1st attempt at casting my own.....failure.

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by 1969SS396, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. 1969SS396

    1969SS396 New Member

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    I know there is a learning curve with most things, and learning to cast my own bullets would be no exception. Yesterday I went to Cabelas and bought a Lee Pro 4 20lb. furnace which was the last component I needed before getting into casting....I already had my ingots made, my new Lee .44 cal bullet mold ready and I could hardly wait to try it all this morning......expecting some flaws, but all of them????? Didn't imagine I'd do that poorly, so I come to you bullet casting guru's for help.

    Here are some pics, first the group of 80,at the top there are 12 that are the worst, to the right 24 that have minor flaws, and to the left major flaws. Obvious answer is my mold is not lining up right, I check before each por and they seemed to be close together and tight, but pictures don't lie......any advice would be greatly appreciated as always.....

    Steve

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  2. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    last ones not too bad

    mold hassles suck

    its a case of playing and adjusting and ensuring everythings clean and tight all the time ..
  3. WHSmithIV

    WHSmithIV Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you're casting with a split mold that's not lined up perfectly which is why you're getting the crack in the head of the bullet in the next to last photo. The bullet in the last photo is OK - you are likely to always have a seam in a split cast mold but all you really look for is uniformity with the seam. Small imperfections can be tumbled or hand buffed out. Though I haven't hand casted bullets, I worked in a metal factory for a few years.

    About that seam... The two halves of the mold must come together with zero space between each half. Ideally, for pouring metal you want to pour molten metal into a closed mold. You cool the mold and the metal and bingo! a perfect cast. Open the mold and the bullet falls out.

    You should do your practice with lead for 2 reasons - one, it's cheap and two - it has a low melting point. The photos look like you may have been using copper for these bullets.
  4. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Third picture, scrape off the excess, make it smothe, and load it up! Last picture, load it up. Work with the mold to try and get it to a little tighter, but remember that the mold has to come to a temperature that is not to hot, or too clold. Check your temperature on the the furnice, your lead may be a little too hot.
  5. 1969SS396

    1969SS396 New Member

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    WHSmithIV, I am using lead, from wheel weights.

    I started it out on the level 7, I will turn it down a bit and see what happens.

    Thanks
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    take a stick of bullet lube and lubricate the sprue plate joint and the mold alignment pins with it while the mold is hot. you are having a block alignment issue. it also helps to tap the bottom edge of one of the block with your sprue dowel after you close the mold. that will ensure theyve seated together.

    Now you will also have to make sure lead didnt flow into the alignment pins too. This will keep the mold from closing properly as well.

    Only other advice i can offer is for you to make sure your melt is at teh proper temp. not hotter than 670 degrees. and that your molds are well smoked with a candle before casting.
  7. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    yes, you're getting frosting which means you're running too hot. THe seam is not a big deal, it's usually anywhere from invisible to huge whiskers. Huge whiskers or excess earns a trip back into the pot, but that small of one, load it up and shoot it, looks good.

    Don't get discouraged, I have days where it just doesn't go right and I have to turn off the pot and walk away to try again another day.
  8. 1969SS396

    1969SS396 New Member

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    Turned the heat down, used my wooden mallet to lightly tap on the mold before each pour, hoping to get better alignment.......here's my results, about 400 rounds of .44 cal. lead. Looks a lot better.

    Thanks guys!

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  9. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    Get a thermometer and wait after you charge the pot with another ingot till you get near 650. I think 670 will work but it's to hot for me. Those last bullets you did are good. Frost doesn't look good but for practice bullets they will work fine. I have shot some frosted LRN in 45ACP at a challenge match at our local club and was winning until I ran out of ammo. Pretty means you are doing everything right but minor glitches don't make them unshootable.
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Tumble them around in a bowl for a few minutes. those seems will disappear.
  11. DBMJR1

    DBMJR1 New Member

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    You ought to see some of the ones I fling down range.:D

    You're doing fine. All that will work out in the sizing die.
  12. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    those will make some fine ammo SS ! I don't cast myself, just have a friend who has all the equipment. It saves me $$ and the time spent is enjoyable. I am always scouring the parking lots and can usually get 1# - 1.5# of wheel wts a month just by keeping my eyes open.
  13. 1969SS396

    1969SS396 New Member

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    Thanks for the positive comments fellas.

    Josh, can I tumble them in my brass tumbler?
  14. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    yeah, those look good to me. Tiny bit of frosting still on a couple but no biggie at all. I wouldn't hesitate to launch those suckers
  15. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I dont see why not. Just dont use any media. They shouldnt have to run but 5 or 10 minutes.
  16. 1969SS396

    1969SS396 New Member

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    Your advice was right on, after ten minutes in the tumbler with no media, (other than the loud noise :D) the results were wonderful. :dance:
  17. dbach

    dbach Member

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    Get a thermometer. It will teach you many wonders. The numbers on the lead pot mean nothing.
  18. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  19. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Ive casted a couple bullets in my day. ;) and i do like pretty bullets.
  20. mikld

    mikld Active Member

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    Another thought; close the mold and hold it up to a light. You should see no light through the mating surfaces of the mold. Often s very small spec will get deposited on a matinf surface, holdi the mold open by a couple thousandthe of an inch. Lubing the alingning pins/bars is important too.

    BTW; Cast Boolits forum is an excellent source of info about everything dealing with cast bullets http://castboolits.gunloads.com/index.php
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
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