Best 357 mold for casting/reloading newbie?

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Best 357 mold for casting/reloading newbie?

Postby Weetabix » 27 Jan 2016 13

I'm new here and my searching is not great, so forgive me if this is answered elsewhere.

I'm new to the R92, but I love it. Mine is .357. I've wanted to try reloading and casting for a while. I've got the reloading setup and a melting pot. I need a mold. And a sizer?

So, what's the best mold for someone new to this to try? I'd like it to be easy to cast and easy to load. I'll look at shooting performance issues later. Right now, I'm interested in safety first and reloading ease next.

I suppose the question might be better.. er... cast as, "What mold will provide a bullet that's easy to cast, easy to load, and that there is lots of loading data for?"

I'm assuming the same bullet can be used for both .357 and 38 special. Is that right?

Thanks!
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Re: Best 357 mold for casting/reloading newbie?

Postby GasGuzzler » 27 Jan 2016 13

I would start with a Lee 2-cavity 158gr plain base.
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Re: Best 357 mold for casting/reloading newbie?

Postby Weetabix » 27 Jan 2016 13

Apparently I didn't have my board settings right to subscribe me to topics. This post will hopefully do that. :)
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Re: Best 357 mold for casting/reloading newbie?

Postby Ohio3Wheels » 27 Jan 2016 17

I started with a Lyman Keith style SWC about 158 gr with lube and gas check. I probably have about 200 pounds of wheel weights through that mold and it still throw darn nice boolits. That said Lyman molds have gotten pricey and you can find similar styles from Lee. The Lee sizer works fine and you can lube with straiht Lee allox or any of the home mixtures that are out there. For smokeless powder i use a mixture that's 60% LLA and 40% Johnsons One Step floor "wax". It coats better and dries quicker.

I don't have my Lee book with me but it's hard to go wrong with something around 158 gr in the 357 and or 38.

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Re: Best 357 mold for casting/reloading newbie?

Postby donhuff » 28 Jan 2016 08

"So, what's the best mold for someone new to this to try? I'd like it to be easy to cast and easy to load. I'll look at shooting performance issues later. Right now, I'm interested in safety first and reloading ease next."



Sticking strictly to this question, I would recommend the Lee TL358-158 SWC. Because there is tons of data out there for 158 grain bullet in a 38 and 357. The 158 grain weight bullet usually does good in any gun in those calibers.
The Lee 2 hole molds are CHEAP and a good easy way to learn how to cast. Then later after learning hot to keep the mold hot and dropping good bullets, you can move up to a six hole version of the same design and make a lot of bullets fast.
The TL (tumble lube) design will drop from the mold a little easier than a "grease groove" style bullet will, especially one that has a deep groove with sharp corners. Also this bullet has a shallow crimp groove that will make it come out of the mold easier. Also notice that it has a small beveled base on it. This will make it load into the cases, A LOT easier. Most beginners struggle a little at first learning just how much "flare" to put on a case, and the bevel will overcome this if you do not flare quite enough. Different length brass will drive you up the wall at first, trying to adjust the proper amount of flare, and crimp.
The TL feature will allow you to "put off" having to buy a fancy sizer/luber for a while, and will let you use a cheap simple push through sizer, and lube in a zip loc bag or cool whip bowl, and you'll get good results and a lot of bullets in less time.

BUT after saying all that, the one I really want to recommend is the lee 125 rf. Because I KNOW that it will perform well when you start shooting your new made bullets. I can suggest a powder and load to go with it that I know will get you on target and shooting good groups on the first try. I can't say that about the 158 as I do not have a good load for it, I do not have that 158 either but I was trying to stay strictly to your question about wanting an easy to cast mold. The 125 will be a little harder to cast but not a lot harder. The deep crimp groove, flat square nose, and grease groove, all make it a little harder for the bullets to just "drop" out of the mold.

The Lee two hole molds are so danged cheap that it's easy to get two or three and try different designs. Then after learning you can get a six hole version, or get a quality mold that has a bullet design similar to the lee bullet that you liked.
We just recently had a new guy on here (btoran) get started in reloading and casting and I suggested this same set up to him and he seems to be doing well with it and is getting good accuracy from his reloads viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4509
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Re: Best 357 mold for casting/reloading newbie?

Postby runfiverun » 19 Feb 2016 22

the rcbs cowboy mold in 158grs.
they cast easily and are about bullet proof, that's a good thing for a new guy to get started with.
size to 358 load to the crimp groove.

the BLL lube mentioned above will work well enough for the pedestrian loads.
dip or pan lubing [before sizing] will work a bit better in the rifle barrels.
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