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Thread: Preventing voids in bullets, an experiment.

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    Preventing voids in bullets, an experiment.

    So I was playing with my new Lyman Parker Hale mold, which has a very truncated cone for making the hollow base. Most of my molds come to a rather sharp point for core pin.

    I wondered if this mold would be less prone to making voids because of the lack of a point on the core pin. Most of my minnies, when they make voids, make them at the cusp of the core pin.

    I theorized that perhaps the voids are initiated in the bullets much like bubbles are in a beer or glass of soda - they initiate on tiny microscopic defects in the glass. I theorized that perhaps voids were initiating in a similar manner, the apex of the core pin being a great place to initiate a "bubble".

    I noticed right away that the Parker Hale mold, with its flat-top core pin, seemed to be less prone to voids. But there were, on occasion, perhaps 5 out of 20 drops, voids forming on the top of the core pin. The top of my core pin was fairly smooth, but you could still make out concentric circles of the tool marks left on it from manufacture.

    Could this rough surface be initiating voids?

    To test this idea, I took my core pin and polished the top face of it until it was nearly mirror bright.

    And lo and behold, it definitely made a difference. Instead of 5 out of 20 having a void, now perhaps 1 in 20 had a void, or less.

    Now I still did get the occasional void, and I do not know why, but I tend to think that defects in the mold may be propagation points for voids.

    The next thing I need to fix is that these PH bullets have such thin skirts that they are easily dented when they drop into my bucket of water. I've got to find a new way of cushioning the bullets when they drop from the mold.

    Steve

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    Hickok's Avatar
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    Maillemaker, my P-H mould does the same thing at the core pin. Sometimes it looks like small blisters or tiny puddles at the flat of the hollow cavity. I will have to try your fix.

    I drop my bullets on an old pillow coverered with rags. works good for me, and bullets don't get dented.

    I do drop some wheel weight bullets into water to harden them when cast for my .44 magnum. As you probably already know, beware that no water splashes aroundd your lead pot.

    Try this to help keep your bullets from getting dented. Soak a sponge in water, and let it float in your water bucket. drop your bullets on the sponge. They will set on the sponge for a second, and then tip it over and gently fall to the bottom.

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    What I currently do is I have a shop towel clamped to the bucket mouth, making a funnel down to the water. There is a small slit in the towel to let the bullet fall down into the bucket.

    The towel prevents splashing, and it slows the bullet down so that it rolls down into the water.

    The problem is, I think, that after it falls from the towel (or your sponge), that it then plumets the rest of the way to the bottom of the bucket, where it hits other bullets and dents them or itself.

    When you drop onto a pillow or pile of rags, how do you keep them from hitting each other? You can't pick up previous bullets, as they will still be very hot. Unless you wear gloves I guess?

    Steve

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    As I drop bullets I drop them all around on the pillow. I put old towels on the pillow. When I start getting a pretty good spread of bullets, I lift up one end of the towel and gently and slowly ease the bullets off onto another soft pile of cloth or towels I have laid beside the pillow. Spread the empty towel back on the pillow and start casting again. Kinda like I am handling Nitro!

    I use cotton fabric, no polyester or junk that will melt to the bullets. Old tee shirts work good too. The towels and the pillow get brown tattoos from the bullets, so don't use any of the wife's good items. Ask me the question, "How did that turn out?" "No too good!"

    I wear a leather welding glove on the hand that holds the mold, and just a regular leather work glove on the other hand. Usually when my mold starts getting too hot is when I take a break and move the bullets off the pillow. Cools the mold a little.

    I really have to watch when opening the molds and dropping the bullet, as I can ding a minie by having it it the opposite side of the mold block.
    Last edited by Hickok; 07-17-2013 at 07:18 PM.

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    Mike Stein is offline
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    I cant the mold during the initial pour and that seems to significantly reduce voids. I'll have to polish the base pin as you've tried and see what it does.

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    I also canted the mold usually, but twith the Parker Hale mold the inlet is so small it's hard to get the lead to go down the hole when you cant the mold. Plus with the big honking KNOB on the bottom of the mold that Lyman uses its hard to have enough room under my bottom-pour pot to get into a good position other than a straight-in drop.

    Steve

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    What kettle are you using. Mines the RCBS.

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    If you are using a bottom pour ladle, you might find casting a little easier by switching over to using a table spoon to reduce the amount of molten lead per ladle, and you may find that enlarging the vent hole on the mould will allow for more air to escape from the mold as you are filling the mold cavity with molten lead. You should find that when the lead is the right heat (temperature), air bubbles or voids as well as wrinkles will no longer occur, and at that temperature, it may take about a "four-count" (one thousand one, one thousand two...and so forth) before the lead solidifies after being poured into the mold. If you use a mold prep like the graphite type, you might also try "smutting" the inside of the mold cavity with a candle flame will further eliminate not only "wrinkling" but will improve the mold release time. On average, I cast about 250 minies per hour using a table spoon and dipping the lead directly from a 10-pound lead pot at a temp of about 950 deg. I tried using a Lee production pot but went back to what I found worked best, and I have been using this method for 40 years.
    First Cousin (7 times removed) to Brigadier General Stand Watie (1806-1871), CSA
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    Richard I did the same as you. I bought an electric bottom pour melting pot and just didn't like it. Went back to my old Coleman stove, a pot, and my laddle. The only upgrade I have made in 40 years is I hooked up propane to the Coleman stove.
    Relatives; Isaac W. Shafer 33rd Va. Inf. Lost right arm at Antietam
    Obed T. Shafer 33rd Va. Inf. wounded at Battle of Monocacy Md.
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    died POW Richmond Va.

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    I jammed a nail in the bottom spout of the Lee pot and bought a Dixie ladle for dipping out of the top which does a beautiful controlled pour. By using the Lee pot you can regulate the lead temperature. I never liked working above an open flame.
    Be sure to unscrew the pot lever assembly from the top first.
    Last edited by Eggman; 07-19-2013 at 11:11 AM.

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