First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby GasGuzzler » 21 Nov 2019 23

Mad Trapper wrote:Those bullets came out perfect.
good sharp edges.
Wish mine came out that good.

Thanks. I promise I dug through the pile to get photogenic casts.
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby Mad Trapper » 22 Nov 2019 09

Those are good sharp,clean bullets.
I dig through my piles of bullets and none look that good.
I just poured a bunch from an old lyman U311291, undersized mold, single cavity, could not get one bullet that showed a complete fill.
after a long time of pouring, got a few that started to look decent.
Mold was good and hot, and clean to.
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby donhuff » 05 Apr 2020 08

MadTrapper,

To get sharper edges and a better fill out. Try adding some tin to your mix.

You can use lead free solder as it is usually almost all tin with a little bit of silver or a little copper or a mix of both. But the best way to do it is to get some tin from rotometals https://www.rotometals.com/tin-cut-wire ... de-in-usa/

I'll cast a few and if they don't turn out sharp enough, I'll put 2-4 nuggets in the pot and flux /stir it in well, then give it another try. This almost always gets the edges sharp and great fill out.
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby donhuff » 05 Apr 2020 08

I also want to pass on a tip that I just learned about a few short years ago. I have been casting since around 1973-74 and for way to many years I would place my mold on the top edge of the pot and "hope" that some heat would find it's way into the mold to get it a little pre heated, so that I would waste only say 25 to 100 freshly cast slugs, in an effort to get the danged mold up to temp. SO SO much waste! And to top it off, all of the molds back then were Iron, so it took them for ever to get hot. Then you didn't want to put it down to answer the phone, get a beer, to take a pee break. Because then, it would take forever more to get the thing back up to casting temp again.

The tip I read about a few years back was to get a hot plate from Walmart, and use it to preheat the mold! Turn the plate on at the same time you plug in the melting pot and place the mold on it, and after some fiddling back and forth with the temp dial, you can find the perfect setting that will be just hot enough to make even that very first bullet, come out perfect! Then if you need to leave the pot for a minute, place the mold back on the hot plate and when you return, your back to casting good bullets immediately.

It may be common knowledge to all of you, but I figured that I would mention it.
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby Mad Trapper » 05 Apr 2020 12

Thank you Donhuff.
roto has a good price on tin, $18.99.
Last year i bought 2 lbs of tin from midway, right now their price is $23.99.
not used the tin yet, so far im using straight wheel weights, i think.
I have the smallest lee pot they make, and bought a hot plate from walmart.
I just found a large box of scrap lead in my basement.
It was full of large pieces of lead bars, sheeting, and a lead cylinder about 6"x3"
May have to find something bigger for melting it down, that or chop and cut.
Would like to weigh it out and mix in some tin, try to shoot for 16/1 mix.
May need more tin.
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby donhuff » 05 Apr 2020 15

I didn't think to mention it before. But if you melted your own wheel weights, and didn't get all the Zinc ones out, and you got just one zinc one in your batch of lead. It wont cast worth a toot! The zinc will keep the edges from filling out like they should.

Adding tin to the mix will help, but it will never cast like it should, with that zinc in there.

I have a bunch of lead that has some zinc in it. I bought the ingots and didn't even think to check to see if it was contaminated before I paid for it. I have to melt it down and pour it into small ingots so I can get them into my pot. So while it's molten, I skim off a good bit of the zinc, this looses some lead too but it's worth it to make it cast better. There's no way to skim it all but it does help a little.

Then I use this bad lead for bullets that have very few sharp edges like powder coated 40s and 45s with no crimp groove and no grease grooves. They do a lot better at filling out than SWC styles. Then I save my good lead for those harder to cast styles.

I had pretty good luck the other day with those 40 SWCs that I cast, and I tried using the bad lead. Fill out wasn't very good, so I tried upping the heat some by taking the heat control knob off of my pot, and turning up the thermostat a little. That got the pot hotter and helped with the fill out.
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby Mad Trapper » 05 Apr 2020 16

I drop a small fingernail size piece of lube in the pot and start skimming, quite a bit of skimming.
My NOE molds, I struggle to fill the mold cavities, takes me a long time to get a good pour.
Now my old lyman/ideal molds, single cavity, so easy to pour.
I have this ideal mold, single cavity,no vent lines,Keith 429421, with square grease groove, it dates to the late 1920s, early 1930s, it makes the most perfect bullet I have ever seen. without much effort.
I filed/fitted the cartridge lifter on my rossi 92 to fit that bullet.
It took an entire Saturday, but I got it done.
I have a single cavity U311291 that I got for a pre 64 94, had a hard time getting it to fill, think i finally got it to pour
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby GasGuzzler » 05 Apr 2020 18

I throw a lot away to start then do fine for a while until I cool the melt off too much by putting the drip formations back in. Ugh....

It's actually more controllable now that the fancy PID I built is gone.

As stated in another topic I need to run some more 260 grain RNFP .45s off my 6-holer Lee ... but those are pressure lubed and that's another PITA.
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby donhuff » 06 Apr 2020 07

Yes the iron molds hold their heat better/longer, between pours. If your the type that takes their time letting the sprue freeze completely and getting the mold open and fresh bullets out, like the iron molds tend to make you do. Then getting use to moving quickly while using the aluminum molds is a challenge. It took me a long time to learn the fast casting method.

I get the mold hot, pour fast as I can get the holes filled with as high a flow rate as I can use without leaving the little air hole in the middle of the base. Knock the sprue off soon as the last one STARTS to freeze. Then open and get em out fast, and back under the pot like right now. Doing like this keeps the mold hot, and after 15 to 20 pours the mold might get to hot and the bullets aren't frozen when I get it open. Then I'll let it air cool a little or dip the sprue plate in water, and that will wick out enough heat that I can get back to casting right away.

Single hole molds?? I'd never have any bullets to shoot if I used one of those. I guess I shoot to much at one sitting!

Since I got started with the 5 hole NOE molds, I never use my old 2 hole molds anymore. I just buy a 5 hole mold in the same design.
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to bad those that know it all, cant do it all!
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Re: First .357 Bullets Cast in a Long While

Postby donhuff » 06 Apr 2020 07

GG, Do you use the hop plate pre warmer before starting the pour? If not you should try it to eliminate those first bad bullets getting the mold hot.


I know what you mean about putting the cutoffs and bad bullets back in and cooling the pot down. I have been considering getting a big Lee pot, and making a rack to place it over my usual pot, and using it to "premelt"(?) the droppings and ingots, so that I wont be constantly changing the temp of the pouring pot. I saw this setup on the internet once. Kinda sounds like overkill, but it sure would speed up the casting process if you didn't have to wait for it to heat back up...... I wonder if I could get my wife to stay out there with me and keep the second pot refilled and the pouring pot topped off ?????? OK I'm awake now, sorry for day dreaming a little, and yes, she was 20 years younger and wearing a bikini!
Don Huff

to bad those that know it all, cant do it all!
16" SS 92 357
20" SS 92 44
20" Bl 92 45C
20" Bl 92 454
SS Rio Grande 30-30
Bl Rio Grande 45-70
donhuff
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