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I have been useing this Lyman mold for several years. When I first got it I just plinked with the bullets with a 4 inch revolver and never worried too much about accuracy. I figured if I hit someting once in awhile, I was ok.

Well, now I am shooting Cowboy Silhouette and got out all of my .358 molds and started getting serious. First thing I noticed was that the bullets from my Lyman mold shoot a shotgun pattern at 50 yards. By the way, it is a 2 cavity, 150gr Keith style SWC. The bullets that I cast from this mold look good so I decided to weigh them. I found that I have two different weghts of bullets from this mold. Out of 160 bullets I have two distinct weights of bullets. One group of 80 weighs 152gr + - .7 gr and the other group of 80 weighs 150gr + 0 .5 gr. They shoot different too.

I have two Lee molds also. A 166 gr SWC and a 148gr WC, both two cavity molds. From both of them all of the bullets weigh in at a + - .3gr.

Are Lyman molds really that bad or do I just have a bad one? Also, are the cheap Lee molds really that good, or do I have a pair of really good examples?

The groups from the Lee molds are pretty good also. The 166 gr mold will group under 2 inches at 100 yards, all day. The 148 WCs group under 2 inches at 50 yards but at 100 yards are all over the paper. I know 2 inches is not real good but this is done with 55 year old eyes and metalic sights. I don't expect my groups to be any smaller on the target than my front sight covers up on the target.

If you have any thoughts or experience on these things I would like to hear them

Thanks, TheRealSixgun
 

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Lyman Molds

Sounds to me like you have got yourself a collectors item there, and that two different chriees were used to cut the mold. That would be odd, but then so is pilot error. Years back, you could special order Lyman molds with different bullets and of different Cals. I remember seeing some with as many as 5-6 different bullets running from 22 through 44 on the same block. They were expensive, but the last time I saw one similar on a table at a gun show, think it was priced over $300.00. I have probably over 25 Lyman molds, and if properly taken care of will probably outlast me and my offsprings. Some designs are obviously better than others. Have numerous Lee molds as well, and while they do the job for given time frames, alum blocks won't last a lifetime. For the dollar I am happy if I get 1500-2000 bullets from them. On the other hand, I some of my Lyman molds I bought used, and have run well over 10,000 and going strong. Some of the custom mold makers are producing outstanding molds, but they are on the more pricy side. For cowboy shooting, rather than screw around unless your time means little, consider buying a couple thousand at a time bulk cast bullets designed for cowboy shoots. The cowboy types that I bought via Mid South mfg. by Magnus shoot very well, are well cast, and random samples weighed stayed within 5/10 of a grain. Might suggest that you write to Lyman on that mold just to see what they say. Might also want to see if there might also be a collector out there of odd molds that might be willing to take it off your hand and help you finance another. Regardless, I wish you good luck, and hope this is of use.
Paul
 

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TheRealSixgun,

From your description, it sounds like your Lyman mould is for bullet 358477.

To answer your last question first, no, Lyman moulds aren't that bad, and Lee moulds aren"t that good. Just like any other products, there are good and bad from all manufacturers. I, too, have several Lee moulds, most of which I have had very good luck with. Most of my moulds are Lyman and RCBS, with some LBT and 7-8 Lee. I also have Lee and Lyman moulds which would only be useful if they were heavy enough to use as an anchor!

To address the question about weight variance, let me tell you of one of my moulds, make isn't important. With this particular mould I have to cast the rear cavity first, then the front one. If this isn't done the rear cavity almost invariably will not fill out. Is it a bad mould? No, it just has some quirks. To directly answer what is probably wrong with the Lyman mould is absolutely nothing. Your technique probably needs a little tweaking. You mentioned separating bullets by weight. Are you really sure that this reflects which cavity they came from? Very likely it doesn't.

One way to determine if any of the variance is actually between cavities is to mark one so you can tell the bullets apart. You can do this by filing a very small notch in one cavity. This can be at the point, or on the land which forms the grease groove. It only needs to be large enough to identify the bullet and isn't enough to make even 1/10 gr. difference. If balance concerns you, (it really shouldn't from this) then make two notches, one on each side.

If you're casting with a bottom pour pot, try using a dipper. Try holding the dipper in contact with the mould 2-3 seconds to allow the bullet to cool and draw in metal before pulling the mould away. Do this with each cavity. Draw a new dipper of metal between cavities so the metal temperature is consistent. See what happens by filling the cavities in the same order all the time, and try it in reverse order to see if this makes a difference.

There are usually two things which cause the variation you note, especially if the bullets won't shoot well. Both relate to balance of the bullet. First, bubbles in the bullet. These can be caused from pouring too quick, poor mould venting, or other reasons. The second is bullets being undersized excentrically. The usual cause for this is the mould being too hot coupled with not holding the dipper on the mould until the bullet starts to freeze. This often will look like rounding of the bullet lands on the sides and about mid-length. Heat is very critical in casting. Temperature of the metal isn't nearly as important as mould temp. (Except if the metal is too cool) Even very hot metal can make good bullets if your technique allows the mould to cool adequately between pours.
You didn't say what you are using for melting lead. A thermostaticaly controlled pot helps to keep everything at a consistant temperature. A thermometer to check temperature with is essential to casting high quality bullets. It is possible, but much more difficult to cast from a stove and a plain pot than it is with a good electric pot and thermometer.

I wish I could give a complete lesson in all the nuances of casting, but the truth is that there is neither space nor time, and I havn't learned it all yet. After all, I have only been doing this since 1958. I have cast bullets which shot into nearly 1" @ 200 yds. (from one rifle!) and others which wouldn't shoot in 4" @ 25 yds. The point is, there are a lot of variables in this game and we can only make suggestions which may or may not work for you.

Let us know if any of this helps.
 

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AlK8944,

To answer some of your questions.

Since I started this thread, I have been doing many of the things that you suggested. I usually use a bottom poor pot which has a thermostat on it. I have varied the temperature and that does not make a big difference. I tried a dipper also and may not have a good techneque down for that. I get a smudge of lead under the spru cutter every time I do that. I used to just clean that off with a knife and go on but since I have been trying to make really accurate bullets I decided that was unacceptable.

On this particular mold I have found out that I need to fill the rear cavity first. If I fill the front first, the rear one has a big frosted void on the front side of the bullet.

Your suggestion to slowly fill the mold may be the problem. I will give that a try.

If all else fails I can just use one cavity and maybe get good bullets from just one.

Thanks for your suggestion.
 

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TRS,

Hope some of that helps. Just a last comment though, if yoy are getting a smear you are cutting the sprue a little too soon. Let it chill for 3-4 seconds after the puddle takes on a crystalline appearance. Cutting will be a little harder, but if you strike at a slight down angle you should still be getting clean bases.

Was it a 358477?
 

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If it does turn out that there is a variation in the cavities, the easy way out would be to mark one cavity and shoot them seperatly. you wouldn't be the only one with a double cavity mould that tossed two differnt weight bullets (and with more variation than you remarked on)....my solution was to mark one mold ( a small mark on the nose) ans shoot them seperatly.

Will second the advice to fill slower, run the temperature a bit hotter, and let the excess harden a bit before striking the plate.

Worth a try is using the bottome pour pot, but leaving a 1/2" of space between the valve and the mold...kind of "swirl" i it into the cavity by aiming a bit off center sprue hole. haven't hard evidence why it helps some molds...but it does.
 

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I have a .30 cal. Lyman 2 cavity mold that throws about a 2 grs. difference between the cavities. When I was shooting IHMSA I seperated the 2 cavities while casting and only loaded one of the bullets. Well of course I ended up with a coffee can full of the other bullets. I sized and lubed some of them up. Guess what they shoot just as accurately as the first batch and in exactly the same spot. I don't seperate bullets any longer.
You might want to try a different weight bullet. Lyman 358156 gas check bullet is very good and also 358429 plain base is very accurate in almost everything I shoot it in. My load in .38spl cases is 3.2 grs of Bullseye.
 

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One of the more accurate bullet designs is also one of the least used: the basic RNL. Doesn't do the job on meat, but works fine against paper...and you get an easy to load round without sharp edges to make up for the antiquated look. But you can't use them in your lever gun.

Have noticed the trend in coyboy shooting towards lighter bullets to reduce recoil (as there is a velcity limit, that's the only advantage).

Any maker can produce a mold that is a bit off..and from your description, that Lyman isn't all that far off in weight. May be that the cherry was run in a bit more in one (or a bit less in the other...who knows?) and marking one for identification would help (mark the "bad" one)....can always use the bad ones in one final load in those almost worn out cases... what I like to call "brother-in-law ammo" (he he bums ammo can't be too picky about what they bum).
 

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I Have Lee/lyman/ideal/modern Bond.lee Are Quick To Heat The Rest Need More Time.some Like Bottom Pour Others Dipper.like Humans They Each Are Individuals.also The Alloy Must Be Right.have Fun
 

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interesting thread.... i too have a lyman .358477 mould but it's a single cavity so i'm sure the bullets are almost exactly the same...... takes longer to cast a bunch of slugs but i have lots of time and i do enjoy the activity......are you lubrisizeing the bullets right? the large groups kinda sound like it might a sizing problem.......
 

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This is really quite common, as noted above. You have a two cavity mould that casts two bullets of the same design, to different weights. Probably the simplest suggestion is to just separate your bullets by weight, and load them as different lots. Lot #1 is from one cavity, and lot #2 is from the second one. It's no big deal, really, just wait until you run into the same situation with a 4 or 6 cavity mould. There is nothing wrong with your mould at all.
 

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according to cast bullet ***. manual the differance should not effect the group that much.what are you shooting a rifle or pistol.2 " at 50 yrds with pistol sounds right.you are shooting a 38 spec.right?
100yrds sounds a little far. mybe i'm wrong??
 
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