wrinkled bullets

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  • Last Post 19 April 2019
loophole posted this 05 April 2019

I just bought a couple of antique 38-55 rifles, and set up to cast for them.  I have had a couple of modern rifles in this cal and have cast for them without any problems.  My old Lyman Mag 20 pot quit working and I bought a new RCBS pot and a couple of new molds--an NOE 385 and a lee 365.  I mixed a 1-30 alloy of 5 lbs new Rotometal 1-30 nuggets and a  5lb mixture of x-ray room lead and 30-70 bar solder.  I have used the x-ray lead and the bar solder many times with no problems.  

I prepped the molds exactly according to the instructions which came with them--cleaned the NOE mold 3 times with toothbrush and mean green soap, and heated it in the oven to 350 deg 4 times.  Used denatured alcohol and a toothbrush on the Lee mold. Smoked them and put small amount of beeswax on the hinges and pins, Set  the pot at 700 degrees and started casting.   Even after about 25-30 bullets in the mold which had been heated on thetop of the pot.  Bullets wrinkled.   Tried cleaning both mold cavities with denatured alcohol a couple more times, and turned the pot up to 800 deg.  Bullets wrinkled.  Turned the pot up to max-850 deg, and recleaned with denatured alcohol, resmoked.  I used paper matches, wooden matches and Bic lighter to smoke the molds. 

Even with the pot up to max, temp checked with a thermometer.  no frosting and wrinkled bullets.  I have been casting bullets for 40 years and I never had this problem.  I don't think there is any way I got contaminated alloy, unless it came that way from rotometal. I have used aluminum molds from Lee and Accurate and gotten good bullets.  What am I doing wrong?

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 05 April 2019

Nothing that I can tell except the smoking. Al at NOE does not recommend smoking with candles or matches because of the reason below. I've had that issue a couple times with smoking molds and I believe it had to due with the residue left from smoking. If you must smoke them, use a clear source like a bic lighter and just get it brown and not black. So I started using the spray mold release instead of smoking on a couple difficult molds and it has worked much better with no wrinkling. I will add that smoking has not always caused this problem. On most aluminum molds I leave them bare,

You may need to start over with the cleaning and then lightly smoke if necessary. Also heat your mold to about 400 on a hot plate, laying them on the pot does not always get them hot enough. The wrinkles could have been caused by the mold not being hot enough.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Bohica793 posted this 05 April 2019

I never smoke my molds.  I clean with carburetor cleaner and preheat on a hot plate set on high prior to usage.  I never have more than 4-5 pours that produce wrinkled bullets.  From my experience, wrinkles are caused by a cold mold more than anything.

 

 

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Brodie posted this 05 April 2019

What you have experienced reminds me of when I started casting.  I just took a Lyman mold and started in casting bullets.  It took forever for the wrinkles to go away.  There was just too much oil and grease soaked into that mold and it took a lot of casting for it to finally come out.

Was your denatured alcohol Rubbing Alcohol?  If it was it had a tiny amount of oil in it.

I would suggest that you boil the molds for a while in soapy water (Dawn blue has been recommended) and then preheat them and try casting again.

B.E.Brickey

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John Alexander posted this 06 April 2019

Boiling in Dawn has always worked for me and I don't smoke molds anymore.

You have made quite an effort without success I would empty the pot and try some other known batch of lead to make sure the alloy isn't the problem.

The pot at 850 and no frosting?

Good luck.

John

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JeffinNZ posted this 06 April 2019

Definitely the cavities are still contaminated. 

Cheers from New Zealand

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RicinYakima posted this 06 April 2019

Or there is zinc in the alloy. Around here, X-ray room lead shielding is coated with zinc, and we know not to try to use it. FWIW

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 06 April 2019

Well here is the solution straight from the horse's mouth or in this case, Al at NOE. I spoke to him a little while ago on another matter and mentioned this thread. He said the following:, "The mold is not hot enough.  As a last resort, clean it again, but heat the mold on a hot plate and try again first. I am 99% sure the mold was not hot enough"

 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Pentz posted this 06 April 2019

 

Sometimes a tight sprue plate keeps the bullet from properly fillin out.  Looser can be better than tighter.

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loophole posted this 06 April 2019

Thanks fellows.  I bought a large amount of x-ray lead 15 years ago and I have never had any trouble casting with it.  I first used the NOE mold after cleaning it with soap and toothbrush and with out smoking it..  set pot temp at 700 deg, heated mold by dipping it in the pot,  and got wrinkled bullets.  I used denatured alcohol in a can from home depo, not rubbing alcohol.

I got the pot up to 850 degrees.  I  confirmed the digital temp reading on the pot with a thermometer and no frosting,  I have never casted bullets so hot without frosting.  I think I will order more alloy from rotometals, clean everything again, and see if that gets good bullets.  If there is zinc in the alloy I  used, how can I clean it out of the pot and molds?  

Steve k

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delmarskid posted this 06 April 2019

Before I gave up on the alloy in the pot I would try casting a few with a mold that worked last time. Everything that you have mentioned should have worked. I love a challenge but dislike mysteries.

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loophole posted this 06 April 2019

A great suggestion.  I got out an old lee mold this morning which I have used for years and after it heated it began to cast good bullets.  I then cleaned both the new molds with brake cleaner, then again with soap, boiling water, and a toothbrush and finally toothpaste, brush, and more boiling water.  I wanted to do everything possible to clean any contamination out of the cavities.  Heated the pot to max--850 deg--and heated the molds on the stove.  Beautiful bullets with 1-30 alloy, no wrinkles, and no frosting.  Mixed 1-40 alloy, heated to 850, and again no frosting and no wrinkles.  And once again I confirmed the digital temp readout on the pot with my casting thermometer.  Don't know why no frosting.  I then got out a Hoch nose pour mold which has worked fine in the past, heated it on the edge of the pot and got a nice build after 3 pours.

Problem solved; now to lube and load some cartridges.  Thank all of you for your help.

Loophole

   

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RicinYakima posted this 07 April 2019

Frosting is only the result of antimony being able to from dendrites while the tin and lead are still liquid. No antimony, no frosting.  

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 07 April 2019

just for a minor input, i store my molds oiled ...  before i use them i use  brake cleaner and toothbrush ....  20 seconds  brushing then spray/flush more brake cleaner.  so far no problems.  before using new lee, also same .

ken

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loophole posted this 09 April 2019

Thanks--I seldom have casted alloy without ww or lyno, and I never knew this.

Looophole

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Coydog posted this 18 April 2019

I use rubbing alcohol with a toothbrush  to clean the mold .Then I use a bic like lighter.After about 5 to 6 pours some times less  I get good boolits .Need to get the mold up to temp also. 

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Ross Smith posted this 18 April 2019

loop: I just had a similar experience. Except mine was pitting and some wrinkles. Did all the same things you did. Don't know if this is your answer but, my solution was to burn the paint oil stuff out of the new furnace that is coated on the pot at the factory. Works goodr now.

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red4070 posted this 18 April 2019

loophole , i don't see  you doing anything wrong , just need to keep the mold hot and keep casting . I've had several molds with the same problem , one i had to cast at least 50 or so to get to smooth out . Lyman says to dip the edge of blocks in led to get to temp faster , i have even done that. Also be very careful when lubing mold , as this can cause wrinkles to happen . 

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Coydog posted this 18 April 2019

loophole , i don't see  you doing anything wrong , just need to keep the mold hot and keep casting . I've had several molds with the same problem , one i had to cast at least 50 or so to get to smooth out . Lyman says to dip the edge of blocks in led to get to temp faster , i have even done that. Also be very careful when lubing mold , as this can cause wrinkles to happen . 

 

The last part is so true .I had it happened because of lubing the mold where it needed to be some got in the cavity .

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loophole posted this 18 April 2019

Once again I thank all of you for your suggestions.  My next project is a couple of new molds and soft 32-40 bullets.

Steve

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loophole posted this 18 April 2019

Coydog, I was wondering what happened to you.  I am a big fan of your bpcr  articles and posts from a few years ago, and I'm glad you are on this forum.  Hope you are well.

Loophole

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