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Our baby took his first steps. (Pics)

  1. As every parent has experienced, the day the baby takes his first steps is filled with mixed emotions.

    As parents we are filled with pride that the little one has finally embarked on the journey of self-reliance and independence, but equally remorseful in that we knew the day would come but are not emotionally equipped to admit that as mentors we are no longer needed as much as we once were.

    It is with both joy and sadness I must announce to our family of GT loaders that our baby, Little Stevie, (C4W), has taken his first steps into the wondrous world of casting.

    Oblivious, and/or uncaring of the blizzard conditions Little Stevie made the treacherous journey to my abode, conveniently located almost two miles closer to heaven than you sea level dwellers. Standing on the deck at the back door I was more than a bit perplexed to see our comrade sucking oxygen through a plastic tube with three extra oxygen bottles under his left arm... although the blue tinge on his face added a festive atmosphere to the falling snow.

    Expecting to see some type of luggage for his anticipated overnight stay I was instead surprised when he drug in a complete level 4 contamination Haz-Mat suit. Before I could query about his strange burden he explained that it was for warding off the toxic, and most assuredly fatal fumes from melting led. I had to brace myself against the wall to keep from falling as flashbacks of ex-wives permeated my mind.

    I had looked forward to conversing with Little Stevie during various breaks in the Super Bowl but that was plan was quickly quashed when I was informed that we would not be wasting our time with sporting events but rather improving our minds and social stature by watching a Life Time special entitles Mikhail Baryshnikov's greatest ballet performances. (While he was inthralled with a scantily clad leaping man on the television I spent my time looking for a gas pipe to suck on... oh, who won the Super Bowl?)

    The sun rose around 6:30... Little Stevie rose around 11. After his breakfast of strained prunes and carrot juice, coffee and cigarettes for me, we adjourned to to loading room.

    Little Stevie had been thoughtful enough to bring his own bucket of WW's. If he hadn't the only thing he would have seen melting would have been snow. He also brought his recently purchased Lee 6 cavity mould for little sissy 9mm caliber bullets.

    Having never used an aluminum mould before I sent urgent PM's to bob2223 requesting guidance as to the proper method of breaking in and seasoning the new mould. Bob replied post haste with detailed instructions on his ideas of achieving desired results. We followed his instructions to the letter.

    Little Stevie was less than pleased when we had to call Midway, purchase a new mould to replace the one that was totally destroyed due to bob2223's instructions. The fact that he had to hire a charter jet to fly the mould to Colorado did not improve his attitude. (I had to explain to him that we couldn't afford to lose a day of tutoring due to my shorter than normal life expectancy.)

    With numerous fire extinguishers strategically placed around the room we fired up the furnace and commenced to melt some lead.

    This is the first photo of Little Stevie actually engaged in the evil activity of casting bullets. Please note that he is not engulfed in flames nor is he passing out from noxious fumes. (I think I'm going to have this picture bronzed and hang it from my rearview mirror.)

    Here's our little boy dropping sprue into molten lead and trying to cause the most splatter possible. (The new curtains should be here on Friday)

    After the first 40 minutes or so this is the pile of bullets he had produced. More than pleased with himself and developing a head of gigantic proportions I was compelled to inform him that the impressive production was the result of superior coaching... not his robotic mindless repetitions. (Raising a child takes a firm hand and authoritative demeanor.)

    You guessed it, the adventures of Little Stevie is continued on the next post.
  2. OooooOOOooo! OOoooooOOOOooo! Can I be next?

  3. While taking one of the many breaks that our little prodigy demanded, (I didn't need them since as many of you know, I have the stamina of a bull), Little Stevie spent some time studying, playing with and ultimately becoming completely enthralled with the Rolls Royce of loading presses... my LNL's.

    Overcome with emotion from being allowed to stand in the shadow of such superior machines he reached to brace himself and grabbed the handle of my Dillon 550B. After catching his breath he instinctively pulled the handle through a full cycle. He paused, did it again, paused again, scratched his ass the repeatedly pulled the handle. Starting to think that there may be something to the toxic fumes rumor I was about to inquire what he was doing when he proclaimed... 'this thing isn't working right'.

    Sensing the beginning of some sinister plot to make me feel bad I decided none the less to play along. "What'da ya mean it doesn't work right, I load on it all the time... and stop kicking my dog."

    It's rough, way to rough, should run smooth... like a hot knife through butter." Instantly I was wary... had he ever really run a hot knife through butter?

    "When's the last time you lubed this thing?"

    "Well, if I remember correctly the last time would have been... ah... never."


    "Yea, like in I'm never gettin married again... that kind of never."

    "How long have you had it?"

    "I don't know, 18 years, maybe longer... why, is there a problem?" I shall not offend the members of this forum by repeating the language that spewed from the mouth of our Little Stevie.

    "Don't worry... I can fix it... I have to take the whole machine apart."

    It goes without saying that a lesser man than myself would have been worried at hearing this statement but nay, I say, I was not worried... I looked at as an excuse to have to buy yet another Hornady LNL. (I can find the silver lining in a septic tank.)

    Our little Stevie gathered up tools and set to work. Here he is just prior to the first unfortunate incident.

    18 or 19 hours later, I lost track having passed out from diabetic coma, he put the finishing touches on the reassembly.

    You should all be proud of our Little Stevie... he really, really knows his way around a Dillon 550B. He tore the whole thing down to it's skivvies, greased all the parts that suspects unknown had ignored for lo these many years and adjusted everything to a condition that is now better than new. When he was done I had but one question... "Ah, Steve... oh Steve... are there supposed to be this many parts left over?"

    With our rather lengthly interruption concluded we decided to cast some bullets from one of my Lyman iron moulds, (a manly implement that only the most highly skilled are qualified to use don't ya know.) Since our little boy had purchased a mould that required some type of rinky dink lubing by shaking the bullets in a bag, much akin to applying powdered sugar to dainty pastries, I instructed our student in the fine art of using a Star sizer. Quite an argument ensued when I had to inform our boy that were were not going to melt all the bullets from his Lee mould and re-cast them in my mould so he could spend more time using the Star. Here he is, completely oblivious to all that is wrong with the world.

    Should any of you ever have the opportunity to spend some time with our boy... do it. I learned more from him than he could ever possibly learn from me, had one hell of a good time, (except from him constantly kicking my dog, and most importantly of all... made a new friend. It was a good time.

  4. I have to second the motion that hanging out with Steve is pretty darn cool. I'm guessing he likes me better than you though... I've hung out with him twice as much as you. :tongueout::supergrin:

    Thanks for taking me shootin' Steve!!!
  5. :thumbsup:
  6. Did he "flux" his pot at all during this process? I only cast outdoors because the smoke and flame from "fluxing" can cause serious problems if your in a structure that can catch fire.
  7. Sounds to me like y'all were having a bit too much fun...

    Congrats C4W and to you too, Jack. Casting might be too much of a headache around south Florida - WWs are too hard to find and buying lead ingots really wouldn't save one very much over buying bulk cast.
  8. Sounds like a great time!
    No fire or serious burns.
    I sure woulda enjoyed being there, except for the Super Bowl thing :upeyes:.
    Great write up and pics Jack.
    Thanks for posting it!

    Steve! :thumbsup:

  9. That's hilarious!! What were you drinking?
  10. First off, a great big THANKS to Jack. Not only for the last couple days worth of help but also for the months of not so gentle kicking to actually get me started. I learned a ton, got to use a lot of equipment that I have never even seen before and even broke something. I learned more in that day then I even knew I needed to know. In other words, I didn't even know enough to know I needed to know that. Now thats clear isn't it? Not only did he explain how to do it but WHY you do it. Thats the kind of thing I like. I learned about Fluxing and how to do it while "smelting". Lubing, sizing, using the equipment, you name it, I don't feel like a total noob any longer. I really enjoyed myself. I got to meet his son-in-law and his two grand kids. The grand kids greeted me again as I was leaving, chaffing at the bit to go back in to see Grandpa. A great time was had by one and all, even the Dawg. I even got another little toy to play with later. But first I have to get back to work. I will post up pictures of my "score" later. Jack was more then generous.

    Thanks again Jack.

    It was a great time.
  11. Jack I thought you said those flat landers couldn't make it into the mountains? :tongueout: Steve what was your impression of the LNL, did you load any with it?
  12. Thoughts:

    1) We did all of this hand holding online so he wouldn't need to actually have you hold his hand while he did it. It defeats the purpose of all the posts on how to cast that were posted for C4W benefit. I hearby move that all such posts be rededicated to the benefit of other non-casters.

    2) What's the over/under on how long it takes Jack to get qa Lee 6 cavity mold? Daily double for TL. BTW Jack, you can TL non-TL bullets, it works great.

    3) Does C4W know that he's using the chrome valve covers from his V4 Saab for a sprew catcher?
  13. Those LnL's are very nice. The 550 and LnL are very different. I like parts of each better then the other. I would buy one but at this point there is no point. FOR ME I don't like loading the bullet and the case from the left. FOR GIO it's one of the presses biggest benifits. It's a very large shellplate. Thats very nice. I never got the point of autoindexing on a press with out a casefeeder. I still feel the same.
  14. Jack

    That was great! You allways get me rolling.

    Sounds like a good time was had and something was learned by all.

    Finaly proof that there is a good press in jacks reloading room. Glad Steve greased it for you jack.:whistling:

  15. There may not be as many women going in and out of this place but even with that depressing fact I can assure you I didn't hold his hand.

    I must admit that Steve and I discussed the six cavity, (it's very light) but we both pretty much figured out it may not be the best design for me. Because of my pesky little lack of bone problem I don't have the strength to open the sprue plate. (Yes, I know, I'm a wimp. We all have our burden to shoulder. Oops, can't do that either... they'll break.)

    Little Stevie mastered that mould before I could finish my first cigarette and ended up with a huge pile of first rate bullets. He certainly won't need anymore 'hand holding'

    Oh, Wisky... don't bet too much money on that TL thing. I'd hate to see you in the bread line. I'm kinda like Charlton Heston... they can pry my Star out of my cold dead hand. (I'll do anything to keep my son-in-law from getting it. :supergrin:

  16. Little Stevie sure has some nice toys.

  17. That there is Gio's room. I am waiting to get something back from my machinist to post some pictures of my new setup.
  18. Jack, I wonder if you could put a piece of PVC pipe on the sprewcutter handle to extend it? Kind of like you would with a steel pipe on a ratchet wrench except lighter. I always do that with 3/8" ratchets because 1/2" stuff is a PITA to lug around. When all three of my ratchets get broken, I go to Sears for free replacement.

  19. You're just coming up with a workable solution so you can get me to buy a mould and you can win a bet. Sneaky bastard. :whistling:

    Actually that would work very well... who was it that said, 'give me a lever and I'll move the world'.

    Little Stevie and I compared the production between the 6 cavity and the 4 cavity and although the 6 is faster it wasn't dramatic. Since finding time to cast isn't an issue for me speed is irrelevant and my nifty contorted body position negates the weight of the iron moulds.

    Although I really do appreciate the suggestion even if in a moment of weakness I bought a mould and used your system you don't really think I'd tell ya... ain't no way I'm gonna let you win a bet. :supergrin:


  20. Yeah, a four cavity Lyman is a nice mold. I don't have one but I've heard they get heavy. If you have the weight issue settled, you're in a good place.

  21. Wadn't there a song 'bout 50 ways to love your lever?
  22. I like the Lee Mold a lot due to it's weight and speed. Jack is pretty fast with his mold but he has been using it for a long time. Once the Lee mold is up to temp it works much better. Jack told me to dip the end of the mold into the lead to get it up to temp. You don't need to do that with his Lyman. But it made a world of difference with the Lee. After doing that you cast a set of 6 bullets and the sprue plate will cut the sprue with ease. Before doing that it would take 15 sets to get it to work that good. The bullets also fall out a lot easier from the Lee. Lyman has a nicer casting. Lee is not bad (from what I can tell) but Lyman is better. I just was not as good as using the Lyman. I would wack the plate open OK but getting the bullets out was not as easy. I was getting the hang of it at the end. I am sure with some more practice I would do a little better of course. But, once the Lee was up to temp it was simple. Pour six times, set the tip on the table to cool for just a second, open the plate (easy), tap it once on the hinge to remove the lead from plate, open mold, tap again, DONE. With the Lyman I was a tapping fool. I think it just wanted to make me look bad in front of Jack.
  23. I've got used to using a cheap electric burner from Wallymart to preheat the mould. Cut the bottom 4 inches off a large coffee can then cut a hole in the side for mould handles to keep the mould covered, "fits the burner pretty good".
    On med the mould is the right temp and by the time the pot comes up to temp the mould is ready. When I need to stop for anything the burner keeps the mould hot so no delay starting back up.
    When temps are below freezing out it really saves a lot of time.

  24. Yeah, I don't think the Lee Mold would even work good outside in really cold weather with out that help.
  25. Good Idea
    The Lee moulds like it hot.
  26. Jack
    I sure do like that Pro Melt.
    We sometimes use 2 Lee 4-20's to maintain alloy temp when running multiple 6 cav molds. I bet that PM would keep up. Do you run more than 1 6 cav at a time? and if you do, does your PM keep up? What kind of recovery time do you see with a given amount of alloy added...lets say 10lb. how long to recover?
    eta..I know I should look it up but how many watts is that?

    ETA: MY mistake, I thought this was a #35 unit. It is 22lb/800watt or are there other higher capacity units in the Pro Melt Line?

  27. PB...:

    As far as I know 22# is the standard capacity for the Pro Melt, I've never seen any bigger.

    In 45 years I've only had three pots. Started out with a Lyman pot that was actually pretty similar to the Pro Melt. replaced the thermostat once but then a few years later Lee came out with their first 10# bottom pour. Had to have it... first to have something new and all that.

    To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Not that it was a bad pot but I was used to more capacity, finer temperature control, bigger footprint and an entirely enclosed insulated pot.

    Bought this Pro Melt some where around 15-18 years ago, don't really remember. Have no complaints... I may have replaced the thermostat once but I'm not sure. If I did it's no big deal... phone call to RCBS.

    I don't use the Lee 6 cavity... the one in the pictures is Steve's. It was the first time I had ever tried one. We both learned together.

    I have always used Lyman, Lachmiller, RCBS and Saeco moulds... most of them are 3 and 4 cavity moulds... have a couple 1 and 2 cavity for the seldom loaded stuff. Not saying that iron is better... just what I started out on and what I'm use to. (Old dogs and new tricks... that sort of thing.)

    I can fill the cold pot with WW's and within 15-20 minutes it's ready to add weights to top it off. I usually let it get down to about 3/4 empty then add the sprue and more weights and am ready to flux within 5 minutes. (Almost enough time for a whole cigarette.)

    Because I get bored very quickly I like to cast several different bullets during each session. The Pro Melt has a very large warming shelf just behind the rear lip of the pot. I'll usually place 3 four cavity moulds on the shelf when I fire up the pot and when the metal is ready I just start casting. The first drop from whatever mould I pick up usually drops perfect bullets.

    Because there's no humidity out here I don't have to oil down the moulds between sessions so I don't have to spend any time de-greasing before I cast.

    The Pro Melt keeps a very constant temperature, set it at 750 degrees, or whatever, when it reaches that temp the thermostat cycles off, when it cools it cycles on again. There's a name for that type of system but I don't remember what it is.

    All in all, if my SIL came over and stole it before his inheritance went into effect I'd buy another one in a heartbeat. Hope this helps at least a little.

  28. Yessah! They like it hot and they can be hard to keep hot even while using. I have a two cavity 93 grain 0.311" mold and I used it on a cold day. I almost couldn't cast fast enough to keep it hot. I looked like an old episode of Benny Hill casting as fast as I could and had a big pile of bullets for the wife's KelTec in an hour.

    That's one nice thing about the 2 cavity molds. They are so cheap, you can buy one to cast a few hundred bullets and break even as opposed to buying bullets for a low volume gun. For $18.00 I got 500 32ACP bullets. I put the mold away and in a couple of years I'll make another 500 for "free".
  29. You got me looking for one now...lol There are several features I see that I like.
    Sure looks like you guys had a blast. If your short on alloy let me know. Always looking to help a helper.
  30. Right On