Done with Lee molds

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by whitewolf68, October 26, 2011.

  1. Just got a 452-228-1R Lee mold and went to cast some bullets tonight. Was not happy with the quality of the castings, they are NOWHERE close to my Lyman steel mold. Also it does not want to close flush consistently either. So if anyone has a 452374 Lyman they are not using and want to part with it please let me know. ;)
  2. forrest r

    forrest r

    Yep, they are a horse of a different color. The 2 cavity mold handles are flimsy to me so I only use lee 6 cavity molds. I cast a couple a hundred pounds of bullets a year with them. I’m actually debating on whether to buy their tumble lube 38WC mold in 6 cavity. I have a luber sizer, I just want that bullet because you can use any one of those little grease grooves to crimp the bullet. Basically you can set the nose of the bullet in a 38 so it sticks out far enough to start in the same place in the chamber as a 357 would.

    I used to load a WC bullet that way years ago with great success. And that bullet should be the cat’s meow in a contender loaded in 357 cases. The bullet could be loaded out far enough so that it would engage the lands & grooves. SWEET!!!!

    Still kicking the idea around.
  3. forrest r

    forrest r

    I use the lee 200g FP bullet for an all around plinker. It hits hard, doesn’t ricochet & can be driven with full house loads in the ACP.
  4. My .38 mold worked well but for some reason this mold will not drop decent bullets to save my soul. It also has 2 grease grooves and I prefer one large one. I've not tried the tumble lube yet, sounds too much like a pain in the butt. That is true if you can adjust the OAL on the TL bullets.

    If you have a 452374 you'd like to part with :) let me know. I am in the market, otherwise it will cost me $125 for everthing. Mold, handles, die and punch shipped free to the house.
  5. forrest r

    forrest r

    Well I looked around for a round nosed 45 mold & no luck. But I did find a Lyman 452460 that I forgot that I had. Sweet!!! I need the handles & I’ll have to cast some up & give them a try.

    I don’t tumble lube I just want that bullet because of all the little grease groves in it. I can crimp the bullet in any one of those little grooves that allows me to change the oal of the bullet from flush in the cast to sticking out of the case ½ inch.

    Just because a bullet has 2 grease grooves doesn’t mean you have to fill them. A lot of mold designs use too much lube. Try just lubing only 1 of the grease grooves next time you cast/size them & test them for excessive leading. Most of the time the bullets will work with no problems & have a lot less smoke from the excess lube being burnt off.

    That’s another reason I’m interested in that tumble lube mold, less lube. Years ago I used to shoot the Lyman 358495 WC bullet. I’d only lube 2 of the 3 grease rings & I’d seat the bullet in the 2nd grease groove. Those things were like shooting laser beams!!! They were extremely accurate, the bullet started in the same place as a 357 so I could shoot a couple hundred of them & then switch over to 357’s & not have the problem of lead build up in the cylinders from shooting 38’s that normally stop the 357’s from going all the way in the cylinders.

    Take your time & keep looking around, there’s a bunch of reloading stuff out there. Heck, e-bay is full of molds, sizers & top punches right now. Gun clubs are another good source of equipment; I used to put up a flyer in several of them with my # stating that I bought reloading equipment. I bought a ton of equipment over the years, sell what I didn’t want. Most of the equipment that I kept/use now is free because of that; I used the profit from the items that I didn’t want to buy reloading equipment, powder, primers, ECT. I’ve done the same thing with firearms, I didn’t care if I made $20 off a deal, that’s $20 more than what I had. It all went into a bank account that I specifically for my hobby.
  6. Jeff H

    Jeff H

    Casting itself can seem like not only an art, but a "fuzzy art." What else can you do for decades and still occasioanlly have an utterly frustrating episode in spite of decades of experience?

    My casting habits can border on superstition sometimes and using LEE moulds really throws a curveball at you. Everything from the necessary prep out of the box to pouring technique. If they cost what a Lyman mould did, I wouldn't mess with them, but they have some designs I like and I have learned to work with their oddities. I have had to do everything from deburring them to opening up vent lines, but I have had to do that with Lyman moulds too. I have also had to drill and tap to install set screws on sprue plate screws and alignment pins (on a six-cavity) but they toss some fine bullets when I hold my mouth just right.

    Tumble lube is an option that suits some applications, but not necessarily all. There are also many versions of the porcess which have develped out of each caster's solutions to what they have problems with. I have TL'd for everything from 450 fps "cat sneeze" loads to hot-n-heavy .44 mag loads. A friend is running a 190 grain LEE TL design in the .35 Remington at close to 2000 fps. I find it easier than using my old, leaky lubrisizer and its two-stroke operation, but I have run TL bullets through it also. Depends on the application.
  7. I can see what you mean about the TL grooves and crimping. Glad you fond your long lost mold. I got my dad's old 452374 single cav. mold and have to get handles for it now too. The current, new design does not fit the mold he gave me.

    On the Lee bullet there are only 2 lube grooves and they very small and close together and to top it off the mold is not closing correctly so I have to watch how I close it each time. Another reason I want a Lyman mold. I don't think I have enough patience to try and lube just one small groove unless I were to pan lube.

    I do shop on eBay quite a bit. There are a couple of small mold handles on there for the single cav. mold I have now. I am going to try and get a set off of eBay at a decent price.

    I never thought about creating a reloading account. I just might have to create a secret account that the wife does not know about and stock some money there. :cool:
  8. I can honestly say that this last episode with Lee molds has left me a little upset and frustrated hence the title.

    You pretty much described everything about a Lee mold I could have every wanted to state. I've had to balance on one foot and recite the alphabet backwards to get some good drops, something I cannot to very well. I've not tried the 6 cavity molds. I also committed to a 6 cavity NOE mold on Cast Boolits. I still might have to give that one a try, even though it is an aluminum mold as well. I know you have to run them hot to get good drops too.

    I've yet to chrono any of my loads as there is no place right now for me to shoot. Hopefully after Tuesday I will have a job and be able to afford my membership again. ;)

    I can agree that TL'ing is easier but messier. Perhaps I need to take up pan lubing and avoid the entire mess. :)
  9. Jeff H

    Jeff H

    Well, that explains everything!! You're doing it all wrong. It has nothing to do with the alphabet or standing on one foot at all. You have to put your right foot in and then your right foot out. Then you do the hokey pokey and shake it all about! Try it! It works! Oh, and you have to hold your mouth right.:p

    You know, that's the thing too. Everyone has their way and I have tried a lot of other people's "ways" and have found that some of it works for me and some doesn't. So, ny methods become a hybrid of others' methods, just like the rest of 'em.

    I TL without ever getting it on me. Tumble them in a 20 ounce Gatorade bottle, dump them onto a piece of wax paper and spread them out with a stick. If I am feeling energetic, I may stand them all up one at a time with a pair of forceps and then walk walk away. Let them dry for a while and they are ready to go. Sometimes I don't even size the TL bullets. The many mini bands size so easily that they will deform easily as they enter the bore.

    My lubrisizer,.... now THAT's messy! It has this annoying habit of extruding a big bullet lub turd up behind about every fourth or fifth bullet.:mad: I knoe it's an antique and should be replaced, but I think it might be the dies and not the press. My best friend has a Star(?) that is heated and runs on compressed air. After a few minutes setting up, you drop a bullet ina nd pull the lever. Droop another in and pull the lever, rinse, lather, repeat as often as necessary. It works flawlessly, but it wan't cheap.

    WOOHOO!! You say Tuesday you will know? Well, good luck, man! I'm pullin' for ya!
  10. Damn I knew I was doing something wrong Jeff. I am just glad you told me. :D

    See TL'ing sounds like a pain to me but then again I am used to the old way of doing things.

    I am used to the lubrisizer especially after the whole bevel base thing with lee molds. LMAO, bullet lube turd That is freaking funny!! I've wanted a star but like you found out the price is a bit steep to say the least. Perhaps some day I'll be able to afford it.

    Thank you Jeff, after 3 months of being out of work I am looking forward to a REAL paycheck again.

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