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Old December 21, 2009, 01:48 AM   #1
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Lead Casting mould is too hot

When casting lead bullets with a Lee mould how do you know when the mould is too hot and you should let it cool off before you continue casting?
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Old December 21, 2009, 02:44 AM   #2
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when you open it up and the boolit pours out! lol
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Old December 21, 2009, 03:49 AM   #3
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^^ That pretty much sums it up. Unless you're taking your mold to glowing, you WANT it hot. The lead should not solidify when it hits the mold--it won't fill out right if it does. That is why we preheat the mold before pouring. Too hot isn't the issue--too cold usually is a much bigger problem.
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Old December 21, 2009, 06:02 AM   #4
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When a mold gets too hot, the dropped bullets will have a "frosted" look about them and not be shiny.
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Old December 21, 2009, 08:21 AM   #5
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Frosted bullets. But most guy are not worried about pretty bullets. As long as they fill out
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Old December 21, 2009, 09:00 AM   #6
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If the mould is too hot, the sprue plate will begin to have lead smeared on the bottom from the sprue not being completely "frozen" when you cut it off. I always use two moulds when casting, pour one put it down, pour the other, go back to the first one, cut sprue, drop bullet, pour lead, set it down, pick up other, etc. Using two moulds forces you to let the bullet and sprue cool enough so you are not cutting the sprue before it has cooled enough.
It does not matter if the moulds are for the same bullet or not. I often cast a rifle bullet along with a pistol bullet; they are easy enough to sort later.
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Old December 21, 2009, 09:02 AM   #7
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weigh a batch of shiney bullets , then a batch of frosty bullets !!!

Some casters go for frosty !!!! but I`m gettin to where I can controll the alloys so-so & get acceptable ,repeatable results
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Old December 21, 2009, 09:04 AM   #8
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Best way I learned was this. When you knock the sprue plate open look at the back of the bullets. If they are dull gray like the lead has hardened then you are good to go. As the mold heats up to what I consider too hot when the sprue plate is knocked back the bullet will have a shiny look. Not so much liquid but shiny. That's when I know I am getting to hot. How did I come up with this. I water drop and one day was casting and was getting the shiny look, when I opened the mold the bullets looked great, but they hit the water and crinkled just a bit. Not bad enough they could not be used, but as soon as the the mold cooled and that shiny look went away the bullets went back to normal.
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Old December 21, 2009, 01:47 PM   #9
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For me it's this easy. I time the sprue puddle freezing time. Not with a stopwatch, but a general 1-2-3-4 froze, counting like a second count. If the sprue is taking longer than that, I slow down the casting sequence, leaving the mold open longer before re-filling it. Some use a wet cloth to sit the mold on for a couple ticks.

About frosty bullets; The only way you'll get shiny bullets that are completely filled out is a lead-tin alloy, WITHOUT any antimony in it. Any alloy that has some antimony in it will cast a dull gray bullet,(if it's completely filled out). Some call that frosty. I call that perfect,(well as close to perfect we can get in this world). A too hot bullet that IS frosty will look like it was poorly plated with zinc! There's nothing wrong with frosty bullets. They'll shot just fine.
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Old December 21, 2009, 09:57 PM   #10
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Frosted Bullets! They're Greeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaat!

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Old December 21, 2009, 10:01 PM   #11
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I like to be frost free.... too much frost is too much like winter for me... I prefer shiney
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Old December 22, 2009, 01:50 PM   #12
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You should never have to stop molding for more than a few minutes. If your mold is too hot and the bullets do not solidify for a while just turn the pot down one notch. I typically hold the mold closed 5 to 10 seconds. If it is too hot just hold it closed another 20 seconds while you turn the pot down.

For Lee aluminum molds I like it very hot to frost the bullet. The frosty grain will pick up and hold the liquid alox better.
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Old December 25, 2009, 02:14 AM   #13
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I had my sprue plate a little too hot yesterday. The lead on top remained molten for a good 20 seconds. I had some REALLY frosted boolits there for a while until it cooled off.
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Old December 25, 2009, 11:18 AM   #14
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when you open it up and the boolit pours out! lol
Glad to see that I'm not the only one who has had that happen.

I had my sprue plate a little too hot yesterday. The lead on top remained molten for a good 20 seconds. I had some REALLY frosted boolits there for a while until it cooled off.
This is probably the best way to tell. Keep an eye on how long the lead on top of the sprue plate stays molten.
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Old January 5, 2010, 11:02 PM   #15
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Dehermit has the right idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Use more then one mold while casting.

If I am by myself, I will use 3 - 4 molds, depending on the temp. of the day, but with help it could be as many a 6 molds.

I personally like to cast with a partner, as with one person pouring and the other opening molds and dropping them into our quenching bucket, our casting volumn is greatly increased.

This past week, my current and new casting partner and I had two casting sessions, both 2 - 3 hours in length. My back won't take much more!

This was my partners first time with casting, so he was a bit slow to start.

But right from the start of the second session I had my work cut out for me to stay ahead of him with pouring.

We ran 5 molds during both sessions, and produced over 100lbs. of product during that 4 - 5 hour time period.

I have found casting from an open pot to be far and away faster then any bottom pour pot I have ever used or seen.

Check out the Rowell Bottom Pour Ladles, by Advance Car Mover co.

This is the best ladle I have ever used, and along with a good sized pot on my old Colman gas stove allows for a high and sustained casting rate.

At this point in time, I cast almost totally for handguns, and a high rate of production is more important then if I was in something like long range Black Powder competition.

If that was the case, a hundred quality bullets per hour might be a good rate from one large single cavity mold.

However, during these last sessions we were running one or two 6 cavity molds, two 4 cavity and one or two double cavity molds, producing over those two sessions bullets for .38/357, .40S&W, .45acp and three different bullets in .44, lots of them.

Using a larger pot, and having enough heat, allows for melting the sprews and adding ingets while still casting.

If I were not adding metal to the pot, I would need to turn the stove way down to prevent over heating or frosting, but adding cool metal to a large enough pot with enough heat under it, keeps my alloy at a good casting temp. with few stops needed during the total casting period.

Time to flux/skim is a matter of seconds when needed, the same for adding sprews or ingets.

Keep em coming!

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Old January 11, 2010, 10:10 AM   #16
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Nothing wrong with frosted bullets. This isn't politically correct, but when I am casting I like to make bullets fast so to avoid lead smearing on the sprue cutter I use a shallow dish with paper towel or two and water to soak. When the sprue becomes thin and takes a long time to cool I turn it upside down and put plate on the soaked paper towel to cool it down. I do this with steel and aluminum molds. I knew a production caster who used six to ten cavity molds casting with two molds and two pots he would quench entire molds in a bucket of water.

This is information only, I won't recommend the practice, but it works for me.
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Old January 11, 2010, 10:48 AM   #17
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Personally, I do NOT like "frosted bullets" as these bullets tend to not be as well formed as the rest of the unfrosted production as well as seeming to be a bit undersized.

For me, I'll save the frosting for the cakes.

During the sorting of the production from our two casting sessions a couple weeks ago, I did not detect ONE frosted bullet.

By running with, in our case, 5 molds it allows plenty of time for the sprues to harden. No need to wait around while the sprues harden, or be taking steps to speed the cooling of the sprues, just keep the molds in rotation and cast bullets just as fast as two people can move.

The bullets/sprues in each mold will have plenty of time to harden, no problem and lots of bullets

Keep em coming!

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Old January 11, 2010, 11:10 AM   #18
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Well it's not like I haven't tried to talk my five year old granddaughter into learning how to cast bullets. Actually, I don't know as many bullet casters as I use to, and I never knew anyone, like myself, who would be interested in double teaming the pot. As an aside Deary, I went down after reading your post and measured two bullets, frosted and shiny, and they miked the same and my frosties looked as filled out as the purty ones. They coulda come from different cavities tho, and I want to take a few out to work where there is an electronic micrometer.

Thanks for the heads up ya Ol' Coot.
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Old January 11, 2010, 03:45 PM   #19
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Morn'n Salvadore,

I lucked out on the casting parner.

This fellow is wanting to learn the ropes in reloading, has been buying some firearms, and components.

So with the fact that he has a number of the same calibers as I do, and he'd likes to shoot, there is incentive to help produce cheap fodder.

Was great when my oldest son was still home, as he liked to shoot, reload and of course cast so he could shoot more.

Now, he is away from home and still likes to reload and shoot, but isn't here to help produce the bullets.

I have cast by myself, and can still run 3 or so molds that way, but wow is is great to have a helper who gets to share in the production.

Really, REALLY speeds things up.

Haven't broken him - the new guy - in on the sizing and lubing as yet. Have two sizer lubricaters, so should be able to team up on that and again increase production.

With a 100lbs + of bullets on hand, need to get him started.

Also need to go through the break in period with him on my new Hornady LNL progressive press, but considering I have spent years on just a single stage press, I also have a learning curve I need to work through.

Need to get with it, as I need to get stuff loaded so I can have a run away with the 45acp!

Probably that won't happen until the snow is gone, so that will give us some time to get a pile of ammo loaded up.

Have a good one!

Keep em coming!

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Old January 11, 2010, 05:15 PM   #20
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I see that you are in Idaho, Deary, a state known for nazis and Elmer Keith. Do you live in Salmon, or Orafino? I have been loading with the square deal since they first came out. Dillon turned it into a 'B' later. You'll love a progressive press, it will set you free. Now if I just had a star lubersizer....
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Old January 11, 2010, 07:39 PM   #21
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Live about 23 miles out of Moscow, Idaho. North and West of Salmon a goodly distance and south of the skin head/nazis thing.

The liberals around Moscow - home of University of Id. and Pullman, Washington - about 8 miles over the boarder in Wash., and home of Washington State U. are way more then bad enough.

Lived in Pullberg for way to long and finally got out of there and Into Ideeeeeeeeeeeho.

Moscow is the better of the two as it is still a bit more farming and rural in population, but both are liberal cess pools due to the university and liberal

Glad the skin thing is gone, as they might have needed top be cleaned out.

Figure there are still some weard Os around, but don't hear about them.

Like it here, as the attitude is much better in rural Idano then in Washington.

Have filled my extra anterless deer tag for the last two years, about 10 minutes from the house. If I was just a tad bit North from here, I could shoot right out the door.

Miles and miles of 4wheeler riding leaving right from the house.

Deer - lots of white tails and a few mulies in the area, elk and moose, turkeys besides the ones at the universities. Steelhead fishing about 45 - minute to an hour away, and on a good year, chinook salmon to catch.

Used to ge great varmit hunting, but that is harder to find now days.


Keep em coming!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
We are about 45 min. drive to Lewiston, Id/Clarkston, Washington and 2 hours or a bit less to Spokane, Washington.
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