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Bullet casting advice
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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sniper
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Joined: Aug 18, 2005
Posts: 735
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:31 pm    Post subject: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

Thinking of getting back into bullet casting for my 357 maggie. My brother in law has even said he will bring back my furnace. (We'll see.)

I have 3 choices for molds: Lyman, RCBS, and Lee, all of which make them in the weight and design I like.

I know that RCBS is good, but has anyone had experience with Lee molds,which are really cheap,and come with handles, or Lyman, which are not? Anything to choose between them?

Will the handles interchange?

What say you guys?
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Vince
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:17 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

Gidday Snipes. Mate, I used the RCBS 150gn FN GC in .308 and it cast beautifully. I also used a Lee 150gn SWC in .38 many many years ago and from memory it wasn't too bad either. I currently cast a 1oz 12g key slug from a Lee mould and although it casts a reasonable "bullet" it isn't as good as the RCBS. My all time favourite was a CBE mould made in Australia. It was brass and cast a magnificent 158gn SWC in .38. Best mould I have ever used. Don't know if they are available in the US though.

Cast Bullet Engineering

The handles would interchange between the RCBS and CBE moulds, but I don't believe that the Lee handles will, although I could be wrong.

I found casting to be a relaxing pasttime......just remember the toxicity of the lead and associated components and protect yourself from them mate. I used a face mask with 2 filters, eye protection and gloves. The mask stopped the headaches I was getting before I realised what the lead fumes were doing to me.

Cheers, Vince

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fireball 3
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:11 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

hi ya sniper, Dave here. the lee molds are made of aluminum.hence the cheep price. they work but the lead in my opinion cools too fast . the lyman molds ,which I use are steel like rcbs. If you're casting a lot of them in one sitting, I would suggest the rcbs or lyman molds. I usually cast 300 - 500 rds at one sitting. But to each is own. the rbcs or lyman listings also tells you what sizing die and top punch to use, lee does not. sorry about the long speech . Hiding

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sniper
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

Vince and Dave: Thanks, guys. Those CBE molds look really nice, and might not be too much more expensive than domestic ones, given the exchange rate. My absolute favorite mold was the RCBS 150 gr SWC, no gas check. It was very accurate. I shot a ton of them before deciding to stop casting.
Lyman, RCBS,and Lee all have similar bullets. I plan to go really simple, like I had it before, using the Lee lube and dish, with the press mounted sizer, which works well, also.

I've never had a health problem problem with casting lead. My dad was a painter when I was a kid, and I was forever messing around with his white lead (it looked and felt like putty)

I always cast outdoors, or with the garage door open, and my shrink says it is o.k. to cast bullets, as long as I wash my hands really well before sucking my thumb! Very Happy Maybe I was damaged, and just don't know it...I do have a slight learning disability. Imagine what I could have done if I had all of my faculties! Cool
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Crackshot
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Joined: Oct 23, 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

I use Lee molds and have had no trouble with them Very Happy , They cast real nice bullets and heat up fast so there is less time wasted makeing duds.
I have 2 6 cavity molds and they work fine, I cast 500+ when I cast so I can get all the ammo loaded up the next weekend.
Oh I also have the Lee 310gr .430" RN FP gc I use for deer hunting in my Winchester 94 Trapper.
They wont last forever, but for the money you can replace them every 5 years or whatever, I have one thats 10 years old and cast ALOT of lead and still going strong.
Lee's will do right by you.

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WILDCATT
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Joined: Feb 22, 2007
Posts: 12
Location: MANNING SC

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

I second the lee molds.get 6 cavity+handles.the handles fit all other makes. the double cavity comes with none detachable handles.MIDSOUTHSHOOTERS.COM has the 6 cav.$34.76 the double$17.37
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shooter44
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

I use both rcbs,lee and lyman, can't complain about any of them...well not having enough of them Smile

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Handloader
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Joined: Aug 22, 2005
Posts: 1032
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

For consistency, my preference is cast iron molds from RCBS, Lyman or Saeco or H&G. Simply sit them on the edge of the furnace for awhile to preheat and then achieve a casting rhythm to keep temperature controlled.

Larger four and six cavity tend to stay in a more constant heat range once the rhythm is established, however, with single or dual cavity I will quickly dunk them in a pail of water before cutting sprues when the bullets begin to frost. That happens at a high enough temperature to preclude any water or steam for the next pour.
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SwampFox
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Joined: Jul 15, 2005
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Location: Destin, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:55 am    Post subject: Re: Bullet casting advice Reply with quote

Sniper,
Of the moulds you listed, you really should buy the RCBS. I think RCBS still has a replace free warranty. I have worn out a number of moulds in the past 22 years. I got bored with jacketed bullets in competition and started shooting only cast bullets in 1986. Right now for 357, I am on my 3rd RCBS 180 Sil and my 6th RCBS 200 FP, all free exchange. As long as it does not have rust in the cavity, I buy any used RCBS mould I see at a show. I also have about two dozen Lyman moulds. Lyman has some "out of production" bullets that are great bullets for individual applications.

Handloader, just a suggestion, if you have an adjustable temp pot, once your mould comes to temp, turn the heat down to just above the melting point. Also to help control the mould temp and the alloy's setup, pour with at least 3 moulds. You can use different calibers and different weights. Use a mud bucket about half full of water. With three moulds and the water drop, you can cut sprue and fill, cut, fill, cut, fill, etc. Besides producing a hard bullet, the water drop prevents deformation of a still soft bullet, just in case.

After getting aggrivated with two Lee moulds that were given to me, and throwing them away, I have but one aluminum mould. Fishing egg weights do fair, cast from an aluminum mould. Very Happy
Ed

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