Lead Distillery….It’s All About The Head…

Bottom pour casting pots are fine for casting bullets for handguns and for rifle bullets under 250g. A bit of inconsistent weight isn’t going to matter much with these lighter bullets that are usually fired at shorter distances. But once you get into the 500+ grain bullets, the difference in weight that a bottom pour melting pot throws can affect accuracy greatly.

For these larger bullets, casters will usually ‘ladle” pour. This is using a ladle to pour one bullet at a time by scooping up lead from the pot. The general knowledge is that the weight of the “head” in the ladle is always the same. So the force pushing the lead into the mold is always the same.

With a bottom pour pot, as you are drawing lead from the pot, the level is going down and the weight of the “head” is diminishing. Therefore the weight “pushing” the lead into the mold is changing. With a 20 pound pot, every 10 -15  500+g bullets changes the head rather dramatically.

I wanted a way to keep the pot I’m drawing lead from to remain at nearly the same level throughout the casting session.

Hence….A “Distillery”….Well, not really. But it looks like something you’d find in the woods of South Carolina during prohibition….

Simply one lead melting pot above another:

As the bottom pot is drwn down you simply release lead from the top pot to keep the bottom pot at the same level.

The stand is a simple weld up of some angle iron and some square tubing I had hanging around the shop.

Each pot has its own PID for temperature control

Works perfectly!  Even better if I heat up the slide a bit with a propane torch. I might make the slide longer so it is sitting in the molten lead of the bottom pot and staying up to “pouring temperature”.

It is also nice when I’m using a six cavity mold for my Cowboy Action revolvers. Those 6 cavity mold can really eat through 20 pounds of lead. Now I have bars melting up above while I;’m casting down below. No stopping to melt a bar of lead!

My first run of 535g Postell bullets showed the weight consistency to be equal to these bullets I ladle pour. And a LOT faster and a LOT less messy!

Thanks for looking!


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2 comments on “Lead Distillery….It’s All About The Head…”

  1. Murl Darby Reply

    I always enjoy your articles and look for them. I have you site bookmarked and look at it once in a while just to see what I may have missed. I have never really been into the black powder stuff but enjoy looking and reading about the old guns that you bring back from the dead so to speak.
    I taught Drafting and Design in a community college for twenty plus years and was also the head of the Manufacturing Department, which included drafting, machine tool and welding. So I take an interest in what you do. Keep up the stories and pictures and keep them coming. Thanks.

  2. The Judge Reply

    You are one smart dude. Smarter than a tree full of owls at midnight! When are you gonna come hunt some of my deer? 8s running around like rabbits. 10s common. 12s seen. And then “Peaches”, who was a 14.

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