View Full Version : Sizing tumble lubed bullets

September 5, 2009, 09:08 PM
Couldn't find this addressed anywhere so I have a question.

First, I slugged my .357 mag and the actual diameter is .358
I have a .358 Lee sizing die
I cast about 500 bullets out of my Lee two cavity .358 tumble lube mold and most all of them came out .360
When fresh out of the mold, the ridges are all nice and sharp. I tumble lubed them IAW the directions and let them dry.

Now the question.........after sizing, all the ridges are smeared down to barely a ridge at all. Is this normal? The sized diameter is right on at .358 but there are hardly any ridges left. Should I be concerned about this? I seated a few in a case and they chamber perfect now I'm just worried that without much of a ridge, they won't hold much ALOX lube when I re-lube them.

September 6, 2009, 08:57 AM
I would lube and shoot them as cast. .002" over groove diameter, especially with the tumble lube style bullet, is no problem. When you size it, you are eliminating and area for the LLA to sit, which may cause some leading. If your pistol doesnt like them at .002" over, then I know a guy that would be able to make you a custom push thru sizer die at .359". As long as they load ok, they should shoot just fine as cast. I would definately start you load development over....start with the starting load and work up (I know, you already knew this!!!) Good luck! :D

September 6, 2009, 09:00 AM
Well Trip, the TL bullets are not supposed to need sizing. Their design makes it difficult to do, as you found out. The fact that the little ribs on the TL bullet collapsed should make no difference on how they shoot. The liquid alox will stick well enough to lubricate the bullet.

Did you try to seat a couple of the .360 bullets in a case? Unless your revolver is extremely tight in the chamber, they should chamber. What is the diameter of the throats? If the chamber throats are .360, then that's what the bullet should be also. That bullet would then be sized down by the forcing cone of the barrel to .358. That combo should be very accurate.

September 6, 2009, 11:36 AM
Sure wish I had waited to read these replies before I went and sized all 500 of them :(

I found my mistake and I feel pretty stupid about it but I'll fess up so maybe someone else won't make the same mistake I made. When I put the micrometer on my cast bullets, they were almost all at .360. I drove a lead ball thru my barrel and it micro'd at .358. I assumed I needed to resize to .358

I loaded one bullet into a case and tried to chamber it and it was too tight. The case wouldn't drop all the way into the cylinder. My mistake was in only trying one instead of several. Based on the barrel diameter, the bullet diameter and the tightness of one bullet, I chose to resize them all. What I saw this morning made me ill. I was pulling the seated bullet out of the case and I saw that the brass case had a bulge in it about 2/3 of the way down the case. It was this bulge that made it feel tight and not the bullet. I think I sized all 500 for nothing :(

Lessons learned the hard way I guess. I'll still try to load a couple dozen of the sized bullets and see how they shoot, but if I am not happy with the amount of leading or accuracy I'll probably remelt them and recast them.

September 6, 2009, 12:52 PM
I would DEFINATELY try shooting them first before remelting all 500. I have a Lyman mold that I need to send back because it drops between .3565 and .3575. I thought for sure this would shoot horribly in my Smith. Well, I was surprised. It did not shoot half bad at all. But, it was not a TL style bullet. I would try shooting some and check accuaracy and how much leading you have. If you barrel is leaded beyond your acceptable limits or accuracy is suffering, I would try putting a second light coating of LLA on another batch and load them up and try again and see if the results are the same. Lee claims that their LLA works on all style (TL and lube-groove) bullets. Don't be so worried about it....chances are they will be really accurate with limited amounts, if any leading. THe idea of shooting lead bullets .001" over groove diameter is not an absolute must, but more of a starting point. Good luck and let us know how they shoot! :D