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    • #27810
      Chris C
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      I’m having a problem with casting a 270 gr bullet for my C. Sharps Highwall, .38-55. I wonder if you’d take the time to look at this thread on CastBoolits and make your observations.

      http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?306740-Bullets-casting-light!

      Chris

    • #27815
      chutesnreloads
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      Got any pictures of your rejects?

    • #27816
      Chris C
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      Nope……….they all have gone back in the melt. They are just results of not filling the mold, i.e. rounded edges where they should be sharp or dents in the lube grooves.

    • #27817
      oldblinddog
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      If that is an aluminum mold, and I suspect it is from reading the thread on CBF, then I agree with the comment about boiling to get the oil or other contaminants off the mold. After that, I would go through another break in cycle. Put your mold in the oven in the kitchen on 450* for at least an hour and then cool down. Do this at least four times. The mold pins should heat blue if you’ve done this correctly.

      As for alloy, if you like your alloy then keep your alloy. If you want it heavier, add pure lead. However, as long as your bullets are coming out of the mold at the correct size then you are okay.

      When casting with aluminum molds, both mold and alloy have to stay hot. I dip the end of the sprueplate into the melt to make sure it is up to temp as well as this can be the culprit.

      Last, and this is personal opinion, I prefer iron molds as they are much easier to cast with. I hope you don’t mind me answering your question, but I have had the same problems with aluminum molds as you have had. In fact, I have begun to sell off my aluminum molds ( all NOE ) and replace them with an equivalent Accurate mold in iron.

    • #27818
      Chris C
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      Yes, it’s aluminum. It’s been boiling for the past 15 minutes. I know about the “4 cycles in the oven at 450 degrees” process………………..have done it with all my molds. But my pins have never turned blue. (?????)

    • #27819
      Wright Arms
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      I agree with the comparison of aluminum and iron moulds. I realize many folks use and love aluminum moulds, and that’s all well and good. But I MUCH prefer iron.

    • #27820
      oldblinddog
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      If they haven’t, they will when you dip that sprueplate in the melt.

    • #27821
      Chris C
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      Finished boiling it. The whole mold turned black! (????) Cleaned it off with dishwashing liquid and Barkeepers Friend. The flat surfaces look pretty much like they did when the mold arrived, but the cavities are dark gray. It’s in the oven for the first hour of treatment. Wife is screamin’ because I’m “taking over” her oven. :p

    • #27822
      Uncle Grinch
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      All else fails….. Try coating the inside of the mould with Kroil with a que-tip. It’s been know to have amazing results.

    • #27824
      Chris C
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      I’ll keep that in the pile of voo-doo things to try. Thanks.

    • #27825
      reloader762
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      Broke in an ran two new aluminium moulds today one an NOE and the other a Lee. Cleaned them both with mineral spirits,then washed them with soap an hot water and ran them through three heat & cool down cycles. Cast up a couple hundred good bullets once I got them up to the temp they liked. I didn’t have to cull many probably around 20 or less.

      I like my aluminium moulds never had any real issues casting with them as I have around 15 of them. Generally I find that by my second or third casting secession and I learn what a particular mould likes I’m casting good bullets fairly quick with only a couple of culls.

      As others have mentioned getting the machining oil out of the metal and figuring out what temp your mould and alloy works best together at is key to successful casting. It just takes practice an remembering what you learn as you go.

    • #27832
      Goodsteel
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      Here’s a quote from your thread on CBF (and holy freaking cow at the replies).

      I recently had a custom mold made. The bullet was intended to weigh 270 gr to fit the 1-14 twist in my .38-55, 1885 Highwall. Instead of 270 gr, my bullets are coming out of the mold at around 266 gr. I didn’t mix my lead, but have had the BHN read at 15………which, from what I’ve learned, is probably a Lyman #2. And the 250 gr bullets from another mold (same mold maker) drop at about 244 gr. Is the problem with me, or the mold maker? First off, I’m wondering why the bullets are so much lighter and second, I’m wondering how to get them to increase in weight a little bit. They are only 1 1/2% light, but I was hoping for the full 270 gr for stabilization in that twist.

      I have some issues that I would like you to clear up before I can help you.

      1. You say it’s a custom mold. I want to know who made it.
      2. The weight of the bullet has absolutely nothing to do with the bullet’s suitability for your twist rate. Only length matters. I want to know how long your bullets are.
      3. 15 BHN does NOT equal Lyman #2. 15 BHN is achievable with a whole host of alloys. I want to know what the characteristics of your alloy is,
      4. Two molds from the same maker, both light in weight. Don’t care. What diameter and length?
      5. I will restate in reply to your last comment above: Bullet weight has absolutely NOTHING to do with stability. Its merely a coincidence of material vs diameter and length that makes the weight a reality. It’s possible that the molds were intended to be used with pure lead, in which case, any alloy will cast lighter, but they will all be the same length which is what you are after,

      If a projectile is made of aluminum, and an identical projectile is made of tungsten carbide, they will be vastly different in weight, but they will both require the same RPM to stabilize them in flight. By switching alloys, it is very possible for us to manipulate our bullets to do many many things, but as long as we use a bullet that is the maximum length required to stablize in our twist rate, or shorter, life is good and we are blessed.

      If you would like to have a more in depth conversation about this, do give me a call: 479-445-3989.

    • #27837
      badbob454
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      well said Goodsteel ; the weight difference is a minimal variance of the shooters desired weight. and i wouldn’t blink twice about using it.

    • #27840
      Chris C
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      Goodsteel;n6834 wrote: Here’s a quote from your thread on CBF (and holy freaking cow at the replies).

      I have some issues that I would like you to clear up before I can help you.

      1. You say it’s a custom mold. I want to know who made it.
      2. The weight of the bullet has absolutely nothing to do with the bullet’s suitability for your twist rate. Only length matters. I want to know how long your bullets are.
      3. 15 BHN does NOT equal Lyman #2. 15 BHN is achievable with a whole host of alloys. I want to know what the characteristics of your alloy is,
      4. Two molds from the same maker, both light in weight. Don’t care. What diameter and length?
      5. I will restate in reply to your last comment above: Bullet weight has absolutely NOTHING to do with stability. Its merely a coincidence of material vs diameter and length that makes the weight a reality. It’s possible that the molds were intended to be used with pure lead, in which case, any alloy will cast lighter, but they will all be the same length which is what you are after,

      If a projectile is made of aluminum, and an identical projectile is made of tungsten carbide, they will be vastly different in weight, but they will both require the same RPM to stabilize them in flight. By switching alloys, it is very possible for us to manipulate our bullets to do many many things, but as long as we use a bullet that is the maximum length required to stablize in our twist rate, or shorter, life is good and we are blessed.

      If you would like to have a more in depth conversation about this, do give me a call: 479-445-3989.

      Thanks for responding, Tim.

      To try and answer your questions: The mold was designed by me and built by Tom at Accurate Molds. It’s his new #38-270C. It measures 1.002-1.004″ in length. This mold and my other from Accurate (#38-250) are both .380″ diameter……and I’m sizing to .377″. They both accurately cast at .380″. He made the molds based on my assumption I had Lyman #2 alloy. I understand (now) that 15 BHN doesn’t equate to a Lyman #2. Since my alloy inventory is a mystery to me, I’ve sent a sample for analysis and won’t know for a little while. I mailed the sample to Brian Ellis (BNE on CastBooolits forum) yesterday.

      Yesterday, I followed every suggestion given to me on the CastBoolits forum to clean up the mold. I cleaned it with Denatured Alcohol, Mineral Spirits and Barkeepers Friend. I chased the vent lines with a fine scribe. I put a small 45 degree angle along the top of the two mold surfaces for additional venting. I flattened the sprue plate on a diamond stone. I put the mold in a 450 degree oven for an hour……….before my wife chased both the mold and myself out of the kitchen. Then Tom stepped in on the CastBoolits forum and suggested I bypass the oven break-in procedure and heat my pot to 850 degrees and run bullets until the sinking stopped……and then go back to my 750 casting temp. Did that……….and, of course, the bullets came out as shiny as a mirror. Lowered the temp to 750 and started casting. Still kept getting sinks in the bullets. I added 10 degrees to the PID as someone had suggested and it seemed to help a little. Added another 10 degrees and one of the cavities started producing fairly acceptable bullets. Added another (now I’m up to 780 degrees) but the other cavity still wouldn’t cast good bullets. Gave up in frustration after an hour at the bench…………with 27 good bullets. At this point I can only assume I’ve got something foreign in my lead. Think I’ll just wait to hear from Brian before doing anything else. Everything I’ve done so far as proved to be fruitless and frustrating. What irritates me the most is I’m new to casting and my first two molds produced good bullets right from the git-go……which was great for a beginner’s ego. “This casting thing is simple, right?” But this mold has kicked me in the butt.

      Chris

    • #27842
      Rattlesnake Charlie
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      I posted this on castboolits.com, but wish to add it here.

      One of two things. Either there is some contamination in the mold, or you aren’t filling the cavity fast enough.

      Contamination
      There are a couple of suggestions already, boiling or casting with real hot lead. I lean towards using carburetor cleaner. Some use brake cleaner as it is more user and environmentally friendly. Then, there is a recent thread on this website about using Kroil in the cavities. I’ve not tried this, but intend to soon as it is working for so many casters.

      Fill Rate
      There are some molds that like to be filled fast. I don’t know why if the mold is already up to temperature, but I have a couple that like to be filled faster than I can accomplish with a Lee bottom pour pot. A large ladle might be worth a try. Also, enlarging the holes in the sprue plate will increase the fill rate.

      Just a couple of ideas ….

    • #27843
      reloader762
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      Chris just give it a rest and walk away for awhile frustration only breeds more frustration. Wait till you find out what your metal is composed of so you know what your working with. I’m no expert by any means especially with moulds with more than two cavities because that all that mine are.

      One thing I do know is that hardly any of my aluminium moulds with the exception of the one’s that case bullet under 100 grs. like the moulds HOT usually above 800 degrees at least that what my lead thermometer tells me and I cast good bullets before I got one it just help me keep a record or the temp that particular mould likes. I also preheat my moulds on a hot plate for about 30 min. on med heat while my melt is heating up.

      One thing you might try is with the multiple cavity moulds 3 to 6 is to start casting in 1 or 2 cavities till it’s casting good bullets and add the other 1 or 2 later as it heats up. If your mould is not hot enough and your melt is not hot enough it just not going to cast good bullets especially multiple large one. Also after reading your above post you got good bullets at 850 degrees,maybe that should be your starting point and drop the temp down just a little at instead of making such a dramatic swing. I’m thinking your going to end up somewhere between 800 and 850 degrees in the end. Just my 2 cents which may be all it’s worth.

    • #27845
      Chris C
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      Guess I forgot to mention, this is only a two cavity mold……………as are all three of my molds.

    • #27854
      lar45
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      I read the thread on CBF and didn’t see any mention of smoking the mold. Or did I miss it?
      When I have a new mold that is giving me problems with fill out, I get one of those long butane lighters for lighting your BBQ grill and run the flame under the open mold cavity, turn the mold over and do it to the other side. You don’t want a big heavy deposit of soot on the mold, just lightly smoked will do.
      This isn’t always needed for all of my molds, but it does seem to help when I get a problem one.

      BTW, nice looking rifle 🙂

      I have several of Tom’s molds and have been more than pleased with every one.

    • #27855
      Goodsteel
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      Usually, when I have poor base fillout, adding a bit of tin helps tremendously. Also, the difference between the two cavities is telling. Prime the spout of your ladle or BP pot by pouring about a bullet’s worth of lead from it before you start casting. That should solve the problem of getting different pours on the two cavities. Also, never sweep the stream of lead from one cavity to the next. You can get away with that with a pistol mold, but a tall rifle mold will not stand for it. Prime the spout, and then, one precise stream per cavity.

      Check the normal things: make sure your probe is in the middle of the pot and giving real readings. Make sure your PID is calibrated etc etc etc.

      Good you’re getting your alloy tested. That needs to be eliminated as a possible problem.

      If you haven’t yet, try pressure casting and see if you like the results. Be sure to prime the spout before each pour. Touching the mold to it, or just letting it hang out there while you’re getting the bullet out of the mold cools it off and the lead flowing from it first will be cooler as the nozzle is stripping heat from the alloy.

      If you insist on staying away from pressure casting, be sure you’re piling up a good sized puddle on top of the mold. Usually, I don’t have problems such as you describe unless I’m casting with a very large, deep mold, and in that case, the solution is found in these things: proper heat, add tin, big puddle, pressure casting.
      Let’s see what BNE’s analysis comes back with.

    • #27859
      Chris C
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      Goodsteel;n6864 wrote: Usually, when I have poor base fillout, adding a bit of tin helps tremendously. Also, the difference between the two cavities is telling. Prime the spout of your ladle or BP pot by pouring about a bullet’s worth of lead from it before you start casting. That should solve the problem of getting different pours on the two cavities. Also, never sweep the stream of lead from one cavity to the next. You can get away with that with a pistol mold, but a tall rifle mold will not stand for it. Prime the spout, and then, one precise stream per cavity.

      Check the normal things: make sure your probe is in the middle of the pot and giving real readings. Make sure your PID is calibrated etc etc etc.

      Good you’re getting your alloy tested. That needs to be eliminated as a possible problem.

      If you haven’t yet, try pressure casting and see if you like the results. Be sure to prime the spout before each pour. Touching the mold to it, or just letting it hang out there while you’re getting the bullet out of the mold cools it off and the lead flowing from it first will be cooler as the nozzle is stripping heat from the alloy.

      If you insist on staying away from pressure casting, be sure you’re piling up a good sized puddle on top of the mold. Usually, I don’t have problems such as you describe unless I’m casting with a very large, deep mold, and in that case, the solution is found in these things: proper heat, add tin, big puddle, pressure casting.
      Let’s see what BNE’s analysis comes back with.

      My local guru suggested adding tin, but I’m already lighter in weight than I wanted………………..though several people have interjected “so what” on the weight issue.

      I often prime the spout before the first cavity if I’m having problems………..but have never even thought of priming for both.

      I was told to set up the probe for the PID at 1/2″ from the side of the pot and 1/2 from the spout by the maker of the PID. This is the first I’ve heard of placing it in the center of the pot. I calibrate my PID several times during a casting. session.

      I’ve always done two precise (as precise as a newbie can) streams per cavity with an overflow on the second. Haven’t tried pressure casting yet. Used to do it back in the 70’s when I was making round balls for my muzzle-loader. When I started a few months ago, that was the one thing everyone was in agreement on………..no pressure casting from a bottom pour. I’ll give it a try.

      I think I’ll just wait to hear from BNE before I make any more effort to cast. No need to try and figure out problems with casting if I’ve a problem with my alloy. I’ve got 150+ keepers lubed and sized, so I think I’ll shoot some and quit stressing over the casting problem.

    • #27860
      Chris C
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      lar45;n6863 wrote: I read the thread on CBF and didn’t see any mention of smoking the mold. Or did I miss it?
      When I have a new mold that is giving me problems with fill out, I get one of those long butane lighters for lighting your BBQ grill and run the flame under the open mold cavity, turn the mold over and do it to the other side. You don’t want a big heavy deposit of soot on the mold, just lightly smoked will do.
      This isn’t always needed for all of my molds, but it does seem to help when I get a problem one.

      BTW, nice looking rifle 🙂

      I have several of Tom’s molds and have been more than pleased with every one.

      I haven’t smoked this mold. Bullets either fall out or come out with a simple tap, so figured it wasn’t necessary. Besides, I thought that was more of a mold release agent than a practice to get the cavities to fill.

      Thanks for the compliment…………..I’m mighty proud of that purdy rifle and scope.

    • #27869
      lar45
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      As I understand it, and I’m not an expert in any category 🙂 , smoking the mold isn’t for a release agent, but to form an insulative barrier between the cool mold block and the hot molten alloy that is going in.
      It might be worth a try. It would be a very simple fix. If it doesn’t work, you can always scrub it out with some hot soapy water and a tooth brush.

    • #27871
      Larry Gibson
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      Add 2%tin to the alloy. Drop the alloy temp to 710 – 730. Open/adjust the spout to pour alloy fast. Get the alloy into each cavity separately as fast as possible. You should see the alloy boil up out of the sprue hole to form the sprue. Pour a generous sprue even if it runs off the mould.

      I use this technique with long skinny bullets and those over 200 gr. If you use a dipper what kind (?) And we’ll discuss the technique for those.

      Larry Gibson

    • #27873
      Gunslinger1911
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      I’ll second the idea of fill speed, As lots of other things have been tried. I have a moulds for the 500 S&W from NOE and Lee. The Lee 460g fills great from the RCBS bottom pour. Now the NOE ( 4 cav, goes 375g, 450g, 525, 570g) won’t work at all with the RCBS – even the cav that is lighter than the Lee. Go to ladle pour, no worries !

    • #27878
      Chris C
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      Got my results from BNE on the lead.

      Barry said my Pb=94.1% and Sb=5.9%. Okay, is this good or bad……………..and is it why I’m having trouble casting these bullets?

    • #27880
      popper
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      Yes. Don’t know why you need that hard an alloy from that rifle unless you use it for elephant. I use ~4% Sb for 308W going full tilt, you IMHO don’t need anymore than 3% for a low pressure high wall. I use a 2x from accurarte that is 30 cal & 0.9″ long, Lee pot, no problems. Pour once for each cavity, good fast flow. Trying to pour 30% Sb is even more fun. Cut that alloy with at least same amount of pure. Add Sn if you want – I don’t.

    • #27882
      Larry Gibson
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      There is only so much antimony (Sb) by itself that will stay in solution with lead as the alloy solidifies. That is why “hard” shot will only contain about 3% which is still more than stays in solution with lead but the shot process corrects the problems you’re having with the “sink holes” in your cast bullets. The “sink holes” are where the Sb not in solution solidifies first and shrinks more. A read of the Metallurgy articles in Lyman’s CBHs explains this (a dry read for sure). There is a big difference between being the Sb being mixed in with the PB and being in solution with the PB. For example you can put a certain amount of salt in water and if you keep it under a certain amount (sometimes referred to as a “saturation point”) it will stay in solution even when the water has set for a long time. Add more salt above the saturation point and as long as you keep stirring the water the salt stays mixed in. However, when you stop stirring and let the water set the salt above the saturation point (in solution) settles to the bottom of the container.

      The same happens with a binary alloy of Pb and Sb. The saturation point is around 3% for the Sb to stay in solution with the Pb. Any additional Sb may be mixed in the molten alloy but as it solidifies the excess Sb will separate out and form pockets of just Sb. This can cause “antimonal wash” in the bore. These pockets of Sb in the bullet occur in random places creates imbalances in the bullet because Sb weighs much less than PB, akin to having a hole or wrinkle I the bullet.

      By adding a sufficient amount of Sn (tin) to the alloy in direct proportion to the Sb the sub compound SbSn is created. That sub compound will make more Sb stay in solution with the lead; upwards of 5% of each element of Sb and Sn. This is why Lyman’s %2 alloy is such an excellent ternary alloy because there is 5% each of Sb and Sn and 90% Pb. The trick to making good ternary alloys is to keep the Sb and Sn in balance (proportional to each other) and not exceeding 5% of each. It is also why COWWs +2% tin makes such a good ternary alloy because adding the 2% tin balances with the antimony % already in the COWWs. Balancing the antimony with an equal amount of tin (not exceeding 5% also gives about the best “castability” of the ternary alloy.

      To keep it simple I suggest you add 3% lead (Pb) to your alloy and add 4% tin (Sn). That will get you an excellent alloy that will cast very well, similar to Lyman #2 alloy. The AC’d bullets should have a BHN in the 15 – 16 range and should WQ to a BHN of 22 – 23 +/-.

      Larry Gibson

    • #27883
      Chris C
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      The only reason I dumped that one batch of bullets in water is because I read that’s what I was supposed to be doing. I don’t have any need for hard bullets, as you indicate. I’ll go back to air cooling. I don’t have any way to smelt large batches of casting material. How does one add 3% Pb and 4% Sn to a 20# pot and keep track of it all as you add from your stock? (without sending a sample of every pot to BNE for testing)

    • #27885
      Sgt. Mike
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      weigh each known alloy use a calculator such as here (http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show…oy-calculators) to achieve the desired alloy. Not sure where but Tim Probably has a online calculator on this site too as I have a copy I have not looked on here for it. others may kick in where on here it is.
      Once you open the spreadsheet and start playing with it the light bulb will go off and HEY I only have to input my alloy @ XX pounds add XX lbs of “X” alloy, plus X lbs of tin to adjust to Lyman #2

    • #27886
      Chris C
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      Thanks, Sgt. Mike. This is all Greek to me, so I copied the calculator. I’ve a lot to learn. (and I though all of this was going to be easy!) :rolleyes:

    • #27900
      Larry Gibson
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      I like to keep it out of rocket science realm.

      Put 15 lbs of your alloy in the 20 lb pot.
      Add 1/2 lb lead.
      Add 3/4 lb tin

      Let melt and “cook” at 730 degees for 30 minutes.

      Flux very well twice.

      Drain pot into ingot mould.

      Make another 1 or 2 pots or as many as you want and make ingots.

      Then you can make up a pot to begin casting and have plenty ouf ingots of the same alloy to feed the pot with.

      Larry Gibson

    • #27907
      Chris C
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      Now I am confused! A member of the CastBoolits forum suggested this: “If you blend your alloy with an equal amount of pure lead (50/50) and add around 2% tin or pewter by weight you will have a nice all purpose alloy that will fill out easily.” Sure wish I understood this voo-doo stuff better.

    • #27910
      Goodsteel
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      it’s not voodoo, and that was a very good suggestion.

      First, you blend with equal amount of pure. This pulls your Antimony content down to 3%. That’s pretty straight forward right?
      So now you have a more reasonable alloy, but you’re still going to have fillout problems, so you throw in a little tin to help.
      If you put in enough to ballance the tin and the antimony perfectly, you’re going to have an alloy that is roughly 2.5% tin, 2.5% antimony, and 95% lead. This is a very well known alloy that casts great bullets that shoot like gangbusters. It’s basically the same thing as cutting Lyman #2 50/50 with pure lead.

      Honestly though, if this is all just too much, the easy money is to just buy Lyman #2 from the foundry. I’ve been casting with BS alloys all my life, and looking at all the work and effort I’ve gone to getting the stuff down the barrel, I’m about at the point where I’m ready to say it’s just not worth it any more.
      If you’re just shooting pistols at 15 yards, it really doesn’t matter, but if you’re a rifleman, the effort expended turning a silk purse into a sows ear becomes more and more unreasonable.

    • #27912
      SgtDog0311
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      Chris, If you want to make a bigger batch you might consider a cast iron pot and turkey fry stand. You are welcome to borrow mine if you like. You can refill my propane tank and use it too but I suspect you have one.

      Larry, Excellent explanation for what is accomplished by balancing tin and antimony!

    • #27924
      Chris C
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      Okay, Larry. I’ve got a source of pure lead at $1.50/lb and pure tin at $15/lb. Should be able to pick it up tomorrow. Also found a tire store willing to save wheel weights for me that I’ll pick up weekly. Got about 35# today.

      Hey Sarge, I just may take you up on that. I’ve propane tanks, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Maybe we could do a common smelting day together.

    • #27926
      popper
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      You have a bunch of known alloy (in some small ingots?) – just use the calculator (you can add it as a custom type), mix what you need by weight to get the desired alloy. When I mix up a special batch in the Lee pot, I use leather gloves to pour it into muffin tin pans for ingots. Mark and save.

    • #27928
      chutesnreloads
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      Arithmetic and voodoo are NOT the same thing…..I think…..or am I going straight to hell?

    • #27929
      Chris C
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      Well, when one isn’t sure he understands the ‘rithmetic, it can seem like voo-doo.

    • #27944
      Chris C
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      Okay! I purchased 50# pure lead and 4# pure tin today. Weighed out 9 pounds of my alloy and 9 of the pure lead and 5.76 oz of tin and put’er in the pot. Much to my surprise, I found the 20# pot doesn’t hold but 17# !!! 🙁 So I poured off two one pound ingots and will remix those until I think all 18 1/3# will be pretty homogeneous. Got a “hot” date with my little wife tonight so won’t start casting until tomorrow. I’ll post the results. (of the casting session, not the “hot” date) :p Sure hope this solves my fill-out problems. I’m ready to see some beautiful bullets falling out of my mold!

    • #27960
      Chris C
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      Well I have to admit I’m disappointed and totally disillusioned. Have done what everyone suggested……..down to my last post about getting the mix “right”. Went out to the bench this morning and fired up the PID at 700 degrees. Put my mold in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for an hour. Cast bullets for a little over an hour and never got a single keeper. I’m frustrated, to say the least. Getting the mix right was supposed to make today’s casting session a success…………..and it was far from it. After about 15 minutes of casting I raised the temp to 715 and then to 730 about 20 minutes later. Nothing seems to be working. I’ve got wrinkles, sink areas as well as obvious voids inside the bullet. I’m going to go clean the mold again………..as if that might make a difference. :mad::mad::mad::mad:

    • #27961
      Goodsteel
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      Chris, I have one more suggestion for you.
      Send me the mold. I’ll cast with it, identify the issues, correct them, and return it to you. I’ve not found a mold yet I couldn’t coax good bullets from. No need to get frustrated. This is supposed to be fun. I just wish you were closer!

    • #27965
      Chris C
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      I just may do that, Tim.

      I cleaned the mold again. I’m going to heat it up once again and see if I can solve this on my own before throwing in the towel and sending it to you. I hate quitting with a passion. I never mind diving into a problem if I understand what is happening……………but in this case, I don’t understand the process thoroughly enough to know what might correct the problem.

    • #27968
      Chris C
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      Okay. Put the mold in the oven at 450 and raised the PID to 800. Bullets got better………….but not acceptable yet. Starting to frost, so I’m not going any higher. I was cutting sprues at about 5 to 8 seconds, holding the bullets in the mold for 20 seconds. Seemed to work a little better when I cut the sprue and opened the mold rather than lettin’em “cook” for a while. But still not acceptable. Tim, if you’ll PM me your address I’ll get this mold in the mail on Monday. At this point, I give up.

    • #27970
      Goodsteel
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      MBT
      136 Eve Lane
      Conway Arkansas
      72034.

      Call if you like: 479-445-3989

    • #27972
      Chris C
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      Thanks. I’ll fool around with it some this evening and tomorrow and if nothing productive comes of if I’ll send it off to you on Monday.

    • #27974
      Goodsteel
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      Sounds good.

    • #27979
      Larry Gibson
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      Sounds to me like there’s something wrong there none of us can “see” over the internet. Sending to Tim is an excellent idea as sometimes it just takes first hand observation..

      Larry Gibson

    • #27981
      Chris C
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      I just wish I didn’t live 5 hours from Conway! I’ve only got one guy locally who I know casts and he doesn’t bottom pour…………and isn’t using my alloy.

    • #27984
      Bodean98
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      Chris,
      I just finished casting some 38-255V’s with my new Accurate mold. My first one from Tom and I must say I am not disappointed! I only cleaned it once at first with carb cleaner. My mold likes it hot though. I am using 95/2.5/2.5 alloy and run the alloy at 750 w/pid. I also preheat the mold to 510 also w/pid. My first batch was with a bit of a cold mold and I got several rejects until I got the mold up to the temp it wanted. Second batch was with the mold up to temp, no rejects and these are the most bootiful boolits I have ever cast. I also experienced a first for me, the boolits just “dropped” from the mold. As a matter of fact they came out of the mold so easily that I could lay them out on my cooling towel in ordered pairs for examination later.
      Judging from your posts I would suggest going hotter on the mold temp to see if that may help. It did for me.
      Hope this helps.

    • #27985
      Chris C
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      I would be the last guy in the world to badmouth Tom’s molds. He makes a great mold. The other .38-55 mold (250gr) I have of his started casting perfect bullets after about the 5th cycle. Couldn’t be happier with his molds. I’m just a kindergartener when it comes to casting. Most of you guys are in college on the subject. I’ve a lot to learn. Sad part is I’m not even educated enough in the process to know what to do when something doesn’t go right. I’m learning………..and I’ll get there, but this one has me stumped!!!!!

    • #27987
      Bodean98
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      I am a noob as well. Only within the last year or so have I experienced anything close to success with cast. I have several different molds, mostly Lee, and they are not even in the same league as the Accurate or NOE molds. I had read about the benefits of using top quality molds and really became a believer today when casting with the Accurate mold. I recently purchased two new molds from Tom. The other is a 45 ACP mold in 5 cav. and I am really excited to use it now.
      I wanted a .380 dia. bullet that weighed 255 gr. when cast with WW+2% tin. My bullets weigh 259 gr after lubing and the as cast dia. is a shade under .381. How’s that for hitting your mark? Tom is a great guy to deal with. Short on words and long on service and quality. I hope to be doing business with him some more.

      BTW that is one schweeeet rifle!!!

    • #27988
      Chris C
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      Bodean98;n7014 wrote: Short on words and long on service and quality. I hope to be doing business with him some more.

      BTW that is one schweeeet rifle!!!

      Truer words could not be spoken about Tom. Thanks for the compliment about my rifle. Love it. It’s been a joy to shoot. That’s why I designed a bullet specifically for it…..(38-270C)…….just can’t get the durned thing to cast right. 🙂 (my problem, not Tom’s)

    • #28003
      Chris C
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      SUCCESS!!!!! I cast about 18 1/2# of what look like good bullets. Haven’t culled them yet to see how many rejects I have. But I grabbed a big handful of them and put them on the scale to find the majority were within about .6 gr of each other. I could bore you with all the things I changed, and how many times I changed them to get to this point, but it would be easier to just tell you I went to the Tribal Council fire and asked the Medicine Man what I was doing wrong. He said “Silly injun holding tongue wrong”.…………simple as that.;) So Larry isn’t going to have to mess with my mold, I don’t think. I’m a slow learner, but I’m gettin’ there.:cool:

      Just counted and inspected. 426 bullets and 44 visible rejects. Will weigh them next. Noticed I had a bunch of minor tears in some of the bases so will have some rejects there, for sure.

    • #28007
      Bodean98
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      I love it when a plan comes together!!!!!:cool:

    • #28010
      Goodsteel
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      That’s more like it. Congratulations!

    • #28011
      Chris C
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      Thanks, Tim. I started weighing them to do a bell curve and I’m not terribly tickled with the results, but I’ve only weighed about a quarter of them, so the appearance of the curve might improve. I’ll post a picture if it turns out to not be too embarrassing. 😮

    • #28014
      Goodsteel
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      Chris C;n7048 wrote: Thanks, Tim. I started weighing them to do a bell curve and I’m not terribly tickled with the results, but I’ve only weighed about a quarter of them, so the appearance of the curve might improve. I’ll post a picture if it turns out to not be too embarrassing. 😮

      Don’t get too wrapped around the axle with the bell curve just yet. A proper bell curve is something that you use to get yourself dialed in for excellent casting. You just got the mold running correctly, so I wouldn’t expect a very nice bell curve at all. Once you’re sure you’ve got the mold running like a top, then you can start plotting bell curves to make it so you can drop perfect bullets like a Jedi master.

    • #28027
      Chris C
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      Oh I realize that, Tim. I’m wanting to do it because I got to a point in the casting where I thought I was getting a pretty rigid rhythm and just wanted to verify it. Besides, it will let me pull out the ones within a certain weight range to keep for lubing, sizing and loading.

    • #28036
      Chris C
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      Okay, Tim, I’m glad I weighed and bell-curved the bullets. Here’s the bell-curve picture: http://chris623.zenfolio.com/img/s6/v135/p2035387560-5.jpg I understand it’s basic purpose and realize I’m not really ready to benefit from doing it. At least it shows me I finally settled down at some point and was casting fairly consistently. Towards the end of the casting session, I was waiting until the sprue frosted and then waiting 5 more seconds before opening the mold………by the clock. The four bullets laying flat on the table weighed less that 265.5 gr and obviously have voids in them. Most all the bullets below 268.5 gr had torn bases because, unfortunately, I was cutting their sprues too quickly. This mold was supposed to be a 270 gr bullet, so I’m surprised there were so many at and above that weight. Why would a mold cast heavier than predicted? I’m itchin’ to load some of these up to shoot to see how accurate this custom bullet is in my Highwall. What group would you consider “keepers” for that purpose, a .6 gr spread from 269.4 to 269.9………..or am I being too finicky?

    • #28051
      popper
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      0.004% error? Shoot all but the lightest – won’t make a bit of difference. For giggles, re-weigh a few and see hao accurate yo ur first measurement was. possible voids in the light ones but don’t count on it. Actual as-cast diameter changes depending on actual mould temp, handle pressure, etc. This is where TIM’S CADENCE IDEA IS RELEVANT. Trying to get near robot-made boolits. You could bag the ones near the peak of the curve and the others separately. Then cast some more and compare. Base tears generally don’t have much weight but the alloy around them is more ‘porous/grainy’ – i.e. weaker.
      Edit: reason for re-weighing – I did and found my distribution changed – using FA elec. scale. Tried to be as accurate as I could. Most came out at a different weight by a couple 1/10 gr. Point is – it takes a really good scale system to find anything but gross problems.

    • #28055
      Chris C
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      Re-weigh? Hmmmmm…………..hadn’t considered that. Might be interesting.

    • #28059
      Chris C
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      Had a friend measure my bullets today and they register a BHN 11…………which for my kind of shooting, tickles me to death. Now to get a bunch of them loaded and sent downrange to see how they perform. Happy-happy-happy!

    • #28060
      Goodsteel
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      I actually agree with Popper here (although reweighing really is just for S&G). The consistency applied method only means anything if you are at the ragged edge of your bullet’s ability, be that accuracy, or raw velocity, or both. (Or if you really just want to be the sharpest hombre ever to crack a mold open.)

      If you’re shooting at normal velocities/accuracy, you won’t be able to tell a difference on paper unless you have horribly obvious defects.

      The main reason why I do this is so that I can eliminate bullet quality from the list of possible problems once and for all and focus on other things that are more obvious. This is a huge boon to some the experiments I have been involved with.

    • #28061
      Goodsteel
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      Chris C;n7102 wrote: Had a friend measure my bullets today and they register a BHN 11…………which for my kind of shooting, tickles me to death. Now to get a bunch of them loaded and sent downrange to see how they perform. Happy-happy-happy!

      High Five. Git-er-did.

    • #28062
      Chris C
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      Thanks, Tim. I’ll get the 50 I’ve loaded shot sometime this week when the rain ends and I’ll give a range report…………..because that’s what it’s all about. You’ve been gittin’ our rain, so you know what I mean.

    • #28070
      Goodsteel
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      For sure. Rain and hail tonight. Thanks a lot! LOL!

    • #28077
      Chris C
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      “Just” missed us last night. Had a whole half inch of rain…….no hail………no extreme wind…………and (thank God)…………no tornadoes. Ain’t life grand?;)

    • #28086
      Chris C
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      Okay, I promised a range report on these new bullets.

      Range Report:
      They came out the end of the barrel as expected. Good range report, huh!!!!!

      Truth of the matter is the guy pullin’ the trigger hasn’t shot so poorly in a long time……………..but then maybe that’s because he hasn’t shot in a long time! “Use it or lose it.” I haven’t been practicing and it shows terribly. Been too busy tryin’ to get this bullet/lead thing all worked out. My fault, not the bullet’s or rifle’s. Now it’s time to get down to loadin’ and shootin’ to get back in shape. If I don’t, my son-in-law will shoot the pants off me when he gets here in July! 🙁

    • #28089
      Goodsteel
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      Those are very long, hard to shoot bullets. Gotta nudge them correctly.
      Keep asking questions. We’ll get you lined out in short order.
      At least you got the casting thing by the tail!

    • #28091
      Larry Gibson
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      It takes an accurate rifle, an accurate load, an accurate shooter, excellent shooting conditions and testing at a minimum of 100 yards, preferably 200 yards with several 10 shot groups before the differences of weight sorted bullets can be seen. Assuming a good visual culling was done prior to weight sorting(?) the bullets below 268.9 should be put back into the pot. The bullets of 268.9 – 269.4 could probably be used for foulers/sighters and zeroing. The bullets from 269.5 through 270 gr will give the best accuracy. If shooting for group then use the heaviest that weigh the same.

      The lighter weight bullets are lighter because there is less alloy in them either from an air bubble/pocket or the bullet is not as filled out in one area.. We can not guarantee the alloy shrinks evenly or even the same bullet to bullet as we cast no matter “consistent we cast. That means there is an imbalance to the bullet. Proper visual culling and weight sorting are the only means we have to differentiate bullet to bullet. Obviously the greater the weight difference the greater the imbalance. It may be imperceptible, even under magnification, and will probably be immeasurable with either micrometer or caliber. The simple fact is a bullet weighing 269 gr is not as balanced as a bullet weighing 270 gr if they are of the same alloy out of the same mould.

      I always find my most accurate shooting for score or for group is done with the heaviest bullets.

      Larry Gibson

    • #28094
      Chris C
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      I’ve a lot to learn……………………………………………..but at least I admit it! 😮

    • #28106
      Chris C
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      Some interesting observations, and I’m just sort of thinking out loud………..and probably rambling.

      I have always experienced large extreme spreads and standard deviations in my loads. My friends always laugh at me and say I must be using some kind of mystery powder that’s mixed with other powders. (NOT) But on these targets I shot yesterday those numbers were remarkably low………..the lowest being an ES of 9.54 and SD of 4.58! (in the past, sometimes, those figures could be in the hundreds!) I have always been extremely meticulous in measuring powder on my RCBS 10-10 scale. I even sent it off to have it “accurized”………..though I admittedly have no idea if that helped or not. But when I was loading for these targets with the new bullets, I used the cheap little digital scale I bought to weigh bullets. One thing I have found since buying the little digital is that it and the 10-10 don’t agree………………………with the 10-10 sometimes showing the load weighed on the digital as heavier by as much as .2 gr. I’ve got my 10-10 on a shelf at eye level so I can be very precise with watching it zero out, but I’m wondering if my high extreme spread and standard deviation numbers could be the fault of the 10-10. I cast and shot these bullets a couple of weeks ago with my (at the time) unknown alloy mixture, though I didn’t weigh the bullets. (BHN15) Used the 10-10 for powder and my ES and SD were high. So I don’t know if shooting and keeping track that all the bullets for a given target weighed the same and powder charges being weighed on the digital are what made the difference. I’m going to do some serious comparisons between the 10-10 and the digital today. I’m also going to take Larry’s advice and load up some of the heavier bullets. Yesterday I shot the 269.6 gr and 269.7 gr bullets. (BHN11) Best group out of the 7 targets and 50 rounds was a 2 1/4″ group. (really bad, I know……….but as I mentioned, I’ve not been shooting much recently.)

    • #28107
      Goodsteel
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      I could be off base here, but with cast, personally, I don’t look at ES and SD numbers till I have something that is shooting in the first place. Even with jacketed bullets, low ES and SD do not equal a precise load. It’s nice to get those numbers down low within a precision load because then you know you have a level of consistency over range, but with cast, your range is short, and there’s so much that can be wrong with the cartridges in the first place, that my opinion is pretty much reinforced, underlined, and nailed in place.

      I’ve seen excellent SD and ES in a load that shoots like garbage so many times, I don’t even worry about it anymore. If I start playing with that stuff, that means my cast loads are so close to perfect, all i’m really doing is polishing the cannon ball.
      Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t observe it and try to make it as low as possible. It’s just like the consistency applied method that I set forth in that you really have to have everything just about perfect in order to see any difference at all. Larry said, and I cannot agree more: “you have to have a rifle that can tell the difference”.

      Sometimes this all boils down to the equivalent of a 16 year old fellow with a ratted out farm truck putting premium fuel in his ride and thinking it makes a difference, when his money would be much better spent on a properly tuned carburetor. (not that I’ve ever done something like that :rolleyes:)

    • #28112
      Chris C
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      “you have to have a rifle that can tell the difference” Well, in my case, I don’t think I’ve got a ratted out farm truck. 😉 My rifle is a brand new C. Sharps 1885 Highwall with a Green Mountain barrel. Now, mind you, I can’t personally guarantee it’s an accurate shooter (I’m hardly the one to ascertain that:o) but because of it’s lineage, I can only assume it’s a premium firearm. So, at this point, I’d have to rule the rifle out of the “what might be wrong” category. Besides, I don’t have the qualifications to go down that rabbit hole. I can, on the other hand, chase the other problems. Interesting you say the SD and ES don’t necessarily equate to a precise load. I’ve always been told that was the ruler by which a precise load was measured. So much in this sport is

      beyond me. One thing I do have “nailed down” as you put it, Tim, is if I ask 100 people a question, I’ll get at least 80 different answers. Plum discombobulatin’ 😀

    • #28113
      Goodsteel
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      Chris C;n7156 wrote:

      “you have to have a rifle that can tell the difference” Well, in my case, I don’t think I’ve got a ratted out farm truck. 😉 My rifle is a brand new C. Sharps 1885 Highwall with a Green Mountain barrel. Now, mind you, I can’t personally guarantee it’s an accurate shooter (I’m hardly the one to ascertain that:o) but because of it’s lineage, I can only assume it’s a premium firearm. So, at this point, I’d have to rule the rifle out of the “what might be wrong” category. Besides, I don’t have the qualifications to go down that rabbit hole. I can, on the other hand, chase the other problems. Interesting you say the SD and ES don’t necessarily equate to a precise load. I’ve always been told that was the ruler by which a precise load was measured. So much in this sport is

      beyond me. One thing I do have “nailed down” as you put it, Tim, is if I ask 100 people a question, I’ll get at least 80 different answers. Plum discombobulatin’ 😀

      No, the rifle should shoot very well indeed. I’ve had excellent results from Green Mountain across the board.
      I wasn’t saying the rifle was sub standard by any means. All I was saying was that you have to get a lot of things going in the right direction in order to see the effect, and if you’re shooting cast, you’ve got a big glaring issue with bullet quality, even if you’re a Jedi Knight with a bullet mold. A slight modification of the meaning of Larry’s statement, but the spirit of it is the same.

      I apologize for not being more clear.

    • #28114
      Chris C
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      I knew that’s what you meant…………..in fact, it’s what I’m disheartened with, the quality of the bullet. (which is a direct result of the newbie pouring the lead!) :p Exactly why I’m exposing my ignorance with such abandonment here where knowing minds can critique! I’ve lots to learn and sometimes my “sponge” doesn’t pick up all the drops, but I’m tryin’. I’m extra eager to learn, so don’t hesitate to extend knowledge, even if it’s critical. My feelings are way too old to get hurt, that’s for sure. Just wish I’d started this game when I was in high-school like so many others did. I appreciate all the help I can get.

    • #28115
      Chris C
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      Double post………oops!

    • #28116
      Goodsteel
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      Hey, don’t feel like you’re in bad company here Chris. I just got done reworking all the molds I wrecked in my youth in the last few years. Some were too far gone, but I was able to save most of them. Trust me: There was a time when none of us cast bullets we would be proud of now.

      Don’t be disheartened either. As i’m sure you have noticed, this is something that takes skill and lots of it. The good news is, not a single bullet need make it to the range without your approval. Unlike the rest of life, with bullet casting, there’s always a second, third, or hundredth chance to get it right, and it never really counts till you pull the trigger.

    • #28117
      Chris C
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      Ahhhhhhh, Revered One…………………………..believe me when I say “I’ve thrown more bullets back in the pot than I’ve ever saved!” Just eager for the time when I can say the reverse.

    • #28123
      chutesnreloads
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      I wouldn’t worry too much over a .2 difference in scale readings.One thing you may look for there is even a tiny breeze say from an air conditioner can tip your scale.Remember you’re weighing to the 10th of a grain and there’s 7000 grains in a pound.Scale must be VERY sensitive.Those 2 10ths will only show up in very small cases like a 22 hornet.Unless you’re shooting past 100 yards I wouldn’t even look at SD and ES.Get you some good sandbag rests and learn to use them.That will eliminate most of your shooter error.It’s the only way to know if your load is shooting well.Tight groups trumps ES and SD everytime

    • #28126
      Butch Wax
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      Well sir, you’ve got lots of good and detailed advice here.
      Me? I’ve been loading, casting, and working on weapons for 5 1/2 decades. And I’m STILL LEARNING! One person simply cannot learn it all. But if you study what folks have to offer from their own trials and errors you’ll begin to see patterns evolve as common events that narrow your personal projects.

      I’m a crusty old coot that is not too scientific, yet knows some of it. Don’t own a chronograph. No Dillon progressive press. Doesn’t even use a thermometer in his lead pot. My tools and gear mostly date from the early ’60’s and some before that. I load my rifles with an old Lyman 310 tong tool. My stock. 30’06 can drill a three shot ragged hole at a hundred most of the time IF I do my part. My powder measure is a 1903 Ideal No.5. I set it once and load on what some call primitive nutcracker tongs. Ok, I’m coming to the point. .. really I am.

      Consistency and years of trial and error. By trying all sorts of stuff eventually you find what works, and most importantly being able to repeat it consistently. That’s the advice I have for you. Change only one thing at a time and correct one issue at a time. If you do many at once and something improves you have no idea what was wrong and what was the solution. You will have learned nothing. Take your time and be direct and consistent. 😬😊

    • #28128
      Chris C
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      chutesnreloads;n7170 wrote: I wouldn’t worry too much over a .2 difference in scale readings.One thing you may look for there is even a tiny breeze say from an air conditioner can tip your scale.Remember you’re weighing to the 10th of a grain and there’s 7000 grains in a pound.Scale must be VERY sensitive.Those 2 10ths will only show up in very small cases like a 22 hornet.Unless you’re shooting past 100 yards I wouldn’t even look at SD and ES.Get you some good sandbag rests and learn to use them.That will eliminate most of your shooter error.It’s the only way to know if your load is shooting well.Tight groups trumps ES and SD everytime

      I shot from my bench off bags the other day. That’s why my results were disappointing, even at 50 yds! When I’m not shooting off bags, I shoot off sticks. I can’t fire a rifle off-hand worth a durn. Can’t hit the side of a barn. Heck, if I’d tie a paint brush on the end of my barrel I could paint a Rembrandt! :p Obviously, I don’t hunt…….never have. Paper is all I stalk. No breezes in my shop when loading. No air-conditioner running……..no ceiling fans………nadda. And I’m super picky about everything I do……….if I know it’s important.

    • #28135
      Goodsteel
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      Change only one thing at a time and correct one issue at a time. If you do many at once and something improves you have no idea what was wrong and what was the solution. You will have learned nothing. Take your time and be direct and consistent. 😬😊

      These words are solid gold. Took my a long time to learn that doing anything else is the definition of insanity. At least it was for me because I’m about as lucky as a bad case of the flu. It wasn’t until I started applying this very simple scientific method, things started to work in my favor.
      This has helped me in other places where a complex “shooting solution” was needed in a short period of time. Just the other day I had to recut a bearing bore in some complex space parts. There were 50 parts, and each of them would be scrap if I missed my target size (which was .6250-.6252). All I had was a Criterion boring head in the CNC mill, loaded with a hand honed carbide tool.

      Now, in case you don’t realize how hard this is to do, we’re talking about hitting a 2 ten-thousandths of an inch tolerance with a tool that is graduated .001 with a method that can fudge the outcome by .001 depending purely on what speeds and feeds I used. So basically I was feeling around in the dark with a tool that was twenty times looser than it needed to be to cut the part. I knew I could bring all the details together (just like working up a cast bullet load quickly) but it was going to take test cuts, and each cut meant a scrap part. Yeah. It was tense.
      Well, I just told myself “scientific method Tim! Don’t you dare stray from it!!!”. I knew there were going to be scrap parts, but the object was to scrap as few as possible.
      I had a precision air gauge to check the hole size, and I began cutting. I changed only one thing at a time, and found that once I got the tool adjusted close, if I ran 1580 RPM @ 6 IPM feed rate, and fed the tool in and out twice………..it produced a PERFECT hole exactly in the middle of the tolerance. The fellow who works with me swore I would scrap half the 50 parts finding the sweet spot, but I proved him wrong. I dialed in the cut perfectly and I only lost 5 parts out of the 50.
      It literally took only five parts to find this impossible combination.

      Praise the Lord I’m a cast bullet shooter! Compared to working up a cast bullet load, that project was easy.

    • #28137
      Chris C
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      I’m impressed, Tim. I absolutely understand what you are talking about. A million years ago my brother and I owned a plastic manufacturing plant. One of the many operations we had in the plant was an injection molding department…………….which was supported, of course, by our in-house machine shop. While I make no claim of being a machinist, I could operate all the equipment with varying degrees of expertise. Your example makes all the sense in the world. But “Compared to working up a cast bullet load, that project was easy” is an intimidating statement. Lots to learn, lots to learn. Thanks for your patience with my “newbieism”. 😮

    • #28275
      Chris C
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      Well, I loaded those rounds last weekend…………but it’s been raining all week. It’s either been raining or spitting for the better part of the past couple of weeks. When it’s not doing either, it’s threatening to! 😉 Not taking my nice rifle out to shoot from an uncovered bench in the rain. Even though I don’t typically shoot on the weekends, (out of courtesy for my neighbors) I’ve been waiting to run these bullets downrange to see if I made any improvement in my casting and reloading. So I’m headed out to my range. I’m going to shoot these off the lead sled just to make sure “ol shaky” here ain’t inputtin’ any trembles! :p So here goes!

    • #28276
      chutesnreloads
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      Get it done….holes in paper never lie.Good shooting

    • #28277
      Chris C
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      Hrumph! 🙁 As far as accuracy, I’m still disappointed. My best group………..shot from a lead sled, no less, was 1 3/4″! That was with a load of 9.7 gr Unique. Disappointing because with my old 245 gr bullet, I shot (off sticks) this group:


      Accuracy was really a side note on this test, though. What I was trying to ascertain was the accuracy of my digital scale vs my RCBS 10-10 which has been accurized. What I found was exactly what I thought………..the 10-10 gives me up to a 1/10th more per drop. I shot 10 targets total, 5 each from the digi scale and 5 ea from the 10-10. The average fps was higher on all the targets………..varying anywhere from 8 to 24 fps higher. Not a big deal, really, just something I was interested in. And the Extreme Spread was lower in all targets shot with the 10-10 loads except one. I started with 9.1 gr Unique and went through 9.9 gr for both sets, shooting one target from the digi loaded rounds and then the same weight from the 10-10 loaded ones. My best target was 9.7 gr from the digi scale. Interesting shoot. Nothing really gained, especially until I can start getting a load worked up for this bullet. My 245 gr shot so well, and my goal from designing this 270 gr bullet was to improve on that……….and I’ve certainly not accomplished that at this point. Wondering if I need a slower powder with this heavier bullet. ?????

    • #28286
      Goodsteel
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      I would work on getting better results at the bench. You have to get to where you can cast picture perfect bullets that all shoot the same. Right now is where you bust out the consistency applied method and implement it. I believe you’re close enough to see the difference.

      Congratulations on your SD. That’s amazing (to me anyway).

    • #28289
      Chris C
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      Well, as far as the SD, I believe you were referring to the target I showed…………which was from my old 245 gr bullet. The SD on my best target yesterday was 9.89………………where, admittedly, I “cherry picked” the bullets for close weight. Here’s a picture of my last casting session………..and my adherence to the clock (in hopes of producing consistent weights was very strict. Not terribly happy with it, I must admit.

    • #28296
      chutesnreloads
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      Any chance of loading up some your old 245 grain loads…..just to check to see all is ok with the rifle?

    • #28298
      Rattlesnake Charlie
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      OK, I posted way early on (post #13), but now I just gotta ask: Have you shot this rifle with a different boolit?

    • #28299
      Chris C
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      chutesnreloads;n7386 wrote: Any chance of loading up some your old 245 grain loads…..just to check to see all is ok with the rifle?

      Yes………..in fact, I sat down this morning and cast about 150 or so for just that purpose. Then I had to mow the pasture. (can’t dance until the fields are plowed!)

    • #28300
      Chris C
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      Rattlesnake Charlie;n7388 wrote: OK, I posted way early on (post #13), but now I just gotta ask: Have you shot this rifle with a different boolit?

      Yes, as a matter of fact. The 245 gr bullet (same mold maker) was what I used to shoot the target I showed in post #84. I’ve also shot several commercial bullets…………all of them better than I’ve done with this one.

    • #30683
      Chris C
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      I know this is an old thread…………..but I’m still fighting the same bullet!!!!!

      I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can cast some nice looking bullets……………but I still can’t get a consistency in my weights. So what I do is cast about 20 pounds worth and do a curve and keep everything that is + or – .5 gr from 270 gr……………………….which is typically less than half of what I’ve cast! I’ve still not gotten a really good target from these bullets. I know I can shoot a good target with the right bullet and load because a friend sent me some Lyman #375166 bullets and I shot this target with it.
      ​

      As the data shows, it’s a 3 shot group, shot at 50 yds off bags. This is a 329 gr bullet, shot over 23.5 gr IMR4198.

      So I know my rifle is capable of doing the job and the nut behind the trigger is also. Now if I can just find a load to get this 270 gr bullet to shoot right. (and I’d sure like to quit tossing more than half of them back in the pot!)

      I guess what frustrates me the most is I was under the impression that by using a PID and casting by the clock I’d get consistent results! I pour my lead into the double cavity mold when the second hand hits the 12 o’clock position. Takes about 2 1/2 seconds to fill. I cut the sprue when it frosts…….which is at 10 seconds after starting the pour. (6.5/7 seconds to cool sprue) I open the mold at 25 seconds after starting. Then start over when the second hand hits the 6 o’clock position. I’m painfully consistent following the clock. My PID is running at 710 degrees. I heat my mold in an oven at 450 degrees for about a half hour before I start ……………….and even then I dip it in the pot to make sure it’s hot enough. Can anyone venture a guess why my weights are scattered over a 3 gr spread?

      Update:

      Just got back in from the casting bench to try once again……………but my results were painfully similar. About ready to throw in the towel and give up trying. After all, I’ve been at this, off and on, since May. Getting a little tired of even messing with it.

    • #30685
      WCM
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      Sounds like you are doing everything right so I don’t know, unless you are casting too fast or too slow.
      If the mold is getting too hot or too cold.

      I time how fast I go when casting for Black Powder Cartridge rifles.

    • #30686
      Chris C
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      Does my cycle sound too fast or too slow for a 270 bullet/double cavity?

    • #30687
      WCM
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      I doubt it, if the bullets aren’t frosted . Just be very consistent with the period of time on each cast .

    • #30689
      Chris C
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      As I said, I’ve been painfully consistent……………by the clock. Tthat’s why I can’t figure out what’s going on.

    • #30690
      Goodsteel
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      Chris, every mold/alloy combination has its own sweet spot. In the Consustency Applied method found in the Articles section of this forum, I demonstrate how to use bell curves to dial in a “prescription” for near flawless casting (+-.2gr with 30 caliber).
      Every mold is different. It requires different alloy temperature, mold temperature.

      Personally, I place little value on sorting bullets by weight unless you’re casting almost perfectly consistent bullets already (and even then, all you’re looking for are obvious anomalies.)

      Similarly, all this won’t make a nickels worth of difference if your groups are not very good to start with (there’s been plenty of 1.5MOA groups shot with wrinkled janky bullets).

      Your first priority is to find the right bullet design. I still don’t understand why one bullet works, and another that’s very similar flops, but using the wrong bullet to try to shoot the right group is a way to define insanity on new and more frustrating ways (trust me, I speak from experience!).

      Next is powder and charge.

      Then lube.

      THEN consistency applied. It’s the cherrie on top of the ice cream sundae.

      The point is, only focus on the thing that matters most.
      If at any any time you focus on something that is less important than your biggest and most obvious problem, you’re going to be plagued by false positives, false negatives, and just plain feeling around in the dark. It’s as important a principle as “change only one thing at a time”.

      I hope this helps. I apologize if I’m preaching to the choir, but it really should be said.
      Now, if I’ll just take my own advice more often! LOL!

    • #30692
      lar45
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      What Tim said.
      Instead of throwing 1/2 back in the pot, maybe sort into piles and keep each pile seperate for testing variations in seating deapth, powder, powder charge… It may give you more time at the bench instead of casting.
      Have you thought of getting a copy of the Lyman #375166 mold? That may be the first thing to change.

      I cast until the mold starts to fill out with crisp corners and the boolits start to get frosty, and have a nice flat base. Then I cast into a seperate pile for keepers and everything before that goes back in the pot. Then I find a tempo that will keep the bullets coming out frosty with sharp corners, but without the base starting to smear and then run with that.

      For soft boolits, I drop them onto a soft towel, when they have cooled some I scoop them into a pile and keep a clear spot for new ones to drop onto. For harder boolits, I drop them onto a sponge in a bucket of water. The sponge is there to slow their fall and give them time to harden before they roll off the sponge and onto the boolits below. Without the sponge the bullets will still be slightly soft and can get dinged up from landing on the other boolits in the bottom of the bucket.
      If you already know all of this, then please ignore. 🙂

      I’ve been playing with a 9.3×57 and was given some bullets from an NOE mold to try in it. I sorted the bullets when they came in and had many of them that were wrinkled. I decided to try them first just to try and get an idea of seating deapth and shot this group. I know that it’s not the best group in the world, but the design seems to want to work in my rifle. So my next step will be in getting a copy of it.

      just my 2 cents

    • #30696
      Goodsteel
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      Glenn is spot on.
      When im building a new precision cast bullet rifle, there are two priorities for me: Barrel and Bullet. Nothing else matters. These two things are paramount. Without getting the right bullet, you’re washing and waxing the stone wheel.

      Use a good general powder selection and lube of medium hardness. Seat the bullet so the ammo dunks in your chamber. Expand the necks so you’re sure the bullets are not damaged by the brass. Try different bullet designs. Keep your mind open on this and keep your ear to the ground for what has worked for others.
      If you’re not one of us that has a sagging shelf dedicated to holding up a prodigious pile if molds, then contact Bullshop and buy batches of 100 lubed with speed green. I have used his casting service several times to find the bullet I need so I don’t blow money on a bad mold and I trust his quality. Once you have a bullet that shoots like gangbusters, you can send a bullet to your favorite custom mold house and get it duplicated so you can cast from various alloys, and lube to your liking, size to your liking, etc etc etc. However you polish your cannonball.

      The bullet is your chief concern at this point. If the one you have doesn’t shoot well, then grab another and test it side by side.

    • #30697
      Chris C
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      I only weigh the bullets to do a bell curve. I have found that almost any bullet I’ve tried so far with this rifle will shoot it’s best if I can keep the bullets within .5 gr + or – of the longest line in the bell curve. But, as has been mentioned, some bullets just do better than others. Right now the only way I can get bullets within that weight range is to cast a lot of them and throw the ones that fall outside that criteria back in the pot. The Lyman 375166 has been the best bullet so far………(I don’t own a mold for this one)………but I’m presently without funds to purchase anything. (molds or bullets) So I’m trying to work with the two molds I have. One is an Accurate #38-270C and the other is an Accurate #38-250B. I’ve plenty of powders on hand to try, and all the lead I need.

      With all that said, I’m just trying to find a way to get this durned bullet to cast clean, and consistent in weight. I have studied the Consistency Applied thread……….but I can’t seem to duplicate the results.

    • #30730
      Chris C
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      Been casting off and on today, Tim. I spent most of last evening re-reading “Consistency Applied”. Picked up something I’d not noticed before…………“if the majority of the “Christmas tree” base is below the longest line, then the lead is too cool.” Even though I’m not really getting a definitive long line with this bullet yet, it seemed to be on the cool side, so I raised the PID temp 25 degrees. Bullets seem to come out a little more defined. But the sprue now takes almost 12 seconds to frost instead of the original 7-10sec. I also changed the casting time from 2 bullets every 30 seconds to 2 every 45 seconds. But when I weighed again later I found a trend towards lighter bullets. My bullet is supposed to weigh 270 gr……….but today they were more like in the 268 to 269 gr range with a few up in the 269.5 gr area………………but none at 270. I’m puzzled! The increase in temperature seemed to work in reverse.

    • #30751
      Goodsteel
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      Chris C;n10603 wrote: Been casting off and on today, Tim. I spent most of last evening re-reading “Consistency Applied”. Picked up something I’d not noticed before…………“if the majority of the “Christmas tree” base is below the longest line, then the lead is too cool.” Even though I’m not really getting a definitive long line with this bullet yet, it seemed to be on the cool side, so I raised the PID temp 25 degrees. Bullets seem to come out a little more defined. But the sprue now takes almost 12 seconds to frost instead of the original 7-10sec. I also changed the casting time from 2 bullets every 30 seconds to 2 every 45 seconds. But when I weighed again later I found a trend towards lighter bullets. My bullet is supposed to weigh 270 gr……….but today they were more like in the 268 to 269 gr range with a few up in the 269.5 gr area………………but none at 270. I’m puzzled! The increase in temperature seemed to work in reverse.

      12 seconds is way too long. Lengthen your cycle time. Keep the mold clean and shoot the alloy in the same way every time.
      Prime your spout.
      Be consistent with your alloy. make sure you smelted in large batch, and do not deviate from that batch as only a small change in alloy will move the point of your bell curve.
      One shot per cavity. No sweeping the stream.
      Be mindful of where you put the mold to cool and set it in the same place every time.
      Be for dam sure you have the mold up to operating temperature before you start your run. If you do not have a hot plate and have it set to bring the mold up above operating temperature, it’s going to take quite a few casts to get lined out.
      Remember to time the WHOLE cycle pour to pour and not just the time you allow the mold to cool between pours.

      That’s just a few tips. If you do not have a clearly defined Christmas tree like bell curve, your’e doing something basically wrong. How far away are you from me? I wish we could have a casting session together.

      So what I do is cast about 20 pounds worth and do a curve and keep everything that is + or – .5 gr from 270 gr……………………….which is typically less than half of what I’ve cast!

      That is exactly what I wrote the CA thread to get away from, because every bullet caster knows that doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. The bell curve is like a warning light on your dash board. Culling by wait is the same as seeing a light that says “Check Engine” and putting tape over “Engine” so you can read “Check” and tell yourself everything “checks out”. Makes you feel good till you’re stranded on the side of the road with a cell phone that doesn’t work because you didn’t like the “low battery” statement and put tape over the word “Low” so you feel good about how the phone tells you it has a “battery”.

      The bell curve is an indication that you are either inconsistent or you’re doing something exactly wrong. Culling the bullets solves neither problem. You have to discover what it is that is causing your perfect bell curve to look like the hills of Kentucky.
      First, be consistent, then change one thing at a time to find what works and what doesn’t. I believe that once you get through this first mold, you’re going to find it amazingly easy to find the sweet spot with the next one.
      When Sarge and I developed this system, we ran dozens of bell curves again and again in my shop till we figured out what the mold needed. Once I changed molds, I didn’t have the hills of Kentucky thing going on, but I did have a very broad bell curve which was dialed in with just a few tries.

    • #30752
      Chris C
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      I knew 12 seconds for the sprue to cool was too long, but the bullets seemed to fill out better. My allow is mixed about 200 pounds at a time, so it’s uniform. I always stop the stream between cavities. I primed the spout for 1 sec before each cycle. (hadn’t been doing that in the past) Mold is always in the same spot to cool. I don’t start until the lead can be stirred and still stays the same temp on PID screen. My whole cycle in this last run was 45 seconds, repeatedly. I’d be tickled to have a casting session with you. Unfortunately, for me, your place is a 5 hour drive for me. Might be able to try and make the drive sometime this Winter if time and money allow. Back when I first got this mold you offered to have me send it to you and get you to wring out a cycle………………but that wouldn’t teach me a thing. Looks as if I’m going to be a newbie for a long time at this rate, Tim.

    • #30753
      Goodsteel
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      Chris C;n10626 wrote: I knew 12 seconds for the sprue to cool was too long, but the bullets seemed to fill out better. My allow is mixed about 200 pounds at a time, so it’s uniform. I always stop the stream between cavities. I primed the spout for 1 sec before each cycle. (hadn’t been doing that in the past) Mold is always in the same spot to cool. I don’t start until the lead can be stirred and still stays the same temp on PID screen. My whole cycle in this last run was 45 seconds, repeatedly. I’d be tickled to have a casting session with you. Unfortunately, for me, your place is a 5 hour drive for me. Might be able to try and make the drive sometime this Winter if time and money allow. Back when I first got this mold you offered to have me send it to you and get you to wring out a cycle………………but that wouldn’t teach me a thing. Looks as if I’m going to be a newbie for a long time at this rate, Tim.

      Poppycock and balderdash!
      You should call me one evening and well see if we can’t get you lined out:
      479-445-3989

    • #30755
      Chris C
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      Might do that, Tim.

      You said to lengthen my overall cycle time. Originally, when I was getting acceptable bullets, I was getting a cycle in 30 seconds. This last time I lengthened it to 45 sec. The next time I get to cast, I’m going to lengthen it to 1 minute to see if that works.

    • #30760
      Larry Gibson
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      Chris C

      If you are shooting for pure accuracy with an accurate rifle then weight sorting is definitely beneficial. I have been doing that for some time now with several different rifles. Weight sorting has proven beneficial from 1750 fps upwards of 2900+ fps. Using the 311466 and 30 XCB as example; with #2 alloy the 311466 will weigh around 154 gr and the 30 XCB around 158 gr.

      Out of a single batch of 400 – 600 cast at a sitting with either I find the median weight to be +/- 2.5 tenths of a grain for a .5 gr spread. About 10 – 15% will weigh out less than that or will be culled for visible defects. Less than 1% will be heavier than that which I also separate out. With either bullet used as target/accuracy/CBA competition loads if that .5 gr spread bullets are lumped together I can expect consistent 1.25 – 1.5 moa accuracy for 10 shot groups.

      If I use the top 1/3 of that .5 gr spread (those that are the top .1 +/- spread) I can expect consistent .8/.9 to 1.2 moa accuracy (caveat; if I’m shooting well and judging the wind correctly). I use the bottom 2/3 of a weight sorted batch for practice, sighters and foulers. The light and heavy weight bullets go back in the pot.

      Even with my M39Finn MN which I use in CBA matches (won the Arizona State match with it this year) I will weight sort the 314299 bullets used for the match.

      Also understand that the larger and heavier bullet you are using the larger the acceptable variation of +/- there will be. Your bullet is about 40% heavier, are longer and larger in circumference. Thus I would consider a +/- variation of .9 gr to be good.

      Larry Gibson

    • #30764
      Goodsteel
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      I agree with Larry, but you should be able to get better than a 3 grain spread such as you mentioned earlier. If you’re dialed in as Larry says to a +-.9 gr (1.8gr total) spread, that’s acceptable, and you may not be able to get much better than that.

    • #30770
      Chris C
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      Larry Gibson;n10634 wrote: Chris C

      If you are shooting for pure accuracy with an accurate rifle then weight sorting is definitely beneficial. I have been doing that for some time now with several different rifles. Weight sorting has proven beneficial from 1750 fps upwards of 2900+ fps. Using the 311466 and 30 XCB as example; with #2 alloy the 311466 will weigh around 154 gr and the 30 XCB around 158 gr.

      Out of a single batch of 400 – 600 cast at a sitting with either I find the median weight to be +/- 2.5 tenths of a grain for a .5 gr spread. About 10 – 15% will weigh out less than that or will be culled for visible defects. Less than 1% will be heavier than that which I also separate out. With either bullet used as target/accuracy/CBA competition loads if that .5 gr spread bullets are lumped together I can expect consistent 1.25 – 1.5 moa accuracy for 10 shot groups.

      If I use the top 1/3 of that .5 gr spread (those that are the top .1 +/- spread) I can expect consistent .8/.9 to 1.2 moa accuracy (caveat; if I’m shooting well and judging the wind correctly). I use the bottom 2/3 of a weight sorted batch for practice, sighters and foulers. The light and heavy weight bullets go back in the pot.

      Even with my M39Finn MN which I use in CBA matches (won the Arizona State match with it this year) I will weight sort the 314299 bullets used for the match.

      Also understand that the larger and heavier bullet you are using the larger the acceptable variation of +/- there will be. Your bullet is about 40% heavier, are longer and larger in circumference. Thus I would consider a +/- variation of .9 gr to be good.

      Larry Gibson

      Thanks for chiming in, Larry. I’m shooting strictly for accuracy…….and personal pleasure. No competition. I’ve got my own range with a good backstop. I shoot a C. Sharps 1885 Highwall in .38-55 topped with a Lyman 20X STS. My on-line friends got me started with a 250 gr bullet from Accurate. (#38-250B) Didn’t have much luck with it. I changed the design slightly and had Tom at Accurate make me a new mold. It’s now his #38-270C. I was mistakenly under the impression that with the 1:14 twist in that Green Mountain barrel I needed a heavier bullet. Turns out I needed a longer bullet, proven by the excellent results I showed in that most recent target. That was a 320 gr Accurate #38-320 (Lyman #375166). I’d go to that bullet, but don’t have the money to buy the mold and couldn’t pay anyone to cast me some bullets even if I could find someone kind enough to do so. So I’ve got the two molds I’m going to have to use until I can find something on the property to sell. :p Obviously, I’ve a ton to learn about casting. And I sometimes get so disappointed with my results I just stop and go do something else and forget about it for a while. Just wish the stars would align so I could start making good bullets. The nice thing about my gross ineptitude is it only costs me electricity and time. I don’t lose any lead because they just go back into the pot.

    • #30776
      Chris C
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      Casting Report:

      Okay……………fired up the pot before dinner. Set PID at 740 degrees. Put mold on hot plate at 500 degrees. Didn’t start casting until about an hour and a half later. (so I know both the lead and the mold were hot enough) Picked a 50 second cycle. Primed spout for 1 second. Filled cavities at 0 seconds. Sprue frosted at 7 seconds. Cut sprue at 15 seconds. Opened mold at 50 seconds. Closed mold and primed spout at 58 seconds. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Ran 50 bullets and weighed. 56% weighed less than 268 gr and none over 268.9 gr. (the majority were below 268.5) This is a 270 gr mold. Seems the hotter I go, the lighter the bullets. ????? 😮 Along the way, I put just a little spot of bee’s wax on the sprue plate screw because it felt too tight. Mistake I think because I started getting wrinkles on probably the last 20 or so bullets. (guess I’ll need to clean the mold before casting again) They wouldn’t have been usable even if they’d weighed good and proper. The was the first casting session the bullets fell out of the mold when I opened it, though. Didn’t have to “prompt” the bullets with my rubber hammer.

      Edit:

      Because my bullets started wrinkling, I can only assume the mold was cooling down because of my longer dwell period. I got on-line this morning and bought a digital BBQ thermometer from Home Depot for $19.99 which will be here in about 9 days. Think I’ll (finally) take the advice of many others more experienced than I and get a handle on what the mold temp is so I can make adjustments to my cycle in a more informed manner.

      WHEW!!! What a convoluted journey this is! I thought all I had to do was fill the metal thing with lead and open it to get perfect bullets. 😉

    • #30922
      oldblinddog
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      Have you tried pouring with a ladle instead of the bottom pour. Some molds just don’t take to a bottom pour. Your latest “cycle” and temps sounds about right to me. Definitely let the mold heat longer than 30 minutes.

      Your bullets are showing wrinkles because you got some of that wax inside the mold, I think.

    • #30927
      GhostHawk
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      IMO do not get hung up on what they “should” weigh.

      If they are clean good looking boolits without a lot of weight variance chances are they will shoot well.

      Adding any tin or antimony will effect how heavy they are.
      If you are shooting holy black you can shoot pure lead and get closer to that number. But it really does not matter.

      Just because your mold says xxx does not mean your bullets need to weigh that.
      They will still shoot, and as long as there is not too much variation between them they will shoot well.

      Worry about the stuff that matters, don’t sweat the small stuff.

    • #30928
      Chris C
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      Cleaned the mold good on the 18th. Been casting between 100 and 200 bullets a day since then…………and throwing them back in the pot after doing a bell curve. Then I make a change in my process and go again. I’ve been studying Tim’s “Consistency Applied” thread. Gettin’ better each session. Not really as concerned about “how much” they weigh as I am that they are consistent in weight and quality. I’ll get there……………not a quitter………….and not yet anywhere near where I want to be.

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