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Old November 8, 2012, 03:43 PM   #1
iraiam
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Alloy for Lee bullet molds

I recently picked up a couple Lee bullet molds, a .358 158 grain swc/gc and a 44 cal 240 grain swc/gc, mainly because they were cheap.

When I cast either of them with my usual alloy (50% linotype/ 50%lead) they come out heavy. If I cast them with straight linotype they come out right on the money (with the gas check crimped on, and unlubed).

All of my lyman molds throw a very accurate bullet with the bullet alloy, straight linotype is light in the Lyman molds.

I am assuming this is correct because I have 2 Lee molds that I have the exact same issue with, the only 2 Lee molds I own.

I have never shot straight linotype lead before, but I suspect it will be fine, although maybe not for hollow points. Any thoughts?
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Old November 8, 2012, 07:30 PM   #2
Mike / Tx
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Most commercial molds are produced with Lyman #2 in mind as the general alloy to be used. That said the closer you come to it, the closer your bullets will be to what they are supposed to be.

I use straight WW and several other alloys, and I hardly ever give a second thought to the end weight. That said I DO care if they are within a certain range of +/- 3 to 5 grains, but if the mold is supposed to pour a 240gr bullet, and my alloy comes out at 245 or 250 overall I simply go with it, and load accordingly.

What you will find is that the more actual lead you have in your alloy the heavier the bullets will be. Lino will lighten them up as you have noted. There are however other things that can and do change the weights as well such as other metals in the alloy and also the temperature at which you pour, and the temp of your molds as well.

If you haven't been there I highly suggest you look up the LASC homepage or follow the link below,
The Cast Bullet / Hunting Articles Of Glen E. Fryxell

If you look around on this site you will find answers to just about anything you might need with regards to cast bullets and alloys. The free download is a VERY valuable tool to keep in a 3-ring binder out on your bench.

As for your mention of using the Lino for HP's, well you already answered your question about how well it is going to work out for you. I myself have been working on blending up an alloy specifically to use for my HP's with the basic materials I have. Since my most abundant alloy comes from Isotope Cores that is my base with which to work. I have to add in almost 2/3 of pure lead to how much I am working with and still add in some tin to help even out the antimony so it isn't overly brittle. I use an alloy calculator that one of the members of Castboolits worked up in an Excell Spreadsheet. It can be found here, Lead alloy calculators

Since most of the raw material so to speak I work with is listed here it makes it VERY easy to determine how much of this that or the other I need to add in to get the desired result.

I hope this helps out some as I know that dealing with something you think is going to be one thing only to have it be something else can be a bit frustrating.
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Old November 8, 2012, 07:48 PM   #3
FrankenMauser
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All of my Lee molds drop heavy with anything but Linotype.

Lee used to state that each mold was designed around an alloy "optimized" for that bullet design; but it's complete garbage, in my experience. And, they don't say anything about alloy, any more.
Every Lee mold I've dealt with (even 25+ year-old stuff), has dropped right on the money with Linotype and heavy with softer alloys.


I don't shoot straight Linotype, it's too brittle and a waste of good alloy.
I just cast with the alloy I want, and shoot whatever weight they drop at.

My 429-200-RF mold, for example, drops bullets at about 210 gr with isotope core alloy. I couldn't care less about the extra 10 grains. I worked up the load with 200 gr data, and stopped when I was happy.
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Old November 8, 2012, 08:38 PM   #4
iraiam
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OK that's a better idea, I have about 100 pounds of linotype left that I would rather not just shoot up because I no longer have a cheap reliable source for it, the last batch I got came from a bankruptcy auction at a printing company.

I am very happy with the 50/50 alloy, it's even good for cast hollowpoints, I'll just work up loads for the heavy bullets using the bullet alloy. I'll upgrade to what I consider a better quality mold when $$ allows.
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:13 PM   #5
Edward429451
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All of my moulds cast heavy because I generally use straight wheel weights, except that I cast my 12 ga Foster slugs from pure lead. I've made 20/1 alloy before and casted 45/70s with it. They shot fine but I couldn't really tell a difference in anything enough to want to keep up the practice. Supposedly, 20/1 makes better boolits than WW's or whatever for 45/70. IDK.

I know one thing, Making an effort to keep casting temps uniform will produce better boolits through uniforming the as dropped weight. I set up with a SS probe, K type thermocouple for my lead pot which lets me read pot temp directly, digital, with my Multi-Meter. As the pot empties, the temp rises so I know its time to add more ingots. I don't toss sprues back into the pot willy nilly because that will lower temps. I keep it +- 5 deg and my boolit weights come out real uniform which is conducive to accuracy.
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:18 PM   #6
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Is this a real problem or an imaginary one? Serious question.
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Old November 8, 2012, 09:34 PM   #7
Edward429451
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He's seeking info about how different alloys produce different weight boolits. Serious question, and important if one wants maximum uniformity and performance.
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Old November 9, 2012, 08:36 AM   #8
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While I do weigh my cast bullets I look for uniformity & dia. to be more important than the advertised weight, as the op has found different alloys to affect weight it also affects dia.

Viable question, YES. But if a mold throws liter or heavier is not a deal breaker for me.
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Old November 9, 2012, 08:46 AM   #9
res45
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Andy over at Lee said in a recent email that Lee used 95/5 Lead/Tin alloy as a baseline alloy for there molds.
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Old November 9, 2012, 10:26 AM   #10
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In my past, I was obsessive about accuracy and weighed bullets, sorted and hand selected bullets, weighed powder charges and a host of other accuracy improving techniques. Then I Ransom rest tested the rounds and chronographed them. Sigh....what a waste of time! Now, I spend my time shooting and I don't sweat the small stuff at pistol distances of 50 feet or so. While I'm at this, using "match" bullets at 50 feet is a waste of time and money.

The biggest single factor in pistol shooting at pistol distances is YOU. Work on YOU.

In High Power rifle matches at 200 yards, those techniques are also unnecessary. I've competed in NRA matches for 7 years, fired military ball ammo and done very well with it at 200.

After 200 yards things change a lot. I shot many 600 yard service rifle matches and it's all about bullets and keeping them supersonic at 600. I never fired beyond 600 but I understand it's even more critical to work those tiny inconsistencies to a minimum. That's where these accuracy improving techniques really pay off.

Pistol shooting is largely mental. If fretting over the quality of your ammo improves your self confidence, then have at it. From actual testing, those efforts have a minimal payback.

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Old November 9, 2012, 01:52 PM   #11
iraiam
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Quote:
Is this a real problem or an imaginary one? Serious question.
It's not a "problem" at all, Just an issue which I am fully capable of dealing with. the only question I asked was if this was usual for Lee molds.

The Lee molds are back on the shelf for now and I am making a 50 lb. batch of #2 alloy for other stuff that I was low on. I'll get back to them soon I suppose.
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Old November 9, 2012, 05:03 PM   #12
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I never checked...I'll have to check now that i have some certified Seafab bullet metal to measuer against, since all I usually cast is wheel weight garbage lead. My Lee molds either work great or terrible, no in between, but mostly great.
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Old November 11, 2012, 07:20 PM   #13
m&p45acp10+1
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I quit worrying about the total weight when dropped if they are all close enough together in weight as has been said before.

I care about the fill out more than anything. I have the 358 158 grain SWC TL mold. mine drops at about 152 to 155 grains with straight wheel weight alloy when they fill out properly.

My 200 grain SWC in .452 drops them at about 200 on the money. If anything they drop a bit on the lighter side at 195 or so.

My .41 Mag mold is the 210 grain SWC TL mold with straight wheel weight alloy they drop at just about 210 on the money.

I weigh to assure they are consistent in weight within 3 grains +/- of each other.
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