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Casting mold

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by KYregular, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    Just getting started and I know things are scarce, but I'm mainly stock piling lead and making ingots. My question is, what material do you prefer your molds to be made of, aluminum, steel, or brass? I know they all have pros and cons, so please share your opinions.
     
  2. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    You will find steel molds are expensive, take a long time to heat up, but last forever. Aluminum molds are relatively inexpensive, heat up quickly but require more care to keep going. I use aluminum molds made by Lee Precision, from Hartford WI. I have only replaced one set of molds in 25 years. And I have a dozen or more of different sizes and calibers. Treat them with respect, keep them clean and lubricate as needed and they will last you a very long time.
     
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  3. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    They all work. The specialty mold makers (arsenal, noe, MP, etc.) all make very nice stuff with a commensurate price. Saeco molds are above my price range. RCBS and Lyman make nice iron molds. I have taken to Lyman and ideal molds that are well used, but taken care of. They seem to be well broken in already and work really well. Don't be afraid of a used iron mold as long as they aren't too beat up or rusty. I have a 4 cavity Lyman round ball mold that looks like it has been used for decades but is otherwise in decent shape that I picked up for peanuts that positively rains round balls.
     
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  4. lightman

    lightman Member

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    Most of my molds are steel while a few of my custom molds are aluminum. A steel mold is tougher and maybe more forgiving. I put my molds on a hot plate when I turn on the casting pot so waiting on it to get hot is not an issue. Aluminum molds are a little more delicate. Learn to lube the sprue plate and the line-up pins, treat them gently and they will last. I don't have a brass mold although they are a thing of beauty!
     
  5. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I have several steel moulds, many aluminum moulds, and one brass.

    The steel moulds are the easiest to cast with, but are heavy.

    The aluminum moulds are easy to cast with, light weight, but are harder to keep in the heat sweet spot.

    The brass mould is so pretty, I'm afraid to cast with it.
     
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  6. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    I prefer steel and brass molds over aluminum molds. They hold a more even heat over area of the mold. When I cast bullets I run the alloy/molds/casting cadence so that the bullets come out borderline frosted. It's extremely easy to pick up on when there are cold spots in a molds (bullet is shinny in that area) or hot spots (heavy frost in that area). Aluminum molds have these issues more than steel or brass.

    I also like molds with a heavy thick sprue plate. They hold a more consistent heat and do a better job of getting clean cuts on the cast bullet bases.
     
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  7. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    It looks like MP has some in stock. Looks also like they are made overseas and ship from there. Here's a pic of the one I'm looking at. No groove as I'm definitely going to powder coat (let me know if there are issues with that). My P09 plugged at .355 so I was thinking of ordering in.357 and sizing to be safe. Screenshot_20210101-184645_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20210101-184645_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20210101-184648_Chrome.jpg
     
  8. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    Or this one Screenshot_20210101-185305_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20210101-185305_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20210101-185310_Chrome.jpg
     
  9. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Steel for me.
     
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  10. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have all three, aluminum, steel and brass. I like the brass molds but they have a steeper learning curve and operate a bit differently than the other two materials.

    Aluminum heats up faster for me and need to be "rested" sooner than steel to allow them to cool back down a little to good operating temperature.
     
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  11. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    Mp makes excellent molds, 20+ of them. I use .359" molds from mp for my 9mm's. I pc them and size them to .358" and use them in the 9mm's/38spl's/357mag's.

    This is a fantastic brass mold that casts excellent 125gr hp bullets that I use for my main 9mm bullets. But it's also nice to have 125gr hp's laying around for the 38spl/357's.
    https://www.mp-molds.com/product/mp-359-125-hp-pb-4-cav/

    I also use this 6-cavity brass mold (.359") to cast 135gr bullets for the 9mm & 38spl's. It's a modern version of the himmelwright target bullet. This 6-cavity mold makes a pile of bullets in a hurry that are extremely easy to find accurate loads with.
    https://www.mp-molds.com/product/359-135-swc-round-nose-6-cavity-mold/

    Pc'ing bullets is the way to go & quality molds make things a lot easier. I like your choices in molds, they'll provide you with countless hours of quality range time.
     
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  12. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    MP makes excellent molds. Pick one and go to town. I would order it sized to 359 and size it down to fit your needs.
     
  13. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I have only used Lee aluminum olds for the last 15 or so years and they work with no complaints. I have never used steel or brass, and if they are even better than aluminum, I’m sure they’d be nice but I’m too thrifty to find out.
     
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  14. GoldieMI
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    GoldieMI Contributing Member

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    MP is good to go- if it's in stock, DHL to your door quickly
    I have a waiting order with Arsenal right now and they are saying 4-6 weeks
     
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  15. Shak3s1977

    Shak3s1977 Member

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    20201028_134708.jpg 20201028_182647.jpg I'll give a thumbs up to MP Molds also. I actually ordered a mold from Midway and one from MP the same day. 8 days for Midway, 3 days for MP. I've got 3 of his molds and a couple of Lee's. With those smooth sided molds, the bullets just fall out.( even with hollow point pins).

    This is a 452-200 MP I use for 45acp. One of my favorites.
     
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  16. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    Looking at this Arsenal as well in brass Screenshot_20210101-225122_Chrome.jpg Screenshot_20210101-225130_Chrome.jpg
     
  17. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    Lee aluminum molds are cheap.

    I guess that's as good of a reason as I can give. :confused: :cool:
     
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  18. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    Yes they are normally, but right now with none available except on ebay where they are actually as high or higher than some of the more available upper level brands they don't feel so cheap.
     
  19. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    I'm kinda like forrest r, but I don't count anymore. :D

    I have all of the mentioned above types and find the MP, Accurate, and NOE to be the Cadillac's. The others are good and productive don't get me wrong. Its nice to go first class though.

    What I really like about the MP and NOE that I use, is the ability to cast a solid or HP from the same mold, and sometimes even at the same time.
     
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  20. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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    My advice is to just buy one and start casting.
    within a year you will have 5 molds
    In 5 years you will have so many you won't remember what you have.
    My first mold was a lee 6 cavity 9mm RN.
    It was 40 bucks with handles, has cast thousands and still casts beautiful bullets.

    6 cavity steel molds do get heavy. If you have any physical issues such as arthritis they can cause discomfort.
     
  21. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    I can't disagree with this. Pick one and get started. It will teach you what you want, and probably also teach you what you don't want.

    Casting is somewhat like swimming. You can read all you want about it, but you can't learn to do it except by doing it.
     
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  22. WeekendReloader

    WeekendReloader Member

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    I have aluminum molds from LEE. They work just fine. The 2-cavity molds are so inexpensive, might as well give a few a try. The 6-cavity molds are where its at for volume production.
     
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  23. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    That was my intention, to try LEE, but the only place to find any is on ebay and they are even more expensive than a Noe or Arsenal.
     
  24. kcofohio
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    kcofohio Contributing Member

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  25. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    The mold im likely to buy from Arsenal comes standard at .358. My CZ P09 slugs at .355. I can have them make it a .356, .357, etc. Since I'm powder coating it should make it a little thicker, having never done it, how hard is it after powder coating to size the bullet down if needed? I'm thinking of having the mold sized at .357. All advice appreciated.
     
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