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#17327409 06/11/22
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Not much into casting, but was told buy a guy yesterday, that alot of the Lee bullet molds will cast a bullet of proper diameter without resizing. Is this corerect?

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I started many years back with Lee molds...because I hadn't bought in to the whole cast bullet thing. First mold I bought was a Lee 'tumble lube' style...just because it did not require sizing equipment. It of course did the job very very well in an oversized antique Colt Bisley. I bought several more, not necessarily the tumble lube style and had great success. As my cast bullet journey went on over the years, now I have many custom molds from Accurate Molds in Salt Lake, and I spec'd them to shoot "as dropped". The only "sizing" I do is custom ordered Lee "push thru" dies, not sizing the bullet but just attaching gas checks on the designs that require them. Our resident cast guys, Digital Dan and Gnoaaah probably do size and use exotic lubes mixed at the dark of the moon...but they are perfectionists, and I am quite happy with 2 moa with 140 year old single shots, using as dropped dimensions and liquid alox.


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Lee molds are ok, but I don't put much faith in them dropping bullets ready to shoot. There are too many variables in the game. Any more I too turn to Accurate Molds for making bullets ready to use without sizing, but you must specify to Tom what your desired diameter is out of a very specific alloy as different alloys make for different diameter bullets. Advantage: the less you muck with a bullet the less chance of making it out of round. For breech seating bullets for Schuetzen matches I pan lube them as-cast.

You can't get Lee to do custom work like that, but for general shooting they're ok as long as you figure on running them through a sizer.


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Thanks for the replys guys. Just dropped a couple out of a Lee 45 cal, 405 gr mold. They all mike at 459. Guess I will try a few in my Ruger # 3 in 45-70. Will load at about 1300 fps with some IMR 4198,see what happens.
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Lee molds of the tumble lube design are supposed to require no sizing if you're casting with the alloy Lee specifies that is on the data sheet that comes with your mold, and they may not need sizing with the alloy you're casting with it just depends on your size requirements that best fit your firearm and what the mold is dropping.

However, I've never found that to be the case with the alloy I cast with before or after I started powder coating my bullets, so I just size all my bullets for constancy. I have around 25 Lee molds in two and six cavity as well as molds for pretty much ever other commercial maker, and the Lee molds cast bullets of good quality and shoot as accurately as some of my more expensive molds.

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Have you slugged the barrel on your rifle to see what size bullet you need? That's the first step.

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Kenster, I think you will have good success, 4198 is never a bad choice. One of my recipes is 28 gr 4198 in Win cases, WLR primer, 1 gr dacron.
405 gr Lee Bullet is around Bhn 10-11, wheelweight + enough tin to get full fillout, Lee liquid alox. In a Trapdoor Cadet I'm getting around 1350 fps. (kinda sorta shoots to the Buffington sight) My groove diameter is about .461 ish. Now maybe, just maybe, the dacron, besides positioning the powder against the primer also protects the base of the bullet from the flame...no leading in hundreds of rounds fired. I am clanging steel to 500 yds (when the wind gods aren't making jest of me.) I would guess you have a true .458 groove in the #3 and better yet probably a perfect ball seat tapered throat, I'd bet total success.


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Originally Posted by Boogan1
Have you slugged the barrel on your rifle to see what size bullet you need? That's the first step.

Actually the first step is to determine throat diameter. Google the processes. Groove diameter is secondary to that. If you match throat diameter then groove diameter is inconsequential - think plugging the hot gasses behind the bullet like a cork. That prevents gas cutting past the bullet initially which causes barrel leading, mishaped bullets, wrecking accuracy.


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My only 30 cal mold right now is a Lee 309-170 that are finished with gas checks. Sizing is necessary anytime gas checks are seated. The mold i have was provided after submitting a quality claim. This same bullet from the bad mold mic'd 0.314" and I couldn't get them through a 0.309" H&I size die. Lee customer service was very good at promptly replacing the mold at no charge. They also must know how to pick a good mold. Now the castings measure 0.309 - 0.310". Lyman customer service isn't nearly as prompt. Expect to wait several months when dealing with them.

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All my pistol molds are Lee 6 cavity molds, I'm not a good enough handgun shot to tell any difference anyway. With rifles I use either NOE or Accurate Molds in conventional lube pattern and then powder coat.

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Originally Posted by flintlocke
I started many years back with Lee molds...because I hadn't bought in to the whole cast bullet thing. First mold I bought was a Lee 'tumble lube' style...just because it did not require sizing equipment. It of course did the job very very well in an oversized antique Colt Bisley. I bought several more, not necessarily the tumble lube style and had great success. As my cast bullet journey went on over the years, now I have many custom molds from Accurate Molds in Salt Lake, and I spec'd them to shoot "as dropped". The only "sizing" I do is custom ordered Lee "push thru" dies, not sizing the bullet but just attaching gas checks on the designs that require them. Our resident cast guys, Digital Dan and Gnoaaah probably do size and use exotic lubes mixed at the dark of the moon...but they are perfectionists, and I am quite happy with 2 moa with 140 year old single shots, using as dropped dimensions and liquid alox.

When listing resident cast guys, don’t forget “Creeker”! He was in the cast bullet business for some time.


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Originally Posted by lastround
When listing resident cast guys, don’t forget “Creeker”! He was in the cast bullet business for some time.

It was 12 years of lead, moulds, sizers, boxes & trips to the local post office. Probably 10 tons or something. Been at it since 1973 but today 90% of casting is for my own use. When it comes to Digital Dan & Gnoaaah, I'm not into all they are. They surely are into the technical stuff & I'm more chainsaw & sledge hammer.

Last edited by Creeker; 08/05/22.

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It's all good. Sometimes I gotta step back, take a deep breath, crack a beer, and think about where I'm headed with lead. The important thing is to have fun with this stuff, no matter how involved you want to get.


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Nothing wrong with Lee molds for uncritical shooting.
Use them all handguns.
For really good shooting it's NOE or Accurate or my old NEIs.
Never sized, a few with GCs, lubed with SPG or Lee/Floorwax mix.

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Originally Posted by gnoahhh
The important thing is to have fun with this stuff, no matter how involved you want to get.

Agree 100% brother. Even when up to your neck, have a smile.

Last edited by Creeker; 08/06/22.

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