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Thread: New Life for H&G S-55 Mold

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    New Life for H&G S-55 Mold

    I acquired this old H&G 10 cavity S-55 mold that to say it was in bad condition was an understatement. I have never seen a mold so abused, but the bullet cavities were pristine. I should have taken before photos, but the sprue bolt holes were so badly stripped out and distorted that you could turn the mold upside down and the bolts would simply drop out. The mold block at the sprue pivot bolt was also cracked as well. The aliment pin recesses were wallowed out, so the blocks just rattled when put together. The wooden handles were cracked and broken.

    Ever take on a project and then start to wonder why? That thought crossed my mind on several occasions. I really had my doubts if this old mold would ever cast another bullet. Maybe telling myself this mold is junk right now so if you ruin it no loss is what kept me going.

    My first thought was a heli-coil to restore the threads, but with a crack in the block at the bolt hole and so little side metal that would be left on the block when drilled out for a coil I decided that just wouldn't be the best choice. I decided my best course was to fill the original sprue holes then drill and tap them back out. My welding experience with cast iron is marginal to say the least and I had zero experience with H&G's Meehanite mold block iron. I figured I had two choices with the iron, either use a nickle rod or silicon bronze for a filler. I decided on the latter since I had the bronze rods and I felt I would have a better chance of getting bronze down into the holes and I was more comfortable about using bronze to repair the crack.

    Long story short my welding repairs seemed to work. I flipped the aliment pins to the opposite blocks and installed new modified stainless sprue bolts and set screws. I also filled the original cracked and broken wooden handles with epoxy. I gave the old mold a go and cast a couple of hundred bullets and my repairs are holding. I can't say I recommend these 6 & 10 cavity molds as they are really heavy. My next project involving this mold will be to make an assist to push open the sprue cutter, because cutting 10 sprues at once is a Butt Pain!
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    Last edited by Pressman; 11-03-2018 at 04:27 PM. Reason: language

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Congratulations on getting that ole boy back up and running. I have settled on 4 cavities being a good compromise between comfort and production. A young strong guy sure can drop a bunch of bullets with a large gang mold!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Nice work!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Very nice work.

    It's nice to see when a mold like this is revived, so many folks would have trashed it.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    A wile back a member passed on a few H/G 10 cavity 38 wc molds as project molds , one of those projects became mine . I'm afraid I ended up putting more money into getting it fixed the way I wanted it than purchasing one in good shape but saving the mold as a piece of history was priceless . Good save Sr.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy

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    I saw a contraption on a youtube video of a cam type sprue opener for a big mold like an H & G. It worked quite well but the guy tapped the back of the sprue plate with a dead blow
    hammer.

    The original H & G instructions say to use a lead hammer to open the sprue plate on those big molds. I use one on my 6 & 8 cavity molds. Those are beast and will work you to
    death if you let it. I am good for about 2 pots worth with those molds but I have a big pile of bullets.

    Very good work on repairing the mold.
    Last edited by LenH; 11-05-2018 at 10:54 AM. Reason: add content

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    Congratulations on getting that ole boy back up and running. I have settled on 4 cavities being a good compromise between comfort and production. A young strong guy sure can drop a bunch of bullets with a large gang mold!
    Unfortunately, for me young & strong was a lifetime ago, but you are absolutely right for production run two 4 cavity simultaneously, they are a lot lighter and a lot easier to handle.

    One of the benefits of being retired is having the time to tackle a project like this. My actual costs for the repair were quite small because of equipment and materials already on hand, but I agree paying for professional services would not have been be cost effective.

    These old H&G molds were a machinest's work of art, no computers, just the best mold material available and pure skill. I understand the company's production rate was only about 60 molds a month. I think you are seeing these old H&G's now becoming available because of all the old casters dying off and the families haven't a clue as to what they are, other that some junk in grandpa's garage.

    Over the years I have or have used molds from most of the major manufactures and in my opinion the H&G's are still one of the best. If you have the need and see an H&G in usable condition, grab it, you won't be sorry.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by LenH View Post
    I saw a contraption on a youtube video of a cam type sprue opener for a big mold like an H & G. It worked quite well but the guy tapped the back of the sprue plate with a dead blow
    hammer.

    The original H & G instructions say to use a lead hammer to open the sprue plate on those big molds. I use one on my 6 & 8 cavity molds. Those are beast and will work you to
    death if you let it. I am good for about 2 pots worth with those molds but I have a big pile of bullets.

    Very good work on repairing the mold.
    I looked up the video and the cam openers looks interesting.

    You are right these H&G 6 & 10 cavity are a pain in more ways than one. I wouldn't have either other that finding some desired bullet designs that just don't seem to ever be available in a 4 cavity mold. I have used a lead hammer to open/cut the sprue, but what concerns me is holding the mold by hand in the traditional way, when the hammer strikes the sprue plate the force of the impact is transferred in leverage to the wooden handles. The short metal stems inside the handles tend to shift and crack the handles.

    With the cam opener design the mold blocks are held in place and the force is applied to the sprue plate with leverage. My only problem is setting something like this up appears it will require a very sturdy stand to hold the opener as well as standing & moving around quite a bit to access the pot and the opener as seen in the video, but that I believe is preferable to my banging with a hammer while holding the mold.

    My thoughts presently is setting up a vertically mounted pneumatic cylinder that will drive a hard lead alloy block against the sprue place accomplishing the same thing with a push of a button. The cylinder would be self supporting and all the force applied directly to the sprue plate. I think doing so would allow me to still sit comfortably on my stool and be more efficient. When you get old comfort and moving around a lot is a consideration. At the present it is just an idea.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub flydad's Avatar
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    You truly did a great job preserving a great mould. Are the weights around 100 grains like you wanted?
    Flydad

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