Quantcast
RB molds dropping larger size than marked? - THR
THR  

Go Back   THR > Tools and Technologies > Blackpowder Shooting

Welcome to THR
You are currently viewing our site as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have, access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!


If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit the help section.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 31, 2015, 02:54 PM   #1
BCRider
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 15, 2008
Location: Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
Posts: 7,313
RB molds dropping larger size than marked?

Some round ball I cast up a while back has proven to be tougher to ram home than I would have thought. Then when I measured them I find that the .457" mold (Lee) is dropping balls that are more like .461 to .463 depending on where I measure across any given ball.

The mold is closing correctly. Minimal flash line that is barely able to be felt. So it's not that.

The alloy I'm using is the softer of the old scuba weights I've got along with some round ball of other sizes I can't use which I've gotten given to me or that came with packages of stuff. So the lead itself is pretty soft.

Anyone else found that their Lee molds are a bit off?

I don't really have a choice. I'm going to recast them along with some more oddball round ball with a .454 mold and hope that they come out at .455 to .457 so I don't risk bending or snapping the ram lever on my guns.

I've got to cast up some more to use in the SASS Canadian Nationals coming up this weekend. That's if they have a Frontiersman category at least. Only two of us registered so far for Frontiersman. I'm waiting on an email to see if we've got a category or not. Usually three or more are needed.
__________________
Sent from my boat anchor desktop via my pizza greased fingers....
BCRider is offline  
Old August 31, 2015, 03:52 PM   #2
J-Bar
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 24, 2010
Location: Springfield, MO
Posts: 1,941
I just miked 5 pure lead balls from my last batch of .457 balls out of a Dick Dastardly Big Lube Bullet mold, and got

.459
.459
.458
.457
.459

I have no trouble loading these into Pietta 44s, nominally using a .454 ball, as well as Ruger Old Armies. I load all my guns with the cylinder in the revolver, not on a separate press. The bigger balls cut a bigger ring of course, but the pure lead does not endanger the loading lever.

Once upon a time I bent a loading lever with alloy balls. Never again. Pure lead balls at .460 or so should slide into an ROA nicely. Your alloy balls may be something else entirely.

I'm sorry this does not specifically answer your question about Lee molds. I would rather the balls drop a bit over rather than under sized.

And good luck at the match! Let us know all the details!!

Last edited by J-Bar; August 31, 2015 at 04:25 PM.
J-Bar is online now  
Old August 31, 2015, 07:11 PM   #3
243winxb
Member
 
 
Join Date: July 7, 2004
Location: Pa. USA
Posts: 7,113
Antimony increases diameter.

A pure lead ball should weight 143 grs. If yours is lighter, its not pure lead. Buy some plumber lead and cast with that. Everything from Lee is a bit off. Try casting with the alloy and mould at maximum temperature. The ball will shrink more in diameter as it cools.
243winxb is offline  
Old August 31, 2015, 08:00 PM   #4
elhombreconnonombre
Member
 
 
Join Date: June 3, 2013
Location: On the banks of Slaughter Creek, a day's ride from Bexar, Enchanted Rock, and Plum Creek
Posts: 1,270
BC

If you are consistently getting .461 prbs out that mold, I wouldnt mind taking it off your hands to see if I can make some bp ball cartridge ammo that would fire out of a martini henry. .461 sounds like it would just engage the rifling.
__________________
On patrol and cold camping tonight with Cap'n Yack and Flacco on the Pinta Trail under a Comanche Moon near Enchanted Rock...out of cell phone range

God Bless John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, and Val Forgett Jr.
elhombreconnonombre is offline  
Old August 31, 2015, 08:20 PM   #5
BCRider
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 15, 2008
Location: Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
Posts: 7,313
Looks like the mystery might be solved. In fact DOUBLY solved.

First off I think some harder alloy got mixed in with my otherwise tested for hardness lead scrap. Some of the round ball over time had darkened and some had not. I did the "pencil test" on a couple of them and the shiny ones were a couple of grades harder.

On top of that I found a small bit of slag stuck really well between the two sides of my .457 mold. I carefully scraped it out and confirmed that there was nothing left but a slight stain. It must have gotten in there part way through the batch because some additional spot checks showed that some balls were sized just fine while others were oversized as reported above. Needless to say I've been checking the mold about every 10 or 15 pours. But so far it's remained clear.

Once the first few moldings cooled to room temperature I measured them for size. They all are measuring mostly at .458 with a few spots here and there around the surface at .459 and a few others at the nominal .457.

So the planets are once again in alignment and I'll be able to sleep the sleep of the Just tonight....
__________________
Sent from my boat anchor desktop via my pizza greased fingers....
BCRider is offline  
Old August 31, 2015, 09:10 PM   #6
BCRider
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 15, 2008
Location: Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
Posts: 7,313
The results of a good afternoon's effort.

First shot is a picture of the ingot mold I cobbled up in around 15 minutes to let me pour out the bullet sort of alloy that is too hard for round ball. The bigger ingot is the harder alloy and the small one is the left over of the soft stuff after I ran off all the casting in the second picture.

The little box in the top left has around 200 to 220 .454 size cast ball and there's something like 300 or a little more on the towel with the last of them scattered in the middle cooling before boxing up.

Between the ingot mold and the casting I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself at the moment....

My two open tops load a little more easily with .454 so that's why the box of them. It was intended to be around 200 to 220 each. But I sort of got into the swing of it and figured that I may as well drain the melting pot as much as I could given that I "top pour" with a ladle for my casting work at the moment.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P1020269.JPG (135.8 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg P1020267.JPG (136.9 KB, 17 views)
__________________
Sent from my boat anchor desktop via my pizza greased fingers....
BCRider is offline  
Old August 31, 2015, 10:00 PM   #7
243winxb
Member
 
 
Join Date: July 7, 2004
Location: Pa. USA
Posts: 7,113
Look good. Diameter is correct when a little lead is shaved off when seating.
243winxb is offline  
Old August 31, 2015, 10:33 PM   #8
J-Bar
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 24, 2010
Location: Springfield, MO
Posts: 1,941
I enjoy casting, too.

And if you enjoy casting with single and double cavity molds, you really need to treat yourself to a good 6 cavity mold. It will be like driving a Corvette!
J-Bar is online now  
Old August 31, 2015, 11:01 PM   #9
BCRider
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 15, 2008
Location: Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
Posts: 7,313
I only cast round ball since the price of them for the amount of work has risen to what I consider to be idiotic prices. Up here in Canada I'd have to pay almost double for the same weight round ball as I do for cast bullets WITH filled in lube grooves.

In time I'll also move on to doing some of the more esoteric sizes to suit my .38-55 loading and my interest in paper patching .30-30 bullets for use with a Winchester 94 for longer range shooting. But other than these things where buying them just isn't in the cards I'll stick to buying my other cast lead bullets. I've got too many other hobbies to dive headlong into casting for all the different sizes I shoot.

Sadly I've yet to see a 6 position round ball mold. If I could find one you bet your loading press I'd buy it. This doing it two at a time is for the birds ! ! ! ! !
__________________
Sent from my boat anchor desktop via my pizza greased fingers....
BCRider is offline  
Old August 31, 2015, 11:23 PM   #10
J-Bar
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 24, 2010
Location: Springfield, MO
Posts: 1,941
Worth every penny:

https://www.biglube.com

I have the 6 cavity .380 round ball, .457 round ball, Slim .38, and .45 Slim molds. Excellent quality. They drop easily without any kind of release agents in the molds.

I have no financial interest in Big Lube Bullets, just a satisfied customer.

Keep that sprue cutter hot and run them fast. I can produce 12 to 18 balls a minute when I'm going good; probably averaging 6 balls a minute from start to end of a casting session, including cleanup.

edit:

problems with the original link, reposted it to the home page of the website. Click on bullet molds in the menu to find the 6 cavity molds.

Last edited by J-Bar; September 1, 2015 at 09:59 AM.
J-Bar is online now  
Old August 31, 2015, 11:48 PM   #11
BCRider
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 15, 2008
Location: Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
Posts: 7,313
You, Sir, just earned yourself a Gold Interwebz Star for your help. I'll be ordering up at least a .457 6 ball mold pronto. And perhaps another in .454. THANKS!
__________________
Sent from my boat anchor desktop via my pizza greased fingers....
BCRider is offline  
Old September 1, 2015, 09:15 AM   #12
Loyalist Dave
Member
 
 
Join Date: May 5, 2006
Location: People's Republic of Maryland
Posts: 1,800
Quote:
The alloy I'm using is the softer of the old scuba weights I've got
Another vote for pure lead. It's well known that if you use any alloy at all, you get a slightly larger round ball. I often here this from guys who were using all lead, then got some old wheel weights, added it to their lead pot with the leftover pure lead...and ..."Gee loading my patched ball is really tough with the latest batch of round ball."....time to switch to a thinner patch or toss that alloy and get pure lead.

LD
Loyalist Dave is offline  
Old September 1, 2015, 11:30 AM   #13
BCRider
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 15, 2008
Location: Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
Posts: 7,313
Your point is well taken Dave. And"alloy" may have been a bad term for me to use in this case. The softer of the old scuba weights are REALLY soft and can be scored with a 5B pencil tip. According to the pencil test data given at a few spots around the web this equates to either pure lead or at worst one of the softest of the alloys of lead. It also goes darker grey in just a few weeks after being cast where the other harder lead stock I've got here is still shiny.

When I finally have to make the run into the big smoke and buy my lead from a supplier I'll certainly be asking for pure lead for all the round ball casting. Until then I've still got around 15# of stuff that I've confirmed is either pure or at least the softer grade that is usable.
__________________
Sent from my boat anchor desktop via my pizza greased fingers....
BCRider is offline  
Old September 1, 2015, 08:24 PM   #14
Hellgate
Member
 
 
Join Date: January 11, 2004
Location: Orygun
Posts: 1,354
Occasionally you can find a Lyman 4 cavity RB gang mold on Ebay. They are steel and weigh a TON but make life easier. I spray my mold cavities with a graphite lube before casting so the balls just fall out. It leaves a fine layer of graphite when the carrier evaporates in a few seconds.
__________________
Gun control= OSHA for criminals
With over 15 C&Bs, I've been called the Imelda Marcos of Cap&Ball
Turning money into noise & smoke for over 50 years

SASS #3302 (Life), Regulator
NRA Life
SCORRS
Hellgate is offline  
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
This site, its contents, Shooting Reviews, and its contents are Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Firearms Forum, Inc.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
Although The High Road has attempted to provide accurate information on the forum, The High Road assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. All information is provided "as is" with all faults without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Neither The High Road nor any of its directors, members, managers, employees, agents, vendors, or suppliers will be liable for any direct, indirect, general, bodily injury, compensatory, special, punitive, consequential, or incidental damages including, without limitation, lost profits or revenues, costs of replacement goods, loss or damage to data arising out of the use or inability to use this forum or any services associated with this forum, or damages from the use of or reliance on the information present on this forum, even if you have been advised of the possibility of such damages.