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Thread: Lee "Micro Band Groove" (aka tumble bullets). Good? Bad?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Lee "Micro Band Groove" (aka tumble bullets). Good? Bad?

    The only thing I have cast so far was last year I cast a bunch of Lee 12ga slugs to reduce my practice costs with a 12 gauge.

    Now I want to try making some plinking bullets for fun even though buying FMJ bullets is relatively inexpensive now.

    I will start with .45 230gn.

    At this time I have no desire to get into lubrimatic/sizer/etc, and the idea of tumble lubing without sizing is appealing to me.

    For plinking in .45 acp, and .45 Colt are there significant reasons I should not start with Lee tumble lube bullets?

    TIA

  2. #2
    Boolit Man Flailguy's Avatar
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    I bought the 6 cavity round nose and have had good results in 45 acp. No experience with the 45 colt.

  3. #3
    They work fine for me. I use the 230 TC .45 in a six cavity. I did have to size them to .451 as they didn't chamber as cast. I have a lube sizer, but use a Lee kit ($30) to do these faster.
    I lube with White label 45/45/10. Light coat, dry overnight then a second light coat. I use pretty soft alloy and get no leading at 850 fps.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



    jmort's Avatar
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    I am a TL groove aka micro groove fan. Everyone of my Accurate molds are TL. Easy to powder coat or Tumble lube.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  5. #5
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    The Lee tumble lube boolits for 45 ACP work fine. The ones for 9mm can be problematic. A lot depends on the alloy. In 45 ACP it doesn't seem to matter much.
    In 38 special they work great.

  6. #6
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    I have one I use for 32 long velocities. I have dumped the rest long ago. If you have a lubesizer IMO you are far better off.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    the lee 452-230-2R -TL
    Works well in more guns than the lee -- 452-230-2R & 452-230-TC unless you sett them pretty deep

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    I use TL452-230-TC in my Rock Island 45. Shoots great!

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    I ended up ordering the 452-230-2R -TL. It will suit my needs for now and possibly well into the future. I'm a plinker, steel shooter, former IPSC competitor. Shooting fast is more fun to me than trying for small groups. The tumble lube bullets strike me as a good place to start casting. I purchased the Lee 6 cavity mold. The sprue plate handle looks appealing in several youtube videos I have watched.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


    mac60's Avatar
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    I think you made a good choice. Tumble lubing really cuts down on the drama. The Lee 6 cavity moulds are easy to use and for the most part trouble free. Keep it lubed and don't mistreat it and it should last a good long time.
    So many guns, so little time
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
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    I use that mold with no problems. Switched from mule snot to powder coating for everything now. All cals, all shapes, all designs, all weights. No regrets. Will never go back to grease again....TL or grease-o-sizer.

    Sizing (or not) really depends on the bore of your gun, so micro grooves, grease bands, or NLG’s at all really mean nothing. If your gun’s barrel needs sized down boolits, you gotta do it or you will be fighting and mining Pb out of your barrels! Remember ’’FIT IS KING” so don’t plan on NOT sizing. A Lee sizing die in your press goes VERY fast and is extrememy cheap.

    Good luck!

    Bangerjim

  12. #12
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    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    Not everyone needs (or wants) to powder coat, myself included. The Lee TL design boolit molds are fine for many, many uses. I shoot a LOT of 38 Special wadcutters lubed in this manner. I also use the Lee 314-90 SWC extensively in my 30 Cal rifle for plinking and target shooting. I use thinned Lee Alox, and have no issued whatsoever. Tumble lubing IS a good way to start out for a new caster. The trick with Alox is to use it very sparingly. A little goes a long way.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    i have a couple that seem to work fine i just don't like tumble lubing them. not sure i did it right. but seating die would collect alox and gradually seat bullet deeper. and stuf never did harden thined it with mineral spirits ( or acatone not sure wich) what ever was recommended.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    DerekP Houston's Avatar
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    I used the TL design in my 1911 45acp and it worked fine for me, alox or bll still gets the job done quickly.
    My feedback page if you feel inclined to add:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...raight-Shooter

    Thanks Yall!

  15. #15
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    Elkins45's Avatar
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    The only TL mood I have ever been disappointed in is the 9mm 124TC. It shot all over the place until I decided to water drop them, and then it tightened up. All of the others have been fine, especially the 45 cal 200gr and the 44 cal 240gr SWC. The 30 caliber rifle bullet has also done well, although my experience with it is limited.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    You can tumble lube a regular traditional lube groove cast bullet BTW it don't have to be a TL Lee design . Especially at 38 spl/ 45 auto speeds .
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  17. #17
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    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    What he said^^^^^

    It's a common thing, at least for me, for the LLA to build up in the seating die nose. The LLA needs to be really thin, almost looking like it's not on the boolit. My Ranch Dog mold suggests dipping the boolit, leaving the nose uncoated. Soooo..... I switched to straight JPW for my .30 cal boolits. I still have to wipe their little noses before I seat them, but they ain't sticky and don't lead. Smells better, too!
    Tom
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  18. #18
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    They work fine tumbled but it's a lot cleaner to PC them and shoot unsized.

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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