View Full Version : .50 minnie

05-13-2006, 07:32 PM
I was just wondering if any of you have had the same problem that I have. I bought two Lee moulds in the .50 minie and for the most part they are too big to slide down the bore of any of my 50 calibers. I sometimes get 1 or 2 to do it but after a couple shots of fouling forget it. I've though of ordering a bullet sizer to knock of a few thousands.

What I don't understand is why Lee makes it to exact dimentions anyway. I have a .58 and the minie in it is great. It comes out at .575 and slides down the barrel just like it is suppose to. I don't have a .54 but Lee makes the mould undersized for it also! Any thoughts on this?

05-13-2006, 09:45 PM
No reason you can't run them through a sizer. Buckshot makes big push-throughs, too.
As to why they make some sizes and not others, never expect logic from a corporate mentality - like military intelligence it is a contradictionn in terms. :-D

05-13-2006, 11:22 PM

I had the same problem.... I really had to push to get the slugs in the barrel. I measured the diameter of some PowerBelt bullets I had (.499), which were snug but loaded pretty easily.

I ordered a .501 Lee Push Through sizer since they don't make a .499. I haven't shot any of the sized bullets yet, but they should load pretty easily. If you would like to try some minne's sized to .501, let me know. If these don't work out, I will ask Buckshot to make a .499 push through sizer.

Buckshot made a sizer (Lyman) for me in .268 (6.5 mm) and his workmanship was fantastic.

I had the same problem with the Lee .457 Ruger Old Army revolver mold! The bullets were oversize and very hard to seat. I am going to get either a .454 sizer or .457 sizer to fix the problem.


05-14-2006, 06:15 AM
..............Garandsrus, Thank you for that compliment very much. What an ego boost! I'll have to read that the next time I forget to do something the wifely unit has suggested would be nice for me to get done. They can sure cut you off at the knees.

..............Mooman76, I have four 58 cal muskets and each is different! I have a real *** Zouave I bought way back in the dark ages that is .575". Then a more recent and fairly nice Zoli made Zouave that is .577". Next up is a Parker-Hale P58 Naval pattern 2 band that is .580" and lastly is a Colt 2 Band Artillery carbine that's .582". These are actual slidding fit measurements.

I can make you a really simple sizer if you'd like for $5, 2 Post Toasties box tops and rtn shipping :-) All in the world it is is a piece of 7/8" steel about 1.5" long, drilled and polished to the speced ID with a mild taper. It's not threaded or anything. You use a wooden dowel with bondo or epoxy on the end to match the cavity and tap the Minie' through. Reducing a couple thou with a lubed pure lead HB Minie' is easy.

You could also make one. My father would be very disappointed in me that I don't know anything about pipe or pipe fittings. Or brass or copper pipe for that matter. Since you want a Minie' just under a half inch some type of copper or brass pipe bushing or reducer might work. I haven't a clue so I can't say, "Go get X thingie and do so and so to it". Another possibility is the zinc electrical conduit fittings.

But I'm sure something would be close. You can open then up by driving a hardwood mandrel into them, or polishing them out. Many many, yea verily MANY years ago I sanded out a bronze bushing to use on a mini bike axle. My dad had a wood lathe and I put a piece of 1" wood dowel in it with a piece of innertube looped around it. I wrapped regular old sandpaper around another piece of dowel and put the bushing over that. I put the innertube from the lathe over the bushing like a belt and turned on the lathe.

Pulling back on the dowel I held tightened the inner tube and it spun the bushing. I won't bore you by relating the number of times the bushing would run to either end of the dowel I held, up against my hands, so I'd drop it. Or it spun off the end after I'd let go, to sail under his table saw or I had to chase after it out the garage door but I got the hang of it and before too long had that dude polished out to fit the axle.

You could also use a piece of PVC pipe that is close to 1/2" ID. Heated up it gets soft . Put a hose clamp around it heat it up till it starts to yield then give the clamp a half turn or so. Polish the ID to the desired size.

But then again the fouling in your rifle shouldn't accumilate in the bore. It will in the breech where the charge lies. The bullet should remove fouling as it's pushed down and as it's fired out to leave the same basic amount behind. You could cheat with a damp patch on the head of the ramrod to effectively wipe the bore as you run the slug home.

I'd take a good hard look at your lube. Of my 58's I have the most experience with the P58. It is picky about lube and how much, and where it's located. Happily it does best with lube in the base cavity only so that makes things simpler. Lets say I'm using the Lyman 575213 P-H slug. It has a shallow cavity that doesn't hold much lube. If I only use Crisco it will foul to where I have to drive the 5th Minie' down with a mallet.

If I go to a Minie' with a big hollowbase like the 505gr Lee and use Crisco I can get off maybe 20 accurate rounds before loading gets difficult. Let's switch lube to something like TC Wonder Lube, or Young Country (both rather spendy) I can just about shoot that rifle all day long or until the breech fouls to the point the fire from the cap won't reach the charge. You can cut the more expensive lube with good ole Crisco 50/50 and do about as well.

Lube also plays a part in accuracy.


The above was just a quick, "Let's see what happens" type test. Yes the Bore Butter group does have that flier up there half out of the photo, but the other 4 about make up for it. These were benched at 50 yards. I really don't think the Crisco group was all that bad, and it has a mild flier too.

One other suggestion with that Lee Minie Mould is to pay close attention to how it closes. If some work they should all work, unless on some the blocks weren't getting closed true.


Old Ironsights
05-14-2006, 06:56 AM
I don't cast my minnies (yet) but when I shoot my unsized 360gr traditional minnies from Blackjackhill I have no issues with shooting them all day in either my Flint with Black or inline with 777, (and they appear to be true .500).

Are you spitpatching between shots? If not, why not? You aren't shooting Yanks/Rebs... Spit patch and you shouldn't have any trouble.

05-14-2006, 12:12 PM
Thanks for all the replies!

I think I'll take your advice and make a sizer. The reason I get some size variances is when I am moulding bullets the first few are smaller while the mould is cool but they aren't filled out quite perfect yet. Then when they are filling out they are a hair too big. I will look at the lube I'm using but even with that the bullets are too big. I'm using TC wonder Lube 1000 or something like that.

Old Ironsights
yes I tried spit patch and it helped to a small degree but still didn't do the job. I have lee real but got tired of beating the bullets in and also I had hunting in mind and wanted a quick reload for a second shot if nessisary! If the bullets were of the proper size I would not be having this problem.

Once again thanks to all!

05-14-2006, 02:48 PM
Just out of curiosity, what kind of rifle are you shooting and have you slugged the bore? It sounds to me that there's a possibility your's might be a tad undersized.

05-14-2006, 03:05 PM
I have not slugged the bore but I have several 50. cals all the same. Most are CVA but I also have a Cabelas model that was made by Lyman I am told. Also a 1/2 inch drill bit slides in the barrel quite nicely with no effort. My minnies usually come out a couple 2 0r 3 thousands over .50. Just enough to bind up. If I can make a sizer that will take off a few thousands that should solve the problem!

05-14-2006, 03:29 PM
I have an inline TC Blackdiamond that shoots the old TC Maxi-Ball quite well. The rifle is scoped and I bought it when I lived in Ohio because Ohio doesn't allowed rifles in deer season. I just refuse to hunt deer with shotguns and slugs, thus the reason I bought the inline. I had bought a Lee 50 cal minie mould just to play with. I too found them exception hard to load and I shot Pyrodex which really doesn't leave that much fouling and Triple Seven even less. I can attest, at least for me, that sizing the Lee minies down to load easier made no difference at all in the way they shot, which out of my rifle was lousy. I have the mould yet, it's practically brand new as it only took a few to discover I didn't like this bullet one bit, nor my rifle. In fact it's for sell or trade to whoever may want it. Perhaps there's someone out there that has a different brand of rifle that may like it.


05-14-2006, 09:20 PM
MM76; I have the 360 gr 50 cal minie by Lee(372 grs PB) It casts a nice round boolit of tapered design, .498 base/.501 top band, loads easily and is accurate in both 1:48 and 1:22 twists(up to 80 grs in the 1:22) I lube with bear lard(and now with buffalo lard cut 50% crisco) I can shoot it till I get tired without a problem reloading. Rifles are CVA and Traditions Inc. You probably got a mold that is out of spec, bad out of round. I have different .358 molds from Lee that cast .358+ .002 OR, and the C358/158/SWC that casts a .362 /3boolit from my alloy, kind of a crap shoot with molds- I've got a 36 cal maxi by TC that casts a boolit about .003 OR ,360/363 making it too large for easy loading, I run the base of these into a .360 sizer to ease loading. Check a boolit from it, maybe it isn't closing all the way for you, or maybe it is out of spec and Lee will replace it.

05-15-2006, 12:50 AM
It just seems strange to me that you got a Lee mould that throws too big a boolit. I do believe you, but many Lee moulds I have encountered have just the opposite problem. :-D Mostly with pure lead they cast smaller, too. I have a .45 HP mould that needs to be sized when cast in ww for .45ACP, but not when cast in pure lead (I use those in sabots for hunting in my .54 because they expand better). Are you using pure lead or an alloy?
Lyman makes a .50cal MaxiBall and a .50cal Great Plains moulds that you might like a lot better if you have no joy dealing with Lee.

05-15-2006, 01:12 AM
Not much I can add to Buckshots post.Like he said shooting minnes is a bit diffrent.Got to have a sliding fit to .001-.002 under bore max to work well.Any smaller and they will not group.That Lee trashcan does not carry much lube on the outside so you need to put it in the base cavity.Need soft lead also to have skirt expand.WW is just too hard.If you are getting keyholes your lead is too hard or minne is way too undersized.Also I have found that powder chargeswill make a diffrence.One of my .58 will group real good at 46gr fff. [Target load]Will also group well at 82 gr for a hunting load.Change the boolet or the charge a few gr and the groups will open up.
I have a bunch of custom sizers as most most M/L barrels or minne moulds for that matter will not run true to size.With a PRB the patch thickness can make up for the diffrence. sizing .002-.003 is a piece of cake.For sizing more than that I go in steps.

05-15-2006, 01:44 AM
"372grs pb" pure?(I doubt anything is pure) lead on the minies, maxi's and C&B conicals, some RB lead or ww. I have several Lee molds that cast "big" according to some-228 gr 45@.453, Couple 30 cal@.310/.302 noses(that's a very good thing for me), .311/100/2R@.313" all sizes depending upon alloy used, pretty easy to gain .001" if needed by alloying. I also have plenty of their molds that cast too small-they usually get lapped to working dia.- QC could definately use some improvement, maybe throw their caliper in the drawer and pull out a micrometer. As with any "rule" there's always the exception! After a few times around the block you'll find a lot of things unusual.

05-17-2006, 01:37 AM
I have an inline TC Blackdiamond that shoots the old TC Maxi-Ball quite well. ..... I had bought a Lee 50 cal minie mould just to play with. ,...I have the mould yet, it's practically brand new as it only took a few to discover I didn't like this bullet one bit, nor my rifle. In fact it's for sell or trade to whoever may want it. Perhaps there's someone out there that has a different brand of rifle that may like it.

Which mould we talkin 'bout pilgrim? I've got 3 .50's, and am always alookin for better boolits. How much?

05-20-2006, 03:27 AM
Somebody needs to produce some new molds. :smile:

This is a bullet that so far has had to be produced from a custom mold. Sure wish Lee would pick up the design (or very similar). Sized to land-land dimension, it has consistently shot extremely well in Whites, Knights, and others. Heck of a conical design originated by Bob Bowers in Virginia. He calls it the iNline Extreme Whitworth (NEW for short). Bull Shop produces one that is very similar but the fellow that spec'd the mold and had sent to him from Mtn Molds had things a bit off from the original. Dan's is still a very nice conical. I think this one follows the original specs.


Dan's mold produces the one on the left pictured below


05-20-2006, 07:45 AM
................Those are right "Boolity looking Boolits" :-) They LOOK like they orta shoot!


05-21-2006, 01:56 PM
They surely will shoot! Buckshot, how about a group buy possibility on that one? Possible? I would participate or help out as I could but would have no idea otherwise. :confused:

With a tweak from one of the good drawers/designers, that could work for some of the .50/xx cartridges too (couldn't it?). Going much bigger might lead to some sizing issues for getting down to the .500 range though.