Cast From The Past

Using your home cast bullets as a ammunition component. Group buys are listed here.

Cast From The Past

Postby reloader762 » 14 Dec 2019 10

I haven't cast this old bullet for a while at least not for personal use since I started powder coating my bullets, so yesterday I fired up the pot and cast about 400 from the old mold. A couple years ago I had picked up a couple old Lyman/Ideal molds from a friend that owned a bullet casting operation / gun shop. Often time he would take in reloading equipment, components and bullet molds, some things he couldn't sell due to liability issues such as powder and primers but he had no interest in most of the molds so I usually got first pick if there was anything I was interested in.

One day while I was there he told me he had gotten a couple 38 cal. molds for me to look at. Both were in great condition and one set of blocks even had the handles and if I was interested I could have them both for $50, they had just been in a box of stuff he had gotten from an estate sale.

Both molds still has the last two bullets the old caster had cast as it was traditional at one time to leave the last castings in the blocks, some probably still do that with their iron molds. Here are two of the bullets that came from the molds which I kept and keep on the shelf in my reloading shack as a reminder of the old caster. The bullet on the Left is the Lyman / Ideal #357443 which was the first bullet Lyman designed for the 357 Magnum. It first appeared in the Ideal Handbook #32 in 1936 but not listed as a regular molds but was listed in the specialty section, why I have no idea. It never really gained popularity as was dropped from production in 1960.

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Cast from Lyman #2 the plain base bullet has a spec. weigh of 160 grs. has three lube grooves as has a fine crimp groove that runs in the middle of the top driving band. The mold I have using my alloy drops bullet that weigh on average of 161 to 162 grs. when weighing a random group of 50 bullets. It's a great bullet in 38 Special as well. The bullet on the Right is the Lyman 150 gr. #358477 which is a great bullet in 38 /357 loads. I can work around it but the last time the bullet I posted had published data was in the Lyman #41 manual back in the 50's.

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Re: Cast From The Past

Postby Ranch Dog » 14 Dec 2019 12

I really appreciate the details behind your molds! Yeah, I would keep the two bullets as well! I also like that fine line crimp groove on the round nose. That"s a detail on behalf of Lyman that I can appreciate.
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Re: Cast From The Past

Postby cj8281 » 15 Dec 2019 00

The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook (4th edition, copyright 2010) lists the 358477 in the 357 mag section.
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Re: Cast From The Past

Postby GasGuzzler » 15 Dec 2019 05

reloader762 wrote:It first appeared in the Ideal Handbook #32 in 1936 but not listed as a regular molds but was listed in the specialty section, why I have no idea.

Probably because .357 was introduced in 1935.
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Re: Cast From The Past

Postby alphalimafoxtrot » 15 Dec 2019 06

Hey reloader762,

Good morning from Virginia! I wanted to say thanks for sharing your new boolits cast with old molds - I am a big fan of anything .38/.357/.35 caliber. I do not cast, but began amateur reloading for my hobby a year or two ago. I am also a total gun history nut - and learning about what was used and favored in the past by shooters is always an interesting thing to think about.

May I ask what what powders you like to use with these? And when you coat the bullets, does that negate the need for a gas check? (You can tell I'm new to reloading with these questions!)

Be well - and Happy Holidays

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Re: Cast From The Past

Postby reloader762 » 15 Dec 2019 07

cj8281 wrote:The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook (4th edition, copyright 2010) lists the 358477 in the 357 mag section.


Thanks I have the #3 an #4 Cast Bullet manuals and the #358477 is in both for 357 Mag. Not sure why it's not listed for 38 Special as it's a great bullet in that cartridge as well with the usually suspect powders. I like around 4.3 grs. of W231 or HP-38 with the 150 gr. bullet and it shoots just as well as any wad cutter load I have tried.

I did find an old Lyman manual from back in the 50s that covers the #357443 bullet for $15.
Last edited by reloader762 on 15 Dec 2019 08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cast From The Past

Postby reloader762 » 15 Dec 2019 08

alphalimafoxtrot wrote:Hey reloader762,

Good morning from Virginia! I wanted to say thanks for sharing your new boolits cast with old molds - I am a big fan of anything .38/.357/.35 caliber. I do not cast, but began amateur reloading for my hobby a year or two ago. I am also a total gun history nut - and learning about what was used and favored in the past by shooters is always an interesting thing to think about.

May I ask what what powders you like to use with these? And when you coat the bullets, does that negate the need for a gas check? (You can tell I'm new to reloading with these questions!)

Be well - and Happy Holidays

Adam


Adam for the #358477 I like W231 or HP-38 same powder different label with the only differance being in lot to lot variations which I haven't found to be even noticeable but it always a good idea to make sure before you load up a large batch.

For the #357443 I like Alliant 2400, I'm a big fan of 2400 in cast lead 357 magnum loads and it does double duty as well in many of my cast bullet rifle loads. Neither of the two bullets I post are designed to use a gas check. They do have gas check these days that you can crimp over plain base bullets but I just never use those.

I usually don't push the plain base bullets as hard as I do gas check bullets in handguns usually 1200 fps. or less depending on if it's for 38/357, 9 mm or 45 ACP loads as I use a 50/50 mix of pure lead and wheel weights with a bit of tin and powder coat. I usually water quench the powder coated bullets right out of the toaster oven if I'm going to shoot them in 357 mag. loads or HV rifle loads. The bullets don't gain as much BHN ie hardness as if you heat treated them but they get a little harder than air cooled wheel weights and using a gas check I have pushed the powder coated rifle bullet up to around 2300 fps. so far with good accuracy and no leading. Of course, I never had leading issues to begin with before I started powder coating my bullets, I just made sure the bullet fit properly, used a harder alloy and a good lube.

As to powder coating and gas check being needed or not that basically depends on so many variable too numerous to mention. I like to keep things simple when it comes to using a gas check, if the bullet is designed to use one at some point along the velocity / pressure curve a gas check bullet is going to just shoot more accurately with the check installed than not. For plinking loads that are low velocity / low pressure I leave the gas check off most all the time, I did that even when I used to tumble lube my bullets with Alox / JPW lube.

Powder coating has quiet a few advantage over traditionally lubed bullets I like the benefit of powder coated bullets.

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Re: Cast From The Past

Postby JohnnyEnfield » 20 Dec 2019 09

Great write up and thanks for sharing all that info. Really neat that you got those molds and the old casters bullets. I enjoy making my own bullets and have been toying with buying an old mold for 38/357. I see them on line but I am always skeptical on condition.
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