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Thread: "Real" Keith Bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    "Real" Keith Bullets

    The group buy for a 357 Keith mould has prompted me to post this.

    There's lots of debate about Mr. Keith's bullets. People say the real thing has this or that. As some know we cast these 4 years commercially. All the writers testing these were happy. Most considered our bullets to be bullets Elmer would have been pleased with. Were the moulds I used what Elmer wanted? Would he really been pleased?

    Below is a note sent us by a source I'll leave un-named. Living in WV I have no way to do much checking so I sent a copy of this note to John Taffin and we discussed the matter. He said, "There's no reason not to believe this is true." Enough said, take the note below for what it's worth. I made no attempt to change spelling, only taking out names to protect the innocent . Hope you enjoy.

    Lynn..........Dry Creek




    I stumbled onto your web page and was glad to see that you are producing
    Keith Bullets which are VERY close to the actual designs. A bit of
    history.......

    Before Elmer took sick and died......( I was a cop in Salmon, grew up
    and lived there and we often visited over matters of the bullet):

    Elmer used to get incessed with the bullet manufacturers and we were
    talking about the designs and what always seemed to go wrong with the
    bullet makers. I listened to him, and could see his point. He would
    tell them how they should be made, and they (the bullet and mold
    makers) would leave Salmon, go back and low and behold they turned out a
    bullet that wasn't even close (worse yet, they always seemed to have
    those dam round lube grooves ! ) I suggested to Elmer, that it might be
    a good idea to make up some bullet masters and then make the bullets as
    he wanted them, which according to everything I know.....the designs
    were VERY sound. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, as it
    took MONTHS to do this ! I soon found out, that Elmer could not and
    would not work on paper.....he had to hold it in his hand and look at it!

    SO....the masters were made by hand, on a lathe, one at a time, with
    many repeats and modifications over some months until they were just
    right......what a pain. All I wanted to do, was see that things got
    straightened out and the correct bullets be made available. No wonder
    the people who came to see him never could get it right ! To make a long
    story short, I had XXXXXX make the molds and for a time, I made
    bullets and molds available to the public. I gave the steel bullet
    masters to XXXXXXXXXX (XXX company) and as far as I know, they are
    still with the company, even though it was sold to another gentleman who
    has it now. I just wanted to make sure they were available to the
    public. I don't know where you got your designs, but I can tell some of
    them are terribly close to the actual designs.....so close, that I can't
    help but wonder if they aren't exact copies......which is not only fine,
    but to be commended. In fact, some of the actual designs (.357) won't
    work in all revolver throats.....due to the length of the front driving
    band, which won't let the forward band clear the chamber throat when
    normally seated, with some revolver chambers.........but according to
    Elmer....that front band was critical at magnum velocities.....and the
    dimensions of that front band was one of the things that he had stressed
    but USUALLY got thinned down by the manufacturers..... The steel masters
    were made, for the then four major magnum pistol calibers.....357, 41,
    44 and 45........only.

    Anyway..glad to see that you make some really good designs
    available.......that are as true as I have ever seen, short of the
    actual masters I gave to XXXXX...... Thought you might like to know...

    kind regards
    XXXXXX

  2. #2
    Banned 45 2.1's Avatar
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    Nice, BUT why didn't this anonymus fellow put those dimensions on paper for everyone? All that trouble and we still don't have what Keith thought was right, just what someone thought was right and produced. Looking at a picture doesn't tell you if it fits right. Another thing was the way Keith loaded his stuff, the only man to tell us seems to have been Ross Seyfried. 16:1 alloy was hard to Keith and he used standard primers.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    Lynn, thanks for reporting that letter. Stands to reason why there is so much confusion amongst the various designs. I personally don't care how they look, but I do care if I have the most "accurate" one. Which design is that? Round grooves, square grooves? Long and wide scraper band? Yes, it is unfortunate that engineers hate to document anything. Gets into the way of a thought process. Gladly, the science lab types do document, otherwise there would be no generic drugs. ... felix
    felix

  4. #4
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    Nice, BUT why didn't this anonymus fellow put those dimensions on paper for everyone?

    This fellow is only "anonymus" because I make him that way. The same with the mould maker. The main reason is I'm after the steel masters. HEE HEE.

    Dimensions? Brian Pearce and I spoke at length about this. One of the things we agreed on was the driving bands, they should be .100 wide.

    Keith's alloy I think was published in some of his writings. I know I've read it and perhaps it's in Sixguns or the two book set of Gun Notes.
    Joshua 1:9

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    I have read that (or semething very close) somewhere before recently. Just don't remember where....

    Beau
    At one with the gun.

  6. #6
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    Lynn,

    Like Beau signs all his posts: If you love something, set it free. You aren't doing that. You said yourself that you want the master moulds hee hee. Fact is you're greedy or you'd share all the info, including the guy's name that mailed you and the company that does/did have the moulds plus the dimensions, but no, moneyand greed enters the equation along with fame. Our little group here is responsible for, so far, more moulds then you've designed I'll wager. You have alot of guys on here asking questionsabout everything. Is this post to tease?

    Joe

  7. #7
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    Cool

    OH Joe..............I'm shamed into admitting it, I'd love to have those Masters. I'd be putting forth a falsehood if I said different HEE HEE.

    I do feel, from what I know, this whole thing is true. I couldn't make money off bullets or moulds............or I would still be in business..........but I want the masters for my collection of Keith stuff I have stashed away. Like he said, there's nothing on paper from Keith's end other than a rough drawing... that's who knows where. I'm sure though the guy who made the moulds at one point or another had measurements for his cherries.

    Once I'm settled in my heart they don't have the Masters I'll be happy to let the company name out and I could care less about the measurements. I purposed in my heart long ago the two Lyman 429421 moulds I have are all I need to play Keith with. The same for the L-358429 mould I now have. NEI cut our 41 and Ballisti-Cast our 45 so I'm happy if I never find the "secert" measurements. Can't believe I said that.

    It's the bullet casters that have lead following in their blood, who eat and sleep cast bullets, who dream of cast bullets, who never quit seaching for the perfect cast bullet..........like all the NUTS who hang out here that will never rest. Gosh I love you guys...........Lynn

  8. #8
    Boolit Master carpetman's Avatar
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    I can't tell you who all of those XXXX's in the letter represented,but one was none other than Col Sanders. Think we will ever know the real secret? You will really have doubts about the authenticity of this when I tell you my source. You aint gonna believe it but a talking golden retreiver told me,said something about long time family secret.

  9. #9
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    I'll take my shot at guessing and say it's RCBS

    Joe

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I think that the reason there is nothing concrete about Keith bullets is because a Keith bullet was always fluid and changing. He did this because he was experimenting. And .... because he had different models of guns with different cylinder lengths. You couldn't put a wide drive band on some designs with shorter noses without them looking like a wadcutter. So comprimises had to be (and were) made by Elmer himself.

    Elmer fancied himself an expert. So if you had a mold that was considered a Keith design that didn't shoot, .... well ..... that wasn't his "true" design. Because his design was always accurate. The mold maker ruined it.

    Remember, this is from a guy that could have put anything into print he wanted. If you wanted "YOUR" design to live on, wouldn't you have put it in one of your books? Remember, this is a gentleman that had an addendum cut to "Sixguns" so he could make it current for the day to include new handguns of the period. When the addendum was cut for "Sixguns", Elmer claims Lyman had ruined his mold 20 years before that. Now I ask you, if you felt your bullet design was that important, and you wanted to set the record straight for history sake, don't you think you would have cut another adendum?

    Nope. This is supposed to be one of life's mysteries. Like the lost Dutchman's mine. Or the Holly grail. It existed, but is gone forever.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    Bass Ackward said: This is supposed to be one of life's mysteries.

    You could be correct. One would think a designer would have a "blueprint" so his design could be copied & repeated to live forever. I had more than one talk with the XXXX who sent the letter and he made it known to me that Elmer didn't want to work with numbers or paper.
    Joshua 1:9

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Well, if having those steel masters

    turns your crank, ok. Go for it.

    What I want to know is do you have anything to contribute to our efforts to come up with true Keiths?

    Well do ya?


    Cat

  13. #13
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    Smile

    Catshooter said: Well do ya?

    Catshooter I have my opinions but they are just that and most don't like them. It's my personal view the Lyman 358429 design is as good as it gets. Another bullet to consider is the NEI #146. I use both these bullets and they are GREAT. The 146 has a shorter crimp to meplat measurement and a shallower lube groove. I find no difference in their performance. Still I think the Lyman is closer to what we consider a quote: Real Keith.

    Now the part shooters don't like. If you want to shoot a "real Keith" get a "real sixgun". And by that I mean one with a cylinder long enough to handle the bullet loaded in 357 brass and seated to the crimp groove. The 586/686 S&W and the Ruger BH can do this. The 27/28 S&W won't. OMBH's are close. I'm told the GP 100's are close but I can't personally confirm. The M-19/66 will handle the Keith but not a steady diet of Keith type loads. I use 5.5 grs. of 231 in my M-19 for 1050 fps from the 4" barrel. It's a medium load and does most things a sixgun needs to do here in the hills. If I need more, I carry more sixgun. In short if you want to shoot a "real Keith" in a 357, get a sixgun it will work in.

    I know you guys want a bullet that will work in the short cylinders and still be as close to a Keith as possible.

    Catshooter said:What I want to know is do you have anything to contribute to our efforts to come up with true Keiths? This is what I came up with and I hope it helps in your efforts.

    The bullet is already out there and requires no work your behalf. Read note at bottom on the right side of this page. http://www.ballisti-cast.com/Bullet%...20Page%207.htm and see bullet here http://www.ballisti-cast.com/Bullet%...20Page%204.htm as #890

    I know the drawings are crude but look at 651 and 890. Note the shorter nose of the latter. I think this is what you're looking for? Call Bruce at Ballisti-Cast and they can send you a blueprint of 890 and you can work from there. They are nice people. Tell them that Lynn from Dry Creek sent you.
    Joshua 1:9

  14. #14
    Boolit Man
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    I have a GP100 and cast the Ly. 358429 and crimp in the crimp groove with a .357 case and a OAL of 1.660". Works well in my gun.

    Bill

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    The 358429 bullet by Lyman is THE bullet for more than one of my .357's. It is the most accurate bullet in my GP-100 - 5.0 Unique in a .38 case. Oh what I would give to have the master himself in on these discussions!

    Beau
    At one with the gun.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Well,

    no, I'm not looking for a short nosed Keith. Early in the thread, 45 2.1 pointed out that many revolvers' cylinders are to short for the full meal deal K. That's important for people who might want to get in on the buy to know. I knew that. Notably the Smith 27 & 28. That's fine, there are lots of guns that are long enough.

    Mmmm. The balisticast looks good and claims to be true Keith. Maybe it is. Is it available in a six cylinder or more, oversized (!)for about $56 and fit Lee handles?

    I'm not trying to be sarcastic, but these are points that are important and they're why I want to get this design done this way.

    So, can you help? We need as much info as we can gather. That's why 45 2.1 is going to such lengths.

    Well?


    Cat

  17. #17
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    Try This

    Joshua 1:9

  18. #18
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    Maybe Better

    Don't ask how I got these. Perhaps they will help. Also have one for the 429421 somewhere.

    You might just have Lee open the driving bands to .361. Not sure how well this will view but it's as large as allowed. If someone wants it via email let me know. Beware the orginal is 311KB and 1616X1275.

    Cat said: Mmmm. The balisticast looks good and claims to be true Keith. Maybe it is. Is it available in a six cylinder or more, oversized (!)for about $56 and fit Lee handles?

    I can't speak to the Lee handles. You can have 6 cavity for 245.00 or 4 cavity for 155.00. These can be made to the diameter you want. You'll not get them for 56.00.
    Last edited by LAH; 10-28-2010 at 05:52 PM.
    Joshua 1:9

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Boys.....this is getting interesting. Made me go back and look through my Keith moulds theis morning.

    I have a feeling that when Keith submitted his design to Lyman through Mr. Pickering, they made it to his specs as well as some toolroom samples. Then as testing progressed, they found that a .100" full diameter driving band caused problems in some of the rearly guns.

    All of my 429421s have a front driving band of about .085" and that includes some olf square groove Ideals that go way back.

    Now, the H & G #326 and #328 (278 grains and 320 grains) have full .100" bands. The #328 barely fits in a Super Blackhawk crimped in the crimp groove lengthwise. A Model 29 will take it only if the cases are trimmed to the "trim to" length. I have a feeling that Lyamn axed .015" off the driving band to make things work out./beagle

    R: 429421HP Square Groove
    Center: #326 H & G
    L: #328 H & G
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  20. #20
    Boolit Master LAH's Avatar
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    I have a feeling that Lyamn axed .015" off the driving band to make things work out./beagle


    I have a feeling ya is right.
    Joshua 1:9

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check