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Thread: Sticky: Lapping 301 -- Changing LEE feature diameters

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    If I had read this several years ago, it would have saved me some learning time.
    As is, I now get my NEW Lee mold, use plenty of acetone on everything, inspect the alignment pins to see if they have been driven in enough to plow some metal up at the ends, about 1/2 the time they have been.
    Use a slip on the underside of the sprue plate, place very small amounts of nickel neverseize on the pins and "v's", spray the pivots with graphite and then rubber band the handles together and use thick CA glue to immobilize the handles and blocks.
    I use the back of an Exacto knife to lightly check all the edges of the cavities for any burrs, lightly smoke the cavities and then use a q tip and acetone to remove all carbon not in the cavities.
    After casting a few, I mike a couple to see how big they are, most are too small, so , after trying the lapping and messing up a mold, I decided to make a reamer similar to a woodruff key mill at the diameter I want, a little squeezing and twisting and I have molds that are the size I want and are also round.

  2. #42
    Boolit Master Oldfeller's Avatar
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    Help for New Mold Honchos

    So you want to Honcho a mold buy? You got somebody bapping you out a fine looking drawing for a new bullet, but you aren't sure about the tolerancing to put on it or the draft angles or the gas check shank length or how to spec the fit of the gas check? Hey, how about the metal alloy LEE will use when final tuning the mold cutting program? That all counts too.

    These are some things to be worried about a bit if you are a new mold buy Honcho, especially if you haven't got the answers for them.

    We have a half dozen experienced designers on the list and at least 3-4 experienced Honchos who have had to deal with LEE "oopsies" in the past. Good thing is that you can get your questions answered here.

    Bad thing is we won't always agree and you will be asking the crustiest oldest members a question that we might beat up on each other a bit in answering it as these are old emotional topics for the somebodys what had to lap 100 molds to learn the lessons (or in Jump's & Lar's case had to send mold runs back to LEE and eat all the shipping costs and associated hassles).

    Yeah, new Honcho -- you gotta protect yourself from LEE errors interpreting your nice new drawing ..... and you want your new mold to drop bullets better than the standard LEE stuff does too.

    (iffen you are a smart new honcho, anyway)
    "Had guns, must travel" reads the card of a man ...
    Existing daily from his suitcase in a "temporary" land
    Does his posting from a lobby -- he's now a modern Paladin
    Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? (far, far from home ....)

  3. #43
    Boolit Master Oldfeller's Avatar
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    The antidote for LEE changing stuff against your wishes is proper communications directly with Doug.

    Don't communicate to the answer phone ladies. (obviously they just pass on whatever they think it was you wanted to say)

    Don't communicate to Pat -- he acts like a salesman and seems more interested in setting up a rebuttal scenario if issues come up than in helping you avoid them. Pat is the origin of the dreaded "it was a shared error on your part due to unclear call outs on the drawing". Avoid talking to Pat, I have never gotten anything useful out of him yet.

    Call the LEE number and let these words fall out of your mouth, "Hey, can I talk to Doug in the mold room?" They will let you talk to him if he is there. Doug is the one that cuts the molds, decides if your design can be cut, schedules your mold job and is the only one you can communicate with verbally that MAKES ANY DIFFERENCE.

    Now, when talking to Doug make sure you have put all same the stuff on the drawing as well. You talk to Doug this week and by the time your mold job comes up in 2 weeks he will have forgotten your conversation or will have gotten it mixed up with somebody else's phone call. Nothing beats having the important information on the drawing itself .....

    LEE will perhaps alter your drawing if they don't understand that you really did want it that way for a reason. This requires Doug to understand a bit about what you are doing and that requires you to get through to the mold room and talk to him one on one.
    "Had guns, must travel" reads the card of a man ...
    Existing daily from his suitcase in a "temporary" land
    Does his posting from a lobby -- he's now a modern Paladin
    Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? (far, far from home ....)

  4. #44
    Boolit Master Oldfeller's Avatar
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    Next, you guys are not even getting complete drawings from your designers to send to LEE. You show lots of missing details which means LEE has to guess as to what the heck you want when Dougie goes to programming the CNC lathe. (they don't have a good track record when forced to guess for you, BTW)

    How wide are the driver bands on those bullets? How long is the gas check shank? What is the release angle on that lube groove side (should be 45 degrees if you want them to simply drop out of the mold)? What metal is to be used for fitting (WW !!)? Who's gas check to snap fit the gas check shank taper for (Hornaday!!)? You HAVE to provide all the needed details right on your drawing itself to be protected from screw-ups.

    Next, you new honchos DO owe your group buyers a detailed drawing that shows all the pertinent details so your buyers can 1) understand what he is signing up for and 2) be able to negotiate a return to LEE if they screw his one particular mold up.

    Why do you need to equip the individual to send back a single mold?

    =================================

    Screw up reason #1

    The boring bar got dull half-way through the run or it hit a bit of slag in the aluminum stock and chipped the cutting edge a bit, ruining the rest of the holes.

    Result = undersized features on the cast bullets


    Why do you think LEE claims a +0-.003" effective tolerance? Because the boring bars start out nice and sharp and gets dull during the mold run. When the boring bar gets dull, loads go up and the boring bar deflects more than it did at first. The deflected bar cuts a smaller form and your bullet size goes down down down.

    Worst case was the 6.5 bullet size, Doug would break or dull a bar every fifty holes or so -- and have to stop, re-tool and re-tune the final finish dimensions off of cast bullet meaurements. 6.5 holes are a ***** to cut.

    What can a Honcho do? Understand that if you don't start him out at least a thousanth over what your ideal dimension should be you are going to get stuff that is maybe up to .002" undersized by the end of the run.

    8mm bullet designs for example -- nose diameters can go all the way up to .325" on the current bullet designs and still load in the throat zone just dandy. Why in the world did you choose to start out at .320" and take the chance of being sloppy undersized by the end of the run? Be smart and start out a bit larger, so when the boring bar gets dull you still always get your minimum .320" nose that you really wanted.

    Ditto for body bands -- if you want to size to .326" start out a bit larger.

    ==================================

    LEE is not a machine shop. They are a functional mold cutting monopoly. You try to send back a run of molds and Pat will use your drawing errors and omissions against you, claiming "shared responsability for the error", thus no return can be authorized. He will play 2 cards every time, the LEE standard +0-.003" tolerance and "we fitted it with lino -- you didn't tell us to use wheel weight metal".

    **** boys, when pressed hard they will even claim that WW metal isn't a standard alloy and their WW metal isn't your WW metal.

    Talk to Jumptrap -- he had to go there. Lar 45 had the benefit of our experience, so when they screwed up the FAT 30 they were looking at a fully detailed drawing with NO WIGGLE ROOM for them to hide behind and they took the run back and fixed it.

    NO WIGGLE ROOM -- that's the Honcho's goal --
    "Had guns, must travel" reads the card of a man ...
    Existing daily from his suitcase in a "temporary" land
    Does his posting from a lobby -- he's now a modern Paladin
    Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? (far, far from home ....)

  5. #45
    Boolit Master Oldfeller's Avatar
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    I never insured a mold nor spent any money on tracers. I had a spare mold or two for each run and I figured if it went wrong it was actually cheaper to ship a spare mold than pay all that extra money in insurance for all of the rest of the mold shipments. I never got stuck on one single mold shipment, ever.

    I NEVER had enough molds by the end of a run no matter how many extras I bought -- there were always folks who wanted one after the fact. Once I screwed up and took in too many checks and had to give up my own mold (I was able to get another though since it was a Midsouth listed mold). No matter, I had hundreds and hundreds of cast up bullets as I actually cast off of each mold and measured the slugs before shipping the molds.

    Now, does LEE actually keep the screwed up molds you send back and sell them to somebody else? Yup, they sure do, the ones that aren't too far off the mark. Ask Doug for a copy of a custom mold in any caliber and he will go to his shelf and read you off 3-4 different styles he "happens" to have one left on. Try him, he either saves his tuning molds and "real close" returns/rejects or else he cuts a new one to the stored program and sends it to you.

    Example, Sundog actually bought a couple of 6.5 cruise missiles from Midsouth that I swear might have been rejects from the original run (strongly undersized on the nose section). It was so embarassing that LEE actually contacted Sundog to try to get him to send the molds back .....
    "Had guns, must travel" reads the card of a man ...
    Existing daily from his suitcase in a "temporary" land
    Does his posting from a lobby -- he's now a modern Paladin
    Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? (far, far from home ....)

  6. #46
    Boolit Master Oldfeller's Avatar
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    Whitelitenin posts: "I thought the tolerance for Lee molds was -0 to +.003"

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Aw ****, did I pull me another senor moment? Quite possible, they happen more and more frequently as I get older. Did you look at their current spec. page or are you just "remembering" too? If so, post us all a link to it.

    White, if so the .003" range is still the same and you would be foolish to plan for LEE to consistently cut your bullet varying oversize for you as 1) tool dulling and boring bar deflection both cause their lathes to cut undersized holes and 2) LEE keeps on using Lintotype alloy which casts a bullet slightly bigger during final CNC tuning stage which causes them to cut a mold that fits lino and casts slightly undersized when using normal WW metal and 3) it has been the experience of the group over time that LEE tends to cut undersized when they go off into the weeds.

    (this sure ain't changed, has it?)

    ============================================
    ============================================

    and so, I put all my old crusty nonsense in the same place in one single sticky topic. If it helps you avoid some trouble with LEE molds, then good.

    It seems that as we turn new generations of Honchos we fall back into the same errors time after time. Maybe this will help that tendency.

    Good shooting,

    Oldfeller
    "Had guns, must travel" reads the card of a man ...
    Existing daily from his suitcase in a "temporary" land
    Does his posting from a lobby -- he's now a modern Paladin
    Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? (far, far from home ....)

  7. #47
    Boolit Master Oldfeller's Avatar
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    PS I'm gonna re-post parts of this quite old thread as an addition to the relapping sticky so somebody can find all the statistical analysis on LEE's mold cutting production capability and the historical advice on how to deal with LEE all in the same place. And some past history on LEE's various old screw ups too.

    What happened to Ranch Dog's bullet is a shame -- looks like they used the nose tool off their own 310 grain .429 bullet and used some of the diameter programming as well (got to match that nose tool's ogive curvature after all -- got to make it close to .429" diameter so as to get their **** stock nose tool ogive curve to match up right)

    Yeah Jump, I'm LEE bashing again ...... just like you used to do.

    Oldfeller
    "Had guns, must travel" reads the card of a man ...
    Existing daily from his suitcase in a "temporary" land
    Does his posting from a lobby -- he's now a modern Paladin
    Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? (far, far from home ....)

  8. #48
    Boolit Master steveb's Avatar
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    Well Old Feller, It sure the hell sounds like you know what your talkin about! I was in on the Ranch Dog deal but im new to this group buy business. Sounds like some of the new honchos need to read this sticky. Thanks for the info!
    [SIGPIC]http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/stevensavage/avatars/reloadnPalacescriptresized.jpg[/SIGPIC]

  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    Oldfeller,

    I used your method to enlarge the cavities on my Ranch Dog mould (the first one Lee screwed the pooch on) and it worked perfectly. The only change I did was to use Tungsten Carbide and a bit of Break Free instead of valve grinding compound. The Tungsten Carbide is a lot finer micron size than the fine valve grinding compound. Each cavity enlarged .002 and is now the size of the second Ranch Dog mould. The second one is getting the same treatment when I have the time. One thing I might advise folks is to use a very small amount of the valve grinding compound and spread it out very thinly. Then roll the boolits, wipe them clean and measure. Keep doing this until the ultimate size is reached. Too much of the valve grinding compound and it will get into the grooves. I know because that is what happened to my first attempt. After building up all six boolits I used a very small triangular file to clean the grooves.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Dave

  10. #50
    Boolit Master Topper's Avatar
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    I just wanted to thank "Oldfeller" for this valuable post.
    I purchased two Lee dies for 45/70.
    Both cast under size with straight WW, one at .456.
    Followed the details Oldfeller provided and now both dies throw boolits that just kiss the sides of my .460 sizer.
    Thanks Oldfeller

  11. #51
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Old Feller: post #18, which loctite do you use, the green wheel bearing stuff or red? Would JB weld work or cause problems? It's granite and epoxy.

  12. #52
    Boolit Bub ken s's Avatar
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    Ok question about Lee moulds. I just opened up the mini 577 to 584 and hope it works...looks good,and casts ok. but...what can I use to polish it? I used valve compount to lap it and now I'd like to mirror polish the aluminum...any ideas? tks...Ken S

  13. #53
    Boolit Master

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    Not sure how I missed it all this time, but I just came across this thread. Wow, do I have some work to do! All those moulds that have been giving me fits all these years can be made to work correctly! I am continually amazed by the level of knowledge on this site!

  14. #54
    Banned

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    Lightbulb My first lapping/105gr R.N.



    I did one with comet, (lee 2cavity 105gr R.N.) try it tonite after work. It didnt really get nose as good as the rest of bullet. I can always hit it one more time with comet. Will let ya know how lapping worked out.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master

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    Wow. Great info for the lee mols.
    "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail" - Benjamin Franklin

  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    I have learned when Leementing, if you dont want it changed, you need to get rid of it. I leemented a 310gr .452 mold, but it leemented everything so the nose was enlarged to. I always have problems with the driving bands being undersized, so lathe off everything else, just end up with what looks like a wadcutter. And I will make a couple using linotype, being harder seem to work better.

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Tackleberry41 View Post
    I have learned when Leementing, if you dont want it changed, you need to get rid of it. I leemented a 310gr .452 mold, but it leemented everything so the nose was enlarged to. I always have problems with the driving bands being undersized, so lathe off everything else, just end up with what looks like a wadcutter. And I will make a couple using linotype, being harder seem to work better.
    This is proly the wrong place - but its the most recent post I could see on stretching molds - I recently bought a pedersoli roundball mold in .462 --- in a rush to get a pistol shooting I cleaned that mold up, cranked up my pot and went for it - that mold was running sweet so I got 200 done in the first session and easy! when I culled them through I was a bit puzzled by the look of em - closer inspection they were undersized and egg shaped - after much measuring and checking I find one half the mold is a .462 cavity and tother half the mold is a .457 cavity - how that happened in the factory I dont know but it did!!! a call to the Dealer and he agreed to send me a replacement - only had .464 mold and that suited so we went ahead - post is slow - I get impatient so after reading posts here on beagling and such I got a little piece of 5 thou steel shim from the engineer shop in town and made a shim for between the mold faces - had nothin to loose I figured - still cant believe how well that worked - I cast hot and fast with it and got reall nice round ball - no feathers on em at all - after a tumble to round off the sprue they ready to go and came out exactly at .462 size (the other mold has since arrived as a replacement so I sent no 1 back)

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check