Cleanin’ Your Molds
& Other Tips

18

Here’s a “new” old mold Eric received that was packed in Cosmoline. Using denatured alcohol,
Q-Tips and Big 45 Frontier Metal Cleaner Rust & Dirt Remover pads, the mold cleaned right up.

No, Tank wasn’t cleaning his ears here. That’s Cosmoline on those Q-Tips.

While many badmouth social media, I’ve been fortunate to learn new things, meet new people, and share ideas about a multitude of shooting related reverie. When it comes to casting bullets, let’s face it, there’s a limited amount of people around to casually yack about lead alloys, different molds and cast bullet loads. One topic rarely covered is cleaning and care for your bullet molds.

The topic wasn’t mentioned per se, but I noticed one fellow lead-head in particular always posting several newly acquired bullet molds. They always seemed brand new, although being several decades old. So, I sent a message to him, inquiring how he managed to scrub the age off of his molds.

His name is Eric Wertz and he’s a retired Navy man. I guess he knows a thing or two about being ship shape. Eric told me he uses Big 45 Frontier Metal Cleaner Rust & Dirt Remover scouring pads, which are stainless steel, along with denatured alcohol for scrubbing the body of the mold.

The pads say they will not harm the finest blued surfaces. He only uses Q-Tips with denatured alcohol on the mold cavities themselves. For rusty molds, he moves over to Kroil penetrating oil with his Big 45 Frontier scouring pads. I’ve used them and they work!

As you can see, a little elbow grease and the 45 Frontier Rust & Dirt Remover
pad really brings things back to like new condition.

Lead Splash

How about removing lead smears, or splashes from our molds? Smears on top of the mold occur from opening the sprue plate too soon when cutting the sprue. Particularly common during longer casting sessions, smears can be stubborn to remove. Another problem is getting lead flashing during casting sessions on the inside of the mold. This happens during long casting sessions as well.

Usually, when molds are up to casting temperature, lead smears and flash can simply be wiped away with a heavy cotton rag, or towel. For more stubborn problems, Eric shared with me using a propane torch and popsicle stick with a touch of beeswax on it to remove lead. Simply apply the heat until the lead melts and scrape it off the mold.

I’ve tried out Eric’s techniques, and sure enough, they work just great.

The proof is in the pudding. The cleaned-up Lyman 454424 mold casts beautiful bullets.
Notice how the mold blackened back up after heating it? Poetic bullet beauty in the making!

Here’s a rusty mold that Eric saved with Kroil and his trusty 45 Frontier Rust & Dirt
Remover pad. Don’t let rust scare you away. They can be bought for much less
and give you much haggle room when buying.

Pre-Cast Warm-up

Another trick I picked up from social media is the use of a hot plate to pre-heat my molds prior to casting. Before, I’d simply float my mold in the lead alloy itself for pre-heating. When the lead flowed off the mold when picking it up, I knew it was up to casting temperature. Only problem was sometimes bits of lead would stick to the mold. With the hot plate, there’s no worry of lead sticking to the mold, and you can take a break and replace the mold to the hot plate without worry of your mold cooling off so you can pick right back up to casting after your break.

The Lyman 452423 mold cleaned right up. Look at those bullets!

Here’s the 45 Frontier Rust & Dirt Remover pad. They can be ordered from Amazon.

Check ’Em Out

If you’ve never investigated the special groups social media offers, check them out. There are some very knowledgeable people lurking about and you just may learn something, or at the very least get you thinking about a special project you never knew you wanted to do before seeing it.

Like any field, you can go as deep as you want, or keep it simple. It’s all up to you. Keep your powder dry, your lead hot and now, your molds clean. Casting your own bullets is a very satisfying, economical hobby to get into. I love it, and I’m sure you will too!

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