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unclebob
08-20-2012, 12:35
Since Iím sorry to say that I just acquired a RCBS Pro Melt furnace and a Lee bottom pour furnace and a couple of tons of lead already in ingot form. And another RCBS lube sizer and heater. But will probably get a Star.
But the question is. Does Lee make a custom 6 cavity mold. I want something like the RCBS 9mm 147gr. mold. If they do? How much are they and about how long does it take to get them?

Colorado4Wheel
08-20-2012, 12:50
Accurate Molds makes a good mold any way you want it. Lee makes a custom mold but they charge for the setup, etc. Lee molds are just OK. Others make better.

fredj338
08-20-2012, 12:57
The cost of the Lee when you go custom isn't really any cheaper than the better molds like Accurate, Mountain, NEI, etc. Mountain only does 3cav but you can design the bullet exactly as you like, as long as it fits their design program. I find a 3cav alum cast pretty fast & the higher grade of alum means it will likely last longer w/o warping or breaking something. Same for NEI or Accurate, btu I do believe thay make 6cavs.

WiskyT
08-20-2012, 13:30
Since Iím sorry to say that I just acquired a RCBS Pro Melt furnace and a Lee bottom pour furnace and a couple of tons of lead already in ingot form. And another RCBS lube sizer and heater. But will probably get a Star.
But the question is. Does Lee make a custom 6 cavity mold. I want something like the RCBS 9mm 147gr. mold. If they do? How much are they and about how long does it take to get them?

You could get a Lee 158RN 38 cal mold and have a machinist cut the deck on it to get the weight you want. I did that with the 175TC 40 cal mold, that cast at 180, to get the 165 I wanted.

I have run the Lee 158 tumble lube RN 158's out of my G17 and they run fine.

Decking a little mold like that is cheap compared to going true custom. An acquaintance of mine did it for free, he wouldn't even take a case of beer for the work.

unclebob
08-20-2012, 14:01
You could get a Lee 158RN 38 cal mold and have a machinist cut the deck on it to get the weight you want. I did that with the 175TC 40 cal mold, that cast at 180, to get the 165 I wanted.

I have run the Lee 158 tumble lube RN 158's out of my G17 and they run fine.

Decking a little mold like that is cheap compared to going true custom. An acquaintance of mine did it for free, he wouldn't even take a case of beer for the work.

So how would it work with swaging the .358 down to .356 They have a 150 round nose that would probably work. If I remember right when I was casting 158gr. bullets they they came out lighter anyway. The person that I inherited this stuff from Shot .358 out of his G17 and bulged the barrel. So I would prefer to swage them down.

WiskyT
08-20-2012, 14:11
So how would it work with swaging the .358 down to .356 They have a 150 round nose that would probably work. If I remember right when I was casting 158gr. bullets they they came out lighter anyway. The person that I inherited this stuff from Shot .358 out of his G17 and bulged the barrel. So I would prefer to swage them down.

He didn't bulge his barrel from shooting a 0.358" slug out of a 9mm. My 38 cal mold drops them out at 0.360" and I size them to 0.358" and they work fine. In fact, 0.356" is arguably too small for 9mm's even though it is the industry standard.

Lee says to run the biggest largest diameter bullet you can fit in the chamber and let the gun size it down. I have loaded 0.358" bullets in thick .mil brass and they chamber fine. My Lee 9mm mold drops them at 0.357" and I don't size them at all.

WiskyT
08-20-2012, 14:15
Oh, and bullet weight depends on the alloy. My alloy is range scrap which is pretty soft. It's high lead content means it's heavier than the alloys used by the mold manufacturers. The result, my bullets in all of my molds are a few grains heavier than the mold is designed to throw. My 150 Lyman is 155, Lee 120 is 125, Lee 158 is 160, Lee 175 is 180, Lee 92 is 95.

I'm going to look at the Lee 150 now that you mentioned it because I have been shooting more 147's lately than 125's aqnd I would like to cast them.

unclebob
08-20-2012, 14:33
He didn't bulge his barrel from shooting a 0.358" slug out of a 9mm. My 38 cal mold drops them out at 0.360" and I size them to 0.358" and they work fine. In fact, 0.356" is arguably too small for 9mm's even though it is the industry standard.

Lee says to run the biggest largest diameter bullet you can fit in the chamber and let the gun size it down. I have loaded 0.358" bullets in thick .mil brass and they chamber fine. My Lee 9mm mold drops them at 0.357" and I don't size them at all.

Whatever it was. He was shooting 158gr lead bullets with military brass. I was there when he did it. He pulled the barrel out about every 5 to 10 rounds and inspected for leading. He was very meticulous with his reloading. Little Steve is not even close when it came to measuring things with him. He was my best friend for over 35 years. He had over 60+ guns and loaded for all of the obvious ones. So he knew how to reload.

WiskyT
08-20-2012, 14:44
Whatever it was. He was shooting 158gr lead bullets with military brass. I was there when he did it. He pulled the barrel out about every 5 to 10 rounds and inspected for leading. He was very meticulous with his reloading. Little Steve is not even close when it came to measuring things with him. He was my best friend for over 35 years. He had over 60+ guns and loaded for all of the obvious ones. So he knew how to reload.

I'm sorry he passed. And I don't doubt that he knew what he was doing.

You can certainly shoot 0.356" cast bullets out of your G17. I think it will have a higher chance of frustration due to leading and poor accuracy than if you use a fatter bullet. As to sizing down a 38 cal bullet likely at 0.360" as cast diameter to 0.356", I haven't done it. I know it CAN be done. How hard it would be to pull the lever on the sizer will depend on the hardness of the bullet, the leverage of the machine, and the strength of the operator. My guess is that it would be doable but require some effort on the handle.

SJ 40
08-20-2012, 16:57
The cost of the Lee when you go custom isn't really any cheaper than the better molds like Accurate, Mountain, NEI, etc. Mountain only does 3cav but you can design the bullet exactly as you like, as long as it fits their design program. I find a 3cav alum cast pretty fast & the higher grade of alum means it will likely last longer w/o warping or breaking something. Same for NEI or Accurate, btu I do believe thay make 6cavs.+ 1,last I heard set up fee was 150.00 and were almost a year behind.
Fred is also on the money about mould longevity,IMO money would be better spent on a better mould. SJ 40

fredj338
08-20-2012, 18:16
So how would it work with swaging the .358 down to .356 They have a 150 round nose that would probably work. If I remember right when I was casting 158gr. bullets they they came out lighter anyway. The person that I inherited this stuff from Shot .358 out of his G17 and bulged the barrel. So I would prefer to swage them down.

My exp with Lee molds is they often cast undersized slightly depending on alloy. You may find a 158grRN may cast closer to 0.357", some say perfect for 9mm, but can easily be sized down to 0.356". The cheap way to go if you do NOT care about the bullet nose shape so much, would be to surface grind the bottom of a Lee mold. You will have to measure & find out how much, but could work.:dunno:

Uncle Don
08-21-2012, 05:04
I don't cast much anymore, but it's my recollection that Lee molds are spec'd at -000 +003. I never had one that gave anything undersized but have a couple that drop +002 on a regular basis. I had a habit of using fairly soft lead because I'm a stauch believer that it resists heat better on the base and that combined good obturation prevents leading.

I'm with Whisky in that I simply left them and shot them - didn't have any issue. Had some Seco's and an RCBS from a friend and they did fine too, but dollar for dollar, I got a lot of use from the Lee molds and haven't worn one out - but then the RCBS and Seco aren't worn out either.

vafish
08-21-2012, 06:13
You could get a Lee 158RN 38 cal mold and have a machinist cut the deck on it to get the weight you want. I did that with the 175TC 40 cal mold, that cast at 180, to get the 165 I wanted.

I have run the Lee 158 tumble lube RN 158's out of my G17 and they run fine.

Decking a little mold like that is cheap compared to going true custom. An acquaintance of mine did it for free, he wouldn't even take a case of beer for the work.
Where did you find load data for the 158 TL in 9mm?

I use that mold for .38s, have thought about trying it in 9mm.


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WiskyT
08-21-2012, 06:34
Where did you find load data for the 158 TL in 9mm?

I use that mold for .38s, have thought about trying it in 9mm.


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I made it up






:supergrin:

Seriously, I have an old Lyman manual and it has 158LRN data. I'm not near it now and it'l be a couple of days, but I'll get the data out to you. I think the load I used is in another thread on here someplace and I'll post it up.

WiskyT
08-21-2012, 06:41
Vafish,

I used 4.0 Unique for an average of 882fps out of an LC9. It wasn't the max load. The recoil was pretty stiff out of the little gun and while I didn't see any pressure problems, I didn't want to batter the gun. The load "worked" in that it fed and didn't keyhole or anything, but I only fired 5 rounds so I can't really speak to accuracy.

When I get a chance, I'll post the full data which includes a few other powders and the min and max. It will also be straight from the horse's mouth, so there won't be any chance of a typo etc.

fredj338
08-21-2012, 13:26
I don't cast much anymore, but it's my recollection that Lee molds are spec'd at -000 +003. I never had one that gave anything undersized but have a couple that drop +002 on a regular basis. I had a habit of using fairly soft lead because I'm a stauch believer that it resists heat better on the base and that combined good obturation prevents leading.

I'm with Whisky in that I simply left them and shot them - didn't have any issue. Had some Seco's and an RCBS from a friend and they did fine too, but dollar for dollar, I got a lot of use from the Lee molds and haven't worn one out - but then the RCBS and Seco aren't worn out either.

As you know Don, most manuf molds are setup to throw a bullet from a specific alloy +/- 0.002" larger. So diff alloy & diff casting temps affect final size. I have had issues, as have many, with Lee molds being undersized. The guys over at Castboolit forum even have a fix called Beagling. It works, but you will rarley find a mold that casts the exact dia you want unless you use the exact temps & alloy specd in the mold manuf. Few casters actually do that, Lyman #2 is not cheap to buy & not always needed ro desired for many calibers.

WiskyT
08-21-2012, 15:22
As you know Don, most manuf molds are setup to throw a bullet from a specific alloy +/- 0.002" larger. So diff alloy & diff casting temps affect final size. I have had issues, as have many, with Lee molds being undersized. The guys over at Castboolit forum even have a fix called Beagling. It works, but you will rarley find a mold that casts the exact dia you want unless you use the exact temps & alloy specd in the mold manuf. Few casters actually do that, Lyman #2 is not cheap to buy & not always needed ro desired for many calibers.

The guys on cast bullets are like guys everywhere else. Some of them know a lot, and some of them seem to know very little. I have read some good advice on there and some really silly crap that then gets parroted over and over until it takes on a life of it's own. I don't doubt that your Lee molds haven't worked out, but I own a half dozen or so and use the "smallest" alloy you could get, nearly pure lead, and all my molds drop at 1-3 thousandths over the listed diameter.

fredj338
08-21-2012, 23:32
The guys on cast bullets are like guys everywhere else. Some of them know a lot, and some of them seem to know very little. I have read some good advice on there and some really silly crap that then gets parroted over and over until it takes on a life of it's own. I don't doubt that your Lee molds haven't worked out, but I own a half dozen or so and use the "smallest" alloy you could get, nearly pure lead, and all my molds drop at 1-3 thousandths over the listed diameter.

Well, like many things, maybe the older ones are better than the newer ones. My 6cav 45/228 cast diff size within the same mold & they are all on the small size when using 50/50 lead/clip ww.:dunno: In all fairness, so are some of my RCBS & a LYman, it's not uncommon. As I noted, most molds are cut using a specific alloy, usually a lot harder than I am willing to cast. Casting soft always yields a smaller bullet.

Uncle Don
08-22-2012, 04:43
I'm sure that based on the "recipe" used, the molt could retract during cooling. I'm certainly not an expert on this subject and am only putting forward my own experiences. Possibly the fact that I use closer to pure lead than most results in my casts being slightly oversized.

I'll probably stick with that due to my having little / no lead issues. I'm convinced that the higher burn temp along with good obturation and the alox makes it perform like I need. However, I fully admit that my advice along with .50 cents, you would only be a quarter away from a good cup of coffee.

WiskyT
08-22-2012, 06:46
Well, like many things, maybe the older ones are better than the newer ones. My 6cav 45/228 cast diff size within the same mold & they are all on the small size when using 50/50 lead/clip ww.:dunno: In all fairness, so are some of my RCBS & a LYman, it's not uncommon. As I noted, most molds are cut using a specific alloy, usually a lot harder than I am willing to cast. Casting soft always yields a smaller bullet.

I don't doubt that you, and others have gotten undersized molds. But, a mold here and there, or maybe a period of production where someone put the brother in law in charge of QC, and with the internet it becomes "Lee molds are undersized" forever. All of my Lee molds were bought in the last three years since that was when I started casting.

It's like the "Leementing" thing, or KelTec's "fluff and buff". I never had any of the probelms those people claim are "fixed" with all that tinkering. I ruined a Lee mold due to it being delicate and me being ham-handed and brand new to casting, and I've sent the same KT back to the factory three times for the same defect because IT WAS DEFECTIVE, but I never saw any reason to "beagle", "Leement", or "fluff and buff" like so many on the internet seem to KNOW is needed for satisfactory operation.