Since the weather has started to cool down I am looking forward to casting bullets again. I am lucky as with our business we come into a lot of scrape lead. Yes I could sell it but I don't. I would say that I have about 10 five gallon buckets to melt down into 1 & 3 pound ingots. I would venture a guess that it should yield about 30 to 40 pounds per bucket. Once I get it into ingots I'll have more on bullet casting but for now we are going to talk about working the product down from scrap to ingots.
The equipment I use is simple and safe. I have a stainless steel trough that I built that is around 6 inches wide by 24 inches long and 4 inches deep. This works well with the propane burner I use as it gets a nice even heat the whole length of the trough. I either set up outside or in front of a 24 inch fan to put the fumes away from the area I am in. Lead fumes are nasty so don't breathe them. Also keep any kind of liquid away from the lead your melting down as it can cause the lead to explode and splatter all over and hot lead is that HOT. I wear a heavy pair of welders gloves and safety glasses plus long pants and heavy leather work boots. Safety first or you can regret having an accident. Make sure there are no papers or wood around as you don't need to start a fire either.
I fire up the burner and get it adjusted to where I want it on the trough. This is done by sitting it on several fire bricks laying flat and a number of them standing upright around the trough to keep as much heat as possible under it. You start by placing some scrap lead in the trough and as it melts down slowly adding more until you are about 1/2 inch from the top. At this time you slowly stir the lead and skim the slag or waste from the top. You will find a lot of dirt and crap floating on the top and yes it is hot too! I deposit it in a large metal coffee can and once cool I dispose of the waste as it is toxic and must be properly handled. As I have a number of ingot molds I rarely turn the heat down because the ladle I use hold about 5 pounds and I can fill the molds quickly and then start over again. Once your ingot molds have cooled you just turn them over and they will drop out and are ready to fill again. I have acquired enough molds over the years that I will run a whole batch or trough full and then add more scrape to it. While I am waiting for it to melt I empty the ingot molds on the concrete floor and set them back on my metal table for the next batch.
When I get ready I will explain how to cast lead bullets.