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Hi-

  I've aquired three Marlin rifles in the past year, two are model 1894's in .357 and .44mag and a 45-70 guide gun. The .357 shoots fine with jacketed bullets but didn't do so well with cast until I read this site and quit resizing the bullets to .358, shooting them as they came from the mold at .359. This improved things quite a bit. This model gun has the Ballard type rifling, BTW.
  The .44, which has microgroove rifling, will shoot great with jacketed bullets but makes shotgun patterns with cast bullets. Without a doubt the bullets are too small in diameter for this gun. The FAQ here reccomends bullets of .432 diameter for the .44 but the thing is is that I don't know of a company that lists a mold that will drop bullets that size. Lyman does not even make a sizing die in .432 or .4595 and .460 which I will probably need for the 45-70.
  Sorry to be so longwinded but I thought it might be helpful to know where I'm at. So where do these sizing dies come from that will work in a 450 lubersizer and where are you getting molds that drop bullets of the right size to work with? Should I be considering custom jobs?

God bless
Kevin
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Henri de Lubac
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kevinm,

The only issue I am going to address is the .44 Mag.

For this gun with micro-groove rifling the bullets, regardless of size, need to be HARD!  This means a lot (6% or more) of Antimony.  This does two thimgs, hardens the bullet, and reduces the shrink of the bullet as it cools.  Linotype cut 50/50 with pure lead will usually be hard enough, if not, use it straight unless you are looking for a metal to hunt with.  The old standby of wheelweight quenched in water as you drop it from the mould should also work.  The .432 dia. is only needed if you have a .430 or larger bore.

Most production moulds will throw at least .002-.004 over nominal diameter, especially when cast of one of the typemetal alloys which have virtually zero shrinkage.

BTW, if you go the quench route watch in the lube grooves particularly.  If the bullet is dropped too soon you will see a roughness which appears as small droplets in the grooves.  This indicates the core was still molten and as the skin shrinks the liquid will be forced through the skin.  Usually this happens if you try to push the casting rate too fast.
 

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Check with RCBS for sizer dies, they interchange with the ones for the Lyman.  If you can't find the right one, Robert Stillwell down in Texas can machine one to whatever size you need.  
Mark
 

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When it comes to bullet molds, the only Lee mold that will throw a bullet that will work in your .44's is the .44-310g FNGC, and with WW alloy as mentioned in above post, it will throw a .4315"-.432" bullet, stay away from the other Lee molds, as they will all throw about .429"-.4295", and you'll be miserably dissappointed.  Most any of the RCBS, Lyman or Saeco bullet molds in .44 will drop bullets in the .432" diameter range, and should work well for you.  For the .357, just about any molds other than the Lee will also drop bullets which you can size to .359" (yes, you're on the right track here), and those with the strongest front driving bands will shoot best.

Now, for the .45-70.  Stay away from the Lyman molds, as they pretty much will drop .457"-.458" bullets, as will the Lee molds.... alll of them .  The RCBS molds will allow you to size to .459"-.460", as will any of the Saeco or the Ballisti-Cast molds.  Stay away from those molds with long bore-ride noses when loading for your Marlin 1895 and you'll be best served.

Sizing dies, as mentioned, the larger diameters for each caliber you mentioned will be best procured from Mr. Robert Stillwell.  His webpage is:

http://rstillwe.home.texas.net/

Hope this helps in your quest for home-rolled pills for those Marlin's!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys and particularly Marshall. You have certainly provided me with exactly what I was looking for. The great thing about lists like this is that it can save a person a whole lot of trial and error when it comes to such choices.
  An order of new powder and suplies came in yesterday so I'm really itching at the bit to get out and start testing some loads including some for the good old 30-30. There is so much I've learned here recently that I have not yet had the chance to try out. I used to think cast bullets in rifles was pretty much limited to lower powered plinking rounds so working up full power accurate loads is going to be a real treat.

God bless
Kevin
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kevin

RCBS also makes custom sizer dies.  Last one I bought, as I recall, was around $35 and only took a couple of weeks.

This is in no way meant to disparage Stilwell, as I have heard he does good work.  This just gives you another option and might not take as long.
 
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