Got a bad mold or did I ?

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by Notrighty, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. Notrighty

    Notrighty Member

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    My lee 458 350 gr mold I just purchased seems to only cast 456 bullets. Not gonna work in my 45/70. I wonder if I can size them down to 452 and make a Casull load. Can’t find any load data for 345gr in any of my books. Of course I’m not asking for data to be posted but merely a point in the right direction. Also don’t know if I can force them thru a 452 sizer. All of my other Lee molds cast a little large but not this one. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
    Oldoutlaw likes this.
  2. primer1

    primer1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From a machinist perspective, it's a whole bunch easier to make a hole bigger than smaller. How many does it mold at a time? If it's only one, it could be easy to remove .001 off the surface ID to achieve your .458, not so much if it molds multiple bullets at once and keep them consistent between chambers.
     

  3. Oldoutlaw

    Oldoutlaw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First, call Lee and see what they tell you to do.
     
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  4. Notrighty

    Notrighty Member

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    Actually my Lee 405 gr mold drops right at 459 which is perfect for my 45/70. It’s a 2 bullet mold and I’m not a machinist. Just thinking I could use it for 452 or 453 which is where I size my Casull. I have a bunch of Lee 2 bullet molds and am happy with most but this one is way to small.
     
  5. Notrighty

    Notrighty Member

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    I pushed them thru the the 4525 die with a little effort and think I got a Casull bullet. Found a little info on line to get a starting load. Just a little heavier bullet than I’m used to and it’s not gas checked like my 300 gr so it’s just guessing till I see what it can do. Might be a pretty good close round for deer hunting .
     
  6. Oldoutlaw

    Oldoutlaw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    SOOO, is there a good reason you have not called Lee yet about the problem??
     
  7. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker Well-Known Member

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    There are three solutions I know of if Lee will not fix it for you.

    1. "Beagling". You take some aluminum foil tape (or glue on aluminum/brass shims), place it around the cavities, and it will keep the mold from closing completely. This results in bullets that are 0.01-0.03" larger, but they will not be perfectly round. This does not seem to hurt them much if any. I've tried it, and it works. The tape method is the easiest.

    http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/MoldMods/BDE.pdf

    2. Lapping. You cast a bullet and insert a screw/rod into the center of it so that it creates a handle/ something you can chuck into a drill. You then apply valve grinding compound to the bullet, and use it to enlarge the cavity of the mold. This is obviously permanent. It's also easy to mess up your mold, and will more than likely, round over any of the sharp corners in the mold design. I've done it with varying levels of success.

    3. Powder coating. If you powder coat your bullets, it will do three things. It will add 0.001"-0.002" of diameter to them, it will allow you to forgo using lube as the coating will act as a lube, and it will make your bullets look pretty. It's easy and fun to do. I use the shake and bake/dry tumble method. I recommend looking up Smoke4320 on Castboolits. He sells multiple colors of powder coat that are proven to work with cast bullets at good prices. Also order a pack of black plastic airsoft BBs from him. You need them for the shake and bake method. I am a fan of his translucent copper powder coat.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?252509-VS-Hi-Quality-Powdercoating-Powder-For-sale

    The time and temp you bake at is determined by the powder coat you use.

    Here's how Smoke recommends you dry tumble. I do it his way with great success.

    DO NOT use an oven you plan on using for food ever again. Powder coat puts out some nasty fumes when curing and you don't want any of that in your food. Use a dedicated toaster oven. I use a set of hemostats or a pair of needle nose pliers in place of gloves to pick up the bullets. Stick them base down on a cooking sheet that has been lined with non-stick foil.
     
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  8. Notrighty

    Notrighty Member

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    I did shoot an email to Lee haven’t heard back yet. If I can make a 454 Casull bullet and a 45/70 bullet by powder coating that sounds like a win. Can you use 2 coats of powder coat?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
  9. texaswoodworker

    texaswoodworker Well-Known Member

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    Going from 454 Casull (0.452) to 45-70 (0.458) is a heck of a jump. I don't think powdercoating would be the best way to go about that. Maybe paper patching instead? That's a whole thing by itself, and something I don't have experience doing.

    As for using two coats to get a little bit of extra thickness, maybe? Most people don't, and I couldn't really find a definitive answer. I did find one set of instructions that seem to make sense.

    https://www.artfulbullet.com/index.php?threads/powder-coat.1280/

    Dragonheart is still an active member over at Cast Boolits. I would hop over there and shoot him a PM. He'll probably be able to tell you more about his process.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/member.php?22311-Dragonheart
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  10. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry New Member

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    I have been treated very well by Lee on mold problems. It's hard to see how the molds could be that far out of specs seeing how the make molds. Lee must have really dropped the ball on those molds.
     
  11. Oldoutlaw

    Oldoutlaw Well-Known Member Supporter

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    After all of this, I suspect he ordered the wrong mold in the first place and used it. So, no return.
     
  12. Mowgli Terry

    Mowgli Terry New Member

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    This is not a good thing.
     
  13. Notrighty

    Notrighty Member

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    Took a while to get the powder coating down. After about 3 unsuccessful attempts I was able to get 2 coats and get the bullet up to 459. Once you get the hang of it you can make some really nice bullets. Already sized some down and loaded for the 454 so l guess the mold is a keeper. It takes a bit of hanging on the press handle to get from 456 to 452 though.
     
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