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Thread: Removing sprue marks for slugs and round balls

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Blood Trail's Avatar
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    Removing sprue marks for slugs and round balls

    This is what I do to rid my projectiles of that infamous sprue marks.

    1. I snip the sprue has close as I can without taking a divot out of the main body.







    2. I take small hammer, or in this case, the flat side of my mold, and I tap the remaining clipped sprue down flat. I make sure I try to blend it in with the body of the projectile as much as possible.





    Looks like this after Iím done:






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  2. #2
    Boolit Master Blood Trail's Avatar
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    3. I then use my cheap rock tumbler from Harbor Freight and tumble them in a squirt of dry graphite for a couple hours. Turns out this this:






    Hope this can help yíall out.


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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I don't think I'd worry about sprues on slugs unless they were very large and ugly but for round balls a smooth ball is a good thing. I've manually tumbled to peen down sprues and that worked quite well but a rock tumbler is the way to go for sure.

    Those look real nice!

    Are those soft lead or wheelweights/range scrap? The as cast looks like an alloy, not pure lead. I'd think pure lead would get dimples if tumbled, though if they don't actually drop on each other maybe not.

    Longbow

  4. #4
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    These are man sized sprue cutters, that might be of interest.
    http://www.gqfmfg.com/breeding-pens/...utting-pliers/

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Blood Trail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    I don't think I'd worry about sprues on slugs unless they were very large and ugly but for round balls a smooth ball is a good thing. I've manually tumbled to peen down sprues and that worked quite well but a rock tumbler is the way to go for sure.

    Those look real nice!

    Are those soft lead or wheelweights/range scrap? The as cast looks like an alloy, not pure lead. I'd think pure lead would get dimples if tumbled, though if they don't actually drop on each other maybe not.

    Longbow
    LB,
    Yessir, those are pure lead. Makes it easy to hammer out the sprue. I just run my pot a little warm.


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Those RB's must roll and rub a lot rather than tumble onto each other to get that shiny. I'd be harder alloy might get even shinier!

    A smooth and shiny ball is a good thing.

    Now what would be interesting (like I need something else to do) is to run some comparison shooting with as cast and nicely tumble balls to see if there is an difference in accuracy and if there is a distinct range at which as cast start to open up groups. I'm kinda betting the tumbled balls will be more accurate at longer ranges, if not at all ranges. It would take a fair bit of shooting to get enough data to be reasonably sure of results though.

    I think my brain is rattled about loose enough currently... not that I won't be out shooting slugs and RB's again shortly, just maybe not 50 from the bench at a sitting.

    Longbow

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    On mine, I've been able to take a pliers and just twist and pull the sprue off. I've noticed on castings that got too hot, have severe frosting, the sprue can produce a divot. On castings that are shiny, or lightly frosted, they break off clean. I finish with just a few swipes of a file, but I'm betting you could skip that, and just dump them in your tumbler.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master




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    They look beautiful
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    When doing #4 Buck from a Sharpshooter mould, I just cut the sprue with the recommended side cutter pliers (sewing department, Wally World, green plastic handles). Then I throw a big batch in an old RCBS Sidwinder tumbler tub, shake in a bit of powdered graphite, turn it on for about three hours and go somewhere else (the noise is worse than hearing a jack_ss in a tin barn). After about three hours, pour out on a screen and shake any loose graphite out and pour on a more or less clean towel and hand tumble a couple of minutes. They come out almost perfect and round. The bigger the shot, the more noise they make as well. 00 Buck is really loud./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  10. #10
    Boolit Master bikerbeans's Avatar
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    I put a couple pounds of 0.31" RBs and about two dozen 0.69" RBs in my dillon vibratory cleaner today. No media or graphite was used and as advertised it was LOUD. I removed the balls a couple hours later and they are smooth and dark gray in color. Balls were shiny before vibrating.. Also I didn't find any dust in the bowl. These balls are cast from 92-6-2 lead/tin/antimony alloy and air cooled. I used lee molds so no sprue to remove. I need to measure diameters and weigh them before loading. Probably should get a price on a new bowl for the dillon. Will post pics later.

    BB

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Blood Trail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerbeans View Post
    I put a couple pounds of 0.31" RBs and about two dozen 0.69" RBs in my dillon vibratory cleaner today. No media or graphite was used and as advertised it was LOUD. I removed the balls a couple hours later and they are smooth and dark gray in color. Balls were shiny before vibrating.. Also I didn't find any dust in the bowl. These balls are cast from 92-6-2 lead/tin/antimony alloy and air cooled. I used lee molds so no sprue to remove. I need to measure diameters and weigh them before loading. Probably should get a price on a new bowl for the dillon. Will post pics later.

    BB
    Iíll give that a shot. To be honest brother, Iím not sure what the graphite is for.


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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    that is a huge sprue , my Lee round ball molds especially my 6 cavity round ball mold leaves a small flat hard to even call it a sprue
    Whatever you be , Be a good one

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    At one time a fellow explained how he smoothed the nub from the sprue..He snipped off the nub and then placed the round balls in a heavy metal pan in the trunk of his car. The round balls would roll around while driving. He basically would leave them in there until they were smooth.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyrat View Post
    At one time a fellow explained how he smoothed the nub from the sprue..He snipped off the nub and then placed the round balls in a heavy metal pan in the trunk of his car. The round balls would roll around while driving. He basically would leave them in there until they were smooth.
    I like this idea!
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master Blood Trail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
    I like this idea!
    I do the same thing with a rock tumbler. I got a thread on here on how I do it.


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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    do you make one cut with the dykes or two cuts, one almost through and another at 90 degrees to the first one? they look fantastic when you are done. thanks for sharing it with us. i also have several of the old DIXIE molds with out a sprew cutter.. i make two cuts with the dykes.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    SMOOTH & SHINY Balls are a good thing.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    If you leave some evidence of the sprue on the RB I'd bet you would find no dif. on the target or on performance.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Don't cut the sprues off. Grab them with pliers and give a sharp twist. They should snap off. I have done this for years with RB. It is someone I picked up from casting lead fishing jigs and weights.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I have been using a small Hf concreat mixer to roll dripped shot to good effect. I tried it with Lee 000 this am. The only rolling action took place on the edges of the 'pack'. I tried various amounts of shot with the same result. Some shot would migrate to the leading edge, but not enough turnover to get rid of the sprues in AS short a time as you say. Very noisy too. Enough to disturb the neighbors. Those of you using a rock tumbler are you able to get the graphite out once you are done?
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