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I've been using Lee moulds for some time without problems. . . yet (knock wood). What sorts of problems have you been having? What can I expect or look for?
Thanks.
 

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The problems with Lee moulds, in my experience, are typically not with ones you have been using for some time. The problems I have had involved unsuitable/unusable products right out of the box. The most notable problem I have had is poor matching of the two block halves and/or the inability to drop bullets. The latter can be solved at home. For the price, they work pretty well, if you have one that works. I never suggest them because of the issues I have had with them. If you have one that cast a good, round, bullet, keep using it. If it shoots well in your handgun/rifle, by all means, use it. The means that are used to align the two mould block pieces also seems to be sub-par to me. It's sloppy and aligns the blocks only in one direction, as opposed to round pins. I'm of the opinion that they could turn out a much better product for just a small increase in price. I wish they would. There is a new mould producer in the Cast Bullet section of the forum that has reasonable prices and will make most things you'd want. The reports are coming in from forum members. If you want to hear what they have to say, click here If you want to see the website, click here
 

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How do I love thee, let me count the ways

I'm used to casting with Lyman, Saeco, and NEi molds.
My first experience with Lee molds was a 230 something hollow point mold, single cavity 45 caliber. The first time I took it out of the box I boiled it, then wiped it down with typewriter cleaner, carbon tet then started casting. I cast for several hours and got a pile of really nice shiney bullets from that mold.
The following day I fired up the pot and started to cast some more. I could not get a good, usable bullet to save my soul. I boiled the mold, carbon tet'd it and nothing.
Over the years I would try from time to time to get bullets from that mold, no luck!
After a few years I finally lost patience and tried to find out how many times that mold would bounce of the walls in my basement, only two. That mold went into the recycling bucket.
Then a few years later I tried one of those 6 cavity molds, from Lee. Well the wood handles started falling off, then the sprue plate lever broke and it went into the recycling been.
I think Lee has some good ideas but makes them too cheap and flimsy.
Jim
 

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Arkypete, I'm with you!!

I might use a friend's Lee mold, but I'll not buy one. I want mine made of iron/steel.

I have never been let down by a Lyman/Ideal mold. Haven't tried the NEI or Saeco yet.

WE
 

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Have used about 10 or 12 Lee Molds over the years...only one gave me fits (a 105gr. .38SWC). that one mold never did get right and I junked it...the others got into line pretty quickly.

I'm not claiming they are great molds...but they do give me good service for the price. They are not nearly as good as a set of Lyman blocks...but considering the cost of the mold PLUS handles is about 1/5th the cost of Lyman's mold + handles, I can live with it.

Even if you dislike Lee molds, nexxt time you get a chance to look at or cast with one of their gang molds, try it.

A few things:

(1) That top plate is too thin, and it will cool quickly, which may be casue of bullet bases tht won't fill out...so I tend to "mound" a bit of alloy on the plate to keep it up to temp.

(2) They resent rough handling...often show it by miss-matching their mold halves. Blame the thin handles and the way it is mounted to those handles...worse when hot.

(3) The screws aren't 'set' by locking screws...can strip them if ham-handed.

(4) the single cavity molds are better than the doubles...and the hollow based molds are good...and the gang molds run on a differnt system, and avoid almost all fo the problems.

--------
End judgement is a pile of good bullets at the end of a casting session. If you can get that result with Lee molds, then they work just as well as other products...if you can't, then don't use them.
 

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An idea

I've thought that Lee mold blocks for the 6 cavity molds would be a great way to get a lot of bullets quickly. But it's not worth effort to work with the Lee molds as they come from the factory.
What I'd like to find is a machinist that could make replacements for everything except the mold blocks, new handles, new sprue plate, etc.
This would solve all of the problems as I see it.
Jim
 

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Hi! I happened on your post on the LEE Mold Blocks and having some problems with product quality. I reluctantly agree. This is a bitter-sweet problem. Either one gets lucky with a decent set of blocks or some are not so credible and precise, leaving something to be desired in the accuracy department. Nearly all of my bullet casting over 38 years of reloading experience, has been with LEE mold blocks. Constant experimentation helps much when attempting to improve on the accuracy with any given set of mold blocks. I am including a picture of my best target with my .45-70 Gov't, with which I was having vexing problems trying to attain a group smaller than 3" at 100 yards. Persistence has paid off for me, as you will see in the picture. I've tried literally hundreds of combinations involving bullet (cast only) weights, shapes, lubricant, powder type and weights and primers, not excluding brass brands and lots. Be persistent. Good luck.

kciH said:
The problems with Lee moulds, in my experience, are typically not with ones you have been using for some time. The problems I have had involved unsuitable/unusable products right out of the box. The most notable problem I have had is poor matching of the two block halves and/or the inability to drop bullets. The latter can be solved at home. For the price, they work pretty well, if you have one that works. I never suggest them because of the issues I have had with them. If you have one that cast a good, round, bullet, keep using it. If it shoots well in your handgun/rifle, by all means, use it. The means that are used to align the two mould block pieces also seems to be sub-par to me. It's sloppy and aligns the blocks only in one direction, as opposed to round pins. I'm of the opinion that they could turn out a much better product for just a small increase in price. I wish they would. There is a new mould producer in the Cast Bullet section of the forum that has reasonable prices and will make most things you'd want. The reports are coming in from forum members. If you want to hear what they have to say, click here If you want to see the website, click here
 

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Well I guess I've been lucky as all mine work fine!!
The little trick I just found about recently with these Lee mold-helps to read instructions- is to preheat the mold-hold it in the pot a few seconds and then start casting it 's amazing how much faster I get good looking bullets now!! All mine are of the 2 cavity variety and basically these are all I use to cast with. I have 1 RCBS mold for 250gr 45 cal bullets but none of my arms shoots them well so I use them for .50 ML sabots!
 

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I had real problems with Lee moulds until I learned that they don't cast like an iron mould (duh!). They have to be clean, cast hot (frosted bullets are what I'm after), and the cavities have to be smoked. It's the smoking part that really lets them fill out. I don't think that's a Lee problem as such, because my LBTs, Mountain Molds, and NIEs of aluminum (sp?) moulds require the same smoking. The other problem I had with the Lee moulds was I'd tear them up after a few hundred castings. I learned to lube the blocks when needed, and when the mould is hot during the first casting session loosen up the sprue plate (it's almost impossible to loosen the screw when cold). Make it loose enough to swing under it's own weight.

So, what I learned with Lee moulds over the years is:
1) clean the mould before the first session
2) warm the mould, then smoke it before each session
3) when hot, loosen the sprue plate during first session as soon as possible
4) lube the mould during your casting session
after the above, my problems went away. I feel leaving any of the 4 out will either destroy the mould, or will never cast well. - at least for me.

All the above is with single and double cavity Lee moulds. As for 6 bangers, I do pretty much the same thing. But when I first start casting with the 6 banger each session, I only fill the one hole furtherest from your hand. When the mould is hot enough that it cuts easily, then I cast with the 1st two holes until hot and sprue cuts easily, then use the 1st three holes and so on. Much easier on the mould, the sprue handle and yourself.

Now, with all that said, I still prefer iron. But it's hard to beat the price when you only need a few a calibler or wieght, or just want to try it out before plunking down the dollars for an iron mould.
 

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Think gutshot_again has the main point...they don't work like steel molds and will screw up on some people if they treat them as such. Learn how they want to be treated rather than trying to make them cast.
 

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Along with what ribbonstone said smoking those molds is the one step that seems to make the Lee's cast good bullets. They've got to be smoked to work. Their easy to heat, just dip the corner in the hot lead for a little while. I usually cast with two molds at a time. When they get to hot and start frosting the bullets I switch off.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Aluminum heats up and cools off a lot faster than iron. When I'm casting with iron or brass moulds, I'll usually use two in rotation. Aluminum moulds cool fast enough that I'll use a single mould and a much faster casting cadence. If you're not used to the faster pace, it can throw you off and you'll have trouble maintaining the mould temperature.

Ditto on the previous advice to smoke and lube your mould. Keeping the mould lubed while you work is critical with aluminum moulds.

NEI, Veral Smith, and Lee all have excellent instructions on working with aluminum moulds.
 

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Wasn't going to get involved in this thread, but just can't.
Alunimum molds, no matter who makes them, behave very differently from steel or iron molds. Those who insist on treating them liike iron molds WILL be disappointed in them.
 

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New perspective for some of you. I'm new to casting. I have five(5) molds. All are Lee. I've never tried another brand!
I cast "hot and frosty looking" and am getting good results on targets with all of them.. I follow the instructions that are supplied.

Makes me wonder what i could do with a good mold?

Cheezywan
 

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Cheezy I've been using those little Lee molds now for lots of years with great results. Some of mine are 14 years old and still going. Like you I've found that following the directions works well. Years ago I had the steel/iron molds and they made good bullets also, but I've found the Lee's start throwing good bullets almost from the getgo.

I cast for 38 special, 41 mag, 44 mag, 45 Colt and 8mm rifle bullets. I also cast the 50 cal REAL bullets in two weights for my buddies muzzle loader.

Keeping them smoked and a touch of candle wax on the pins and spru once in a while during casting just seems to keep them going forever.
 

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Lee Molds

I'v used lyman/modern bond/winchester.I have several 6 cavity Lees and 8 double cavity.singles are only made in hp/hb now.I check for burrs and then smoke them and lube.never had problem.couse if your heavy handed and impatient you will damage them.I could not afford the other brands.some people look at the price and snear at them inexpensive is not cheap.Lee has figured out a way to manufacture them for a very afordable price.new reloaders do not have to pay an arm and leg to get set up. :D
 

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I got two Lee molds in a "buy out" deal. I needed a furnace to make them work. I bought one cheap. Found wheelweights for free, and went from there.

The Lee molds that I have are working well in six different calibers at this date. The reject rate is low as long as I stay focused on what I'm doing.

Follow the supplied instructions and a hobby caster should not have trouble. If you are a high-volume shooter, look for another source of projectiles.

I like casting and shooting my own! It saves money, but costs time. I enjoy the time.

Cheezywan
 

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I've been using Lee moulds for a couple of years now with very good results. I primarily use the 6 cavity moulds and with a little prep work they work great. I've had the ocasional problem with a wood handle sliding off, but no more than the only other mould I've ever used-an RCBS hollow base. The only double and single cavity Lee's I use are for 37 & 44 round balls for the cap guns, and one 510 grain for the 45-75.

I haven't used anything but Lee and RCBS, but they both work about the same. Though for the single and double cavities I wish they'd put alignment pins as they are a bit on the cheap side, but a good way to try out a new bullet. Because if I'm going to shoot a lot of any size bullet I get a six cavity mould, realy speeds up the casting process.
 

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most people dont know how to cast with Lee moulds
they also dont know how to use the tools.throw ing molds against walls tells me a lot, no patience not good when reloading.cool it and think first.I have a dozen lee molds never had a problem with any.guess its the old saying when in doubt read the directions.I wonder how many newbys are turned of by cost of the "good tools".
 
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