Inline FabricationStainLess Steel MediaRotoMetals2Titan Reloading
MidSouth Shooters SupplyGraf & SonsADvertise hereLee Precision

Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: new to cast bullets and have questions about molds

  1. #1

    new to cast bullets and have questions about molds

    i am brand new to casting my own bullets and was wondering about molds. i will be shooting 9mm, 357mag, 44, and 358 winny. inhabe shot a lot of cast bullets in the past at targets and game but they were all puechased from other sources. right now i have the lee 358-158-rf and the lee 358-125-rf. is the quality of other molds enough to pay several times the cost? i look at these as a lifetime investment with proper care and i dont mind spending what it costs for GOOD tools if the difference in quality is worth the price! also, what brand of molds will the lee handles work on? thanks for the help getting started.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    171
    I have both Lee and NOE molds. Both work well for me. NOE offers molds with a plain base bullet which is why I got them. Lee handles work on my 2 cavity NOE molds with no problems.
    Have fun

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    2,323
    Welcome to CB willicd76

    Lee Commercial 6 cavity handles work on my multi-cavity NOE molds with no problems.

    Lee molds and equipment are the most economical way to start.

    You need treat aluminum molds more carefully than cast iron molds.

    Many people have started with Lee and have found no need to pay more.

    I started with the Lee PRO 4 20LB 110V casting pot and have found no need to "upgrade"

    Many of the molds I use most are the Lee 6 cavity molds even though I have a collection of the other "higher dollar" molds.

    6 CAVITY 356-125 2R drop large and work well in 9MM & 357

    358-158-rf is my favorite 38 spcl/357 mold

    I powder coat or HiTek coat al my boolits so the lube design doesn't matter to me

    240 grn like the TL430-240SWC work good in the 44.

    Try these , see where your path takes you then spend the money on higher priced, multi-cavity specialty molds. (my last 2 molds were NOE multicavity because Lee didn't make what I was looking for and enjoyed shooting {that affects you choice of molds})

    With cast boolits You need to know the slugged diamiter of your barrel to get the proper fit .0005 to .003 over the slugged diamiter depending on alloy and velocity

    Research the 9mm (on the search bar in this forum) before you start re-loading it the 9x19 luger has a tapered case and people tend to over crimp and downsize the boolit causing leadding and poor accuracy

    Do some reading here http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...Various-Alloys

  4. #4
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Denver Metro Area
    Posts
    451
    Agree, the lee molds are perfectly serviceable. When I buy other brands it is usually because I cannot get either the design or capacity I want from the inexpensive lee molds. That said, I have done pretty well by buying used molds here on the swapping and selling board. As a bonus, most sellers have cast with their molds and can tell you what size and weight a mold actually drops at rather than what itis supposed to do.

    For your 358 look for a big bullet mold, which probably means something other than lee. I have molds from arsenal, noe, lyman, rcbs and lyman in addition to lee, all for specific designs or because I got a good deal used. Keep your eyes open for good used molds.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  5. #5
    i build custom hunting and match rifles so i have a lathe and mill in the shop. i was thinking i would take the 6 cavity 358-200-rf mold and mill off the GC area to use for heavy hunting bullets in the .357 and get another 2 cavity for the 358 and leave it alone. was thinking of milling down one of the 6 cavity 310gr for the 44 hoping it might come out about 275gr or so. does anyone have any experience doing this to a lee mold?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    640
    Lee molds are a good value. The problem is their limited selection.

    I've seen pics of molds milled down and supposedly they work OK.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    813
    Lee molds are worth the money. They are great molds and if you take care of them then they will last while. Most of my molds are Lee and only buy another brand when i have too. I whish lee would expand their offerings as well.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  8. #8
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Denver Metro Area
    Posts
    451
    Quote Originally Posted by willicd76 View Post
    i build custom hunting and match rifles so i have a lathe and mill in the shop. i was thinking i would take the 6 cavity 358-200-rf mold and mill off the GC area to use for heavy hunting bullets in the .357 and get another 2 cavity for the 358 and leave it alone. was thinking of milling down one of the 6 cavity 310gr for the 44 hoping it might come out about 275gr or so. does anyone have any experience doing this to a lee mold?
    Have you shot anything that heavy in 357? I ask because I find that 158 grain or thereabouts usually shoots best for me in that caliber.

    Frankly, the Lee molds are so cheap that I think you could buy two of the 6 bangers and modify one. As you get into casting, you will find that 2 cavity molds are too much of a limiting factor if you shoot any kind of volume of that design.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    Have you shot anything that heavy in 357? I ask because I find that 158 grain or thereabouts usually shoots best for me in that caliber.

    Frankly, the Lee molds are so cheap that I think you could buy two of the 6 bangers and modify one. As you get into casting, you will find that 2 cavity molds are too much of a limiting factor if you shoot any kind of volume of that design.
    i am shooting the 180gr wfn missouri bullet now in my 2 gp100's with wc820. i havnt been impressed with the accuracy thus far. i am looking forward to casting some of the lee 358-158-rf to hunt with in the .357! i hope it will shoot minute of pig for me....

  10. #10
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Denver Metro Area
    Posts
    451
    Quote Originally Posted by willicd76 View Post
    i am shooting the 180gr wfn missouri bullet now in my 2 gp100's with wc820. i havnt been impressed with the accuracy thus far. i am looking forward to casting some of the lee 358-158-rf to hunt with in the .357! i hope it will shoot minute of pig for me....
    You might have to fool with different charges, but no doubt you will find the right load. It is really a fun experience to find a "magic" load. I was fooling around with a plain base 133 grain RNFP in my 357 lever and getting ho hum results. Then one of my test loads happen to be the right one and it was like magic: shot gun pattern with one load, itty bitty group at 50 yards with a peep sight and my terrible vision with the next load.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    slim1836's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Burleson, TX
    Posts
    1,047
    Welcome to the site.

    Most everyone started out with less expensive molds. If casting is not for you, then your initial expense is less. If you mess up a Lee mold, you're not out a bunch of money. As you delve deeper into casting (and you probably will), you will find other boolit designs that fit your weapons that are not available through Lee. By that time you will be more than happy to purchase other molds at a greater cost.

    Read the stickies on previous posts on proper mold prep. and care, along with rendering your lead. Ask if you can't find the answers, members here are happy to help.

    Don't get sucked up in the thought that you'll be saving money by casting your own, but you will be shooting more for less than store bought ammo. I do like the idea that I can take a wheelweight and turn it into a projectile that will hit anything I aim at.

    Slim
    DISCLAIMER: This is a generic comment. It is not directed at any specific human
    being, real or fictional. The comments in this message speak directly to the
    TOPIC no matter the quoted clips - and nothing else. If I have not typed your
    name, specifically, into the message, it IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    SE MISSOURI
    Posts
    213
    Lee molds work fine. If it wasn’t for lee I would not have 20 or so molds. I have two noe molds. Yes there nice but they cost 4 times as much . Only have lee two cavity molds not there 6 cavity Only reason I bought them is lee didint have what I wanted. Only thing I have learned is after almost messing up a lee mold is that you have to lube the Spur plate and the other spots every so often. I use refrigeration oil works good.keeps the top of the mold from scoring up

  13. #13
    I started with Lee molds many years ago and I still have them. They got me into casting with their low price molds and they are fine. I am only now buying a few of the pricier molds because I am looking for different bullet designs. As for the handles I will leave it to the more seasoned bullet casters to answer.

  14. #14
    Moderator



    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
    Posts
    10,414
    Quote Originally Posted by willicd76 View Post
    SNIP...

    is the quality of other molds enough to pay several times the cost? i look at these as a lifetime investment with proper care and i dont mind spending what it costs for GOOD tools if the difference in quality is worth the price!
    willicd76,
    welcome to the forum.

    As others have said, Lee molds work fine and with proper care should last a average lifetime.
    But the short answer to your question is, YES the quality of other brands make them worth many times more than a Lee.

    As to milling the Top of that 358 200gr mold off (yes others have done that), that is major surgery, when all you need to do to "plain base" a 358 mold is to use a 23/64ths 6 flute chucking reamer in a drill press to remove the tiny bit of metal inside the cavity, near the top of the block...I'd just turn the chuck with my hand. Others have even just used a exacto knife to carefully remove that metal.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Quilcene, Washington
    Posts
    2,714
    I have Lee, Lyman, Saeco, and RCBS molds. I have always liked my Lee molds if for only that they produce good boolits more quickly on a given day than any of the steel molds which require more more time to get "warmed up". My most accurate rifle prefers boolits from the Lee mold, but other rifles prefer sometimes Lyman and sometimes Saeco boolits. Every rifle barrel has a distinct personality for you to discover but I have found my handguns to be less picky.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    easternshore of va.
    Posts
    1,617
    I have a few of those fancy molds witch I enjoy casting with , but quite often I find myself holding a lee 6 cavity under the pot when I am casting - they make fine boolits as long as they cast at the diameter I'm after . As stated above take care to lube them properly .

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    willicd76,
    welcome to the forum.

    As others have said, Lee molds work fine and with proper care should last a average lifetime.
    But the short answer to your question is, YES the quality of other brands make them worth many times more than a Lee.

    As to milling the Top of that 358 200gr mold off (yes others have done that), that is major surgery, when all you need to do to "plain base" a 358 mold is to use a 23/64ths 6 flute chucking reamer in a drill press to remove the tiny bit of metal inside the cavity, near the top of the block...I'd just turn the chuck with my hand. Others have even just used a exacto knife to carefully remove that metal.
    i really appreciate bringing up the chucking reamer. i hadnt thought of that. might be easier to mill the mold than to indicate the 6 cavities in perfectly though!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Posts
    10,190
    Don't need perfection unless you mean to shoot them unsized. What little deviation you will make using the eyeball and hand will be evened out in the sizer, anyway.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  19. #19
    Moderator



    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
    Posts
    10,414
    Quote Originally Posted by willicd76 View Post
    i really appreciate bringing up the chucking reamer. i hadnt thought of that. might be easier to mill the mold than to indicate the 6 cavities in perfectly though!
    The tough part when milling the entire mold top will be dealing with the sprue bolt holes...they will probably have to be deepened and re-tapped...I think they are designed to "bottom out". Plus you'll lose some boolit weight. I sent you a PM.
    Jon

  20. #20
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    middle of Alabama
    Posts
    470
    Welcome to the addiction, brother. You will surely find that this site is full of the most knowledgeable AND friendliest casters and shooters around. My hope for you is that you can afford to save all the money casting boolits gives you!
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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