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Old 03-04-2010, 22:40   #1
Colorado4Wheel
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The ongoing Casting Saga

Thought some of you might like to laugh at my troubles. It's been frustrating but I think I am going to get this thing beat. I do see improvement. It's mostly been a struggle to get a working mold. I have tried 3 so far and I bet I'm not done yet.

Mold #1 Lee 124gr Tumble Lube 9mm
My first Lee mold. Hate the profile. Cast really light. Need to seat bullets really short. Besides that it worked OK. It's a defective mold casting so light with the same lead that the other cast heavy with at the same time. Lee said it was just too short and to send it back to Midway USA.

Mold #2 Lyman 147gr TC bullet.

Nice mold. Same alloy the Lee pours really light with the Lyman pours @ 152gr. Cast about 150 really nice bullets. Then it started finning really badly. Found out my handles were loose and that caused the pins to peen. I talked to Lyman today. They said to just send the mold back. It got fubbarbed when the handles were not tight. I didn't know they needed to be so tight. Lee handles don't need to be that tight. ARGGHHH. I liked the mold and the bullets shot fine.

Mold #3 Lee 125gr Double Radius (read RN) regular lube bullet.

The mold would not close easily. Kept hanging up on the pins. Spent hours fixing this issue before even casting my first bullet. Fixed it and it seemed OK. This one cast @ 130gr using the same lead as above (all have been tried while using the same pot of lead). Again, at first it was perfect then it fins just a little bit on the nose of the bullets just about 20% of the time. Found out I did not smoke it good enough so some lead stuck to the inside of the mold. The finning was so minor that when you Tumble Lube them the finning goes away. I called Lee and they said to try some things. Well, I tried to move the sleeve for the pin back and that just made the mold stick again and the finning was worse. So I got madd. Called Jack. He told me to calm down (I was madd about the Lyman having a little rust I was using the Lee and the Lyman at the same session). BTW, these things at 130 gr shot the best I have ever felt in my gun. Gun tracked perfect. I liked it more then 124 gr and the 147 gr I have tried in the past. I would really like this mold to work. Hope I fixed it tonight.

Now I have 3 molds. First one I hate but basically works if I can live with really light bullets. Second one broke because Lyman handles need to be tight not loose like the Lee handles. Third one I worked on again tonight. I think I got it fixed following Lees advice. It now closes perfectly and I think I may have fixed the finning. Here is hoping.

Still trying to figure out the actual alloy my gun likes. Straight WWs seems a little soft. My Hornady Seating die will dent the bullets a little using straight WWs and the lead a little more then I can live with after 100rds. I did a batch of Water Dropped bullets today from my good 130 gr batch from the Lee. They are much harder (using the Lee Test Kit). They barely show a mark from the seating die. I would bet my Lee Seating Die does not dent them. Not a huge fan of the Hornady Seating stem. Seems most sizing dies size my lead a little on the small side causing big leading. I bought three Lee Sizing dies just to get one that would size @ .356. That really helped a lot.

Shooting in the moring. I will know more then. Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.
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Old 03-04-2010, 22:48   #2
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Good thing you took up casting and not skydiving.

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Old 03-04-2010, 23:11   #3
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Are you lubing the Lee molds per insutrctions? Very important for best results. Squeeze those handles together while pouring to help eliminate finning. Iron molds rust. So spray them down w/ mold release or use a spray oil like LPS. It has to be cleaned off before each use, but I have far fewer issues w/ my iron molds than the cheap Lee ones. If you get a good 6cav, they work fine, get one made on a Monday or Friday & all bets are off.
Where are you getting leading, early in the bbl or late? Early is often an undersized bullet or one too hard for the pressure used. Late is running out of lube. All along the bbl is likely alloy or rough barrel. Rough barrels will always lead unless lapped.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:55   #4
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Sell the Lee molds, keep the Lyman.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:37   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
Are you lubing the Lee molds per insutrctions? Very important for best results. Squeeze those handles together while pouring to help eliminate finning. Iron molds rust. So spray them down w/ mold release or use a spray oil like LPS. It has to be cleaned off before each use, but I have far fewer issues w/ my iron molds than the cheap Lee ones. If you get a good 6cav, they work fine, get one made on a Monday or Friday & all bets are off.
Where are you getting leading, early in the bbl or late? Early is often an undersized bullet or one too hard for the pressure used. Late is running out of lube. All along the bbl is likely alloy or rough barrel. Rough barrels will always lead unless lapped.
Leading was happening at the end of the barrel on the bullets that were properly sized. For some reason even the bullet sized of Gio's star are undersized for my barrel. They show .3555 sometimes a little smaller but never a little bigger. So the ones sized on my .357 die that actually come out at .356 leaded less but and mostly at the end of the barrel. Those were all the softer non-water dropped bullets. I figure they were either too soft or not enough lube or both. Just going to need to figure it out. The first Lee Sizer I got was labeled a .356 but it sized .3545. Yes, I have checked my dial calipers and the actual bullets with a much better set.

The reason the Lyman rusted was because I gave up on it and just set it in the box to be returned as defective. Then I decided to give it just one more try. I gave the offending pin a good hit with a hammer and low and behold it started closing right again. Only time in my live something delicate and precise has actaully improved after "just hit it with a hammer". Live and learn I guess. I called Lyman, explained everything, they said it was fubbard after the first peening of the pins and that even they have a hard time fixing that issue once it's occured, and thats with all the right tools. It may look right but the bullets are not as good. "Send it back, Sorry about your handles, Good thing you figured it out" They were very nice and encouraging about this whole thing.

I am squeezing the handles, not the sprue plate handle. I think I just had extra ordinary bad luck with the Lee Molds. The Lyman got fubbard because I figured what was good for the Lee was fine for the Lyman. Lyman explained the screw probably was a little loose at the start and backed out after it got hot.

Midway said they would take it all back and exchange the stuff I want.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:44   #6
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Welcome to the wonderful world of bullet casting. Nice part is that once you have all the bugs worked out between the alloy and molds its well worth your efforts. As you are finding out its not just the Lee molds that have problems.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:12   #7
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Spray Kroil on the mould before and after your done it will keep it from rusting.
The next time you use the mould the Kroil will burn off when you preheat it on the electric burner.
After a few times it will season the mould like a cast iron frying pan and the bullets will fall right out, it's great mould release!
I use Kroil on the 3 Lee aluminum moulds and 2 brass moulds, when used on the mould faces the lead wont stick in the vent lines.
The lead splashed on the mould faces from dumping rejects or sprue's back in the pot can get stuck in the vent lines or faces and cause finning by not letting the mould close completely.
I learned that that hard way,,
Keep the alignment pins lubed, when you start feeling any resistance touch the pins with a Q-tip and Bull Plate sprue lube.
Also keep the mould handles lubed.



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Old 03-05-2010, 07:32   #8
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I guess I'm just lucky as I started casting this past summer using wheel weights and a 124 gr Lee tumble lube 2 banger mold for my 9MM's.

Aside from an occasional deformed bullet from the lead not being hot enough (I don't have a thermometer), I'm really pleased as to how well the bullets turn out. I drop them in a bucket of water to cool. I also lube the mold with a crayon.

I tumble them with Alox lube, load them up and they shoot and feed perfectly.

I've run them through 4 different make pistols with NO leading. I think that Alox lube really helps.

I'm trying to keep the whole casting process cheap and simple.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:40   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob2223 View Post
The lead splashed on the mould faces from dumping rejects or sprue's back in the pot can get stuck in the vent lines or faces and cause finning by not letting the mould close completely.
Bob
You must be dumping them straight from the Mold into the pot? I have never done that. I dump them on a rag, let the pile collect till the pot is empty, refill the pot.

I have not found any Kroil locally but may order some on my next Midway order.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:41   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnhogrider View Post
I guess I'm just lucky as I started casting this past summer using wheel weights and a 124 gr Lee tumble lube 2 banger mold for my 9MM's.

Aside from an occasional deformed bullet from the lead not being hot enough (I don't have a thermometer), I'm really pleased as to how well the bullets turn out. I drop them in a bucket of water to cool. I also lube the mold with a crayon.

I tumble them with Alox lube, load them up and they shoot and feed perfectly.

I've run them through 4 different make pistols with NO leading. I think that Alox lube really helps.

I'm trying to keep the whole casting process cheap and simple.

Do you size them?
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:26   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
You must be dumping them straight from the Mold into the pot? I have never done that. I dump them on a rag, let the pile collect till the pot is empty, refill the pot.

I have not found any Kroil locally but may order some on my next Midway order.
Oh I dont dump them in the pot anymore that was my first day casting and had to learn the hard way

http://www.kanolabs.com/google/

If this is still good it's a great deal!


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Old 03-05-2010, 11:04   #12
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Do you size them?
Nope.

Tumble lube, load and shoot.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:53   #13
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I am using TL now but I really cant do it as a long term solution. They collect to much dirt when I drop my magazines in practice. Eventually that dirt will ruin my barrel.
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Old 03-05-2010, 13:37   #14
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Leading was happening at the end of the barrel on the bullets that were properly sized. For some reason even the bullet sized of Gio's star are undersized for my barrel.
Definitely sounds like running out of lube. Try Alox, then size then Alox again. I'm not a fan of Alox, but some guys swear by it. What powder? Really hot burners like TG, will melt the lube off early & then you are running dry towards the end. Trying a diff pwoder may help.
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Old 03-05-2010, 14:12   #15
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I am using Solo 1000. Burns realatively cool I think. I have a lube sizer on the way.
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Old 03-05-2010, 14:47   #16
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As I'm new to casting, I went as cheap as I could to start out, so I went with the tumble lube type molds.

I'm impressed at how well Alox lube works.

I bought a box of Hornady 148 gr LHBWC that have a dry lube on them from the factory held in a "cross hatch" pattern around the outside of the bullet. I was getting severe leading in my .38 special revolvers. I went from 2.4 gr. on up to 3.0 gr. of Bullseye and nothing seemed to help.

I tumble lubed them with Alox and load them with 2.4 gr. of bullseye and no leading at all. None. Great target round for .38 special.
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Old 03-05-2010, 14:51   #17
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I am using Solo 1000. Burns realatively cool I think. I have a lube sizer on the way.
I get good results w/ WST in the 9mm as well. I run a single groove, Saeco style TC. Go to WhiteLabel lubes for lube for the sizer. Their BAC is great w/o a heater, Carnuba w/ about 92 deg of heat. It would work in a hot garage in the summer, but need a heater in cooler temps. IMO, TL bullets work their best at low vel. I think the Alox runs out at higher pressures & temps. Hence, leading at the muzzle.
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Old 03-05-2010, 18:21   #18
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Originally Posted by Bob2223 View Post
Spray Kroil on the mould before and after your done it will keep it from rusting.
The next time you use the mould the Kroil will burn off when you preheat it on the electric burner.
After a few times it will season the mould like a cast iron frying pan and the bullets will fall right out, it's great mould release!
I use Kroil on the 3 Lee aluminum moulds and 2 brass moulds, when used on the mould faces the lead wont stick in the vent lines.
The lead splashed on the mould faces from dumping rejects or sprue's back in the pot can get stuck in the vent lines or faces and cause finning by not letting the mould close completely.
I learned that that hard way,,
Keep the alignment pins lubed, when you start feeling any resistance touch the pins with a Q-tip and Bull Plate sprue lube.
Also keep the mould handles lubed.



Bob
Bob that sounds good. Where do you buy Kroil?
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Old 03-05-2010, 20:22   #19
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Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
I am using Solo 1000. Burns realatively cool I think. I have a lube sizer on the way.
You're just chasing your tail using a powder like that and trying to figure out what is wrong with the bullet. Use something in the range of Unique and you won't get leading.
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Old 03-05-2010, 20:25   #20
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You're just chasing your tail using a powder like that and trying to figure out what is wrong with the bullet. Use something in the range of Unique and you won't get leading.
I hope thats not true because I have 16 pounds of it.
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