View Full Version : Another Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
10-31-2005, 08:25 AM
Friend of mine cleaned out his closet, and gave me a box of moulds someone had given him years ago. The original owner was a classic double-dipper. He was getting paid by the government to take in foster children, and was putting them to work in his cast bullet operation.
There are two 1cav., one 2cav., and a round dozen 4cav. Lyman molds in the box. Most show very hard use, but I think most will clean up. I started on the one with the worst looking cavities this morning. It's a 358429, and looked eroded. Turned out to be oxidized oil or grease. I spun a .357 bore brush in the cavities with a hand drill and alcohol, and now it looks like...well, newer. Steel wool cleaned up the crud and occasional rust spots on the outside.
Many of them have had the setscrew holes drilled out to larger sizes, mostly 1/4-20. Some have setscrews holding the stop screw also. Most need the alignment pins tweaked.
Just for interest, here are the numbers of the 4cavs: 3118 (yeeha),
504617, 375rb, 454424, 357446, 454190, 452374, 311359, 311252, 358495, 452389.
Most are what you would expect of a commercial caster, but the .30 calibers were a surprise. Any advice on renovating these would be welcomed.
11-01-2005, 09:39 AM
Last night I started cleaning up my trove of 4-cavity Lymans. The procedure that evolved may be of interest to some, so I will outline it.
Disassemble mold completely. Clean top and edges of sprue plate with coarse steel wool and Kroil. (WD-40 or Kerosene would probably do as well.) Clean bottom side of sprue plate by rubbing on a sheet of sandpaper atop a flat slate slab. Cold blue after sanding to prevent rust.
Clean sides and ends of blocks with CSW and Kroil. The near end and the sides above the handles were coated with a hard layer of burned-on oil. The far end was invariably rusty, and the sides below the handles had some rust. The bottom was almost always in good shape.
Run the top across the sandpaper lightly to remove burrs and crud. Cold blue.
Lightly file the inner surface at the alignment holes to remove the "crater walls" around them.
Work over the inner surfaces with CSW and ethanol. Brush the cavities with ethanol. I ran into two different situations here. Some molds had been oiled in the cavities, and subsequent casting had burned the oil into them. I cleaned them with a bronze bore brush wet with ethanol and spun in a hand drill. In one case, I never did get it all out, and set that mold aside for more work later. Some of the newer or less-used molds had not been oiled, but rather put away with bullets in the cavities. These were in very good shape and required nothing but toothbrushing with ethanol and wiping out with q-tips.
The fit was loose on most of them, so I pressed the alignment pins out a little, until almost no movement could be felt. On the double-pin end, I used a short 1/4-20 hex-head bolt and a thick washer. The bolt will just fit into the pin holes. With the washer around the nose of the pin, I put the whole thing in the vise and squeezed. Much easier on the fingers than hammering, and you have better control over the movement.
Tonight I will pour some boolits in them, to see how well I did.
11-02-2005, 09:02 AM
The casting session was interesting. I tried 8 of the 4-cavity molds. With only one set of handles available, the screwdriver was almost as hot as the molds. The only mold that produced no presentable boolits at all was the 311252, and it was in the best shape of all of them - I thought. Casting 77 grainers in that big chunk of iron is going to take some head scratching. Auxiliary heating may be necessary to get filled-out bands. What do you .22 casters do to keep the mold hot?
The 454190 and 452374 made lots of usable product, as you would expect from their easy-filling shapes. The 454424, on the other hand, was slow to produce, as was the 452389 (there's an odd one). I will boil them out or clean them ultrasonically in ethanol before using them again. The 3118 will do OK if I get the alloy a little hotter. Ditto the 311359.
The big surprise was the 358429. It was the worst-looking of all before cleaning, but it put out a lot of good boolits. It persisted in leaving a little finning around the bases, but the sizer should take care of that.
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