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Thread: Mould selection

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy

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    Mould selection

    We had a very informative talk about bullet shape.
    I know some don't have much time for "off the self" moulds. My question is what makes the "Custom" moulds so superior to the off the shelf ones?

    KB
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  2. #2
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    I've got the Lyman 458132 Postell. Weighs 538 grs with my mix. I'm not a competitor. Works great for me in my 45-110. No need for custom here.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy enfield's Avatar
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    what makes a Bugatti better than a Honda civic.

    hey, watch where ya point that thing!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knarley View Post
    We had a very informative talk about bullet shape.
    I know some don't have much time for "off the self" moulds. My question is what makes the "Custom" moulds so superior to the off the shelf ones?

    KB
    Knarley
    Yeah its been interesting eh .. so to stir the pot heres another question
    What makes a Shilo sharps so superior to a Pedersoli that guys will pay three times the price and wait two years for delivery ?
    I bet if those Shilo rifles were made in Fort Lauderdale Florida - the wait time would be way less and Pedersoli sales would increase - just something about that "Big Timber Montana" brand - heck even an Aussie would pay extra for that !!

    So I have been tangled up in this boolit shape thing from the get go - didnt like it at all when I was told that LEE boolit that I like so much wouldnt shoot - so the argument has caused me to expend a lot of hours loading and shooting to investigate (thats good!) - of course my initial reaction was "what would these blokes know?" but then you look around a bit and say well maybe they do know something so lets check this out -- only way to do that is - think and shoot - think and shoot - no good doin one without the other. And the reason I was willing to do the thinking part was I came unstuck at a match where I thought I should have done ok - sighted in at home (done this two years in a row) match time we get half an hour for sighters (its a 500yard bullseye event) first sighter is in the black - dont need anymore (I have a policy of never practice at a match - why waste your best shots?) so by time we got down to it there was a stiff breeze blowing back up the gully to us - I came off the mound with a 32/50 and pissed with meself for it - the winner shot a 49/50 with a PP boolit, second was 44/50 - I should have shot low 40 or close anyway - and my rifle was not responding correctly to sight changes. So when the guys on here tell me that boolit is a waste because its wind sensitive - I listened (reluctantly) - its been my habit at home to shoot in as close to ideal conditions as I can - so I started to look for those tricky winds to shoot in - a few days back I went out and shot that LEE 459-500-3R in the wind - got my windage setting good enough to hit the target first shot and elevation was spot on - only fired five - guess what - three of em were tumbled as they hit - the dumb part of it was the group was decent (for me) - ten inches high and eight wide at 500 yards - I will take that all day and half the night! but it would look a lot better if the holes were round instead of oblong! Despite what the guys have said here that is the first time that boolit has looked unstable - so its gonna take more work to sort this out properly because I am not happy with something that dont work until I know for sure WHY it dont work - to that end I spent some time at the lathe modifying nose shapes on that boolit - that might tell me why - in amongst all this I shot a five shot string with the Lyman 458132 Postell that looked really good. Ordered two molds from Cast Bullet Engineering in Queensland this morning so that will add some more confusion to the deal.
    Back to your question - custom vs off the shelf - I reckon its about the last little bit - some of which is reality and some of which is perception - extra care and attention takes time and costs .... a finickity old shooter might go the extra that a production machinist cant.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I like custom molds because they generally produce a more round and perfect bullet. You can also customize the dimensions to suit your rifle.

    I do like the way the Saeco bullets shoot though. Right now they are the only mass produced molds I use.

    Most of my molds are Buffalo Arms, Steve Brooks, Paul Jones, and Hoch.

    Chris.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunlaker View Post
    I like custom molds because they generally produce a more round and perfect bullet. You can also customize the dimensions to suit your rifle.

    I do like the way the Saeco bullets shoot though. Right now they are the only mass produced molds I use.

    Most of my molds are Buffalo Arms, Steve Brooks, Paul Jones, and Hoch.

    Chris.
    One of my mods to the LEE boolit is a nose shape as close as I could do to the Saeco 645, weight is similar, bigger lube grooves on the carcase of the LEE
    Interesting there - I have a decent collet chuck for my lathe and I reckon I got a good straight grip on the back end of it - turning the nose down some of em (as cast) noses are not concentric to the base - that may be any of a number of things from casting too hot to not engaging the collet properly - if these turned nose boolits shoot good then more investigation is needed - if they still wobbly then we bin that idea and maybe the mold along with it.
    The other mod is I simply just put a flat nose about the size of the moneyboolit nose onto the LEE - make the airflow at the front different - we will see in a few days - who woulda thought I would be hangin out lookin for wind to shoot in!

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    "think and shoot"
    what a good philosophy.
    far better than to follow urban myth and so called common wisdom.
    here is a short tale.
    i wanted a pp bullet to patch to bore, all but the base 1/8" which patches to be a friction fit in the fired case.
    i wanted an elliptical nose 1.5 calibres long.
    contacting kal moulds produced a cad drawing to my idea, and i knew exactly what he was proposing.
    i went into this with the intent of getting it perfect, and rick at kal knew that, so we made a mould that turned out a little smaller than optimum.
    at my request he then made me a bigger one by 0.001, then another, 0.001 bigger again and a bit bigger on the base.
    this was perfect.
    only a custom maker can work with a customer in this way.
    brooks will make the exact mould you ask for, so be sure to ask for what you want!
    baco moulds are semi off the shelf and semi custom, and of excellent quality.
    if you get what you want, a baco might be the last mould you need to buy.
    all the above 3 produce moulds of virtually exact size and excellent roundness.
    accurate has a good name, but no personal experience precludes comment.
    then you hear about some guy that has a perfect lyman mould, but it took 4 to get one.
    who has the time and money to go there?
    if their moulds are as poor as their borescopes and dies they will make your head hurt.
    finally, you can't learn to shoot in the wind unless you shoot in the wind.
    and have an open mind.
    keep safe,
    bruce.

  8. #8
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    While you're working with your lathe and collets on those bullets, try drilling a hollow point cavity in a dozen or so and shoot them at distance. I can't say what that will do for you, but I can say that my experience tells me that you'll likely see a difference, either better or worse.
    Nozombies.com Practical Zombie Survival

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  9. #9
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is the RCBS 325 gr. at 200 yards from my Shiloh .45-70,

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is a custom mould from Steve Brooks. 465 gr. same day.
    Both groups were tested using a bench rest.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    It depends on what you want the rifle for.

    An 1870’s soldier would not hit any more Comanche warriors if his ammunition was loaded with Postell or Creedmore design boolits rather than the 500 gr Government roundnose. A hunter would not get any more game at normal ranges with a fancy target boolit, either. I used a copy of the Ideal 457125 for several years at Gong matches with reasonable success.

    Somebody loaned me a Paul Jones “Creedmoor” mould and I noticed that this boolit was more forgiving of mistakes on the windage screw and better in windy conditions than the 457125. Not by many hits, but always by at least a couple or a few. So why go to the effort of loading the case with expensive powder and topping it off with the 457125 when the Creedmoor always shot just a little better? No harder to cast, and only 20 gr more lead.

    There have been a few false steps on the road to “Ull-timate Rifle Accuracy” for me as well. I cast a bunch of Lyman “Schmittzer” boolits one time that worked great in practice, and with regular Goex into the bargain. Now I could afford a lot more shooting and win matches on the cheap! I was disabused of this notion with the worst match score I’d ever fired. Total betrayal! But if I just wanted more or less casual practice, I might never have known. I also tried a “Money” boolit and found it shot a little worse than the Creedmoor. I was using the same soft alloy for the Money as the Creedmoor; have since read that if I’d hardened it up a bit, it would have pulled ahead. I’ll try this again when I’ve fried some of the other fish around here, but for now, the Creedmoor does fine with silhouettes, for me at least. And I don’t have to dink around with alloys.

    Some of the custom designs have been worked out in wind tunnels (or calculations derived therefrom). Commercial moulds don’t have these shapes, because there isn't a mass market for them. But if the latest little difference in “r” on the nose means it’s easier to get a hit on a more distant target in worse conditions, those that can shoot up to these limits will buy the mould. For the rest of us, it might only be an extravagance.

    So, what are you planning on doing with your rifle? For casual shooting out to 600 yards or so, the 457125 is fine. If you’re limited to 400 yards, the 457124 is fine. If you’re a competitor, or an experimenter, or an accuracy crank, you’ll eventually buy custom moulds.

  11. #11
    The 457125 mould I had wouldn’t chamber in my Shiloh, the throats were too tight. I bought the Steve Brooks 540 gr. and it really makes my Shiloh sing and ding Rams at 550 yards and in. YMMV.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    For me the difference between production moulds , semi custom and custom is simple .
    If I need a place to start then I turn to Lee , Lyman or RCBS for a standard . If it's a bulk non-precision type bullet such as classic pistol bullets the standards are good enough . Honestly the Lyman 458193 is the least fussy most forgiving bullet I've loaded , much less in the 45-70 . I also like the Lee 6s I can run a pile of bullets for my pistols and a rifle or 2 .

    Semi custom well NOE and M-P fill the application .
    NOE runs some standards with a tweek and at least on target whether paper or pork I can't see the difference between their 454424 and the Lyman single other that getting 5x as many bullets per pour for $35 more than new moulds for each . If you're working with a group buy at NOE or M-P you get options like the 301618 that was available and may still be as a 303618 . M-P also runs runs multiple dia and stock .

    Custom . Now we're into Mountain Molds , LBT , and Accurate .
    They have libraries and probably dozens more tools than the catalogue and the design tool is pretty cool . I needed a 350 gr .453-4 bullet to get what I needed out of a carbine . The problem was that the available moulds in 350 gr were either too long or were 459-462 . Mountain Moulds allowed me to create a 350 gr bullet with a bore ride nose at .448 , .453 bands with a .455 drive length and a .250 nose flat in a bullet that has enough "margin for error" to stabilize in the 1-32 twist I needed it to . It cost about the same as as 5 Lee doubles , 2 Lee 6s , and just a little more than the RCBS or Lymans and the same as a NOE 4C . The biggest thing is that it is a specific bullet that isn't really available and certainly not readily available with dimensions that fit my exact need .

    As far as fixing a mould goes I have an RCBS 7mm168 that has a nose so skinny that if I size and seat just a little bit deep , for the bullet design, it is a fit for a 270 with heavy nose engraving .
    Sure I have fussed with a few Lee's and I have 2 .380 RB moulds that are 380×379×370 ..... But they are generally heat cycle and go but what do you want for $20 .
    The factory new Lyman was just barely big enough , like no wear margin I really needed it .459-60 and its . 4587 and it does seal up and doesn't lead so I guess it's just barely enough for now.
    I have a sticky NOE too , not bad just a little and not always the same cavity .

    The 40+ yo moulds never give me any trouble but I'm pretty sure if there was a problem it was fixed in some cases before I was born .

    The difference between semi and full custom and production is simple .
    It is the time and attention given to each piece . You get a 10-25% QC maybe 50% from Lee , Lyman or RCBS and probably 90-99% from NOE , M-P etc . The full custom pieces are touched at every step and if the machine the machinist doesn't feel or sound exactly right he can just stop and check it out . If it's not right he can fix it and make it 100% on every single cut on every single piece . A CNC machine can't do that and the guy that has to make a minimum quota per shift doesn't have time to gauge every cut . It's a wonder we get anything useful from 1 guy on 3+ machines that only red light for broken tools and -.001+005 spec fail .
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Jack Hammer View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is the RCBS 325 gr. at 200 yards from my Shiloh .45-70,

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	6B542A9C-0E19-429C-85E2-6F8018A82680.jpg 
Views:	7 
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    Here is a custom mould from Steve Brooks. 465 gr. same day.
    Both groups were tested using a bench rest.
    Jack
    I dont mean to be smart or insulting - but I believe both my rifles would do at least as well with the LEE 500 at 200yards as your Brooks mold group (rested of course) - where I get my butt kicked is further out and then only in windy conditions - seems to me there is a basic design problem thats having more effect than a mold quality problem. I reckon thats what you are seeing too - that Shilo is sayin it just dont like little short boolits.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by enfield View Post
    what makes a Bugatti better than a Honda civic.
    My money is on my JEEP
    A gun in hand is worth two cops on the phone.
    MOLON LABE

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=indian joe;4379727]Knarley
    Yeah its been interesting eh .. so to stir the pot heres another question
    What makes a Shilo sharps so superior to a Pedersoli that guys will pay three times the price and wait two years for delivery ?
    I bet if those Shilo rifles were made in Fort Lauderdale Florida - the wait time would be way less and Pedersoli sales would increase - just something about that "Big Timber Montana" brand - heck even an Aussie would pay extra for that !!

    My 45-70 is a Pedersoli….Click image for larger version. 

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    And my 38-55 is a Shiloh. (Bucket list gun)
    Been working with both, and was just wondering what all the hoopla was about the high end moulds. After sizing they should be round. One would think any way. The Lyman moulds I have seem to cast nice looking boolits too. I'll never be shooting with the top dogs, so I guess it really doesn't matter. But thought perhaps I was really missing out on some thing important. A person can't learn if they don't ask now and then.

    Knarley
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRUCE MOULDS View Post
    "think and shoot"
    what a good philosophy.
    far better than to follow urban myth and so called common wisdom.
    here is a short tale.
    i wanted a pp bullet to patch to bore, all but the base 1/8" which patches to be a friction fit in the fired case.
    i wanted an elliptical nose 1.5 calibres long.
    contacting kal moulds produced a cad drawing to my idea, and i knew exactly what he was proposing.
    i went into this with the intent of getting it perfect, and rick at kal knew that, so we made a mould that turned out a little smaller than optimum.
    at my request he then made me a bigger one by 0.001, then another, 0.001 bigger again and a bit bigger on the base.
    this was perfect.
    only a custom maker can work with a customer in this way.
    brooks will make the exact mould you ask for, so be sure to ask for what you want!
    baco moulds are semi off the shelf and semi custom, and of excellent quality.
    if you get what you want, a baco might be the last mould you need to buy.
    all the above 3 produce moulds of virtually exact size and excellent roundness.
    accurate has a good name, but no personal experience precludes comment.
    then you hear about some guy that has a perfect lyman mould, but it took 4 to get one.
    who has the time and money to go there?
    if their moulds are as poor as their borescopes and dies they will make your head hurt.
    finally, you can't learn to shoot in the wind unless you shoot in the wind.
    and have an open mind.
    keep safe,
    bruce.
    Bruce
    I have this terrible affliction - when something carks it at my place - I just have to pull it to pieces until I find where the smoke came from - identify the broken bit - can we fix it? - no! this thing is really stuffed! ....ok ..NOW.. we can bin it.
    "so called common wisdom" has its place I think - ties to another of my philosophies - never forget the basics - we do that at our peril (I do it too often)
    Anyway all this chasing of the rainbow has had me out there burning powder and thats always a good thing - I have fifty test loads to shoot in the next couple of days and that tricky little breeze is out there this morning. Just got the club newsletter yesterday and I am 5 points behind in the club aggregate so need to tune a muzzle loader in before sunday as well.
    cheers
    Joe

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by enfield View Post
    what makes a Bugatti better than a Honda civic.
    I thought Bugattis were extinct?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    i messed around with production moulds for faaaar too long and for me, who's interested only in consistent accuracy as the bottom line. i finally ditched all of them in favor of a fair number of jim brannon (BACO) and tom ellis (accuratemolds) custom moulds. i can honestly say all the moulds before these were a waste of both time and money .... mostly time. a good custom mould will run $180/shipped or lots more, and the only exception will be tom's large block aluminum moulds for $81/shipped, they are superb. what's also important is that you get to work with the craftsman both before and after the mould is made.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    yes, both sizing and firing bullets makes them round.
    but is the centre of mass on the geometric axis afterward.?
    this is part of what you pay for with a quality mould, and is critical.
    keep safe,
    bruce.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRUCE MOULDS View Post
    yes, both sizing and firing bullets makes them round.
    but is the centre of mass on the geometric axis afterward.?
    this is part of what you pay for with a quality mould, and is critical.
    keep safe,
    bruce.
    I would have no idea how one would check geometric axis. I'm going to have to look it up to really know what it is, really. I am just scratching the surface of this type of shooting, and dropping $200.00 on a mould that "the gun doesn't like" is well, a bit daunting. I am no rocket scientist, by any means, but I do like putting one hole in a target after shooting a string. I know there is no "magic boolit" out there, but a guy would like to get close. And yes, I do enjoy the casting and assembly part of it all too.
    A gun in hand is worth two cops on the phone.
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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"
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check