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Thread: 450, keeper or not

  1. #1
    Boolit Master 0verkill's Avatar
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    450, keeper or not

    I recently got a Lyman 450 in a lot purchase. I've never used one, they always seemed too expensive and complicated. Since this one's already payed for, and it's debatable how much I have invested, I thought about keeping it. I'm not a big fan of wax/grease lubes, partly because I've got almost a lifetime supply of LLA from sizer purchases. I also had some commercial bullets gum up a Dan Wesson, and that was annoying. I do make my own lube and use a cake cutter and Lee pushthroughs sometimes, so I'm not 100% against it and need that type for blackpowder.
    So counting all the adjusting and fuss, and the top punches and new sizers to buy,if I were to only do small batches and not that many total a year, would I be better off with the Lyman or pan lubing? Could I just use one big flat top punch for all my flatnose bullets?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    If you're good doing what ya do now, sell it and make a few bucks.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    The Lyman 450 is invaluble for sizing before powder coating, seating gas checks, lubing pistol boolits etc. I have 3 RBCS Lube-a-matics and about 40 boolit sizers and would be lost without them
    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I concur with B.A. Wallace. While I, mostly, use my NOE push-through set-up, I still maintain two 450s: one with a heater that stays loaded with carnuba red for bullet designs I don't powder coat and one that's been boiled out to completely remove residual lube that's used sizing before PC and seating gas checks.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I bought mine in 1975 when I got fed up with pan and tumble lubing .
    Best thing I ever bought . One cycle of the handle ...seats a gas check (if needed) sizes boolit , lubes boolit and spits it out ready to shoot . There is NO faster way to do it . Soft lube like Lithium-Beeswax has prevented any leading ... no heat required .
    I've used it since 1975 ... I have never broken any parts ...but I don't act like Magilla Gorilla when I use it ...still no broken parts ... I did buy an upgrade / replacement parts / rebuild kit from Lyman because they were in stock ( a few years ago) just in case I ever do need a new part ... I will have them. I am not going to change to powder coating ... the 450 lube /sizer does it in one fast step ...I don't care what you say about coating , pan lubing , dipping and tumble lubing ...the 450 is better .
    If you got one ....use it ! Or at least keep it for the day you might need it !
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Some people drive Fords, some drive Chevys. There is on one best car for all people. Likewise, some people pan lube, others use a lube press. There is no right or wrong answer for all of us. I pan lube some of my bullets and use one of my two 450s or my Ideal #1 for others. You might try this one you have gotten a free opportunity to try, then make an educated decision about what you like for your application. As the commercial of three decades ago said, “Try it, you’ll like it!” Or not, but the decision is yours.

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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master


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    A Lyman 450 is complicated???

    It's a good tool, I prefer it for most things over tumble lubing, though LLA is very good lube and I use it a lot.

    I don't care for other methods when using gas checks, they are a lot easier to seat properly with a good sizer luber like a 450 than any other method.

    Keep it, it won't eat much, top punches are a lot more forgiving over bullet types than many think and yes, a flat top punch generally works on most flat nosed bullets as long as it's big enough. You'll learn to appreciate it if you give it a try.

  8. #8
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    I primarily use an RCBS Lubamatic; but it operates on the same principal as a Lyman 450, and even uses the same dies. I do have a couple of 450's waiting in the wings, mainly because I really dislike changing lubes; that and I got them cheap.

    I must have a couple of dozen top punches laying around in a box, incidental purchases mostly. The one I use probably 99% of the time is a one inch long section of " rod. It seems to work okay for most of what I do, even RN boolits, at least with ACWW alloy.

    If it has a sizing die that works for you, try it before you arbitrarily get rid of it. The bad thing about lubrisizers is that other than Lyman and RCBS they all take different designs of sizing dies, so once you start buying dies you are pretty much stuck with that design.

    Robert

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 0verkill's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for trying to make sense of my garbled mess. I tried to fix my spelling errors, but probably just made more. I figure with the molds and things I can use, I don't really have too much in the press. I stripped and cleaned it and it's all there in good working order so I may as well use it a while. I already have about 20 of the lee push through sizers, so I can always lube them on the Lyman and size down farther if needed (i.e. sizing bullets to .358 in the lubrisizer and leaving them alone for 38s or squeeze them on down to .356 or .357 for 9mm/38 Super. I didn't come up with this idea, I'm too dumb, Dusty Bannister is the one deserves credit.) That would make it a little easier (cheaper) to get into that way, even if it adds a step should be less trouble than pan lubing.
    I can always sell it off down the road. Of course I may as well get the upgrade parts kit since they don't sell parts anymore, and then after I've invested in sizers and punches it'll be harder to let go of. If I'm lucky I will have accumulated enough to sell and by a bare bones Star/Magma.
    Thanks everyone for your replies and help, not that I think there was a wrong decision. And if anybody comes across dies or top punches cheap let me know.

    Edit: I stepped away for amoment and MK42Gunner posted while I was away so I hadn't saw his reply. So if I got this right you just us a rod stuck in the top where the punches go, and you use that? It doesnt push the bullets in off center? It's got a .224 die in it and I have a LEE 55gr RF. If I could make a nose punch out of junk I got laying around I'd be in business.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Yes sir, that sounds exactly what Mk42 is doing. One of my most used top punches I made and is simply a flat faced piece of aluminum turned to fit the hole in the sizer.

    I can't imagine either the Lyman or RCBS sizer/lubers being complicated. You took it apart and cleaned it up so you should about have it mastered. I have one of each, a Lyman and an RCBS. One for smokeless and one for BP. I wouldn't want to be without either. I pan lubed for a while and still pan lube one bullet...until Buffalo Arms gets the right size die in then that's over. No way pan lubing can keep up with a sizer/luber.

    The commercial lube on most purchased cast bullets isn't much account, IMO....if that's what gummed up your revolver. When you pick up a fired bullet from a berm and 1/2 the lube is still in the groove, it ain't doin' much good.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I had to order an RCBS lam Ii from Canada. Cost a little more but there were none to be found stateside. Have a .431 sizer and a top punch for the 250 K boolit. Also got a Inline Fab quick change plate for it. Looking forward to using it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 0verkill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharps4590 View Post
    Yes sir, that sounds exactly what Mk42 is doing. One of my most used top punches I made and is simply a flat faced piece of aluminum turned to fit the hole in the sizer.

    That's good news, a few people do it that way so it has to work, not just a fluke.

    I can't imagine either the Lyman or RCBS sizer/lubers being complicated. You took it apart and cleaned it up so you should about have it mastered. I have one of each, a Lyman and an RCBS. One for smokeless and one for BP. I wouldn't want to be without either. I pan lubed for a while and still pan lube one bullet...until Buffalo Arms gets the right size die in then that's over. No way pan lubing can keep up with a sizer/luber.

    I got the basic idea, it's just the details. The Lee push throughs are easy, screw the die in the press, ram the bullet in the hole. These are basically the same, just learning how to get the right amount of lube squirted on them. I got the neat little ratchet to tighten the doohickey that pressurizes the lube, that's a plus. I still gotta wrap my mind around plugging holes in the size die. I got the Lyman 3rd Edition Cast Bullet Handbook here somewhere that should have some 450 info.

    The commercial lube on most purchased cast bullets isn't much account, IMO....if that's what gummed up your revolver. When you pick up a fired bullet from a berm and 1/2 the lube is still in the groove, it ain't doin' much good.

    Back about '06-'08 or '07-'09 I didn't have a place to cast and my lead dried up so I went about 2 years without making bullets (the horror).I'd bought a bunch off a seller on gunbroker and one batch of .358 SWC's was gorgeous, perfectly formed bullets. Most commercial stuff I've ever got had a few I threw out because of flaws, but not these. I don't know what kind of lube it was other rhan it was blue and hard. That and some bullets I'd got from Grafs turned me off wax lubes for a while, still won't buy any commercial stuff. Still would like to know what was in that lube, but I boiled it off and coated them with LLA and they did fine. Great bullets.
    As to the bullet lube on berm bullets, you're right 90% of the time. I've seen a few with lube still in them that did good, shot well and didn't lead the barrel. These were from 45 ACP and 38 Special, so I think the low velocity/low pressure may be responsible, maybe it's the slow twist rate not causing enough rotational force to "fling" the lube off as it exits the barrel. Could be the lube was just right at the edge of being too hard, I don't know? I think some of the grooves on some bullets hold way too much lube for smokeless, that could be part too. I've never recovered a muzzleloader bullet from the berm that had lube left on it, just me or what would be the difference other than the fouling from the last shot sucking up lube. Still should have got one from the first shot out of a clean barrel if that's the case.

    That's good to know we can get stuff from Canada. On a forum the other day a Canadian was having trouble getting some simple reloading equipment from here.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Edit: I stepped away for amoment and MK42Gunner posted while I was away so I hadn't saw his reply. So if I got this right you just us a rod stuck in the top where the punches go, and you use that? It doesnt push the bullets in off center? It's got a .224 die in it and I have a LEE 55gr RF. If I could make a nose punch out of junk I got laying around I'd be in business.
    Yes that is exactly what I'm using. IIRC the shank of a top punch is .260" the .250" rod works fine for anything .258" and up.

    When I made mine, lots of people were talking about using a " bolt and turning the head to fit the caliber. Being just a bit curious, I wondered why the flat head was needed. I had a piece of " hot rolled steel for another project so I cut off a short piece, and it worked.

    For your .22 Lee, you may need to chuck the business end in an electric drill and turn it down to fit.

    Lubing in a larger die then sizing down a few thousandths in a Lee push through die works well. I lubed and gas checked many Lee 312-185 in a .313" H&I die then sent them through a Lee .311" die back in my broke days. It is faster to use the right H&I die though, relatively speaking. I would never classify one of the in and out lubrisizers as fast.

    Maybe its my frugal or cheap side showing but I can't see spending $7-10 for a top punch when I can make something that works for a few cents.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Boolit Master 0verkill's Avatar
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    The old hillbilly lathe.Just gotta find a piece of junk under 3/8ths as close to a .260 as possible.

    I did a search, and I've seen that phrase pop up a few times, but what is an H&I die?

  15. #15
    Used a 450 for years. Not the fastest, but pretty much indestructible. Never had a problem!

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    H&I die comes from an old illustrated parts breakdown for one of the early Ideal lubrisizers where the sizing die and center pin were labelled H and I. Why the letter didn't stick for the top punch, I have no idea.

    If nothing else, go buy a long 1/4" bolt and use the unthreaded section for your rod. Should only cost a few cents and some labor.

    Robert

  17. #17
    Boolit Master 0verkill's Avatar
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    OK, so "Lyman size die" and "H&I size die" are the same thing under 2 different names. Got a piece of steel that will work. My sizer is .224 so I figured I should shoot for .222, maybe down to .220 to give myself some wiggle room and not rub the sides of the die, that sound about right?

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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