View Full Version : Mod on Lee 6 Cav. Mold

05-09-2008, 04:42 PM
I was casting with a Lee 6 Cav. 148 gr. TL , WC mold of mine a few days ago. I noticed that I was having trouble keeping my sprue plate pivot screw tight.About every other opening of the mold, I'd have to stop and tighten up the screw.

I did a little measuring on the mold and decided that a nice coarse thread 6 mm set screw was in order. I didn't like the idea of a 6 - 48 , or an 8-40, I wanted something that I could put some torque on ! !

I went to the hardware store and found a nice tap and the appropriate drill bit in a pair in a blister pac . I thought ....Ummmm, that should be the answer to my problem. While I was there I picked up 1/2 dozen of the 6 mm set screws with the same thread pitch pattern as the tap.

While I was at it today, on the rear of the mold, the pivot that opens the top plate and cuts the sprue was beginning to wear into the mold a little, I'd seen others drill and tap a screw , then cut it flush for the steel " foot " to pivot on. I did mine like that today also.

This mold should give many more thousands of bullets .


Here is the " before photo "


Here is the " After Photo."


Here is a photo of the screw that is embedded in the blocks and cut flush with the mold :



05-09-2008, 05:54 PM
Was there some special reason you chose 6mm?

1/4" or #10 are much cheaper and easier to find, and use a wrench that I can find quickly.

05-09-2008, 07:04 PM
No special reason for the 6 mm . I looked at the amount of metal above and below the set screw that was available to me , it looked to me like that was about as large as I dare go.

Worked out well in my opinion.

You can really torque down on this one, it won't strip.


05-09-2008, 10:28 PM
who cares what thread dia. and pitch is used, you improved your mold and did it yourself. Thank you for the pictures, I have a few I have to do sometime. I think I have a couple of boxes of different length 1/4 -28 set/grub screws, I will probably use some of them.

05-09-2008, 10:34 PM
quasi :

I'm certainly no machinist. I have a nice drill press. I tried to " think this one out " before I started work. I did a good bit of measuring, when I thought I was ready to tackle the project this afternoon, it was done without the slightest glitch.

:-D I'm a " happy camper " with this mold now.....

05-10-2008, 03:53 AM
...............A couple weeks ago I had a member ship me 16 Lee 6 cav mould blocks to do :bigsmyl2: Had the drill bit for 6-32 tpi in the DeWalt, and a #2, 82* centerdrill in a 18v cordless. Pulled the SP pivit bolt drilled for the setscrew, tapped then drilled for the steel bearing face under the SP cam, and hit it to full diameter with the centerdrill, then screwed in a slotted wood screw flush with the blocks.

I also staked the SP cam handle bolt after tightening them up.

Since I had everything already out I inventoried all my 6 cav blocks and found 6-7 that hadn't been moded, or fully moded yet and knocked them out too :-)


05-10-2008, 07:40 AM
quasi :

I'm certainly no machinist. I have a nice drill press. I tried to " think this one out " before I started work. I did a good bit of measuring, when I thought I was ready to tackle the project this afternoon, it was done without the slightest glitch.

:-D I'm a " happy camper " with this mold now.....

Ben- Please elaborate on this "think this one out before I started work" method. No one I know does that. We just grab a big hammer and have at it. It things don't work out, we get a BIGGER hammer!:mrgreen:

05-10-2008, 08:48 AM

Sounds to me like you were running a 6 cav. Lee modification assembly line.

Lee could do what we did and it wouldn't double the price of their mold. Wonder why they don't / won't make the modification on all their 6 cav. molds ?

By the way, contrary to others opinion, I like your photo in the T Shirt a lot better than the one with you and the mule. The T Shirt photo is much more " becoming ."


05-10-2008, 12:28 PM
i still miss the mule.

05-10-2008, 12:56 PM
i still miss the mule.

I thought that WAS a picture of the mule:-D


05-13-2008, 09:57 AM
A question for you machinists out there. I have been wanting to do this to some of my Lee molds. So what is better for aluminum: 10-32 or 10-24?

05-13-2008, 12:09 PM
happy7 , I would think the corser thread would work a bit better in aluninum as it is a soft metal , wound give a little better contact and shear strength to the threads .


05-13-2008, 12:26 PM
I've had horses for 40+ years and raised 3 mules in that time frame...all three got a new owner...one ended up in Afghanistan carrying supplies to the Mujahadeen when they were on our side! I saw his picture in SOLDIER OF FORTUNE where the mule was doing "little mean things" to some raghead...and being cursed in a new language!

My late dad said "The only good thing I can say about a mule is it had a horse for it's mother!

":Fire: :cbpour: :redneck:

05-13-2008, 12:32 PM
Icer, that is what I was thinking, but then I thought it couldn't hurt to ask and be sure. So thanks for your advice.

05-13-2008, 07:04 PM
Buckshot, why didn't you tell us you were opening an assembly line to modify 6 cav Lees. The rest of us could have sent you ours.
I miss the mule, too.

05-15-2008, 04:25 AM
...............Actually a 6 or 8-32 is fine, and I've always used the smaller of the 2 and none of the SP pivit bolts have come loose. I'm not up to speed on the size nomenclature of wood screws :-), but they're not much longer then the 5/16" 6-32 setscrews I used. Best of all, after countersinking they cut their own threads in and came up flush with the side of theblocks. This isn't a BIG requirement (being flush) so long as they're not standing too tall.

Re: The Mule. I haven't had a chance yet to spend time looking in the shoeboxes of pitchurs to find another suitable one yet, so you hosers just ease up :bigsmyl2:

...............EDK, we had 2 mules. Our first was Barney (mine in the avatar is Toby). Barney was out of a Quarterhorse and was quite an accomplished old guy. He was 17 when we got him. His owner had passed away and his widow also gave us all his trophys from Muledays in Bishop, CA. He was quite the 'Cow-Mule'! He was about as kind and gentle as they come and we'd put anyone up on him. He was 32, still clear eyed and interested in life when we had to put him down as he was so crippled.

I got Toby when he was 4, and I had him for 18 years. He was out of a Tennessee Walker. He wasn't mean or dangerous at all but he was full of life and wasn't a ride for a novice, as he was about as smart as the average person, and would 'check you out' if he got bored or thought you weren't paying attention :-) It took him and I about a year to come to an understanding.

Riverside County would have weekend trailrides once a month, and in the summer would have weekend overnighters. Since there are lots of mountains around, they were usually where the rides took place. People would come whose horse was in no condition for it, or skittish Arabians (or some other idiot horse) who'd dance off the trail and then go flailing down the side of the mountain.

One time we were on Mt. San Jacinto and the trail was at the very knife edge of a ridge. A pretty narrow trail and pretty steep down both sides. My buddy Ray Gann was in front of me and he rode a mule too. We didn't see the guy and his horse go off the edge but everything had come to a stop and we'd set a considerable amount of time. Finally here comes this poor guy up the slope, sweat just pouring off of him. He was dragging his saddle with one hand and using the other to 3 leg it up the side.

He got up just below us, with Ray and I sitting there looking at him and he looked up and said, "That's what I need, a MULE!" On another ride a lady asked Ray why we were riding mules. Ray was from Tennessee and was rather slow speaking but he sure wasn't dumb. He said, "Wall, me'n' Rick here are just along to provide wrecker service". I thought I was gonna die! One time at McCall Equestrian campground a kind of hoity toity lady was brushing down a very slick Arabian, and Ole Ray said kinda offhand to her that that sure was a good looking horse. She did say thank you. And then Ray says, It'd be a lot better looking with another 6 inches of ear.

My mom rode a very nice Egyptian Arabian, and I'd ridden him several times myself (lest you think I'm down on Arabs). Kinda like driving a sports car, where Toby was more toward the bulldozer end of things. However I've seen mules out of Arabian horses competing at Mule Days, and to be honest I'd really not want any part of that! My wife had a Trakehner that was 17 hands. He was a jumping fool, but was also a real bonehead on the trail. Not too long after she got him we went on a little trail ride from our house.

There's a beautifull raparian creek not too far from the house and he wouldn't go in to cross. The bank must have been all of 4" tall and the creek was about 10' wide. He danced and jigged back and forth and all around till he and Donna were both in a lather. My daughter and I just sat there and watched. You could tell he kinda wanted to step in but then he'd think maybe he'd better not.

I finally told Donna to let me try, and to face him toward the creek as close as he'd go. She got him facing it about 2 feet away and I put ole Toby's chest up against his butt and bulldozed that monstrous horse off into the water :mrgreen: Over time he did finally get to where water wasn't too big an issue any more.

Better stop!


Baron von Trollwhack
05-15-2008, 08:35 AM
Great post Ben. With 12-24 0n hand ,I'll use that. BvT

Doc Highwall
05-15-2008, 08:10 PM
Happy7, 10-32 threads have more surface area then 10-24 so they are stronger.

05-15-2008, 10:09 PM

My grandfather once told me that in his opinion a good pair of mules that would work together could out pull a pair of horses anyday. He outta know as that is how he started farming. A greater man I have never known!

:hijack: Ben, sorry to hi-jack your thread!

I have bought similar screws and plan to do my Lee moulds too.

05-17-2008, 07:49 PM
I don't believe I'd try a set screw any larger than my 6 mm that I used.

I'm like Buckshot, I'd think that a smaller one would probably work just as well.

Why did I use the 6 mm, ........I guess that's the " Big Bore " in me, a mind set that ' Bigger is Better.'


05-17-2008, 11:52 PM
What occurs to me is that if I start small, I can always drill it larger if it strips. Can't do that the other way around.

05-18-2008, 09:16 AM
Good smart logic ! ! Nothing wrong with that.

My barber says he can easily cut the hair off, putting it back on is where he says he has the problems.