Author Topic: Bullet Molds  (Read 19825 times)

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Bullet Molds
« on: April 13, 2009, 03:11:05 PM »
Well the father-in-law just told me I can have his old reloading press ;D... so now if I can get him to ship it, I'd also like to start casting some lead for 9mm luger and 45ACP as the shelves at the local Sportsmans Warehouse have been empty since the election... wonder why ??? (Sarcasm)

What sort of things should I be looking for in a mold? 

What size bullet is recommended for a 45- I've seen .452 to .459- what benefit would there be to either ends of this spectrum?'

Thanks!

Offline OJ

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 12:08:07 AM »
Yikes!

.452 for lead .45 ACP bullets.  Don't go any bigger than that!

If I could have only ONE .45 mold, it'd be the Lyman Devastator hollowpoint mold.  I think the original ones ended up casting bullets that weighed 228 grains.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2009, 05:05:14 AM »
(for plinking) The Lee 6x aluminum molds are realtively cheap and you can cast a bunch of bullets in a relatively short time with them (see below).  I'd look at the "tumble lube"  ones for use with Alox if you aren't sure whether casting is for you or not  (it isn't for everyone.) 
The specialty molds like the devastaor series cast some nice bullets but single cavity hollow point casting might discourage you as new caster before you get the knack for it- it can be tedious and take a while to get the alloy and mold temps just right for proper fill out etc.

I cast from both TL and traditional molds- the Lee 200g SWC tl design is still my favorite round for my Kimber even though I have 3 other traditional 45 molds (the loose bullets are not lubed):



For larger bullets I prefer the traditional 1 or 2 cavity RCBS molds:

44 300 gc before lubing/sizing


45-70 440g (actually an Ohaus mold, predecessor to RCBS)




Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2009, 02:42:45 PM »
Thanks!  I like the idea of the multiple cavity molds... growing up I helped my dad cast for black powder and it was a pretty long and tedious process, so the benefit is that all I'd need is a mold, some lube, and maybe some lead if dad doesnt want to share.  One question for cohutt- what is the copper looking base on the bottom of the bullets in the 2nd pic?

Also, is there anything to watch out for as far as feeding problems and bullet types?  I've heard a lot on some Gunrightsradionetwork dot com podcasts about bullet types and feeding issues... so far i've only had one: Remington- the case wouldn't fit into the chamber... ???  (I didn't force it)

Thanks again!

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 06:30:20 PM »
The copper looking bases are in fact copper gas checks.  For higher pressure loads gas checked bullets allows one to push things faster without leading.  The copper check keeps the hot gasses from passing around the base of the bullets and up the sides and leading the barrel... 

those are 300g 44 magnum bullets- the picture below shows the unchecked bullet befor sizing, lubing and crimping on the check. note the base iisn't flush with the sides so that the check can be installed fluch with the side.  the bottom pic is of a normal based 325g 44 bullet before sizing and lubing.




Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 07:22:15 PM »
Is the gas check something that you purchase, or do you cast that as well?  It would seem that casting copper would come with its own set of issues, which i'm not so sure i'd like to get into.  Also, how does it attach to the bullet?  Do you have to have any attachments for your press in order to crimp them?  Are they all attached to the bullet using crimping?

I guess, can you explain how you go about going from your last set of pictures to the ones with the gas check?  Thanks!

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2009, 08:07:10 PM »
I actually have it all out and will take some pictures and post later, might help clear it up for you.


These are the only checked bullets i cast, everything else is bare assed lead (9mm, 45, 44 and 45-70) and is a lot less hassle.  I just wanted to make some real heavy thumpers for my 44s that could be driven hard enough to penetrate a couple of hog shoulders and everything in betwen if needed. 

The checks are purchased separately for maybe $25-30 pre 1000 although some people punch their own ( a very few).  If the bullets are cast right (ie a good fill out, sharp edges on the base) you can just pick up a bullet, press it into a gas check and it will stick.  Then you put the loosely checked bullet in a lube & sizer, which puts the bullet in round, reduces it to the prescribed diameter and crimps the check on to the base snugly.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2009, 07:30:11 PM »
The promised follow up:

The picture below shows some loose checks as well as some stuck on the bullet bases ready to run through the sizer.   These are Hornady checks btw; I don’t know if there are other manufacturers or not- Hornady is all I have ever seen and they run $25/1000 or thereabouts.   The bullet on the right is complete- note how some lube fills any space in the cutout above the top lip of the check.


_
In most cases the check can be easily removed at this point but it sticks on well enough to allow the bullet to be lifted by the tip and placed in the sizer without it dropping off.    My method is to lay a handful of checks out as in the picture then to press a few bullets into them and line up to run through the sizer.  If a bullet happens to be the least bit under-filled, the base won’t stick; I cull these to be re-melted and cast again.

From here the sizing and lubing is pretty much the same as with non-checked bullets.  The pictures below show the sequence- unsized bullet in the sizer, the sizing “plunge”, the same bullet on the return stroke.  The only thing I do any differently is to be sure that the stroke bottoms out to be sure the check is square on the base and not canted.  I don’t know if this is necessary but I do it just to be sure.








Hope this helps....

;D The finished product:

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2009, 09:33:41 PM »
I have to agree that the 6 cavity molds are nice to have. I do a lot of casting for my Cowboy Action Shooting, and I cast 3 different 45 bullets just for that. The 6 cavity makes it go so much faster.

I have the Lee 200gr RNFP in .452, which I load with my smokeless powder loads in 45 Colt. I also use that same bullet in 45 ACP. I use the liquid Alox on them, and then run them thru the Lee sizer for .452. They work great in my cowboy guns, but also work very well in my 1911.

The other .45 bullets I cast are Big Lube bullets for black powder cartridges, and feature a huge lube groove, that gets blackpowder lube. They wont work for your 45Acp I dont think.

They do make a 6 cavity 9mm mold that I believe is close enough in diameter that it will also work in 38/357, if you want to have 1 mold for several calibers. I would have to double check that info tho.

Cohutt, thanks for the quick tutorial on gas checks. I have never needed them, but do have a bunch of them I would like to try one of these days.

Good luck.
RipT

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2009, 04:29:50 AM »
Tombstone,
Yeah usually I am casting for quantity using 6x molds.  Most of what I cast and shoot are plain based; the gas check mold was on loan from a friend so I got busy with it just to put some back.  I will have to admit i really like the finished rounds on these through my 629 classics 6 1/2" barrel. They aren't as good through shorter barreled ruger SBH (4 5/8"?).  For it I much prefer the lee 240g tumble lubed swc with a modest dose of titegroup, trailboss or unique underneath.  I don't size these, shoot them as cast with great results at cowboy velocities of 800 fps or so.  No leading very mild recoil, a favorite with any new shooters I take to the range.

I picked up a Star sizer a while back too- it is the ultimate compliment to 6x tradiitionaly lubed bullet molds.  Incredibly fast with even without the feeder or the air pressure adapter.

Note: Even with a 2x gas checked mold you can get productive if you set your mind to it- the picture below is from this past weekend when the mrs was out of town and I was able to cast and size as i felt like it- most are the gc bullets however the small batch in the upper left with the beeswax color lube is from a single cav 45 hollow point mold. now THAT is slow going......  ;D)

« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 04:47:07 AM by cohutt »

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2009, 08:24:23 PM »
I hear ya with the slow hollowpoints. I have a bunch of old Lyman molds, mostly 2 cavity, and an awesome Keith style .357 hollowpoint bullet. The thing looks like the hole goes almost all the way through the bottom of the bullet.
Is your 45 hollow point from Lee? I have one of theirs, and am not impressed with it yet. I need to do some mold tuning and get rid of some issues.

I use 2 old Lyman 45 sizers, and have no problem. I do want to get a Star tho. Thats next on my big item list.

Do you shoot cowboy?

RipT

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2009, 08:53:45 PM »
The HP is a custom mold made by a Slovenian named Miha with cnc equipment, per specs agreed upon for group buys over on cast boolits forum.  Steel, very tight tolerances. There are a couple of open threads now, I'm thinking of another one or two from him. This one was $60 shipped from the baltics, now doubles are running $100 shipped. Not to bad really for the quality.

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2009, 10:18:20 PM »
No, thats actually a really good price for steel molds. My custom Lee 6 cavities from Dick Dastardly are running me around 80 if I remember right. Might even be more than that.
How is the hollow part made? Separate handle like the Lymans, or some other method?

RipT

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 03:52:03 AM »
The first one (the one I just bought) was a single with a removable pin like the lyman-

He is now going to do dual cavity Cramer type molds where the HP pins are captured. I believe also he is going to use brass for the blocks vs steel on this run. 

go to "group buys" off of cast boolit forums main page- there are several potential ones brewing right now.  His are the ones labeled "MiHec".  He posts pictures of progress as well as the CAD drawings. 
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 03:54:48 AM by cohutt »

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2011, 11:38:11 AM »
Okay, I just used my lee for the second time...  They could do a better job with the finish on the mold.  Had to hone down the sprue plate and the top of the mold.  Too much galling...  aside from that, I think my next will be the 6 cavity instead of a 2... that does seem like it would be more enjoyable and quick.
~CRCJ

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2011, 04:57:21 PM »
The 6 cavs are supposedly better quality than the 2x (I don't know personally since all I have used is 6x)

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 10:36:52 AM »
Hmm... good to know.  For the price of the 2 I can't complain... but it takes a while.  I'll probably need a bigger melting pot if I go with a 6 though... or spend more time waiting for things to come up to temp...
~CRCJ

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2011, 12:23:26 PM »
I have a few of the 2 cavity molds, and the 6 cav are much nicer comparatively. Also, look up a lube called Bull Plate. Its good stuff, and is used on the pins and hinge areas of your mold. Really smooths things out.

Also, a wood pencil is handy for cleaning up edges in the mold too. Just rub the lead portion on the edges, and it will smooth off the burrs.
DM

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2011, 09:58:45 AM »
Hmm... good to know.  For the price of the 2 I can't complain... but it takes a while.  I'll probably need a bigger melting pot if I go with a 6 though... or spend more time waiting for things to come up to temp...
~CRCJ

I use a cast iron pot and a turkey burner in conjunction with a Lyman casting thermometer. I cast with 50 pounds of lead at a time. I hate electric pots. I don't care what a mould costs. I have some Mountain Molds that are great. The same with H&G, NEI, RCBS, SAECO, Lyman, Rapine, etc. My propane turkey burner as I have two of them gets lead melted QUICK!

take care,

r1kk1

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2011, 01:41:30 PM »
Also, a wood pencil is handy for cleaning up edges in the mold too. Just rub the lead portion on the edges, and it will smooth off the burrs.
DM

Do you mean graphite?  Normally I wouldn't say something like this, but considering we are talking about casting I want to be sure... also, any thoughts on preventing galling?


I use a cast iron pot and a turkey burner in conjunction with a Lyman casting thermometer. I cast with 50 pounds of lead at a time...

Wow, must be a big cast iron pot... is it a dutch oven or similar?

Thanks,
CRCJ


Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2011, 06:00:13 PM »
Do you mean graphite?  Normally I wouldn't say something like this, but considering we are talking about casting I want to be sure... also, any thoughts on preventing galling?
I'll say yes to the graphite.  Bull Plate lube from castboolits is the best stuff by most accounts.  I've used spray mold lube from Midwayusa, which is basically a graphite spray.  I picked up a graphite spray at an auto parts store to test and it was adequate as well.

Quote
Wow, must be a big cast iron pot... is it a dutch oven or similar?

Thanks,
CRCJ


lol never thought about casting from my big smelting DO -

22quarts of galena goodness- that's a 4lb Rowell ladle floating on it,


Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2011, 10:54:38 PM »
Yes, its a graphite pencil. The bull plate should help with the galling, as long as there are no obvious huge mechanical issues, ie. a burr on the sprue plate cutting into the mold block.
I have a turkey fryer, but I think it needs some work. It doesnt hardly get hot enough to melt lead when I smelt, let alone try to cast from it. I use a 20# Lee with no spout to smelt, and a Lyman XX and a Lee 20# bottom pour for casting. The electric works fine, but I wish the burner worked better.

RipT

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2011, 09:03:09 AM »
Yes, its a graphite pencil. The bull plate should help with the galling, as long as there are no obvious huge mechanical issues, ie. a burr on the sprue plate cutting into the mold block.
I have a turkey fryer, but I think it needs some work. It doesnt hardly get hot enough to melt lead when I smelt, let alone try to cast from it. I use a 20# Lee with no spout to smelt, and a Lyman XX and a Lee 20# bottom pour for casting. The electric works fine, but I wish the burner worked better.

RipT

Academy sports has some serious turkey burners with very high btus. Is there an Academy store near you? I can smelt 50 lbs very quick. May get a bigger cast iron pot to try 100 lbs.

take care,

r1kk1

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2011, 11:10:46 AM »
Nope. Never seen an Academy, but did finally spot a Big 5 (another mystery store to me).
Thanks for the tip.

About how many BTU does yours run? I can look for a similar unit.
RipT

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2011, 03:44:12 PM »
Nope. Never seen an Academy, but did finally spot a Big 5 (another mystery store to me).
Thanks for the tip.

About how many BTU does yours run? I can look for a similar unit.
RipT

They do mail order try:
http://thurly.net/0zby

approximately 110K BTUs

take care,

r1kk1

Offline cohutt

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2011, 04:16:07 PM »
Bayou classic 175000 was on sale through amazon for under $40 delivered a few years ago

More than enough





Offline r1kk1

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2011, 08:29:10 PM »
Bayou classic 175000 was on sale through amazon for under $40 delivered a few years ago

More than enough






sure Cohutt, what up me man! lol. I think I'll look for the Bayou. I use two or three of these when doing speed casting between my friend and I. Google speed casting technique. At the end of the day you can cast a butt load of bullets! I water quench them and in a 5 gallon bucket there are thousands of them at the end of a casting session! I also use a hotplate to warm up the next mould that we will use and use a different bucket.

take care,

r1kk1

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2011, 08:33:13 PM »
Match this Cohutt, scroll down to see 880,000 BTU burner:

http://www.tejassmokers.com/newproducts_page4.htm

Pricey yes, but I like it too!!! lol

Just kidding. Too much money for this man!

take care,

r1kk1

Offline CountryRootsCityJob

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2011, 10:49:03 AM »
...I can smelt 50 lbs very quick. May get a bigger cast iron pot to try 100 lbs...

Wow... did you notice this thread by any chance?  I was ecstatic to find 10-15 lbs the other day... until I can find enough to make it worth my while, I think I'm going to stick to a 2 cavity mold.  I'd be waiting for the next batch to melt every 5 minutes if I used a 6 cavity...

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Bullet Molds
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2011, 12:18:29 PM »
Wow... did you notice this thread by any chance?  I was ecstatic to find 10-15 lbs the other day... until I can find enough to make it worth my while, I think I'm going to stick to a 2 cavity mold.  I'd be waiting for the next batch to melt every 5 minutes if I used a 6 cavity...

Yes I've posted on that thread in the past also. It takes me about an hour +/- to go through 50 lbs of lead - dependent on the bullet weight casted.

I speed cast with the 6-Cavity. If interested look for Bruce B speed casting on google. It's amazing what can be casted in a short time.

take care,

r1kk1