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Thread: Lee 500-354-M Minie Ball Mold

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    SW Florida
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    325

    Lee 500-354-M Minie Ball Mold

    Has anyone had success using this mold. If so, have any pointers?? I purchased this years ago when I was thinking of using it for a 500 S&W. Seem to remember casting a few and giving up on it. Have a .50 coming from Buckshot Bill and thought I would try again. Just looking to get 20 or so. Gave up early on getting any perfect ones and after more than 100 tries I ended up with a half dozen that are "shootable".

    Mold is clean. Mold is hot (certainly should be after 100 tries). First attempt was with a bottom pour pot, then went to a ladle then fineally to my old C. Palmer melter. The Palmer worked the "best" as it is nothing but a big ladle.

    I've used Lee molds in 45 and 50 caliber rifle as well as their slug mold, which is very similar to this Minie mold. No problems. But can't seem to get the minie to drop a decent boolit. Any advice?? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Southern Illinois
    Posts
    5,825
    I've never had a problem with bullet fill out on this mould. Just because you think you are running hot, does not necessarily mean you are running hot enough. Are you running pure lead? If so a touch of tin might help. Crank the heat up all the way. I ladle cast.
    Aim small, miss small!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    325
    I'm running new roof flashing that should be close to pure lead. I did not have my pot cranked all the way up as I only had about 2# of lead in it....I'll crank it up to 10 and try it again. Thanks for the help!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Southern Illinois
    Posts
    5,825
    Try adding a little tin. If you have a small WW that should be fine. Pure lead actually melts at a higher temp and needs to be hotter and tin helps with fill out. a very small amount of tin won't effect hardness noticeably. I usually start out real hot and then once I get cranking out the bullets, I turn it down a little at a time until I get where it is working good. It should take about 3 or 4 seconds for the lead to change on the sprue where you know it is solidified and can drop your bullet.
    Aim small, miss small!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    325
    OK. Given up trying to get a decent boolit out of this using soft lead. Even after following moonman's suggestion, adding a wheel weight and cranking up the heat, everything that dropped was do-do.

    Was casting some 7mm today out of wheel weights and thought what the heck, give the Minie a shot. First cast from a cold mold was the best boolit I have cast with this mold. Things got better as the mold heated up, castings dropped easily from the mold when I opened it and they looked great. I'm sure there are 100 reasons why I should not shoot wheelweight minie's out of my muzzlestuffer, but I think I'm going to give it a try.

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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