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Thread: Are Lyman molds really this bad, or is it just me?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    That's a lot of steel you are trying to heat. You're no where near hot enough. Get a hotplate to set the mold on for preheat. It sounds like you could use a bigger pot if you are going to run a gang mold. If you are using a dipper, you most likely will never have good results.
    +1 The mold will break in. Get it up to temp and you are off and running. Try casting with an aluminum mold when its 30 deg's out and you will love the Lyman mold. A hot plate will help and it(the mold will be your best friend)

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy
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    Big difference in casting techniques going from aluminum to steel/iron.
    Iron is going to take awhile to get up to temp,I have 1 4 cavity mold and have to use an external heat source to get it to working temp. Have to admit I'm spoiled using NOE and Accurate aluminum molds. The advice others have given you should be taken as gospel apply the advice and with some patience you'll be cranking out bullets big time.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master


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    I cast as fast as I can from 3 Lyman 4cav molds and use a Lyman Mag-20, empties a pot almost as fast as 3 Lee 6cav molds, use a RCBS Pro-Melt w/N.O.E. mold guide. I use the Lube stuff that came with My first N.O.E. mold, wipe it on the top of the mold with a q-tip and wipe it off with the other end. And a bit on the alignment pins. Leave it on though.

    Patience is a virtue to be cultivated.
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  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with the previous posters about heat. Regarding the sprue plate hanging on to sprues, that sounds familiar. As does the mold hanging on to bullets. Here is a thread with details.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ighlight=Lyman
    "There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something."
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  5. #25
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Welcome to Cast Boolits! Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your Lyman mold.

    Like the others have said, there is a learning curve for the different types of mold material. Your reject bullets sound like a low temp problem. Try turning the heat up on your pot and waiting a little longer before starting to cast. And try pre-warming the mold. A cheap hot plate from Walmart works very well for this.

    Address your other problems one at a time. First of all I have never needed to smoke the cavities in any mold that I have. I would give them a good cleaning with an old tooth brush and brake cleaner. Then rub a cotton swab around the cavities looking for burrs or rough spots. These can be delt with by carefully stoning the offending burr.

    Next I would carefully look at the sprue plate. The bottom of the funnel looking hole should be sharp and the hole itself should be smooth. If not, you might look for a countersink of the proper shape and work on them.

    There is a sticky about how to properly lube a mold that will give you some tips. Check it out and buy you a 2oz bottle of synthetic 2 cycle oil.

    If you are casting from a smaller capacity casting pot you are going to spend a lot of time filling it up and fluxing when using a larger gang mold. I'm not saying that it can't be done, just that you are going to empty the pot pretty quick.

    Last but not least. Lyman has had their share of problems. Their older molds, say pre 1970, were very good. Then there were some years afterwards that the sprue plate would gouge out chunks of metal from the top of the mold. There were also some years that their molds cast bullets that were smaller diameter than what was advertised. And some of their molds had dull sprue cutters, kind of like what you are describing.

    Good Luck working through this. You can deal with everything that I described. And feel free to ask more questions.
    Last edited by lightman; 03-22-2020 at 08:55 PM.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    You will get it figured out , just keep at it .
    You can set a piece of steel plate on a electric burner to preheat your mold just to try it .

  7. #27
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    A lot of good advice and perhaps the best - keep it hot and work with it.

    I have cast for over 55 years in a lot of different molds. I admire those here who are into the technical end fo things - alloying, etc. I am a "ladle caster" and very "low tech" - I have always had two pots - one for pure ead for BP and one or "range lead" - I have cast over wood fire coal, propane burners and now as I'm older and don't like the tanks, hoses, etc. I have two electric pots. Keeping those things in mind . . . .

    I have owned perhaps four of the Lyman/Ideal 4 cavity molds - notice I said "have". You have to get them heat up, keep your lead hot and get your cadence down - not easy at times. Like many here, I have bought new molds, used molds - have gotten stung on a few of them but hey, it's a learning experience. Then thing I have found through it all - at least for me - is that I much prefer a set of aluminum blocks when it comes to a multiple cavity mold (more than two cavities). For me, they are easier to handle due to the weight and I can easily keep them up to heat as opposed to a Lyman 4 cavity that has the weight of an engine block - some like them and that's fine as we all like different things. I have gotten to the point where I have weeded out a to o my molds - I still love Ideal/Lyman single and double cavity molds - as pointed out - maybe it takes longer but after a couple of pours, you don't have to cull out bad ones. Now, when I look at my molds, I am surprised at how many 3. 4 and 5 cavity molds I have from NOE in aluminum. I have a 5 cavity for 454-190 255 grain style that I have no problems keeping hot and using a ladle on and I pre-heat and just start pouring and dropping. Everybody has their likes and dislikes - most of us want to be able to make a big pile in a short time - keep working with you Lyman and you'll find what works for you on it but keep it hot and keep your lead hot. Good luck!

  8. #28
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    Maybe they have got better since the last four mold I bought from them twelve years ago . Even after they fixed them they weren't right . That said , my learning curve with Lyman began with one of their molds in 1976 and it worked well . Patience and a large hammer some distance away is a good thing to have .

    Jack
    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  9. #29
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    I heat my molds up with a torch...lots of heat ...works fast. I usually start with frosty bullets and let it cool A BIT.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    Yep, gotta really heat that mold up. It sounds like your sprue plate might be too tight. If it's a New Mold, you might think about polishing the bottom of the sprue plate, tape some Aluminum Oxide - 220grit to a glass surface and run the detached sprue plate bottom over it in a circular fashion for a couple of minutes.
    And if you're Dipper casting, you are wasting your time. There is no way to cast 4 good bullets with a Dipper, even the larger RCBS Dipper. Only bottom pour will work.
    And a 4cav mold takes a harder strike to bust 4 sprues. Instead of having the striking tab on the sprue plate in the back, try turning the mold around 180degrees in the handles and turning it 90degrees to strike the sprue plate tab from the top.
    I cat with a large ladle for 6 cav molds and 4 cav molds and I have no problems with the boolits come out good after you get the mold and alloy up to temp mainly the mold. I normal run my alloy hot and when the mold is up to frost boolits then I lower the heat some and make sure the mold stay up to temp.But I normal use a large ladle to cast with when not use the bottom pour .
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  11. #31
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If a brand new steel mould it has to be broken in ...three practice casting sessions w/ slow cool down will usually do it .
    Anti-seize or synthetic 2 stroke oil , on a Q-Tip , lube the sprue holes and sprue plate (top & underside very lightly)
    Jack up the heat ...metal and mould 750 degrees to start .

    Advice...get at least a 20 pound pot , 3 and 4 cavity moulds need it .
    Let sprues cool before cutting , steel holds heat & takes longer for sprue to set up .
    Gary
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  12. #32
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    "Sprues sticking to the sprue plate..."

    I found the same thing with a new Lyman 4 cavity...I didn't think they cut the angled sprue fill hole deep enough. Mine had 3/16'' or so at the bottom of the sprue plate that was straight drilled, not an angle where at the bottom there is a sharp cutting edge.
    Either shear the sprue or cut the sprue, I chose cutting and this is the diamond tool I repaired the sprue plate with.
    I kept grinding at it till the bottom was a sharp opening, I sanded the bottom of the plate to prevent any burrs and got on with easy casting thereafter.

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  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    That's a good idea OS

  14. #34
    Boolit Mold
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    NEW TO THE FORUM-I have been casting 25 years or so. I have about 17 Lyman Ideal and RCBS molds and a couple of the Lyman do that. I finally blamed it on the sharp edges but the bullets are really nice. I have a screwdriver with a 90 bend on the end I ruffed up that gets them loose easy enough. The boolits are not really stuck because I can close the mold and with a little pressure with the screwdriver they fall out. Smoking with a candle helps also. I put some wd 40 on one when it was still warm before storage and I won't do that again. The mold would not make a pretty bullet after that. A heat plate helped a little. I ended up sticking the mold in the lead pot about 800 degrees for a few seconds with it open a little and let it cool down. <You cant do that with a Lee>I used it about an hour latter and it worked fine except for one cavity on the end. After 15 or 20 pores it came around. I suppose it got hot enough to release the wd40 from the pores. I set my molds on the top of my pots to heat up when I cast and they are ready to go.
    Last edited by 45DUDE; 03-22-2020 at 08:17 PM.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    I sent back a 311284 gas check mold to lyman. Cast undersize on the bore riding section. They reamed it out and although you could see the reamer marks, still cast undersize. And two 45 rifle bullet molds that cast way too small. the only three I have from Lyman is a 311316 gc for the 32-20, two 314299's that actually cast .314 on the body and .303-.304 on the nose. I will not ever buy another lyman mold. Next ones will come from Accurate Molds. Frank

  16. #36
    Boolit Mold
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    This thread has given me a lot to think about, and I’ve finally come to a conclusion: it’s not me. Lyman molds really are this bad.

    A closer look at the spruce plate showed that it hadn’t been chamfered all the way. There was a sizable blunt edge at the bottom of the spruce holes. No wonder I had to pound so hard and still got such sloppy spruce cuts. If I were going to keep using this mold, I’d have to re-chamfer and re-blue the spruce holes. I could, but I find I don’t really want to.

    I’ve got a hot plate out in the garage, and I could clear some bench space for it. But when I pictured having a red-hot electric burner on the bench, in addition to a furnace full of molten lead, it seemed like a silly and dangerous idea. I know people do it, but it’s not a way I want to go.

    Putting three or four pots full of metal through the mold before it starts turning out good bullets just seems like a waste of time.

    I ordered an aluminum mold from Accurate Molds. A bit spendy, but should be much better quality...and easier to work with.

    The Lyman will be on eBay sometime soon. I’ll buy Lee molds when they’ve got the bullet design I need, and Accurate when they don’t. No more Lyman molds for me, ever.

    Thanks again for all the advice.

  17. #37
    I bought my last mould from lyman in 2009. Its a 452374 or some such. It makes real pretty undersized bullets. I started powdercoating last week and now have a use for the mould. Linotype, lyman#2, wheel weights....all undersized.
    I bought a lee tc 356-124tl. It makes good bullets after 2 hours of working on it. Well, 5 cavities make good bullets. The first cavity is junk. My last lee mould.

    Everything I buy from this point forward will be from Accurate. Never an issue.

  18. #38
    Boolit Buddy
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    +100 on the hot plate. For all my brass and steel molds I put it on the plate 10-15 minutes before I start casting to get it up to temp. I have a cheap Walmart one that I bought online that on full blast will heat my molds to the right temp so that the boolits are just a tiny bit frosty at the start. In that case cheaper is better because it wonít heat up enough to worry about warping any brass molds if you decide to buy them in the future. YMMV
    I have danced with the devil, luckily she was stupid and didnít hire a lawyer!

  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    I have not had good luck with the steel molds. My first experience was with slug molds. Wow do you need to get them you almost canít handle them. I had three all where the same. Next was a four banger in 358. Same thing. Then the famous Lyman 2 cav TC 9mm bullet. With this mold I just couldnít keep it hot enough. I added more soft lead and then I seamed to get a good looking bullet. Problem was now it was just to soft. My last experience with a Lyman Mold is 314299av. I do have to run it hot but it produces a great bullet. This mold was gifted to me by our famous 3O3 enthusiast so I do not know how many casting sessions it has had. This mold will stay in my collection and service until I die.

    What am I getting at with all this is. I feel bullet shape and size versus the steel around it makes a huge difference. Honestly I like most of Leeís molds. If they donít work most of the time I can fix it. I have never been lucky enough to case with a brass mold.

    This is not a review, just my experience I have chosen to share.
    Stop being blinded by your own ignorance.

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