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

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Are Lyman molds really this bad, or is it just me?

    I've always used Lee molds in the past. But with a new .44 and Lee not offering a mold for a Keith-type .430 bullet, I shelled out for a four-cavity Lyman mold for the 429421 bullet.

    I sat down to use it for the first time today, and could not be more disappointed. I knew they'd take extra warm-up (beyond sitting on the edge of the pot), but after at least a dozen pours a substantial portion of the melt was used up and I still hadn't turned out one properly-formed bullet. Everything I cast had to go right back in the pot. Not a very efficient use of time.

    Worse, the sprue sticks like glue to the sprue plate, and the bullets hang up in the mold even though I smoked the chambers before I started. And I have to whack that sprue cutter so hard I may start using a sledge for it.

    I've never had a cheap Lee mold perform so badly.

    What am I missing?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master StuBach's Avatar
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    I’ve never had issues with any of my iron molds performing like that.

    Did you first degrease the whole thing and take it to the pot dry? Is the mold new or used?

    I’ve never known anyone to say you need to smoke an iron mold. I take mine in completely cleaned and dry and casting is a joy.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    stubshaft's Avatar
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    Lead too cold, mold too cold or combination of both. This is not to say that Lyman's are infallible because I have had a couple of dogs along the way, but this has usually been regarding size and mold misalignment.
    Without the dark night, you would never see the bright stars...

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  4. #4
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

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    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.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    Gonna take a lot of heat to bring a 4 cavity iron mold up to temp. If the bullets are sticking even though they are not filled out proper, that could be a bad sign. How hot are you running your alloy?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Keep working with it.

    The problem isn't the mold.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    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 HATE auto-correct


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  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Look at Arsenal molds too

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I rest my moulds in the melt a few minutes to heat them. I put my dipper in and set the mould so a good corner plus the sprue cutter tab is touching lead but so it won't fall in. I rubber band the handles so they won't accidentally come open and cause grief. This gets the mould and handles up to temperature or a touch hotter fast. Then I let the mould cool while I flux and I'm real close to ready, temperature wise.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Be sure to use a single burner electric hot plate to preheat your mold.
    Get your melt at least to 750*F I hope your using a thermometer.
    Be sure the sprue cutter is actually a bit sharp and smooth on the bottom. Put some 600 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper on a sheet of glass and slide the sprue plate around to remnant burrs.
    2 dozen casts on a new mold is nothing to start breaking in a new mold.
    Clean the mold well use a spray can of brake cleaner.
    I have a 4 cavity Lyman 452664 it works great now, but it took 4 casting sessions.
    The break in period is for the mold and the caster.
    Smoking a mold has never work for me, only a clean mold and hot 750*f + tin lead alloy.
    Lyman molds are designed for Lyman #2 alloy.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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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.
    Exactly what is said above except regarding a ladle. I use a ladle but it is a 1 cup ladle and the pot holds about 70 pounds of melt. To run a .44 mould with 4 or 5 holes in it, it takes a lot of heat and a lot of lead, both in the pot and in the ladle.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    New iron molds need to form that oxide coating to help with alloy sticking to the surface. No mention of correctly lubricating the pins and hinge bolt or bottom of the sprue place. It is not unusual to have a learning curve when switching mold materials. If the sprue is hard to cut within a few seconds that should be shouting at you that the mold, alloy or plate is cold and you need more heat and less waiting. If you have a 10 pound pot, and pouring 240 grain bullets, you probably draw about 2,000 grains per casting cycle. That is about three cycles per pound and you only use about half a pot before refilling. You may need to make much smaller ingots, keep the temp up, and keep adding ingots more frequently and hope everything stays up to temp. If you are casting in a cold ambient air temp, or a breeze you are not going to keep up.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    Keep working with it.

    The problem isn't the mold.
    +1...….
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for the replies.

    My six-cavity Lee molds have given no similar problems in the past. Sprees cut with much less effort and rarely stick to the plate.

    I degreased the mold per instructions, ahead of time. Locator pins had a dab of anti-seize.

    A hot plate for pre-heating is an interesting idea. Gotta clear some more space on the bench, I guess.

    I don’t use a dipper, but a bottom-pour Lee furnace. Had it up near the top of the temperature range.

    What’s the best lube for the sprue plate?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/goog...a.x=14&sa.y=13

    Copy and paste this link and you will have done an archive search and have hundreds of opinions as to what the best lube is, and how to apply it and why you need to do it. Welcome to the forum. The "Search" box is just below the banners at the upper right corner of the page. Type in the question and click the icon.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master oldhenry's Avatar
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    2 cycle oil is best for the sprue plate. Use it sparingly. With a Q-tip put some on the top side of each pour hole on the sprue plate tp prevent metal sticking.

    Your best investment would be a hot plate. They're cheap @ Walmart or similar stores.

    Heat is your friend.

    Keep at it. I have five 4 cav. Lyman molds (includes a 429421) & they produce beautiful boolits. You'll find that once you get them up to the proper temp they hold their temp better that the aluminum molds.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I have a 4 cavity 429421 and they do take longer to get up to temp than aluminum molds . My experiences match the advise from others here preheat it and be patient they will give you some nice bullets when you get the routine down . I have cast more bullets with that 429421 4 cavity than all my other molds combined have had it since the early 80s.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    There is iron in Waksupi's words.

    prs

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I have one Lyman mold it is the 429640. It's the 250 grain 44 cal devatator. It takes a long time to make a pile of boolits because it only drops one at a time...

    But they do turn out nice:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    WWG1WGA

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I like graphite for lubing a mould. Take the sprue plate off.

    (While it's off, Check to make sure the cutting edges on the holes are sharp. If they aren't, you can lap the bottom of the sprue plate as suggested. If they are real dull you can do several things, but taking a center punch, put it in the hole and hit it from the top, to press it down some works well in my experience. Then lap it on a plate to flatten it again.)

    Color the bottom of the sprue cutter with a carpenters pencil. Then do the top of the mould blocks, the alignment pins, and the sprue cutter pivot screw. This helps reduce lead smear as well as lubing the mould.

    I never could get the feel of using 2 cycle oil. I either used too much or it felt as though there was no lube.

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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