New Caster

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
Word of warning, this especially applies to Lee moulds- As you cast you may smear a little alloy onto the top of the blocks or bottom of the sprue plate. Carefully (it's REALLY HOT!) go after that smear with some 4/0 steel wool and then hit that spot, if you want, with a carpenters pencil. A little graphite seems to cover the raw metal and prevent further sticking/smearing. There is probably a newer way of dealing with it, but a cheap caprenters pencil works as good now as it did 40 years ago. If you don't fix it ASAP you run the risk of galling the aluminum. Lee moulds are very soft. Do not apply any forms of "mould release" spray on type snake oil. Just work at keeping the mould in good shape for now. The mould will surely stain and be discolored, and that's fine. But you don't want galling, so watch for it. It tends to happen more often if you aren't waiting quite long enough for the sprue to harden. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt! ;)
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
A very light wipe, just the barest trace, of a synthetic 2 stroke oil on a Q-tip on the bottom of a lead
smeared sprue plate will also clear up the lead in a couple of casts, IME.

But, Bret is exactly correct, the soft aluminum can be damaged if this is not taken care of quickly.

Dang, Bret, I didn't know there was a T-shirt....I qualified and never got mine. ;)

Bill
 
Last edited:

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
I have a number of Lee molds which have given good service for many years. I do not always
like all of their designs, but some have worked well for me. Notably the 120gr TC 9mm conventional
lube, and the 105 .38 SWC, which I have also used in 9mm. A few others have done pretty well, too.

Bill
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ian

Bill

Member
I love my lee molds, if it wasn't for lee I never would have cast a single bullet, the first one was for my 44 mag back in the early 70s, I took it home and in 20 min. I had perfect looking bullets, then I spent the next 10 pre internet years trying to make a 427 bullet shoot in a 429 gun. Lucky for me all the rest of them did ok. I was mighty poor in those days and now I have molds from all different makers, even custom ones, but I never would have cast that first bullet if not for mister lee

Bill
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ian

Ian

Well-Known Member
I probably wouldn't have become so involved in bullet casting if I hadn't been able to upgrade from a gas stove to a 20-lb furnace for $40 (at the time). There were a lot of years there where I just couldn't swing $300+ for a Lyman or RCBS.
 

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
How many of us started with a Lee "Whack A Mole" hand loading outfit? Lee isn't my #1 go to supplier of things reloading, especially moulds, but the majority of the Lees I do have have been nice moulds at bargain prices.
 

CZ93X62

Redlands, Kalifornistan
What Bret said, regarding the Lee moulds. Most of mine have given good service, esp. the truncated-cone autopistol designs. You need to treat them delicately and be mindful of timing with the sprue plate swings. Gloved hand is best, and I have a rawhide mallet in case of need--but I seldom require its intervention once the mould is up to temp and things are cranking along. Just a little wooden match smoke to the cavities to slow the heat transfer from the poured metal to the mould block usually suffices to stabilize production rates and prevent mallet usage.
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
I probably wouldn't have become so involved in bullet casting if I hadn't been able to upgrade from a gas stove to a 20-lb furnace for $40 (at the time). There were a lot of years there where I just couldn't swing $300+ for a Lyman or RCBS.
I started with the RCBS pot and it wasn't $300, was $75. and I still have and use it :) Next pot was a used Lyman for $25 which I loaned out, he still has and uses it. I think he thinks it's his by now. Oh well, at least he's casting. Next pot was a Magma and it was more than $300 and was some of the best money I've sunk into casting.

I knew my post would get the LEE lovers twisting in the wind but I do not buy any tool to see how much fiddling, fixing and aggravation it will take to get it to do what I bought it for.
 

358156 hp

Well-Known Member
I knew my post would get the LEE lovers twisting in the wind but I do not buy any tool to see how much fiddling, fixing and aggravation it will take to get it to do what I bought it for.
And come up with pet names for their fixes while bragging about how much work they put into a mould to make it work for its marketed purpose? Kind of sounds like British car aficionados.
 

RBHarter

West Central AR
I've said it many times . Lee makes tools to do a job and they do the job . In dies I'd say that 60%+ of the time it's worth the other $20 to buy RCBS , Lyman etc . For me in moulds I've had 2 that we're just complete junk failure a couple of .375 RB . They were fine except for that tangical cutoff . That made the .365 and left a gap if they didn't get seated straight up/down I'd a 36 cal 1858 Rem .

The 40 cal mould was faster , cast 3 times as many bullets and shot the same groups as the LBT mould .

Yeah , I would rather spend the other $35-50 for a mixed 4 or 5C NOE and certainly for most rifle bullets not available in 6C . But for pistol bullets that shoot as well as bigger names it just doesn't make sense to spend $75-150 when I can hit a sale and get it for $38 .
$70 for an iron single ......... I guess if it's one you really want . That was of course what made me buy the first NOE was trying to buy a 2C 27-135 I could use in a paper patch for a 7×6.8 and the 5C NOE 285-150 was only $10 more when they got done gouging me for shipping on the 27-135 . I'd already tried a "shoe box of junk" 284-130 with marginal success , it just doesn't like Lovern style bullets papered or not .
 

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
Lee is the Harbor Freight of the reloading world. They make stuff that works...mostly. I can't possibly justify many specialized name brand tools, like a $600 hydruaulic gear puller, something that is darn near required on rusty 40 year old implements that have never seen a shed or much oil. But I can swing the HF version for $75 and the freakin' thing works like magic. Same with Lee $20 something for a mould or $50-75? Not too many people start out with a 450 hp muscle car for their first ride...