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Lee vs. Lyman round ball molds

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by BSA1, Jan 29, 2013.

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  1. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    Still using the Lee .451 RB single cavity that I bought in 1975... and the thirteen other Lee molds that I've bought since then. Never had one go bad.
     
  2. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    How do you prep the mold before casting?
     
  3. Olmontanaboy

    Olmontanaboy Member

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    I've used Lyman, RCBS and Lee and had good results with them all. The Lee moulds come up to casting temperture faster but do cool down faster too. The Lee molds are a bargin IMO. But I have nothing bad to say about the other molds. I Like the Lyman Minie ball mould a lot better than the Lee Minie though I have both.
     
  4. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I'm lazy and don't always maintain everything as I should. My steel Lyman molds tend to get a coating of rust just from sitting out in humid Florida. For this reason and the initial cost, I use mostly Lee molds.
     
  5. raa-7

    raa-7 Member

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    Without reading any of the above posts,I can honestly say that a Lee .454 round ball mold would be right for you.I have one and have cast a bunch 500+ so far, without any problems.The aluminum mold works great and looks like it will last a long long time.I think as one cares for an aluminum mold properly,then it will last a life time.Just don,t over heat them,like other molds as well,and when I put mine away, I clean it up and lightly oil it.block and all,, -ron
     
  6. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    The Lee Molds have an instruction sheet in the box.

    Remove any lube from the mold cavities with "any solvent"...I use rubbing alcohol on a Q-Tip.

    They recommend using "bullet lube" on the pins and hinges, "Alox Beeswax Mix Bullet Lube", NOT Lee Liquid Alox which would gum things up terribly. I use a scant dab of gun grease on the pins, gun oil on the hinges.

    They recommend smoking the cavities with a match, not a candle. I'm lazy and use the Frankfort Arsenal brand aerosol graphite spray, but careful it is easy to over do it. Then you are back to swabbing the cavities with alcohol on a Q-Tip.

    Then get the mold up to the right temperature; lay it over the pot for a few minutes, and/or immerse the tip of the mold into the molten lead for a few seconds.

    If the mold has more than one cavity, just fill one cavity on the few few cycles to get the mold blocks up the last few degrees. On a six-cavity mold, I will fill the first two cavities for a few cycles, then 3, then 4, you get the idea. I just dump all the first few castings into a shallow cake pan for recycling into the pot until the whole mold comes up to temperature. I know the mold is at the right temperature when I can open the sprue cutter easily. The lead hardens very quickly in a cold mold and makes the sprue difficult to cut. If you fill all 6 cavities in a cold mold, you will have a helluva time getting the sprue plate open!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  7. raa-7

    raa-7 Member

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    The reason I say .454" is that I have shot the .451" rb's out of my NA Remington and they're not as accurate as the .454" ball.I already had about 50 of the .451" just to try before I ordered the Lee mold.For serious shooting though I would definately buy the expensive blocks that Lyman sells.That graphite spray sounds like a good Idea.Easier than fooling with matches..
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  8. Hellgate

    Hellgate Member

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    What J-Bar said 2.0

    The only difference in technique we have is I keep the first bunch of castings in a separate pile and once the mold heats up I start dropping them in a diferent pile on the towel. After the session is over I sort the balls for quality. The really horrible ones go into the remelt pile. I generally have only 1 or 2 of those. They have to look REALLY bad to qualify. The rest are graded A, B, or C. Cs having wrinkles that would be an embarassment to loan but as long as they will fit snug enough to not migrate under recoil I'll shoot them in monthly matches or plinking sessions. Same for grade Bs that have minor flaws. The grade As are what I would gladly present as my typical castings. Also, I have recently began rotary (Thumbler's) tumbling them for about 20 min which pounds out the minor defects and easily turns a B into an A looking ball. The sprues on the LEE balls all but disappear. I use under ball lube wads and over ball automotive grease. Shooting a grade C ball at a steel target 10 feet away is gonna make just as loud of a ring as a grade A so why make extra work for yourself? Shoot them skuzzy things!
     
  9. robhof

    robhof Member

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    robhof

    For many years I used to return as much as 70% of my bullets/balls to the pot, saving only the best; then I saw a Mythbusters show where they were trying to get a bullet to shoot in a curve, they took huge gouges out of 9mm bullets and were still getting straight ling groups. I started experimenting with my cast offs and found that groups opened up on higher velocity rounds, but only after 30 to 50 yds., and no noticeable difference on any of my B/p rounds out to 100yds. I get as lot more rounds to the casting session now and use weight to determine competition rounds, just for that extra edge.:D:D
     
  10. Rattus58

    Rattus58 Member

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    In my case, every once in a while I take the blocks apart and clean them usually with a 99% alcohol solution, but any quickly evaporative cleaner away from flame I thinking would work as well or better. Clean toothbrush and air.

    Proper lube on moving parts with lucas gun oil for me and beeswax on the sprue. Several of my sprues have scored due to carelessness on my part, but so far hasn't proven critical.

    I received a graphite solution from one mold maker that you brushed on and that was the easiest ever solution... pun yes.. early morning here... but I do also use a butane lighter.

    As for heating up the mold, I've tried them all, and just wind up casting and recycling for the first few bullets works for me... of course my highest capacity mold is two...

    Take your time is what I was advised let the mold adjust itself after pouring and then open the sprue keeping a good grip on the handles.... my methods and I'm stickin to it...
     
  11. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Dip a corner of the mold into the molten lead in the pot for a minute or two.
    Once you start casting the mold will retain the necessary heat.
     
  12. frontiergander

    frontiergander Member

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    a minuite or 2?!!! Thats way to long for an aluminum mold

    20-30 seconds max!
     
  13. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    I have Lee, Lyman, and RCBS molds. I like them all.
    A buddy of mine also has molds from Ballisticast and Mountain Molds. Very nice molds.

    I also have an old TC mold for the .45 Maxi Ball.
     
  14. scrat

    scrat Member

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    I cast my own. BUTTT thats a hell of a good price. Almost makes me want to write out a check instead of taking out the casting pot
     
  15. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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  16. Rattus58

    Rattus58 Member

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    Bullshop Bullets is probably whom he is referring...

    You might find him by asking the question here... http://thedwbs.com/

    Aloha..
     
  17. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    I prefer the steel molds. They retain the heat better, which is critical in the larger calibers - to say nothing of Minie balls, which are tricky to do right even under good conditions.
     
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