Review: Current production Lee six cav molds

JonB

Central Minnesota
I haven't bought a new, recent production, Lee six cavity mold for 4 or 5 years.
I recall in 2014, the last time I bought a new Lee six cav 356-120-TC from a large supplier, it dropped under sized boolits, then about six months later, I bought another one, same exact part number but from a different supplier and it dropped a boolit that was a size more to my liking. That seemed to be the case back then, Lee molds could vary from Spec, but some were correct.

I have bought a few different Lee two cavity rifle boolit molds since then...since the new style blocks came out. And they have all been within .001 of the Spec size. I'm thinking Lee has finally turned the corner on cutting molds consistently. At least that has been my experience and what the rest of this post is about.

Last week, I ordered two Lee 6 cav molds:
452-230-TC
and
TL452-230-TC

The molds arrived and looked beautiful, with curved vent lines on the mold faces and mold top. I didn't feel any burrs on the cavity edges, like was typical in years past. I washed the blocks in dish soap and hot water, dried then, and preheated them while the Lead furnace was warming up.

Using a softish alloy (range scrap and battery terminal blend with a couple ozs of pewter, BHN=10). The PID set to 690º. I cast a couple hundred of each. The molds functioned very well, no sticking boolits and good fillout.

The results:

452-230-TC
the boolits were dropping at .4525 and measured 231gr

TL452-230-TC
the boolits were dropping at .452 or a hair under and measured 235gr

I had a couple reasons for buying two very similar molds. I needed to make a minimum for free shipping and also wanted to try some of each, to see which style I preferred...and also with Lee's history, I figured I would have a better chance of getting one mold the correct size, if I bought two of them. ANYWAY, to reiterate, I believe Lee has finally turned the corner on cutting molds consistently.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
Love me some Lee moulds, especially the new ones both 2 and 6 cavity.

Funny, out of the dozens I own, the only "bad" one I got was a "new style" 6 cavity 452-230-TC with the regular groove. It had bad chatter marks in all cavities (not a deal-breaker) but cast something like .4555" bullets from straight COWW alloy. Still, it was consistent through all the cavities and the bullets were round. I ordered a TL version right after that and it dropped BANG ON .4525", round, and uniform bullets from straight COWW alloy. Since then I've cast over 10,000 bullets with that mould for my universal .45 ACP powder-coated pet load and it's still just as good as when it was new.

I realize that I'm quite the exception, but out of all of the manufacturers both custom and production, there is only one who has yet to deliver me a mould without any defects whatsoever, and that is from a one-man custom outfit of current popularity. Lee is just over 2% defect, a very close second. The rest have given me multiple problems from multiple moulds, some bordering on 100% defective.
 

RBHarter

West Central AR
I have 6 6C Lee's . 7 actually but one is MIA .......
358-200 (2 1 AWOL) it casts .359 and about 205 gr in my softish alloy , both had a heavy and light cavity by about 2 gr .

452-200 RNFP . One hole is a little under size at .453-197 the others run .454-199.5/201 .

452-255 RNFP . This one runs just under .454 and near perfect for the RBH . It also like the old style 2C it replaced it casts 4@265 gr , 1@264 , and 1@263.5 .

The 18 C 00B is fine also although I don't think in the 1-15# I've poured in it I've had over a dozen pours that actually produced 18 balls . I'll take credit for that ......

358-125 RNFP this one throws .359-.361and 124.5-127 gr I think that part of that might be on me for the short runs of only 15-20 pours probably if I run 3-400 it would settle down as there doesn't seem to be more or less of the lights vs heavies nor fat/skinny .

401-175 TLTC this one throws a heavy but not enough to worry about it runs .403-178 on WW with the heavy at 179.5 it doesn't seem to bother the 40 any so .........

I have a few doubles also and a couple of singles . Only the 2 .380 RB doubles really let me down ..... The sprue tangical cutoff left me with a .370 dia flat on 2 moulds ...... At least they're cheap . Well there was that 158 SWC that wouldn't shoot fer nuthin' in anything .