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Thread: What Is A Good .45 ACP Mold?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master trickg's Avatar
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    What Is A Good .45 ACP Mold?

    Hey guys - I'm finishing up my birthday order tonight which consists of another set of dies and some tumbling equipment, but I'll soon be out of purchased bullets so I'm looking for recommendations for a good .45 ACP mold.

    I'm mostly looking for a good target bullet, so something around a 200 gr SWC would be good, but I'm not sure which one to get. I had always wanted to follow in Dad's footsteps, but he had almost all Lyman molds, which are a bit more costly. I've looked at Lee Molds and they have a couple of 200 grain molds - the 200 grain SWC and the 200 grain FN. I like the looks of the FN, and while two of the reviews say it works great for their 1911s, another says that this particular bullet likes to jam because the meplat is too wide. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    While the ultimate goal is to go for Lyman molds, I think I want to start with some Lee equipment first, mainly because I can get into an ENTIRE Lee casting setup for about the cost of the mold and handles if I go with Lyman.

    So, all thoughts and experiences regarding the matter are most welcome!
    --- Patrick G.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    ANeat's Avatar
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    The Lee 200gr SWC that looks like a bevel based H&G 68 (the one with a single lube groove)is a good bullet feeding and accuracy wise.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    My whole handloading "career" began in '67 with the .45 ACP, and I began bullet-casting right along with it, from a frying pan on the kitchen stove..

    I borrowed a single-cavity Lyman 452374 (230 RN) mould from a friend, and sized each one by driving it through the sizing chamber of a 310 hand-tool....this is NOT a recommended routine for Bullseye shooters, which I was just starting out to be.

    I "advanced" to a special-order 4-cavity 452389, a button-nosed 185 semi-wadcutter. I could not have made a worse choice. Let's draw a merciful curtain...

    When common-sense sank in, I used the 452460 200 SWC for many years, and in Lyman designs for mid-weight bullets, this is about as good as it gets. Highly recommended! However, as my competition days receded into the dusty past, I found that for general-purpose .45ACP loads for *ME*, nothing beats that old GI-duplicate 374 round nose. Therefore, I sold off all the other .45ACP moulds and bought a 4-cavity 452374. Casts easily, functions beautifully, shoots to the sights of 98% of all the pistols out there, is extremely accurate, and it even LOOKS right.

    The Lees will certainly work, but in my shop they're usually used for purposes which don't require a whole lot of bullets. I've never even SEEN a Lee 6-cavity, let alone used one, so have no opinion to offer. I don't like the shape of the Lee 230 RN.

    An iron mould will last about forever, given due care and attention, and I prefer them for my use. My 4-cav Lymans easily run 800-plus bullets per hour without strain, but then, my Lee 2-cavs easily do 400-plus, so you're not giving up much on a per-cavity rate.

    I guess it comes down to preference. Lee moulds have certainly started legions of handloaders down the casting road, and I'll admit there are some in my assemblage that give better results in a given application than any other.

    Still, I do prefer iron.....but I also DO have to order a new Lee 2-cavity .338-220, because no other design yet found shoots like this one does in my rifles. That covers quite a few moulds, too.

    How's this for a clear answer/opinion?!?!?!?!? Not much help, I'm afraid.
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

  4. #4
    Boolit Master trickg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANeat View Post
    The Lee 200gr SWC that looks like a bevel based H&G 68 (the one with a single lube groove)is a good bullet feeding and accuracy wise.
    I have reloaded nearly 500 bullets from a design that looks VERY similar, but was cast on industrial casting equipment and you are right - it is nice and accurate. I was at the range shooting some handloads yesterday and my targets were pretty much one big raggedy hole, and either I'm getting to be a better shot (possible - I've done a fair amount of shooting lately) or the ammo is pretty accurate. I'm putting it on top of 4.7 grains of Bullseye.

    Does that bullet work well with LLA?

    Bruce, Dad's favorite .45 ACP target load is the .45 SWC Lyman design you described. If it's as good as you say, it might be in my best interest to go ahead and splurge the extra $50-$60 it's going to cost me to get that one rather than a Lee. It was my first choice, but I'm trying to keep the mama happy too, you know?
    --- Patrick G.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I use the Lee 200 grainer you mentioned. I loaded 400rds., and went to the range.
    One hang up.
    It hits hard, and the pattern was real close. I fired it in my Combat Commander, and PT1911.
    I am going to cast more.
    I like that mold. I find it is the easiest mold to use out of all I have. I mean simple.
    I use Blue Dot, and water quench.
    I really like that mold.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    MtGun44's Avatar
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    H&G 68 is top notch. Lym 452460 is the most accurate in my Dan Wesson PTman7,
    but the Kimber and Gold Cup prefer the 68. I have heard that some have
    had problems with feeding with the Lee 'kinda like' 68 facimile, nose length and
    diam are different. Best accy is typically 3.5 gr Bullseye or Titegroup under either
    of these two bullets.

    Original mil barrels will need throating to avoid hanging up the flat SWC step
    against the side square edges of the bbl either side of the tiny mil feed ramp.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  7. #7
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    DLCTEX's Avatar
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    My Lee 200 gr. SWC dc mold has cast thousands of good boolits for me and was bought used. I have found that any feed problems I have encountered were due to weak loads, a weak recoil spring, or from seating the boolit too deep. With these corrected I almost never have feeding issues. My son had problems with my target loads, but he had a much stronger spring, and had no problems with higher pressure loads. Lee molds generally need to have a little cleaning of burrs and to be run hotter to cast and drop boolits well, but the price makes them attractive to the budget minded shooter. The molds I bought a few years ago will bring more if sold now than I paid for them. A lot of Lee molds sold on Ebay this year sell higher than Midway or Midsouth prices, most Lyman and RCBS do not IMHO and they come with handles(Lee). If you want to test some of the Lee 190 SWC, 200 SWC, or 230 RN boolits before buying, PM me and I'll send some samples. DALE
    Last edited by DLCTEX; 07-29-2008 at 09:36 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Heavy lead's Avatar
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    228 lee round nose-not tumble lube

    Does anyone run this in the 1911, I don't cast for the 45 acp yet and I want to. This looks like it will feed well and has a flat base.
    Anybody use it out there?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Here is the Lee SWC next to a H&G.




    Heavy Lead the Lee RN is a good bullet. Ive shot a lot of them but eventually went to the Lyman so all my 45 bullet would have a single lube groove.

    Here is a Group buy Lyman "copy" a Lyman and the Lee bullet together.


  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    HeavyMetal's Avatar
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    The nice thing about Lee's is the 2 cav molds are cheap!

    What I have done in the past is buy the boolit mold I was interested in in a 2 cav and tried them out. If they didn't work I'm out minimal cash if they do work I buy two 6 bangers and get to work!

    I will second the notion that a few samples, donated by kind site members, might go a ways to help you decide what you want to buy.

    I have a Saeco 130 SWC mold, 185 grain wadcutter, and would be more than happy to send you a handful of those to try out if you'd like. I do not have a RN 45 boolit right now but might someday if the group by gets done!

    It sounds like Dale has you covered on the other designs so no need to double up.

    PM me an addy if you'd like a small sample.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    guys i have used about all that they make the lee 90463 TL is what i use now i use a hard lead and load with 5 gr titegroup that is a little hot but have not had a feed or ejection problem THey shoot good in colt --kimber--taruras --sig they dont do well in a glock at that load ,but they cast good and lube nice

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Yes to 1911, Is there something else?

  13. #13
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    I kinda like the Lee 200-RF. I've not had any feed or function issues in 1911s. The 6-banger puts out a pile of boolits in short order.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master trickg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundog View Post
    I kinda like the Lee 200-RF. I've not had any feed or function issues in 1911s. The 6-banger puts out a pile of boolits in short order.
    I have not had a single feed issue with the bullets I ordered from Meister bullets which appear to the H&G 68s. I don't believe that was the case with the rounds I had sporting the Lyman SWC, but to be honest, I think that was before I realized I had a bum magazine that was giving me feed problems. Since I eliminated that magazine from my regular usage, I have not had a problem.
    --- Patrick G.

  15. #15
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    dromia's Avatar
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    I've cast and shot many different boolits through 1911s and the only one I stuck with over the years was the Lyman 452630, that boolit and my Cold Cup was a match made in heaven.


    For fine firearms and shooting requisites visit my Web Site by clicking the link below:

    Pukka Bundhooks

  16. #16
    Boolit Master trickg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dromia View Post
    I've cast and shot many different boolits through 1911s and the only one I stuck with over the years was the Lyman 452630, that boolit and my Cold Cup was a match made in heaven.
    That looks like another really nice boolit - I didn't realize that Lyman made two different 200 gr SWCs.
    --- Patrick G.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    If you had to bet on a more reliable load, it helps to cater to bullets that produce an overall length in the range the 1911 was meant to function with. Generally, that's over 1.2 inches, and OAL's shorter than that often require early release magazines. This the other shorter SWC will require as it produces a non standard length. This is the reason bullseye shooters originally modified their magazines to feed non standard bullets. Arguably, 1911 reliability is compromised a little bit in so doing. There's no free lunch.

    There's a reason the HG #68 is popular - it duplicates the OAL and feed profile the 1911 is optimized for while supplying the SWC shape.

    I have no doubt the short 200 SWC cowboy type bullet (the alternate Lee bullet with the big flat) works in many 1911's, but I must point out it wasn't designed for it - it's a cowboy action bullet.

    Best bet? Something close to the original HG 68 design. As close as possible.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Me and my shooting partner both have the Lee tumble lube(micro band) 200 swc molds. The bullet is very accurate in every gun we have tried it in. But not all guns will feed it, as it must be seated short in order for it to chamber. I would certainly buy a Lee mold again, just not this design bullet.

  19. #19
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    I use the Lee 200 SWC and tumble lube with LLA. Took 1st place at military pistol match 7/6/08 with a 396/450.5.2gr unique

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    alot of 45acp molds have come and gone here but my all time favorite has allways been the 452460 lyman and in second place would be the H&G68. the lee copys of those two bullets allways shot well but not quite as good as the originals.
    sixgun junky

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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