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Cholla

.45-70 casters -- Bottom pour or ladle cast???

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So after buying an RCBS bottom pour lead pot, I bought a book about making precision lead long-range bullets and he recommends using a lead ladle instead of a bottom pour unit. Which do you prefer for .45-70 535 grain bullets?

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we are using a bottom pour system right now , might give a ladle a try but never gave it that much thought till you mentioned it , 

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Both work but the best bullets come from a ladle.

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If you are shooting long range you want the weight of your bullets to be consistent. 

 

Bottom pouring large heavy weight bullets will have a large SD of weights.

 

Ladle poured large heavy bullets will have a much smaller SD.

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you have me convinced to give it a try - i want consistent results to the best of my ability on these , we cast very few in a year compared to the 45colts ,  taking the time to do it best is where i would like to be 

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My experience has been that ladle pour works best for the heavy long range bullets.  Bottom pour works well enough but the ladle is more consistent once you perfect the “art form” to using it.

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The ladle pours have spoken... Here is a link to the ladle the author recommended. Ironically it is a bottom pour ladle to keep debris out of the bullet. He said to buy the one-pound size ladle.

https://www.rotometals.com/casting-ladle-bottom-pour-rowell-1-2-1-4-bowl-diameter-9-handle-length/

 

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I have been using the Ladle system for so long I see No reason to switch .

Just sayin .

Rooster  

 

PS.

But then again I enjoy Casting and Loading .

So I take my time .

Its my personal relaxing time  alone .

 

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2 hours ago, Cholla said:

The ladle pours have spoken... Here is a link to the ladle the author recommended. Ironically it is a bottom pour ladle to keep debris out of the bullet. He said to buy the one-pound size ladle.

https://www.rotometals.com/casting-ladle-bottom-pour-rowell-1-2-1-4-bowl-diameter-9-handle-length/

 

 

Check the size of that ladle as compared to the opening in your lead pot. A pound of lead capacity is overkill.

 

Remember that 4 ounces is 1750 grains.

 

I use the Lyman casting ladle. RCBS also makes a good one. Both have a spout to allow easy pouring into a mould and can be used right or left handed

 

Lyman

image.thumb.png.15e7978626c96b8b1b20921635f4b6f2.png

RCBS

image.png.0d9fecb4ad57437af6ef60827abae824.png

Edited by Sedalia Dave

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I noticed that. I can only assume he doesn't fill the ladle up fully because he also states that the ladle should be kept in contact with the mold for ten seconds, which I can only assume is to transfer heat. The book I am reading is Casting Premium Bullets for the BPCR by Paul Matthews.

This is also the smallest ladle made by Rowell. Matthews says in the book he used a two-pound ladle but recommended using the one-pound.

 

He also claims to use the Lyman ladle like you have shown.

Edited by Cholla
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I have a RCBS Pro Melt 2 furnace which holds 25 pounds of lead. The Rowell 1-pound ladle is 2.5" in diameter so in theory it should fit. In practice, who knows? I bought the furnace with the plan of casting my own pistol bullets but with the onslaught of things to do to prepare for our move, I didn't get far enough to get much experience. I did learn that melting dirty lead (wheel weights) in the RCBS unit and trying to cast bullets is non-productive because the spout keeps clogging. Going forward I will find a way to melt and cast ingot that doesn't include using my bottom pour furnace.

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24 minutes ago, Cholla said:

Going forward I will find a way to melt and cast ingot that doesn't include using my bottom pour furnace.

 

When preparing wheel weights or any other lead for ingots I used a cast iron skillet on a small propane stove.  It was easy to skim the trash off with a slotted spoon.  

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I have used both ladle and bottom pour furnace.

My experience, pouring 350 grain Maxi-Balls, with a bottom pour SAECO furnace, has me preferring that method.

I have found that holding the mold under the spout, with the pouring lever open, (while there is some cooling of the lead), allows more metal to enter the mold, as the metal shrinks, thus eliminating a hollow base on my bullets.

Your mileage may differ

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Quote

Which do you prefer for .45-70 535 grain bullets?

Ladle Pour:

* Melt and mold heated to same temperature so that with a 5 second pour, the sprue puddle frost in 5 to 8 seconds.

With a constant rhythm, the bases are flat when cut, the cavities are completely filled out and the groove bands are sharp.

Normal weight range plus or minus 0.5grs

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I find that my RCBS bottom pour pot actually makes just as accurate a rifle bullet as ladling, and at twice the production rate.

 

Last large batch of rifle bullets I cast were 190 grain 30 caliber bullets.  I had over 95% of bullets from that batch fall in a 0.4 grain TOTAL SPREAD range.   In other words +/- 0.2 grains.   That is about as consistent as match jacketed slugs in that caliber.  Those bullets have been loaded and fired into the most accurate cast bullet loads I have ever shot.  Out of an IRON SIGHTED Springfield 1903 rifle, I am consistently getting 1 1/4" five shot groups at 100 yards.  

 

That is better than the results I have gotten from careful ladle pouring with the same mold and alloy (which usually shoot 2 - 3" groups).

 

Examination of match results from Cast Bullet Association national and regional matches (posted in their member bulletins), where shooters report what alloy and pour method they used to make their match winning bullets, for the last several years, have twice as many bottom-poured bullets in the top three winning loads as ladled bullets. 

 

I believe the old concept that "hand ladling is SO much better than bottom pouring" is being proven to be no longer accurate - or perhaps shooters are just hanging on to old habits.

 

Now, the #1 technique I use for top quality rifle bullets is to use REALLY REALLY clean alloy and casting pot.   I no longer use range scrap for rifle bullets - way too much oddball metallic contamination (Calcium, Zinc, Copper, etc).  I NEVER melt down sources of my lead IN MY CASTING POT.  I don't EVER put dirty stuff in the CASTING POT.    All melt-down even of clean alloy that I may have bought from another caster goes into a large cast iron pot (holds over 100 pounds if full, but never is).   Melted down at a max temperature of 775 F.   Fluxed, stirred, skimmed and held at molten temperature for 20 minutes, and re-fluxed (etc) until I cannot get ANY more dross to rise to the surface.  That is then poured into one and 2 pound ingots that are easy to melt in the casting pot.

 

The #2 technique I use is to determine what muzzle velocity of load I want, and work from that back to the powder type and weight likely to give good performance, find what chamber pressure that load generates, pick the lubricant and alloy hardness to stand up to that pressure (using guides found on Cast Boolits website and LASC website), and then mix my lead ingots to get to that alloy hardness.   With some fast twist military surplus rifles, examining the bullet spin rate and nose design is also necessary to make sure it can handle that spin rate without bending the nose during firing.   Then, when I cast those bullets with a bottom pour pot, I leave an inch air gap from spout to sprue plate, run a fast stream of metal into mold cavities, and continue until a large puddle forms on the sprue plate.  Tap the mold blocks before sprue hardens completely to aid liquid alloy to settle 100% down into the cavities.  

 

Just my experiences over the last 5 years of shooting cast rifle bullets.  

 

Handgun bullets - I pay so much less attention to quality when casting those compared to rifle slugs that it almost feels wrong to admit it.  :o

Good luck, GJ

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25 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Then, when I cast those bullets with a bottom pour pot, I leave an inch air gap from spout to sprue plate, run a fast stream of metal into mold cavities, and continue until a large puddle forms on the sprue plate.  Tap the mold blocks before sprue hardens completely to aid liquid alloy to settle 100% down into the cavities.  

 

^^^^This!

 

Making a large puddle on top of the sprue plate keeps the plate hot and prevents chilling the lead as it flows into the cavity.  I open the sprue plate above the pot and recycle that big blob immediately after it freezes.  If you have to use a mallet to open the sprue plate you have waited too long, it should open and cut the sprue with thumb pressure.

 

 I think many casters get themselves into trouble by not having the mold and sprue plate hot enough, and by trying to minimize sprue volume.

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Let's face facts: Loading with a bottom pour or ladle is solely dependent on the expertise of the reloader

I tried a bottom pour once and guess I was in 'left field' respective to my use of one.

So - with over 200 molds, every bullet has been cast with a ladle and they are 'perfect' and the weight Bell Curve runs 0.2 to 0.5gr difference with a few out of the range due to my rhythm casting ... for a 100 bullet casting sessions for 22LR up to 50-70's and metrics

As to how the ladle's print on the targets , the neatest group, 457123 Lymans, 525gr saved black powder target I've saved, was 23 out of 25 holes within a MOA at 100yds and many targets I've saved at 200 - 300 yds are also MOA.  And at 1000yds for example, 7 out 10 holes in the 10 ring & Bullseye

So .... if one can produce great bullets with a close Bell Curve and the reloads produce MOA's - Use the bottom pour

For me, the ladle pour will always be my way to cast, the Old Fashion Way :D

BTW, I shoot 500 plus grain bullets in several Sharps, Highwall, Lone Star, Remington Rolling Blocks and a Trap Door

Edited by John Boy
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9 minutes ago, John Boy said:

Let's face facts: Loading with a bottom pour or ladle is solely dependent on the expertise of the reloader

I tried a bottom pour once and guess I was in 'left field' respective to my use of one.

So - with over 200 molds, every bullet has been cast with a ladle and they are 'perfect' and the weight Bell Curve runs 0.2 to 0.5gr difference with a few out of the range due to my rhythm casting ... for a 100 bullet casting sessions for 22LR up to 50-70's and metrics

As to how the ladle's print on the targets, the neatest group, 457123 Lymans, 525gr saved black powder target, was 23 out of 25 holes within a MOA at 100yds and many targets I've saved at 200 - 300 yds are also MOA.  And at 1000yds for example, 7 out 10 holes in the 10 ring & Bullseye

So .... if one can produce great bullets with a close Bell Curve and the reloads produce MOA's - Use the bottom pour

For me, the ladle pour will always be my way to cast, the Old Fashion Way :D

 

John, he mentions pouring bullets around 200 gr and bottom pour will work for that on a base pour.   Its demonstrated that for big heavy bullets ladle is best and especially if a nose pour mold.

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Its demonstrated that for big heavy bullets ladle is best and especially if a nose pour mold.

Sam, as I mentioned, my 22LR, 25, 32 'little bullet calibers' from 36gr up to 200 & 300 grs are also ladle pours

Edited by John Boy
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