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Thread: Lee 309 mold

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Lee 309 mold

    Is there a trick to using aluminum molds? I just bought a Lee 309-150 to cast for my Marlin 30-30 and no matter what temperature I cast at, 700 - 800, I get wrinkled bullets. Maybe my thermometer is off and I need to raise temp until frosted bullets start to appear? Bullet weight is mostly +/- a half grain.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    fiberoptik's Avatar
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    Get mould hotter.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Wrinkles can also be caused by oil or other contaminants in the cavity. Frosting is a definite indication of high temp. I think 800 would be high enough to create frosting, but it has been a while since I did enough casting to remember the details.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Uncle Grinch's Avatar
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    Clean, clean, clean, and when through, clean one more time. Cast hot and if it still cast wrinkles, then try smoking it.
    Shoot Safe,
    Mike

    Retired Telephone Man
    NRA Endowment Member
    Marion Road Gun Club
    ( www.marionroad.com )

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    A couple things come to mind. Did you clean the mold before using it? I start with carburetor cleaner then finish up with brake cleaner. Carb cleaner cuts the oil better, but brake cleaner dries residue free.

    The second thing is that the mold was probably not hot enough to start with. Set the mold on top of the lead pot as it heats up. When the lead is about 750* f. set the end the mold into the melted lead. After a couple minutes remove the mold, lead should not stick to it, if it does the mold goes back into the pot again. When it comes out lead free, fill the first couple cavities in the end that is away from your hands. It should only take a second for the lead in the sprue hole to get hard. Open the sprue plate, wait another couple seconds then drop out the bullets.

    Repeat the process, each time filing another cavity. Until the mold gets up to temperature the bullets will be wrinkled. Once it is up to temperature the bullets should be fine. I judge mold temperature by how fast the lead in the sprue plate hardens (1 to 3 seconds) and how easy it is to open the sprue plate (should be fairly easy). When lead starts to smear between the sprue plate and the mold, the mold is too hot.

    I find casting goes best when the room temperature is between 80 & 90*, and the lead is 700 to 750*. Under these conditions, I can cast just about as fast as I can move. I do not use any release agent, nor do I smoke my aluminum molds.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    If you got wrinkled boolits - somethin is too cold - the boolit is part solidifying while you still pouring - dip ends of mold blocks in the melt and leave it in till the lead dont stick - I reckon the sprue plate holes are too small in some LEE molds particularly long skinny boolits (which yours kinda is) - Aluminium blocks give their heat off quick and LEE molds dont have a lot of excess metal in them so they also can get too hot quickly - once you get your rythm going keep at it - dont be scairt of frosty boolits - they go clang and killem dead just like nofrosty ones. Look for good fillout and nice bases. You want the mold and melt hot enough that the sprue stays liquid for a bit (count 1 2 3)

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I start at the kitchen sink with a hand towel and liquid dish washing detergent. Scrub and clean completely. Finish with hot water, and then dry with a hand towel.

    Get the mold thoroughly hot when casting. Cast fast and get the mold hotter. When it starts dropping frosty bullets, it is hot enough. Frosty bullets are good bullets.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    You didn't say how you were pouring them. I have always had the best luck with a Lee mold using a ladle like the Lyman where I can charge the cavity very quickly. Worst bullets came from a Lee furnace with a bottom pour spout with the Lee ladle second. Mold temp is also critical and Lees can heat up to too hot very quickly. Still I have gotten a lot of good bullets out of them.


    DEP

  9. #9
    Boolit Man


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    I agree 100% clean that bugger!! Stiff nylon bristle brush and paint thinner is what I like. Toss the mold in there to soak for a while. (No handles) Carb cleaner removes any film contaminants very well.

    Then also as mentioned cast it HOT! Frosted bullets are JUST FINE! The alum molds are definitely different then a steel or Brass mold. But they can work very well. (Maybe just not for as long) I have the LEE 230 and I will admit that its probably the most temperamental mold I own.

    Pour the stream directly in the hole, try to get a straight un deflected stream right to the tip of the bullet...

    Im gonna be casting more myself tomorrow...

    GOOD LUCK!

    CW
    NRA Life member NRA Certified Pistol & Shotgun Instructor NRA Certified Rifle Coach Certified Range Officer Reloading Instructor
    REMEMBER, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    What alloy are you using? zinc contamination can do that

    Did you smoke the molds with a butane lighter or kitchen match?

    is their enough tin/pewter in you mix (this usually causes bad fill out and not wrinkled boolits)

    I never have to go over 720 to get good results.

    I recently have been casting with my old C312-185-R and couldn't pour a bad boolit
    But my new 324-175-R was really being a pain in the southern regions. pressure pouring produced perfect boolits, after smoking the mold a couple times I burned out the cavities with a propane torch and smoked them 1 more time; now I'm getting a high percentage of good boolits

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Thank you all for your suggestions. I cranked up the heat and the bullets are looking better. I cleaned the mold with brake cleaner before I started, and am using a Lee bottom pour 10-pound pot. My alloy is 50/50 soft lead and wheelweights.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Run hot ,how much tin are you using ?it helps fillout

  13. #13
    Boolit Man


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    I cast with mine again this morning. It is my most aggravating mold.

    I probably see a 10-12% loss rate with it. I just finished culling and out if 500 ish bullets I tossed 78. Casting from same pot at same time I tossed five 145g and 15 -75g bullets also LEE molds.

    Its just a difficult mold its a awefull
    Long bullet. Its like casting with a 2” stream of lead before it hits the mold. Its just a but of a bugger! ��

    CW
    NRA Life member NRA Certified Pistol & Shotgun Instructor NRA Certified Rifle Coach Certified Range Officer Reloading Instructor
    REMEMBER, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by northmn View Post
    You didn't say how you were pouring them. I have always had the best luck with a Lee mold using a ladle like the Lyman where I can charge the cavity very quickly. Worst bullets came from a Lee furnace with a bottom pour spout with the Lee ladle second. Mold temp is also critical and Lees can heat up to too hot very quickly. Still I have gotten a lot of good bullets out of them.


    DEP
    This x 2
    Drill out the sprue plate holes in your mold to 11/64" ....that will almost double the area .... speeds up flow into the mold .... get a Lyman lead dipper (the egg shaped one) - drill out the spout hole in that too. Keep the mold hot

  15. #15
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    I refuse to buy WW ingots anymore, too many non-lead weights make their way into them and create all kinds of headaches. The Lyman dipper is perfect for Lee molds. To keep the mold hot I tip it slightly while pouring so that the lead stream also runs off the side while filling the cavity.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I have a bunch of Lee moulds. I just assume the aluminum soaks in some oil and it will take several casting sessions before it is all burned out and I get good boolits right away. Other folks seem to be able to clean their moulds and get good boolits quickly and never have another problem but my moulds all want to give wrinkles for the first xx (20? 40?) throws until I am getting to my third or fourth casting session. I'll bet your mould is treating you like mine all treat me.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master bikerbeans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragnar View Post
    Thank you all for your suggestions. I cranked up the heat and the bullets are looking better. I cleaned the mold with brake cleaner before I started, and am using a Lee bottom pour 10-pound pot. My alloy is 50/50 soft lead and wheelweights.
    Check the spout on your lee 10 pounder. If it is partially plugged it will limit the pour rate and cause wrinkles. I keep a small pin punch near the pot just for cleaning out the spout.

    BB

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    spout on my Lee pot has to be cleaned now and then or the flow is too slow especially in big molds like 405 gr lee mold for my 45-70.

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