What kind of bullet molds to you like best?


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TooManyToys
January 20, 2013, 11:09 PM
Just wondering what kind of bullet molds you casters prefer.

Single, double, four or six cavity, and why?
ie; Are six's really much faster than say doubles?

Brands;
Lee, Lyman, etc Any special reasons why?
Aluminum molds vs Steel ?
How about Lee's /Alox Micro lube groove molds?

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Clinton
January 20, 2013, 11:11 PM
Im interested too. Just reloaded my first 100 rd. In the dillon and im hooked!

Clinton

lightman
January 20, 2013, 11:14 PM
Most of mine are two cavity, with a few four cavity. The six cavity are faster, but are heavier and you get tired faster. I have had great luck with the two cavity RCBS. I don't have one yet, but I like the looks of the Accurate molds. Lightman

hueyville
January 20, 2013, 11:28 PM
If down the road flexibility and maximizing bang for buck is important then pick one brand and stay with it. In that case I would recommend Layman 2 and 4 cavity mounds. I like the 4 cavity best. With a bottom pour furnace by the time you fill all 4 holes, move mold to where your dropping bullets you can cut the spree, drop, close and repour. With 2 cavity moulds I have to slow my roll or the moulds get hot and I will cut sprue too soon and make a mess.

But they are more expensive so my recommendation is buy one set 4 and one set of 2 cavity mould handles. Bullets you plan on pouring wholesale buy 4 cavity blocks and ones you are going to need in lesser numbers get 2 cavity blocks. Go ahead and get a bottom pour.furnace. You do not want to be dipping for production. If it is a deal breaker now, get a cheap Lee furnace and you will at least have a backup once you move up to a bottom pour.

Styles of bullets are like candy bars, everyone has favorites. Like manufactured bullets you will want to experiment. But to start get the most popular proven designs for calibers you.want to pour. Then as time goes you can fill in with obscure designs. Mould blocks can still be.gotten on eBay at fair prices occasionally. Make sure and buy a sprue plate repair kit for whatever size mould you start with. A bent sprue plate sucks and waiting for an odd ball part like that to ship shuts you down unless you can borrow one off another set of blocks.

hueyville
January 20, 2013, 11:31 PM
Oh yeah, steel for sure. As to what weight bullet and style, what are your calibers going to cast for? If going to do .44 mag go ahead and get a gas check compatable style. Give some more.specifics and I can spew for hours.

Reefinmike
January 21, 2013, 12:51 AM
I started with lee two cavity molds for 380 and 38... that didnt last long. i forget how many I was pumping out, but it was somewhere around 200 an hour. at that rate, I might as well have just bought cast boolits for $35-40/500. It would be cheaper if I counted my time casting and scrounging for/melting down wheel weights worth $10/hr. now I have lee six cavity molds for both .358 tumble lube 158gr swc and 45 tumble lube 230 grain truncated cone boolits. 650-700 casts an hour is pretty easy to manage, but once you get started and get everything to the right temp, you cant stop for more than 20 seconds(unless you have a hot plate to set your mold on) or you will run into difficulties that will take a bit to clear up. sure it gets tiring with the heavy mold, but you get used to it and after two hours on each mold a month, I have enough bullets to keep up with my current shooting(~800/mo) as well as an extra couple hundred per caliber to load up and put away in the cache!

Steel185
January 21, 2013, 12:58 AM
I started with Lee molds because I was on a budget, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to stick with it, so large investment wouldn't work. I bought a 2 cavity mold and then a 6. now I have several 6s, 2s and custom 4s. they all work great, you have to take care of them, routine maintenance and all. most of the time when I had a problem with the molds, I was causing it, not the mold. as for speed, the 6s are fast, very fast. I make several hundred an hour with my 6s, but onmy for bullets I shoot alot, bullets for less used revolvers and things I use 2 cavities. mostly because the designs I use aren't common enough to have 6 cavity molds for them and I don't need the speed.

hope that helps

James2
January 21, 2013, 01:06 AM
I have only used the Lyman steel molds. I like the 4 cavity size. It is heavy enough for me to handle for long casting sessions. You only need one set of handles and can interchange the molds.

I do have a couple of single cavity molds. They work but you don't get as many bullets for time spent.

Ifishsum
January 21, 2013, 02:16 AM
All but one of mine are 2-cavity Lee molds (one is a single muzzleloader slug) - They are inexpensive and I can cast pretty fast especially pouring two (alternating) molds at a time. More than fast enough to keep up with my shooting needs anyway, so I haven't got any justification to upgrade to 6-bangers. I've actually never cast with anything but aluminum molds so I've got nothing to compare with - but I've had no real trouble with them. I've also only cast pistol bullets (except for muzzleloader balls / conicals).

boommer
January 21, 2013, 02:20 AM
For you guys casting I got these mold handles from Buffalo arms called the the mould holder #cthandles about 4 years ago and they fit a lot of different mold brands and they are great. The caming action locks the blocks closed so you only hang onto one handle instead of squeezing and holding them close and the other handle pull and release and open the blocks much much easier on your hands. I will never go back to the old style handles.

35 Whelen
January 21, 2013, 02:25 AM
Just wondering what kind of bullet molds you casters prefer.

Single, double, four or six cavity, and why?
ie; Are six's really much faster than say doubles?

Brands;
Lee, Lyman, etc Any special reasons why?
Aluminum molds vs Steel ?
How about Lee's /Alox Micro lube groove molds?

Your question is a broad one. What are you casting for? If it's limited shooting as in plinking or the such, the cheap 2-cavity Lee moulds will probably do. If you want a mould that will last your lifetime and cast good bullets, I'd go with a steel one; Lyman is my favorite. If you want high production, but aren't concerned about super high quality bullets, a 6-cavity Lee will work. If you want an extremely high quality mould that will cast the best possible bullets, order a custom mould from NEI, LBT, Accurate or NOE.

I have moulds in all six brands I mentioned. I use a 4-cavity Accurate mould and a 6-cavity Lee mould for large volume casting for Cowboy Action. I know I'll wear the Lee out eventually, but it didn't cost much. The Accurate mould though is a really well made mould and will likely cast many tens of thousands of bullets before it's done for.

For casting for general shooting I love the two cavity Lyman moulds. They're tough as nails and just don't wear out.

Six cavity moulds are quite a bit faster than two cavity, but not all that much faster than four cavity. It's been my experience that keeping lead in the pot is the issue when using four or six cavity moulds.

Steel vs. aluminum- Obviously steel is tougher than aluminum, but there are different grades of aluminum. My Accurate, NOE, NEI and LBT moulds are all aluminum, but the aluminum in these moulds is MUCH tougher than that used in Lee moulds.

I don't do Alox/tumblr lube bullets as I prefer to size my bullets to the groove diameter of each rifle/pistol.

35W

41 Mag
January 21, 2013, 05:05 AM
Against most recommendations I started out with the Lee 6 cavity molds. I already had the Lee 4-20 bottom pour pot, that I had picked up quite a few years ago for pouring some fishing weights.

What I did to solve the weight problem was to raise my pot up using 2x2 aluminum square tubing and lengthening the support rods with 1/4" SS tubing. Now I simply set my molds atop another piece of the tubing and I also have a couple pieces of aluminum flat bar in different thicknesses to adjust for a perfect pour height.

As for molds, I use Lee 2 & 4 cavity, Lyman 1,2 cavity, RCBS 1 cavity, NOE 2 cavity, and the latest and absolutely best I have are the 4 cavity MP brass molds with Cramer style HP pins in them.

They will all have their individual quirks, and Lee is famous for that. However when I set up and start pouring with the Lee's usually the biggest issue I have is keeping lead in the pot.

As for the lube grooves, I don't worry about that as I tumble lube everything. The molds I use with those TL grooves in them I usually shoot as cast, most times they are just the right size.

It is just so simple to rub a dab of the 45/45/10,( Lee Alox, Johnson's Paste Wax, Mineral Spirits) into a vacuum seal bag with 50 or 100 bullets in it then warm them all up with a hair drier and roll them around. I use the Lee push through sizers as well so once out of the bag, IF they need sizing, I run them through the die and then back through the bag again. The lube dries completely within 5 minutes or so and I can either load or put them in boxes for storage.

oldandslow
January 21, 2013, 06:00 AM
tmt, 1/21/13

I started out with 6-banger Lee molds, two in .45 and two in 9mm (a tumble-lube and a conventional lube groove in each caliber). I had nothing but trouble getting them to work consistently and finally gave up and ordered a mold from www.accuratemolds.com. The diameter was just what I ordered and I didn't need to size the bullets anymore. They worked so well that I ordered another three (I have one in .45acp, 9mm, 44special and 779 grain 12gauge slugs). All are five-banger aluminum molds except for the 12 gauge which is brass. They drop at a consistent diameter, there is no sizing needed and there is no leading. Good luck in your quest.

best wishes- oldandslow

RugerBob
January 21, 2013, 06:15 AM
I prefer the 6 cav Lee because my 4 cav Lyman is to heavy. I have single cav ideal and 2 cav lees also, but my fav is the 6 cav. Get lots done in a few hours. Still use my 4 cav steel lyman, just had to make a block to slide it on.

dragon813gt
January 21, 2013, 06:20 AM
Four cavity brass from one of the custom makers :)
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa39/dragon813gt/Firearms/Reloading/842C6E15-FF70-49B7-9857-E82625CBD6D5-558-0000002C819CBED1.jpg

All of my Lee molds are slowly being replaced w/ Molds from MP and Accurate.


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USSR
January 21, 2013, 07:51 AM
I'm with dragon813gt. The past 3 moulds I have bought are the brass MP Molds made in Europe.

Don

243winxb
January 21, 2013, 10:20 AM
Saeco (before they became over priced.) Then Lyman,Ohaus, RCBS. Only had 1 Lee 12 gr.Slug mold that took a lot of hand finishing to get it to cast well. Started with 2 cavity, sold them to buy 4 cavitys. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/th_castbullets.jpg (http://s338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/?action=view&current=castbullets.jpg)

TooManyToys
January 21, 2013, 11:39 PM
Thanks to all for sharing your experiance with molds!

Something else I should have asked is;
WHAT LEAD MELTING POT DO YOU LIKE?

I was thinking about ordering a new Lee Pro 4-20 - 110 Volt
F&M has them listed for $57.50.

I hear Lee solved the dripping issue the older style pot tended to have with this newer model.
Anyone using this newer model care to comment?
Thanks!

NWcityguy2
January 21, 2013, 11:54 PM
I use Lee 6 cavity exclusively, they are the cheapest way to make a mountain of "good enough" bullets. I cast my way through about 3-4 five gallon buckets a year making 45acp, 9mm and 38/357 bullets. I'm sure if I bought more expensive molds I'd like those but I'm not looking to fix something that isn't broken.

On the subject of lead pots, I own a 10lbs lyman and a lee 4lbs, both work great but I'd trade them for a single 20lbs pot if I could. That being said if you don't plan on molding more than a thousand bullets in a day a 10lbs pot should be fine. I prefer a regular pot to a bottom pour because eventually gravity will get the best of you with the bottom pour while a standard pot with a ladle will work until you are scraping the bottom.

rcmodel
January 21, 2013, 11:57 PM
Steel + 1 or 2 cavity.

I can't even lift a 6 cavity mold and I have a real good one I never even use.


I can cast more good bullets with a pair of 1 or 2-cavity molds.

Ones cooling enough to cut the sprue while I am filling the other one.

And both stay at proper operating temperature all the time.

rc

hueyville
January 22, 2013, 01:41 AM
For the lead pot buy the biggest bottom pour model you can get. Dipping is slow as watching paint dry.

dragon813gt
January 22, 2013, 06:28 AM
Lee has most certainly not stopped the dripping problem. I just had to replace the stem in my Pro 4-20 and it still drips after a thorough cleaning. They are extremely cheap compared to the rest. Everyday a dual nozzle model from Magma looks better and better.


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kerreckt
January 22, 2013, 08:35 AM
I use Lee molds and a bottom pour Pro 4-20. I wired in a PID with relay($95.00 total + 2hrs time) to control the heat accurately to about 5F of my target temperature of 660F. I use a 6 cavity for my 9mm 124gr. and 2 cavity for everything else.....38,.45,.44. I preheat my molds using a propane torch. I know lots of folks are critical of the Lee products but they work for me and they can't be beat when you consider the price and they rarely need to be sized...just lubed.

RugerBob
January 22, 2013, 08:47 AM
Lee 20lb pot is the way to go. If you use a 6cav mold and a 10 lb poy it won't be long before your adding more lead. I liked th 10 lb when all I had was 1 or 2 cav molds. Now the 10lber is boxed up for back up. I had some issues with the 10lb dripping, but for the price I didn't care. The 20lb does not seem to have that issue for me. I mostly cast 45s- 255gr, 200gr and occasional 45-70.

popper
January 22, 2013, 05:21 PM
I have 2x, 4x, 6x, all alum. The best ones are Accurate 4x moulds, custom at no extra cost. The Lee doesn't last long but they have redesigned, may be better and definitely are inexpensive. I'm tired after 20# and speed is not an issue. Fit is king and custom gets you the fit.

Zeke/PA
January 22, 2013, 06:42 PM
I like to cast with a single or double cavity mold and I do well with aluminum molds some of which I made myself.
I own an ancient Ideal 6 cavity mold that is a bear to use mainly because of it's weight and the fact that the sprue/runner is so large that the meltig pot empties TOO fast.

ranger335v
January 22, 2013, 06:56 PM
I have a motley collection of molds with 1, 2, 4 & 8 cavities in iron and alum from Lee, Lyman, RCBS, Thompson/Center and Hensley & Gibbs; they all work quite well. It ain't the arrow that matters, it's the Indian. I think.

The number of cavities for a new mold is best chosen for the volumes you expect to shoot rather than 'pick a number'. Or just pick up whatever you run across used but cheep.

grubbylabs
January 22, 2013, 07:02 PM
I think that if you are casting bullets for match shooting in rifle a single cavity Iron or brass would be the way to go.

But if you are making hand gun bullets or plinker bullets then I would go with a multiple cavity mold.

I like my Lee two cavity molds OK, they work. If I run two of them at a time they do just fine.

However I have really come to love my brass molds from Tom at Accurate molds. It seems that like my self, every one that I run into on a forum cannot say enough good about Tom, his customer service and the quality of molds re produces.

The only thing that I would caution is if you do take the plunge and buy a brass mold from some one like Tom be careful of the big bullet multiple cavity molds, they are heavy when full. I have a 4 cavity 400 grain .460 mold for my 45/70. The only reason I can use it is because of how fast it will empty a pot.

My pot is the 20# Lee production bottom pour pot and I like it a lot. I have to twist the stem for the seat once in a while to keep it from dripping. I don't have any complaints about it at all. The pot and their sizer dies are just a few of the things I think Lee got spot on and pretty much set the industry standard for ease of use and simplicity.

If you look at the price of a steel Lyman,RCBS or other mold, then look at the price of a custom mold from Tom, then read the feed back from each. The price difference will not seem that much. And in reality they are not that much more than a Lyman or RCBS mold.

Another great source of info is the castboolits forum. There are tons of friendly folks over there. And the bank of knowledge and experience is amazing.

Elkins45
January 22, 2013, 07:07 PM
If Lee offers a design you like in their six cavity then that's what I would go with. I assume we're talking pistol bullets here? The aluminum six cavity is comparable to the weight of a two cavity iron mold but cranks out bullets 3X faster.

IMO bullet design trumps mold material. I have brass, iron, steel and aluminum and have made good bullets from all of them. If your gun doesn't like a particular design then the mold material it came from is irrelevant.

Clinton
January 22, 2013, 11:24 PM
On sale now http://www.midwayusa.com/product/592924/lyman-2-cavity-bullet-mold-401638-40-s-and-w-10mm-auto-401-diameter-175-grain-truncated-bevel-base

Clinton

TooManyToys
January 22, 2013, 11:47 PM
Elkins45,
...Yes,. the scope of my original question was for pistol bullets & casual shooting in general,.. but ANY & ALL opinions are welcome and am really injoying reading them.
keep them comming!

blarby
January 22, 2013, 11:50 PM
Ones that work.

LAtely I'm stuck on Saeco.

I like lee. No problems there- but the tolerances on lee "drop as cast" tend to interfere with my saeco lube sizer.

Saeco makes a dang fine mould. I've used more than a few lee, NOE, lyman, RCBS and Saeco moulds.

A saeco feels like a racing beast- and performs like it. You also pay for it- this is not lost on me.


A lee feels like a festiva- and costs like it. It'll get ya there..... but man, there is a difference.

I like my lee moulds just fine.

I'd much rather drive a Benz if I could.

TooManyToys
January 23, 2013, 12:03 AM
From one car guy to another,.. LOL I like the comparisons.

41 Mag
January 24, 2013, 04:13 AM
TMT,

With the Lee 4-20, I don't know how the newer versions are, nut on the older ones there are two things that REALLY cut the drip factor down to a non issue. One is to replace the knob with a brass or similar type heavier metal one, or add a light spring to the bar to hold it down. The other is to use some fine lapping compound on the stem and seat to polish it up for a good matched fit.

I simply went with the latter and it works great for many sessions, and then will start to drip once in a while. Once it does, it is usually time to clean the pot good anyway, and once I do it usually goes away.

From what I have seen Lee has also really upgraded their smaller molds as well with a MUCH better alignment system. The older design was usually their downfall. But like what has been mentioned, choose a design you REALLY want and go with that. Once you get the hang of it however, be prepared, others will follow I promise.

ErikO
January 24, 2013, 09:02 AM
I'm just working to get better at casting so I can feel good about scoring a .225 six banger.

GLOOB
January 24, 2013, 06:16 PM
so I can feel good about scoring a .225 six banger
Quite a good investment, if it works for your rifle. My Bator 6 banger paid for itself practically overnight.

But my favorite molds are Lee 2 cavity aluminum molds for the value. You can't even buy a box of bullets for $20.00. I have one for all my pistol calibers. It's not time/money efficient for me to cast all my pistol bullets, yet. But it's nice to have them, just in case I run out of projectiles!

frankmako
January 24, 2013, 08:51 PM
2 cavity is all i use. i like/use rcbs, lyman and nei.

Clinton
January 24, 2013, 11:04 PM
Here is my smelter.... jk

Clinton

TooManyToys
January 25, 2013, 02:33 AM
You could be a blacksmith with that fire! LOL

TooManyToys
January 25, 2013, 02:37 AM
Good info once again 41 Mag!
Those sound like a couple of good tricks to fix the drips!

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