View Full Version : Best Lubricator/Sizer for 10mm cast bullets?
I have been casting for about 5 years and have been using LLA for tumble lubing my .45 ACP slugs and also recently started using the LEE 175gr. tumble lube SWC slug for my G20 10mm loads.
I'm wanting to get into the hotter 10mm cast loads soon and know that I will eventually have to go the lubicator/sizer route to keep from heavy leading with those velocities.
I'm looking at the LEE truncated cone 175gr. mold which is not a tumble lube design.
What is the best lubricator/sizer(within reason $$ wise, of course) for this type of bullet?
Is pan lubing a cheaper and just as effective method of lubing a non-tumble design bullet?
How is pan lubing done correctly?
The "best" luber-sizer is a Star, but they are more expensive. They are faster, and push the bullets through nose first, which is better for accuracy.
Any of the RCBS/Lyman/Saeco lubersizers work well, and are pretty much the standard process that most people use. I prefer the Lyman style lube/size dies, out of these three options.
Pan lubing can work well, but depends on the lube. Some of the best soft lubes don't pan lube well, because they are too soft. Basically, you melt the lube in a pan, and stand your bullets in it, base down. The lube height should be enough to cover the lube groove and a bit more, but shouldn't be above the top driving band, or cover the crimp groove if there is one. Let the lube cool; when it hardens, but before it cools completely, pull the bullets out by their noses. Or, let the lube cool all the way, and pop it out of your pan, and push the bullets out through the lube cake. Personally I use needlenose pliers to pull them out, and leave the lube in the pan for next time. Then, run the lubed bullets through your Lee sizer.
That Lee 175 TC is a decent 10mm bullet, but for use in a Lyman/RCBS/Saeco lubersizer, you'll want to remove the bevel base, or it makes a big mess with the lube. I used a reamer on my mold to remove the bevel, and it casts right about 180gr now.
I have a couple lubri-sizers, buried somewhere in my barn. Several years ago, my economy was fat, and time was skinny, so I quit casting for a long time and bought bullets. Over the last few years, I started casting again, and haven't yet went back to the mechanical lube/size method. I revisited the way I started, pan lubing. So far, it's only a little slower, but the results are astronomically better. I'll probably not opt to take up the bench space again, and I'm pulling the handle enough as it is (1000+ per week).
Common pan lube methods don't work well with harder lubes. I found, no matter how hard you try, too many bullets lose at least some of the lube in the groove. Softer lubes do better, but still not as good as I like.
LLA is not less capable than any "lubed" bullet. I don't like it because it's messy and smelly. It's fast and easy, but not worth it, IMO, for me. I do use LLA for base coating some high velocity bullets, (in addition to lubing). Less expensive and more consistent than GC's.
Most of the bullets I cast are destined for magnum velocity (supersonic+). Traditional mechanical lubing ONLY lubes the lube groove. This makes for a neat bullet, but not ideal for magnum velocity or the powders and barrel lengths used. The advantage of pan lubing is, the base of the bullet gets a coat (as with LLA tumbling). VERY desirable with high-velocity bullets. This negates the need for a GC in most cases.
My pan lube method is actually a hybrid of pan, and cookie-cutter. I use a hard lube (most often 50/50 Thompson's hard blue / high temp paraffin), so it has to get pretty hot to melt, and cools very hard. I use correctly sized cartridge cases to punch them out of the pan while they are still warm. This keeps the lube in the groove, and it isn't tough to punch them. For 10mm bullets, I use a sized .41 magnum case, which is about perfect. Same as using a sized .357 case for 9mm. For other calibers, you can use a fired case of the same caliber, just don't size it. Magnum cases work best, as they are thicker walled. (I make plungers for the cases, which lets me thumb the bullets out of the case after punched, and the case is held with a vise-grip) Use a glass pie pan, NOT metal. Metal pie tins deform, leaving you with a deep middle and shallow edge. Glass stays flat and true, leaving you with a very uniform depth. About 15 minutes in the toaster oven at 200° is enough to melt the lube and heat the bullet, and 15 minutes is enough to cool it for punching. My oven isn't level (consistently), so I remove the hot pan and set it on a level countertop for cooling. DO NOT use a torch or higher oven setting, as the lube is flammable! Also, don't punch all the way to the bottom. This, over time, will deform the punch-case mouth. Push/twist/pull gets them out easily.
Once the bullets are punched out, you just add more bullets and start again. Add more lube as necessary, but not much at a time, as there is actually very little used. I have a supply of punched-out blanks that started the process, and add about a teaspoon per batch. The lube level should be no higher than up to the top of the groove, or slightly below. As the lube cools, it will "cone" up to fill the groove. The raw bullets fit perfectly into the holes you just punched out. If you do more than one caliber, start large, so you don't have to punch out holes to make larger holes for them. A standard size (9", I think) pie pan will fit about 105 10mm bullets. They should be spaced about 1/4" apart. Closer and you risk pulling lube from the adjacent bullets grooves as you punch.
I cast all of my target bullets and most of my hunting bullets about the same. Hot lead and water drop. Using a pan lube method will anneal the bullets, so keep that in mind. My water drop bullets start at about 23-24 BHN, and the annealing brings that to a very consistent 19-20 BHN, ideal for most situations. A final pass through the sizer after completely cooled gets them to the correct diameter.
This method works VERY well with Lee TL bullets, especially with higher velocity rounds. The "micro groove" bullets take up about the same amount of lube, but it's spread out over more of the bullet bearing surface. Both bullets (TL vs. traditional groove) shoot equally well, but there will be less leading with the TL bullets using traditional lube. I get no leading using the Lee .430 TL SWC, and .452 TL TC and this method, even at rifle velocities. These bullets are also more "Glock friendly" (OEM barrel). If you have TL molds, try this before you replace them. They won't work with a lubri-sizer, but really shine with pan lubing.
I use the Lee 175gr TL bullet for loads in my 40S&W and 10mm. I tumble lube the bullets in a 50/50 mix of LLA and melted Johnsons Paste Wax. I run them through a Lee .401 sizer, relube them with a very light coat of LLA and they are good to go.
The LLA and JPW combo drys quickly and is not tacky like straight LLA. I got the recipe from the Cast Boolits forum along with a wealth of other information about casting.
I don't shoot lead loads through my factory 10mm barrel as I do get some leading and very poor accuracy with that barrel. I use a LWD barrel for lead in that gun. Factory barrel in my G21 works fine for me with my cast bullets with no leading and great accuracy.
My personal experience, yours may vary.
Thanks guys! Really appreciate the info!
I just ordered the Lee 175gr. TC 6 cavity mold from Midway with the .401 sizing kit. I think pan lubing will probably be too much trouble for me and will probably go with a Lyman or RCBS Lubricator/Sizer in the near future.
In the meantime, I'll just tumble these new TC slugs and keep velocities on the low side until can get the other equip. in place. The bigger meplat on the TC slug should be a good hunting round/SD from what I hear.
I shoot the Lee 175TC bullet in my glock 23 27 and 20. I just pan lube them in Lee Alox. It shoots accurate.
I have another post on my work up.
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