anyway. Then I bought a cheap cast iron skillet at Wally World. I had a couple of extra 20# propane tanks. I bought a Lyman 1# ingot mold from Midway. I was probably into the whole thing for under $50.00
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:18 PM
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I use a plumbers lead pot that mounts on a 20lb propane tank. Used a good old Coleman stove before that. A buddy uses the side burner on his gas grill and a 6in steel pipe cap.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:35 PM
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Everything can be rented nowadays. Check out your local tool rental center.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkk41 View Post
I use a plumbers lead pot that mounts on a 20lb propane tank. Used a good old Coleman stove before that. A buddy uses the side burner on his gas grill and a 6in steel pipe cap.
I do have an old Coleman white gas stove. As I recall, it doesn't have a very tall flame. Is that hot enough to do the job?

Secondly, are those single burner stoves that mount on top of a 20# tank sturdy enough to hold a lead pot with all the weight of lead?

Finally, I've checked with local stores and nobody carries cast iron pots. I've seen them on e-bay, but where would one find one locally? (e.g., is there a chain store I'd be best to look at?)

Last edited by GypsmJim; 03-23-2011 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:58 AM
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You might want to look at Cast Boolits - Dedicated To The World Of Cast Bullets!

There is a forum on casting equipment. A wealth of knowledge just like this group.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsmJim View Post
I do have an old Coleman white gas stove. As I recall, it doesn't have a very tall flame. Is that hot enough to do the job?

Secondly, are those single burner stoves that mount on top of a 20# tank sturdy enough to hold a lead pot with all the weight of lead?

Finally, I've checked with local stores and nobody carries cast iron pots. I've seen them on e-bay, but where would one find one locally? (e.g., is there a chain store I'd be best to look at?)
Wally Mart has pots. Bass Pro has pots and turkey fryers
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:31 PM
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Take a trip to your local thrift store (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc) you can usually find an old cast iron sauce pan or skillet for cheap. I have used a Coleman stove for melting lead and casting bullets for years with great results.

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Old 03-23-2011, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkk41 View Post
I use a plumbers lead pot that mounts on a 20lb propane tank. Used a good old Coleman stove before that. A buddy uses the side burner on his gas grill and a 6in steel pipe cap.
This answers the OP's question the best. My father is a plumber, and when I was a kid, cast iron waste and soil pipe was all fitted with lead and oakum. These guys went through a lot of lead melting, and it was done as described above. The burner that sits on top of the tank throws out some serious BTUs; very effective. Needless to say, I've got a whole bunch of lead (lifetime supply) for bullet casting...

These old time plumbers were tough guys, that cast iron pipe, and lead, is heavy stuff, not like the PVC used today...
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:22 PM
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I got started here.

Pots, furnaces, ladles, etc. for melting wheel weights and getting rid of all the ****.

Casting Supplies-Bullet Alloys, Lead Pots, Casting Flux, Cerrosafe, Lead Ladles, Lead Hardness Testers, Lead Thermometer

But I use a bottom pour for filling bullet molds.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:18 PM
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Beware of campstoves.
I used a propane camp stove a few years ago, with a cast iron pot on it. Worked fine, melted the lead, and then the grill over the double burners gave way.
I hadn't considered ... the burner heated the grill to cherry red, weakening it. The weight of the pot and its lead began to bend the grill gradually, so gradually I didn't notice it.
Finally noticed it when I realized my pot was no longer sitting flat.
So, I went to the turkey roaster burner. No problem because it's stout. It will take a dutch oven full of lead.
And the earlier poster's right: NEVER use an aluminum pot to melt lead. The pot is weakened by the heat, then the weight of the lead finally breaks through the bottom, splashing molten lead all over. This warning has been made by the NRA for decades.
You need cast iron or thick steel for melting lead.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epj View Post
You already have the main thing you need, the gas stove. Is it one that can be moved outside? If so, all you need is an old cast iron or stainless steel pot to melt in. DO NOT USE AN ALUMINUM POT! IF the stove is fixed in the basement, you'll have to have some major source of ventilation to get the fumes out.
Curious as to why not use an aluminum pot???


Oops...should have looked at page 2!!!
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:32 PM
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My wife and I go to flea markets as a hobby on the weekends...There is an abundance of used cast iron frying pans out there for pennies on the dollar...Several of the local guys are using cast iron corn bread molds purchased used for cheap to cast ingots. Hope this helps..
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:30 PM
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i use a fish cooker with a big cast iron pot, be carefull!
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