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Is the Keith outdated.......

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 336A, Jun 19, 2012.

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  1. 336A

    336A Member

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    or considered passe by reloaders these days? As of late all the craze and fuss seems to be all about WFN/LFN bullets. Since I've been reloading for revolvers I've come to appreciate the virtues of the Keith bullet design. The Keith bullet IMHO is the perfect all around do everything bullet. It pains me however that actual Keith bullets are hard to come by (unless you cast your own) and when you do find them they cost a small fortune:fire:

    Most sixgunners worth their salt know full well about the benefits of the Keith bullet. So why is it that this classic bullet design seems to have been pushed into obsolesence? Granted WFN and LFN bullets have their place but they fill more of a niche role than anything else. For those that are unaware of what consitutes a real Keith bullet read here it may open some eyes and shed some light on the genius that was Elmer Keith.

    http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_12_KeithSWC.htm
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Not around here.
    I have old Lyman molds for .357, .44, and .45 and thats about all I shoot.

    The WFN and such are probably great for truly big game hunting.

    But the biggest game around here is a whitetail deer, and a .44 or .45 Keith will shot through one lengthwise.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  3. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    How well do they work in a lever?

    I have only used truncated cone, as I load the same bullet from .38 SPCL through to my .35 Remington, and the TCBB bullets I have used cycle well in the Marlin...
     
  4. 336A

    336A Member

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  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Just received 1000 Keith style 44 cal bullets. Plan to order a 1000 45 cal Keith style bullets in a day or so. Guess there not passe here.

    I have run semi-wad cutters through my Marlin 1894C without issue. But, I do not speed cycle the action either.

    I could see a possible jam if I were John Wayne holding off the indians.

    To that end, I could see that the various timed shooting events have trended to bullets that are easier to chamber. Semi-wadcutters do not lend themselves to rapid reloads where tenths count.
     
  6. 336A

    336A Member

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    Who did you order from if you don't mid me asking?
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Missouri Bullets.
     
  8. Drail

    Drail Member

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    "outdated" is a meaningless term unless we're talking about fashion. I still use Keith SWC cast bullets in all of my guns. And yes, they will work in some lever guns. I have two Winchesters (completely stock) that will happily feed them whether cycled slowly or as fast as I can. Others may need some work.
     
  9. 336A

    336A Member

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    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but those are not Keith bullets. Here is a picture of of some bullets lined up. From L-R they are .41 cal 210gr Siera JHC, Commercial cast .411" 215gr SWC same as pictured on Missouri Bullets web page but .410" instead of .430", otherwise identical, a real .411" 220gr SWC Keith bullet, and finally a Hornady .410" 210gr XTP-HP.
    DSC00266.jpg

    Take note of the diferences between the real Keith bullet vs the common commercial cast variety. The forward driving band is of full caliber and of equal width as the other riving bands. This important as it helps align the bullet properly with the bore, as well as engaging the rifiling so as to reduce slippage on the lands. The majority of the bullet weight is outside of the case with the real Keith bullet as well. Allowing for less pressure for a given powder charge that you would use with the Missouri bullet. Finally the base is flat not beveled. Elmer Keith would probably be spinning in his grave if he knew his name is affixed to a bullet design he had nothing to do with.
     
  10. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Not really. If anything, thanks to a mould maker named Miha in a small European country, they are getting better.

    Don

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRaQdr1eZS_e9fbnX597lDnllZhoWReQF4qZEXYlhOIf9CNUhv3.jpg
     
  11. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    IMO that is not a Keith design, just another SWC.

    Here is Lee’s version (not my pic) of the Keith 358429 in their custom six cavity mold.

    Picture008-1.jpg

    My Lyman 358429 is a single cavity mold bought back in 1963, throws WW at 173 grains and one I will never get rid of.
     
  12. 336A

    336A Member

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    Which bullet are you refering to hang fire?
     
  13. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    The more I shoot & cast the more I find my Lyman 358446,358156 barebottomed,357429 the old version & a 429421 that drops FAT in the top of the box .

    These will do anything the calibers are capable of ,maybe even "enhance" it a bit !!

    Here`s an interesting tidbit I run across in my researches Mr. Keith raised Holy Heck with Lyman to keep the length of the 357429 the same length as the 429421 !!! & it is!
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    No, I didn't cast this beauty.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Real Keith bullets have a flat base, not a beveled base.

    Beveled base bullets with rounded driving bands are a figment of Magna automated casting machines the commercial casters have to use to make a living.
    They make the bullets fall out of the mold blocks easier, and increase production without constently hanging bullets in the molds stopping production.
    Nothing more.

    A real Keith has a flat base for better chamber throat and bore sealing, sharp shoulders on the driving bands, better throat alignment in the cylinder, and less chance of gas cutting and bore leading.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  16. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    Beveled based boolit also lets em get away with a poorly filled actual base as the seal is actually above it.
     
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, that too.

    rc
     
  18. Craigman

    Craigman Member

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    I dont cast, so where is a good place to find a Real Keith bullet? Anyone make em anymore?
     
  19. 336A

    336A Member

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  20. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    RE: 336A
    Member

    This one.


    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRaQdr1eZS_e9fbnX597lDnllZhoWReQF4qZEXYlhOIf9CNUhv3.jpg [/QUOTE]
     
  21. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Also too, the "real" Keith bullets have a square, or nearly so, lube groove of considerable depth.

    The large size of the lube groove is less about neccessary lube, but it allows the bullet to obturate to a shorter length under firing, and this acts to pressurize the lube making it more effective.

    I'm lucky to have two true Keith style moulds; one is a Lyman 429421, the other the RCBS version. Both shoot well. The RCBS casts slightly larger and therefore is better with sizing to .431 which I find shoots better in most revolvers.

    re: feeding in l/a rifles... I had a Marlin M1894 that would feed the SWC's if I seated the bullets to the foward edge of the forward bearing surface and heavily roll crimped them. (like the factory Remington SWC ammo).
    I have a Win.Mod94 "Legacy" that will also feed the RCBS .452" SAA-270gr SWC (Which is also a "Keith" bullet), likewise seated.
     
  22. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Not sure if the one pictured above is the 44 or 45 version of the MP 503 version. I do know that great pains were taken to get as close as possible to the original dimension.

    I have the 41-258, and the 44-503 versions. These were supposed to have been modeled after the HG designed molds. In looking up the reference on them I found the following,

    H&G's description - #503-.44 Caliber. 250 grains. "Keith style", designed by Elmer Keith. Plain base, one square grease groove, one heavy crimp groove, semi-wadcutter shoulder, gently rounded nose taper, to slightly rounded meplat.

    I cannot take any better pictures of the 503 than this from the GB post,
    Miha HG 503 .44 HP mold


    H&G's description - #258-.41 Magnum. 220 grains. Keith style bullet, design by Elmer Keith. Similar to Elmer's #503 design in .44 caliber.

    The MP Version 258,

    There is also a 45 - 503, which was designed around the spec from the 44-503. In simply looking at the pictures of one, it might have a bit shorter nose on it, but still in all carries the rest of the attributes of equal driving bands, and one lube groove. As with the other two, it also came with the option of HP pins, which give it quite a bit more versatility.

    Whether or not they were cut to the exact dimensions or not, I cannot say, and don't think anyone else is saying so either. Since I don't have access to one of Mr Keith's personal molds I also cannot compare them.

    I can say this however, the best thing about the MP molds is the option to pour three different HP versions and the Solid in a "Keith Type" bullet. Having poured and shot quite a few of the ones listed above, I can honestly say, that I doubt very seriously that Mr. Keith would have any issues what so ever putting some of any of them downrange.
     
  23. critter

    critter Member

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    Last deer I shot with one out of my S&W 25-5 didn't think so. Tasted good too.
     
  24. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    As I understand it, true 'Keith' also has a meplat that is 70% of caliber...

    My question about a Keith in a lever action isn't so much about 'cycling' per se, but interest in what the bullet looks like after the round is chambered...

    Just wondering if the 'sharp' leading band gets a spot shaved, or if the meplat gets a ding at 12 o'clock due to it's large size and carrier angle...
     
  25. USSR

    USSR Member

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    hang fire,

    You know not of what you speak. To quote Glen Fryxell, who has forgotten more about cast bullets than we are ever likely to know:

    Since this bullet is basically nothing more than the bullet that Dave Scovill designed based on EK's original design, it is indeed a "Keith bullet" in every way.

    Don
     
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