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I am kickin around the idea of pouring my own bullets for CAS. Was wondering what 4 cavity mold would you all recommend for 158 grain rnfp. As far as quality and longevity? Thanks MMC

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For a beginner a steel mould will probably last longer, so RCBS or Lyman. For an aluminum mould I would go with one from Accurate Molds. They are expensive but they are very well designed and easy to use, are the best quality, and they pour the right size. The LEE 6 cavity moulds are good too but have more of a learning curve to keep them running. For more good info on casting your own you should go to www.castboolits.gunloads.com

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For a beginner a steel mould will probably last longer, so RCBS or Lyman. For an aluminum mould I would go with one from Accurate Molds. They are expensive but they are very well designed and easy to use, are the best quality, and they pour the right size. The LEE 6 cavity moulds are good too but have more of a learning curve to keep them running. For more good info on casting your own you should go to www.castboolits.gunloads.com

+1. And for CAS, I'd consider a truncated cone up to 140 grains.

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Call T.A. Spurs. He does casting and I'm sure he can give you all the info and help you would need. I think 158 is a little bigger than you really need, but that is up to you. We use 130 for the pistol and 147 TC for the rifle.

 

Speaking of rifle, are you still looking for one?

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Alum vs lead ? Pros/cons?

I'm assuming you meant Aluminum vs Steel... as mold material.

 

1 - Steel heats up slower, retains it's heat longer, aluminum is just the opposite. Aluminum can heat up too much and start throwing "frosted" bullets faster than a steel mold... I have a harder time setting my pace with aluminum molds... unless I'm running more than one mold at a time.

 

2 - Steel will generally out-last aluminum by several years. I'm still casting out of my 1st steel mold, I bought back in the 1970s... used. And still getting good bullets. I've got a couple of aluminum 6-gang molds, one is already warped. And is probably less than 15 years old.

 

3 - Aluminum will be lighter, and that might make a difference during long casting sessions. It doesn't bother me, I don't like to cast in very long sessions. A few hundred at a time, in a variety of calibers & weights...

 

If you let it... like reloading, it's a hobby that takes over your life! Now... if only I could get somebody to do that lubing & sizing bit!!!

Edited by Griff
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For a .38 special loading for Cowboy, I'd recommend the Accurate mold # 36-125D (with a crimp groove) or 36-125-B (without a crimp groove). Truncated cone, long enough to feed well in toggle link rifles. Those will of course make you a 125 grain slug - one of the most common and useful weights for 38 spl.

 

See them at:

 

http://www.accuratemolds.com/catalog.php?page=5

 

You can get Tom to make one of those molds in 2-3 weeks, the molds even in Aluminum will last for a long time, you get to specify the exact diameter of the mold, and he makes them in 4 cavity like you asked for.

 

The mold with no crimp groove lets you crimp to a variety of cartridge Overall Lengths, letting you fine tune how your ammo will best make the rifle run very smooth.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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I find the Saeco steel molds to be some of the best.

 

We ran them and the H&G, RCBS, and Lyman molds on casting machines

 

The Saeco molds lasted the longest and were casting good bullets lone after the others were done

 

If you go with the Lee, the 6 cavity molds are the best for the money

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All my molds are two cavities.

It still dont take that long to cast once you get going .

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I find the Saeco steel molds to be some of the best.

 

We ran them and the H&G, RCBS, and Lyman molds on casting machines

 

The Saeco molds lasted the longest and were casting good bullets lone after the others were done

 

If you go with the Lee, the 6 cavity molds are the best for the money

+1 on the Saeco molds. I use one of there 4 cavity molds for my 44-40 and it is the best mold I have ever owned.

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The 158 will make a decent hunting bullet so I understand choosing it. Like others have commented, I prefer the 125 for less recoil plus less lead usage. Molds are relatively cheap so think about that. A 6 cavity 125 for CAS and a double cavity for the 158 could cover both needs.

 

CAS is not an accuracy game so I would look at the Lee as a cheap way to go. Some Lee molds do not work 100% out of the box but they can be tweaked. Lots of info.... Google Lee-menting. I have some Lee molds but prefer the molds from the smaller shops, NOE, Accurate, Mi-Hec.

 

I would never buy anything less than 4 cavity for pistol bullets. But that is because casting is not fun for me. I want it done ASAP. Factor in your time and consumption needs. Figure about 100 bullets cast per hour per cavity. Then you need to lube and possible size them. Again lots of options there.

 

One last piece of advice. Scrap lead is not that easy to find anymore. I cannot justify the time and fuel to find it, or the effort to make into good ingots. I buy my lead from a foundry or on-line. You can normally get processed lead for about $1.00-$1.15 from guys who process range scrap and/or other sources.

 

Good Luck!

 

Coffin Filler

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Another point you need to think about is bullet lubing. For (relatively) quick and easy lubing you can use Lee tumble lube molds. For most other bullet styles you will need to buy a lubrisizer. Alternatively, you can give powder coating a try.

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I use standard molds (non-tumble lube) and depending on the mold, may or may not need to size. That said, I tumble lube EVERYTHING. Way, way less leading and powder fouling that way. Even if you do decide to use a lubri-sizer, tumble lubing ahead of time makes everything run easier and takes less effort.

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they are correct that Lee molds have a learning curve. That being said once you get one up and running you now have the cheaper Lee molds as an option.

 

here are a couple of links to getting Lee's running (being retired I have more time than money so I can invest some sweat equity in them):

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?4790-This-is-a-Lee-6-cavity-mould

and

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?654-Sure-Fire-Lee-Menting-Technique-(Aimoo-Post-Revisited)

 

 

With two rotator cuff surgeries I can't hold iron or brass molds for any length of time.

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I injoy casting .

So I am different then most .lol

I have been using Lee two cavity molds for years.

No issues.

 

Then I tumble lube everything.

And I pan lube my BP bullets .

 

I cast and load in the winter time .

So I can just shoot and clean in the summer time .

 

This brakes things up.

And you never get sick of doing ether one.

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Accurate Molds website asks what material you will be casting with as casting with any alloy other than the one specified will change the resultant diameter.

 

Can someone explain how the below casting materials would affect as-cast diameter?

 

These are the casting materials listed by Accurate Molds:

- Lead

- Clip-on Lead Wheel Weights

- 1:30 Tin - Lead

- COWW +2% Tin

- 2-6-92 Hardball

- 1:25 Tin - Lead

- 1:20 Tin - Lead

- 1:15 Tin - Lead

- Lyman #2

- Linotype

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Accurate Molds website asks what material you will be casting with as casting with any alloy other than the one specified will change the resultant diameter.

 

Can someone explain how the below casting materials would affect as-cast diameter?

 

These are the casting materials listed by Accurate Molds:

- Lead

- Clip-on Lead Wheel Weights

- 1:30 Tin - Lead

- COWW +2% Tin

- 2-6-92 Hardball

- 1:25 Tin - Lead

- 1:20 Tin - Lead

- 1:15 Tin - Lead

- Lyman #2

- Linotype

 

 

(This following material ignores thermal expansion of the mold at casting temperature. There would also have to be an adjustment for the mold material (iron, brass, aluminum) growing in cavity diameter as the mold gets to casting temperature.)

 

Pure lead shrinks 1.13% of the bullet diameter from the (room temperature) mold inside diameter. Thus, to cut a mold to cast pure lead, Tom at Accurate cuts the diameter to be 1.13% bigger than the diameter you want the slug to cast at, when it cools off.

 

Linotype shrinks 0.65% of the diameter as it solidifies. So Tom would cut the mold a little tighter if you specify linotype.

 

All the other alloys are in-between pure lead and linotype. The ones with all tin in the alloy will shrink more like pure lead does. The ones with antimony (COWW, 6%/2% Hardball, Lyman #2) will be more like the lino shrinkage numbers.

 

So for a .357 desired bullet diameter as cast, a Pure Lead mold would be cut to 0.3611" inside diameter

And a Linotype mold would be cut to 0.3593"

(If he can hold a ten-thousandths tolerance)

 

So you can see there's a couple thousandths difference between what a pure lead (high shrinkage) and a linotype (less shrinkage) mold cavity diameter would be.

 

Data on lead alloy shrinkage when solidifying is from Glen Fryxell and Robert Applegate's book:

From Ingot to Target:A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners

 

at the LASC site: http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm

 

 

And a few more alloys are listed in this reference page (1/3 way down the page)

 

http://www.lasc.us/castbulletnotes.htm

 

 

Another thing this shows you, from any mold, a pure lead slug will be a couple-three thousandths smaller than a linotype slug cast in same mold. Thus, folks have not only a harder slug but a larger slug when they cast with linotype or other antimonial lead alloy. And running those two slugs through a sizer, the lino slug will be harder to size by quite a bit, because it's both harder and larger diameter!

 

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

PS - Trivia question: at what amount of antimony in a lead alloy would a bullet not shrink at all when it cools?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per some gov't research in the 1930s, a 75% antimony alloy bullet would be the same size as the liquid in the mold. No shrinkage. And it would be really hard, and it would be very hard to knock out of the mold. Pure antimony EXPANDS as it cools, and cannot be cast accurately in an enclosed mold - it spreads the mold halves apart.

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=iWI1AQAAIAAJ&pg=PA1093&lpg=PA1093

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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I run 3 six cavity Lee tumble lube moulds for any bullet I cast. The learning curve on Lee moulds can be avoided by simply following the instructions: clean them, smoke them and use them. Never touch the aluminum part with anything harder than molten lead, they scratch. With a hot pot and the 3 moulds I can crank out 1500 bullets in a couple hours. I like the tumble lube because it is quick and easy. I'd rather be shooting than making bullets.

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(This following material ignores thermal expansion of the mold at casting temperature. There would also have to be an adjustment for the mold material (iron, brass, aluminum) growing in cavity diameter as the mold gets to casting temperature.)

 

Pure lead shrinks 1.13% of the bullet diameter from the (room temperature) mold inside diameter. Thus, to cut a mold to cast pure lead, Tom at Accurate cuts the diameter to be 1.13% bigger than the diameter you want the slug to cast at, when it cools off.

 

Linotype shrinks 0.65% of the diameter as it solidifies. So Tom would cut the mold a little tighter if you specify linotype.

 

All the other alloys are in-between pure lead and linotype. The ones with all tin in the alloy will shrink more like pure lead does. The ones with antimony (COWW, 6%/2% Hardball, Lyman #2) will be more like the lino shrinkage numbers.

 

So for a .357 desired bullet diameter as cast, a Pure Lead mold would be cut to 0.3611" inside diameter

And a Linotype mold would be cut to 0.3593"

(If he can hold a ten-thousandths tolerance)

 

So you can see there's a couple thousandths difference between what a pure lead (high shrinkage) and a linotype (less shrinkage) mold cavity diameter would be.

 

Data on lead alloy shrinkage when solidifying is from Glen Fryxell and Robert Applegate's book:

From Ingot to Target:A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners

 

at the LASC site: http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm

 

 

And a few more alloys are listed in this reference page (1/3 way down the page)

 

http://www.lasc.us/castbulletnotes.htm

 

 

Another thing this shows you, from any mold, a pure lead slug will be a couple-three thousandths smaller than a linotype slug cast in same mold. Thus, folks have not only a harder slug but a larger slug when they cast with linotype or other antimonial lead alloy. And running those two slugs through a sizer, the lino slug will be harder to size by quite a bit, because it's both harder and larger diameter!

 

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

PS - Trivia question: at what amount of antimony in a lead alloy would a bullet not shrink at all when it cools?

 

 

Per some gov't research in the 1930s, a 75% antimony alloy bullet would be the same size as the liquid in the mold. No shrinkage. And it would be really hard, and it would be very hard to knock out of the mold. Pure antimony EXPANDS as it cools, and cannot be cast accurately in an enclosed mold - it spreads the mold halves apart.

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=iWI1AQAAIAAJ&pg=PA1093&lpg=PA1093

GJ,

 

Thank you for taking the time to explain this and providing some links.

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