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Thread: Lee 45/500/3R in a Martini

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Lee 45/500/3R in a Martini

    Can anyone tell me if the pointy Lee 45/500gn bullet is stable when fired from a Martini 577/450 at about 1200fps.And is OK out to 500metres/550 yards.With respect,I would prefer to get an opinion from an actual user.I know its not much expense to try the mold,but Ill see how I go here first.

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    Boolit Master




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    The big problem is that most of the Martinis have a grove that varies from .464 on the small side up to .470 in the MK4. The Lee is probably .459 at the most. I shoot a .461 385gr boolit in mine but using BP. That kicks it in the butt hard enough to bump the boolit up to the .468 where my Martini begins. If you are going to use smokeless powder that probably won't happen.
    You have a manufacturer down there that makes molds for the 577-450, I would just start there.
    Here is a group with BP and that boolit at 100yd.
    I have shot mine out to 300yd and was pretty happy with the results so I think that the gun is capable of shooting to 500 with the right load and a good condition gun.

    Bob
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Boz is correct, the Lee is a .459" mold, so it might be too small to fit the larger Martini bore. I've got a couple Lee molds I reworked by opening up the base band so they seal in larger bores, and that works great. I even prefer the Lee aluminum molds when I do have to open up the base band as it's so much easier to do on the aluminum molds.
    I have a 8mm Lee mold that started out as a .323" and I needed a .328" for my Hepburn match rifle in .32-40. Opened it to .328" base band, and I use it as a breech seating bullet that works fantastic!

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    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Have not even seen a Martini rifle, but have tried the Lee 500 3r bullet in 45-70. It shoots well to 300 yards or so after that it becomes a **** shoot. If the wind is dead calm or nearly so it will shoot so/so to 500 yards but after that it's a disaster.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    Bob and Don and Marlin man,I think we are getting somewhere.The Martini has a 22" twist,IIRC,so it could be marginal with such a long bullet.But ,ya never know till ya try it.Don,what is the twist in your barrel? Thanks for the info ,so far.A bit of a confession tho,I want to shoot a Henry 1871,has same internal dimensions as a Martini,with Henry s patent rifling.I didnt think anyone would know what it was.
    Last edited by john.k; 11-07-2017 at 08:04 PM.

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    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    The Martini has 7 grooves and my rifles shoot a CBE 500gn x 0.462" brilliantly. I don't know where the 0.470"bullet came from but the standard rifling is 0.464 across a flat and a land! Your in Oz, PM your postel address and I can send you some sample CBE boolits to try.

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/brit...ons-t3029.html

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    John the rifles I tried that bullet in had an 18 twist. You may want to take a look at either the Saeco 645 bullet, it casts at 480 gr +- , and shoots very well to 1000 yards, and the good old Lyman Postell is another good bullet,but unfortunately lacks the glitz of some of the more popular bullets of today.
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    Boolit Man
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    Thanks for the replies,gents.Ive got plenty of molds,just thought the pointy end looked good.And Lees claimed BC.Think my current load has 40ft drop at 500m.But youve got time to look thru the spotting scope before it lands.One character informed me the Henry was actually an IAB replica.I never knew that.

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    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Those wide lube grooves and long nose on the bullet seem to me to be the biggest obstacle to it shooting well at distance. Those blocks don't really have enough meat around the outside to last long if you cast many of those bullets, they do tend to warp.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    I was going to machine the cavity out to cast .470",so altering the dimensions of the lube grooves could be included.Might reduce drag even further.Large grooves not needed,as I shoot smokeless.If .462" is correct for the barrel,then I could probably just lap out that much from the mold.Im afraid I wont be buying any $150 molds,seems silly paying more for a mold than the gun cost.Lee is more in my price range.Value for money.By the way,Im currently using a patched Lyman 450gn,but I wont go altering any good molds,just ally ones.
    Last edited by john.k; 11-08-2017 at 07:15 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Don't need those big groove for blackpowder loads either. Unless Lee has started producing those blocks out of a larger billet than the moulds I have, milling the cavity out to .470 isn't going to leave much metal , and one would have to be very cautious about how hot the blocks get and they will take off in different directions and the sprue plate won't fit to good anymore.
    Having aluminum, brass and iron blocks, while they cost a bit more the iron blocks seem to represent the best value based on their longevity and ability to cast consistent bullets for a longer time period than the other two.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad *** Wallace View Post
    The Martini has 7 grooves and my rifles shoot a CBE 500gn x 0.462" brilliantly. I don't know where the 0.470"bullet came from but the standard rifling is 0.464 across a flat and a land! Your in Oz, PM your postel address and I can send you some sample CBE boolits to try.

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/brit...ons-t3029.html

    IIRC the Long Lever Martini has a .470 groove diameter. The MK1 and 2 are tapered from .468 at the chamber over 8 inches down to .464, or at least the MK 2 that I have is like that. I don't have a MK 4 to measure, just going on what I have read on the Martini Board. The OP didn't say what he had in the original post.

    Bob
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by Don McDowell View Post
    Have not even seen a Martini rifle, but have tried the Lee 500 3r bullet in 45-70. It shoots well to 300 yards or so after that it becomes a **** shoot. If the wind is dead calm or nearly so it will shoot so/so to 500 yards but after that it's a disaster.
    Don, this is a Martini, action anyway, don't have the complete rifle. Sights are for old eyes, not standard.

    Bob
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Bob I have "seen" Martini's, even shot a 22 target rifle quite a bit, my reference was to having actual hands on "seen" the big bore rifles. I probably could of stated that a bit better in the first post.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    If you examine the bullet molds made by the old masters like Schoyen and Pope, you'll see a different design than what is used by many production mold suppliers today. They believed that more lube grooves of smaller capacity was the answer to better bullet to rifling contact. It seems they were onto the right thing to me, as these old molds with many lube grooves gave great accuracy. Most of those old designs had at least 5 grooves, and the longer/heavier bullets had as many as 7 grooves. Pope felt that the multiple grooves and bands provided a better design with more support over the length of the bullet. I much prefer more lube grooves on bullets, and have found them to shoot more accurately for my uses.
    I'm not a fan of spire point bullets at typical BP speeds. They might be great high velocities, but those bullets aren't dropping back through the sound barrier at long ranges. I prefer a bullet with more weight forward myself.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    Not for the purists,but I have been shooting 476 bullets with good accuracy,and saves a lot of time patching.I did a bullet recovery test with a pinch of TB,and the only bullet that nearly filled the grooves was a 476.Patched 460 x4x003 did not go near filling grooves in a Mk2.Fired 100 + with a NAA carbine ,MkII and a Mk IV,using molydag as lube (no lubrisizer dies ) there was no leading in any gun,in the Mk4 ,hit the 300m pig most of the time.The idea is that 476 bullet suits chamber dimensions for minimum brass working.Basically,if you were starting out,a cheap 400gn 476 mold,set of 476 dies,about $100 all in to shoot a Martini .The Mk 4 has shiny bore,fired thousands of P/P loads.Anyhoo,time to get the Henry out,been collecting dust for many years since i shot it last.The plastic gun crowd say its a replica.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I've never considered getting into paper patched bullets, so I shoot lube groove bullets in all my old single shots. Many are from the era of paper patching, and have chambers cut for that purpose. But I try to keep things simpler for me in reloading, so I wont take on another phase of reloading for my old guns.

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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