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Thread: Turner Kirkland molds - funky & archaic

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Dutchman's Avatar
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    Turner Kirkland molds - funky & archaic

    Using my very failing memory, these molds from Dixie Gun Works were originally designed from Civil War carbine bullets. There were lots of different molds. This one below is a .515" bullet. I'm kinda sorta sure the one groove wasn't for lube but for the string to attach the paper cartridge. The bullets were dipped in tallow to lubricate. This one was new-unused when I bought it. Pretty sure I didn't pay much for it, maybe $20 off ebay. It drops good bullets....if I can figure out how to remove the sprue!! I might try a couple in the Swedish 12,7x44R rolling block... just to say I did.








  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    An original Sharps molds would work as they have cutter built in. Maybe some horse hoof trimmers.

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    Boolit Buddy ACC's Avatar
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    I believe that if you look very close you can see where a zinc washer is supposed to go. I have seen these bullets before.

    ACC

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    Boolit Master MarkP's Avatar
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    I remember reading about these in the Dixie catalog in the late 70's. IIRC they were hair straighteners before he Cherried them out. Or he started making molds from hair straighteners that were similar to these shown above. I read that book cover to cover. I met Turner's sons in the mid 1990's and talked to them about the Dixie catalog. At that time the catalog still had the picture of two young boys (Turner's sons) in the catalog next to the LEE Loader.

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    Boolit Buddy schutzen-jager's Avatar
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    absolutely correct - the Dixie molds were made from hair straighteners that were common in the south back then -
    never pick a fight with an old man - if he is too old to fight he will just kill you -
    in this current crisis our government is not the solution , it is the problem ! -

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I met Turner at a gun show in Knoxville many years ago. A friend was helping his family dismantle a barn and he found a rather rough single shot rifle in the framing. This friend asked me to take the rifle to the show and sell it for whatever it would bring. I was surprised to see Dixie at the show, even to speak with Turner who immediately identified the rifle and caliber, then he offered $80 for the rifle. This offer came with the request for me to carry it through the show. If anyone offered more for it, sell it. If not, his offer was good until the end of the day. Turner bought the rifle. I carried the $80, all in $20 bills, back to my friend. He hustled me to another part of his house where his wife would not see that he was going to get money. I asked him "would you be satisfied with $20 for your rifle?" He answered "sure, fine." I recovered all 4 of the $20 bills (folded over once) and handed them to him. He opened the bills and spread them out like a hand of cards. He looked over them and said "there's more than $20 here..." I told him "I just wanted to know if you would have been happy with $20. Your rifle sold for $80." He stared at the bills and said "YEAH......." That was a good day.

  7. #7
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    A Dixie story. In 1968, I was returning to Texas from a summer sales job in Virginia and detoured north to visit the hallowed halls of Dixie Gun Works. I met everyone, but did not speak to Turner - but as I was talking to one of the employees, Turner came barreling in hollering, "Never fear, Turner is here!" Happy, energetic dude, he was.

    I bought a 69 caliber flint pistol and wanted one of their moulds. None were in stock, so I watched Turner's El Secundo make one like the one pictured above. The cherry was chucked in a Delta floor model drill press and the mould pliers were just held in place by hand against the rotating cutter until the faces touched. Still have it.

    Before leaving with my loot, I asked about a Mississippi river crossing north of Memphis and was told of a ferry operation. Had a heckuva time finding it as the river was way down and the mud flat separated the usual landing from the water by close to a mile. I was in my Dad's 1964 Ford Galaxy 500 with the big V8 and had been doing 105 mph on finished stretches of the new interstates. No traffic.

    That return trip was about the best part of that summer.

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    My wife was born just eleven miles from Union city so I would visit Dixie gun works when we went to Tennessee. Turner was pleasant to talk to but seemed to be nervous. He was a chain smoker so that probably caused it. His first shop was in an old filling station. When my sister-in law's husband took us there his employees were finishing the restoration work on a very old Ford roadster. They took us for a ride in it. Turner was a jewelry salesman.
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy schutzen-jager's Avatar
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    $3.95 in 1964

    + available in any sixe up to .91 -
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    never pick a fight with an old man - if he is too old to fight he will just kill you -
    in this current crisis our government is not the solution , it is the problem ! -

  10. #10
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    We owe a debt of Gratitude to Turner Kirkland and his vision - he helped a lot of folks be able to enjoy muzzleloading and helped rekindle the interest. I built my first rifle in the early '60s and between a number of original parts I had and the parts from Dixie - I was able to cobble up a shooter.

    IIRC - a full stock straight grain stock blank was around $3.00. Turner put them on sale at 3 for $6.00 so I ordered them. When they showed up at our small post office, 2 were banded together and the 3rd one was single. They had a shipping label stapled to the side of the butt. I laugh when I remember the look on the postl clerk's face as she handed them to me over the counter as thee were 6 feet long and heavy. I still have one of the blanks left.

    A lot of folks used this hair straightener molds that Turner came up with - a pair of side cutters takes care of the sprue. Might not be as fancy as the molds today, but they were better than nothing.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACC View Post
    I believe that if you look very close you can see where a zinc washer is supposed to go. I have seen these bullets before.

    ACC
    I have a bunch of the bullets you are referring to , they are the Williams Cleaner bullet and were shaped differently, more blunt on the nose. There were several types but the basically all look like this. The post and washer were made separate from the bullet and it is not unusual to find the post and washer without the bullet or the bullet with the hole in the base where the post went.
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    Grumpy Old Man With A Gun....... Do Not Touch !!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchman View Post
    Using my very failing memory, these molds from Dixie Gun Works were originally designed from Civil War carbine bullets. There were lots of different molds. This one below is a .515" bullet. I'm kinda sorta sure the one groove wasn't for lube but for the string to attach the paper cartridge. The bullets were dipped in tallow to lubricate. This one was new-unused when I bought it. Pretty sure I didn't pay much for it, maybe $20 off ebay. It drops good bullets....if I can figure out how to remove the sprue!! I might try a couple in the Swedish 12,7x44R rolling block... just to say I did.







    Looks very similar to a Maynard carbine bullet. They were used in several different sizes during the war and in more sizes after the war.
    Grumpy Old Man With A Gun....... Do Not Touch !!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Dutchman - the bullet you show is not a Williams cleaning bullet. The lead below the plain flat base is nothing more than the sprue - intended to be cut off. There is no way of avoiding that extension because of how the mold is cut and because it does not have a sprue plate.

    The slug you show that is >515 with a single lube groove is a copy of the >50 caliber Smith Carbine bullet. I shoot there same bullet, only out of a Eras Gone mold, in my Smith. I also have a NOE mold that casts the same bullet, only Al cuts his with two lube grooves.

    Many years ago, I had a friend who had that mold and I shot a number of those out of his original Snith. Shortly after that, Mike Yack borrowed my friend's Smith (we both knew Mike) and Mike used it, and some other originals to examine and measure before building the tooling to make his reproductions. It is my understanding that after Mike's death, his tooling to make the Smith ended up at Pietta, but that is based on what I was told by an individual who should know. The last time I saw Mike before he died was at the Civil War show at Mansfield, OH. I walked out of a building and heard someone call my name, turned around and it was Mike. By then, he was in to restoring WWII vehicles and he showed me photos of a Army Jeep that he had done 1st Place in a competition in France.

    Google Eras Gone and take a look at their Smith Carbine bullet or do a search on fleabay for Smith Carbine Bullet as there are usually originals listed there.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Thanks Dutchman !
    Your Dixie Mould brought a smile to my face ... a 36 cal round ball mould was the very ...very first mould I ever bought ... 57 years ago (1965 )

    Almost forgot about it ... $35.00 for a Italian reproduction 1851 Colt-brass framed , left no money to lavish on store bought balls or a Lyman mould ... Dixie Gunworks came to the rescue ($9.95 at that time ) , my Dad an electrician had a good sharp set of wire cutter ... no sprue plate ... it must have worked OK ... we shot the gun until it literally fell apart and I never bought another RB mould !

    I would cast the balls and Dad would cut off the sprues with his big wire cutters ...Lord Those were some fun times , Thanks for bringing back the memories !

    I think I know what drawer they might be in ... I'm going to find old Mould #1 !
    Gary
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    " Let's Go Brandon !"

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Eddie Southgate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedbugbilly View Post
    Dutchman - the bullet you show is not a Williams cleaning bullet. The lead below the plain flat base is nothing more than the sprue - intended to be cut off. There is no way of avoiding that extension because of how the mold is cut and because it does not have a sprue plate.

    The slug you show that is >515 with a single lube groove is a copy of the >50 caliber Smith Carbine bullet. I shoot there same bullet, only out of a Eras Gone mold, in my Smith. I also have a NOE mold that casts the same bullet, only Al cuts his with two lube grooves.

    Many years ago, I had a friend who had that mold and I shot a number of those out of his original Snith. Shortly after that, Mike Yack borrowed my friend's Smith (we both knew Mike) and Mike used it, and some other originals to examine and measure before building the tooling to make his reproductions. It is my understanding that after Mike's death, his tooling to make the Smith ended up at Pietta, but that is based on what I was told by an individual who should know. The last time I saw Mike before he died was at the Civil War show at Mansfield, OH. I walked out of a building and heard someone call my name, turned around and it was Mike. By then, he was in to restoring WWII vehicles and he showed me photos of a Army Jeep that he had done 1st Place in a competition in France.

    Google Eras Gone and take a look at their Smith Carbine bullet or do a search on fleabay for Smith Carbine Bullet as there are usually originals listed there.
    You can no doubt shoot that in a Smith Carbine but it is not the same as a Smith Carbine bullet. Pictures of an original dropped Smith bullet from the CW and a picture of some new cast Smith bullets.
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    Grumpy Old Man With A Gun....... Do Not Touch !!

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy masscaster's Avatar
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    I'll have to disagree with everyone here and claim it to be a .50 Sharps Ringtail boolit. If the base had been over filled and the excess trimmed around it, it would work fine in the Sharps. A Muzzleloader.
    It's not a Carbine boolit, nor does it look that way because of no sprue cutter.
    Do a search for Sharps Ringtail boolits and you'll soon find out.
    Let me know if your selling it please.

    Jeff

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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