When Did Lee Change The Design Of Their Molds?

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  • Last Post 01 September 2019
mashburn posted this 30 June 2019

Haven't done much casting for rifles until I got acquainted with the Cast Bullet Association the past 8 months or so. I hadn't ordered a Lee Mold in years. I ordered a couple a few weeks ago and was quite surprised at what I got, They had changed their design. They look like better molds using  alignment dowels like Lyman and others  instead of the old style horizonal ones.The vent lines are changed also. I haven't used them yet so usage will answer a lot of my questions. My main question is; when did Lee make these changes and will I be disappointed? Over the years I had quit buying Lee Molds but I thought I would give them a try. I have some Lee Molds that do a good job and some that don't , of course I have some more expensive Molds that aren't worth a durn either.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 30 June 2019

 Looks like October 2012.

 

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?167253-New-Lee-Mold-Design

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shootcast posted this 01 July 2019

As far as disappointed goes probably not. Considered everything you get for the money and as you said some more expensive do no better. I have over the years used several and found that you need to be aware maybe gentle using them. They produce good bullets and if you take care of them will make more bullets than you paid for.  The newer molds I have only used one of. I also was impressed with the change.  Breaking  in the mold sometimes  can take time. Be sure to clean it well before casting. Also Try smoking the cavity’s with kitchen matches. Lee gives instruction to this and best to follow. In order to get good bullets I had to dip the mold in the alloy as instructed. This brought the mold well above casting temperature and I had frosted bullets.  As soon as it cooled back down the mold worked fine. My drawback is the screw works loose . BTW it is left hand thread.     

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 01 July 2019

i have several old and " new " ... at least for the 2-cavity, both old and new ... after you close them the first time, wiggle the handles another couple of times to get that secondary ( hopefully final ) alignment ....

the bullet designs themselves are pretty decent ... but getting from 4+ moa to 2 moa is more a result of good fit to the rifle throat .....  the magic of getting from 2 to 1 moa seems to come in part from the design of the bullet ( and a higher level of preparation ) .

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so anecdotally here are my thoughts on lee molds::  a small drop in the barrel of useful information.

probably never the pot O' gold at the end of the accuracy rainbow ... but if, like me, the chase is the reward, the Lee delivers big time, especially if you can occasionally laugh and confess " ok, 25 bucks shot to hell " ... i have enjoyed my Lee molds, but also i like to make bullet re-sizers on my hobby lathe to improve them ... using the molds to cast core slugs, as it were .

if you don't enjoy the chase, but want a commercial mold that will likely right away get you 2 moa bullets, buy an RCBS modern design, or ask/research here in the cba results and buy a Lyman that has a good record in your caliber.

finally, consider that a correct, work-of-art, bragging-rights, drool-worthy custom mold is only 3 to 5 times the cost of a Lee 2 cav.  

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to sum up, i am fickle, and have some of each of above.  life is good.

ken

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John Alexander posted this 01 July 2019

I have one of the new double cavity (55 grain 22) and agree with shootcast.  Had more than the usual trouble getting it cleaned washed, washed, boiled, baked, and smoked.  It is not as nice to use as my custom molds but it makes bullet with less offset between the halves that any mold I own and the parting line on bullets is almost invisible so the overall quality and the new alignment system seem excellent.

Agree with Ken that at least this bullet design is good and the bullets are the right dimensions to fit the only two rifles I have tried them in so far. One 1:14 twist and 12 grooves, one 1:8" twist and six grooves both produced near 1.5" moa five shot group average with the first load tried.  I am impressed.

John

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BigMan54 posted this 03 July 2019

I bought one of the new style, the 2cav with the bottom cut away on each side. Very hard to maintain an even heat with any kind of rythem. And it was much harder to use then the old style 2cav ones I bought 15yrs ago. 

And if you are carefull they last a long time. I have 3 2cav that were bought 30+years ago, Used. I've cast a LOT of bullets out of them over the years. Still cast beautiful bullets. 

Got 3 2cav molds for the price of postage 2yrs ago. They were thrashed. Cleaned them up, tightened them and realigned them. Saved 2, got a spare set of wood handles and sprue plate. 

But I'll never buy another Lee 2cav mold again. The 6cav are ok. But l can't see one in their Catalog l'm going to ever need. In fact, l think I have all the 6cav's they make, that l'll ever want. Except maybe slug or buckshot.    

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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mashburn posted this 03 July 2019

Hello BigMan54

Thanks for the comment. I ,also have old lee molds that I bought in the early 80's and am still using. When Obama started to take over as president, I bought a bunch of Lee molds and some of these have never been used(just in case of emergencies). I have a mold for every caliber of rifle and handgun that I own just in case that I need to come up with ammo in case of a castrophe.  Some of these Lee molds that I bought during this time are not as good as the older ones that I bought in the late 70's or early 80's. I have an old single cavity 45 caliber mold that I use to cast for one of my revolvers that has cast more bullets than you can imagine & still casts a great bullet. It's casts the most accurate .45 colt bullet of any mold I have. I still haven't used the new molds yet but am anxious to give them a try. I don't care for molds over double cavity capacity. The best molds I have of any brand are single cavity and some double cavity.

Thanks for your input.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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BigMan54 posted this 04 July 2019

Mashburn,

I got those 3 used 2cav 44cal Lee molds from my DAD, just after the END of TRAIL 1988. We shot it and were going to get into it with our .44Spl Colts and .44Mag Rifle, He only had a 4Cav Lyman #42798. Which He wasn't about to let me get my hands on. 

Well they made great Bullets. I think He paid $12-$15 Bucks for them. Guy who sold them said, to "treat them gently".

So I have and am still using them. 

I don't know any other way to treat a mold.

But some of the putz's I used to see on you-tube sure beat the devil out of their molds.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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mashburn posted this 04 July 2019

Hello Big Man,

I agree with you on you-tube, some of the bullets that some of these guys turn out in how to cast videos would be in my scrap pile. No matter what kind of molds you have, you have to know how to use them. I had an old Lyman 2 cavity .311 115 gr mold that I don't know what happened to it. I probably loaned it out and never got it back. I think it dated back to the 40's. It was a dandy

Thanks again for the response,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Qc Pistolero posted this 30 August 2019

My experience with them kinda goes similar to Bigman's.

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Gregor posted this 01 September 2019

Bought two of the .500 440gr flatpont to try to keep them from overheating while casting.  The bullet is a good design for the .500 S&W Magnum and the price is certainly right, so I deal with it.  So far, have been pleased.

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