did you lap your mold?

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did you lap your mold?

Post by AndyLueck on 11/9/2018, 6:37 pm

I have a lee 6 cavity mold.  I cast my first batch of bullets.  After checking a few with a micrometer and weighing several more, I believe that my mold isn't machined perfectly round.  If you have a mold, particularly the Lee H&G 68 clone, did you lap it?  Did that help?  How much?

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by zanemoseley on 11/9/2018, 6:54 pm

Lapping is just gonna take some tool marks out. It could make the diameter more uniform too I suppose. That's why you don't buy cheapo aluminum molds. Spend $100 on a Magma engineering mold and cast as fast as you want, no warping and drops great bullets. You get what you pay for sometimes. I've probably cast about 10k of the H&G 68 bullets from my Magma mold and it's as good as new.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by Jon Eulette on 11/9/2018, 7:05 pm

Send it back to Lee. They will replace it. It’s common on their 6 cavity molds for cavities not to be the same. 
Jon
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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by AndyLueck on 11/9/2018, 8:56 pm

Is the quality control on their replacements any better?

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by Tim:H11 on 11/9/2018, 9:23 pm

In my experience, their 2-cavity molds are great until they wear out. Another $20 or so and you’re back up and running. Their 6-cavity molds however are a crap shoot. I warped a 45 cal mold. The replacement was okay. The 38 cal 6-cavity I bought was garbage and the one they replaced it with wasn’t any better. For 2-cavity and a budget it’s hard to beat the Lee molds. For any more cavity’s beyond two, you’re better off buying a Seaco. I know they’re a lot of money but it’s a mold that’ll last forever.
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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by AndyLueck on 11/10/2018, 12:03 am

I'll reach out to Lee and see what they say.  I intend to drop a set of bullets from the mold and mark which cavity they came from.  I would like to know for a fact which cavity is the problem, and if it's more than one.  

At any rate I am confident that the bullets from this mold aren't going to be the issue with my shooting.  When I think about the number of bullets you can cast from a mold over time, I think the cost for an upgrade won't be an issue.  So if I get to that point, having improved my shooting, and the issue with the Lee mold isn't resolved, I won't hesitate to buy a better brand.  For now I am still marksman.  

I just didn't want to make a huge investment to start casting, so I started with the Lee mold.  Sometimes it can be hard to find a balance between "buy cheap, buy twice" and spending too much too soon.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by Boxturtle on 11/10/2018, 7:33 am

I have so many Lee 6-cavity molds that I've lost count.  They all cast beautiful bullets and I've never had the first inkling of trouble from any of the mold blocks.  I suggest you lube and shoot your bullets.

The molds compare well with the many custom shop molds I own costing hundreds of dollars each.  Lee molds don't look as nice, but they work very well.

The shortcoming of Lee 6-cavity molds is the sprue plate.  They work well with soft alloys, but if you cast hard bullets you will eventually break it.  Get a sprue plate from Red River Rick and you'll have one of the best molds you can buy at any price.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?30425-Red-River-Rick

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by bruce martindale on 11/10/2018, 8:25 am

I found the 6 cavity moulds to be excellent and they do volume well when I run three at a time. Gives cooldown time. That said, make sure the mould closes fully. No light should be visible between the two blocks. The pin or bushing can get dinged or there is a bit of splatter on the faces. Razor blade it off. Flat file can work if you're careful. This removes an edge ding. I never dump from the mould into the pot due to splash. Keep the sprue plate tight and give the side a rap with a maple mallet before you refill.  Good luck, it IS an art...

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by lablover on 11/10/2018, 8:33 am

Cast em, size em, lube and shoot them...then decide if they suck.  You may be surprised

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by AndyLueck on 11/10/2018, 10:09 am

I read more about this and I am wondering if the issue is operator error as these were my first bullets. I will see what Lee says and try to cast a better batch. Next time I'll make sure the mold is closed better.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by bruce martindale on 11/10/2018, 2:21 pm

Tin is your friend;helps the mould fill out. The old rifle alloys had 10% but we need no more than 2.

Melt has to be hot enough too, l run 650 to 700 F

Regards

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by AndyLueck on 11/10/2018, 2:25 pm

bruce martindale wrote:I found the 6 cavity moulds to be excellent and they do volume well when I run three at a time. Gives cooldown time. That said, make sure the mould closes fully. No light should be visible between the two blocks. The pin or bushing can get dinged or there is a bit of splatter on the faces. Razor blade it off. Flat file can work if you're careful. This removes an edge ding. I never dump from the mould into the pot due to splash. Keep the sprue plate tight and give the side a rap with a maple mallet before you refill.  Good luck, it IS an art...

What piece are you hitting with the mallet?  I believe we don't want to hit the aluminum mold.  Do you hit the handles?  Or the sprue?  The handles on the sprue?  I suspect my problem might be getting a nice solid square close on the mold.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by Boxturtle on 11/10/2018, 4:20 pm

If the OP is interested in learning to cast good bullets, then

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php

is the place to go.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by 10sandxs on 11/10/2018, 9:03 pm

I have several Lee 6 cavity molds for pinker 9mm and .40 bullets. Theyre fine for that. Ive.been through 4 cavities by h&g, lyman, saeco, and now NOE aluminium 5 cavity. Lee are servicable, but fragile. All others mentioned are good, with my preference being noe and h&g. Lyman can be inconsistant.

Technique is VERY important. Pour speed and sprue size makes a difference. 

I cast 1200 bullets this morning, between 4 molds. Two NOE molds cast about 1/2 of them and over a 15 bullet random sample I was +/- 0.5 grains.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by john bickar on 11/10/2018, 10:43 pm

No; I almost caught up to it, but then the race ended.
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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by 243winxb on 11/11/2018, 6:41 am

Lee Help- There are a few reasons your cast bullets are oversize.


 1) There is a nick or burr on the mold face.


 2) Splash of lead on the mold face.


 3) No or insufficient lubrication on the mold alignment pins.


.http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/List/Index/62/bullet-molds-and-casting
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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by jglenn21 on 11/11/2018, 4:05 pm

when it comes to molds quality matters if you are a dedicated caster.. I have H&G as well as Saeco molds from the 60s, 70s and 80s... they have cast thousands of bullets and look new.. sort of paid for themselves over the years

YMMV


Last edited by jglenn21 on 11/11/2018, 4:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by AndyLueck on 11/11/2018, 4:11 pm

Boxturtle wrote:If the OP is interested in learning to cast good bullets, then

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php

is the place to go.

I did post there and they have a lot of suggestions that I am going to try next time I am casting.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by JKR on 11/12/2018, 8:47 am

Andy

One thing to be aware of with this mold is how you grip it when pouring. It's best grip the mold handles firmly and not touch the sprue plate handle. If you put you fingers on the sprue plate handle, it very easy to lever the mold open a tiny bit and not even realize it. Just make sure the sprue plate is closed all the way before you pour but don't hold it.  This mold will make good bullets.

Jim

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by bruce martindale on 11/12/2018, 12:15 pm

To answer the question, l rap the side of the mould with a dowel. This seats the two halves closed. This isn't needed for all my moulds as many close easily and the sprue plate swings closed under gravity.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by fc60 on 11/12/2018, 5:03 pm

Greetings,

Watch eBay for a used/new SAECO or H&G mould. Prices vary with the alcohol content of the bidders; but, there have been some good buys recently.

Cheers,

Dave
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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by jglenn21 on 11/12/2018, 7:24 pm

"Prices vary with the alcohol content of the bidders"

LMAO   so true
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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by Kermit Workman on 11/13/2018, 2:37 pm

How old is the Lee mold? About 2 years ago they made a change in the alignment pins for the mold halves. Make sure that when the mold is closed that the halves can not move or slide against each other, The pins can be tighten up by driving them together.
There are several custom mold makers that make excellent molds and are less expensive than Saeco. Saeco are excellent molds but expensive. Castboolits web site is your friend there.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by WillH on 11/13/2018, 8:54 pm

I understand completely the need to keep down costs and Lee molds are generally fine for first time casters. I have quite a few but eventually switched to Accurate molds.  It's much better for the mold to throw them over rather than under size.   There was a mention in this thread about sizing and lubing but not much.  If not already done, I'd suggest getting a Lee sizer and running them through that.  It could even out the irregularities if they aren't too severe. Need a single stage press to run it though but otherwise pretty cost effective and easy to use.  I eventually went with a Lyman 450 but Lee sizer and pan lube worked fine for me for a long time.  Close call on which is actually easier.

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Re: did you lap your mold?

Post by AndyLueck on 11/13/2018, 10:08 pm

The mold is only a couple months old.  The pins look like little cones.  I think my problem is that the mold isn't shut all the way.  Perhaps I was putting pressure on the sprue while filling it.  I also didn't realize the lee 420 pot came with a guide at the bottom, so I will start using that.  These were some of the tips from the boolit forum.

I am either going to powder coat these or potentially use lee liquid alox on them.  Depending on what they mic at I might size them.  I suspect I am going to get some better results when I pay attention to the things I mentioned above.  It is a learning process for sure.

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