Round Ball weight

Discussion in 'General Muzzleloading' started by Capt T, Nov 21, 2019.

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  1. Nov 21, 2019 #1

    Capt T

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    Only been involve with muzzleloaders for a year or so. Had a friend introduce me to a TC Renegade in .50 and it followed me home. Had some pure lead around (old sailboat ballast)and have been casting RB. Having some issues with weight consistency. Tried temp changes, as well as Lyman (steel) and Lee (aluminum) one and two place molds. The one place Lyman seems to be most consistent. Anyone have ideas on what I might be overlooking? All cast with the same pot and lead (didn't add any extra while casting to keep things the same).
     
  2. Nov 21, 2019 #2

    Maven

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    Pot, furnace, and/or mould temperature, casting cadence, whether you cast with the dipper tight to the sprue plate or not, or whether you use a bottom pour furnace all affect the weight, and sometimes even the diameter, albeit slightly, of your castings.

    Btw, if you know the exact diameter of your RB's, you can use this calculator to see if they're pure lead or not: http://www.beartoothbullets.com/rescources/calculators/php/roundball.htm?v1=.495&v2=2876.1
     
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  3. Nov 21, 2019 #3

    Rifleman1776

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    Maven gave a good response. Lot of advice in few words. Keeping temps up and being consistent is key. One mould, one dipper, developing a routine for each pour and you will be turning out good rb in no time.
     
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  4. Nov 21, 2019 #4

    Capt T

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    Am using a Lee bottom pour furnace. Normally will cast 10 rounds to discard prior to casting to heat the mold properly. The aluminum mold is the least consistent (most likely due to it cooling more quickly between pours). For shooting consistency, what weight variance would be considered proper?
     
  5. Nov 21, 2019 #5

    Loyalist Dave

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    Depends on what you want to do when you shoot.
    IF the difference between and X, a 10, and a 9 on a target are important to you..., you need them very close.
    For me for hunting, I found most of my round ball were 224 grain, and some additional ones were 223.8....so I kept those since they were the large portion of my bullets, and the rest went into the pot for recasting. I'm probably being too narrow with my variation.

    LD
     
  6. Nov 21, 2019 #6

    Capt T

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    Appreciate the info. Going to toss the aluminum molds to the curb and just concentrate on my consistency with the steel ones. Thanks again.
     
  7. Nov 21, 2019 #7

    Dr5x

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    I HAVE HEARD THAT IN SOME CASES THE TWO PLACE MOLDS VARY ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND HAD AVOIDED THEIR USE.
    MY PRACTICE WAS ASFOLLOWS:
    CAST AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE TO MINIMIZE THE MOLD SWELLING AND SHRINKING OG THE MOLD BETWEEN CASTS. TO ENSURE THE LEAD WAS EVEN IN HEAT WOULD CAST AS MANY AS THIRTY AT FIRST, ALL OF WHICH WERE RETURNED TO THE POT.
    AFTER COOLING WOULD WEIGH THEM OUT TO ELIMINATE ANY BALLS MORE THANONE GRAIN LIGHTE THAN THE HEVIEST BALL TOMAKE ERTAIN THE BALLS WERE AS SOLID A LEAD AS POSSIBLE, NOT CONTINING NY AIR BUBBLES OR LIGHTER WEIGHT INCLUSIONS THAT WOULD CAUSE THEM TO BE OFF BALANCE AND SPIN OFF THE INTENDED COURSE. IT'S AMAZING HOW MNY BALLS ONE CAN CAST IN A SHORT TIME.

    DUTCH SCHOULTZ
     
  8. Nov 21, 2019 #8

    Boomerang

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    Pick out the heaviest ones and re-cast the ones that are not within .5 grains of that.
     
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  9. Nov 21, 2019 #9

    Capt T

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    Had heard something about the two ball molds casting differently as well. Think I might try to separate the two as they come out and check size and weight. Thanks again everyone!
     
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  10. Nov 21, 2019 #10

    ppg1949

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    I go with boomerang on weight tolerances. Don't pitch your aluminum molds just yet, you might figure it out. I use a Lee bottom pour pot and single cavity Lee molds. I do keep the mold warm on the melting pot between use. Generally I have less than a 10 percent throw back.
     
  11. Nov 21, 2019 #11

    brewer12345

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    The aluminum molds work just fine. I think what you are missing is a lead thermometer ad a hot plate. The thermometer will help you keep your alloy at a consistent temp. I get the best results with pure up around 800F. The hot plate is to preheat the molds and keep them warm if you need to refill the pot and let the metal come back up to temp.
     
  12. Nov 21, 2019 #12

    longcruise

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    Going through a pot of lead to bring mold temp up seems like a lot!

    I don't have a thermometer but do use an IR heat sensor. Im probably favoring about 800 too. Your instructions with your Lee mold will suggest that you dip the corner of your mold in the lead to heat it up. I dip both bottom front corners in the lead unitil the lead doesn't stick. I'm usually casting good balls by the third one. Be sure not to allow any of your sprue cutter lube to get inside your mold.

    Also check the inside flats of the mold for any lead deposits that might be interfering with mold closure. And also squeeze the mold closed tightly and with consistent pressure.

    You didn't mention your weight variations. Maybe you are too picky? :)
     
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  13. Nov 21, 2019 #13

    Baxter

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    Never used a thermometer, never liked AL blocks, always used a quality steel single cavity block and, like longcruise, dipped my steel block in the pot to bring it up to useful heat. Used a small pot and ladle and enjoyed the rhythm of casting and the time spent doing it. Never thought of casting as "work" but as time well spent.
     
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  14. Nov 21, 2019 #14

    brewer12345

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    Eh, I use aluminum, steel and brass molds for casting ball, conicals, and boolits for stuff we don't talk about here. They are all capable of casting quality projectiles. Aluminum molds cool down more quickly so they benefit from higher lead temps and a faster pace of casting.
     
  15. Nov 21, 2019 #15

    Griz44Mag

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    I had my round with keel weights too.
    DO NOT assume it is pure lead, it isn't. It would up in a keel because it wasn't pure lead or even a usable alloy good for anything besides dead weight.
     
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  16. Nov 22, 2019 #16

    Brokennock

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  17. Nov 22, 2019 #17

    Dr5x

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    THAT SAYS IT SIMPLY.
    WITH THE HEAVIER CALIBERS ( .50 AND UP YOU CAN MAKE IT ONE WHOLE GRAIN BUT IF YOU ARE SOMETHING OF A PERFECTIONIST THIS .5 VARIATION IS PERFECT.

    DUTCH SCHOULTZ
     
  18. Nov 22, 2019 #18

    Dr5x

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    ANOTHER VARIABLE IS THAT AS MOLDS HEAT UP THEY EXPND AND BECOME LARGER, SHRINKING AS THEY COOL BACK DOWN.
    STEEL BALL MOLDS DO THIS THER SLOWLY, ALUMINM MUCH MORE RAPIDLY.
    ACCORDINGLY, ONCE YOU GET THE MOLD TO REACH A STEADY HEAT. CAST AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE TO KEEP THE HET AND SIZE OF THE MOLD THE SME.ITS BEST TO CAST ALONE IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA. IF YOU ARE VISITING WITH SOMEONE YOU WILL STOP MOLDING BALLS WHILE YOU STATE SOME BRILIANCE AND THE SIVE OF THE MOLD WILL CHANGE.
    THIS IS ALL NITPICKER CONSIDERATIONS. BOOMERANGS ADVICE TO REJECT ALL LIGHT WEIGHT BALLS IS THE VERY BEST ADVICE OUT THERE.

    DUTCH
     
  19. Nov 22, 2019 #19

    Dr5x

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    THE OLD TIMER;S RULE THAT IF YOU CAN CUT INTO THE LEAD WITH YOUR THUMBNAIL IT;S SOFT ENOUGH FR MAKING ROUNDBAL.
    WHEN SHORT STARTING A PATCHED BALL. YOU WILL BE EXTRUDING THE LEAD INTO THE RIFLING. THE HARDER THE LEAD THE HARDER IT WILL BE TO GET THAT BALL AND PATCH STARTED DOWN THE BRREL
    DUTCH
     
  20. Nov 22, 2019 #20

    Griz44Mag

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    Nothing at all wrong with aluminum molds.
    I have some that are 30 years (+) old and still cast perfectly good rounds.
     
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