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I've been casting bullets only a short time and so far it's been going great. Until today. After casting all the .30 cal bullets I needed, I decided to cast a few 9mm bullets with my new mold since I had alloy left in the pot. I cast about 6 to warm up the mold but it needed lots more warming up so I put the sprue plate in the melt for a few seconds. When I went to pull it out I saw that the whole mold had slid down in the melt. It was very hot so I let it cool a little then started casting. That's when I noticed the bullets were not smooth but rough looking.Not wrinkled but looked like there was dirt stuck to them. Then I saw very tiny specks of lead soldered to the inside cavity of the mold and on the face of the mold. I tried scrubbing with a nylon brush and various solvents to no avail. I think I've ruined the mold as I can't see it coming off without scraping it and that will further ruin it. Any ideas or just toss it and spend another $25 for another one?
 
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Joe, if you can, throw up a picture or two of what you are talking about. I used to stick the mold or part of it in the lead to warm it up and I don't recall seeing anything like you are describing.
 

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Thanks George....When my wife gets home I'll ask her to help me post some pics of it.
Edit: I wish I had saved a bullet or 2 but I threw them all back in the melt and unplugged the pot.
 

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Update: I went back out to the shop to cast a few bullets for the pics and instead spent about an hour messing with that 9mm mold. It's not the debri in the mold causing the ugly bullets, they are wrinkling. No matter the temp of that mold or the melt, they wrinkle. I have cast around 3-400 bullets up until now and have never had a wrinkling problem (except when the mold isn't up to temp) with any of my other 3 molds...all 3 drop pristine bullets except this 9mm mold. My crushed right hand thats in a cast hurts so bad now after swinging that wooden mallet with it to get the stubborn bullets to release, I'm now ready to throw the mold into the woods. But I can't throw it with my left hand. Now I just want an ibuprofen the size of a urinal wafer and turn on the TV.
 
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Did you skim all the crud off the top of the lead before you started casting? Whatever it is it should come off if you dunk the open mold in a pot of lead.
He said he had just finished casting his 30 cal bullets and decided to run the rest of the pot on pistol bullets. So yes.
 

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If what you have is a steel mold , then that's an easy fix.
Use a Dremel wire brush on the adheard to parts. The wire wheel will remove the stuck on lead and not hurt the mold.
Be very careful at the edges of where the mold halfs comes together. ( note, you may use up a few steel rotory brushes )
 

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Joe, What did you do to your hand!?
Not something I'm proud of.....But I occasionally have a bad temper and.....No-one involved but me and at least as far as I know there's only one way to get a double compound "boxers fracture". 2 plates, 12 screws and all. Embarrassing!
 
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He mentioned $20 is the cost of the mold, so I'm guessing Lee aluminum.

Treat it like it's brand new. Get some lighter fluid and a q-tip and decrease it. Then light a candle and smoke the heck out of the inside.

Then try casting again. See if that cured the problem.
 

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Ahhhh, Grampa used to ask when’s the last time you hurt yourself doing something smart? Sounds like you really did a number on yourself. How long ago was this?
about 3 weeks ago but he waited a week to do the surgery so 2 weeks ago was the operation. What your Grampa asked was words of wisdom. I'm 61 and should know better. Again I have been extremely embarassed at what I did. The worst part for me is what I decided to hit was our most favorite sentimental peice of furniture. It was my Great-Great Grandmother's beautiful oak hall tree that has been around since before Sherman strolled by. It's lasted all these years without damage until I broke 3 seperate peices off of it.
On the mold, I haven't given up on it yet. Ya'll have given me some ideas to at least get the peicesof lead off of the flat mold face. I have a plastic scraper (yes the mold is aluminum) that I think I can scrape the lead bit off with that but not the inside of the cavity where the lead is poured. I don't have to get them perfect (the bullets), because as bad a pistol shot as I am slight imperfections likely won't matter. As long as the bullets exit the barrell in the right general direction then I doubt I'll know any difference.:)
 
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You said the whole mold dropped into the melt, blocks and all? At the price of the mold you mentioned it about has to be a Lee. If you don't get the flecks out with a gentle brush in a Dremel type tool as it's aluminum my guess is it's toast. I accidently gotten a Lyman mold so hot it still looks as if it was fire blued and it still casts fine but, it's iron and didn't end up in the pot.
 
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You said the whole mold dropped into the melt, blocks and all? At the price of the mold you mentioned it about has to be a Lee. If you don't get the flecks out with a gentle brush in a Dremel type tool as it's aluminum my guess is it's toast. I accidently gotten a Lyman mold so hot it still looks as if it was fire blued and it still casts fine but, it's iron and didn't end up in the pot.
You nailed it Vic. Aluminum Lee dbl cavity dropped all the way in the melt. As you, I fear it may be toast. I'm gonna mess with it a little more but not much. It's really hard to tell if the non-smooth bullets are some form of wrinkling or if it's the soldered in tiny lead peices. I know on the machined face of the mold it is lead stuck to it because I could scape peices of lead off with a soft scraper but it looks like it would be a real project to try to remove all of the stuck lead. As far as the bullet sections of the mold, I don't know if I could ever remove it from there. I didn't know that lead could be made to stick to aluminum but under the right circumstances it will.
 

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Just thinking out of the box here. What would happen if you took a propane torch to try and melt that stuck-on lead?
 

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I don't see where putting the whole mold in the melt would hurt it. Seems to me since lead melts at a lower temp than aluminum dunking the open mold back in the melt would melt off the lead particles. It's not like they would be embedded in the aluminum.
 

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Just thinking out of the box here. What would happen if you took a propane torch to try and melt that stuck-on lead?
I've done that on some iron molds. Lead melts at 621F, Aluminum around 660F? I don't know if Lee molds are an alloy though. Propane torch can double that temp easy, and MAP gas can double that too.
 

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Trap, aluminum melts at around 1100 degrees if I remember right from casting the stuff in metal shop class back in high school, we had a small foundry set up.
 
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