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  1. #1
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    Default Gas grill for lead melting

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ID:	591329I just picked up an old gas grill and hope to convert it over to lead smelting.

    I figure I can pull the top off, use only one burner, and then be set with melting lead into bullet ignots.

    Anyone out there using an old grille in this method?

    I've seen those using Colemand stoves and turkey fryers, but not a grill.

    Worse case scenerio: I pull off the top, put a piece of plywood on top and turn it into a work bench.
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  2. #2
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    I think you will be disappointed with the performance of the grill. The heat is not concentrated enough to heat the melting pot. A grill has to have the heat spread out to work properly, not what you need to heat a pot of lead. Stick with the turkey fryer.

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    i too think you will be disappointed..unless you have a very small pot.
    i use a turkey fryer burner with a fat 50 ammo can for a pot. i can do about 120 lbs at a time.

    mike in co

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    Quote Originally Posted by kp321 View Post
    I think you will be disappointed with the performance of the grill. The heat is not concentrated enough to heat the melting pot. A grill has to have the heat spread out to work properly, not what you need to heat a pot of lead. Stick with the turkey fryer.
    Turkey fryer/smoker burner works excellent for me. Cast iron fry pan is the pot.
    If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!

  5. #5
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    what the guys said: expect drama.

    I tried the grill long ago and it was a failure. I then stopped floundering around
    and bought the 50 buck Bayou turkey burner, the 40 buck dutch oven from Walmart
    and been using them for 4 years with efficient operation. I smelt 300 # twice a year
    to get my bar stock of lead and wheel weight ingots (a 6 month supply for bullet making)
    and the safety, efficiency of the burner with that cast iron US made dutch oven with lid
    takes a lot of time and effort off the smelting process which is not fun to do. Forget the
    grill, bite the bullet and get set up right and don't look back on the cost. Life is far easier
    this past 4 yrs with the smelting and far safer too ! Tools pay for themselves .

  6. #6
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    +1 single burner for turkey fryer.
    You need a lot of BTUs to heat 30-40lbs of wheel weights. Despite a huge blast of flame on high, a 25lb propane cylinder gets good mileage.
    Go to Wallyworld and pick up a cast iron dutch oven pot. It will hold a good 50lb or more of molten lead.
    Always leave at least 3/4" of lead in the bottom to avoid warping the pot or melting out the bottom. I had one burn a hole in the bottom and dump about 20lb of lead through the burner. That was rather exciting with molten lead pouring out through sheets of flame!
    The "clean" lead in the bottom will melt first and help distribute heat to the weights above.
    Get a strong aluminum/chrome slotted spatula. Lead won't stick to it.
    Add weights by placing them on the spatula and gently lowering them in several scoops at a time. As they melt, the steel clips will float to the top. Scoop them off with the spatula and discard. Continue adding more until you have the pot about half full of molten lead.
    Stir and skim off any residue that floats to the top.
    Now, that you have a good amount of "clean" molten lead, turn down the flame to just hot enough to keep it molten. Too hot and the alloys will separate out and float.
    Get 4-5 ingot molds and an aluminum/chromed 2oz long handle ladle (restaurant supply store)
    Place the ingot mold on the lip of the pot where the handle is and ladle it full. Set aside and move on to the next.
    By the time you fill the last mold, the first is cooled to solid enough to turn over and dump into a 5gal bucket of cold water.
    It becomes a continuous process of fill and dump.
    You can churn out a good 100lbs of ingots in a bit over an hour.

    Here is the use for your grill ...
    I put the ingots into 2lb coffee cans. BAKE them dry in the grill for at least an hour.
    You don't want the least little bit of moisture remaining on them! One drop of water on an ingot dropped into molten lead in the lead pot when casting is an instant volcanic explosion of hot lead!

    I use a small Lee lead pot with pour spout for casting. .Temp dial at 8-8.5. Keep the pot about 1/3 full by adding an ingot or two as the level drops. They will melt quickly as you continue to cast.
    Don't let the level drop too low or sludge may clog your pour spout. I fill the 6 cavity mold, wait just a few seconds until the lead on the spru is solid, cut the spru and drop into a 5gal bucket of water. I can cast 2000 .45 in under 2 hrs. Get and use Frankford Arsenal DROP OUT graphite spray on your molds. Just a light spray and bullets won't stick in the mold. It doubled my production speed!
    Put cast bullets in 2lb coffee cans and BAKE dry on the grill.

    I like the coffee cans as we have at least one empty a week in my house so they quickly add up. You can stack them one on top of another for storage. Filled with ingots or bullets, each weighs about 25lb so they are not to heavy to move around.
    Basement is piled high with cans of ingots and cans of cast bullets. Rainy day chore, lube and size. Once that's done, back in cans ready for the press.

  7. #7
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    I see no reason why it won't work if you fabricate a sheet metal shroud to contain the heat around the pot. Old plumbers lead pots have a similar shroud.

  8. #8
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    please note..
    i use a fat 50 ammo can for a pot...tons cheaper than a cast iron pot and holds more than most.
    (a smaller ammo can if you melt small lots..regular 50's or a 30)
    buy a ladle at a restraunt supply house...use pliers to bend a spout in it.
    a second ladle drilled full of holes is great for pulling clips out of the mix.
    i use 1 1/2" angle iron set on the v, and muffin tins for molds.
    set the molds on wet towels and the lead hardens fast
    add more water to the towels as it boils off.....
    add the water without the molds in place
    as has been mentioned water and hot lead do not mix well

    mike in co

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    Since you already have it, try it out.
    Maybe leave the lid on and closed to retain heat.
    Find an old pot without a burnable handle (cast iron ?) that fits inside the grill.
    Toss in a small amount of lead for a test-run.
    Crank the burners up to high and see what happens.

    I use a weed-burning torch and a cast iron pot on a couple of old brake drums.

    Phil

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    Aluminum gets hot short around 650F... Hot short means crumbly and super duper weak....

    Guess what temperature lead melts at?

    Now - you add a couple hundred lbs of lead inside that thing... and you are talking a giant calamity just waiting to put you into the Emergency Room....

    I have smelted a whole lot of lead over a camp fire.... Just pile up a big pile of wood and stick the closed up dutch oven full of lead stuff in the middle of it.... Come back after it's burned down and is good and hot... Open that lid and stir it up good with a stick... Fish out all the trash, rocks, clips, jackets, dross, etc.. with a slotted spoon.. Put it into a coffee can and "Donate" it to your local recycler as lead dross... Then ladle your lead metal into ingots....

    Thanks

  11. #11
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    turkey fryer ring and a cast iron dutch oven pot

  12. #12
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    i do not understand the hang up with dutch ovens..they cost money..lots of money..a fat 50 ammo can is 15 bucks or less.....
    sorry yes i know when one is available at no cost, but if you have to buy one..got the ammo can route.

    mike in co

    Quote Originally Posted by mr44 View Post
    turkey fryer ring and a cast iron dutch oven pot

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    I guess it depends, I rather thought that AL, lost integrity at about 850-900, I know that the stuff is a BITCH to weld, cause you got to get it hot 'enough' but not too hot cause it just collapses.
    my old shop teacher used a colman stove and coffee cans.

    anybody want to guess what our task for that day was? making molds out of angle iron, welding 2" stock on the end, to make a little bar mold.
    Live, learn and be happy.
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  14. #14
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    ammo cans are steel, dutch ovens are cast iron..not sure where the aluminum comments are comming from but do not use them for melting lead.
    as far as the angle iron molds..cut the length to the length of either 30 or 50 cal ammo cans and stack your lead inside...i do not think i'd ever fill a 50..too heavy.

    mike in co

  15. #15
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    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lodge-Cast...h-Oven/5969631
    Lodge Cast Iron 5-Quart Dutch Oven $30.54

    It is almost the diameter of the burner ring so it sits nicely over the flame.
    You won't use the lid.
    Get it half full of molten lead and it will weigh a good 50+ lbs, enough to start sinking the legs of the burner into the ground, and you are not going to be moving it around.
    Bottom is making full contact with the supports over the burner so it's not likely to tip or spill.
    The LAST thing you want is any kind of setup with any possibility of spilling a pot full of molten lead!
    Consider the structural stability of your grill ... will it safely hold 50-100lbs on the grates, at waist level, and what could happen if something gives?

    Yes, it was an old aluminum roasting pot that the bottom fell out of ...

    Ingot molds are very inexpensive. They have handles that don't get too hot. Ingots drop out easily when you turn them over to dump into the water bucket. Slim ingots drop in easily in the lead pot which has the rod for the pour spout in the middle and you have to slip the ingot in on either side.

    ALWAYS ... be prepared for a splash of hot lead! Leather boots, insulated leather gloves, long sleeves, heavy pants or even leather welders apron. Just one tiny fleck of hot lead on your skin is a self correcting error you won't repeat!

  16. #16
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    Back in the day we melted lead on the kitchen stove in an Ideal cast iron pot.
    No shroud around the pot or any kind of shield.
    Had no problem melting scrap.
    If a man speaks in the forest and there is no Woman to hear him,
    is he still WRONG?

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    but you were not melting 100-120 lbs either

    Quote Originally Posted by rbott View Post
    Back in the day we melted lead on the kitchen stove in an Ideal cast iron pot.
    No shroud around the pot or any kind of shield.
    Had no problem melting scrap.

  18. #18
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    Concerning the metal content of wheel weights...are they not alloyed with other materials that don't make good bullets?

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    I got a big 'ole cast iron dutch oven at Harbor Freight for CHEAP.... I forget how much it was - but it was less than $20.00 ..

    Why not use a 50-cal ammo can?
    1. Didn't know they would hold up for that sort of duty...
    2. There aren't any army surplus stores anywhere around - so Ammo cans are few and far between for me... and I use them all for ammo....

  20. #20
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    i use three of them..and ye si got them cheap.
    one for ww
    one for indoor range lead
    one for mixing alloys

    so yes go were the cost is cheapest. but yes they will do over 120 lbs and work well.
    mike in co
    Quote Originally Posted by truckjohn View Post
    I got a big 'ole cast iron dutch oven at Harbor Freight for CHEAP.... I forget how much it was - but it was less than $20.00 ..

    Why not use a 50-cal ammo can?
    1. Didn't know they would hold up for that sort of duty...
    2. There aren't any army surplus stores anywhere around - so Ammo cans are few and far between for me... and I use them all for ammo....

  21. #21
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    straight LEAD alloy ww work fine; some add a bit of tin for better fillout. all depends on the cal and velocity.
    ZINC ww are a disaster to lead ww's.
    these are much more common today with enviromental laws like in ca.
    there are unscrupless dealers who go to tire shops and show them bs paper work about lead being a hazmat material , and the need to pay a HANDLER TO REMOVE the hazmat from thier property. what a double ouch.
    most times zinc will float to the top, but a single melted zinc will ruin an entire pot of lead.
    i use to scrap over a ton a month.
    i run three 20 lb pots for casting and a third straight lead 10 lb pot for bbl slugging slugs
    mike in co
    Quote Originally Posted by BC1 View Post
    Concerning the metal content of wheel weights...are they not alloyed with other materials that don't make good bullets?

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    And the OP does not say he wants to melt 100 lbs.
    If a man speaks in the forest and there is no Woman to hear him,
    is he still WRONG?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1 View Post
    Concerning the metal content of wheel weights...are they not alloyed with other materials that don't make good bullets?
    Some, many, are. Antimony and zinc, mainly. Seldom tin (which is expensve and not needed). Antimony isn't a problem, linotype was 4% tin, 12% antimony, 84% lead and makes good, rather hard bullets. Some mix linotype and pure lead 1 to 1 and like the resulting alloy for bullets.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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    Check the "cheap stores" , Goodwill, Salvation Army and small thrift stores. Cast iron pots of various sizes that FIT Your Need can be found cheap. Turkey cooker or small single burner stove works well, remember everybody's "needs" are different. Buy what works for you. Some casters smelt a few 100 pouds a day, others just a few pounds. All that matters is you are smelting and casting.

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    When I was a kid, I used a single gas burner & cast iron lead pot that held about 25# - worked fine, but had to use a ladle that I made from an iron pipe cap & old threaded handle. For the past 35 years I've been using a Lee lead pot with the bottom pour spout - much cleaner, faster & much more uniform results than with a pot & dipper.

    With a little practice & a good, stout thumbnail, you can easily ID & separate out the zinc weights. The tape-on wheel weights are nearly pure lead & have more value for casting muzzleloader roundballs.
    "Hey Look! We've got Guns ... and We've got Snacks!"
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    he also did not say he did not want to smelt 100 pounds.........
    two sides to most coins.....

    mike in co
    Quote Originally Posted by rbott View Post
    And the OP does not say he wants to melt 100 lbs.

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    Just hope you guys wear some kind of respirator...my dad did his own smelting/molding for years without one and died horribly from a respiratory disease attributed to lead...food for thought.

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    i would say that is more substaintial than what i had pictured as 'AN OLD GAS GRILL".....that look pretty good for the task..nice size burner, solid legs....

    that aint your typical home gas grill

    good luck
    mike in co
    Last edited by ar10ar15man; 10-02-2012 at 03:59 PM.

  29. #29
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    you do not need a resperator.
    what you need is to not over heat the lead so there is not lead vapor.....750/800 degrees is plenty.
    out doors with plenty of air...
    mike in co
    Quote Originally Posted by BRYAN M View Post
    Just hope you guys wear some kind of respirator...my dad did his own smelting/molding for years without one and died horribly from a respiratory disease attributed to lead...food for thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ar10ar15man View Post
    you do not need a resperator.
    what you need is to not over heat the lead so there is not lead vapor.....750/800 degrees is plenty.
    out doors with plenty of air...
    mike in co
    Good luck with that!

  31. #31
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    i hate to bust your bubble with FACTS.
    but its true..open air and reasonable tempature and no issue with inhaled lead vapors.
    go do some research on lead vapor point( thats a temp)
    mike in co
    Quote Originally Posted by BRYAN M View Post
    Good luck with that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ar10ar15man View Post
    i would say that is more substaintial than what i had pictured as 'AN OLD GAS GRILL".....that look pretty good for the task..nice size burner, solid legs....

    that aint your typical home gas grill

    good luck
    mike in co
    That burner looks like it would work just fine!
    If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ar10ar15man View Post
    i hate to bust your bubble with FACTS.
    but its true..open air and reasonable tempature and no issue with inhaled lead vapors.
    go do some research on lead vapor point( thats a temp)
    mike in co
    I said good luck...theres no bubble to bust...don't be so confrontational...take your meds.

  34. #34
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    see the issue with a two deminsional forum is no one hears the inflection of your comment.
    with an exclamation mark at the end of "good luck" it does not appear to me that someone is wishing me good luck, but questioning my process, so yes i replied.
    your comment is valid that lead vapor can cause health issues, as in your dad's case, but there is absolutely no need to be exposed to lead vapors while smelting or casting as the temp required to cause lead vapors is not needed in either case, so no a resperator is not needed.
    i have been doing lead casting and smelting for some years, and was given correct instructions when i began.
    if you were truely wishing me good luck, thanks. i rely on skill and knowledge,,,,but luck never hurts.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by ar10ar15man View Post
    see the issue with a two deminsional forum is no one hears the inflection of your comment.
    with an exclamation mark at the end of "good luck" it does not appear to me that someone is wishing me good luck, but questioning my process, so yes i replied.
    your comment is valid that lead vapor can cause health issues, as in your dad's case, but there is absolutely no need to be exposed to lead vapors while smelting or casting as the temp required to cause lead vapors is not needed in either case, so no a resperator is not needed.
    i have been doing lead casting and smelting for some years, and was given correct instructions when i began.
    if you were truely wishing me good luck, thanks. i rely on skill and knowledge,,,,but luck never hurts.
    My comment meant just what I said...Good Luck! No other meaning intended. Not questioning anyones skills or abilities, just from reading the thread I thought I would put that out there. I have all my dads reloading equipment and I have no idea how to use it beyond loading shotgun shells. Don't think I want to get into smelting and casting anyway, but if I did, I would try and be as safe as possible.

  36. #36
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    I once tried to melt zinc wheelweights, by themselves. Weed-burner torch (500,000 BTU) on high for way longer than it should have taken. No sign of melting. I don't see how zinc could contaminate lead. Believe it to not be an issue.

    Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by truckjohn View Post
    Aluminum gets hot short around 650F... Hot short means crumbly and super duper weak....

    Guess what temperature lead melts at?

    Now - you add a couple hundred lbs of lead inside that thing... and you are talking a giant calamity just waiting to put you into the Emergency Room....
    I am curious how turning on a grill is going to make it melt ?


    Just saw the pics of your 'grill'. Looks good to me, although the plywood may be a bit too close to the flames. Metal may be a better choice.
    Have you tried it out yet ?

    Phil

  38. #38
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    Just curious, melting 100 pounds of lead? Are you folks casting 40mm projectiles? I must be an amateur since I only have a Lyman bottom pour electric pot.

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    i often( well use to) do 400-500 lbs at a time...so several 100 batches per day. all mixed the same , so when casting the bullet alloy was the same.
    i mixed three different alloys for my use plus pure lead and commercial linotype.
    i have bought as much as 800 lbs at a time.
    one common bullet is the 314299 that runs around 210gr and runs well in the mosin nagant family...
    mike in co
    Quote Originally Posted by John Sukey View Post
    Just curious, melting 100 pounds of lead? Are you folks casting 40mm projectiles? I must be an amateur since I only have a Lyman bottom pour electric pot.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by milprileb View Post
    what the guys said: expect drama.

    I tried the grill long ago and it was a failure. I then stopped floundering around
    and bought the 50 buck Bayou turkey burner, the 40 buck dutch oven from Walmart
    and been using them for 4 years with efficient operation. I smelt 300 # twice a year
    to get my bar stock of lead and wheel weight ingots (a 6 month supply for bullet making)
    and the safety, efficiency of the burner with that cast iron US made dutch oven with lid
    takes a lot of time and effort off the smelting process which is not fun to do. Forget the
    grill, bite the bullet and get set up right and don't look back on the cost. Life is far easier
    this past 4 yrs with the smelting and far safer too ! Tools pay for themselves .
    I forgot to say this: Don't Cheap Charlie this smelting issue with penny pinching solutions. Think safety and have a stable burner and cast iron pot to do this work. Add to this something none of you said but I will. Set your gear up, rehearse actions and how you will do functions a few times. Get battle sight focus on what you got to do and how. Prepare the battle drill of doing smelting and get it all organized and locked in your mind. Then proceed. There is no room for error here. That includes making the area OFF LIMITS to wife and kids and making sure it is. Turn off the bloody cell phone. Stop the world and shut it off so you can put 100% focus in to the smelting (or bullet casting). Its serious stuff guys, pay it the attention it deserves. No half stepping with pots that may fail and pour molten lead everywhere. Have the damn face shield on always ... never smelt or cast without one on. Bite the bullet and don't argue with me on this, its not being right, its all about staying safe. Just think this all out and act safely.

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