My findings today as I experimented with about 100 molds and culled some duplicates and odd ducks from my collection to send to new homes. I used a Lyman master caster today that flows well and with some alloy of unknown crap.
As I said before, I took an ICE cold mold and poured back to back perfect bullets with the dipper. Tried it again with bottom pour, nope wrinkles, voids, poor fill out, etc.
now I did note that some molds just performed amazing, and some performed for crap, regardless.
Was able to get perfect bullets from all, just more work for some and no work for others.
what I did find---- 4 cavity h&g molds did NOT cast well on a dipper.
rcbs pistol and rifle molds, cast like someone machined a bullet on the lathe. Simply the first dip on an ice old mold produced stunning results, and when ,old came to temp it stayed just as perfect.
lyman and ideal molds, some shined, many didn't. Some preferred bottom pour with pressure and some preferred the dipper but none were happy both ways. And I cast 1000 bullets in test today, easy, maybe 1500.
paul jones, OMg amazing (dipper cold pour)
steve brooks, same (dipper, cold pour)
lee!!!! Dipper cold pour first drop nearly perfect, second drop, absolute perfection. Not so on bottom pour.
winchester (old ones in 32 cal) behaved like the brooks and jones molds. Stunning, first pour perfection. Not so on bottom pour.
i ended up spending a good $500 at NOE today on in stock molds. I culled a huge box of molds to send down the road which were under/un- utilized today. I had H&G molds in 45 cal that won't feed in my pistol and I don't care to make them feed. 35 cal h&g at .3555 (factory labeled) that I don't have a throat to fit, etc.
i did find the h&g 51/HP single cavity pours just about as good as anything else that is listed as perfect. Again, dipper is perfect, bottom pour takes several cycles to get perfection and more mold pre-heat.
i cleaned up the saeco for sale today as well and vetted its performance. Works well, I don't need another bottom pour. I have a little Lee that I use for pure lead (bottom pour) but it may not get used again. Between the old Lyman master caster XX and the new Lee magnum and several dippers,....... I think the arsenal has been reset as best I can.
Ps... I don't mind the drips. I don't like the FLOWS that drips can turn into. But I DO like the fact that my reject rate when from 50% on some molds to 10% or less and that inside the first 3 drops from a cold mold.
thst is the consideration. The NOE order helped several things. A couple of molds were not sized when I needed them like a 225438 ideal thst I needed to be REALLY fat at 228 for a 22 wcf and another 438 that is beautiful but takes huge work to get perfect bullets. I know the NOE molds will drop like bullets from heaven and I'm no longer in the mood to work hard on casting. The dipper did give me an angle to salvage some molds from sale as I have found a way to produce excellence from a mold that a bottom pour failed to do so.
not setting any rules here, merely my experience in the last 48 hours. An epiphany. Maybe I'm full of crap and it's all my failure to cast well, so be it. I'm happy to use the dipper as my crutch.