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Thread: Do I have an oversize mold

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Do I have an oversize mold

    Some years back, I bought a Lyman 4 cav 358429 mold. I have a number of Lyman 4 cav molds, and naturally not a handle for each mold, but share the 3 or 4 Lyman handles I do have. EXCEPT, for this mold. This being the first issue, narrow handle grooves, narrower than every other 4 cav Lyman mold I own. I finally caved, and just ground one handle down and even had to dremel the smaller holes out in the handles, as the handle attaching pins are much bigger also than any other Lyman attaching pins. OK, I'm up and running now that I have voluntarily self isolated, and decided to just get my 2021 and maybe 2022 bullets cast up. Holy mother of gawd, these 180 grain boolits are micing .363 on all bands.

    I searched some older threads on this mold, and most comments referenced a smaller front driving band, closer to .354, and the lower band closer to .358. What in the sam hill do I have? Intended to PC these at some point, but it appears I may have to push them through a sizer before coating them, or they might be too big to push through without a lot of effort. I tried a handful, unlubed, and it takes a little effort, but not unusual.

    Is this normal for this mold, or was this mold maybe a custom mold, and I bought it used unknowingly?

    TIA,

  2. #2
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    lar45's Avatar
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    Is the mold closing all the way?
    It could be that the handles are not closing all the way, or that there is some interference not letting the mold halves rotate freely to align and close them sleves.
    Also if you have even dipped the corner of the mold in the melt to warm it up, there may be some lead stuck in the channel for the mold handles.
    Try measuring the bullets on the casting line and then 90deg from that. Are they oblong?
    Check the mold surfaces to see if there is any flecks of lead keeping them from closing.
    Just some random thoughts...

    Let us know and we'll figure it out somehow.
    Glenn.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by lar45 View Post
    Is the mold closing all the way?
    It could be that the handles are not closing all the way, or that there is some interference not letting the mold halves rotate freely to align and close them sleves.
    Also if you have even dipped the corner of the mold in the melt to warm it up, there may be some lead stuck in the channel for the mold handles.
    Try measuring the bullets on the casting line and then 90deg from that. Are they oblong?
    Check the mold surfaces to see if there is any flecks of lead keeping them from closing.
    Just some random thoughts...

    Let us know and we'll figure it out somehow.
    Glenn.
    They are not oblong, quite concentric. ,363 both dimensions, which would indicate it was bored that way. That was my first thoughts too. I'm getting zero finning, but before I started my session, I could see a very small crack on one end. Mold halves are clean. I can grip the handles harder and close the gap, but it still seems that I see a distinct mold line in the nose of the bullet, not so much anywhere else. Throws a pretty nice looking bullet, just big. If I gotta size them twice, so be it. I bought it with the intent of finding a lever action .357, haven't got around to that yet either. May have missed my chance if the politicians get carried away with new laws on our recent crisis.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master s mac's Avatar
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    You could try putting an even coat of "mould release agent" in the cavities. A rag wetted with solvent to clean the block faces after it dries. The best use for "release" agent I have found.

  5. #5
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    What markings are on the mold?
    Maybe it's a custom Oversize mold for 38 S&W bore (.361 as opposed to .357)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    The 358429 has all bands the same diameter. This was one of the main stipulations of Elmer Keith. You should have no problems sizing down in one step. It beats the heck out of a mold that drops .358" when you need a .359".

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    From your description of the "gap" you see, I might try and cast a few without handles. Try clamping in a vise or use c-clamps or some sort of clamp. If the bullets still come out .363" you have eliminated the handles as the problem. But you mention the bullets are round and consistent which wouldn't happen if the mold wasn't closing completely, so perhaps sizing .004"-.006" pre-PCing is the way to go...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    I pulled out an old Ideal 454488 the other day and was going to cast some target bullets for my 1911's. After 50 bullets or so I decided to weigh and measure a few. The weight is right on at 195 grains and I have the prettiest, round .4585" bullets I've ever seen. As the old saying goes when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I'm going to use them in one of my 45-70's as a collar button bullet!
    Rick

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    What markings are on the mold?
    Maybe it's a custom Oversize mold for 38 S&W bore (.361 as opposed to .357)
    That is bizzactly what is printed on the bottom half of each mold. I honestly thought it was a mold serial number. Silly me.

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    The 358429 has all bands the same diameter. This was one of the main stipulations of Elmer Keith. You should have no problems sizing down in one step. It beats the heck out of a mold that drops .358" when you need a .359".
    Like I said, I queried for answers on the board before I posted. If I'm lyin' I'm diein', I swear, I read a thread last night from 2016 that referenced the stepped diameters in the bands. And now I can't find it, and I wasn't drinking last night. Also a few comments about the boolit being originally designed for the 38 special, not the 357 mag. Many 357 mag application end up seating out in front of the top band, it's too long in the 357 case to fit some cylinders. Go figger. No wonder it weighs in at 180, it's 363 instead of 358, it's a fat little bugger.

    Hey, someone on here said these things. Does anyone reading this now recall these remarks, or are these posters long gone?

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    There are some similar molds that do have an undersized front driving band. The 358429, as designed by Elmer Keith did not. It normally drops around 175 grains with COWW, so 180 is no concern, especially if cast a little softer. You have a gem of a mold, don't fret. You will have no problems coating and push through sizing.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I have a 358429 and the driving bands are all the same size , it throws .358 to .359 bullets mine is from the early 80s if I remember correctly.
    Mine is a 358/429AV is what is marked on the mold
    Last edited by onelight; 03-23-2020 at 04:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by la5676 View Post
    That is bizzactly what is printed on the bottom half of each mold. I honestly thought it was a mold serial number. Silly me.
    Eureka! We got a good answer...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I would be willing to bet there are a few Marlin 94' lever guys wondering if you would trade molds with them. I will admit it was very interesting to hear someone discussing his Lyman throwing fat!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Don't feel bad - I once bought a Lyman 445-599 which is a hollow base 200 grain mold - got it to use in a 45 cal H & A under hammer with a tight bore Numrich barrel. I bought it used but it was NIB and never cast un. Blocks were clearly stamped 445-599. I fired up the pot and started casting - it is a single cavity with a base pin - they dropped like butter and after I had a couple hundred cast, I took a break and after they cooled, put them in a cigar box in neat order. I thought to myself that i ought to try one in the end of the barrel and when I did - a big NO GO. Wha? I grabbed my digital calipers and took a quick measurement of a half dozen them - then checked more - all were .454! in the end, the mold had been mis-stamped at the factory so sometimes things do happen! I wasn't thrilled but then I got to thinking that I ended up with a mold that cast a really nice hollow base 200 + grain that could be used in a 45 Colt and pushed slow. I have also run into some Lymans our the past 50 year that were undersize but never got stamped at the factory with the normal "U" - guess it goes to show that things can happen and somebody wasn't paying attention. Sometimes you are able to take what is a lemon for ou and make lemonade out of it for another rifle/pistol. Glad you got it figured out!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    How many here would admit to having a mold and then looking for a barrel to fit it? Me- guilty.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    I only have 2 older Lyman 4cavs & they share a mold handle, one from Redding I think.
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