Author Topic: Bullet Casting Questions  (Read 23395 times)

Offline Angel_Eyes

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2009, 10:29:42 AM »
Howdy all,
I must say that I think this "smoking" of the mould is unnecessary.
I tried it once, after reading about it, some years after successfully casting thousands of bullets and balls.
I found that when the lead mix and the mould were up to good casting temperature, there was no sign of the smoking left or visible in the cavities.
I have never done it since, even with brand new moulds.
What I have found is that you must take great care to ensure that the moulds, and particularly the cavities, are clean and dry before starting.
Thats my two-pennorth, for what it's worth,,,, UKshooter
Trouble is...when I'm paid to do a job, I always carry it through. (Angel Eyes, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)
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Offline Bristow Kid

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2009, 04:31:12 PM »
Do you have to smoke them everytime you use them or just the one time?  Do you have to clean the moulds?  I had a bunch of other questions at the start of this thread maybe some of you with more experience then me could revisit my original post and give some more advice on a couple of the other questions.  The info gathered so far has been a big help and is much appreciated.

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Offline Coal Creek Griff

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2009, 07:21:58 PM »
As more of a comment than an answer, I started casting recently myself.  I wasn't sure whether I was going to stick with it, and I didn't want to invest a great deal of money.  I found a good deal on a Lee production pot and I ordered Lee molds. 

I smoked my first mold because I read that it was a good idea.  I didn't smoke my others because I wanted to try it out.  I see no improvement with smoking the mold (with the specific molds that I have).  The bullets drop free as well with all three of my molds.

I have been very pleased with how the casting has worked for me.  I bought lead from ebay and so far my guns shoot just fine, as far as I can tell.  I haven't been able to do any real accuracy tests yet, but shooting off-hand, they seem very accurate.  There is a deeper satisfaction in shooting bullets I made myself.

CC Griff
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Offline Jefro

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2009, 03:36:10 PM »
For smoking the cavities I prefer a good hardwood splint.  Get it burning well and smoke the mold above the wood flame.  I've found that some candle flames will deposit a dimensionally measurable thickness of soot inside the cavities.  This soot would cause the molds to drop undersize bullets.  The flame from a clean hardwood splint will not deposit this much thickness.

So, if you are using new molds that come in Red and White LEE boxes, pull out that instruction sheet and read it.

DD-DLoS
What DD said about smoking. I use oak splits from shims. Even if you use wood kitchen matches let them burn a few seconds first. They have a small amount of wax below the match head to help start the flame. The flame from a clean hardwood splint will work better. Good luck.

Jefro
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Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2009, 05:11:04 PM »
Howdy Boys

Well, like most things, I seem to do things a bit differently than most. I do use a spray on mold release. The first prototype J/P 45-200 molds were a bear to get the bullets to drop out of. Nothing worked for me, not smoking the molds, or anything else. I finally got ahold of a can of silicon mold release formulated for the injection plastics industry. It was the only way I could get those first J/P 45-200 bullets to drop easily out of the mold. Some minor changes were made in the design when it went to production, and they drop out of the molds much easier now.

I have since broken the valve stem on that can of special mold release, so I just use the regular mold release that Midway sells. I don't notice any problem with it building up and causing undersized bullets. The key is, like the old Brylcreem ads, a little dab will do ya. You don't have to slather it on with a spoon. I usually give my molds a quick, light spray, then I'm ready to go to town. Like any surface treatment, it eventually wears off and may need to be renewed during the casting session. Same with smoking the molds. A quick squirt gets me going again.

And I have to disagree with my good friend Howdy Doody. I find a lead thermometer to be very useful. Making a mark on the dial of a pot will only mark the temperature for the same amount of lead in the pot. When you add lead, the temp drops. Then it takes some time to come up to temp again. I like having a dial I can read. I like to cast a little bit hot, up around 800 degrees or more.

I cast my Mav-Dutchman 44 cal bullets from pure lead. I cast my PRS and J/P 45-200s from a mix of about 1/25 tin/lead. The reason for the different alloys is that is what my molds dictate to end up with the size of bullets I want. Lee molds are slightly less than perfect, and their cavity diameters can vary a few thousandths. I forget exactly how much right now, but the discussions I had with Lee over their tolerances told me that their mold cavities could vary by a few thousandths and still be in spec. My Mav-Dutchman mold is a little bit towards the high side of the tolerance. So I cast them with pure lead. Pure lead shrinks more when it cools then lead with tin added to it. That way, I wind up with bullets around .430 or so in diameter. My 45 molds on the other hand are a bit closer to the low end of the tolerance, so I throw in a little bit of tin to keep them from shrinking too much as they cool.

I've been using that same Lee Pro 4 production pot for a few years now. It works well with the Lee 6 cavity molds. You can empty a 10 pound pot in a real hurry with a 6 cavity mold. The other nice thing about that model is there is a little adjustable shelf under the pot. I have the height set just right so that I plop the mold down under the spigot, open it up, and slide the mold along the shelf so the lead flows into eacn cavity in turn. Kind of like a bartender lining up glasses and fillling them all up in one fell swoop.
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Re: Bullet Casting Questions
« Reply #25 on: Today at 04:00:14 AM »

Offline Four Eyed Floyd

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Re: Bullet Casting Questions
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2009, 06:07:14 PM »
Sounds like a plan Cuts!

I learned most of what casting I do from this forum and put it to use, here is some advice to Newbies:

Figure out what kind of bullets you will need and buy those. I didn't and now have 5 or 6 molds. When I moved to the Dark arts all I cast is BigLube Snakebites, the other molds go wanting.

Get a good (but not expensive) melter I got the Lee 4/20 and it is easy to use.

Become the guy always looking for lead and let everyone know that, you'd be suprized who has a stash of lead lying around in their garage.

Get some beeswax and crisco 50/50 mix for lube and you are good to go.

Helpful items: bullet sizer, welding gloves and a table to work on.
It is really not hard and kind of fun to challenge yourself to make better and better bollits.
Good luck and welcome!  ;D
All my set you back about $200 if you shop around.
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Offline Springfield Slim

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2009, 07:16:16 PM »
I personally don't smoke the moulds. I have found that as long as they are clean and up to temp the bullets generally fall out fine. I tried it a couple of times with recalcitrant moulds and found it didn't help, just needed to hit that sweet spot of proper mould and lead temp. I also tried mould release but decided it was a waste of my money also. I cast a few thousand bullets a week and if it helped, believe me, I would do it. I do strongly agree with Driftwood that buying a thermometer is money well spent, otherwise you are just shooting in the dark. Also makes it easier to be be consistant in your casting. Otherwise you are always fiddling with the temp to get it to work the same as the last time.
Full time Mr. Mom and part time leatherworker and bullet caster

Offline Frenchie

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2009, 11:49:06 PM »
I've been happy with how MILITEC-1 works on my firearms. Could it keep steel molds from rusting and help release bullets if they tended to stick?

Yeah, I know, I think too much. 8)
Yours, &c.,

Guy 'Frenchie' LaFrance
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Offline Jefro

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2009, 02:22:02 PM »
Another beginner questions. What about sprue plate lube?? Are ya'll using bullet lube or Bullshop sprue plate lube?? Or none of the above?

Thanks, Jefro
sass # 69420....JEDI GF #104.....NC Soot Lord....CFDA#1362
44-40 takes a back seat to no other caliber

Offline Noz

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2009, 03:05:46 PM »
I smoke the mold ONCE when it is new and never again. I like the Bull Plate lube.

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Re: Bullet Casting Questions
« Reply #30 on: Today at 04:00:14 AM »

Offline Bristow Kid

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2009, 04:13:45 PM »
Whats a sprue plate?
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Offline Angel_Eyes

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Re: Beginner questions on casting
« Reply #31 on: January 07, 2009, 04:51:18 PM »
Bristow Kid, the sprue plate is the piece of metal over the cavities that you have to knock sideways to cut off the excess lead ,or 'sprue' as it's known.

As long as the spring tension is correct for the pivot pin then it should not need lubing. Any lube would be burnt off anyway by the heat of the moulds when up to casting temp  and if introduced to the cavities would cause bad castings.

One other tip:- always over pour to ensure complete filling of the mould and expell any trapped air.

UKshooter
Trouble is...when I'm paid to do a job, I always carry it through. (Angel Eyes, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)
BWSS # 54, RATS# 445, SCORRS,
Cowboy from Robin Hood's back yard!!

 

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