Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

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Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by Blade on Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:43 pm

Hey guys

I wanted to know from you guys, that already have used the lee 6 cavity molds, how good they are?? I want to start casting in BULK and i was thinking of the lyman 4 cavity molds, but the price is a bit insane if you ask me.

What i actually want to know is, how good is the quality of the bullets itself. Do you get perfect bullets or do they have a phew voids in them. Also, what percentage of perfect bullets do you normally get?
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by tripples on Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:53 pm

I have 2 Lee 6 Cav. molds and love them. Mine are both .45 molds (not tumble lube) I have noticed that if the mold is not hot enough or too hot you get some inconsistancy, or if the pot is too hot. Overall great molds for the money. I am planning on ordering some more in the near future.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by hawcer on Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:38 am

I have 2 Lee 45cal six ganger molds....one for tumble lube and one lube ring type. They will make excellent bullets as long as you do your part.

I automatically drop the first 2 sets of bullets back into the pot....after that I'd say I get about 95% perfect bullets and the 5% that are not perfect is usually my fault, not the mold's.

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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by Blade on Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:21 pm

Sounds great, thanks a lot guys!!

Are there any modifications that you have done to any of your lee 6 cavity molds or not? Like polishing the mold cavity's etc...
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by hawcer on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:01 pm

I have never polished my molds....but I think Tommy (Daywalker) has polished his.

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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by notenoughguns on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:15 pm

I've been using Lee moulds for over 25 year and have cast 10's of thousands of slugs with them with very little complaints . The cavities usually need a little deburring at first but then it's smooth sailing there on out .
Take care of them and don't beat them with a hammer and they'll last along time . I do have iron and steel moulds but use Lee for my 40's , 45's and muzzle loader balls .

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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by badjeep02 on Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:27 pm

I use a Lee 6 ganger for 45's as well. It works great. I wish I had more of them.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by BigAgitator on Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:15 pm

I've got the 6 cavity in 310 grain for my 44 magnum.

So far so good... and by good, I mean VERY NICE. I will be buying another soon (different weight slug).

It doesn't get any faster than casting with the 6 cavity. I agree with tripples... just watch the temperature. If it gets a little hot during a fervent casting session just cool it on a wet sponge per their instructions. You'll know when it's getting hot (bullets don't drop out as easy + sprue smears and is easy to break).

Very good moulds according to my research and limited experience.

here's a pic of one of the slugs I produced before I gained much experience for handling the mould (still pretty good!)


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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by tripples on Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:36 am

One more thing that I think should be mentioned about the Lee molds or any other mold as well. I saw it in a video on youtube long before I started casting. Make sure the the spru plate is closed all the way and give the spru lever a little tap closed to be sure you get the cam action when opening it back up. When I just got started casting (not that long ago) having new equipment I didnt like the idea of giving the spru lever a slap till I didnt get it closed all the way, it was not real easy to cut/break the spru. I thought for sure the lever was going to break.
One other thing I believe Daywalker told me to do was lube the bolts and bushings and alignment pins. Just use wax for this, I have since taken them apart to clean them up and resmoke them and had no problems removing the bolts.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by Blade on Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:22 am

Thanks a lot for all of your input! Very Happy

I will be ordering my first 6 cavity lee mold on Tuesday, then i'll see first hand how it performs. So far so good.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by BigAgitator on Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:51 pm

Congratulations!

One thing I'd like to add about tripples' sprue cam-action lever is this-
If it inadvertently did not get closed all the way, don't worry. Grab yourself a slotted screwdriver, push the lever "closed" gently as far as it will go. Then stick the screwdriver under that cam from the bottom side. It'll act as a shim and restore your cam action in order to break that sprue. Proceed to break the sprue with the sprue plate lever in the normal fashion while teh screwdriver is in place. Then return to casting and make sure you always close it all the way.



Last edited by BigAgitator on Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:52 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : bone-headed a few things)
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by scorge30 on Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:53 pm

I have never polished my Lee molds either but I might do it soon as the idea intrigues me.

My friends and I used to cast together and we would run several molds at once in a procession which kept the molds cooler, and made a lot of bullets quick.

We also keep a small electric fan handy for cooling the molds if they do get too hot which happens with the 6 gangers and the large .50 cal and bigger molds a lot.

I have never had issues with my sprue plates but I beat on them with a small wooden bat I used to bash salmon with. The bat work well for opening the sprue plate and I have never had trouble getting them open or closed after a tap or two.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by wiederladertv on Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:00 pm

I've got ten or more 6 cavity molds from Lee...I like them.
2 cavity molds are more accurate but I need a lot of bullets so I go with the Lee 6 cavity most time.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by scorge30 on Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:48 pm

Using a few Lee six hole molds and a large production pot you can crank out a lot of boolits quickly.

I use the 6 hole molds and the tumble lube style bullets which produces a bunch of boolits quickly. One of the finer benefits of the Lee tumble lube 6 hole molds for .357 mag is that they do not need to be sized after tumble lubing and a quick slip on gas check so can get stuffed in a case over a stiff charge of H110 real quick.

The Lee molds are cheap and produce decent boolits for plinking and general hunting. I wish they came in a wider selection of styles and weights, but you cannot get everything.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by wiederladertv on Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:51 am

I wish they came in a wider selection of styles and weights, but you cannot get everything..

+1

More styles would be great.
A 147 Grain Bullet (.356), 200 Grain BBTC (.452) and so on... cheers
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by BigAgitator on Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:15 am

+2. I'd love it if they had a 340 grain in .430. Similar to a beartooth or maybe that slug that buffalo bore uses. LFNGC with wide meplat. Just sayin'
It'd be nicer to have one of those instead of 3 choices in 240 grain.

A full WADCUTTER would be great too.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by scorge30 on Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:23 pm

I do not really think there is a better deal out there than the Lee 6 hole molds for us home pourers.

While I am sure many of us have a wish list for Lee 6 hole molds that we wish would be made, those that are available cover a pretty wide gamut.

The best thing with the 6 cavity molds is the speed of production of boolits. I water quench all of mine so they are a tad harder, although I am still getting some variance with the WW alloy I have been using.

I will get more of the Lee 6 cavity molds and I might polish the new ones, which is something I have never done. I have not had problems getting mine to drop boolits or to close, but they do tend to over heat during marathon casting sessions.

We rotate a total of 6 Lee six-cavity molds on casting days so that ones that are between fill and dump stations are allowed to cool a tad either under an electric fan or just by losing ambient heat.

We just picked up one of those laser thermometers to help us keep our molds at a decent temp. We have been running by guess and golly, and hope with a thermometer we can attempt beter control of the temp of the molds so they do not get too hot or too cold.

I'll have to post results of our next group casting day to tell you how the thermometer works for keeping our molds better temp controlled.

I would love a 6 cavity tumble lube GC TC 245 grain .452 mold for my heavy .45 ACP single shot T/C pistol barrel.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by BigAgitator on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:37 am

Scorge,

That sounds like exactly what I fantasized about and the reason for buying a 20# pot. Running multiple moulds in order to keep them at the proper temp.

Never thought of affixing a thermometer to the mould until you mentioned the laser thermometer. Now I'm tempted to mount a mechanical one right to the damn mould. It doesn't even matter what the thing reads, as long as you get an idea of the range to keep it in.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by tripples on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:48 am

BigA, That is an interesting idea mounting a thermometer to the mold. I wonder if you could find one that would be light weight and durable to take the bumps, and taps to drop the bullets.
I also like the infrared thermometer idea that scorge posted, you can pick them up relatively cheep so if you dropped it or got smolten lead on it its no big loss.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by BigAgitator on Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:03 am

I have a barbecue thermometer that'd mount-up with a little bit of modification. It goes up to 800*F

The infared thing is a good idea but then you have to point it at the mould to get the temp instead of just glancing at it Basketball I don't know if that's a big deal or not. it might get tedious after a while but it might not.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by scorge30 on Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:27 pm

Well so far the infared thermometer has not been a pain. We picked it up at Harbor Freight Tools for $40 and it is a POS made in China, but seems to be lasting OK at least for today's casting fiasco.

Not sure if a thermometer mounted to the mold will be a nuisance or not. The larger, 6 cavity Lee molds have enough mass that you probably could drill and tap a hole to mount a BBQ or lead thermometer. Not sure if the thermometer would take the bumps and bangs, but the infared thermometer worked pretty good for us to keep the molds in the right temp range.

These larger Lee 6-cavity molds have more mass so they appear to hold heat a bit better than some of the smaller molds.

We have eight of them between us in 180 gr GCTC tumble lube from Ranch Dog Molds just for our .357 Rem Maxs. This was a special order group buy a couple of years ago, and it has been great for cranking a lot of boolits in a hurry when we have a steel match coming up.

The infared thermometer was quick and did a good job helping us stack and rotate molds to attempt to keep them at a decent temp for working. Still need to refine the routine between the three of us to better coordinate our steps.

Pointing the thermometer at the molds only took a second or two to read. We are looking at a holster or some carrying rig because it was hard to dig the thing in and out of a pocket. Maybe hang it from a lanyard around Rich's neck so he does not have to dig it from a pocket each time.

We were doing pretty good until it started to rain again. Damn weatherman!! Ever tried to move a full, hot #20 Lee production pot in the pouring rain? Even dressed in full welding leathers with a full face shield it was a bit hairy as even drop of rain in the pot made a small volcano of molten lead and steam erupt from the pot spraying my chest and arms.

Nothing hurt but our pride, but we only got a couple hundred of boolits made today rather than the few thousand we were shooting for. Never got to the other sizes of molds we were shooting for today either, like the Lee 6-cavity Ranch Dog molds for the .45-70 and .444 Marlin.

Between the three of us we have more than 50 of these Lee 6-cavity molds, so you can tell I like them. Go in on group buys from other forums (or maybe DW can arrange some here), and you can collect a large number of these Lee 6-cavity molds quickly. Lee is one of the best shops offering custom service and cheaper prices for custom 6-cavity molds.

Still putting on GCs and tumble lubing singing our happy lead songs.

Here is a pic of some of the completed Ranch Dog 180 gr GCTC tumble lube .357 boolits for the .357 Rem Max.

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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by BigAgitator on Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:29 pm

Very nice!
That group buy thing might be a good thing to get started around here. Hint hint DW.

I've seen those on other forums for big @$$ kegs of powder and different batches of primers and various other crap.

Using that infared thermometer makes sense to me now that you explained. I didn't know you guys had so many moulds. Putting a thermometer or gauge on each one would be a waste of time if you can just shoot that sucker at it instead.

A 340 grain lfngc mould would be a nice custom one to have lee make. I'd love to pull a buffalo bore slug and send it to them as a template. Are their custom mould prices much more expensive?

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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by scorge30 on Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:40 pm

No, but in order to keep the initial tooling and cherry cost down or to make it more affordable to the average joe - the more of them you buy at one shot the cheaper they become.

I have been in several group buy custom 6-cavity Lee mold orders and have always gotten excellent molds that suited my needs. While I have paid much more for molds from guys like MP, Lyman, Hock, and Ideal - the 6-cavity Lee molds are some of my favorite for making a crap load of cast boolits in a hurry.

Using the infared thermometer should make it a little easier to keep the molds near optimum temp and buy placing them under a small electric fan or a warming plate we hope to keep the molds from cycling too much.

This was the first time that we used the infared POS Harbor Freight Tools thermometer we got yesterday and we need to refine the process a bit with our three ring circus of casting. I ran the pot and am the fill station. Keith is the dump station into the water quench and Rich is the restack and sort and hands them to me for refilling.

When our fourth and fifth members are home from Iraq and Afghanistan, we will have two #20 pots running and running about 25-40 Lee 6-cavity molds in constant production. I have gotten pretty good at keeping two #20 Lee prodcution pots going using one at a time as the other one warms up, gets fluxed, and I remove all the dross.

I should note though that I wear full welding leathers, fireman asbestos & kevlar lined gloves, and a full face mask with safety glasses underneath and an air filter for lead & arsnic vapors.

When you are leaning over two smoking #20 Lee production pots, I do not fool with inhaling all of the lead vapors and the arsnic fumes that comes from all the WW alloy we use.

We can crank out a mess of cast boolits in a hurry using these Lee 6-cavity molds. Since many of them do not need to be resized after slipping on the GC, we tumble lube them and toss them in the pail for loading later.

I would love to see a group buy on here for more custom Lee 6-cavity molds. If we ask around I am sure that we can get enough interest in certain calibers and weights and may even be able to accomadate our friends in other countrys other the States.

I can always use more molds, and I love the Lee 6-cavity molds and looking at my casting log book (I am anal I know), I see that I use them more than any other molds that I own. Which makes sense because I use them to make a crap load of cast boolits in a hurry when we are marathon loading for steel matches or going on a prarie rat shooting excursion.

Want good pratice for the rams - get good at shooting prarie rats with a .357 Rem Max at more than 200 yards. These 180 gr cast boolits from the Lee 6-cavity Ranch Dog mold I have really tears up the prarie rats.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by BigAgitator on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:47 pm

scorge wrote:prairie rat shooting excursion
That sounds like more fun than a trunk full of monkeys!

I take it you and your friends do silhouette competitions or similar?
It makes sense that you'd go through a lot of rounds.

if we could get a group buy together, i'd be likely to participate if it ended up being a caliber I need.
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Re: Lee 6 cavity mold, any good?

Post by scorge30 on Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:41 am

Yes my friends and I shoot a lot of metallic silhouette out to about 300 meters. We do not have a standardized range here so regrettably we cannot place or compete in “sanctioned” matches. We burn a lot of rounds and have found that the WW alloy rounds are a great way to keep shooting costs down.

The softer WW alloy rounds tend to smash against the silhouette and flatten the rams better than some of the FMJ rounds that will sometimes skid off the silhouette rather than knock it over. Even if you hit the silhouette, only ones that are knocked over count.

Using several Lee 6-cavity molds in rapid series, you can make a crap load of cast boolits real quickly. The cost of the Lee 6-cavity molds are helpful to keeping the costs down for those of us that launch a few hundred pounds of lead per year.

I would love to see a group buy here in several calibers, but that is ultimately going to be up to DW. We could do several group buys attempting to cover the gamut of weights and calibers. The Lee 6-cavity molds are one of my favorite molds, and I am always looking to expand my collection with more weights and styles.

While I lack the drawing tools and the talent to design custom molds there are others out there that posses the ability to design custom bullets. While the Ranch Dog molds are great molds, they do not cover all styles and weights that might be desirable.

I would love some heavy .357 custom Lee 6-cavity TCGC tumble lube molds up to about 225 grains or so. We can take some of the ideas from some of the other forums for how to perform a group buy if DW decides to get one running. While we do not have the size (yet) of some of the other forums maybe we pass the word that we are attempting to get a group buy together.

Lee is quite familiar and used to handling these 6-cavity custom mold orders, and will even assist a little bit with some of the design and error check. Sometimes some of the custom mold orders are so close to another custom mold order that Lee will suggest going with the previous custom 6-cavity mold as they already have the tooling and cherries made, so the cost will be cheaper.

Richard Lee is a great guy and is willing to talk to a customer with even the most hare-brained idea. I relish the thought of getting into another custom Lee 6-cavity mold group buy. A lot of the ones lately on several other forums have not been in calibers or weights that I desired. While such might be the case here, I have hope eternal that sometime a group buy might be in a caliber, style and weight that I desire.
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