View Full Version : Which Lee Mold?

01-26-2009, 02:02 PM
I just bought a 1874 Sharps replica and plan to cast(WW) for this rifle. I slugged the barrel and it came out .4585. I was planning on using Lee molds.
My question is, Which of the two 45-70 Lee molds should I use. One is #457-405-F which indicates a .457 dia. and #459-405_HB indicates a .459 dia. Seems like I've read that Lee molds cast bigger than the stated diameter. Is this the case? If someone uses either of these molds please let know what you think or what you use.

01-26-2009, 05:24 PM
I am shooting the Lee 459-405 HB and the 459-500 in my Pedersoli Sharps, Numrich Rolling Block and original M1888 Springfield. I've lapped both molds so they each cast at .461 with a 30:1 alloy. Boolits are used as cast in the Springfield and sized to .459 for the other rifles. So far the 500gr. pointy boolit is showing more promise than the 405 HB. Yesterday I shot 20 rounds in 5 shot groups of the 500 grainer with 24 gr. 5744 at 100yd. with the Sharps. Groups were about 2 in. which is not too impressive for this rifle. This same boolit shoots 3 in. groups out of the trapdoor which IS impressive. More load development in the works which is half the fun.


Doc Highwall
01-26-2009, 05:52 PM
mikeh3, it would help if you stated what you wanted to use this boolit for. The best 405 grain boolit for black powder is the LEE because of the hollow base, if you are going to use it for long range 300+ yards go with the 500 grain boolit.

01-26-2009, 06:44 PM
I'll be using this rifle for paper punching and hunting. Where I live my longest shot would be no more than 200 yards. I'm an older guy and don't know if I could stand the recoil of the 500 grain bullet. I'm planning on using smokeless powder (IMR3031,IMR4895,IMR4198 and Unique). I've always wanted a Sharps type rifle and I'm looking forward to a summer of shooting this rifle. I didn't know which of these two molds would be best for a .4585 diameter bore. Thanks you both for your replies.

Doc Highwall
01-26-2009, 10:42 PM
If you are going to shoot these at black powder velocities I would get a plain base bullet mould. The LEE 405 with the hollow base is going to be slower to cast with being a single cavity. There is a plain base group buy that we are waiting for right now to be delivered, maybe their is one left over or somebody will change their mind and sell it.

01-27-2009, 12:13 PM
Thanks DOC,
I would like to buy a mold if an extra mold is available. What do I need to do to get on the list for an extra mold?
I would also like any suggestions as to loads using the powders I have which are:
IMR3031,IMR4895,IMR4198 and Unique.
Thanks again for your reply.