Ladle vs. bottom pour

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Longone posted this 20 April 2014

If this topic needs to be moved by all means help yourself. I was pouring over the results pages and have been wondering about this for some time. Is it just their set up that some use a ladle and some use a bottom pour? Is there more consistent results with one over the other?  I have been using my RCBS ProMelt for many years and have been very satisfied but just had to ask.  So many questions.  :D Longone

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badgeredd posted this 20 April 2014

My experience is casting with a ladle will give more consistent results with long skinny bullets or big heavy bullets. I use both methods as the need be. I started pouring with a bottom pour and seem to be able to get consistent weights and quality with most bullets doing so, but I have found I am more consistent with better quality when pouring the above type bullets with a ladle. YMMV.

Edd

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 20 April 2014

The real question is two-fold. a) how consistent are you with each method; and b) what level of consistency do you WANT?

I can do +/-1 to 1.5gr on 300 and/or 400 grain bullets with two cavity moulds. Is it good enough? NOT for some applications. Could I do better switching from one method to another? Don't know.

BUT, by weighing each bullet (sometimes just after casting) I LEARNED more about consistency in casting than from ANYTHING else.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 April 2014

on light aluminum molds i like ladle pour but for heavy molds because of arthuritis / carpal / pinched nerves / lazy ... i prefer bottom pour.

for bigger bullets the lee and lyman dippers are too little ... get a rowel dipper !!! i like to pour lots of hot lead on the sprue plate after the cavities are full ... makes good bases ...


i started with a potter bottom pour or a lyman dipper in 1956 ... ? door prize ?

ken

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Brodie posted this 20 April 2014

When I started bullet casting back in the late 60's I didn't have anybody to teach me and I had gotten a bottom pour pot. Since then I have almost exclusively bottom poured.  I found that getting around the mechanism with a ladle was a pita, and just gave it up. Also, I find that my cadence is much faster bottom pouring and the bullets more consistent. Brodie

B.E.Brickey

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Longone posted this 21 April 2014

Old Coot,

I haven't been casting nearly as long as some here, maybe 20 years on and off and mainly handgun bullets. When I started I was using a Coleman stove with a cast iron pot and a RCBS ladle. It was all I knew and I thought I was a real trendsetter!!!!!

I bought a RCBS ProMelt about 5 years later and have not looked back. Production............what a difference, nice bullets and plenty of them. I just keep reading some of the match results and wonder why some of the top shooters use a ladle. Maybe it's their passion or they feel they have better control over the pour. Either way there must be something to it.

Longone

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Tom Acheson posted this 21 April 2014

This is probably one of those “this works best for me” outcomes. 

I started casting in 1974 and for me it was a point in time when I finally quit trying to make my 1987 Lyman 20-pounder bottom pour unit work consistently, so I switched to a ladle, probably 20-years ago. But...there are two ladles on the bench. One is a Rowell that holds about a pound of alloy and I use it kind of like the way alloy drops out of a bottom pour, holding the mould level and passing over the top with the ladle, moving from sprue opening to sprue opening. 

The other ladle is a RCBS and I use it like it is supposed to be used with a large single cavity mould. You cock the mould top to the right 90 degrees, insert the small nipple on the bottom of the ladle into the sprue plate opening and the rotate the mould and ladle joined together back to TDC and let the alloy fill the cavity.

I follow two BPCR forums and just about everyone there seems to be using a high quality single cavity mould with a ladle. These are moulds that produce 350-575-grain bullets. So maybe it's a matter of mould design and bullet weight? My first BPCR rifle (.40-70 SS) was used in 2009 so by then I was already using the ladle.

There will be opposing approaches but that's the way I sail my ship in the sea of this great hobby!

Tom

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jhalcott posted this 22 April 2014

I find that ladling the large bullets for 45 caliber target work produces better consistency for me. I have 2 bottom pour Lee pots that see much more use, though!

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Brodie posted this 22 April 2014

Longone wrote: Old Coot,

I haven't been casting nearly as long as some here, maybe 20 years on and off and mainly handgun bullets. When I started I was using a Coleman stove with a cast iron pot and a RCBS ladle. It was all I knew and I thought I was a real trendsetter!!!!!

I bought a RCBS ProMelt about 5 years later and have not looked back. Production............what a difference, nice bullets and plenty of them. I just keep reading some of the match results and wonder why some of the top shooters use a ladle. Maybe it's their passion or they feel they have better control over the pour. Either way there must be something to it.

Longon

I guess that I wasn't completely honest.  My absolutely first attempt at casting was with a pot (made from a piece of 4” steel pipe) on my Mom's stove, the second was with the same pot and ladle on the stove in the “social room” of the dormitory at college.  The dorm monitor came in and asked what I was doing.  When I said : “Making Bullets".  He freaked and I had to talk to the Dean of men who banned my endeavor.  My parents gave me a 10Lb Lyman bottom pour for Christmas to keep my  casting at home and protect the range. Brodie

B.E.Brickey

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badammo posted this 23 April 2014

I use both ladle and bottom pour, each with their own pots. I found the bottom pour would not cast large bullets well, but does great with smaller than 300 grains. Bottom pour is Lee production pot, Ladle is Lyman that came with casting kit.

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LWesthoff posted this 23 April 2014

I started casting (mostly for .45 pistol) back in the '60s, and didn't even know bottom pour pots were available back then. Were they? Anyway, by the time I heard about bottom pour pots I had also learned that a lot of my molds did not respond very well to holding them right side up and just pouring lead into the sprue hole, so I stuck to ladle casting. Still use the ladle. Have never cast anything bigger than about 250 gr., if that makes any difference.

Actually, now that I'm up in my middle 80's I'm probably too set in my ways to change, anyway.

Wes

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RicinYakima posted this 23 April 2014

Potter Manufacturing began making the first bottom pour pots in about 1936, 3, three, pounders! Ric

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Longone posted this 23 April 2014

In 1936 they must have been coal fired.

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RicinYakima posted this 23 April 2014

:) !! Nope, they had three 110 volt pins on the back, so you could have 300 watts or 400 watts depending upon how you plugged the “waffle iron” cord into the back of the pot. No thermostats. Ric

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Brodie posted this 23 April 2014

I found that if I wanted good 550gr. bullets for my .458 I had to put the mould up against the bottom pour spout and hold it there until the sprue (or what little it amounted to) was hard.  This technique worked for really big bullets .  Brodie

B.E.Brickey

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EdS posted this 01 July 2014

I've been casting on and off since about 1962-3. I've used the ladle method for most of my casting, but have owned two Lyman 10 pound bottom delivery furnaces for brief periods of time. Today, I was working with a new RCBS 35-200-FN and could not get the cavities to fill out along the sides using my habitual ladle against the sprue plate and rotate 90 degrees method. But when I poured from the ladle with a 1/4” gap to the sprue plate (mold sprue plate up) I got excellent fill out along the sides, with only a very slight radius at the base edge, which should be no problem with this GC bullet. I welcome comments and helpful suggestions. Thanks, Ed

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RicinYakima posted this 01 July 2014

Ed, I too have seen this with new (and newer) RCBS moulds. It appears that there is not enough air discharge under the plate. I have solved this with my 40 caliber RCBS moulds by only tilting the mould about 10 degrees, leaving the ladle spout about your 1/4 inch away, and angling to “swirl” the liquid alloy into the cavity. Then I let a couple of hundred grains of alloy flow over the plate and back into the pot. It is not traditional, but works for me. HTH, Ric

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OU812 posted this 17 August 2014

Linotype works verygood in my RCBS bottom pour. I use linotype for my smaller 30 and 358 caliber moulds.

For softer alloys I use the ladle.

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OU812 posted this 17 August 2014

EdS wrote: I've been casting on and off since about 1962-3. I've used the ladle method for most of my casting, but have owned two Lyman 10 pound bottom delivery furnaces for brief periods of time. Today, I was working with a new RCBS 35-200-FN and could not get the cavities to fill out along the sides using my habitual ladle against the sprue plate and rotate 90 degrees method. But when I poured from the ladle with a 1/4” gap to the sprue plate (mold sprue plate up) I got excellent fill out along the sides, with only a very slight radius at the base edge, which should be no problem with this GC bullet. I welcome comments and helpful suggestions. Thanks, Ed Try loosening the sprue plate for better venting.

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JSH posted this 18 August 2014

I started off with a potter! Still have it but it needs some tlc to get it to working again. I then was loaned a lee 10 lb pot, it worked better. Then I purchased a 20 lb lee, it was better yet. I used it for several years. Then had the opportunity to buy an rcbs. A bit better pot no drip omatic. In my findings casting heavy or long bullets, a 20 lb pot that is full and then not used past half full gives me my best bullets. Just a guess but I think it is head pressure. Buddy cast his Postells till the pot runs dry. Then he culls them by weight. His cull rate was bad. Told him to run to about half a pot and refill. Hardly any culls now, compared to before. Jeff

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bliksemdonder posted this 19 August 2014

I'm a noob compared to many here but I found that my self-built bottom pour would not work well for the 300+ grain cast bullets. I fixed this by building a pot with a larger pour valve diameter of 3mm. I followed from the experiences of others using ladle pouring that a larger stream was needed to properly cast large cast bullets.

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