Amazing what a difference such a small tip made for me

BHuij

Active Member
In Veral Smith's book, he mentions pouring as large of a sprue as you can get away with, because this ends up making for better bases. I was already aware of the idea of pouring enough sprue to avoid incomplete fill-out from alloy contraction when it cools, but I tried this out last night with my Lee 55gr FP .225" 6-cavity mold, which has traditionally produced a LOT of rejects for me (>50%). It made a huge difference. The idea I think is that more sprue = longer cooling times = more time for the lead to remain liquid, give a really good fillout, and a level base before freezing. Works great.

Between that and refining my sense of when the best time is to break the sprue, and I think of the ~500 bullets I cast last night from this mold, I'm going to have a much higher keeper rate than normal.

These bullets will be culled mercilessly, then sized/gas checked, powder coated, and finally heat treated to around 30 BHN. The design has a lot of shortcomings for trying high velocity work, but I'm going to see how fast I can get them through my AR and still maintain 2 MOA. I've done 2700+ FPS with them, but only gotten about 5 MOA, not good enough even for satisfying plinking for me.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I got 4 MOA at around 2700 fps PC/GC, wish you luck. The bases do crater badly on the Lee bullets if you cut the sprue too soon, it's a tearout issue more than suction void. Veral mentions thin sprue plates, and he's right. You want the alloy to be your heat source, not the sprue plate. Big puddle, wash out the puddle as much as you can before letting it build into a sprue, and sharpen the plate by dressing the back side.
 

waco

Springfield, Oregon
I have used the proper counter sink to sharpen sprue holes on a few molds over the years. Helps with the "tear"
 

Intheshop

Well-Known Member
Wallet groups out of several rigs with the Lee 225-55rf ,2 holer.Medium to small puddle,bttm pour old Lyman 10# .Propane torch used as more of a "threat" but,it does get used once in awhile to bring mould back up to temp. Run hot on melt,add sprues back to cut temp back. Definitely not a relaxing mould to pour with.

Once they hit the loading room......

I'm still not satisfied with the base quality.... even after sprue plate flatten/tune. But,GC seating has to be taken much more seriously than larger cals. My base size is perfect with Hornady checks.... use an old jewelers C press to lightly preseat the checks before sending them to the semi-swager. This C press utilizing std top punches.... and the base part has serious potential.....

Was in a hurry... doh,usual M.O. and the first base plate insert saw me not on center when lathe cutting.So it left the telltale, nib on center. Before icing it,said what the hay and let's try it. Sure enough, it transfers to the GC base. This has some real potential. Without going into some painful pedantic statistics, off center divots,showed up on paper. Dead center,also showed up(bragging groups).... but it's an end user thing. Your rig may not care?

Moving through the sizing op,manipulate the bore rider section with a full support ho-made top punch. No size,as cast middle section... VERY slight rebated or reduced GC area. I'm using a 225 lower size die,but limit bullets depth to bare minimum,get the check on.... sized.... stop.

No lube to speak of..... sort of like the torch,threaten the bullet with some 3/1 (BW/Vaseline)..... on the tip of a pen knife blade.

Seating is critical..... pat. pending A/B inline seater,paying particular attention to seating pressure..... looking for <.001 runout on mildly prepped cases. Go spank some big mouth JB shooters. Nothing to it. Good luck with your project. BW
 

S Mac

SW Mo
It's a fine line for me, finding the sweet spot to cut the sprue, too early or too late crater or divot. Once in a groove they turn out well.
 
Reactions: Ian

popper

Well-Known Member
One of the problems with 6 hole moulds, you don't get to cut the sprue at the proper time. Try 2 or 3 holes and see how much better the reject rate gets. You don't want divits or pimples but waiting too long and you get a clean but angled cut from the plate lifting. I also drop the mould on the bench to 'impact' alloy into the base when liquid. Look at the cut, if it looks sheared, too cool.
 

Chris

Well-Known Member
Veral sure helped the casting world when he wrote his book. He practices what he preaches: take a look at the deep wells on the sprue plate, they hold a heck of a puddle. Also they are very sharp and make a nice clean cut. Photo is for guys who may not have seen an LBT mold.

I wish these plates were available to retrofit on other molds, they make better bullets.IMG_9265.jpg
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
There are several specific features of the LBT sprue plate that are easy to overlook. He explains those features in his book.
 

Intel6

New Member
I am fortunate to have some of Veral's moulds and I have always been impressed with them. I didn't have much experience casting with a lot of different moulds when I fell into a smoking deal on some of his moulds. When I first tried them I was speechless about how great they were. I also really like the sprue plate on his moulds. If you look at them they are surface ground on the underside so they are nice and flat on the top of the mould and they cut really nicely.
 

Chris

Well-Known Member
There are several specific features of the LBT sprue plate that are easy to overlook. He explains those features in his book.
I thumbed through the book real quick, it has been many years since I've studied it. I found quite a lot on pages 63-68 but there might be more. Guys, refresh your memory if you have the book.

I had initially thought to scan parts of the book pertinent to sprue plate and post it, but there is enough info there to exceed fair use of his material. If you don't own the book then you really should buy a copy.

I continue to think that Veral's idea of a sprue plate is superior to others on the market. Also, for you older computer literate guys: how about his book copied from dot matrix printer output? Now that is old school.
 

waco

Springfield, Oregon
I don’t remember off the top of my head. I’ll try to find the countersink tomorrow at work.
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
I, too, have had very good results with a number of Veral's molds. Good designs
and well executed.

Bill
 

stubshaft

New Member
The other aspect of Veral's sprue system is the little spring "finger" that holds the sprue plate down. He used to sell them alone years ago and I retrofitted them on Lyman and RCBS molds.
 

BHuij

Active Member
Honestly I could use one of those. My 9mm 6-cavity mold has gotten to the point where it almost always "fins" a bit between the sprue plate and the bullet base on one or two cavities. I have tried brushing the sprue plate down with a brass brush, tightening the screw, etc. but it's not getting the job done. Ends up being inconsequential because I'm not precision shooting 9mm anyway, and the "fins" always bend out when they go through the sizing die. But it is annoying. Maybe this is the excuse I needed to buy the 120gr TC mold instead of my 124gr RN TL.
 

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
I believe he got that idea from the Cramer moulds. They had a hold down similar to his, but it wasn't a spring. I like the spring idea a little better myself.
 

GRMPS

Active Member
I've heard of people having good luck using one of the hones in this set


Just remember to smooth the back of the sprue plate before re-assembly