They can make good shot but there is a learning process involved. There are many variables to deal with as to how the machine is set up with tanks, coolant, and so forth. Don't expect perfect shot the first time. There is also quite a bit of handling with cleaning up the wheel weights, making the shot, rinsing, drying, applying graphite, etc. It is fun however, to shoot a good score with your own shot.
If you are worried about the time it takes. You probably wont do it. I just got one this summer. Never seen it done. Or even knew anyone that did it before. Only tips I got were from TS.com folks. I probably made 600 pounds or so this summer. It would take a few hours to set up, make shot and clean up for about 40 lbs at a time.
The coolant would get too warm and I would have to quit. Which was fine because I was ready to quit any ways.
It is pretty cool to shoot a straight with your own shot, in your own reloads. But it isnt a timesaver. Just another part of shooting, reloading.
There are a few tricks to learn. But when you screw up you just remelt, and reuse your mistakes.
I don't know anything about it but being a paranoid I would be nervous about handling lead and fumes etc. I guess birds get lead poisoning from eating lead shot and grinding it to pieces with a gizzard but what do you guys know about health hazards from the Littleton Shot Maker??
The greatest health hazard from making shot is getting burned. Little burns on the hand are common but it is possible to have a serious accident. The second most serious health hazard is slipping on the coolant if you make shot on a concrete floor like I used to do. Ingestion or inhalation of lead is far less dangerous than getting burned of slipping. Of course it is possible to slip on the slick oil I used and fall on the operating shotmaker and combine to two greatest dangers.
For me, making shot was messy, dirty, smelly, time consuming and great fun. I gave it up several years ago.
I guess everyone is aware of the hazards of exposure to lead, but I found this interesting. My father attended his college alumni reunion last month. He and the other attendees are in their mid 70's and almost all of their parents have passed on. Dad's roommate was originally from Alton Illinois and his roommate's father worked for Olin in the shot tower. Apparently the years of shotmaking had little affect on the old gentleman's health, he died last summer at the age of 102 from a heart attack.
The dirty part is melting the wheel weights into clean ingots, after that if your careful and neat its simply a matter of learning the tricks to makeing good shot. It usally takes me about five hours to melt the weights into ingots about four hundred lbs.Then I make about three hundred and fifty lbs. of shot in eight hrs.then it;s sized and any junk is removed by running it through a sifter after that it must be dryed and bagged, I sometimes add powderd graphite though it doesn;t seem to make a differnce with or without.So if you got some time on your hands you can make some pretty good fair priced shot and have some fun doing it. Good Luck
I was under the impression that with the later models you could dispense with the ingot process and simply melt the wheel weights, picking out the clips with a magnet. then apparently using a wood paddle to skim the crud.
Anyone out there know this, or is everyone making ingots?
TC, I havent done anything special at all to stop oxidation. Havent had the problem. Maybe the coolant I used has something to with that. Purex laundry detergent. Maybe how well I rinsed it off had something to do with that??? Used graphite with the first batch I made. That made more of a mess than I ever hope to see again. Not doing that again.
halfmile, I have found that if you do make the ingots and clean up the lead you make better quality, more consistantly round shot. I only use my home made shot for practice, so I dont feel this step is necessary. My shot works great at 16 yards and handicap to 23 yards or so. If I were using it for competition I would clean it up, make the ingots. For what i use it for, it's a redundant, un-needed step.
I get a big kick out using my own shot. It's fun to make and use.
Actually no one has ever proved any birds have ever been poisoned by eating lead shot. We were all screwed by the environmentalist wackos on steel shot, but that is another story.
Lead can be dangerous, but it is not as bad an many people think.
The stanard precautions are: Cast outside like in a garage that has plenty of air circulation. Wear old long pants and shirts; you'll be working with 700 degree metal which doesn't like water or humidity. Don't eat, drink or smoke while handling lead. When you are all done and all cleaned up change your clothes and wash any exposed skin(face and hands) with plenty of soap and water. (Working surfaces can also be washed with powdered clothes detergent if used for other projects, but never use utensils for casting for any other purpose than with your lead.)
Lead needs to be combined with something else, which makes the compound soluble for our bodies to absorb through inhaling or swallowing. Lead oxide can be an odorless gas given off while melting lead. It can also be a white dust that will cling to everything in amounts you won't notice. Casting shot, bullets and fishing lures can be a lot of fun and safe if you use some common sense.