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Old October 9, 2011, 06:38 PM   #1
junker
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Mold questions

If I am buying handgun bullet molds (38 & 44) it seems more effective, from a production standpoint, to buy the 6 gang mold instead of the 2.

Is there a drawback to the high capacity molds?
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Old October 9, 2011, 06:45 PM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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I wish I could tell you. I have the 2 cavith Lee moulds. They work just fine.
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Old October 9, 2011, 06:59 PM   #3
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I have a Lee 6-cavity mold to cast 40 cal bullets. I use it with the Lee Pro 4-20 bottom pour lead pot. Once everything is up to temperature and you get your rhythm you can make a pile of bullets in short order and it drains the lead pot pretty quickly. I don't always get 6 bullets at a time but a quick inspection after the drop and the rejects go back in the pot along with the sprue.
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Old October 9, 2011, 07:21 PM   #4
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Yes get the 6 cavity. 2 cavs work fine but are slow(er).

Be sure to get the mold up to temp before casting (hot plate, set on top of pot, etc) because the sprue handles are farily weak and can snap if too much pressure is applied to cut the 6 sprues.
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Old October 9, 2011, 07:29 PM   #5
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Break in directions

Six cavity molds are great. Be sure to follow the break in directions with alox wax and smoking. Will make a big diffrence in how the molds perform.
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Old October 9, 2011, 07:44 PM   #6
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I think the 6 cavity molds are much higher quality than the 2 cavity molds. That they make bullets 3 times as quick is a nice addition as well.

If you get a 6'er, remember to buy the handles also because they don't come with them.
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Old October 9, 2011, 08:06 PM   #7
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Super, thanks for all that info. As a beginner should I get the tumble lube molds, to keep things simple?
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Old October 9, 2011, 08:32 PM   #8
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No, i wouldnt get the tl design. You will probably eventually buy some type of lubrisizer, so just buy the standard lube groove design mold and you can still TL those.
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Old October 9, 2011, 08:56 PM   #9
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Tumble lube is a mess, but oh so convenient. If you plan on shelling out another $150+ to get a traditional bullet sizer then get a tradition mold. If you want to save some cash by putting the bullets in a bowl, pour some lube over them and shake them around, go for tumble lube. I went for the tumble lube. I also recommend getting a Lee resizer because molds tend to throw a bit large. It screws into your press and come with everything needed to work out of the box.
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Old October 9, 2011, 08:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
No, i wouldnt get the tl design. You will probably eventually buy some type of lubrisizer, so just buy the standard lube groove design mold and you can still TL those.
I tried that with Lee's 140 SWC mold and got leading from it. No problem whatsoever from my 3 TL molds though.
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Old October 9, 2011, 08:59 PM   #11
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I just noticed that Tom at Accurate Molds has just added a 5 cavity mold. I am sure that if you asked for it he would do a 4 cavity mold with two cavities of one caliber/design and two of another. He is very good to work with. I have one of his molds now and I am getting ready to order another mold for my 45-70. Unless I find an incredible deal I don't think I would buy a mold from any one else. Tom will make what ever you want and have it to you in a matter of weeks.
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Old October 9, 2011, 11:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Break in directions
Six cavity molds are great. Be sure to follow the break in directions with alox wax and smoking. Will make a big difference in how the molds perform.
Now don't get him started in the wrong direction. At least in my opinion, I don't smoke ANY mold. Or use any kind of mold release agent. It's not needed. Yes, lube the hinge, the mold guide pins but keep the lube OUT of the bullet cavities.

A six banger is a lot harder for a new caster to master. It's also quite a bit more money. Most of the molds Lee makes are also available in 2 cavity molds, you can get them for under 20 bucks at midway, those include handles. You can try out a particular bullet, then if it shoots well, AND you want to make more quickly, you can get the 6 banger. By then, you'll know if casting is for you and will have learned a lot to enable you to takle a 6 hole mold.
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Old October 10, 2011, 12:33 AM   #13
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Safety first

Everyone has something of value to offer. Lots of good, free advise from the members of this forum. Don't forget the safety rules that go with casting your own. Always have good ventalation, wear a full face shield, gloves, long sleeve shirt, heavy shop apron, and never lean over a lead oven. These are just a few of the basics rules. When working with melted metals, you can never be too careful. Hope you have a safety manual for melting lead. If not, let us know, be glad to help.
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Old October 10, 2011, 08:52 AM   #14
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Getting and maintaining proper temp for the whole mold will be a problem. And, when filled can be quite heavy and difficult to handle.
I think you would be dissapointed. A two banger is quite sufficient to make lotsa bullets in an hour or two.
BTW, I do not like smoking a mold. Causes problems everytime. In 40+ years I have never lubed a hinge pin. Never had a problem.
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Old October 10, 2011, 11:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Don't forget the safety rules that go with casting your own. Always have good ventilation, wear a full face shield, gloves, long sleeve shirt, heavy shop apron, and never lean over a lead oven.
Why?,(related to the bold text). If you're referring to the old myth about those evil "LEAD VAPORS", forget it. An electric lead pot only heats to about 900 degrees. Lead vapor is NOT produced below 1200 degrees. The smoke that's produced by some sort of organics that might be in the pot may not be good to inhale, fluxing with wax produces volumes of smoke, but it won't poison anybody.

I cast in a "T" shirt, no gloves, glasses,(blind without them), and no ventilation. Long pants that cover the top of your shoes are desired. A hot sprue or spilled liquid lead will make you invent a new dance while it cools!
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Old October 10, 2011, 12:45 PM   #16
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+1 for Snuffy

I've been casting for 50 years without a face mask or gloves and I've even leaned over the pot a few times I don't have any dame bramage.
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Old October 10, 2011, 01:55 PM   #17
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I thought that the do not lean over the pot was to kkep the sweat from dripping in, and making a little pop like when frozen frenchfries hit the grease.

I now wear a sweat band when casting. It also helps to keep the sweat from dripping onto my glasses.
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Old October 10, 2011, 02:55 PM   #18
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I think the Tumble Lube design is an excellent choice. My first TL mold was for 148 grain wadcutters for .38 Special. It cut my K-frame target revolver's group sizes in half off the bags as compared either to commercial match ammo or to handloaded conventional cast bullets. A lot of old timers used to say best accuracy and the least leading came from shooting bullets as-cast (not sized) if you could get them to fall out of the mold in the right size range. TL's are made to do exactly that.

If you don't like the price of Lee Liquid Alox, the exact same material is sold by White Label as X-lox (not to be confused with a certain chocolate flavored laxative) for just over $10/quart last time I looked. If you don't like the waxy surface, let it dry to the tacky stage and dust it with a little motor mica and roll that around.
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Old October 10, 2011, 03:13 PM   #19
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I agree with both Snuffy's posts. For a beginning caster there is enough things to think about than the added "difficulty" of a 6-banger (mold temp, melt temp, alloy, mold cleanliness, etc.). I'd suggest a 2 cavity mold to get your casting techniques down pat, and when that gets too slow, get a 6 cavity mold (I haven't found the need after casting for 8 years. I enjoy casting bullets and if it takes me an extra 1/2 hour to get my "quota", oh well, 1/2 hour more fun).

Alox lubing is no more messy than you want to be. I thin my xlox with mineral spirits and it dries unsticky and is easier to apply (a light coat is all that's necessary). I don't slop it on my bench or get it on my hands and I wipe it off my fingers with paper towels, so it's not a mess...
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Old October 10, 2011, 04:37 PM   #20
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I haven't found the 6 banger to be any more difficult than the two holer, in fact I started out with the 6 banger right off the bat. Yep it has things that are different, but every mold is different unto it's self.

Smoke or not, just make sure you get the oil out. If you want, try it both ways and see which way you prefer. To be honest I prefer the easiest which produces the best boolits. One mold I have does really well with no smoke, the other almost needs a screw driver to pry them out without it. Like mentioned they are individuals.

Before you even get started I HIGHLY suggest you checking out the following link and reading through as much as your brain can contain. It has helped out with more issues than I could have imagined. It is also in a free PDF format so you can down load it and refer back as you go along. From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners

Also check out the other casting links and articles on the following site,
The Los Angeles Silhouette Club Homepage

As to casting with the 6 banger, there are a few things that need to be adhered to, but it is nothing earth shaking. First off when you start, as mentioned it needs to be preheated. This is easily done with the methods mentioned above. When you actually start to pour, simply start off with the furtherest two cavities first, until you get a rhythm going and are making good bullets. After your going good with the two cavities add another, then another. The thing is just because it has six holes doesn't mean you absolutely have to use them all every time, but if you want to, you CAN bang out some real production. I will also add to the list of those who mentioned having it up to temp or you can easily break the spur handle. Yep managed two of them in less than an hour. Not so much the cooler temp as the harder alloy I had switched over to. Just part of the learning curve. Lee however was great and had two more out to me in less than a week.

There are several items which will really help you out and one of them is a thermometer for your alloy. This is a must have in my opinion. Hard to keep things somewhat standardized with out one not being able to tell your alloy temps. Also if you want to spring for a bit extra you can also quickly add a small thermo couple to your mold so you CAN control the temp easily and make great boolits almost right from the get go. It isn't overly expensive either, in fact for both the thermometers and an extra thermo couple I don't think I spent over $75 including shipping. The great thing is, the mold thermometer can be used on just about every type of mold so it is a one time thing.

Tumble lubing is very easily done and works VERY well in most situations. When it doesn't it is usually a sizing issue rather than the lube. I have personally run it up over 1500fps on non TL design boolits with no issues. In most cases your not going to hit those type velocities with normal loads. I was shooting a 454 with a GC designed 300gr boolit.

I use what is referred to as 45/45/10, which is 45% Alox, 45% Johnsons Paste Wax, and 10% Unscented Mineral Spirits. Easy to mix and works awesome. Dries in half the time and I haven't found it to be tacky. Instructions can be found here,
Tumble Lubing--Made Easy & Mess-Free

My TL method is very simple, I put 50 or so boolits in a quart zip lock baggie, put in about a quarter teaspoon of lube or so, zip it shut and roll them around in my hand until they are all coated. Then I put on one of those cheap disposable nitril gloves, and set them on end on a piece of wax paper. This will usually coat several hundred boolits from the initial amount of lube. In about an hour they are dry and I can either size them or load them. I usually lube twice, once before sizing and once after. May or may not be needed but so far I haven't found it overly tiresome nor had any issues with leading. I use the same zip lock and usually only add a very small amount, just a dab on the end of a spoon for the second coat.

I will freely admit I haven't been at this much more than since May of this year. But I have researched it for quite a bit longer, and asked questions just like your doing. I was referred to several of the sources I posted above and also had MANY questions answered by some very generous folks. Even though I haven't been at it long, I have still managed to produce quite a few great boolits which shoot just as or even more accurately than what I had been paying quite a bit more for, and I have done so with out breaking my bank account in the process. In fact I have spent more in accumulating lead than for anything else.

Hope this helps,
Mike / TX
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