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Thread: Need help with a mold - evaluate it, or my skills.

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Need help with a mold - evaluate it, or my skills.

    I'm pretty much at the end of my skills (which weren't developed that much to begin with) and frustration on a mold I bought. I can't seem to get consistent bullets to drop from it. I swear they're out of round or something, I struggle with it a lot.

    I've got no one conveniently close in my area that does any casting - so it's hard for me to get any sense of things.

    I was wondering if anyone that is more familiar with casting would be willing to let me send them my mold. Then cast with it, and give me some feedback on it whether it's just me and my lack of skill, or I may actually have something that needs to be corrected?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Measure a few bullets with a michrometer at 2-3 points around its dia. this will tell you if its out of round and the size they are dropping at. Your post is pretty vague on details, what caliber, what alloy, mould itself, who made it, material all this also has an effect.

    Start out with lead around 750* ( a lead thermometer is a big plus here). Set mould on top of pot while its melting and coming up to temp to warm preheat it. This will bring it close to temp. When up to temp flux with wax and or wood shavings good. remove dross that rises to the top. Cast some bullets filling mould quickly and pouring a large sprue. wait for sprue to solidify, you will see a light color change ( like frost passing over it). cut sprue and open mould with a light tap on the handles hinge pin. Run some bullets thru at a fairly quick pace run few and sav e the ones with out wrinkles weigh these then measure the good ones as above.

    A straight edge to rest mould on when closing pre alighns the blocks in the handles for easier closing and less wear. Experiment with the mould as to fill rate, temp and pace. Keep notes on what worked what didn't temps pace and fill rate.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
    mdi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Measure a few bullets with a michrometer at 2-3 points around its dia. this will tell you if its out of round and the size they are dropping at. Your post is pretty vague on details, what caliber, what alloy, mould itself, who made it, material all this also has an effect.

    Start out with lead around 750* ( a lead thermometer is a big plus here). Set mould on top of pot while its melting and coming up to temp to warm preheat it. This will bring it close to temp. When up to temp flux with wax and or wood shavings good. remove dross that rises to the top. Cast some bullets filling mould quickly and pouring a large sprue. wait for sprue to solidify, you will see a light color change ( like frost passing over it). cut sprue and open mould with a light tap on the handles hinge pin. Run some bullets thru at a fairly quick pace run few and sav e the ones with out wrinkles weigh these then measure the good ones as above.

    A straight edge to rest mould on when closing pre alighns the blocks in the handles for easier closing and less wear. Experiment with the mould as to fill rate, temp and pace. Keep notes on what worked what didn't temps pace and fill rate.
    +1! I've heard it often said; "The only way to learn to cast bullets, is to cast bullets...". Don't fret too much about getting perfect bullets, even if you only get 50% keepers, you will get better with practice. Nobody needs to know about your "mistakes", jet toss 'em back in the pot...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    One thing I tell new casters is When your casting cast. When sorting sort don't try to do both at the same time. Casting is a skill set and comes with practice. Experience and quality also come from practice. Learning to cast teches the operator and also helps with the moulds seasoning/break in that builds the fine patina that aids fill out and release.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    One thing I tell new casters is When your casting cast. When sorting sort don't try to do both at the same time. Casting is a skill set and comes with practice. Experience and quality also come from practice. Learning to cast teches the operator and also helps with the moulds seasoning/break in that builds the fine patina that aids fill out and release.
    Also, the proper cadence of casting will maintain proper mold temperature to get consistent results. Taking time to inspect/reject bullets will give inconsistent results brcause of varying time between mold pours. Once you find the right time between pours, you should maintain the timing for the whole run. If you stop to replenish the llead in your pot, or do any thing else, then you will probably have more reject bullets until you get back to the correct timing.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I might be a little OCD - I started counting when I cast as advised early on now it works for me I do it without thinking . Try to cast the same every time including how much tension you put on the handles .

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    What weight is the bullet you are trying to cast?
    Also who made the mold?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by jaguarxk120 View Post
    What weight is the bullet you are trying to cast?
    Also who made the mold?
    Anothernewbe called the CastBoolits telephone technical support number. He will update this thread after he tries the suggested actions and casts some more.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Land Owner's Avatar
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    At one time or another we have all been frustrated in this hobby. It comes with the territory. Too much heat. Too little heat. Frosted, wrinkled, finned, incomplete fill out, rounded bases, oversized, underweight (though unusual I think), overweight, many variables. You can overthink things. Don't get discouraged. With experimentation comes experience.

    Take the process apart. heat the lead in the post. heat the mold. heat the spru plate. pour a few. develop a cadence. don't worry whether the first few or perhaps the first fifty in some instances will be keepers. don't stress out. just keep pouring. save sorting for later. a mold can be poor from the get go - though mold makers attempt to weed these out before they sell them to you. often your procedure is the culprit. a mold through which daylight may be seen when the mold halves are correctly folded together deserves some careful inspection with regard to correct handles, lead on the face of the mold halves, misalignment of pins, looseness of screws. more info about your concerns would be helpful too...
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    You may want to see if someone will take some of your boolits and see if they can get them to shoot. That would eliminate boolits and loading procedures.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    FWIW; I'm not overly concerned if my cast bullets are .004" out of round (sometimes depending on the bullet, .005"), as they will be sized. When I started casting I kept a log. Didn't have a thermometer then but kept note of all other items involved with my casting; alloy, mold, distance to spout, ladle/bottom pour, flux, cadence, etc. I now have a thermometer and when a mold starts acting up, I'll measure the temp of the melt. Helps to remind me of faux pas...

    Take the process apart. heat the lead in the post. heat the mold. heat the spru plate. pour a few. develop a cadence. don't worry whether the first few or perhaps the first fifty in some instances will be keepers. don't stress out. just keep pouring. save sorting for later. a mold can be poor from the get go - though mold makers attempt to weed these out before they sell them to you. often your procedure is the culprit. a mold through which daylight may be seen when the mold halves are correctly folded together deserves some careful inspection with regard to correct handles, lead on the face of the mold halves, misalignment of pins, looseness of screws. more info about your concerns would be helpful too...
    Yep, Land Owner is right...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    I'd take the blocks off the handles and with the sprue plate open, check for any rock between the blocks. If you can wiggle the blocks when they're together, they can throw out of round bullets. Then one or both alignment pins should be tapped further out to reduce the slop. It's also a good idea to check each pin separately by having one block at 90 degrees to the other.
    Jacketed bullets, what a relic. A throwback to the twentieth century. Real men shoot cast.




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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    How many bullets have you cast in one sitting? I have maybe 15 molds, some will start dropping good bullts after just one or two fillings to get up to temp, several more take 8-10-20 fillings to get heated enough to were all the bullets fill out well. When in doubt, add some tin.

    Out of round happens, can be no big deal, give us more info on your situation.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    The first issue that was determined after some checking with another member here, was a dirty mold. I may have contaminated it with lube, and over smoking it might have exacerbated the issue. I have taken some time to clean the mold and the cavities really well. But have not had a chance to cast any with it since cleaning, so I have no new updates.
    Mold is a aluminium HG68 clone. (not lee)
    The issues I'm trying to resolve have primarily been:

    some sticky cavities with one cavity consistently requiring force to remove. (dirty mold?)

    Bullet size and weight has been fine. I had thought bullets were good, but after forwarding some pictures, they were determined to have issues as well. (again dirty mold?)
    Alloy is also being called into question. I use range scrap. I have purchased some tin to rectify that.

    Taking it one step, one change at a time. Once I get a chance to cast a few more with a clean, unsmoked mold, and a more tin rich alloy. I will post up new information.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I hate to break the news, but apparently a lot are not aware that cast bullets are not round when they come out of the mold! I don't care who you are, how much experience you have or how much you spent on a mold. It is the physics of the casting and cooling process and the fact that if a mold had no tolerance built in you wouldn't be able to open it.

    The lopsided bullets work reasonably well in handguns and with rifles at short range, but at full power and longer ranges the wobble starts to show. Once the wobble starts it only gets worse. Bullet design makes a difference and some have had success in resizing the overall bullet and improving accuracy greatly.

  16. #16
    Aluminum does not machine well, burrs in the cavities cause the hang-up. Search the other posts for polishing out the burrs. On aluminum I use a steel wool "Q tip" made with fine steel wool.
    Hold the blocks together tightly and LIGHTLY run the Q tip around the inside. You can feel the burrs and the steel wool will cut them off. Do not over do this or press hard. The steel wool is oiled to prevent rust, wash the mold with acetone afterward.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    You might consider a small investment in a hot plate. Any of the box stores will have them for around 15$. This would make a difference in bringing your mold up to casting temp. & when you arrive @ that magic setting, make a note of it . It will also come in handy when you add more alloy & the pot temp drops.

    As a general rule: keep all lubricant out of the cavities. Lubricate the alignment pins sparingly with a Q-tip.

    Good luck.

    Henry

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Land Owner's Avatar
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    A beginner's "hot plate" is an old Mr. Coffee or other PLASTIC drip coffee maker, picked up for a couple of dollars at a garage sale, with which you cut off the reservoir, eliminate any hoses, and set your mold directly on the hot plate/coffee warmer that is plugged in to 110 volts! Cut a coffee or #5 bean can to "house" the mold while it warms and both sides get heated faster. It isn;t "perfect" but for its price, it is economical and works fairly well.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

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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
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HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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