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Plaz
May 17, 2010, 04:36 AM
I am about to start casting my own bullets for the first time. I intend to buy 6 cavity Lee molds. I will need molds for 9 MM luger, 45 ACP and 44 Remington Mag.

I have plenty of W231 powder and large pistol primers on hand and would like to not have to buy any more powders or primers unless absolutely necessary and highly recommended.

I intend to use a Lee sizing system. I hear a lot about using Alox tumbling as a lube and that it is very messy. Would pan lubing be a cleaner and a better way to lube the bullets?

In keeping with the above I sure would like to get some recommendations for bullet molds:

- In view of my above limitations what would be the best bullet mold configurations to buy? I seem to favor the 200 grain flat nose configuration for both the 45 ACP and 44 Remington mag bullets ?

- I can't find a 6 cavity mold for the 9 MM luger so I have been thinking of using the 2 cavity 120 grain truncated cone mold. I am not crazy about this mold. Can you folks come up with something better? I am not sure there is anything else.

dahermit
May 17, 2010, 06:58 AM
- I can't find a 6 cavity mold for the 9 MM luger so I have been thinking of using the 2 cavity 120 grain truncated cone mold. I am not crazy about this mold. Can you folks come up with something better? I am not sure there is anything else. Lee makes a 6 cavity mold for the 9 MM luger. I have one. You should be able to get one from Midway.
Also, years ago, I used a Lyman truncated cone mold (again, 9mm), and hated the bullets it produced. They cycled well through the action, but were difficult to pick-up and manipulate in the hand loading process. They seem to squeeze (slip from), out of my fingers when trying to pick them up more than round nose bullets.
Lastly, flat-nose bullets may not feed well in your .45 Auto. 230 grain round nose always functioned well for my .45's, although I have good results with the RCBS semi-wadcutter meant for .45's.

IllinoisCoyoteHunter
May 17, 2010, 07:16 AM
Be sure to slug your bore before you buy any molds. You want to make sure that the boolit is gonna fit properly.

Idaho Spud
May 17, 2010, 07:36 AM
I'd also keep to round nose profiles in the beginning, for semi-autos, simply to reduce any frustration when you start shoot your first efforts. I've successfully shot a lot of round-nosed flat points in my 1911, but Lee's offering looks like not much ogive with a pretty flat end. Their 452-228-1R looks like it'd work. The only 9mm I cast is Lee's 102 round nose for a 380 Colt Gov't. Keep it simple in the beginning. You can experiment after you get experience. You'll accumulate more molds as you go as this can become an addiction.

Edit: if you're just starting, get Lyman's "Cast Bullet Handbook", a wealth of info for beginner and veteran alike.

budman46
May 17, 2010, 07:42 AM
plaz,
tumble lube designs don't need sizing...cast 'em, tumble-lube 'em and load 'em. i have a .45 cal, 230 gr truncated cone lee mold i like a lot.

these designs are preface by the letters "TL". the 9mm is a 124 gr round nose or truncated cone design; the 44 spec/mag is a 240 gr swc and the .45's are available in 200 swc and 230 gr rn or tc designs. all are available as 6-cavity designs...go on lee's web-site to get the numbers. http://www.natchezss.com/ has them all.

i love lee molds since discovering bullshop's sprue plate lube; it stops lead smearing if the sprue is cut before the lead solidifies, thus preventing galling of the mold block's top. inexpensive and effective stuff.

here's a link:http://bullshop.gunloads.com/tbs_lube.htm

welcome to the fraternity.

budman

armoredman
May 17, 2010, 09:40 AM
Actually, I use the TL 356-124-2R mould for 9mm, and it drops at .360. I use the great push through Lee sizer to get it down to .358 for 38 Special, and 356 for 9mm, works great.
Best resource for casting, castboolits.gunloads.com.

ScottRiqui
May 17, 2010, 09:47 AM
I have plenty of W231 powder and large pistol primers on hand and would like to not have to buy any more powders or primers unless absolutely necessary and highly recommended.

You may have just left them off your list, but aren't you going to need small pistol primers for 9mm?

zippy13
May 17, 2010, 10:54 AM
The price of LEE's sizer is very attractive, but I found their method of lubricating unsatisfactory. One try with the LEE and I was convinced that I'd made the wrong choice. Now, I use an old-school Lyman 450 with a Midway heated base. My lube is hard at room temperature and the finished bullets are clean and dry.

I still have the little used LEE sizer kits in .357 and .451 and will let the pair go to a good home for $10 + actual shipping. PM if interested.

IllinoisCoyoteHunter
May 17, 2010, 11:08 AM
If you decide you really like casting and shoot a bit, then chances are you will end up with a lubrisizer (Star, Lyman, RCBS, Saeco, etc). They are a much "cleaner" alternative and I have found the Lee TL system to be marginal. For starting out, it gets you going cheap...but if you think you will like it then go ahead and spend the extra $$$ and get a lubrisizer. That is my 2 cents from personal experience (and many of my friends that cast as well).

Edward429451
May 17, 2010, 11:56 AM
I seem to favor the 200 grain flat nose configuration for both the 45 ACP and 44 Remington mag bullets ?

That's nice. But now you need to try to find out what your gun favors. ;)

May I suggest a standard weight boolit for both calibers? The standard weight bullet for the 45 is 230 gr, and the standard weight bullet for the 44 is the 245/250 gr. What is your reason for going light for caliber in both cases?

Plaz
May 17, 2010, 12:15 PM
The reason I have been selecting light bullets is because I am limiting myself to using W231 powder. Can I use the standard bullet sizes with W231?

IllinoisCoyoteHunter
May 17, 2010, 02:18 PM
The reason I have been selecting light bullets is because I am limiting myself to using W231 powder. Can I use the standard bullet sizes with W231?

Yes. Go to Hodgdon's website and you can find a bunch of load data. Remember that 231 is not a magnum powder, as it burns too fast. Look to the slower burning powders (I like w296 or H110..they are the same powder) for big boomer loads in 44 mag (w231 works just fine in 44 mag but you won't get the magnum velocities). I have had great luck with w296 in 357 mag and 454 casull. Don't try to use the magnum powders in 45 acp or 9mm. W231 is just fine for those loads. Good luck!

zippy13
May 17, 2010, 02:32 PM
The current Hodgdon data show loads with W 231…9mm Luger to 125 gr FMG
.45 ACP to 230 gr LRN and
.44 Rem Mag to 300 gr HDY XTPMy old Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook lists W 231 loads9mm Luger, No Lyman cast bullet loads with W 231
.45 ACP to 225 gr cast LRN (mold #452374)
.44 Rem Mag to 215 gr cast LFN (mold #429215)As IllinoisCoyoteHunter said: "Remember that 231 is not a magnum powder, as it burns too fast."

GP100man
May 17, 2010, 03:05 PM
The only thing I can add is cast& try a few before "MASS" producing anything!!:cool:

m&p45acp10+1
May 17, 2010, 04:10 PM
I can recomend a powder for the .44 mag cast lead loads. I cast, and load for .41 mag with lead. I followed an old family friend's advice and bought some Acurate #9. It was a bit more expensive than Alliant 2400. I like the #9 way better. It is much cleaner, and has way less flash.
I would recomend the Lyman Pistol and Revolver loading manual. It has the most listed loads for .44 mag, and special, as with all other handgun calibers. It also has a detailed chapter on casting lead.

kraigwy
May 17, 2010, 06:15 PM
Problem is guns are differant, like Jacketed bullets, some guns like some cast bullets and don't like others.

Some of mine guns I had to go through several molds to find out what the gun liked.

And I dont like multi-caliber molds for target shooting, just because the bullets come from the same mold, dont mean all the bullets are the same.

When I cast bullets for my Model 52 Smith, I only use on cavity of a 4 cavity mold.

I'd recommend staying away from 6 cavity molds. They are heavy, and you'll find you can cast faster with a 4 cavity, and with some heavier bullets you can cast faster with a 2 cavity.

Some bullets you need two molds of the same caliber if you arnt too picky about how accurate they are, For example I have 2 - two cavity molds (same brand & same bullet) because that 500 grn bullet heats up the mold too fast, you need to switch them out. Some of the long bullets bend before they get cooled.

It isnt gonna take long before you end up with 20 - 30 molds, casting is habit forming, but a lot of fun.

chris in va
May 17, 2010, 09:33 PM
Ok, here's my experience after trying several boolit profile/weights.

The truncated cone 124gr absolutely did NOT work in my three 9mm's. Massive tumbling and inaccuracy.

After pulling most of my hair out, a kind fellow pointed me to the Lee 358-125-RF mold, sized to .358 and *lightly* lubed with ALOX. Now the planets are in their proper orbit and the sun is shining down on my shooting. :cool:

Seems 9mm has some really shallow and fast rifling. Send a boolit sized wrong down the barrel, and you'll get it skidding along like a toboggan on teflon.

As a new caster (as I was a few months ago) I'd skip the 6 hole mold. Get a 2 hole, and you'll be surprised how many you can make in just a couple hours.

snuffy
May 18, 2010, 01:43 PM
Plaz, you've got a lot of info from the others. Here's my take.

The Lee 6 cav. molds are made better than the 1 and 2 cav molds. They DO require separate handles, the 1&2 cavs. come with handles. The cam operated sprue plate is a plus, you don't need to whack the sprue plate.

As for the contention that each cavity will make a different bullet, not in my experience. At least not as to weight or diameter. I'm satisfied with the accuracy of bullets from all 6 cavs. to not try to mark each bullet, then run tests to determine if one cav. is bad. My eyes and old age won't let me shoot good enough to see a difference.

Lee molds are NOT cut with a cherry. They are lathe turned with a boring bar. Using a CNC lathe, the mold is spun, with a programmed boring bar held to precise tolerances, the same for each cavity. This produces less run-out for each cavity, resulting in more uniform cavities.

As to weight, the Lee 6 cav. weighs much less than a Lyman 4 cavity, about HALF! I can do l-o-n-g casting sessions with a Lee 6 cav., which will produce a pile of bullets. 2 hours will get me 700 45 TCTL 230 grain bullets.

I just got a 230 truncated cone 6 cav. tumble lube bullet mold. The first few range trips have convinced me this is a very accurate bullet. At least in my SA 45 1911. I also have a .452 200 RF Lee 6 cav. that shoots just great.

As for 9mm the 124 2 r is the standard nose shape for 9mm. Just about any 9mm will shoot it just fine. I have 2 9mm molds, the 125 TCTL is for my 357 sig. I went halves with a buddy for the 124 2R, for his glock 9. It makse a super nice bullet, shoots good in his glock 19.

As for the Lee tumble lube being messy, if by that you mean they always feel a bit sticky, then yes that's true. But it WORKS!

Rangefinder
May 18, 2010, 03:41 PM
As for the Lee tumble lube being messy, if by that you mean they always feel a bit sticky, then yes that's true. But it WORKS!

I'll second that one---I LOVE Liquid Alox. A very light coating works extremely well, even in my rifle bullets with velocities up over 1800fps. I wasn't a fan of the "tacky" feeling of the bullets either--they also seemed to gather a lot of dust easily since my reloading bench shares space with my wood shop. A very complex and difficult procedure fixed this problem for me. I use a rag to wipe off the excess lube from the bullet after seating and crimping. ;) NO MORE TACK, NO MORE DUST---bullets are always clean and shiny!

I also have to go along with the 2-cav suggestion that chris made. 6-cav's are nice for volume--no doubt about that. But you'd be surprised how many bullets you can crank out in an hour with just the 2-cav mold. I did about 160 in an hour yesterday with a rifle 2-cav mold, and that includes melt time for my alloy, sizing and seating gas checks, lubing, and standing on-end to dry. Include lolly-gaging and going into the house to fill my coffee mug, and I could have easily doubled that amount. :D But I'm not one to be in a real big hurry where my reloading is concerned--I'm usually into pleasure, consistency, and leisure afternoons, not volume.

Sky Master
May 18, 2010, 08:55 PM
I've been using Lee's 358-105 sized to .357 in my 9mm with W231, loads and shoot fine.

Plaz
May 18, 2010, 10:32 PM
Am I to gather from some of the responses that round nose bullets would be more succesful in my gun than other bullet configurations, such as flat top or truncated cone etc.?

Also since I am new at casting, is this a way of keeping it simple at the beginning?

budman46
June 27, 2010, 11:56 AM
plaz,
truncated cone designs may possibly have issues with feeding, but i've had nothing but good luck with them in s&w, star, ruger and browning models for both feeding and accuracy.

round-nose bullets performed well, too...take your pick. i just received a 6-cavity lee tumble lube round-nose design...i believe i ordered the truncated cone version, but it really makes no difference.

budman

Rifleman1776
June 27, 2010, 01:03 PM
A six cavity mould, whether iron or aluminum, when poured is heavy. Personally I find a sixer tiring to use for long stretches. A two cavity is easier to hold and use, and, I'll betcha, after an hour of casting you will be about the same in numbers of bullets cast with a 2-er as a 6-er. And, the twos are much less expensive.