View Full Version : .44 SWC Photo Comparison
As we get ready to order 6 cavity Lee "Keith" SWC moulds I thought about some of the variations in .44 ( and wanta-be's) that are currently out there.
Here is a photo just for a comparison ! :)
[L to R : Ballisti-Cast #1103, NEI #256, RCBS .44-250K, LYMAN .429-421. RCBS .44-250KT. Lyman .429-336]
09-05-2005, 12:14 AM
I have an earlier version of the RCBS mould 44-245k which produces a cast bullet which is similar to Lyman 429421. :Fire:
09-05-2005, 03:26 AM
.................GLL, nice sharp photo, and it looks like some proffessional casting work also!
09-05-2005, 06:07 AM
09-05-2005, 06:26 AM
Have not seen any threads on this in the group buys forums. Is someone actually going to honcho a group buy on a Keith .44 ? If so, how are you going to choose which design? For my 2 cents, back in the '70s I bought some commercially cast Keith .44s that look a whole lot like the 3rd from the left in your photo, but the crimp groove is not so outragious as in yours. Other than the crimp groove, they were dead ringers for your sample. They were the best Keith bullets I ever shot. I kept 5 of them for samples. As of right now, the only Keith mold I have is an RCBS 250 KT. It's OK, but does not have that authentic Keith appearance. Is the RCBS 44-250K supposed to be a copy of the original Keith design?
09-05-2005, 07:25 AM
I cant find it either. I would love to get a actual keith bullet.....Buck
Perhaps "get ready" was an over statement on my part !
Catshooter's ".359 173 gr. Keith" thread is designing a 6 cavity mould and in that same thread there is the discussion to include future Keith .44 and .45 designs as well.
I for one would love to have them all !
I am very new to casting and have found it to be great fun to produce my own bullets. Although my tab at the local beer bar has decreased my expenditures on casting "stuff" have more than balanced that out ! :)
09-05-2005, 09:39 AM
have just said Keith in my thread title. That's what I want, is a 'as close as we can get Keith' in .357, .44 and a couple in .45.
How are we gonna get there? With all of your help. If you're interested, you might read the thread. If you do, please post you ideas! 45 2.1 is coming up with some samples from a famous name in the biz that will help us get as close as we can. He's also gonna be doing the drawings.
Climb aboard. If we can get orders up to the 100 mark we can all save some $.
09-05-2005, 10:35 AM
Dittoes to the photo quality--and casting skill shown in those photos!
I have long wondered if the DEEP crimping groove that many of the Keith designs are equipped with was intended by Mr. Keith, or just an interpretation of his design carried out and immortalized by the various moldmakers. The "three wide drive bands of equal dimensions" rubric is met by the designs shown, just dunno about that crimp groove. The #5 photo (RCBS 44 250K) shows a more reasonable crimp groove, and the result is a wider series of drive bands without loss of lube capacity.
That said--my Lyman #429421 (identical to that example pictured) does some fine work in the 44 Special at 900-950 FPS, and the Lyman #358429 recently acquired did GREAT work in a friend's M-586 and my Colt OMT--both using 38 Special standard velocity loadings (163 grains as cast @ 850 FPS).
So--what do I know? The deep crimp grooves don't seem to do damage to the loads in these revolvers, for sure. Sometimes these tweaks we try in pursuit of ballistic refinement are more like taking spray paint to the Sistine Chapel.
09-05-2005, 10:55 AM
The RCBS 44-250 KT(#5 in Jerry's photo) is no longer in the catalog on the RCBS website. It must be discontinued?
The Ballisti-cast #1103(#1 in the photo) is listed as an authentic Keith in the Ballisti-cast catalog. I assume this is a carry over from the H&G line. It looks like the best one of the bunch to me.
How many group buys are "in progress" right now?
I machine cast the Ballisti Cast #1103 and it's a fine bullet. From 92-6-2 mine does 256 grs. The corners on mine are a bit rounded. (Worn Cherrie?) I've found no 44 coming through our shop for scopes that wouldn't keep this bullet in 3 inches at 50 yards with either 20 grs. of 2400 or 23 grs. of H-110.
I also cast the RCBS 44-250-K. It drops at 262 with the same alloy. It will not perform as well for me as the Ballisti Cast bullet or the Lyman.
The L-429421 is my favorite of the three. It out does the RCBS easy for accuracy. It out shoots the Ballisti Cast but not by a lot. I find it easier to cast than either the others.
This is just my findings. I've not shot enough 44's to claim "pro" so take this only FWIW.
09-05-2005, 06:43 PM
When did Lyman go to the flat bottom lube groove in 429421?? Both my 4 cav from the 60's and hp mold from the same time period have the round bottom grooves. Nick
I don't have an answer for that. They've made them both ways at different times. Used them both ways and can tell no difference. Glen Fryxell may be able to answer this.
Forgot to mention GLL, those are some fine castings.
BWELSH47 mentioned the RCBS 44-245K. I failed to include my copy of what is marked 44-245KT.
[L to R] RCBS 44-245KT, 44-250KT, and again 44-250K
RCBS has unfortunately changed its catalog designations around. Based on the mould boxes:
my 44-245KT is currently called 44-245-SWC #82043
my 44-250KT is currently called 44-250-SWC #82044
my 44-250-K is still 44-250-K #82080
Thanks for the comments on my bullets. I am VERY new to casting and since I use a bored out RCBS ladle my production is very slow. I would starve if I tried to make a living at this ! :) :)
I am currently trying my hand at hollow point bullets for my revolvers. All is going well considering my neophyte status. Buckshot has modified a couple of my moulds to HP. This is a lot of fun but requires more patience that I expected. Luckily I just acquired 400 pounds of linotype dirt cheap as well as a large barrel of wheel weights. Retirement is next year so casting time will be available.
09-06-2005, 06:58 PM
...and is the most boolity looking boolit for the 44 Special and Magnum I have found. Mine has one cavity hollowpointed and is a fine performer. IMO, the 44-250K is the best rendition of a "Keith" bullet available. Tony
I have a mould that casts the center bullet but haven't tried it.
09-06-2005, 09:43 PM
More great photography of skilled casting production. Beautiful work, all around.
Amid this discussion of Keith-type boolits......I got dragged into Barnes & Noble last night, and at least they had Handloader for sale. I bought it, brought it home, and in this issue (Aug. 2005) there was a fairly good article on loading the 44 Special. It includes some stout recipes for the #429421 at up to 1200 FPS in a S&W Model 24-3. I don't think I want to run my M-624 that hot, thank you very much.
Barnes & Noble Did you have coffee?
09-07-2005, 02:09 PM
This Lee 6 banger group buy, is it in .44 mag? I have not seen any .44 K buys.
09-07-2005, 04:17 PM
That 44-250K shore is purty. I think maybe the grease groove could be just a tad deeper, but it looks about as close as close is gettin' so far. What do you think, 45 2.1?
09-07-2005, 04:20 PM
Here's a photo of my favorite bullet for 44 mag. NEI 320 grain cast from WW quenched .Chronophaphed at 1225fps out of my 6.5" S&W.
See Catshooter's post (above).
The "Keith" group buy is only in the planning stages at this point. I would expect that a .359 might be first ( followed by .44 and .45). Take a look at the thread in the "Group Buy" section.
I am interested in all of them and will simply wait and order as they are designed and the group buy put together. I am currently casting for my .44 Specials so included the photos for comparison in anticipation of the 6 cavity orders. :)
09-07-2005, 04:30 PM
Guys, whatever design is picked must cast extremely well and shoot well. In second place, a good looking boolit. A boolit with sharp corners is a casting department problem, and adds nothing to shooting well. I am against deep grooves with sharp angles, even though they indeed make a boolit look good. ... felix
09-07-2005, 04:41 PM
As much as I'd like your participation in the group buys that will be forthcoming, I suspect you'll bow out. These are gonna be just as close to something Keith would design (did design) as we can get. Square corners and all. We may radius the internal corners of the grease groove, maybe. We'll see.
He set up his bullets for a whole bunch of good (IMHO) reasons and I'd like to stick to 'em.
That they happen to look great is just a bonus!
09-07-2005, 05:54 PM
That 44-250K shore is purty. I think maybe the grease groove could be just a tad deeper, but it looks about as close as close is gettin' so far. What do you think, 45 2.1?Cat
I have the 44-250K. It shoots pretty well for an undersize bullet. My gripe with it, if indeed it is one, is that the crimp groove is a VERY difficult rascal to crimp into and get it to work and look good. I don't like the crimp groove but think the bullet is almost "Ideal" in its capabilities when large enough for cylinder throats we presently are plagued with. Its a very good model and pretty close to what we will end up with when and if my contact ever sends me some bullets.
09-07-2005, 06:07 PM
"Undersized bullet" is one thing I look forward to correcting with these runs.
How would you change the crimp groove?
09-07-2005, 06:22 PM
Have you got one of these? The draft angle on the nose band at the crimp groove is something like 25 degrees (way too much and interfers with a good crimp). Very hard to do anything with. The draft angle needs reduced and the nose band lengthened somewhat. Sorry if i've lost anyone, but that information along with tolerences and dimensions go on a drawing to LEE.
I really like the NEI #256 shown in my first photo. Bullets easily tap out of that mould. I am interested in your NEI 310 gr bullet but cannot find it in the current catalog (thanks for your photo). Would you provide the mould number stamped on the side of yours? [Or is it a custom mould?]
The closest I can find is the 280gr. #262
09-07-2005, 07:11 PM
No I don't have any RCBS moulds at all. My .44 moulds are a couple of newer Lyman one holers and a H & G four holer in his Keith design.
You were asking me, weren't you?
The draft angle on the nose band at the crimp groove is something like 25 degrees (way too much and interfers with a good crimp).
I agree. I cast this bullet (RCBS 44 K) and it's not the best of the designs because of it's crimp groove. Good call 45 2.1
09-08-2005, 05:56 AM
You have it right. It is the number 262 bullet. They are way off on the weight though. I can't remember exactly what it weighs out of the mould, but is right at 320 grains with GC and lube cast with WW. It shoots very well out of my Smith, though I will need a higher front sight.
I am casting with a Master Caster with a double cavity mould and this bullet is a bit difficult to release. I assumed it would be when I saw the mould, but it doesn't slow me down that much.
I just contacted NEI about the #262 and the possibility of modifying it a little. I will contact you with what I find out.
09-10-2005, 11:57 AM
I would have preferred a lighter bullet, I thought. Now I am quite happy with this bullet, at this weight. It is very accurate and there is still sufficient velocity for my needs. It rings the 200 yard gong with authority. Plenty of horsepower. Not a .454, but stopping power galore in a lightweight package. Compared to the .454, that is.
09-10-2005, 05:36 PM
RCBS moulds 82043 and 44-245kt were originally listed in the RCBS catalogue as seperate cast bullet designs.
09-10-2005, 05:48 PM
RCBS moulds 82043 and 44-245kt were originally listed in the RCBS catalogue as seperate cast bullet designs.
Lyman cast bullet design 429336 is similiar to a bullet design for the 38/357 magnum lyman #358446 which was designed by Phillip Sharpe.
09-10-2005, 08:16 PM
I don't think Mr. Keith ever mentions to judge a bullet by if it bullet looks good or not.
You each need to shoot lots of each design in the gun you want to use it in.
The 429421 may shoot good in Orville's gun but not in Johnny's gun. Now Johnny's stuck with a mould for a bullet that doesn't work worth a **** for him.
Are you willing to take that chance to save a couple of bucks?
Oh that's right, eBay.
09-10-2005, 10:06 PM
It's the threads like this one that make me proud to be associated with such a group.
Not a 44 fan at all,but in this case its not the caliber of the projectile that interests me,,its the caliber of the people.
I agree with you ! (Well for the most part ! :) )
I have acquired a fairly long line of .44 moulds to test and see which one works best in my S&W .44 Specials [ 1st Models, 2nd Models, 1926 3rd Models, 1950 Targets, 24's, 696's]. Each gun seems to have its own preference although the Ballisti-Cast #1103 (H&G #503) seems to work very well in most of them.
I mainly hunt paper so behavior on game is not of great concern to me and because of old age and failing eyesight 50-75 meters is about my limit anyway. Interestingly the one bullet that works universally in all of my .44 Specials at 25 meters is the strange looking Ideal 429220 Himmelwright and it is not even a SWC nor does it "look good".
Any that do not work at all well for me seem to sell rather quickly ("Oh that's right, eBay.") ;) Actually of those I have illustrated none are really considered bad in my guns (at least at the distances I shoot).
I am sure that members who rely on their guns for food have a completely different outlook . This is all for fun and relaxation for me ! :) :)
Where (roughly) do you live in Wyoming? I have spent a fair amount of time in the Wind River, Big Horn, and Beartooth Ranges. Wyoming is a beautiful state !
Jerry.........You're correct.......That bullet has a face only a mother could love.
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