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Old May 13, 2012, 10:22 PM   #1
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Lee #4 buck mold not working so well

Well I tried using my new Lee #4 buckshot mold and i have to say I am a bit disappointed. I use Lee style aluminum molds exclusively so I'm familiar with their quirks. I wonder if this mold introduces some of its own.

I clean and smoke the mold like usual and go outside and start the furnace and preheat the mold. As soon as I start casting, WW alloy, the problems start. Most of the shot I cast has lead seeping out of the cavity in between the blocks. I try cleaning the mold, thinking there is something in between the blocks but the problem never goes away. It was happening in all 6 cavities, sometimes I would get a good cast and sometimes I wouldn't. I tried varying temps from 700 to 950F with no real change.

I eventually got sick of messing with this mold and bust out my 30 cal 2 cavity and start water dropping slugs for my Ruger GSR no problem. So it's not the lead or me, there is something with that mold that's not working correctly and I don't know if I got a bad one or what.

Anyone have any experience or advice?
I don't carry a gun to go looking for trouble, I carry a gun in case trouble finds me.
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Old May 14, 2012, 12:09 AM   #2
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I have the first OO buckshot 18 cav mold they came out with a year or so ago. I found this mold needed to be really hot, before decent shot could be cast. Some of my Lee 30 molds would throw good boolits even when cold, then improve from there. The buck only worked when HOT!.

Since some of your casts are good I think your mold is ok. If it was bent or machined bad I think it would do this every time. You might email Lee if it keeps giving you problems though, they'll likely have some more tips or exchange it. I assume you're holding it closed tight the same every time.
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Old May 14, 2012, 07:58 AM   #3
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950 degrees is way to hot.
It sounds like a defective mould. Contact Lee and complain.
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Old May 14, 2012, 08:09 AM   #4
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It sounds like theres something in there somewhere.

I have a different brand for #4 buck, but mine also likes it hot. I dont know the temp, but its very hot. From a 20 cavity mold I rarely have to throw back a bad pellet. Without it being that hot I was throwing back 8 or 10 every mold full.
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Old May 14, 2012, 08:28 AM   #5
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Close the mold, hold it up to a strong light source. No matter how hot the mold or alloy is, there should be no lead between the mold halves. Something is keeping it from closing correctly.
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Old May 14, 2012, 02:41 PM   #6
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Sounds like the standard alignment issues with crappy Lee molds.
(That's not a shot at Lee, in general - it's a shot at the low end, ill-fitting crap they let through quality control far too often.)

I have a 430-200-RF 2 cavity mold that does the same thing. If you just try to cast with it, you'll get a good cast every 20 tries, or so ...maybe. It is just completely incapable of self-aligning, even with some help.

You have to go pretty far out of your way to very carefully align the mold blocks by hand for each, and every pour. Even then, bad pours slip through. It was just machined so poorly, that the alignment pins and v-notches don't do what they're supposed to.
Don't even try it. It's even worse than the internet would lead you to believe.
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Old May 14, 2012, 05:11 PM   #7
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Ok a couple of things to try that have helped me with a couple of what I though to be bad molds.

First wash it with boiling hot water. Even better if you soak it down with Simple Green first. (Even if you have done this already. Do it again it is little work, and it tends to work.)

Second thing dry it off, and now if you have a gas stove turn it on to medium low heat. put the mold so that the handles will not catch on fire over the flame. With the mold closed. Leave it there for at least 20 minutes. If the stove is electric then set the mold directly on the element for at least 20 minutes, just put the burner on high.

Now carefuly take the mold off of the stove. Have a cotton swab, or pipe cleaner handy, wet it with your choice of either synthetic motor oil, or vegetable oil. (Lard works in a pinch.) Use the oiled swab to go over the pins, and wedges. Do the recesses as well. (Note it should smoke like crazy) Now close the mold tight. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Now carefuly smoke the mold with either a match, or my preference of smoke from a candle. Reswab the pins, and recesses again after smoking.

Now go start casting. Keep the swab nearby. Relube about every 20 cast or so.

Note over 750 degrees is just a waste.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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