Mark around the middle of a .530 Round Ball from Lee Mold

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erhunter

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Is it normal to have a mark around the middle of my own cast round ball from a Lee .530 mold? All of the balls I cast a nice and shiny, not frosted, but I have a circle mark where the 2 halves would meet when casting. I can't hold the handles any tighter together so that's not the problem. Any suggestions or is this normal from a Lee mold?Round Ball Pictures 011.jpgRound Ball Pictures 012.jpgRound Ball Pictures 013.jpgRound Ball Pictures 011.jpgRound Ball Pictures 012.jpgRound Ball Pictures 011.jpg
 

Carbon 6

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It's normal, but if it becomes really pronounced then you probably have dirt or lead stuck to one of the faces of the mold or on one of the alignment pins that prevents the mold from closing flush. If it get's really bad you could have a warped mold.

As long as the balls are smooth and the center line doesn't have any sharp ridge to it, I wouldn't get too worried.

You can get rid of the faint line by tumbling the balls.
 

Rifleman1776

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As Carbon said, make sure the face of your block halves are clean. The best way to assure this is to get them up to casting heat and rub with a terry towel. Be careful, don't get burned. Otherwise, don't worry about it.
 

mooman76

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What the others said. Could be the mould but looks to me like it just isn't quite closing all the way. Hold it up to a light while holding closed to see. Either something in there keeping it from closing, like little lead splatters or dirt or something. Some of the Lee moulds especially the older ones, are a hair off alignment and you can set them on something flat when closing to help align it better. Is you mould lubricated? Lube very sparingly where the mould has parts that move with a hi temp oil. 2 cycle oil works well, it's made for high temp. Otherwise if the line doesn't really bother you, it isn't a real issue.
 
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As Carbon said, make sure the face of your block halves are clean. The best way to assure this is to get them up to casting heat and rub with a terry towel. Be careful, don't get burned. Otherwise, don't worry about it.
Make sure your terry’s cloth is not a synthetic one. Melted plastic rag is no fun to get off metal! :)
 

ADK Bigfoot

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Parting lines are not anything to be concerned about. Sometimes they are caused by the caster hitting the sprue plate to open it, or when tapping the mold handles/pivot to drop the balls out of the mold. (Never hit the blocks themselves)

ADK Bigfoot
 

erhunter

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Thanks everyone for your always helpful replies! This sport of flintlocks is sure addicting! I love it. This site, all of the very knowledgeable people and the administrators are great! Thank you!
 

longcruise

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Look for any interference between the blocks. Also try holding the blocks together tighter. Squeeze em hard.

The real proof is in their weight. Try weighing 20 or so and if they have too much weight spread then the mold is not functioning properly.
 

erhunter

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I weighed the balls on an RCBS 500 grain manual scale down to 1/10th of a grain. I casted about 300 balls and the maximum weight spread was 2 grains with alot within 1 grain of each other. They all micrometered pretty much .530.
 

EC121

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By the time you pound the ball/patch in the muzzle that little bit of a ring is immaterial. The rifling and patch will put way more marks than that on the ball.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Sorry Folks, but...,

THIS ball is out of round. Might be a trick of the photograph, but I don't think so.

BAD BALL.JPG

That's from a mold that isn't quite properly closed. As folks have suggested, you need to check the mold, and take a hard look where the mold is made to align, as little dirt where pins meet indentation areas can be tough to see, but will cause that to happen.

The other culprit is that with an aluminum mold, you need to pre-heat it closed....as unlike the steel molds from companies like RCBS, sometimes the halves of an aluminum mold will heat differently when apart, and when heated apart, they don't "match" as they should. Seems silly, but you may need to pay special attention that they stay tight and closed when pre heating.

LD
 

erhunter

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thanks Loyalist Dave for the tips on using my Lee Mold! It's interesting you say that about the molds heating differently. When my molds are cold I can see a very small gap between the molds when closed fully. But when I heat them up the gap seems to disappear. Must be the metal expanding with heat? Should this set of molds be sent back to Lee, they are new? This is the first I tried to cast in 30 years, so I appreciate every tip.
 
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Loyalist Dave

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Must be the metal expanding with heat? Should this set of molds be sent back to Lee, they are new?
No, what is happening isn't uncommon. That's how I know about keeping the aluminum molds closed. ;)

There are three ways to heat the mold that I have used. One is to apply heat from the fire, and when I first did bullets I had Lyman and RCBS molds out of steel. they are like 3x the cost of a Lee mold. So you heated them in the gas flame, and open, to heat them quicker. That's a lot of steel when you're casting a lone, .440 RB. So I repeated the situation with aluminum Lee molds when I bought those for other rifles. Ooops, I found that heating in the flame or the fire is where you have to be careful with the mold being tight when it's aluminum. It's weird as it doesn't always cause the aluminum halves to do that..., just once in a while when they are open.

The second method is simply start pouring ball, and when you begin you count to five before you open the mold. Your first batch of ball will be heating the mold and will likely not even be spheres. Counting to five allows heat to transfer. You do this pretty fast, and build up the heat. When the ball stop being wrinkly, you start keeping the ball. Before that you pause from time to time and put the bad projectiles and extra lead back into the melting pot. Careful as they may be hard but they are still hot.

The third method is to touch the surface of the melted lead in the pot with the underside edge of the mold, and I don't like that. When the mold is cold the lead sticks to it, and you have to stand there holding it until the lead doesn't stick any longer. On the other hand some folks like this method because it allows the user to know the mold is hot enough for lead to roll off of it.

LD
 

Gun Tramp

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Have you contacted Lee customer service? You have some very good images they might wish to see...
 
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