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I've done a lot of casting, but never tried to resurrect a mold. I was given this rust covered Lyman 90gr. .357 mold along with a bunch of other water-logged reloading gear.

Do you think it's worth trying to salvage? I was thinking of casting a few bullets with the mold, then slathering them with fine polishing compound and turning them with a drill. Are they too far gone to be worth the effort? This is not a bullet I would use much, but it could be fun to make duplex and triplex loads if I can get the mold to function.

Any thoughts and ideas would be appreciated.

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I have to wonder how much your polishing could change the dimensions of the mold.
eta I also wonder how much that rust changed the internal dimensions of that mold
 
@GWS It would, of course, make the diameter larger, which could be fixed during the sizing operation. I guess you could keep casting bullets as the mold was polished more and more to so that the compound would make contact with the mold walls.
 
I'll be dropping the mold into Evapo-Rust in a few minutes, just to see what that will do. Some of the pitting seems pretty deep but it is on the curved portion of the bullet nose.
 
I would take an Old used up dremel bit and run several wraps of steel wool around it and spin it through the closed mold with a few drops of Auto Trans Fluid or other light creeping fluid like Kroil, or 3 in 1! Don't worry about little pits and imperfections, the Bullets will come out fine, especially if you run them through a sizing/swedging tool first like us Black Powder dudes do! If you have any major flaws, those can be braised and filled and then lightly sanded back to base dims! Old Molds are super cool, and pretty dang durable, always worth the effort to save, and some can actually be pretty valuable, especially with the Prancing Pony logo when the man hisself still walked this earth!
 
If that was my mold, I would brass brush the loose rust off then soak it in a can of KBS Rust Blast, or Orison Evapo-Rust. You would want to watch how long you soak it, as the chelation process can remove metal if allowed to. Then examine and polish using a dremel and a cotton buff with some fine compound on it.

EDIT: I would email Lyman. Knowing them, and how long they have been at it, they might even offer a refurb service. In Connecticut humidity, this would not be the first time the deal with rust. At a minimum, they could advise you of their process to clean it up.
 
Boiling water for 30 to 60 minutes first.

No abrasives or stiff wire wheels.

serious.
 
Stick them in white vinegar tonight, wash them up with a blue scotch bright tomorrow morning or night if really wasted. rinse in boiling water as it must be dried fast to avoid rerusting. Preheat them to thoroughly dry and coat with mineral oil if not immediately used.. The first molds might be hard to remove, but should be ok after pits fill with crud and lead if pits not too deep. I use mineral oil to prevent future rusting when not in use, and preheat them before use partly to clear oil off (to prevent outgassing bubbles into the lead) before next use but for other obviously ease of casting reasons if you already know how to mold things. I'd put forth my best effort to reclaim before giving up on them. I would not abrade them much which might alter size. I cook almost extensively with reclaimed cast iron much of it given up for dead, burned clean in a 500 degree oven then seasoned. while not the same as a bullet mold, such cast iron end products are much forgiving of flaws especially when bullet swages are available for many calibers for the persnickety among us. All my experience is for 45 colt, and 45-70, not to mention fishing weights. I never used swages as all my things were lubed by hand and did not need precision so worked just fine for me as is, so take my words with a grain of salt if planning on match shooting cast lead in your pistol.
That said, and of much importance here, such sizing / lubing devices are worth their cost if any volume is to be done needing lube too.
Having cold mold, incorrect pot temperature or a crappy sprue cutter will give more grief than a slightly porous surface.
Future molds purchased best done in aluminum or stainless to avoid the problem.
As an aside; Whether I'm a poor metal caster, haver poor luck, or tradition, I almost always have to scrap the the first batch molded no mater how well I try to preheat or be temperature precise, and I've been doing it, and scrapping the first batch, quite some time..
 
No abrasives or stiff wire wheels.
I would tend to agree. Chemical rust removal I would try and see how well they come up, but any mechanical removal is likely to exasperate any sizing issues.

Resurfacing the actual bullet mold might be an option, but then it comes down to cost. Can you do it for cheaper than just buying a new mold? If you have the equipment to do it yourself (fill and reshape the mold area) it certainly would make it a pretty cheap fix.

Anywhoo... chemical removal, then pour a couple and see how they come out don't hurt nothin. Then you'll have a tangible measure of where to go from there.

I've had great success with krud kutter in the past.
 
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Whether I'm a poor metal caster, haver poor luck, or tradition, I almost always have to scrap the the first batch molded no mater how well I try to preheat or be temperature precise, and I've been doing it, and scrapping the first batch, quite some time..
Try wiping out any lube and then Black Smoking ( Soot) with an old bees wax/tallow candle first, doesn't need lubing through out your casting session until the end when your done! Saves lube and acts like it with out any contamination! You need to re smoke it every few casts, but you'll get the hang of it really quick!
You can also use cold wood ash to lube, but it's not the ideal!
 
The rust must not be as deep as I thought as a couple of hours in Evapo-Rust took it all away. I did a through hot water rinse and then put them straight into my case dryer to make sure surface rust doesn't start again.

I'll take a better look at them tomorrow and maybe take a few more pics if I can make them show anything. I may even brave the heat over the next few days and cast up a few to see how they look.

I usually shoot as cast (no resizing) and powder coat so these might be okay without any extra work. I'm thinking about stacking this 90gr. on top of a 60gr. (or two) with a proper powder charge and seeing how my revolvers shoot duplex and triplex loads. Just for fun, but who knows if they shoot well maybe I'll find a use from them other than to just play around.

Thanks for all the tips and ideas so far, keep them coming if you have them and I'll keep you posted as to any results.
 
I did this recently.
First soaked in CLR for ~20 min
Rinse
Scrubbed with a BLUE Scotch Brite
Soaked in 10% phosphoric acid for ~10 min
Washed, then dried.
Phosphoric acid is used in Parkerizing
 

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