Sunday, December 27, 2015

Intro to Group buy / custom bullet molds : or : The NOE 360432 a variation on the Lyman 358432 wadcutter a classic revival.

We are pretty spoiled in the handloading and bullet casting communities these days. Whatever we seem to dream up a need or want is made by some industrious individual or company. Need a faster way to make brass for your .300 blackout...bam somebody makes a jig to use in a tiny saw that cuts necks off of cases 10 times faster than a traditional tubing cutter takes to do 1. New ideas are always coming out as the market is in a constant state of flux. Sometimes however its not a new thing that gets us all excited but a revival of a previously "obsolete" product or design especially in cast boolits can get us really going. A number of  bullet mold companies are making limited runs of molds that were once a stocked item by RCBS, lyman, Hensly &  Gibbs or what have you. Once in awhile certain designs of cast bullets fall out of fashion for one reason or another after some time, new caliber comes along and bumps it off  or something along those lines. Some old timers post some pictures of these hard to find bullet molds, their product and the results on paper and game and us younger guys start drooling, then fight for the few that show up on ebay like it was for the honor of a woman.

There are a good number of companies out there willing to produce whatever bullet mold we seem to dream up within reason. So far the only two I have had the pleasure to obtain molds from have been N.O.E. Bullet molds  here in the US and MP- Molds  located in Europe. Both companies make molds that are flat out works of art. I will post a overview of one of MP (a.k.a.-mihec on the castboolits forum) molds sometime in the near future as time allows. 

One recent limited production run of a semi custom was commissioned by a fellow who wished to see a multi cavity mold made to readily produce a hollow pointed version of Lymans old 358432 type III wadcutter bullet.  A number of molds had to be spoken for before the tapped company (NOE) would order the tooling and begin production. After all it does cost money to produce these items and the company needs to recoup their tooling and set up costs so a modest minimum number of molds spoken for ahead of time is common. This route for a custom mold is cheaper and the product lasts longer than some other mold options that are out there for custom cut molds. The catch here is its a "group buy" format. 

The process is not fast, it takes a certain amount of patience to get through one of these "group buys" as they are called. But there is little to no regret when the mold you have been yearning for finally shows up at your door. As I continue to develop loads and mess with various bullet designs for .38 spl and .357 mag I must say that this particular hollow pointed version of a wadcutter caught my attention. I already have a 4 cavity mold that produces excellent solid bullets around 160gr in weight. These are solid thumpers and I have no doubt they would be just fine for deer or other small to midsize game at reasonable distances but when the opportunity to try a hollow point mold came about I jumped on. 

Specifically I was looking at getting a bullet mold that would offer greater versatility than the 4 banger I had that could only make solids. I sprung for the 2 cavity mold, it came with pins to make a deep hollow point, a shallow hollow point and a "flat" which is just the same as the solid that I already have. A short time after the mold arrived I had a good size sample lot cast up of the large hollow point version. Sized a lubricated with Carnuba red I loaded up test batches in .357 magnum and even more in .38 special. Pistol results were promising but more work will need to be done for the rifle loads as they were producing some erratic patterns.

The various pin sizes obviously alter the weight of the bullet, the large hollow point pins bring the bullet in at around 148-150 grains. Not a heavy weight really but when you look at how a type III wadcutter is designed so that a portion of the nose sits above the case mouth your load options change a little over just the standard 148gr wadcutters.




Mold as it ships in a padded envelope.
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The pins are retained by a tab on the bottom of the mold. Upon opening the mold the bullets fall right off the pins almost easier than a traditional mold.



Various pin options are available and if one is handy on lathe many more can be fabricated. 






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