Order of fill - gang moulds

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Glenn R. Latham posted this 2 weeks ago

I just got a new 5-cavity aluminum mould for a "fat" 314299.  Cleaned and broke it in according to the directions, then proceeded to cast.  I'm sorry I can't tell you what the alloy was.  I'm about out of wheel weights, so I have been using some odds & ends that I picked up over the years.  Some ingots were marked "WW & Lino", some "WW & solder", etc.  As a comparison, a 45 SWC that weighed 205 grains out of 50-50 WW & lead weighs 199 out of this mix. 

Anyway I was casting along and was getting a lot of rounded bands, especially in the middle cavities.  I thought the venting looked "minimal", but some antique moulds work fine with smooth surfaces.  As a test, I decided to fill the middle cavity first, and work my way out, instead of my usual from one end to the other.  Bullet quality immediately improved.  Anyone else experience this?

Glenn

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OU812 posted this 2 weeks ago

I bet you are using a bottom pour pot. Yes I have experienced your problem with bottom pour and I did fill middle or problem cavities first...yes it did fix problem.

Ladle will fill better, but you have to rotate ladle very quick to prevent partially filling adjoining cavity. It can be done with ladle.

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Qc Pistolero posted this 2 weeks ago

Each mould,like guns has its preference.I too met with this or other kind of problem.Getting me a thermometer helped me find the solution quickly to most problems.Some moulds like it at 750*F while others will perform better at 710*F.If I now had to cast without it I'd feel like driving a car without a speedometer.

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Glenn R. Latham posted this 2 weeks ago

OU812, yes I am bottom pouring.  The only ladle method I've used that worked well (and it works very well for me) is with the ladle up against the sprue plate, then rotate up.  First time I tried this with a multi-cavity mould I poured half the lead out of the first cavity when I rotated it over to put the ladle up to the second cavity - oops.  Anyway this would be pretty slow, although I may have to give it a try.

Glenn

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OU812 posted this 2 weeks ago

Sometimes too much heat can cause rounded Frosted edges. Casting too fast creates too hot mold temp. You can turn down pot temp down to 650 to prevent . My new RCBS with built in digital temp control is the best.

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OU812 posted this 2 weeks ago

Yea put the ladle against sprue plate cavity, fill cavity, then rotate ladle clockwise very quickly with wrist to prevent over spill.

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OU812 posted this 2 weeks ago

I break open sprue plate with gloved hand. This allows me to cut sprue flatter to bullets base. Those 5 cavity molds can be very difficult to open with gloved hand...so I seldom use them.

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OU812 posted this 2 weeks ago

If it were me, I would fill just the first, third, fifth cavity. The mold will vent better and allow easier opening of sprue plate. Mold will also run cooler and not over heat.

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Bud Hyett posted this 2 weeks ago

I've got several four-cavity molds and have experimented with the order of fill. The center fill to outside works better for uniformity. I have a three cavity Ohaus mold that I fill center, front, back. The spacing is so narrow that I have to move quickly to prevent spillover to the front cavity. 

The other item that helps is to fill as level as possible. One four-cavity is brass and tires me easily. I find myself tilting it back toward me and that complicates the fill. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Pentz posted this 2 weeks ago

I've given up on gang molds for +/- 0.5 gr consistentcy, they reside unused in my drawer. Fine for handgun blasting, and perhaps the Garand but otherwise wanting for match use.

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BigMan54 posted this 2 weeks ago

I have a N.O.E. 5cav for a clone of the #452423. I've been using 50/50 - COWW / #2, a bit hard but it works for me. 

I use a bottom pour; old RCBS Pro-Melt with a N.O.E. mold shelf. The shelf has a slight rearward down angle. Alloy temp is about 720degrees. I cast front to back with a generous sprue. I use a 2nd aluminum mold of N.O.E. or Accurate 4cav or 5cav manufacture. 

I fill and drop as fast as practical, using a plastic mallet to bust open the sprue plate. And I take the time to close the molds carefully.

Never have lead smear across the tops of the molds. Used the same method with Lyman 4cav molds and the old Mag-20 w/ mold shelf.

Works for me.

And a pair of Lee 6cavs too. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Spindrift posted this 2 weeks ago

I have a few 4, 5 and 6- cavity aluminum moulds. I just fill all the cavities, starting from one end. But I alternate the direction of fill. This seems to improve the quality of the bullets, probably because it evens out the mould temperature. If you fill the cavities in the same direction consistently, the different dwell time of the hot alloy in the cavities will establish a temperature gradient throughout the mould.

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Eutectic posted this 2 weeks ago

On a bottom pour pot the initial metal in the spout is cooler than the pot temperature. I have had the first cavity filled come out bad until I dumped a little alloy into the catch tray before the first fill.

Slow fill can cause rounded edges, is your fill speed constant?

I tried the ladle with multiple cavity molds and found it slow with no quality improvement.

I find some multiple cavity molds work best with individual cavity fill, some do fine with pouring a continuous sprue from one cavity to the next. This seems to be a individual mold thing.

Steve

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Glenn R. Latham posted this 2 weeks ago

Thanks for all the replies!  I was using 2 moulds at the time, the second was a Lee 6-cavity for a 45-190-SWC (discontinued).  I filled it from front to back each time and the bullets came out great.  It's an old, well seasoned mould.  The idea of going the opposite direction each time makes a lot of sense.

I cast each cavity separately, shutting off the flow before moving the mould to the next cavity.  I think I would make a real mess if I tried to keep it flowing!

 

   Casting just cavities 1,3 and 5 crossed my mind, but 1 & 5 were still casting wrinkly bullets so the mould probably still needs some more break-in. 

Glenn

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GBertolet posted this 2 weeks ago

In gang molds, I fill starting at the near cavity, and work back. I find it is easier to pull the mold, rather than push it. Occasionally, with certain molds, I have an issue with one cavity having rounded bases, after casting awhile. If I reverse myself for a few casts, starting at the far cavity, and working forward, the problem is resolved, then I go back to starting at the near cavity. Go figure???

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mashburn posted this 2 days ago

I have enough trouble with single and double cavity molds. I have never owned a gang mold and am perfectly happy with my single and double cavity molds. I can turn out good bullets with them and am in no hurry, I wouldn't know the least bit about filling gang molds.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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dale2242 posted this 17 hours ago

I cast with a bottom pour.

I start filling from the handles back pulling the mold towards me as I fill each cavity.

I have never found the need to change to produce good bullets.

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gnoahhh posted this 13 hours ago

My only gang molds are a couple old San Diego Hensley&Gibbs, a #68 .45 SWC and a #50 .38 WC. It doesn't seem to matter what rotation of cavity fill I perform, they just chug along turning out good bullets.

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