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Old August 20, 2011, 05:53 PM   #1
armoredman
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Sometimes there's a sad ending,

And sometimes, there is a happy ending. Like this one.
See, it all started when I thought to myself, "Self, you need a new 9mm mold!" Being somewhat of a wimp, I knuckled under to me, and looked around on the 'net. Only thing I could afford was Lee, and I had the tumble lube one, so I bit the bullet, figuratively, and ordered the 356 125 2R, a single groove round nose mold.
That beloved Big Brown Truck brought it to me the other day, and as I was checking it out, a disquieting murmur started in my fingertips - the mating of the top of the two mold halves was smooth and even, but the bottom was not...If this had stared as one aluminum block, the top and bottom would be identical. The bottom was higher on one side, not by very much, but enough to feel. I had two halves of two different molds slapped together. My heart went ker-plunk into the well of misery, gotta send it back.
Well, maybe not, I'll give it one try, see how bad these things are, can't hurt, right? Yes, I know that's what Samson said when he went for a haircut, different story. I didn't bother REALLY cleaning the mold halves, just scrubbed with a pencil eraser and then ran boiling water through the cavities, towel dried.
So I warmed up the pot, put in a few pounds of lead, figured I'd just try a few and see how it went. The mismatched mold went into the pot to warm up, I got suited up, cracked my knuckles, winced in pain wishing I hadn't done that, and then got to work.
The first few casts were the typical cold mold, not quite ready casts, then it happened. Perfect bullet after perfect bullet rolled on out. No undue hammering on the handles to drop them; half of them just fell out on to the towel with no encouragement needed. Like Plain Jane on prom night, this mold was bound and determined to show it could do it right, and being a somewhat mismatched human, I appreciated the sentiment!

Here's a representative of the group. Yes, it was elected by popular vote.



I was just going to run about 30-50 or so, but it was running so smooth that I quit casting when the lead ran out, got a nice 146 good ones. I do wish I had remembered to put on my lap shield, AKA, old towel - I spent some time picking lead spatter off my black jeans. At least the silver spatter were easy to find on black denim!
Measured with my Frankford Arsenal calipers, the average diameter was .358, with one or two at .356, and one or two at .359. I used my odd sizing method, ( Hornady One Shot spray on case lube - hey, it works...), through the cheapo Lee push-through .356 sizing die, and here's about 1/3 of the total resting after resizing, waiting for the mule snot, er, I mean, Lee Liquid Alox to be added as bullet lube.



I'm no expert by any means, that's obvious, but I was pleasantly surprised by a cheap mold I was sure was not going to give a decent slug. The proof of the pudding will always be shooting the thing...and that will happen on Monday, as the first batch is drying in the garage as I type this. Goes to show, everyone deserves a chance to shine.
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Old August 20, 2011, 06:25 PM   #2
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Looking good
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Old August 20, 2011, 08:32 PM   #3
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Speaking of an odd sizing method... I spray my Lee sizing dies with Midway drop out mold lube and I don't have to lube the bullets first.

I've been working on finding different uses for this stuff since it's horrible on bullet molds. I've heard that you can drop out for a spray on bullet lube but I haven't tried that yet.

Tony
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Old August 20, 2011, 09:13 PM   #4
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Good-looking boolits. Just wondering if the LLA will bond OK with the Hornady One-Shot. Apparently it does. Good to know.
Just "discovered" Lee moulds, sizing dies and LLA. I'm impressed. When I finally bought Lee's Loading manual a bit over a year ago to round out my collection I disagreed with many of his positions on equipment, dismissed it as self-promotion. Figured he was entitled. I've alway liked almost every Lee product I've tried, dunno why I was surprised when they worked so well. Now I feel like a teenage kid who just figured out Dad wasn't a total idiot after all.
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Old August 20, 2011, 09:38 PM   #5
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TXgunut, been using that method since I discovered I hated lubing, wait overnight to dry, size, lube, and wait overnight to dry again before I can load them. I also discovered I don't like One Shot for case resizing, so this is the only use I could find for it. The LLA doesn't seem to come off, so I guess it's a pretty good mix.
I use Lee dies, but all my other inside the house reloading gear is RCBS green. All the stuff in the casting section of the garage is Lee red and white.
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Old August 20, 2011, 09:59 PM   #6
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Very interesting. I like LLA and I don't feel limited by drying times. Trying Rooster Jacket; not impressed so far but it dries quickly and completely. I only get to piddle in my play room for an hour or two at a time so waiting a day or a week is no biggie.
Amazed that Hornady One Shot doesn't work as a case lube for you, it's all I've been using for years. Agreed on the green boxes, my friend. RCBS and Redding seem to be pretty popular on my bench as well. Casting gear seems to be a close race between Lyman and Lee. As long as I accept that they take totally different processes they both turn out excellent products.
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Old August 21, 2011, 02:54 AM   #7
Mike / Tx
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Nice looking batch, and yes it does seem there was a silver lining....

I have only recently began to cast my own out of necessity to feed a behemoth 454. That said, while rooting around in my closet I came across a plastic bow which contained several molds, most of which are large cal BP. Also in there was a Lyman single cavity mold in what appeared to be a 158gr RN. I had dismissed even trying it out as it was pretty cruddy looking with plenty of surface rust on it.

Well after I had gotten things up and running with the bigger molds I decided to pull it apart and see how it was no the inside since it had been taped up with some of that old fiber reinforced tape no telling how many years ago. Upon opening it up I found it still had a bullet inside which apparently kept it from turning much the same as the outside was. It took a day of scrubbing with a bronze brush, and kroil to get it cleaned up enough that the blocks would mate with no light showing between them and then it was time to see how it cast.

Like you I wasn't overly hopeful or expecting much. After getting it up to temp which only took about 5 or so bullets. I managed to run about 60 or so through it keeping a nice cadence and dropping them on a three count. What I ended up with after the initial 5 or so bullets were only six culls from the bunch. They were probably the best I have cast cull wise and when mikes they came out to all be .359" with a few hitting .3585". I have them sitting in a box ready for the mule snot and sizing, as I haven't even gotten around to ordering the die yet. Matter of fact I haven't even bothered to mic the cylinders of my revolvers either.


One thing you can try with the LLA is thinning it with about 20% or so mix of Mineral Spirits. It doesn't reduce the lubing capability that I have found, and cuts the dry time to only an hour or so depending on temp and humidity. I have used it in a double dose on some 300gr GC's in my 454 and found it works just fine up to 1500fps.
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Old August 21, 2011, 08:54 AM   #8
armoredman
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I might try that with the mineral spirits next time I am near enough to Wally World to pick some up.
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Old August 21, 2011, 10:55 AM   #9
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armoredman, you're lucky you got a good one. I did NOT!

These pics show the first mold I got for the same boolit you have. I too was impressed with how well it cast, the boolits fell free with no banging. I happily cast around 500 before shutting down the pot. A break for a soda, I came to mic a few of them before setting up the Lyman 450 to size. they were OBLONG, or an OVAL. They miked from .362, to 355 depending on where the anvil of the mic was resting!

I sized a few, they would not completely size round, an area next to the parting line was left un-sized by the .356 die. Then the sizing was a wavy line
where it intersects with the nose or ogive. I sized enough to load 50 rounds thinking maybe they'll shoot okay. No such luck!

An email to lee brought me a reply to send the mold directly to them with a few sample boolits for them to examine. I did so, got a "new" mold back that had apparently been tested by them to assure me I would get a round boolit. They even had the cavities smoked, which I promptly removed. It casts a real nice .356 round boolits now, I still have to shoot some to see if my CZ-75B cold war commemorative likes them.



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Old August 21, 2011, 11:21 AM   #10
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Bummer on the first mould, Snuffy. Glad Lee took care of you, hope the boolits work as good as they look.
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Old August 21, 2011, 10:18 PM   #11
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Those look good enuff to make me go buy a nine !!!!
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Old August 21, 2011, 10:56 PM   #12
TXGunNut
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Those look good enuff to make me go buy a nine !!!! GP100man


I concur! I recently ran across hundreds of pieces (OK, mebbe 1200 pieces ) of perfectly good 9mm brass, even a few hundred loaded rounds. I sold my last 9mm firearm (a H&K 94) in 1987 and haven't bothered to buy another. Please don't remind me what happened in 1988, OK?
I'm thinking a nice Browning HP. How about you, GP100man?
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Old August 21, 2011, 11:05 PM   #13
armoredman
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Get a CZ.
I too, don't like smoking cavities, quite doing a while ago when I couldn't tell it was doing any good.
Bummer on oblong bullets, these sized up nicely, loaded 40 testers this morning, ready for the range tomorrow!
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Old August 21, 2011, 11:23 PM   #14
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Good point. Always been fascinated by the CZ rail system, seems to be superior to anything I've seen.
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Old August 22, 2011, 12:53 AM   #15
snuffy
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Here's the cold war commemorative CZ-75B.





Thanks for the compliments, but those were from the bad mold! You should see how the new ones look!
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Old August 22, 2011, 02:09 PM   #16
armoredman
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The were tried today. Loads need tweaking, and it had been a while since I was out shooting. Hey, any excuse in storm.



I need to steady down and try again soon. I got better groups later. Gonna load up 50 of the 6.3.
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Old August 22, 2011, 07:34 PM   #17
TXGunNut
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Look like promising groups, all things considered.
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Old August 22, 2011, 08:12 PM   #18
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