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Old May 17, 2005, 05:30 PM   #1
JRLaws
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Lee Molds

I was thinking about the Lee 105 grain SWC mold for my .357 (squirrel and rabbit hunting). Have any of you fine reloaders used this mold before? If I use it in mild .38 loads what problems should I look out for? The Lee 158 grain tumble lube SWC is also on my list, is this an o.k. mold? Thanks for the help.
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Old May 17, 2005, 06:11 PM   #2
CaptainRazor
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JRLaws,

I have (and use) Lee molds exclusively, I have the 158 SWCTL design for one of my 38 molds. All of them (including 9mm,38,45) work exactly as they should.
If you're going to load the 357 light, they should be just fine.
If you every plan on cranking them up to magnum velocities, you should consider a gas check mold.
For less than $20, you really can't complain. The only problem I have found is Lee aluminum molds tend to heat up really fast, if you don't mind taking 5 every now and then, the Lee's should work just fine for you.
If it's mast production you're looking for, steel molds are better (and a lot more expensive).

I have no complaints for the money they cost.
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Old May 17, 2005, 10:01 PM   #3
JRLaws
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Quote:
The only problem I have found is Lee aluminum molds tend to heat up really fast, if you don't mind taking 5 every now and then, the Lee's should work just fine for you.
Thanks Captain. Not only do I not mind, I LOVE taking 5 as often as I can.

I want a lever action in .357 later on and know that it'll crank up my bullet velocities considerbly. How fast would be too fast for these molds, using wheel weights?
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Old May 17, 2005, 10:36 PM   #4
Leftoverdj
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For full house carbine .357 loads, you will need gaschecked bullets. 158 grains is about the lightest I would consider, but there are occasional custom runs of a 180 gas check LBT style bullet that is about perfect for carbines.


Accuracy with plain based bullets disappears between 1200 and 1400 fps with microgroove barrels and between 1400 and 1600 with conventional rifling. (Very rare exceptions admitted.)

Lee moulds are capable of very high production rates if you gradually decrease the alloy temperature as you cast. Some advanced casters use various cooling techniques to keep the mould temperature down. Simple and safe are the use of a fan and/or an aluminum heat sink.

I am very fond of the six cavity moulds where available. They are much better constructed than the one and two cavity moulds and greatly speed production as well as lasting longer.
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Old May 18, 2005, 02:18 PM   #5
JRLaws
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Thanks DJ,

As usual, you have the info. I'm looking for. Thanks for the equipment and tremendous help with it as well, you are THE man!
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Old May 18, 2005, 10:39 PM   #6
Ranger61
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I have a 6 cavity Lee mold of the 105 grain SWC for the 38 caliber. I use this bullet in 9mm luger, 38 super and 38 specials when I size the bullet to the correct diameter. Its a very useful bullet but I don't drive any of my cast bullets above 1000 fps.
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Old May 19, 2005, 12:36 AM   #7
JRLaws
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How does the lil' 105 grain SWC shoot for you Ranger? It looks a bit short, does that hurt your accuracy with it?
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Old May 27, 2005, 08:33 AM   #8
Ruger4570
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I don't use the "tumble lube" molds,but I use Lee's tumble lube on my standard lubed bullets. It is great stuff, I have never had the slightest sign of leading even at faster than recommended velocities.
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Old May 27, 2005, 10:55 AM   #9
Leftoverdj
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JR, it's very easy to get 25 yard groups under 1.5" with almost anything. I've done it with the 90 RN intended for the .380 loaded into .38 Special cases, and your little SWCs should do better. Range gets limited by trajectory pretty quickly with these squib loads for small game, and fifty yards is likely to be an extreme limit with the best of such loads. I have never found it to be much of a handicap since my small game shooting is almost always 35 yards or less.
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