Casting a new bullet


November 22, 2012, 06:00 PM
Well, I'm running out of my 230 gr Berry's RN for loading .45 acp, so I broke out my casing gear and fired up the pot to try out a new mold I picked up on sale at Midway some time ago.


Lee 230 RN with tumble lube grooves.

Castes up about 300.

One concern is that the unlubed bullets are measuring only .451" dia. Yet they are making slight contact when pushed through the .452" Lee sizer.

I'm contemplating lubing these by dipping only the lube grooves into a tray of Alox, so as to NOT lube the RN portion. Any thoughts on that?

I'll have to wait until Monday to take one into work to weigh on the lab scale, as my scale doesn't go that high.
I've got Lee Alox and Rooster to choose from. Any recommendations as to which will work better for this application?

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November 22, 2012, 08:11 PM
Castes up about 300.

IF this means what I think it means, a 230grn bullet is casting at 300 grains ?

And it measures only .451 ?

I would send that back.......something is VERY wrong.

Lee alox thinned 50% from the factory bottles with minerals spirits works extremely well, just regular tumble lubed.

Any lube thats exposed on the bullet ? Just wipe off with a mineral spirit soaked rag, or toss the finished rounds in a tumbler with mineral spirits in the CC- it comes off like a charm.

November 22, 2012, 08:18 PM
I'm contemplating luging these by dipping only the lube grooves into a tray of Alox, so as to NOT lube the RN portion. Any thoughts on that?

Works fine, if a bit messy.

The .451 diameter probably won't be an issue unless you've cast'em too in with Lyman #2 or 2/6 "Hardball" alloy. Straight wheelweight will probably bump up and seal the bore just fine with the application of a quick pistol powder in enough volume to get to within 90% of full pressure. I cast with my own wheelweight-based recipe, and the result is just barely harder than straight wheelweight. No leading at all, even when driven to near top-end .357 and .41 Magnum velocities.

41 Mag
November 22, 2012, 08:18 PM
To be honest, I wouldn't even size them if they are running at that diameter. I have shot quite a few of them straight from the mold into the cases, with the only stop being to get juiced up with the Alox. Well, it was the 45/45/10 version, but close enough.

As for dipping them, If you haven't done so already look over on Castboolits, under the Lubes section you will find a sticky about Tumble lubing made easy. That is the directions for the 45/45/10 or Recluse Lube. It takes a little time to blend up but when done you have plenty of lube to last till the cows come home.

The best thing about it is that it actually dries within a half hour usually or if you heat up your bullets a bit using a hair drier before tumbling them, it is usually dry within 5 minutes.

The other thing you couild do if your overly copncerned with your diameters, you could, if I rember it properly "Beagle" it, also instructions on that under the Molds section at CB's. Basically it is just pouring up each cavity, but not dumping the bullets. Then after everything cools off, you use the sprue plate to mark the centers of your bullets, then you drill into the enough to insert a wood screw. You then use some light abrasive like pumice or Comet or toothpaste, and smear some on the bullets then rotate them in the holes they were cast in. This more or less ever so slightly laps in the mold and allows you to adjust the size up a bit. You cna also use lapping compound as well to accomplish the same thing but you want to use the finer grits.

Hope this wasn't more than you asked for but if your interested they are both sticky's at CB's

November 22, 2012, 08:30 PM
300, as in the qty that I cast.

I haven't weighed them yet, as they exceed the limits of my scale.

I'll have to take one on Monday and drop it on the lab scale.

November 22, 2012, 08:54 PM
if you are using a lee scale, just chop a bullet in three pieces to weigh it out! thats what I do if i need to weigh out a new bullet/alloy

November 22, 2012, 09:00 PM
Number you cast is what I thought you meant and you confirmed that.
Dipping them as you mention is time consuming but practical. On of the biggest problems I've had with tumble lubed cast bullets is the build up of lube on the seating plunger, I've always had to clean it off every few rounds or else the bullet kept getting seated deeper and deeper into the case. Keep an eye out for this!
November 22, 2012, 09:10 PM
I had the same mold and it casted at .451 with wheel weights. If I added a little tin into the mix it would cast at .452. This was my last attempt with the lee TL style molds. I had a few molds in 9mm and 38 special,but none would cast big enough for my guns. I switched to the lee regular lube grove style and my barrels are lead free. You can also TL regular lube grove bullets. When you seat your bullets, be careful because the brass can size down the small bands.

November 26, 2012, 01:49 PM

wasn't designed to be sized, but lubed with liquid alox and shot as cast.

i have the flat nosed version and it is dynamite...

November 26, 2012, 06:26 PM
wasn't designed to be sized, but lubed with liquid alox and shot as cast.

Not exactly true.........

Was designed to take tumble lube.

Can be used without sizing if it fits in the case and chambers without effort.


November 26, 2012, 06:38 PM
I have not sized any of my pistol bullets. I only size my rifle bullets to get the gas check on.

I'm contemplating lubing these by dipping only the lube grooves into a tray of Alox, so as to NOT lube the RN portion. Any thoughts on that?
My thoughts are that if you were gonna lube in a tray, one at a time, you might as well have gone with a regular bullet and used a hard lube for pan lubing or a lubrisizer. I dunno how thick you plan to lay on the Alox, either, but in general it would be easier to lube em all over then wipe off the nose after you seat the bullets.

November 30, 2012, 10:40 AM
I wouldnt load .451" bullets for my 1911s. I hate to bash anybody, but buy a different brand of mould. Lee makes "ok" stuff, but thier moulds leave alot to be desired, IMO. Other brands (Lyman, RCBS, Saeco, NEI, Mihec, MOE, etc.) may have occational problems, but MUCH less frequently. They do however, cost more. My personal favorite mould maker:

November 30, 2012, 11:51 AM
I use LLA but I struggle with the lube building up on the seating die too... I will be curious to find out what you do. I size all of mine, I have tried not sizing them before and just do not seem to get as good a result from my 1911....

November 30, 2012, 01:12 PM
While I love liquid Alox and use it on .44 Magnum and cast rifle loads, I far prefer Rooster Jacket for .45 acp. It's less messy and totally non tacky when dry, enough so that you can just drop a few loaded rounds directly into your pocket, you can't do that with a liquid Alox lube.

November 30, 2012, 03:58 PM
The write up on the first ones I loaded and tested is here (

The first batch I tumble lubed with Alox in a plastic coffee can, sized and then re-lubed by putting a drop on the driving bands and pushing it around the diameter with the bottle tip. I loaded these and then wiped the exposed bullet noses with a rag damp with mineral spirits. A PITA, but they shot great, with zero leading.

The second batch I tumble lubed, sized and loaded, again wiping the noses clean. These have not been shot yet.

For the third batch, I tried an idea gleaned from a review on Midway, and I lubed each bullet by dipping a Q-tip in Alox and then quickly wiping it around the driving bands, and then stood the bullets up on wax paper. This actually went very quickly, with a good bit of lube visible in the ripples after drying, and none on the bottom, or the nose. It really didn't take long either. I also decided that sizing these was not necessary. But I haven't tested these yet.

The fourth batch I bag lubed with Rooster, dumped onto wax paper, then stood upright. Haven't shot these either.

I wouldn't load .451" bullets for my 1911s.... They do however, cost more

I don't think any cast bullets are perfectly round within .001". When measured with calipers, they were .451 to .4515. But most all were "touched" in the .452 sizing die.

The mold in your link is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, and I'd love to own one ..... but at $140 (with no handles) compared to $15 (with handles) it's not really in the same class, nor is it within my means.

Two nice things I like about aluminum molds.... 1. they heat up quickly & 2. they can be "beagled" to open them up a thou or two fairly easily.

December 1, 2012, 01:11 PM
I use LLA but I struggle with the lube building up on the seating die too... I haven't had any problem, yet. But I don't use much LLA.

I imagine an occasional Q-tip dipped in solvent would make for quick maintenance without making any adjustment to the die. Here's one reason the quick-change bushings are useful, even if you don't use them on all your dies. I sure makes it easier to periodically clean and inspect your dies.

December 1, 2012, 01:55 PM
You got a whole lot of info about sizing so I'll juat add;

If the Lee mold is the 1R version (shorter, stubbier nose) it will have to be seated much deeper than OAL listed in most manuals. The shorter ogive allows the bullet to hit the rifling when seated to "normal" RN OAL.

As far as alox/xlox, I find it is only as messy as I am. Most new users use way too much and then it becomes messy, sticks in seating dies, and smokes a lot. I thin alox/xlox to about the consistancy of heavy cream (when I don't use 45-45-10) and often dip lube them (ala Ranch Dog). I use pointed nose pliers to hold the bullet and dip the base of the bullets in alox and set on tin foil or wax paper to dry. Nose and dies stay clean...

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