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Discussion Starter #23
I can't find a replacement anywhere so I will try to clean this one. Ya'll have given me several ideas to try. I'm not afraid of dunking it back in the melt to see if I can maybe wipe it with a cotton cloth while it's still melted. I have a few other ideas too if that fails. Are there any solvents that actually work in helping remove leading from a barrel? I think probably not.
 
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Aluminum melts at 1220.666 F at sea level. As elevation increases, the melting point increases, but this is moot regarding this issue.

What mite be the problem is that the molds mite of had a contaminant that carbonized on the surface. Aluminum has a very large grain structure compared to most metals and in some circumstances the carbon will glom at the aluminum grain boundaries causing a long corbon chain that can be difficult to break. If the aluminum has a frosted appearance this could be the case. You could try diluted muriatic acid to clean the surface. 1 part muriatic acid to 10 parts distilled water. Try this on a small spot on exterior of the mold first. Apply it with a Q tip. Do this out doors and be up wind of the work because muriatic acid in a higher concentration will break the atomic bond between the oxygen atoms and the hydrogen atoms of water creating a noxious white vapor cloud. Allow it to soak for a minute or so then scrub littlely. Rince with distilled water after a few minutes. The only problem with this is as it will create a pitted surface that will look in its self frosted, so it maybe hard to recognize from the contaminated surface. The surface would need to be polished/burnished with a harden steel aluminum burnishing tools which can be bought as a set from most machinist supply retailers. These tool sets I have used to burnish/polish aluminum low volume prototype injection molds for plastic car parts. Don’t use an aluminum polish as you would be imbedding the surface with another contaminant.

To tell the truth, this maybe more work and expensive then what a new set of $25 molds would be worth. Next time, wash the new molds with acetone.
 

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Don't dunk the mold in the melt, hold a corner of it in the melt. If you dunk it, I bet you'll only be adding to your difficulties. I'm not very optimistic for you but good luck.
 
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You dip a corner of an ALUMINUM mold in the melt to heat up the mold. You place a steel or brass mold on the top of the pot to heat it up.
 

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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?
You probably got the aluminum hot enough to take the lead just like when you solder electric wires to a aluminum tab or circuit board connector pod. You will have to desolder it. You will have to heat it up enough for the lead to flow out of the aluminum.

Suggest to use a LP plumbing torch or a small butane torch. Might mount the torch in a vise just tight enough so you free up you hands to handle the mold. Just use a small flame - just enough to get the heat you need and dont get to close to it when heating. Open the mold and spot heat the areas with the lead enough only for the lead to flow. Upside down is best. Once lead beads tap the mold holding it with the leaded side down on the bench so the lead rolls off. Do one side of the mold at a time.

If you put it back in the lead pot and get it hot enough for the lead to release from the aluminum you will likely cause more lead to stick to the mold.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Contaminates may be the issue. After casting all the .308 bullets I wanted there was lots of alloy still in the pot. Just on a whim I grabbed the new 9mm mold and stuck the sprue plate in the pot to get it hot. Thats when it slid down and the blocks went in too for 10-15sec. When I took it out I immediatelly poured the mold full. I noticed the sprue took probably a full 30sec to harden. Wow it was HOT! That's when the problem arose and I just remembered in my haste to try out the mold I failed to clean it first like I did all the others. That's likely why the lead stuck to it.
 

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I was going to suggest a brass hand held brush until you mentioned it was a Lee mold. You might try to warm the mold up and try a stiff nylon brush. That along with Alpo's suggestion might do the trick. I only have one Lee mold that I like and use - a 405 grain HB .45 mold for the .45-70. The rest of mine are Lyman molds.
 

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Contaminates may be the issue. After casting all the .308 bullets I wanted there was lots of alloy still in the pot. Just on a whim I grabbed the new 9mm mold and stuck the sprue plate in the pot to get it hot. Thats when it slid down and the blocks went in too for 10-15sec. When I took it out I immediatelly poured the mold full. I noticed the sprue took probably a full 30sec to harden. Wow it was HOT! That's when the problem arose and I just remembered in my haste to try out the mold I failed to clean it first like I did all the others. That's likely why the lead stuck to it.
Yes, it could be slag stuck to it. If it is slag you may have to throw the mold away. It will be very difficult to remove w/o destroying the mold.

Slag does stick to dippers the same way. I usually have to brush it off but it is steel or iron and I dont have to worry about changing the shape - its just a spoon.

Maybe just drop another 21$ for a replacement and chock it up as a lesson from the school of hard knocks?
 

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Discussion Starter #34
After trying numerous ways to clean the mold, I was finally about to give up when I saw my dispenser full of razor blades. I thought what have I got to lose? Luckily I was able to gently scrape the aluminum and I got almost all of it off. Afterwards I was able to cast 200 + or - decent bullets with it. They aren't perfect but will work for my plinking bullets. I don't know why but this mold just doesn't want to release the outermost bullet from it's cavity. I've tried numerous smoking with a candle but nothing seems to help. I have to rap on the hinge bolt 10-12 times with the wooden mallet to get it to drop. I haven't experienced this with any of my other 3 molds. Thanks for the help guys, Joe
 

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Google Leementing Lee molds. Just follow the instructions in the post. This may cure your problem.

Read post #2.
 

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Did you smoke the mold before using it? How about a little wax in the lead before you start casting. It will help release and I do it every few hundred rounds. Your bullets will just drop out of your mold if you do these things.

As far as aluminum molds from Lee go, I've loaded many thousands of rounds on them. I use a 6 cavity mold for my 9 mm and for my .38s. Shooting competitively I want a lot a ammo for each casting session.

The wrinkles mean you mold is too hot. Let it cool back down. Are you using temperature gage. It helps to keep the temperature as close as possible. I like + or - 10 degrees. 5 degrees is better if you have a good melter.
 
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