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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to the old time Cowboy spirit within our Pard, Goatlips, I got to run off my first batch of Snakebite's smaller variation of my PRS .45Colt boolit. I had some concerns about some other posts I had seen with the .38 bullet in that the bases appeared to come out of the molds with a flashing skirt that required sizing to eliminate. Goatlips had evidently run into some trouble with his too because he had much lead alloy soldered to the faces of the mold plate halves that were keeping it from closing all the way and he had some galling around the sprue cutter pivit. I dismantled his mold and soaked the halves in Coleman fuel. Then I took a fine dental pick and gently raised the offending lead splatter out of the face's swirled mating pattern. I went ahead and cleaned the mold up and pre-heated it. I lubed the pins and pivots and hinge with NRA allox lube. I smoked the cavities with a wood splint.

Got down to casting. Not too good! I could tell the sprue cutter plate was not cutting flush with the mold blocks and that was leaving that thin skirt I had heard others talk about and like what the pic on the other posting showed. Also, the danged bullets were not popping out of the mold like they should when I opened it and shook the handles. Back to the drawing board. I gently milled the galled area where the sprue cutter pivots and I replaced the sprue cutter plate lock stud at the other end. Re-lubed and re-smoked and she was doing a whole lot better. The bullets were still a bit stubborn about faling alll the out of the mold cavities, but they were seperating from the cavities at the base and only that long nose was tending to stick a bit. No big deal, but slows ya down and ya lose mold heat. I cast 15 pounds of WW alloy bullets ( you do the math to see how many bulllets that is ( I have not even weighed them yet). I'm going to polish up the mill work and lap the cavities just a tad and then cast more later. I'll lay in a good supply and then send this little treasure back to Goatlips.

Like the original, this mold loved the heat. I almost always rested it back on teh pot edge to allow the alloy to freeze and rarely used the heat sink.
 

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Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

Dang it, Pigeonroost, I purposefully bent that sprue cutter out a bit so as to leave that purty skirt on the boolits! After ya size 'em Lee fashion it leaves a nice cup on the bottom to grip the rifling! Hadda flare my brass out an extry eighth of an inch to get 'em seated easier. Don't know why ya'd have to clean the mold after I wire brushed it so well. :roll:

I do 'preciate yer help and skill. Knew I wuz gettin' deeper in the hole the more I was bangin' on the hinge pin and everywheres else. They came out better with a hot mold, and I'm used to frosty, but I got a lot to learn 'bout 'luminum and gentleness. Yer great post on casting with six holers appeared shortly after I needed ta see it..... When it's time, send me back a perfect boolit so I'll have a benchmark - "somethin' ta shoot for!"

Goatlips
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

Goatlips wrote: "Dang it, Pigeonroost, I purposefully bent that sprue cutter out a bit so as to leave that purty skirt on the boolits! After ya size 'em Lee fashion it leaves a nice cup on the bottom to grip the rifling! Hadda flare my brass out an extry eighth of an inch to get 'em seated easier. Don't know why ya'd have to clean the mold after I wire brushed it so well."

PRS responds; "Harrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" :)

I hope there was a goodly measure of jest in your above quoted statement. The sprue plate was bent a tad. I reckon ya can bend it again if'n ya want?!?!?!?!?!???

I also found two factory defects on on of the block halves and maybe other folks want or need to look for these common mold faults (not just Lee, others too). (1.) A guide pin was not fully seated in one block half and the shoulder of that pin was contacting the rim of the pin guide bushing in the mating block half -- this kept the mold from closing totally. (2.) A similar, defect was noted on the same block half at the other end. there the pin guide bushing for the pin of the opposite block was seated well, but a tiny bit of of the aluminium block material was mashed over its shoulder and keeping that end of the block from fully closing too. No wonder Goatlips was getting alloy stuck to the block faces -- there was an actual tiny gap between them. I used a press to seat the offending pin and the dental tool to clean up the shoulder of the other pin guide.

Close inspection in a darkened room with a bright light shining into the cavities continued to show just a wee bit of daylight at one end. There was a slight ding on the edge of the mold block end of just one half as if that mold half had been dropped or bumped (ya gotta be careful with molds that way) and another lesser defect where the sprue handle fulcrum had pinched the mold block (opening the sprue handle with very well cooled alloy?) The damaged areas of the mold block mating surfaces were removed (you can do that so long as the damage does not abutt a cavity and the "daylight" disappeared.

Goatlips mentioned cleaning the mold faces with a wire brush and folks have done that without real damage, I am told; but ya don't have to and ya should not IMHO. I should have put this into my "tips" posting. Bullet lube and lead splatter do have ways of getting onto the surfaces of the mold blocks and sprue plate. They can build-up and interfere with the quality of the castings or operation of the molds. This is very easily cleared while the molds are at working temp. Simply take a clean dry cotton rag or cotton terry cloth and wipe the entire mold clean just like plumbers wipe sweat soldered joints. Wear gloves! The brown Jersy cotton gloves are excellent for bullet casting -- just keep them dry! If your alloy has any trace of antimony or arsenic in it at all, it should come right off on the cloth and not solder to the mold (that is why solder is free of those elements). Aluminium molds really don't solder much anyway. Even those fancy swirl patterns on the Lee mold block faces wipe clean easily. If lube gets in a cavity, ya got to stop, let it cool, and clean it -- unless yer real patient and want to let the casting slowly burn it away as you cast.


Ready to cast again when I get time.

prs
 

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Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

:D Howdy ,
I've found that if you clean the underside of the spru plate and the top of the mold real well and then take a lead pencil and cover these surfaces with lead it keeps the casting lead from building up . :wink:
 

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Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

Hay prs,
Most everything I sez is in jest includin' the wire brush (like I clean rust off lawn furniture with!)as steel outranks 'luminum evr'y time. Ya never fail to amaze me wit' yer expertise. Most folks have never seen a wiped joint and I'll sure never make another one! As you can see, I'm mighty green in this endeavour and your casting posts are printed and added to my lead pot box. Thanks fer the diagnosis! Sorry ya needed to spend the time workin' instead o' castin' but what one is good at, one enjoys.

An' thanks to Slug fer that graphite tip, why couldn't I think o' that? (please don't answer that :lol: )

Goatlips
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

Cast some more Snakebite .38's last evening. The bullets were perfectly formed and no fins and are still round and evenly weighted; BUT I still had a Dickens if a time getting them to fall out of the mold. The three central cavities were particularly stubborn! :x

I did NOT do the lapping job I had promised (got lazy or chickened out). I will do it now and report back. Lappind is done by gently HAND spinning a cast bullet from the particular cavity in question in the closed mold. The cast bullet and mold cavity are first coated with fine valve lapping compound and then the bullet is turned clockwise only for a few turns and then inspection. this removes any rough spots, but does not alter the dimensios enough to detect. I use the little machine screw ended bits sold by Dremmel, but NOT the Dremmel tool -- I chuck it up in a T handle. I have only had to do this once before, but it did work well. Fingers Crossed. If'n I screw-up Goatlip's rig; then we will definitely have a new order for these going out to Lee. :roll:

Don't y'all pray fer me to foul-up jest 'cause ya wnats one too! :)

Anybody else have trouble getting this mold to drop its bullets out? Other 6 cavity molds I have just spit them right out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

Following a very gentle hand lapping, the mold dropped its load much easier.

prs
 

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Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

Glad to hear ya got the mold workin' properly, Pigeonroost! I just brought about 120 lbs. of loaded rounds to the Florida camp, can't wait to start usin' 'em but it's rainy. Glad to be back on line.

Now when ya gonna go buy a new .357 arsenal? I was once told that my BP .357's were TOO HOT fer the range targets!

Goatlips
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

Hey Ho ya Ole Snowbird!

If'n I get a new rig o' irons to shoot them little ole peas in, maybe I better get the .38 Spcl. soze as not to disturb the peace so much! Harrrrrrr. I wonder what they would think about full house .45 Colt!

I'm just about at the time of year where I really get side tracked by my kids sports activities. What the heck, they're only kids for a short time.

Tell ya what, when ya get back north and need yer mold; remind me to include a sample of the new lube I'm work'n on. You won't believe your eyes and nose! May not shoot worth road apples, I dunno yet.

Don't get all sun burned like a dadburned tourist!

prs :)
 

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Got to cast with Snbakebite/PRS .38 mold to

PRS,

Next time you run into a cantankerous mold like that, try smoking 'em with a candle before polishing 'em up.

I use a nice, skinny, long, tapered candle to smoke my molds. I can never get enough smoke from a wooden match before I burn my fingertips.

Using the candles I get them babies completely black. Flat black. Black as a Stealth fighter (maybe that's what produces Stealth bullets).
 
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