Disappointed in my Lee bullet mold

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  • Disappointed in my Lee bullet mold

    So I was doing a little casting today and had a crack at a brand new Lee mold I had yet to take for a test run. I have to say, I'm disappointed in it... I know they are cheap but it just sucks when things aren't quiet right.

    I have another Lee mold, also a 2 cavity in .309 in 180grain. Its fine... but this one... let me explain.

    Its a 2 cavity, 155grain .311. The bullet design is nice to look at, with a slightly longer meplat than most other .30 cal mold designs. The problem I have is with the construction of the mold. Here are the problems:
    - alignment pins sit at different depths... all other molds I see on YouTube, that have the pin design (over the "v-block") seem to have the same depth on their alignment pins
    - the hex screw that holds the mold to the handle, chewed itself to uselessness on the first attempt to loosen it. One side came out fine, the other is shredded.
    -the BIG problem I have with this mold, Is that it is extremely hard to align the mold halves properly in order to get a perfectly round bullet. More than 95% of the casts with this mold come out misaligned. If I line up the mold and then apply heavy pressure to the handles, close the sprue plate and then pour, it might work.

    Such a shame. I have had no luck today... spent a few hours casting rubbish, and then, out of the good casts I made using another mold, I ruined those bullets experimenting with lubricants!

    Bah!

  • #2
    Sorry to hear about your casting experiences. Is it one of the new type of Lee molds with the round alignment pins:


    Or the old type with the horizontal pins:


    I have only the older type. If the mold halves do not want to come together neatly sometimes laying them lightly on a flat surface like the edge of the pot allows to to close the mold with the halves aligned and then close the sprue plate. On the older type there is no adjustment to the pins holding the mold blocks to handles, the handles are not designed to separate from the blocks.

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    • glock40sw
      glock40sw commented
      Editing a comment
      And that, boys & girls is why I only use their 6 cavity molds. the 2 cav are pure crap.

  • #3
    Is it. 311 or 312, I've got the 312 and it works ok. The pins can be tapped through if they are not out far enough, out of curiosity why were you undoing the screws that hold the blocks on?
    Attached Files

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    • #4
      Originally posted by VMAN" post=25587
      So I was doing a little casting today and had a crack at a brand new Lee mold I had yet to take for a test run. I have to say, I'm disappointed in it... I know they are cheap but it just sucks when things aren't quiet right.

      I have another Lee mold, also a 2 cavity in .309 in 180grain. Its fine... but this one... let me explain.

      Its a 2 cavity, 155grain .311. The bullet design is nice to look at, with a slightly longer meplat than most other .30 cal mold designs. The problem I have is with the construction of the mold. Here are the problems:
      - alignment pins sit at different depths... all other molds I see on YouTube, that have the pin design (over the "v-block") seem to have the same depth on their alignment pins
      - the hex screw that holds the mold to the handle, chewed itself to uselessness on the first attempt to loosen it. One side came out fine, the other is shredded.
      -the BIG problem I have with this mold, Is that it is extremely hard to align the mold halves properly in order to get a perfectly round bullet. More than 95% of the casts with this mold come out misaligned. If I line up the mold and then apply heavy pressure to the handles, close the sprue plate and then pour, it might work.

      Such a shame. I have had no luck today... spent a few hours casting rubbish, and then, out of the good casts I made using another mold, I ruined those bullets experimenting with lubricants!

      Bah!
      All moulds seem to have their unique foibles.
      I have numerous old style Lee and only one each of CBE and new style Lee.
      The CBE is worth the extra just for the feel and the consistent quality of the castings, very few return to the pot.
      All the old style Lee have felt clunky but worked OK the main problem has been keeping the moulds consistently at the right temperature neither too cold nor too hot.
      I don't seem to have had any of the problems you have experienced but after having another look at my mould I can see where problems might arise if the mould was assembled by a Mexican on a bad day.
      The problem with the new style moulds is that the open sprue plate tilts the left block to the left and the right block also tilts to the left under it's own weight which together maximises misalignment.
      My suggestions are
      1 Tighten the hinge bolt enough so there is still free movement but a minimum of slop in the joint.
      2 Use a straight edge to check if the arms on the handles are aligned and adjust by careful bending if necessary.
      3 Only if necessary add a shim above the arm on the mould half without the sprue plate. Soft drink can aluminium would be about right thickness, remove burrs from screw holes in extrusion first.
      The mould halves should now close very consistently so any defects in castings will be due to other causes.
      Good luck.
      By the way, in recent times I have had difficulty finding suitable casting lead at reasonable prices.
      I am interested to read any comments or suggestions.

      Comment


      • #5
        i run the lee 312-155 with the round pins and have never had a problem seem to cast fine everytime maybe you got a shitter
        I have had problems with the older lees with the long pin things


        and as for cast lead try northen smelter i think there around $5-6 a kg

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        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          Maybe an Ezi Out Bit would remove the dicky Allen screw from the Lee Mould ? If the Mould is the old model and was machined incorrectly contact Lee, they may replace the Mould, If it's the new design maybe you can drift the Pins so they align better. I find a little Synthetic 2 Stroke Oil on the Alignment Pins helps them seat better, check for Burrs

          I have quite a few of the old Lee Moulds and 1 of the New. I also have 2 Brass CBE Moulds, no comparison. $20 plus Postage for a Lee Mould and $110 plus Postage for a CBE Mould, says it all really. Usually the Lee Moulds biggest downfall is Burrs left over from machining and maybe some careless assembly

          Having said that I do like the Lee Moulds. Before use I get a piece of hardwood and run it along the mould cavity's edges, this helps remove burrs left over from the machining process. I always scrub them clean in hot water and detergent. Dry them on a Stove and then whilst they are hot apply a very little Synthetic 2 Stroke Oil to all the pivot points alignment pins if they have them and the underside of the Sprue plate. I lube the underside of the Sprue Plate as required when I Cast. I use a cotton bud barely moist with the Oil.. I Cast some projectiles then take 1 for each cavity, drill a hole in the base place it back in the mould, close the Sprue plate and screw a self tapping screw firmly into it.

          Open the Mould and put a little Toothpaste mixed with baking soda into the Cavity. Close the mould, use Rubber Bands to hold the Mould Handles closed and using an Electric Drill on slow gently Hone the Cavity. This removes Burrs and the Projectiles will drop from the Mould when you open it, save's tapping the Mould Handle Pivot with a mallet. It is an easy job to enlarge an Aluminium Mould to drop larger diameter projectiles if you use fine lapping compound instead of toothpaste, Finish Lapping with Toothpaste and a new Projectile

          When Casting close all but especially the Lee Moulds while you rest it against a flat surface. This helps align the Mould Handles and brings the alignments pins into cleaner contact. Solves a lot of hassles with misaligned Moulds when closed. straightshooters advice would help a great deal also

          Last Lee Mould I bought was the new Design, I took the screws out and made sure there where no burrs to bind the Handles and dobbed a tiny amount of Synthetic 2 Stroke Oil there as well. Acts as a lubricant and should be touched up at all Pivot Points and the Alignment Pins occasionally

          regards Jacko
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