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Lyman Molds Awful

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ColCol, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. ColCol

    ColCol

    1,142
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    TN
    Anyone have bad luck with current Lyman molds? I've tried two of their #358429 molds for 357 and they both give bullets too small for even considering sizing. Most fall from the mold at .355-.357" at best. That's too small for 38 cal bullets. I called them and they agreed to either replace it or fix it. We'll see if that happens. They also are lighter weight that specified. This is a 170 gr mold and they averaged 160 gr from a BHN 9.8 mix. If anything they shoiuld have weighed more since Lyman "cuts" they molds for the Lyman #2 alloy.

    I've never had problems with their older molds from the 70's early 80's in 44 and 45 but these current 38 caliber molds really suck. Nobody seems to care about quality anymore from refrigerators to clothes. My drawers even were made in Vietnam!!
     
  2. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
    1
    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    I only own one Lyman mold. It's a 358477 two cavity I bought new about two years ago. It casts fine and I've had no problems with it. It's a 150 grain SWC that casts at 155 with my cheap scrap lead so that seems about right. I have to size them or they won't fit in my Rugers, so they are about 0.360" or so from the mold.

    The thing I don't like about it is it has different profile than the classic 358477 and it is different than the website, which shows the old style. The body of it is "normal", but the nose is a rounded off flatpoint instead of having a squared off metplat like SWC is supposed to have. It has the traditional driving bands and shoulder, but the nose is rounded off. It shoots great, but it looks kind of ghey. It's not like I'm hunting cape buffalo with it, but it should have the right nose on it and they should have represented it better on their website.
     


  3. fredj338

    fredj338

    21,990
    1,078
    Dec 22, 2004
    so.cal.
    Many guys are complaining about the Lyman mold quality now days. I just bought a new 458HP mold for my 45-70. We'll see, it looks great though! I have no issues w/ my older Lyman molds.
     
  4. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    10,016
    1
    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    I've add three new Lymans in the last couple of years and really haven't noticed much difference from my moulds that are almost 50 years old. Actually the only problem I've had is half of the head on the sprue plate screw snapped off while I was tightening it. Lyman replaced the screw with a phone call. In the interim I simply used the screw from a different mould.

    Brinell hardness tells very little as to how a cavity will fill out since most of the actual hardness is derived from antimony which does little, if anything to fill out the mould. Tin is actually the component in the alloy that alloys the alloy to flow freely and completely fill the cavity. Since antimony accounts for three times the hardness of tin the Brinell scale really doesn't do much when determining if the mould actual throws undersized bullets.

    You didn't mention your source of alloy but if it's WW's then you're throwing lighter than would be expected, WW's are normally in the 11 to 12 range. Not a great difference but it could be an indication that the alloy is not being fluxed properly which will ultimately result in a higher concentration of lead at the bottom of the pot with the tin and antimony floating higher in the mixture. This will lead to a softer Brinell and incomplete fill out.

    In the event that one does indeed get an iron mould that drops undersized bullets it is a very simple matter to open the cavities as large as need requires... certainly much, much quicker than returning the mould.


    Jack
     
  5. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,949
    173
    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    I have bought MANY A MOLD in the last couple years. Recently I bought two 147gr lyman 9mm bolds and both are perfect.

    To me it sounds like you have a fill out problem.
     
  6. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    10,016
    1
    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO

    Buying many moulds and returning them all doesn't count as experience. :whistling:


    Jack
     
  7. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,949
    173
    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    I kept all the Lyman. So that does count for something.
     
  8. StaTiK

    StaTiK Get Some

    232
    0
    Jan 22, 2002
    SE Michigan
    Tough crowd. The man rids himself of two of the most highly rated progressives of all time and suddenly everything says is questioned :whistling:

    -StaTiK-
     
  9. Steve is just a perfectionist... doesn't make him any less likable. Just means he likes things a certain way. :whistling:
     
  10. hoffy

    hoffy

    1,274
    0
    Jun 12, 2007
    Ohio
    My Lymans all run fine, but are also decades old, well I bought a 4 cavity 45 acp one a few years ago that looked pretty new, but no idea how old. I cherish the Hensley&Gibbs multi cavity moulds, drop the best of all of mine........ Good luck. It does seem if they are running their cherries too long they would be getting worn too small.......
     
  11. StaTiK

    StaTiK Get Some

    232
    0
    Jan 22, 2002
    SE Michigan
    Hey nothing wrong with that. Especially in this hobby.

    -StaTiK-
     
  12. ColCol

    ColCol

    1,142
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    TN
    Jack-the alloy I used was a mix of 50/50 lead and Linotype to a certain amount of pure lead. there's tin and antimony in that mix and the bullet should have filled out to as stated diameter by Lyman...it didn't. No 358 mold should drop .355-.356 bullets regardless the alloy. Check out the unsatisfied customers at CastBoolits and you'll find more than one who have had the same experience as me with current Lyman molds.

    The customer shouldn't have to "beagle" or alter in some other fashion what should have been done properly in the first place by a one time first class outfit. The old molds I have from them are flawless and yield the stated proper diameter, regardless of whether I use a 10:1 mix or use the equivalent of Lyman #2 alloy. This 358429 mold will never yield the proper diameter undless it's opened up by some means. It's too small and gives too light a bullet that stated in their literature. I'll give them 5% on the weight but a 170 grain bullet mold that gives a 160 grain bullet is not 5%. I think that mold wasn't opened enough and that's why it's too small and the bullet too light.

    BTW-how is it a simple matter to open the cavity? I've never tried that before.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  13. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

    2,727
    34
    Aug 8, 1999
    Great Southwest
    Oval bullets go out the other end just as well as cylindrical ones. They don't hit the target, but they go out the end of the barrel.
     
  14. Patrick Graham

    Patrick Graham Footlong Jr.

    1,953
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    Sep 7, 2001
    Kokomo Indiana
    My newest Lyman mold is a 4 year old 4 cavity mold, works great.

    All my other Lyman molds are 5 years or older, they work great too.

    Having said that, RCBS makes a better mold.
     
  15. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    10,016
    1
    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO



    Elijah:

    It's really pretty simple on iron moulds... I've never done it on brass or aluminum but I would assume it would work.

    Heat your alloy and your mould as you normally would, cast enough bullets that you're getting perfectly smooth drops, no wrinkles, doesn't matter if they're frosted but you shouldn't have to cast enough of them for the mould to get that hot.

    If you're using a 4 cavity mould pick out the best 12. With a small drill bit drill a hole as close to center in the base of three bullets as you can get. Screw in a small socket head screw. With your mould closed tight measure the diameter of the cavity with your calipers, this will give you a base measurement to gauge your work by. With one bullet coat it with very fine valve lapping compound. Place the bullet in the first cavity and close the mould, hold tightly closed with one hand, (makes it easier if you remove the sprue plate).

    Place the socket on the screw and start turning slowly. (The socket head makes it much easier than a flat or phillips head screw, they tend to slip.)

    Depending on how much you want to open the cavity will dictate how many total turns you'll need to make. Make 3 or 4 turns remove the bullet, clean the cavity with alcohol and remeasure. That will give you an idea of how many turns it going to take to achieve the desired result. There's a bit of difference in the iron between each mould and different brands of lapping compound cut at different rates so there's no hard fast rule of how many turns it will take per thousandths.

    When you notice that the bullet is no longer cutting metal change to your next bullet. Clean the cavity each time before you measure. When you've done all of the cavities reheat the mould, drop a decent quantity of bullets and then measure a couple bullets from each cavity.

    That's it, you're done. Going a little bigger than you intend is not that big of a deal since you're going to be sizing them anyway. If you work with the delicacy of a bull in a china shop and make them way too big it's no big deal to step size 'em. As an example if you're aiming for .359 and somehow end up with .404 you'll deform the bullet trying to size it down in one stroke, simply use a .400 die and then a .358 die to get to your desired finished size.

    It's unlikely you'll actually end up with cavities that are too big... I never have and I'm an idiot.

    Good luck, it's no big deal and an easy way to end up with bullets exactly the size you need.


    Jack
     
  16. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,949
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    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    Call them. They will send another one. No big deal.

    What temp are you casting at?
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  17. ColCol

    ColCol

    1,142
    0
    Apr 15, 2010
    TN
    That "fine valve grinding compound" is something you can pick up at your local automotive dealer? It must be pretty rough to open up cast iron with only a few turns of the ratchet. sounds like it's worth a try since I have two molds alike. I'll need to open this one up about .005" to give me the .360" bullet I want and size to .358.

    Colorado-I did call them and they said they would either repair/replace it but I've heard mixed stories about how much good that does. Several have told me they got back the mold and it still was dropping too small a bullet. My casting temps are usually around 700 on average...plus or minus 25 degrees-most in the plus.
     
  18. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    10,016
    1
    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    Elijah, you can get compound at any decent auto parts store, NAPA, AutoZone, PepBoys, etc. They usually come in small tubes, two to a pack, one fine and one medium. They're under five bucks.

    Because of the variations in compound and iron I start with very few turns they measure just to see how hard or easy it's cutting. Usually I'm just trying to open up a cavity a thousandth or so... don't want to be too aggressive until I see what's going on. I've never really had two moulds that cut exactly the same way and I've done a bunch of 'em. I've certainly never opened one as far as what you're describing but it works the same way, will just take longer and you'll probably have to use thicker coatings of compound.

    If you get to a point that the cavities have opened but not as far as you need and won't open up further simply heat up the mould, cast some good bullets and continue lapping with the bigger size bullets. You can do 4 cavities in less than an hour, a lot less if the cavities are already close.


    Jack
     
  19. dudel

    dudel

    5,495
    1,017
    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country

    I believe you can only "beagle" the Lee aluminum moulds. You'd have a hard time "beagling" a cast iron mould.

    Everytime I've been on the fence considering a Lyman, I hear about QC issues. For me, the Lees have worked fine. Fortunately, the have the profiles I want the cast.
     
  20. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,949
    173
    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    Get the heat up to 775 and try again. No way my mold works at 675 with that type of lead.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011