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Old December 14, 2011, 09:28 PM   #1
south.texas.dead.I
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Lee moulds are really troubling, advice?

I've cast around 2000 swc bullets so far and have sent in the mould once because the spruce plate snapped on me. Now the mould is starting to cause more and more bullets to come out bad, got lead draining out the sides on occasions and they are really sticking to the mould after I've opened it, is there a time frame that makes them fall out easier? I've already smoked the individual cavities with a match several times.


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Old December 14, 2011, 09:46 PM   #2
dahermit
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Read the instructions that came with the mold again. Lube the points where suggested, clean with a solvent before use, smoke the cavities, etc. However, some people are a little heavy handed to learn to use an aluminum mold and would do better with an iron one. As much as I prefer iron molds, I cannot really say that when treated properly, the aluminum molds will not cast good bullets without problems.
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Old December 15, 2011, 05:51 AM   #3
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Inspect & clean the mould carefully ,inspect with magnification for burrs or misplaced parts that may hold the blocks open, mainly the guide pins on 6 bangers.

To get the cavitys cleaned up cast a few bullets & keep em relative to the cavity from which they came. Next drill an appropriate sized hole for a tap , put the tap in a drill, cover bullet with a comet cleanser/h20 paste & spin em slowly in the cavitys.

It won`t take much so go slow, too much will round sharp corners

The mould will not need smokin after the Leementing process.

& go to castboolit site & search Bullshops sprue plate lube , anybody with an aluminum mould has got to have some on hand!!

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

His link on the site says he`s closed , but I hear he`s at least shippin lubes .
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Old December 15, 2011, 09:02 AM   #4
Rifleman1776
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Don't smoke the moulds. Make sure the plates are clean. Also make sure the two halves are properly closed. I have done a considerable amount of casting with Lee moulds and have found them OK. Not great but servicable and OK.
The lining up of the two halves is my biggest problem, just take a second to make sure it is closed properly. And, you may not be using enough heat.
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Old December 15, 2011, 09:19 AM   #5
dahermit
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Quote:
To get the cavitys cleaned up cast a few bullets & keep em relative to the cavity from which they came. Next drill an appropriate sized hole for a tap , put the tap in a drill, cover bullet with a comet cleanser/h20 paste & spin em slowly in the cavitys.

It won`t take much so go slow, too much will round sharp corners

The mould will not need smokin after the Leementing process.
Only attempt this if you are mechanically inclined. If you are heavy handed, this may not end well. Indication that you are not "mechanically inclined"; if you cannot find the cause of problem by careful inspection.
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Old December 15, 2011, 09:29 AM   #6
armoredman
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I quit smoking molds, discovered it didn't work for me. I have 4 Lee molds and they all work fine, but they won't last forever like iron. I have only one iron mold, a Lyman, and wish I could get more.
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Old December 15, 2011, 09:30 AM   #7
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I have never had a sprue plate break... and I used to whack them open with a wood hammer handle. Nowdays I just push them open with my gloved hand.
Everyone else has covered the other stuff. Make sure the faces of the blocks are clean, no "spatter" on them. Make sure venting grooves are clean. Make sure edges of cavity aren't "burred". Take your time when closing the mold to make sure the halves mate together properly.
I've always had good results with my Lee molds. Really no more problems than I've had with my iron ones.
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Old December 15, 2011, 09:34 AM   #8
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If you go to this web site you will find the solution to your mold problems. He makes really nice ones.
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Old December 19, 2011, 05:35 PM   #9
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OP, I'm guessing that you have to hammer at the sprue plates to get them to open.
A few things can cause the Lee sprue plates to be tough to open:
-Not lubed (use graphite dry lube, or even color on the bottom of the sprue plate with a pencil)
-melt is too cool
-mold is too cool (I don't start casting until a mold dipped in the melt no longer allows lead to stick to it. If lead sticks to the mold, it's too cool).

The first few casts with my Lees usually indicate that the melt is still too cool, and popping the sprues on them requires more force than normal. Cast slightly hotter, and the problem should go away. Note that this doesn't mean you need to turn up the temps-just wait for the melt to reach full temperture, and don't throw in cold lead constantly.
I'll also add that I smoke all of my molds heavily. It helps, but not as much as casting a bit hotter.
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Old December 19, 2011, 09:57 PM   #10
south.texas.dead.I
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It's not that it was hard for me to open the mould. The bullets were the ones that weren't coming out of the cavities. They've been sticking really good lately. Enough for me to have to take pliers to pull the bullets out.


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Old December 20, 2011, 09:00 AM   #11
hornetguy
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That really sounds like you have burrs somewhere on the edges of your mold cavities.

You need to examine them, using as much magnification as you can, looking for burrs, or "rolled" edges of the cavities. If you are meticulous, and have a steady hand, you can use a scalpel, or xacto knife edge to LIGHTLY scrape the edges of the cavities to remove the burrs. Turn the knife almost 90 degrees to the edge of the mold to do the scraping. You are not trying to "cut" away the burr, just lightly scrape it away, a little at a time.

Be forewarned... if you scrape too heavily, or "slip", you'll have a permanent flaw in the parting line of your bullet.
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Old December 21, 2011, 04:18 PM   #12
454PB
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I've been using Lee moulds since they started making them. I own about 20 of them, and over the years I learned that what causes problems is lubing the mould.

I haven't lubed one of them in 25 years, and they all work fine.

The trick is to make sure the mould is absolutely clean and oil free to start, then leave them alone!

Lack of lube can screw up mould alignment as they are closed, and is really the only reason they "require" it. I align the halves as they close by holding a sprue knocker under the halves to assist alignment. It becomes habit after a while, in fact I now do the same thing with iron moulds.

If you're having trouble with the sprue plate tightening, it means it was set too tight to start with. Back off the pivot screw a quarter turn and try again.

Lube will eventually get into the mould cavities no matter how carefully it is applied.
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Old December 23, 2011, 08:08 AM   #13
10 Spot Terminator
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Here is a quick and easy way to "lap" an aluminum or clean an abused hard metal mold. melt a small amount of hard alloy such as linotype or a couple of the cursed zinc wheel weights. Now take your pre heated mold, open the sprue plate fully away from the bullet cavities, place a nut which has a hole diameter closely matching the bullet cavity bore over the bullet cavity. Now pour your hard lead down through the nut and fill the chamber until you get a nice sprue puddle on top of the nut but not flowing over the edges of the nut. Let the lead cool completely and remove your lapping slug. Apply a small amount of a lite abraisive such as bore lap paste, valve lapping compound, flitz or even comet cleanser but will need a couple treatments with this as is nearly too lite to the bullet chamber . Reisert the lapping slug into the mold, close the mold gently but dont force it fully closed . While holding the mold by the handles place a small ratchet and socket or a wrench over the nut and slowly rotate the slug while ever so gradually increasing pressure on the mold handles. Patience here fellas, slower is better. Eventually the mould will close completely and the slug turn freely. Now you can quick spin the lapping slug and a powered nut driver gets to be a nice choice. Stop after a bit and then clean out the old lap compound , repeat the lap compound and quick spin for a minute and are good to go. I have done this to all my molds and no more release issues. Try it, you will like it. 10 SPOT
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Old December 23, 2011, 08:20 AM   #14
darkgael
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Lee

I have been using Lee moulds (and RCBS, Lyman, CBE) for the last twenty years. I must have a dozen or fifteen Lees.
They get used a lot, thousands of bullets. Nothing has ever broken. The bullets have proven accurate.
I lube the Sprue plate at the screw with a shot of WD-40; it works and has for the last 20 years.
I used to smoke the moulds; nowadays, I spray them every now and then with graphite mould release.
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Old December 28, 2011, 04:24 PM   #15
chris in va
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The corner of the sprue plate bolt rounded off on mine. I had to put the plate in a vise and bend it slightly so it would snug back up to the mold.

I just use synthetic motor oil for lube on mine. Apply every 300 'boolits' or so, then scrub before every session.

People swear by Bullplate lube, haven't tried it yet.
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Old December 29, 2011, 08:11 PM   #16
Edward429451
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Lee moulds do take a little extra care to cast with but you get used to it. The most confounding thing about them is my inability to lube the pins without getting lube in a cavity. When this happens I'll up the heat a bit and burn it out then drop temp again.
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Old January 10, 2012, 06:39 AM   #17
Gunn Smithy
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Quote:
Inspect & clean the mould carefully ,inspect with magnification for burrs or misplaced parts that may hold the blocks open, mainly the guide pins on 6 bangers.
I use the Midway "drop out" spray and it works like a champ. After you get the burr problem taken care of, use some of that. Also I bolted a piece of pipe a little larger in ID than the tab on the Lee sprue plate. When ready to open the mold, just stick the tab into the pipe for excellent leverage to cut the sprues and then open the mold. No banging or smacking the plate necessary. Smithy.
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