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Thread: Sure-Fire Lee-Menting Technique (Aimoo Post Revisited)

  1. #61
    Boolit Bub
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    Just got my first 2 molds and casted ~ 600 rnds yesterday. Similar to the kroil trick, WD40 can be sprayed onto a mold when it is at temperature, then let it sit until all of it is steam/burned off. In conjunction with smoking this had one of my bad chambers dropping quite well. Although I think I might go try to polish that one chamber before next time...


    Also is it just me or is dropping temp based? after sorting a hundred or so rounds I just started up the casting again without completely re heating it and from cooler (still **** hot) it dropped rounds much easier. I also noted that there was some other temp sweet spot ( around where the bullets came out frosty) where they dropped like a dream...

  2. #62
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote: "......is it just me or is dropping temp based?"

    Noob with limited experience, but mine seems to do similar. Also, despite letting it set across the top of the pot for 20 minutes or more bfore starting, my 6 cavity seems like it needs three or four fills before cavities will completely fill out. Before that, most of them dropped are culls. Once it gets going though, it will produce bunches in a hurry. So maybe I'm preheating the mold too much?

  3. #63
    Boolit Master fryboy's Avatar
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    i tend to agree that there are "sweet spots" but like a barrel every mold will be different lolz once i do find a groove with a mold it's hard to stop until i get lower on alloy than i had planned lolz one of my fav molds ( 4 cav lyman 452374) seems to work best just under or at the frost spot yet i have a few 2 cavity lee's that do best long before they get hot enough to frost
    as for the 6 cavity lee...alot of folks get a hot plate to warm it up with ( as it takes a bit as u found out )

  4. #64
    Boolit Master Whistler's Avatar
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    Well, my six cavity Lee mold is now a five cavity Lee mold.

    I followed instructions and when I started spinning the bullet with the screw in it, the bullet didn't start spinning but instead the screw ate through it and into the mold.

    Too bad it was my favorite mold, the rare 90333, the only one dropping bullets slightly too small.

  5. #65
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7of7 View Post
    For my TL-358-158gr 6-cavity mold, I took a 10-32 tap, and wrapped it in two 2x2 cleaning patches, the edge of the tap catches nicely on the cleaning patches when it is chucked up in a drill...and leaves about 1/3 inch of cloth over the end of the tap... I then run this on my bar of red rouge, and run it in my closed mold... It really polishes the inside nicely...
    I then clean it off, (Dawn, and a tooth brush) dry it. I use a propane torch, and a hardwood dowel to smoke the mold...
    It drops fine, and the boolits are purdy!!!
    I tried this today on a two Lee 2 cav. molds... a .365 and .309 200 gr
    I used Flitz since I didn't have red rouge.
    I knew flitz would leave a waxy feeling protective coating.
    I wasn't sure if this would be good or bad (I kinda figured bad)
    I did clean them well with Dawn/water/toothbrush,
    then re-smoked them with a match.
    I got raisons for the first 20 bullets, I made sure I got the
    mold quite hot while casting...then backed off the temperature
    after the wrinkles went away.
    Then I got nice looking boolits and they dropped
    with just a light tap.
    Jon

  6. #66
    Boolit Master
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    Bought a used Lee mold from a member here. I'm very happy with the deal, but I couldn't get it to fill out with WW. I started off taking a bullet, drilling tapping a hole in the back, and using a screw as an arbor, I lapped it using semichrome polish. I didn't want to take off much material, the bullet is for a .308 and they are falling .311.
    Next I followed the instructions of the OP and followed all the vent lines. WHAT A PAIN IN THE A@@!!!!

    Boy she sure makes some purty boolits now though. Thanks for this sticky!


    An extended length drill bit carefully sharpened makes a righteous scribe BTW. I have used this one for nearly 15 years.


  7. #67
    Boolit Master
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    Other then Lee-menting process,the best solutions to sticky boolit was casting with 2 (two) different molds at the same time.

    Pour lead in one,count to 5,set aside and do the same with next mold. Than get back to first,drop boolit in water and repeat process.

    Above technique fixed my biggest worryver od underheating of the mold(proper temp of the mold)

  8. #68
    Boolit Master turbo1889's Avatar
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    This is a post put up on another thread in this section that I felt was worthy of adding to this sticky:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben View Post
    I realize for the people who have been forum members here for a long time that this information isn't going to be very interesting to you.

    However, we are adding new members at a rapid rate now. Many will be on a budget and trying to cast good bullets with economical Lee double cav. and single cav. molds.

    I had a 41 Mag. single cav. mold that was over 25 yrs. old. The sprue plate screw would not stay tight ( I know that isn't new is it ? ). I decided to do my standard modification to this particular mold and get my dig. camera out and shoot a few photos that might make it educational for a " newcomer " that has never seen the process before.

    As many of you are aware, Lee often ships molds that have the sprue plate screw so tight that within just a few opening and closing of the blocks, you've got damaged, galled blocks.

    The sprue plate is far too tight on many of the Lee molds and there was no lubrication ( need to use Bullplate ).
    All this combines to render the molds un serviceable in a fairly short period of time.

    By removing the screw plate hold down screw and removing the sprue plate and drilling and tapping a 10-24 threaded hole, this problem can be fixed permanently. This allows you to put any amount of sprue plate tension on the plate that you need and then lock the screw down just as you would a Lyman , RCBS, or SAECO mold.

    Here are photos showing how I do this modification. I hope this is helpful to
    many of you young casters :





    It is very possible that there are other sizes of taps and drill bits to do this job with.
    This size works well for me however :







    He is a poor quality movie ( took the movie with my cell phone ) that will let you see the end result of this work.

    Thanks,

    Ben

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WAnEcgdFJk

  9. #69
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for the info in this thread. I had a Lee .375 mold that I would not cast a good boolit but after following your advice I poured some really nice ones. Tomorrow I get to see how they shoot. Thanks again.

  10. #70
    Boolit Man
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    Two tips for Lee-menting.

    1- use a carbide sight smoker to darken the vent lines, grease free and easy to use just don't apply the flame directly to the mold.

    2- good tool for scribing the vent lines here: http://www.squadron.com/ItemDetails.asp?item=SQ10202
    63/37 Sn/Pb is a terrible boolit alloy but its other use pays the bills.

  11. #71
    Boolit Mold
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    I have to say that I am really glad that I ran across this thread a few months back when I decided to get back into casting after almost 9 year break from casting/reloading. Following the hints, tips listed in this thread really helped me drop a lot of bullets really fast.

    I purchased a lee 6 cavity 358-125-RF for my 9mm. I received it last week and took the time to scribe the vent lines with a carbide scribe that I picked up at my local Harbor Freight store. The scribe was only 5 bucks, but it is only available in store.

    I had a hard time seeing and following the lines on the 6 cavity mould to scribe them. I used a 10x jewellers loupe and worked under a desk lamp so that I could follow the lines without gouging across the lines or scratching a cavity. I went slow and took my time with the scribing, spending 2-3 hours to get it right. I didn't want to rush it and screw up something. Everything worked out just fine in the end.

    For the graphite, I could not find any locally specifically sold as mould release. I did find some at my local Napa. The label on the can says "Dry Graphite Film Lubricant". Looking on the can it does not have any oils listed as ingredients, however I noticed that one of the ingredients was synthetic graphite. I used it on the mould when I polished out each cavity and it seemed to work just fine. I did make it a point to clean out each cavity with a q-tip and acetone to be sure each cavity was clean after I was finished polishing.

    Polishing for me was non eventful. I found it to be stressful of all things. I was just worried to death about running a screw through a cavity. But in the end, everything worked out just fine.

    For smoking the mould cavities, I found that a piece of fatwood from a pine stump in the back yard produced the best black soot. Better than anything I have used previously. I can light a chunk of that pitchy pine with a match and it burns like a candle. As I got into casting the soot wore off the cavity somewhat, but enough remained that you could see it in the lines of the mould.

    I wanted to get casting right away, and didn't want to wait to receive some BullShop sprue lube, so I used some Bel-Ray H1R synthetic 2 cycle oil that I use on my 27 and 45 cc model airplane engines. It seemed to work just fine. I did have to re-lube after dropping 150-180 Bullets. The lube seemed to smoke off pretty fast I think due to running the temp a bit higher on my Lee pot. I didn't have a thermometer, so I set it at what I remembered seemed to pour good bullets previously. I think just about any 2 cycle oil would work for sprue lube. It's just a matter of what happens when the heat starts breaking down the oil. I think a non synthetic would not burn off clean, and would carbon up a bit. some oils will probably burn off faster than others.. etc. This probably wouldn't be much of a problem if you wiped off the sprue plate and re-applied lube every 30ish minutes, or when you notice things not closing easy and smooth.

  12. #72
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    lee-mented my first dbl. cavity mould today and was sucessful using following method:

    1) placed bullet nose down on oven pad, with nail as center punch eyeballed as best I could and tapped with small hammer. First one was off but 2nd one looked good.

    2) Used screw tipped mandrel from Dremel kit for arbor. The screw is short and a little wide with a shoulder that prevents the screw from drilling through and ruining a cavity. I had to drill a small pilot hole to get the bullet on the screw, but after doing that it screwed right on and snugged up to the shoulder and ran straight with no wobble.

    3) Chucked it into variable speed driver and coated bullet with Turtle wax auto rubbing compound , it's red, and did both cavities

    4) Cleaned mould and bullet and repeated with Turtle Wax auto polishing compound . the white stuff. Spending more time using the polishing compound.

    Both cavities are now smooth and shiney. I did not have an issue with casting , but am trying to get them to look better. If I can do a little polishing like this and make good looking boolits I'll be a happy caster.

  13. #73
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've used Air Croil in my moulds (cotton swabbed) and works wonders. It has taken those sticky ones that won't fall out to a simple open and release without any imperfections with the castboolits.

    Tom

  14. #74
    Boolit Master



    rexherring's Avatar
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    I just did the leementing on three of my molds and it worked great. I used a little "Scratch Out" for paint finish swirls and a little fine 800 grit then finished them with the swirl remover. I then washed them good with Dawn and soft toothbrush, smoked them a little and the boolits fall out very nice. Great method.

  15. #75
    Boolit Bub
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    Leementng works!

    I just read this thread a couple days ago, as I had a Lee 312-185 that needed a ball bat to get the bullets to drop. I was so discussed with the thing I was ready to throw it into the trash and take the loss.
    I figured what the heck, can't hurt to spin a little J-B Bore cleaner compound in it.
    Man, what a difference. After it was scrubbed up with a bit with a old toothbrush and Dawn dish soap and dried real good. I went to casting, a light tap or two and the bullets fall right out.
    Thanks guys for the helpful information, this one really made my casting chore much more pleasant.

  16. #76
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Great post. I have a 140 grain SWC mold that will not drop short of using an air chisel. I wonder if valve lapping compound would work also?
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  17. #77
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Does it matter what kind of Comet cleaner you use? I went to get some today and they only had the kind with bleach.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  18. #78

    Lightbulb Lee molds

    Quote Originally Posted by MTWeatherman View Post
    I'm not trying to repeat myself here...however, by request...

    The title and following text are a copy of a sticky post I made on the old Aimoo Cast Bullet forum on 03/20/2004.

    ...well at least for my 6 Lee moulds.

    I lik Lee molds for their price and light weight...and in general their bullet designs (most are well tested copies from over the years). I have disliked them because they've never dropped bullets to my satisfaction and frequently suffered from poor fill-out. One was so bad I resorted to prying the bullet out of one of the cavities with an awl applyed to the bullet base. I checked for burrs, smoked it, cleaned it, used mold release, all I could think of...to no avail. I was ready to throw it, when I discovered the following solution quite by accident. That was three moulds ago. I now apply the following lee-ment to every new mould. It's worked every time. Bullets drop as well as they do from my RCBS and Lyman molds...first time, every time.

    In my opinion, Lee moulds suffer from three main flaws...bad cavity finishing, poor venting, and bad handle to block fit. Higher end moulds don't...but the extra finishing and quality control adds to cost. So...expect to spend a little time to improve the Lee mould

    Those of you who've given up on Lee moulds, I recommend you give the following a try. In addition to usual tools, you'll need a carbide tipped scribe and an aerosol graphite mould release (not for the reasons you suspect), and "Comet" cleanser. Several of the "lee-ments have been described by others and I used their experience in developing it. It's an hour well-spent to avoid "Lee frustration"

    1. Look for any obvious burrs in the mould cavity and remove them with a sharp knife. Clean and lube the mold per instructions, smoke the mould if you wish, and begin casting. If your bullets fill out drop as advertised, consider yourself lucky, you need read no further. If not, cast 4 well filled-out bullets(hopefully the handle bolt pounding trick will free them) and save them (you'll likely need only two, the others are spares). While the mould is hot, carefully loosen the spue plate screw until it falls free under it's own weight. I've found that if I do this cold, it's too loose while hot. It you back it off too much, you need to tap a screw to hold the spue plate screw in place. Carefully (you don't want to drill the mould), place two bullets back in the mould and using about a 3/32 bit, drill a hole about 1/4 inch deep in the bullet base.

    2. Clean the mold again. Now spray the entire cavity and mould face with graphite mold release. Let it dry and spray a second coat. The surfaces should be black. Remove the bolt holding the handles together so you can easily get at the mould faces. With a cloth, and "Comet" clean the block faces. The fine venting lines will stand out...filled with graphite. Take the carbide scribe and run it down each vent line, deepening and widening them (not too much but enough to be noticeable) between the mould cavity and the edge of the block. Put the handles back together. Fill-out problem solved.

    3. Screw a 1 to 2 inch long screw into the hole in one of the bullets, wet the bullet, and sprinkle some Comet on it. Place it into the bullet cavity and with a drill at slow speed and the mould closed on the bullet, rotate the bullet in the cavity. Continue until the mould fully closes on it. (Comet as a polisher is another board members idea...don't remember who...but thanks...it works). Repeat a second time. Use another bullet for the other cavity, if you have one, and repeat. Now rinse the molds and with a toothbrush clean them. Carefull inspect the mould cavities. Burrs and high spots that were previously unnoticed will be seen easily as bright spots surrounted by black...depressions as black surrounted by white mold metal. With a sharp knife, scrape the burrs off and smooth any sharp depressions that represent an imperfection. Go back and repeat the Comet trick twice more for each cavity, clean and inspect the mould for burrs once more. Most of the graphite will be gone, some will remain but will be highly polished, and will help fill the inperfections...it is an aid...not a hindrance so leave it. You now have a polished and repaired cavity...it will drop bullets with the best of them. I don't need to smoke the mould...my old "impossible mould" now works beautifully...it had several imperfections in one cavity that I couldn't spot without the graphite trick. I found it by accident, In desperation had tried the mold release (don't use it for its advertised purpose...bad release problems lie elsewhere), but discovered its real value while trying the Comet mould polishing trick. Bullet release solved.

    4. I use a 6 gallon plastic bucket when casting. I fill it with water and place a cloth with a four inch slip in it for water-quench bullets. For air cooled, I fill it with rags as a cushion. However, I lay a flat piece of wood (1X4) across the back half of the bucket. Most Lee moulds have bad handle alignment...especially the double cavities. They frequently don't meet squarely when opening or closing. This wears the block face as the two rub together ...eventually wearing off the vent lines. If you lay the rear of the mould blocks on the flat board when opening them, they will open squarely...same for closing. This saves the mould and aids in bullet release. Handle alignment solved.

    Sorry about the long post...however, thought it might be of use to those of you who've given up on a Lee mold. If you're not satisfied with the performance of your Lee, I suggest you give it a try. I've had 100% success to date...it works!
    I found this fairly informative. When I'm casting bullets with Lee molds, I keep the mold HOT and after I pour(usually between 750-800 degrees) I give it about 10 seconds and the tap the mold somewhat sharply with a screwdriver handle or a piece of dowel rod. Rarely have a non-fill or "wrinkled" bullet. To lube mold, I follow Lee's instructions and, when I add some parafin to the pot, I "smoke" the slightly open mold over the flame from the wax. Don't know, works for me....

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  19. #79
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for the tips. I am going to bookmark this page.

  20. #80
    Boolit Bub ken s's Avatar
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    Comet huh? I'll try it...good idea. to increase the air release grooves, try a NEW razor box cutter. start from the mould to the edge..Been doing that for decades. It works...
    to polish the mould, get a rubber eraser pencil, and put 'comet' on the point and polish away while you're watching TV. you can hit rough spots and not do damage....Ken

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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