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Old March 16, 2013, 05:46 PM   #1
aaronsc
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Newbie needs help

Hey there guys and gals,

cast my first boolits today and they turn out as youd expect for a beginner...poor. I'm using a Lee TL-,430-240-swc mold and pouring with a ladle from a cast iron pot on a propane burner. I have a lead melter on the way though. I'm getting alot of partially filled cavities even with a good spue on top, and the ones that turned out full are veryy wrinkled. is this a temp issue? I cleaned the mold with acetone, and smoked the cavitys. I also used the NRA bullet lube to lube the mold as per the Lee instructions. Is it possible the wax got in the cavities?



Any advise is welcome.
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Old March 16, 2013, 06:13 PM   #2
Beagle333
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It's just too cold. Lots of guys cast just fine on a gas burner though. It's just a matter of finding your temp. It looks like you're gonna have to get it hotter though. Also, heating the mold more will help too. Some guys dip the corner of the mold into the melt to get the mold hot before they start. I don't know how to do that, I use a hotplate. But even with nice hot lead, a cool mold will make it puddle up and wrinkle in the cavity like that, for a while. If the lead is hot enough, it will eventually get the mold hot anyway and after 10-15 pours, you should be getting keepers.

'Looks like you are almost there though!
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Old March 16, 2013, 06:35 PM   #3
oryx
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Beagle is correct - not hot enough to fill out the mould evenly. It is cooling as it is pouring.
If casting with a propane burner, be careful with the temp as it can also get too hot and vaporize lead, which is harmful to breathe. A pot usually keeps temps below the vaporization point.
rather than dipping your mould into the lead, you can simply pour a few rounds and just dump them with your sprue. Your mold will come up to temp quickly. You can then just toss the rounds and sprue back into the pot and remelt.
If they get too hot they can appear "frosty"

Last edited by oryx; March 16, 2013 at 06:44 PM.
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Old March 16, 2013, 10:06 PM   #4
aaronsc
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Thanks guys. Now I've got a question about bullet diameter. I measured the bullets and they are running about .003-.004 " small and around 234 grains instead of 240. Is this due to the low temp?


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Old March 16, 2013, 10:14 PM   #5
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Yep. Hotter lead and hotter mold will yield a larger diameter bullet. I got a couple of em that I gotta run real hot to get em to touch the sizer all the way around.

I don't know if it'll get you 6 grains.... but it'll get your diameter back closer.
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Old March 17, 2013, 07:09 AM   #6
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Oh, and one more thing that'll help... do not stop to admire your work. There's plenty of time for sorting later. You gotta cast and keep that mold hot. Lots of folks are tempted to try to sort or separate bullets as they cast them, into keepers and non-keepers. It's a bad habit. Just keep putting nice hot lead into that mold at a steady rate.
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Old March 17, 2013, 08:32 AM   #7
David Bachelder
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I agree with everyone else, your mix was too cold. Get a thermometer. It eliminates the guess work. Watch your temp, when its right you will see the difference. I try to cast between 700 and 750.

Works for me.
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Old March 17, 2013, 01:01 PM   #8
chris in va
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If those are .004 undersized, don't shoot them. It'll lead your barrel and probably tumble on the way to the target.
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Old March 17, 2013, 02:59 PM   #9
aaronsc
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No sir I'm not going to shoot those. But thanks to the help from the fine folks on this forum I'm going to shoot these.
They aren't perfect but with alittle more practice on the ladle I think I can make it work.

Thanks all.
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Old March 17, 2013, 03:06 PM   #10
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Much better! Happy Shooting!
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Old March 17, 2013, 07:27 PM   #11
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Clean the mold of bullet lube ,all it does is make a charred mess that does nothing to lube the mold.

Get ya some BullShop SpruePlate Lube if ya can from the BullShop over on CastBoolits.com. If not ,get ya some full synthetic 2 cycle motor oil ,it`s close but BullShops is still a tad better .

Now ,open the bottle & rub the cap with a Q-tip (do not saturate the Q-tip)
while cold lube all moving parts/line up pins with the Q-tip. Now dry the surfaces with the other end , heat up ,pour some lead & enjoy !!

If surfaces seem to need more while the mold is hot just barely touch needed surfaces with the still damp Q-tip ,qwikly ,as the heat will draw the oil to it`s surface very fast !!

Thermometer is an indespensable tool for me now , as some molds have a window of 10f if I wanna keep my pace steady (too cold driving bands don`t fill , too hot & my bands will have voids) but for a numbers of yrs. I cast using parrafin wax as a temp guide (it ignites flash style at `bout 700 degrees) & worked the mold to the temp , alot slower but doable.

Beagle333 is rite on with the inspection thing (we all do it) & I still do with a new mold !! , Just keep it all hot & roll on.

Second batch is alot better, the third from the left looks as if the top band flashed the tin from the mold being too hot ??
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Old March 18, 2013, 04:01 PM   #12
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I think that third from left just didn't fill completely. Microbands look rounded, too.

I've cast and shot enough of the Tumble Lubes now to know they should be 0.0015" to 0.002" over groove diameter to work their best. I shoot them as-cast and not sized unless a tight chamber just won't accept the tiny bit of extra width.
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Old March 18, 2013, 06:18 PM   #13
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Try preheating your mold. Get it warmed up. Use some synthetic 2 cycle engine oil to lube the points that need to be lubed. (There is a picture in the instructions that come with the mold.) It may smoke a bit at first that is OK just keep the oil out of the inside of the mold cavities. I use a pipe cleaner to apply it with.

Next a casting thermometer is a great investment. My reject pile per casting session decreased greatly when I got mine. It is $40 something dollars well spent.

Now for tumble lubing. Put the LLA in a glass of as hot as you can get tap water for about 5 minutes, and then dispense it. The hot water will thin it out long enough for you to tumble lube the bullets, and a thin coat is all that is needed. When done put them on a paper plate. I let mine dry for at least 3 days. It makes a huge difference.
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Old March 19, 2013, 04:17 AM   #14
Mike / Tx
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Two things that will help you out are a small hot plate to pre heat your mold, and as already mentioned a pot thermometer.

This is about the best deal going on the thermometer that I have found,
Lead Pot Thermometer

As for the hot plate, you can find them at second hand stores, or if you have a wally world close by they are around 18 bucks for a single or double burner type. I personally got the double, one side is small, around 6" or so, and the other it around 8". It takes up a bit more room on my table, but it makes it nice when I am warming up two or more molds, or if I am using a shallow cake pan to pan lube a bunch of bullets.

Looking at your last picture there, the far right looks a bit "frosted". This isn't usually an issue and I have shot a bunch like that myself. It gives the Alox a bit more to grab onto. That said, when you start to see them come out of the mold looking like that, slow your pace down a bit until they shine back up. It is simply from the mold being a bit hot.

If you want to use the tumble lube, which is how 98% of mine are done, I suggest you look up White Label Lubes, and get you some of their Delux -Liquid X-Lox. You will find it much easier to deal with than the straight Alox.

Another tip on using the Alox to lube your bullets. When you get ready to lube, as mentioned it is better to warm your bottle of Alox up in warm water, but you cal also heat up your bullets with a hair drier as well. This will help to spread the alox out thinner, and the old saying is, "if you can see it on the bullets, you used too much". It doesn't hurt to use too much, it just smokes a bit more when you shoot them. With some powders it almost looks like your shooting black powder if you have enough on them. Trust me on that.

Anyway your off to a good start. With the thermometer you can monitor your pour temps and get an idea of the average of where you mold likes to pour best. I have a couple that like around 650 degrees, and some that like up around 750, and others spread out in between. It sure makes it nice when you can get set up and know it's time to pour and within the first two or three pours your throwing out good shootable bullets.
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Old March 19, 2013, 11:20 AM   #15
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Take the lee instructions, make a paper airplane out of them! The paper is too stiff to use in the bathroom!

Keep bullet lube away from your mold. Also, do NOT smoke the cavities. A layer of soot only insulates the lead from the mold that should be kept hot. It also causes the boolit to be undersize!

A properly made mold will release bullets without the need of the "bandaid of smoking the mold to cover up defects in the machining. Smoking also plugs up the vent lines in the mold faces, witch interferes with getting complete fill-out of the boolit.

The use of any high temp lubricant will work to lubricate the guide pins, the sprue plate pivot, and the underside of the sprue plate. Bull shop sprue plate lube is simply synthetic 2 cycle oil. Get some at any automotive store.
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