I have had some e-mail correspondence with him. He seems eager to please and gave me an approximate time line of developing a new mold of about a week. His blocks certainly look good in his pictures. I thought his sprue plates looked a little thicker than are common so asked. They are thicker and are made of an aluminium alloy (apparently an NRA recommendation after some testing by them). I'm not sure what darkens them, perhaps a hard anodize. I intend to order at least one mold if he develops what I requested. Seemed like a pretty good head.
It would be very nice if you would post on this. You being the "crash dummy" on these moulds. I would have beat you to it but for some unfortunate circumstances. From the sound of his website, this may be the next "big thing" if he gets the business to grow his business.
I hope it all works for him. I remember telling a fellow in the cast bullet biz a couple years ago that there was lots of money to be made making LBT moulds if a fellow could get set up to crank them out on a CNC. Dan has better prices than Ballisticast and many months faster turnaround than Applegate; will be looking closely at quality when it gets here.
My new brass molds from Dan at Mountain Molds showed up on the brown goody truck yesterday. Almost to purty to use. Tonight I fired up the pot and cast a bunch with em. They are a pleasure to use once you get the oil outa em, they didn't look oily, but till I sprayed em down with some contact cleaner I was gettin' frosty ~~wrinkled~~ boolits. They drop the boolits free with little or no tappin' on the hinge pin. He hit the weight I wanted within a grain on each mold too. It was ten days from talkin' about em with Dan to castin' with em. Bout the best service I've had in quite a spell.
Went and picked mine up at the mailbox place today. Ordered a steel .475 GC LFN mould to cast a 380 gr or so bullet (forget the number his site lists). Mould cavities look to be nicely machined, as I would expect from CNC equipment. The exterior is not quite as nicely done as I see on Ballisticast moulds: only the top surface where the sprue plate rides is machined to match the two halves; the screws for handle attachment are only supported on the lower end, they do not go into the top side at all and are clearly handmade. For the price on a made-to-customer-spec mould I'll live with it; no heavier than these moulds are it should hold up ok. The locating pins are brass; the two halves go together with just a hint of play, which I suspect would tighten some when the mould is heated. The proof is in the casting, will be able to tell you more when I get my pot fired up in another couple weekends.
Okay got the pot fired up today and cast some bullets with it. The bullets seem to drop out in spec. I asked for .476", they are coming out .477" which is quite close enough for me. The one fly in the ointment has to do with the lack of a set screw to hold the sprue plate screw in place. He puts a spring washer under the head of said screw; even with lube applied that screw wants to turn with the sprue plate, making it about impossible to get consistent sprue plate tension. I have emailed Dan about this; hopefully he corrects this in his future production. Otherwise I would be sticking to Ballisticast for all the "standard" stuff in the future.
Does the sprue plate screw bottom out in the hole? My LBT does this and the wavy washer is what keeps the sprue plate tension constant, not the screw tension. Veral uses an allen head type tapered screw similar to a wood screw with the taper underneath the head.
You may be able to get a slightly longer screw so it bottoms out in the hole to keep it tight allowing only the wavy washer to keep the tension.
Got an email back from Dan about the sprue plate screw issue. He says mine was shipped with high-temp loc-tite holding the screw in place; unfortunately it is only rated for 400 deg. He says he has since switched to a better threadlocker and is sending me some of that. Hopefully that cures it.
Am placing my money order in the mail tomorrow for his newly developed 348 mold. His design has the biggest meplat I've seen on a 348 and as long as it feeds O.K. it should deliver a pile of impact. Probably be about a month before I receive it so will bring you up to date when I receive and test it.
My 348 mold and sizer and top punch arrived today. I elected to try a brass mold this time. The workmanship where it counts appears to be first class. Nicely radially vented on one block only but I'm sure it will be effective. Dan says it drops wheel weights at 229 grains which should be a good compromise weight. It appears that when crimped in only a small portion of the gas check will be below the base of the neck.
Dan spent quite a bit of time planning this mold for me and I think he's done a first rate job.
Hope to fire up the pot this week so will advise further after casting and shooting the bullets.
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