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Thread: Durability of 3-4 hour cast with 1 mold?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Durability of 3-4 hour cast with 1 mold?

    Iím trying to cast a lot before our first child comes in July.

    I can do about 3 hours before Iím beat and have to stop using a lee 4-20.

    What is the durability of using one aluminum mold for that long? Would it be advised to switch half way?

  2. #2
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    May 2019
    I put my mold down and let it cool for 5-10 minutes every 45 minutes or so. When the sprue starts taking awhile to frost, I take a break and then go again. I'm certainly not an expert, but, it's been working for me.

    Sent from my moto e5 cruise using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    As long as you dont over heat it, you should not have a problem.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Unless ya ding it up, that mold could live longer then you will.

    Folks have run tons of Lead thru them.
    I had a 6 cavity .45-200 one that I'd have to open it and wave it back & forth to cool every few minutes,
    but it ran along like the Energizer bunny.

    They are like any other quality tool, they're designed to be used a lot, that's what they do.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit chat. This ain't no retirement home.
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    Another is to cast with 2 moulds at the same time fill set aside and fill second, cast in rotation. This gives some cooling time gor each mould and they will go along time with out over heating, Longer than you'll want to be there

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    I casted over a thousand in one sitting with a one double mold. Must have been three hours. No problem except my forearm started giving out so I stopped. Having a damp cloth at hand can be used to cool your mold, if it starts getting too hot. Lee recommends it. Good luck and have fun.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    I casted over a thousand in one sitting with a one double mold. Must have been three hours. No problem except my forearm started giving out so I stopped. Having a damp cloth at hand can be used to cool your mold, if it starts getting too hot. Lee recommends it. Good luck and have fun.
    Wow, my best day yet was about 1500, but that was with a 5 cavity. That was plenty for one day.

    There should be no worries, as you will most certainly take breaks in that 3 hours. At the very least, you would have to stop once in a while to fill the pot.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Mid atlantic area
    Once you get the mold running right, you just need to keep it running right. This is not a problem if you pay attention to what is happening. If you are dumping too fast pieces of your bullets will break off. If you are dumping too slow, you bullets will be harder to release. When I need to refill my pot, my mold goes right back on the hot plate. I used to prefer aluminum molds, but now I like brass better.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    NW GA
    Don’t overheat or abuse your mold and it will run longer than you want to.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    I use the wet cloth method to maintain my casting pace.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    I have casted 8 hours a day for a week straight. I use two double cavity molds in rotation so they dont over heat. You won't hurt it. Control the heat and keep it lubricated.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Seems like folks are implying that you'll wear out before the mold

    As far as the caster getting too tired, it was suggested to me to consider the ergonomics of each cycle of casting with an eye especially to minimizing movement and lifting. I use a bottom pour with a 8 cavity aluminum mold (which I use for the higher output per pour, but which is also lighter than iron or brass). The mold guide takes the weight during the pour, after which the full mold drops straight off the guide to where it sits as the sprue solidifies. The sprue gets cut with weight of the mold still supported, which gets turned to dump the sprue into a tray right next to where the mold cools, and is then, upright, opened to drop the boolits in the landing area just to the other side. The empty mold is closed and goes back on the guide for the next cycle. During the entire cycle the weight of a full mold and uncut sprue is only held unsupported for a couple seconds. Tools such as pliers, mallet, oiled rag, cooling sponge, etc. are each set so that they're ready to hand both to pick up and set down with minimal reach. The pot is set at the right height and distance so that the reach is comfortable for casting (per the caster's preference to sit or stand).

    Doing this, along with posted suggestions above, makes it fast and not tiring for me to cast a big pile of boolits. A good day, using a feeder pot, is a thousand an hour for two hours, a break, a couple more hours, and then, if I'm feeling frisky, another hour after another break.
    Last edited by kevin c; 01-04-2020 at 01:51 PM.

  13. #13
    Many a time your best casting takes a while to get started, then you are better to keep on casting.
    I used to cast all Saturday and then late into the early dawn when I was young, because everything was flowing just right.; only stopping for bathroom breaks and to wash hands and face to eat something. Kept the molds hot on a hot plate, the iron, not the aluminum, but sometimes the humidity and the weather are just right and you can't make a mistake. Buckets of bullets and the aluminum molds will hang right in there with you. Just a drop of two cycle oil on the sprue screw every so often and pacing casting thru rotating filling the molds and letting them set up without overheating them. An overheated mold or cutting the sprue before the lead has set or hardened will smear the lead and can damage aluminum molds. If you see this, you are doing it incorrectly to say the least.
    Anyway, experienced casters know what I mean.
    Sometimes when the melt is flowing just right, you hate to shut down due to fatigue or prior commitments, because not every session is as good, although they are more frequent the oftener you cast and with gained experience.
    Teaching someone to cast bullets, when you break rythym to explain something is sometimes all it takes to make things go awry, but the pupil doesn't know the difference, but you forge on ahead and it goes smoothly again.
    Meanwhile, some people have difficulties every time they want to just cast a few and never get a chance to get in the rhythm and make a thousand or thousands of perfect cylinders.
    With an aluminum mold and a small cast lead pot you can cast fifty or a hundred perfect bullets on a kitchen gas burner. I've done it for a friend in need.
    It can be done.
    I don't condone casting lead bullets in a kitchen where you cook food, but it was his casting stuff , his kitchen, and his behest since he said aluminum molds were junk and l never should have talked him into such an impossible scheme as casting his own bullets. He tried with no success. I said it's simple, and proved it to him.
    Luckily for me, everything went well!

  14. #14
    He became a dedicated caster after that.
    He probably did it in his kitchen.
    Any way I wanted to add that you learn timing is everything and you teach yourself to rotate filling your moulds and letting them cool with the lead in them and they won't overheat on you.
    You plan beforehand and get your iron molds up to speed on a hot plate and even preheat the aluminum ones a short time too.
    Then you can be more productive and keep casting bullets instead of waiting for a mold to cool. Its timing and you can teach yourself if you have the desire.
    Last edited by Alferd Packer; 01-04-2020 at 08:02 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Land Owner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Mims, FL
    My (first and) favorite, a single cavity 357 WC "ash can" aluminum mold, purchased used, got into "trouble" after an extended casting session. It threw one of its helical pins that holds the handle. I have tried several different fixes (high tack adhesive and peening) and neither has accomplished a permanent solution. My "last resort" (I think) prior to purchasing another, is to drill and tap a set screw to hold that pin in its place.

    My steel and my brass molds are held together with screws rather than helical pins. So consideration for specific manufacture of the mold parts, heat, and vibration should be concerns during long and extended casting sessions. As I am sure you do, watch for changes. You may be the lucky one and none occur.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    The mold should run indefinitely if you keep the sprue plate and pins lubed and the sprue plate adjusted properly. You can adjust your casting speed to keep the mold temps within its "happy" place.

    If you are referring to the caster, it depends. I cast sitting on a stool and I cast until the pot gets down to about 20% capacity. Then I'll top off the pot, stand up and stretch, go sit down in a chair for a few minutes, have a drink of water or grab a beer. Then I go back to stir the pot and flux and then I start over. I usually cast for most of a day with a noon break after 4 hours or so. This is with 2 cavity iron molds or with either 4 cavity iron or 4 cavity aluminum molds.

    Some casters cast while sitting, like me, and some prefer to cast while standing. Develop a technique thats physically comfortable for you. Plan you sprue pile and bullet pile to minimize movements and to be within comfortable reach. Like the others said, consider the ergonomics and make adjustments to stay comfortable.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Northern California
    You guys are supermen! My hat is off to you!

    I quit casting when it stops being fun. That's usually around two hundred bullets. (All of my molds are dual cavity).

    I agree 100% to setting up your area for your own ergonomics. Some nice background music helps me also.

    I shoot a lot so I have to cast a lot. My normal routine is to have a casting session most mornings before work where I cast 100-200 bullets.

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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