Author Topic: What to look for in a bullet casting mold  (Read 3289 times)

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« on: March 12, 2010, 08:17:39 AM »
Since you guys are such a great resource, I'm looking for feedback so I can make an informed decision when I get the $ to do so.  So I've done some research on bullet molds and have quickly come to realize that there is a large quantity of choices when it comes to choosing a mold.  The first thing I've narrowed it down to is the caliber, which is quite obvious... I'm looking for either 45acp or 9mm... or both. 

The first thing I notice when I cruise midwayusa.com is the price range: Lee molds start at $20 for a 2 cavity to upwards of $150 for a
Saeco 4-Cavity Bullet Mold... RCBS ran about $70.  Obviously these companies make different products, but is the difference between a $20 Lee and a $150 Saeco 4-Cavity Bullet Mold worth $130- and if so, why?

Second thing I noticed was the number of cavities.  This obviously determines the rate of production, but introduces other aspects of casting that are unseen.  One aspect is the weight of the mold and fatigue... after an hour of casting with a 6-cavity mold, your arm might get tired... how much truth is there to this?  Also, does this effect the quality of bullets being cast, does it make it more difficult to cast good bullets?

Third- lubricating the bullets.  I know that this has been discussed, I'm sure one of you can provide the link for that.  But when selecting a mold, you have to consider how it will be lubed.  There is tumbling with Alox (Lee), Pan lubing, and then there are the expensive lubrisizers that sell for $100+ that size and lube using a press type machine.  I know Alox tumbling is fairly easy, and there are molds that are made for it, but do the other molds work for tumble lubing as well?  Can you pan lube with Alox molds? 

And lastly the things that are preference, including what works best in your gun.  These include bullet shape, weight, and size down to 0.001".  I've concluded that these are personal preference and are left to each individual, so I feel there is no need to discuss them... but if you disagree, I'll read what you have to say. 

Thanks ahead of time!
~CRCJ

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 02:22:25 PM »
Well...Thats kind of a Chevy vs. Ford thing, which we all know is Ford of course.

But the Lee molds are made of aluminum. They heat up faster, which saves you some time.  I use a bunch of the 6  cavity molds myself, and considering the volume I cast, they work very well. They have a 3rd handle to cut the sprue, and this works well.
I have some of the 2 cavity molds, which are also aluminum. You use a wood hammer to cut the sprue on these. I am not convinced these are the best they can be. Maintenance wise.. once you clean them up, they are pretty much ready for the most part. You do not have to oil them afterwards, like steel.

Lyman, RCBS, and most of the others, if not all, will be made of steel.
THey take longer to heat up, but make beautiful bullets when they are clean and at the right temp. You should oil them for storage, to keep them from rusting, and some things I have read, say to store them with the last cast bullet in them. I do, but I also do in my Lee molds.

You can get a Lyman lubrisizer fairly cheap if you look. I got one with my casting equipment for a grand total of 150. That included the Lyman mouldmaster 20, a bunch of Lyman molds, and extras. The other sizer I paid less than 25 for at an auction. I see them on Ebay for under 100. Look for a Lyman 45. The new version is the 4500. I will possibly be selling one of mine off if I can talk my wife into a Star sizer instead.
If you are shooting smokeless powder, you can use the liquid Alox on regular cast bullets and then run them thru the Lee sizer if you are not shooting hot loads. They work nice for my 45 ACP plinkers. A lot faster than running them thru the Lyman too.
RipT

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 02:27:29 PM »
Continued from first reply...
My preferences are running towards the 6 cavity Lee molds for volume, and they do throw a nice bullet. The molds do need a little cleanup sometimes tho. I take a pencil and rub it all over the edges of each cavity to smooth out any burrs. I also use the pencil to clean up any little bits I see in the cavity itself. The bullets seem to drop easier after this.

The Lyman molds I have are all 2 cavity designs, and basically handgun bullets. They throw beautiful bullets once warm, but sometimes that takes a while to get the right temp of the mold. I put a lot back in the pot using my Lymans.

Hope I helped a little.
RipT

Offline 19114life

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Re: What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 04:36:55 PM »
I too use the lee molds.  They are cheaper and they come with the handles(alot of other molds dont).  I cast .45, .38, and .500 bullets and havent had any problems.

Offline The Sage of Monticello

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Re: .308 Winchester molds
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2010, 12:12:20 PM »
Anyone recommend any particular molds for bullet casting in .308 Winchester?

I found some molds from NEI in aluminum that cost as much as a new firearm, and some more affordable made in iron.

I could not find Lee bullet cast molds in .308 Winchester. I would love to hear what .308 Winchester owners use for bullet casting.


Offline RipTombstone

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Re: What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2010, 02:51:54 PM »
How about Lee C309-170-F. Thats the one I load for my 30-30. Its 170 gr and .309 diameter.
That or C309-150-F which is the 150gr version. These are both flat nose, gas check type bullets suitable for many things.
RipT

Offline Greywolf27

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Re: What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2010, 03:15:19 PM »
My Lee C309-170 should be here next week.  I am really excited about putting some of them down range.  How is the leading with the 170's? 

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2010, 03:28:56 PM »
Fine in mine, but I dont push them very fast. Havent played with it too much yet. They will be intended for lower velocity long range matches in SASS.
I havent added any gas checks to them yet either. Thats next on the 30-30 experiment.
RipT

Offline The Sage of Monticello

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Re: What to look for in a bullet casting mold
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2010, 05:19:54 PM »
Much obliged RIPTombstone.

I was focused on .308 diameter molds and neglected to see the .309.  Thanks again.