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Old August 23, 2012, 11:53 PM   #1
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.45 Bullet Casting Questions

Ok guys, so you, along with my manuals, have already helped answer a lot of questions, but I need some advice here:

I've decided to take the route of casting my own bullets. I've spend the past several days becoming very aware and knowledgeable about the subject, but a few things I am puzzled about.

I ended up going with a Lee 230gn mold, as shown here:

Is this considered a round nose bullet? I'm slightly confused about all this talk of wadcutter and semi-wadcutter in regards to casting.

Also, one last burning question: It seems that everyone who resizes their bullets after they're cast, does it in a dye that is different from the size of the barrel. For example, I could not find a .45 ACP resizing kit for cast bullets. All I could find were .451 and .452 resizing kits. Whats the reasoning behind this?

Thanks for your help guys. Really would like to get these 2 things straightened out.
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Old August 24, 2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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dmclark523, welcome to the forum. You have asked a couple great questions. First off, that is a classic 230gr RN design. A RF design (round flat nose) would look like somebody sliced a chunk off of the nose. A SWC would have straighter sides and a step in the diameters. I believe MidwayUSA has pics of the different designs for each of the molds.

Now, for sizing your cast boolits... you generally want to size them to .001-.002 over the bore size so you get good seals. That will greatly reduce the likelihood of leading in your barrel. About the only way to make sure what size YOUR barrel is is to take actual measaurements. You should thoroughly clean your barrel of all copper fouling, then clean it again. Then, take a soft lead ball or boolit that measures at least .453 or .454 and drive it through your barrel. This process is referred to as "slugging" your barrel. Then, measure the largest diameter (which should be your groove diameter), add .001-.002 to it and the results are the size you need your cast boolit to be. Most .45acp barrels will measure .451-.4515 groove diameters. Some will measure a little bigger, some a little tighter. Very rarely will it be right at .450 groove diameter though.
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Old August 24, 2012, 12:49 AM   #3
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Thank you for that. It makes sense. I purchased a .451 sizing kit for this mould, so, in your opinion, that will work just fine?

Also, a word about lubing. I am going to be using the liquid Alox solution to lube, and I have been considering the container method... Where you shake them around to coat, then leave them overnight to dry.

I believe I am looking for a simple coat on these rounds, correct? I'm not dredging them with alox, right? Just a nice even coat?

Also, when I resize them in my kit, am I going to run into gunk problems in the dye? I've heard after the alox treatment they get pretty sticky.
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Old August 24, 2012, 02:33 AM   #4
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You'll need a .452 kit.
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Old August 24, 2012, 03:25 AM   #5
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dmc, 8/24/12

Congratulations, you have made it to the world of bullet casting (an addictive hobby).

One vital web site for bullet casters is It has several dozen sub-forums on all aspects of casting.

One other bit of advice- when you are slugging your barrel or measuring your lead bullet diameters make sure you use a micrometer and not a caliper as you need the added accuracy of the micrometer.

When I started casting I ended up with four different Lee molds in both .45 auto and 9mm. Two were for tumble lube and two for conventional lube grooves. I could never get the tumble lube bullets to adequately seal in the barrel (called obduration) causing extensive leading. The conventional lube grooved round nose bullets sealed OK but the ogive (the round part of the bullet going from the bullet base to its tip) was too fat and required seating the bullet too deeply in the case to avoid having the ogive hit the lands in the barrel. I finally switched molds to those from Accurate Molds. You can order the type and diameter of the bullet you need based on data from slugging your pistol's barrel.

Good luck and take a look at the cast boolits website (it will tell you about your lubes and other questions).

best wishes- oldandslow
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:26 AM   #6
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Skip driving a slug through the barrel. It's a whole lot of effort for nothing. Tumble or dip lube those bullets in LLA and shoot them as is. If they bulge the case or present a problem freely entering the chamber, run them through a .452 Lee push thru sizer and lube a second time.

About the lube. If you want to go to the trouble, try mixing LLA, Johnson Paste Wax (JPW), and mineral spirits (MS). Melt the JPW (low heat) and mix equal portion of LLA and JPW. Then add a small amount of MS. Actual finished mix is roughly 45/45/10, maybe less on the MS.

I'm loading and shooting my way through a bunch of the tumble lube truncated cone 230 currently (cast last winter), dip lubed with LLA/JPW/MS, run thru a .452 push thru sizer and redipped (do that part while the TV is blaring). They shoot just fine.

Personally, I do not like LLA, but mixed with JPW it works pretty good in this application.
safety first
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Old August 24, 2012, 08:57 AM   #7
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There is much wisdom here for sure, but I would also recommend you spend some time on Cast Boolits site.
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Old August 24, 2012, 11:01 AM   #8
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I use that mold and with WW, they drop right at .452 almost every time. I tumble lube them and run them through the Lee push through sizer, but it rarely ever touches them.
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Old August 24, 2012, 11:19 AM   #9
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i have been casting bullets for rifle and pistol for maney years, i have tried all dif. molds and now use lyman mold, lyman lub. (i have also made my own, not worth the trouble and time)and lyman lub. sizer with heater a lot of good sizer on market, not cheap. buy right and spend your money once. check bore of your gun , i usually size 452 but one thousandover is rule of thumb. now i know my spelling leaves someting to be desired. but i am not responsible for aneyone education, no pun intended. thanks cjs
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Old August 24, 2012, 11:40 AM   #10
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Lee's tumble lube design moulds drop a bullet that does not need to be sized. Just tumble lube them and let dry.

A plastic bowl with a lid + a big handful of new cast bullets + about a teaspoon of Lee Liquid Alox, gently shake and swirl for a couple of minute should do it. You want a lite root beer color not a noticeable thick coat of lube dripping off.

You spread these out on wax paper over night. If you see puddles in the morning you used too much. Don't stress over standing them up on end, waste of time.

You will get residual lube build up in your bullet seating die, just use brake cleaner spray and a dowel or old cleaning brush, comes right out. If you let it go too long you will begin to seat your bullet deeper than you wanted.

Good luck.
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Old August 26, 2012, 01:49 PM   #11
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I use that mold and with WW, they drop right at .452 almost every time. I tumble lube them and run them through the Lee push through sizer, but it rarely ever touches them.
I use the 6 banger version of the same mold and this has been my experience too. I now shoot the bullets from this mold as cast, and haven't had any problems.
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