customized Lee 45cal 300gr mold ...

wquiles

Active Member
As I continue to have fun with my 45 Super project, I wanted to see what large meplat 45cal bullet I can make work in my 1911 project gun. I am currently trying a 250gr GC WFN mold from Tom at Accurate, but it is generating a little bit too much pressure and its weight being on the "high" side, I wanted to try something lighter.

From searching I found this post about the Lee 300gr 45 Colt mold which has a massive .385" meplat:
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?197754-WIDE-meplat-45-colt-bullets-5-5-inch-barrel-Ruger-BH

Of course I want something less than 250gr, but more than 200gr, so before I ask Tom to make me another mold, I wanted to experiment with that Lee mold, so I got it for about $20 shipped from Amazon, the idea being: can I "trim" the top of the mold and re-attach the sprue cuter to end up with a reasonable bullet?:
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1010213032/lee-2-cavity-bullet-mold-c452-300-rf-45-colt-long-colt-454-casull-452-diameter-300-grain-flat-nose-gas-check


I got the mold, and since I don't trust the lower surfaces being flat, I used a larger end mill to "align" the top of the mold in my vise:



I then used a roughing end mill to cut it down:






I kept making passes until I got close to leaving a bevel base at the end of the grease groove:



Then to simulate the cuts to allow the top surface to breath air (like modern molds to), I did light passes at high speed (of course by hand) X-feed to create the right "pattern":





Lightly smoked and ready to try:
 

wquiles

Active Member
Today I was finally able to cast a few to see what I came up with:



I cast both this new "prototype" and a few more of Tom's 250 WFN, as I find that having two molds gives me a fairly consistent tempo when casting. This is after a visual inspection (prototype bullets, "seconds" of the 250gr, "good" of the 250gr):



I checked their weight, and the prototype bullets came at about 208gr. From left to right: 207, 208, 209, 210, 211gr:



I feel the bevel is too long, and the sprew cut was not flawless, but they came out all-right for a quick/dirty $20 experiment (250gr WFN on left, and prototype WFN on right):






They came out right at .4515" to .452" with my mix (here you can see what I mean about the bevel still being a little too long - I should had taken another 0.020" more on the milling machine:



I will load a couple of dummy rounds next to see if they load OK on my gun (now that I have the awesome GI magazines!). If they do, I will load a couple with 800x powder to check for functioning at the range. If they work well, I will contact Tom to have him made me a 4x cavity custom mold based on this prototype :)

Will
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
Be careful if you decide to try that with an older-style Lee two-cavity without removing the handle pins first. Instead of the spiral-shank pins like yours have, Lee used a straight roller bearing for a pin and it will destroy end mills. I'm surprised the spiral pins didn't give you trouble, they must be pretty soft steel.
 
Last edited:

CZ93X62

Redlands, Kalifornistan
I have an older copy of that same Lee mould. It casts at about 305 grains in 92/6/2 and cleans up well in a .454" H&I die. I have launched it at 1250 FPS from the Bisley Blackhawk x 7.5", and though it prints high at 25 and 50 yards it shoots very accurately. It might be Just The Thing for 300 yard ground squirrels and rockchucks--point-of-aim and point-of-impact probably merge closely at that distance. :) I have thought this bullet would be perfect in a lever-action 45 Colt, in the same way a 180 grain flatnose in the 357 Magnum steps the rifle up a BIG notch in utility.

A very interesting project, and some outside-the-box thinking that might bear tasty fruit.
 

wquiles

Active Member
Yup, something interesting to play and learn from :)


Summary of various bullets and their meplat in 45cal:
Lee makes two potential good ones:
The 300rf has a .375 meplat (this is the one I am using to make the 208gr shorty)
The 255 rf has a .320'' meplat
https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/which-bullet-mold-for-45-colt.1630804/


Several molds from Tom worth looking at (by increasing meplat):
45-250R: .325" (note this is the one I already own in 4x cavity)
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-250R-D.png

45-295B: .360"
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-205B-D.png

45-223B: .360"
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-223B-D.png

45-220S: .365"
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-220S-D.png

45-195C: .375:
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-195C-D.png


Here are the shorty 208gr slugs after sizing:



And here, left to right, 3x dummy rounds: shorty 45cal Lee (.375" meplat), Tom's 45-250R, 250gr (.325" meplat), and the Lee 230gr TC:



Shortly bullets after powder coating (dummy rounds):



Live rounds with a couple of variations of 800x powder ready for testing:



Will
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ian

wquiles

Active Member
Finally went to the range on Sunday, and although I didn't get high-pressure signs, I was never able to get the freaking wide meplat to load reliably. I had confirmed the poor behavior by hand (removing spring, cycling slowly), so I was not very "hopeful", but I put a few rounds together to try anyway.

Since this failed and my 45Super setup is having a little trouble with the 250gr bullets, I kept looking/researching and found NOE has a 234gr Ranch Dog mold, about .320 meplat, but designed to feed in the 45acp, and "that" one feed perfectly in both of my 45's:




Left to right: 250gr WFN (Accurate Mold - works great in the 460R carbine), NOE Ranch Dog 234gr, Lee, 230 TC/TL:




I tried both of them on my 45Super and both feed 100%:


 

wquiles

Active Member
I also tried some rounds with W231 (standard ball pressure) for my nicer 1911 (Cold Series 70, NP3 coated, match barrel, bushing, etc.. - done by a prof gunsmith 20+ years ago), since I definitely don't want to push any hot loads on this one as it shoots like a dream. Accuracy at 7 yards was good for me:


Close up. On top is the group of 15 shots with my nice 1911, and bottom one with 10 shots from the 45Super (the Ranch Dog 234 and the Lee 230gr):


Money shot from both of them:
 
Last edited:

Ian

Well-Known Member
Well, it looks like your new one shoots like a dream, too! I think it's safe to drift that rear sight a tad now.
 

wquiles

Active Member
Good eye, yes. The Series 70 with the adjustable red dot hits exactly point of aim, but the 45 Super needs a little "adjustment" on that rear sight :)