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Thread: Which Lee Mold to get for the 45-70?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Which Lee Mold to get for the 45-70?

    I've been looking at buying a bullet mold to start reloading for my new (to me) 45-70 H&R handy rifle I've got.
    I narrow it down to the following Lee molds:

    1. Lee 0.457 cal, 340gr
    2. Lee 0.457 cal, 405gr
    3. Lee 0.459 cal, 405gr

    I prefer the 340gr from the less lead usage for savings; but if the 405gr is the way to go, which one of the #2 or #3 above should I go for? The 0.459 cal, 405gr is hollow base as opposed to the others that are flat based.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks for the advice.
    Camba

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Tom_in_AZ's Avatar
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    I’m thinking the .457’s will be too small.


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  3. #3
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    What is the intended use?
    Larry Gibson

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


    richhodg66's Avatar
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    The 340 grain shoots well in my .45-70 and casts bigger than .457, seems like they came out .459. I'm using an H&R Handi.

    Hollow bases are a pain to cast, but it may be more forgiving diameter wise and may be worth it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    The Lee 459-405 HB is a great boolit to start with. The weight forward design is good for medium range shooting with reduced loads ( low recoil ) that don't have as much drop in trajectory as the flat base designs IMHO. I seemed to have a good example of this mold that cast very well and produces a average diameter of .461 with 50/50 WW pure lead with 2% tin. If I keep my cadence a little bit slower than I would like to I get boolits that only vary 3 to 4 gr in weight. I powder coat and size to .461 in my CVA Optima Elite and have no trouble getting 2" groups at 100 yds with many different powders such as Red Dot, Unique, Accurate 5744. Tweaking the 5744 can get me 1 1/2 or smaller group size. I have several other 45 molds in the 350 to 400 gr range and all seem more finicky with powder selection and load workup with a narrow accuracy node.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Of the 3 I'd go for the 405 gr. LBT LFN GC., or the RCBS 405 gr.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have the .457 405 RF and it shoots great. I shoot it unsized in my contender handgun with a Virgin Valley barrel. It doesn’t lead at all.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I trier the 340 gr mold and mine came out 457. I called lee ahd asked why they didnt make it 458 or larger and was told they got tired of complaints that people were breaking their lube/sizers with a fat boolit. part of the conversation was about boolits being .001 or .002 larger dia. with cast boolits but fall on deaf ears. Guess complaints overrule. I use a lyman 457193 sized 459 that shoots great.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I plan on using it for deer hunting. I do have other rifles that are just as good for deer hunting but I bought this barrel and I would like to develop a good 100 to 150 yds load.

    I still have not fired a shot because I want to cast my own. I have plenty of Red Dot, Blue Dot, and some in 2400 that I want to use.



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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I used the Lee 340 as cast in my P14 Eddy .450 Marlin and a friend's 95 Marlin Cowboy with great accuracy and I bet it'll hunt.

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  11. #11
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    The Lee 340 will do nicely up through 1500 fps +/-. I suggest a 16-1 alloy or COWW + 2% tin then mixed 50/50 with lead alloy. Of the powders you have I'd suggest using 2400 with a Dacron filler. I'd start at 20 gr and work up till accuracy was best. Accuracy will probably go south and or recoil will become a problem before you reach a max load.
    Larry Gibson

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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thank you guys!
    I will try that first: Lee 340gr with 2400 plus Dacron.



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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Plenty of info on using Dacron here,read up on it and you will get a good understanding of the process and materials. If you get confused or are not comfortable ask Larry Gibson as he explains it in a way that even I can understand.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    I bought the lee 340gr to use in a new marlin 1895, just to get started. Turns out that i'm keeping it and don't really need any others. Casts about .458 but with powder coating, you can coat them heavy and get .461, then just size them down to whatever. I ended up with a boolet of .4607 and it chambers great and shoots like gangbusters at 75yds and in. Have not shot it on paper any further, but we shoot rocks out to 150. I just have a home made aperture rear with the stock front and I couldn't be happier. Took a nice doe last year at about 75yds and she went 30yds and dropped. Huge blood trail and just larger than a .45 hole through her--no bloodshot. Can't ask for more than that. Check out GMDR for lighter loads/powder combos. I shoot 13gr unique and it pops' with a nice amount of recoil, but not harsh or violent. Lee 340gr rf, won't break the bank and works real well for me.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I’ve just ordered the Lee 340gr double cavity mold for my 45-70 H&R handy rifle. I’ve also got a Lee reloading die set that included the shell holder ( good thing as it is not included in the shell holder’s collection I have).
    Can’t wait to start reloading and testing.


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  16. #16
    Boolit Man

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    I really like the 405HB, it shoots well in 1886's, Sharps, TD, and even a 1866 Chassepot needle rifle. For smokeless I use 2400, for BP it holds enough lube and works well. I just bought the 340 grain FN and it cast .459, with my alloy it weighs 330 grains. The bad thing about this mold is the lube grooves are very small, it wont be a BP bullet for sure.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Got my Lee 340gr double cavity plain base mold and I cast a few for testing this H&R handy rifle. Bullets cast at
    0.459” from this mold and my alloy.
    I cast today and I test today with a few. I will let the rest to stay over night. We well see what happens.
    I will try 13.6gr and 14.6gr Red Dot with Fed Premium magnum pistol primers.


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  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Petander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shortlegs View Post
    I trier the 340 gr mold and mine came out 457. I called lee ahd asked why they didnt make it 458 or larger and was told they got tired of complaints that people were breaking their lube/sizers with a fat boolit. part of the conversation was about boolits being .001 or .002 larger dia. with cast boolits but fall on deaf ears. Guess complaints overrule. I use a lyman 457193 sized 459 that shoots great.
    Wow. And they make .457 push through sizer as well.

    I started casting with a 405 Lee .457 and it was a good lead removal lesson with my first Marlin until I finally lapped the mold to 460. Beware of undersized boolits.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy redhawk0's Avatar
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    I almost hate to say it...but for $75...get all three. I have the 340gr and the 405gr solid...both are great molds. At some point...I do plan to get the 405 HB mold too. I love the 405 for target...but I do use the 340 on deer size game.

    redhawk

    The only stupid question...is the unasked one.


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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    The goal today was to sight the gun and that is just what I got. Accuracy was not the best. The 13.6gr of Red Dot was more promising. I am guessing the velocity in the mid to the upper 1200 fps.
    I will continue testing from time to time.
    I slept a nice siesta after shooting 35+ rounds.


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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