opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

jbquack1
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opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby jbquack1 » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:47 pm

I got one of these for christmas and have used it with my 270 SAA mold from rcbs for my 45 colt.It works well in that bullet weight as far as bottom pour goes,but i was wondering if anyone had experience with heavier bullets using the bottom pour.There is ample room for an rcbs ladle so i always have that option.Thanks in advance.jim

5shooter
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby 5shooter » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:42 am

I have 2 of them. One works great and I have never got the other to work worth a hoot. If I adjust it where it pours a good flow it will leak lead with the handle closed and if I adjust it where it won't leak it pours too slow. I am sure it would work great if I pulled the rod out and lapped it with some lapping compound. I probably have a couple hundred hours on the other Lee pot and it works great with WW. It pours fast enough for good results in my .475 375 grain and .458 420 grain molds. The only problem I have had with it is when the pot is a little cool it will sometimes plug up. When this happens the alloy is too cool for proper casting anyway and to free it up I warm the spout with a propane torch and it is good to go.

jbquack1
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby jbquack1 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:33 pm

I had thought of opening the pour spout a little.Your suggestion on lapping the stopper rod is a good idea as i am sure fit up is the least of lees concern when trying to move these out the door.Thanks for your insight.jim

skunkmarshal
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby skunkmarshal » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:25 am

Bought one a while back. Seems to work fine. Lapping the spout seat and adjusting the spout lever screws should work for most problems. The adjustments on them are a little cheezy- but can only expect that for the money. I keep a beat up screw driver handy for the once-in-a-while drips. A couple of turn on the very top of the stem usually stops the problem. I have tracked a couple of drip problems to inclusions in the melt. It's kinda hard to completely scrape and flux all the junk out with the stem in the pot. It seems to happen but rarely no matter how clean my alloy is.

As far as the bottom pour method? I seem to get good bullets, good fill-out with the 300-350 grainers in the 45 cal using the bottom pour. I carefully weighed a few bottom pour bullets from the 440 and 470 grain 45 cal molds and a 320 grain 40 cal mold. I detected a significant variation within the bottom pour bullets. In addition to the weight variation I can also see imperfections and variations in the nose and base fill out. For me the larger and/or longer bullets need the ladle pour for best results. I use a Lyman ladle. Of course alloy and technique vary so mileage will vary.

jbquack1
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby jbquack1 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:37 pm

I have good results on the 350 grain .45 , i am having a .475 mold at 415 grains made, and will probably go with the ladle.I have noticed the pour spout takes awhile before i can pour and i have to get the mold fairly hot before i get good results bottom pouring.All in all it certainly beats the old 10 pound pot.

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mtngun
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby mtngun » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:16 pm

Just "upgraded" my casting arsenal with a Lee 20 pound "magnum melter" and a Lee 4-20 bottom pour.

The "magnum melter" will be dedicated to ladling wheelweight. It is a good value and does the job. Admittedly, the Lee temperature control system allows the pot temperature to wander quite a bit, but it's not a huge problem. Thumbs Up for the Lee Magnum Melter.

The plan was to dedicate the 4-20 for pure lead. I hate ladling pure lead because it oxidizes like crazy so you have to flux frequently which is pretty unpleasant in the winter when you can't open the windows. In theory, a good bottom pour pot would allow you to cast pure lead while ignoring the flux on top of the melt.

Well, the 4-20 has given me a hard time. First time I went to use it, the pour spout refused to pour. The pot was 850 degrees so I knew the spout wasn't frozen. Eventually I unjammed the spout with a piece of wire. Out poured the hot lead ..... and it kept coming out, and out, and out, spilling all over the bench. Only after twisting the stem with a screwdriver did the pour stop. By that time, the pot was half empty. I had to clean up the mess, dump it back in the pot, and wait for it to reach temperature. :twisted:

OK, finally it's up to temp and I start casting. Boy, that's a pitiful stream of lead -- looks to be 1/16", maybe 3/32" tops ??? It takes quite a while to fill each cavity. Bases are often rounded because the flow is too puny. Grrrrrr. :evil:

In between pours, DRIP, DRIP, DRIP.

The pour handle is located on the right-handed side of the pot. Who on earth pours with their right hand ? :D

How many decades has Lee been making the 4-20 ? And they still can't get it right ?

At this stage, I cannot recommend the 4-20. It is a piece of crap. Aside from the horrible leak, the pour stream is inadequate even for linotype. What is Lee thinking ?

However, before I use it for target practice, I'll try some mods. Drill out the pour spout, move the pour handle to the left side like god intended, and experiment with ways to fix the blasted leak. Stay tuned.

jbquack1
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby jbquack1 » Wed May 06, 2009 2:25 pm

I figured out how to "work" around the 4-20's inadequacies and have been able to get good results.The spout freeze i think could be solved with a little bigger hole and i add alloy at about the halfway point, otherwise it takes forever to get back up to temp.I would appreciate hearing how drilling the spout works out.The controls work fine for us left handed types. :D

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mtngun
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby mtngun » Wed May 06, 2009 5:15 pm

I haven't had time to complete the mods, but here's the short update:

I drilled the outlet with a #21 drill. That greatly improved the flow to exactly what I wanted for pure lead.

I lapped the stem in its seat. That didn't phase the drip.

I tried moving the stem handle to the left side, but the new holes I drilled for the sheet metal screws immediately stripped out, so I had to abandon that plan.

Instead, I welded an extension to the existing handle, for us southpaws. The extension was deliberately made out of heavy iron to add a little down force to the stem, but that didn't phase the drip, either.

That's where I left it. There's a couple of more things I'd like to try. Pictures later.

turbo_1889

Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby turbo_1889 » Wed May 06, 2009 5:16 pm

Please don't take this post as a defense of Lee. The only Lee pot that I like is the one without any pore spout that's intended for ladle casting - just a shallow metal pot with a heating coil and temperature control. So simple not even Lee could mess it up. With that said I am a right handed guy who keeps the mold in my left hand do indeed have my right hand free to operate the poor lever that is mounted on the right hand side of the pot. Why? Well my first few years of casting were all ladle casting and the ladle was what I put in my right hand because that was what I needed the finer motor control for. Thus, ever since, whether I'm casting with a ladle or not the mold is in my left hand. I figured that was how all of us right handed guys did it.

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mtngun
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Re: opinions on the lee 20 pound pots

Postby mtngun » Wed May 06, 2009 7:39 pm

turbo_1889 wrote: The only Lee pot that I like is the one without any pore spout that's intended for ladle casting - just a shallow metal pot with a heating coil and temperature control. So simple not even Lee could mess it up.


I agree 100%. The Lee "Magnum Melter" is a great value. Love it for casting wheelweight.


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