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Thread: Three beginner questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Three beginner questions

    Please /forgive my ignorance. I have three Lyman mold related questions. I am still trying to figure this game out and cast better bullets.

    Question 1: I ordered a couple ONE-cavity molds, used, from eBay. One was .45 ACP RN and the other was .454 diameter .45 Colt.

    Both of these were small molds, and did not work on my new Lyman handles (which work fine on two-cavity molds - they were marked as such on the box). One mould was an old “Ideal” mold.

    I was under the (mistaken?) impression that the smaller handles were for two AND one cavity molds, while the larger handles were for 4 cavity molds. Are there even smaller handles for one-cavity molds, or are the older Lyman/Ideal one-cavity pistol molds smaller than the current ones? And if so, where would I buy handles for them??

    Question 2: I cast about 200 .45 bullets from a new Lyman 452424 mold. I used mostly range lead, with some lead from other bullets and CWWs I tossed in, when I made ingots. The mold box and literature said they would weigh 255 gn. But they ended up being .451.5 to 452.0 diameter, which seemed small, and weighed only 250 gn. My Lee sizer barely made a mark on them.

    Is it possible that the Lyman mold is THAT undersized? Or could my temperature fluctuations have caused that much “shrinkage”? I cast at SEVERAL temperatures to experiment with my pot and mould, trying to find the ideal temperature setting on my Lee pot. But the size and weight were consistently small for all the bullets.

    This is a mongrel alloy of range lead, WW and some remelted lead bullets. But my .430 bullets are consistently “overweight” by 5-6 gns. which tells my I am using a higher percentage of lead.

    Question 3: If the mold is undersized, can I enlarge it by coating a bullet in abrasive and spinning it in the mould, or will that just mess up the mould. I was hoping to get something over 255 gns and .452 diameter with this new mold.


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    Last edited by fn1889m; 04-13-2020 at 02:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Howdy,

    Lyman used to make small handles for single cavity moulds. And large handles for double cavity. They also made nutcracker type handles for 4 cavity moulds. They have new handles that are listed as for but but I have no experience with them.

    It's pretty common for Lyman moulds to be somewhat undersized. They likely were cut using #2 alloy as the basis for size so any deviation from that will affect size.

    You can lap the mould to throw bigger bullets. There is stickies on this but it is fairly easy with patience.

    The weight given on the mould description rarely exactly matches the actual weight of a bullet from the mould in my experience. If the mould was made with #2 alloy in mind, scrap and ww alloy should produce heavier bullets.

    If you have a 452xxx mould that's dropping .4515/.452, it's not that undersized but rather darn close and you should consider yourself lucky. Have you measured a sized bullet to make sure the lee sizer is correct?


    Bazoo

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    If you are using a mongrel (lol, I like that word) lead. The softer lead would through a heavier and larger bullet.

    Give those bullets a week or two and recheck the size. Sometimes alloys need time to stabilize. Or for science needs it's call precipitation hardening. You may grow a thousand or two.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    Three beginner questions

    Would have thought they would be heavier. No need to even resize them as cast.

    Second, I measured them with a caliper. The Lee sizer did not even make much of a mark on half of them. I would be happy if they were 1 or 2 thousands larger.

    The lead was free. My LGS lets me mine lead on Sunday. And they gave me a box of lead COWWs and a box of lead cast bullets to remelt to get me started. I do not know my lead alloy but it casts purported 245 gn at 251 gn. so it’s lead-rich.

    It could be temperature. I am still learning my pot, mold and lead temperature settings.

    Will look for a set of smaller 1C handles. (...Found them on EBay.)







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    Last edited by fn1889m; 04-13-2020 at 03:18 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    See if the Lee handles will fit. No need to spend an arm and a leg for handles.

    Most of my alloys are mongrel mystical concoctions. As long I know the BHN I can mix and match till I get what I want.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Powder coat them.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    You can `Beagle` your mould to cast bigger bullets.

    All you need is a roll of adhesive aluminium tape, the sort that is used on central heating pipes and is readily available in hardware outlets.

    Make sure the mould face is clean and free of any contamination.

    Cut strips of tape and fix to ONLY ONE SIDE of the mould, (see photo) this will increase your bullet diameter by up to .003.

    The tape can easily be removed to put the mould back to original if desired.

    ukrifleman.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

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    While you can lap a mould larger its not hard to do it does need to be done right and carefully. Just spinning a bullet in the mould is a recipe for failure. Several things need to be available for doing this. 1) a small tap handle, 2) lapping compound in several grits, 3) solvents for cleaning, 4) 2 small steel plates, 5) some 1/8 key stock.

    Heres how I do it:
    Cast several good bullets from the mould, by good sharp corners no wrinkles good fill out.
    Spot the center and drill as deep as possible with out breaking thru for a length of 1/8" key stock. You want a stem 3/4"-1" long on the bullet
    Epoxy the stem into the bullet. super glue sometimes works also
    Clean up the 2 steel plates coat one lightly with the lapping compound roll a bullet between the 2 plates to impregnate it with compound.
    Carefully insert this into the mould and close lightly snug in bullet
    Attach the tap handle to the stem
    Turn the bullet in the blocks (it is easier to hold the blocks in a small vise) working 1/4 turn back and forth in a tapping motion do this 3-4 times and rotate 1/4 turn repeating thru 2 full rotations.
    Clean blocks and cast a few good bullets. allow to cool and measure them.
    Repeat as needed.

    Keep in mind for every .001 removed its .002 on the bullets dia. Work slow and carefully. Grits can be from 320-800. Start on the fine side its easier to remove more than put it back on. Shimichrome, Fltz, red rouge, or tooth paste for final polish works well. A drop of light oil on the lapp will rejuvenate the compound and als help it to cut finer.

    Avoid valve grinding compound for this use known grits Clover is good, diamond compounds work well but are fine and slower. Diamonds are hard and dont break down to the finer grits either.

    Have your pot up to temp with the desired alloy and ready as you need clean and cast a few bullets to test. Measure bullet 2 places 90* to make sure they are round. Done right you can walk a mould in to size and truly round bullets. Lapping is a slow process its not meant to be fast but it is very accurate. .0001 can be held with care

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    Country Gent,

    Thank you.


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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    fn1889m You are welcome, Sir.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Shars.com has various diamond lapping compounds for $5.00-$10.00 a tube. Even one of these 1 ounce syringes will do 4-5 moulds easily. Cheaper than the smallest cans of clover silicon carbide compounds. You might also check Penn Ind, grizzly, wholsale tool. In the diamond a tube of red to rough and yellow to finish. Work slow with the diamonds they dont dull and will cut faster.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    merlin101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    While you can lap a mould larger its not hard to do it does need to be done right and carefully. Just spinning a bullet in the mould is a recipe for failure. Several things need to be available for doing this. 1) a small tap handle, 2) lapping compound in several grits, 3) solvents for cleaning, 4) 2 small steel plates, 5) some 1/8 key stock.

    Heres how I do it:
    Cast several good bullets from the mould, by good sharp corners no wrinkles good fill out.
    Spot the center and drill as deep as possible with out breaking thru for a length of 1/8" key stock. You want a stem 3/4"-1" long on the bullet
    Epoxy the stem into the bullet. super glue sometimes works also
    Clean up the 2 steel plates coat one lightly with the lapping compound roll a bullet between the 2 plates to impregnate it with compound.
    Carefully insert this into the mould and close lightly snug in bullet
    Attach the tap handle to the stem
    Turn the bullet in the blocks (it is easier to hold the blocks in a small vise) working 1/4 turn back and forth in a tapping motion do this 3-4 times and rotate 1/4 turn repeating thru 2 full rotations.
    Clean blocks and cast a few good bullets. allow to cool and measure them.
    Repeat as needed.

    Keep in mind for every .001 removed its .002 on the bullets dia. Work slow and carefully. Grits can be from 320-800. Start on the fine side its easier to remove more than put it back on. Shimichrome, Fltz, red rouge, or tooth paste for final polish works well. A drop of light oil on the lapp will rejuvenate the compound and als help it to cut finer.

    Avoid valve grinding compound for this use known grits Clover is good, diamond compounds work well but are fine and slower. Diamonds are hard and dont break down to the finer grits either.

    Have your pot up to temp with the desired alloy and ready as you need clean and cast a few bullets to test. Measure bullet 2 places 90* to make sure they are round. Done right you can walk a mould in to size and truly round bullets. Lapping is a slow process its not meant to be fast but it is very accurate. .0001 can be held with care
    What a great write up! Much better than "see post xyz___" Thank you!
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  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Merlin101, you are welcome. While a lot think lapping accurately only require spinning the coated / impregnated bullet, its really more than that to increase size and bring the bullet to round. You can grade your own lapping grit but its a long process. to do start to finish you will spend the better part of a day and end up with many small amounts of compounds. But it can be done.

    You can see the truing and clean up watching the cut pattern as you go thru the process. The biggest time eater here is waiting for the mould to cool after testing it for size.

  14. #14
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    .............Some things to remember, pure lead makes the heaviest boolit, and to get a well filled out cavity it needs to be run HOT as does the mould. Next common ingredient is Tin. Tin is expensive to buy. Tin makes pure lead more fluid, and lowers it's melting point some. A bit of Tin in lead makes lead much more joyful to pour. The 3rd main ingredient in common scrap lead would be Antimony. It melts at about 1200 degrees. So you can't toss in a piece, and come back in an hour expecting it to have melted. Best to get it in alloy form.

    Antimony adds considerable hardness to lead, It will also make lead crumbly and sludgy if too high a content. There can be other additives in lead, but Tin & Antimony are the most commonly found. The 'Good Old Days' of cheap plentiful wheel weights is long gone. Best thing is to keep your ear to the ground, and let your shooting buddies know you're looking. You NEVER know ..............trust me. Roto-Metals at the header atop the page is a neat company to deal with. Also if you have buddies that cast (Getting hard to find. Most these goobers these days don't even know about reloading ).

    Not long after moving to town (this was 20 some years ago) Neighbor Ralf was a construction foreman. While he didn't cast, he DID like to shoot and he knew I DID cast lead. They were doing a lab job at a hospital and the contractors doing the lead shielding had a BUNCH left over. Ralf asked if he could have some and he as told to take all he wanted. But to hurry as they'd already called the recycler. The bricks were 6"x12" x 1" and weighed 32 lbs each. I ended up with 2800 Lbs, but felt lucky to get that, as Ralf drove a Ford Ranger He said he was REALLY happy to see his driveway.

    .............. Buckshot
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  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I tried to enlarge the cavities in the die by spinning a bullet impregnated with polishing compound. I think my compound was too fine, because it had only a small effect on diameter. But interestingly, polishing did improve the mold. Bullets drop out effortlessly, with a light tap at most. Also, I was more consistent on pace and pot temperature. While the bullets were white/frosty, they did not look like they had visible crystalline structure. They look like the pictures of bullets everyone else posts. I let the mold cool a little bit more between the pours, and kept the pot temperature down. That was range scrap mixed with remelted cast rifle bullets, source unknown. I can scratch my bullets with a fingernail.

  16. #16
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    ...............Another aid to casting, especially large cavity/multi-cavity/high temp pours is to aid the cooling of the blocks. I've seen fans used, and they ranged from computer fans to automobile 12V heater/AC fans and such. What I have used (Usually for casting pure lead) since I like to use a much higher temp with it vs. alloyed lead, is a folded damp rag. I use a new shop towel folded several times and set it in a shallow dish containing water. The mould block NEVER contact liquid water, just the damp towel.

    After a bit of use it's a simple matter to figure how much exposure the mould needs to the damp towel. Since the mould blocks ARE hot, there is no danger of a drop of water in a cavity (Which would cause unneeded excitement ) With this method, and especially casting with pure unalloyed lead, you want a HOT melt and hot blocks. The instant the sprue solidifies, swing the sprueplate, and set the blocks on the damp pad for (at first) a "3 Count", open the blocks, dump the slug and re-fill ASAP, then repeat. For highly alloyed lead this 'steam cooling' doesn't work so well.

    .....................Buckshot
    Father Grand Caster watches over you my brother. Go now and pour yourself a hot one. May the Sacred Silver Stream be with you always

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    "The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."

    Shrink the State End the Fed Balance the budget Make a profit Leave an inheritance

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Your handles can be ground to work. Watch to see where they close first, out side (far away) or inside (closer to your hand). Which ever it is, grind of some metal until they work, closing freely with some free play left after the blocks are closed. The blocks should be only contacting the mounting pins, not the handles when closed tightly. Try to take the same amount off both sides. In my experience, it is almost always that it is he outside that needs a bit of work. A 6 inch bench grinder makes short work of it. good luck
    oh yeah, you might want to get a thermometer if you can afford it. small pots can drift and a thermometer takes out the guess work, (helps)

  18. #18
    Boolit Man
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    Three beginner questions

    I did buy a thermometer. Just the cheap dial one. And I need to learn to lower the temperature as the pot volume decreases. That one got me this time towards the end.

    I’d like science, and I think temperature, alloy make up, etc. are good to know. But an intuitive system based on repetition and observation may be more realistic in my case. I’m more like the cowboy around the campfire, than the machinist or lab coat guy.

    Google tells me that the Lee six cavity handles will work with the Ideal small one cavity molds, and they are not that expensive. I loaded on a single stage press, one at a time. The little one cavity molds Get me into the game without spending too much money, and are kind of interesting. I wonder where they’ve been, which old guy used them, as I become the “old guy” now.




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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