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Discussion Starter #1
hi! i've cast some 357's and some 44cal bullets in the past, but now i want to get serious about it. i use an old coleman stove, a lee lead pot, an rcbs dipper, and lyman molds. i'm thinking of getting a lee production pot, and a lee mold for my 30/30. what mold would you recomend? i have a '73 vintage win 94. i am thinking about hunting with my new pistol, a ruger super blackhawk hunter. i have the 245gr lyman "keith" bullet mold. i'm using wheel weights and lead from hammers from work. is this hard enough for my rifle bullets? what gas checks should i use? is the lee resizer any good? i'm looking for a used lubrasizer, but the lee seems like a good deal. sorry so long winded, but i don't have anyone in my area that knows much about casting. thanks for your time!!
 

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Lots of questions....

Started casting the same way you have, a pot/dipper.and a heat sourse. Makes good bullets.

The Lee pot works fine...only problems are kind of general for all bottom pours: the spout tends to gunk up and leak. Just twist it wile casting, and promise yourself to drain the pot soon and clean the devise.

Lee press mounted dies work, but of course they don't lubercate. Have to appy the lube before sizing. the tumble lube type (Liquid Alox) does a good job. IF instructions followed, the dies produce concentric bullets. I seldom size bullets anymore, sticking to molds that drop them out at a size I can use as is.

As for the mold...if it is to be a Lee mold and for use in the 30-30. then the Lee 170gr. FN has worked for me.

Can make straight wheel weights whatever harness you need through a hardening process (which we'll save for another post). enough to know that with good bullets and good lube, can drive a GC whell weight bullet fast enough to work well on game.
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Have simple rules about medium to high vel. cast bullets that have worked well over the years. I want the nose (of a bullet with a bore rider) to be slightly marked by the lands when chambered, and the base to be no more than .001" under THROAT diameter. I pretty well ignore the bore diameter...figuring it has to pass through the throat first, and it's going to get bumped to that diameter no matter what it starts out at. So I'd prefer it get bumped up evenly by starting out just at or below the throat's size.
 

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I agree with everything Ribbonstone said, except for one. If you are going to make an investment in casting equipment and want to have a good experience: avoid the Lee moulds. Do they work? Sometimes Do they last? Sometimes I've seen a lot of crap come in the red and white boxes. I would stick with a higher quality mould. Some of them have minor problems but can be solved at home. You can't fix what was never right to begin with. This is only my opinion. I realize some advocate the use of Lee moulds, but I think they make better paper weights than bullet moulds. By and large, you still do get what you pay for in the bullet mould department.
 

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I agree with kciH. I use Lee moulds for some casting. They do work but are not on par with others. My favorite are Saeco or Ballisti-cast.
 

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Oops,
I forgot to tell you that the Lee bottom pour furnace is a good piece of equipment for the money. I used one for years. Make sure you buy yourself a quality lead thermometer, it will help you to cast more consistently and lets you know when the alloy is REALLY ready, not just melted. As far as making wheel weights harder and using a gas checks, I would water quench the bullets straight out of the mould. I use Hornady gas checks whenever possible. They are less expensive and more readily available where I live. I know I'll get heat over this from the Lyman gas check fans, but I think the Horndy are of MUCH higher quality based on my limited and bad experience with the Lymans. If you have problems with leading with hardened wheelweight and gas checks, you may have to switch to a harder alloy. I'd slug the throat and the barrel to make sure you have your bullets sized properly before I switched metals. My experience with shooting cast bullets at high velocities is mostly in single shot pistols which produce about the same velocities as your 30-30. I second Ribbonstone on the bullets that are of a "bore riding" design for the nose portion.
 

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If you can swing a differnt mold, would go with the more expensive steel molds...Lyman the tradtional shoice, but SAECo or RCB do make fine molds. Those are life time investments, while I believe the Lee will eventually beat itself to death.

For the PRICE (on line they are pretty ****ed inexpensive) they are good molds. I ordered to 50cal Lee molds (believe they wre either $14 or $15 each) and am pleased with both of them but I have found the single cavity design to be more sturdy than the normal dual cavity. Actually...I LIKE the Lee gang molds a bunch.

As my last Lee plus, I like the hollow based molds a good bit. Friend discovered that they made a few non-catalogued .41LC molds that combine both the heeled bullet and a hollow base, he ordered two of them, and I bought one. Works like a charm.

I bought one of the early 10 pound Lee pots maybe 18 years back for some soft nose casting experiments(to be used in tandum with the old Lyman pot)...****ed if the thing won't wear out. It does the job well for little money.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
well thanks for the info guys, i'm ordering my lee lead pot this afternoon. i think i may wait until the next gun show and look for a used set of molds. is there anything i should watch out for in a used lyman or rcbs? i have mold handles for both brands.
 

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Just make sure the condition of the mould is good. No goofed up edges on the inside or out. No bent sprue plate. No rust on the mating surfaces or cavties. Heavy lead smearing on the top of the mould is also a hassle, but one that is fairly easy to remove. It can be a sign of problems with the sprue plate though. Don't overlook the SAECO moulds if you see them, I have 5 of their 4 cavity moulds I bought about 8-10 years ago, it was a good investment. Another good place to find used moulds, if your not averse to using it, is E-bay.
 

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casting

356win: I have used Lee moulds to good end. I have single, double and six cavity. Once in a while, I clean then with a toothbrush and some mineral spirits, then clean that off with some brake cleaner (NOT brake fluid). Lube them with bullet lube, smoke them with a wooden match - and go to it. I pour a fair few "Tumble lube" bullets .38,45 & 9mm. It saves mucking around sizing etc. One 9mm S&W auto is a bit fussy with chambering, so I size the tumble lubed bullets and "tumble lube" them again. I am not an Olympic class shooter (or Olympic class anything else!) so I even shoot the not-so-good bullets when I am practising draw and fire. I was not going to even try casting until I read Dean Grennell's article about not necessarily having to size all bullets. That's where I learned about Lee "Tumble Lube" moulds. That's my .02 cents worth.
 

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Look at the holes the alignment pins on Lyman and RCBS blocks go into. One block has two pins, the other has the holes. If they're hammered up from snapping the blocks closed for the next bullet, inspect the alignment carefully. If you can wiggle the blocks, you may be able to tighten them by driving the pins in deeper, or maybe not. Check for wear under the sprue plate at the pivot hole. You'll need a 3/32" hex (Allan) wrench to loosen the set screw on newer Lyman moulds and a 1/8" flat screwdriver for older ones. If you have wear here the sprue plate tips up at the corner opposite the screw and you get base fins on you bullets.

Bye
Jack
 
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