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Thread: What is the advantage of a brass mold over aluminum?

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    NW GA
    Quote Originally Posted by StrawHat View Post
    Since heat retention has been mentioned a lot, is there a way to increase the aboility of an aluminum mold to hold heat? This appears to be a problem, especially with small caliber boolits. Perhaps one could machine a cavity into the mold and fix a brass or iron weight to add in heat retention?
    Your suggestion, while a novel idea, would likely cause hot spots not to mention issues with different expansion rates and such.

    Aluminum is still awesome. All you have to do to maintain temp is increase cadence. It's not really a problem per se, just need to find your rhythm with each mold.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawkhuntclub View Post
    I've never used brass or steel molds. What's the advantage, besides durability?
    I flat out prefer iron molds, they cast good quicker, are tough, you can beat them to death & if you keep them oiled they last forever. I have several Lyman & RCBS molds that are well over 40 years old & cast as good as when I got them new. (actually have a couple Lee alum that are almost as old that still work)

    I have lots of alum. NOE, ACE, LEE etc. & most are good (all my NOE are excellent), some are lousy(some Lee really suck) & some OK. I have yet to have a small caliber mold work good in alum. For 4 or 6 cavity the lower weight is nice for long casting sessions.

    Only have 2 MIHEC brass (he takes way to long to get his molds). They are heavier than steel. They cast good so far but not sure I like the weight, especially with the 4 banger. Also have to be careful with not hurting them & can't just put some 600 steel wool on a bore brush & spin in the cavity to clean up burrs etc like with steel.

    Given a choice, iron up to 4 cavity. Alum for 4+.

    I also prefer 2 cavity in rifle & 4s in pistol.

    For hollow points, getting the pins hot & keeping them hot is an issue with the alum. Once you get it going & pins hot, it works fine.

    When you get down to it, I would always prefer steel, just because; but to be honest, for price, weight, & quality, It is hard to beat NOE. I have a bunch of them & they are all great.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

    Springfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    San Jose, California
    I had a 4 cavity bras Mihec mould and sold it, just to heavy for me. I find aluminum works best for me as I like 4-6 cavity moulds. I have a lot of LEE moulds because the Big Lube BP bullets just aren't made by anyone else that I can find. But all my AR rifle moulds are either NOE, Mihec, or Accurate. My 2 favorite 9mm and 45 acp molds are HM2. So I do my BP blasting bullets with LEE because I have to but all my more precise molds are higher end aluminum. All my HP moulds are Mihec Brass, but only in 2 cavity. I have a few 2 cavity iron molds but don't use them much, and replace them when I can with better aluminum molds. I just can't take the slowness of 2 cav's anymore, been spoiled.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    While NOE, Mihec, Mountain Molds, LBT all make nice molds from Aluminum, I still prefer iron or brass. Pretty hard to beat a Saeco mold, or RCBS, Hensley and Gibbs, and for me: most Lymans.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
    Elkins45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern KY
    There's just something that's really appealing about the smoothness of the cavities in a quality brass mold. I have a few MP brass Cramer molds and a two cavity from Mountain. They all make really beautiful bullets...but if you have arthritis in your wrists then you'd better break out the Tylenol before a long casting session.
    NRA Endowment Member

    Armed people don't march into gas chambers.

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy curioushooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Southern Indiana
    Is that BHN at casting temp or at room temp. I have a hard time believing aluminum is stronger or harder than brass.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    I have a 4 cav HP mold from MP in brass that is a work of art. I have several 8 cav MP molds in aluminum, and I'm pretty sure each weighs less than the 4 cav brass mold.

    The 8 cavity molds quickly produce the large volume of boolits I need. I don't think I could wrangle the 4 cav twice as fast, even if the cadence didn't overheat the mold. I'm sure I couldn't manage a 8 cav brass mold at the same pace as the an aluminum version, if at all.

  8. #28
    Boolit Grand Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    out of here, wandering somewhere in the SW.
    I prefer to cast a LOT of boolits when I am casting! That is why I use 5 & 6 cavity molds only....now mostly in BRASS. My time is far too valuable to mess around with little steel molds that drop only 1 or 2 slugs at a time.

    Unfortunately there are a few designs/cals that are only available in 2 banger molds.

  9. #29
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    I prefer brass moulds for the heat retention and not having to oil or preserve them. I also like the way they cast. An aluminum mould could be modified with brass inserts installed. Here the size of the inserts probably wouldn't be big enough to make a real difference In weight or heat retention as the outer aluminum blocks would still pull heat away. What might work but would require some real machining would be aluminum blocks with brass plates for the cavities. Again blocks size might need increased and custom handles to be made for them. In most blocks with the cavities pins handle grooves and screw holes there just isn't a lot of extra room.

    I believe there are better materials for moulds out there, and available. But expense of the materials difficulty machining them and finish, puts them out of range. D-2 ferro tec s7 are used a lot in die cast moulds and are heat / shock resistant and can be hardened but machining would be hard on tooling. Scandium alloys might be useful but cost here puts them out of the market

    Possibly a change in handles to a set that screw into the blocks woukd do away with the handle cuts and increased surface area lowering the heat loss. Sort of like removing or filling in the fins from an engine cylinder.

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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