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Discussion Starter #1
Left this batch as cast (about .459)from #2 alloy. Lubed w/Liquid Alox twice. Loaded and fired 10 in my BC. 8 key-holed at 25 yards. If the .41 bullets weren't so good, I'd give this hobby up in a minute. Think I'll take Lee up on their guarantee
 

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.459 I would guess you are shooting a 45/70 or some other cartridge of that type. What do you mean by BC? NEF Buffalo Classic???? If so my loads shoot good in my friends BC. I use the Lee .459 Hollow base in my 45/70 I shoot them sized through a .459 lee sizer and I have had real good luck with them out of my Remington Roller using 40 grains IMR 3031 powder. Jim
 

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Think I'll take Lee up on their guarantee
I'm sure they will honor it.

Have you measured the diameter of the boreride nose portion of your bullet? Do that and then slug your bore and see what the diameter of the Lands portion of your bore is. The bore ride nose should just fit. If you aren't shooting BP it's ok if the nose actually engraves a bit (becomes a problem with bp fouling).

I'm thinking that the difference in diameter is enough that the nose is slouching off to one side and the bullet is leaving the muzzle too far off it's axis to stay stable.
 

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Tom, what kind of charge are you using? I'm assuming that is a plain base bullet and they do not take kindly to heavy charges. Try it with 13 grains of Unique and see what results you get. Other charges that should give good results are 27 grains of 5744 and 30 grains of either of the 4198s.
 

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Lee 500

Tom, as you probably know, there are 2 reasons for instability:

1. It aint being spun

2. It aint being spun fast enough

If the bore is clean (no fouled or leaded up groves) I'd increase the velocity to increase the RPM'S and see if that works.

The Lee 500 in my B/C works well at about 1200' using a 20:1 alloy.

Also, try it at 50 or 100 yds. It may not have setteled down at 25 yet.
 

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It's interesting to read of these 3r reports. Seems that some find them to shoot well and others get keyholes. Well, at least it's a minimal investment as far as the mold cost is concerned!

1. It aint being spun

2. It aint being spun fast enough
Well, there are other factors and while some may be overcome by spinning it faster, increasing velocity to increase RPM's will have a minimal effect.

Also, try it at 50 or 100 yds. It may not have setteled down at 25 yet.
Doubt it though. Once it keyholes it's history.
 

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If you mean a full sideways keyhole, I agree with you
I was just going on what the original poster had described:

8 key-holed at 25 yards
Here is a better dissertation on bullet flight and supported with doppler radar calculations. The Lost River explanation seems to be more about selling a bullet design than anything.

http://www.nennstiel-ruprecht.de/bullfly/

and the slugs will wobble before settling down
That seems to be an accepted fact across the board. That wobble as the bullet leaves the muzzle can be caused by a poor bullet fit to the barrel, a misaligned throat and I suppose some other things. A soft lead bullet is even more prone to the consequences of a poor fit.

So, the 3r flys like a taut string from some 45-70 barrels and keyholes in others! I think it has to do with the fit of the bore ride nose to the size of the bore. If there is a wide difference in size, the lead bullet will slump and get cockeyed in the barrel thus leaving the muzzle with more yaw than the rotational spin can overcome and thence the bullet is overturned by the wind forces on it. While spinning it faster might prevent the bullet overturning, it will not make it an accurate bullet. Also, when bullets do overturn they don't actually "tumble". They simply turn sideways with the heavier portion of the bullet (the base) flying slightly forward of the nose and thus they remain, flying sideways in flight.

A pointed or spitzer shape bullet is more likely to respond to yaw by turning over. I have a 500 grain round nose 45-70 bore ride nose BP bullet mold that casts a way undersize bore ride nose. It's not the most acurate bullet from a 45-70, but it wont overturn because of the round nose.
 

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Lee 3R

My NEI mould was not successful. The diameter in front of the first band was smaller than the bore diam. I bought the Lee 500 3R. The diameter in front of the top band is larger and groups closed up appreciably.

I use Approx 61 gr of 2f, a milk carton wad, about 3/16" compression, neck sized case and a taper crimp, and a fed 210M primer. Also, wheelweight alloy did not group well. 20:1 is better. I have bullets of 30:1 ready to try. If hard is no good, try softer.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
3R

This is a NEF Buffalo Classic in .45-70, using 30-31 grains of AA 5744, and it's a fine shooter with other bullets, both jacketed and cast. This rifle has a short throat, and I haven't fired many heavy bullets with it. The Lyman Postell is about the only heavy bullet I've tried. The mold is inexpensive, easy to use, and makes a pretty bullet. The shipping charges make sending the mold back a foolish endeavor, not to mention the fact that it works exactly as it's supposed to work. So, having re-considered, I will slug the bore, make some 20:1 bullets, and try them. In the meantime, I'm thinking of trying the Hollow Base mold. There are a lot of positive reports on it from other shooters.
 

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You could try the 3r in wheel weights too. It will cast a bit larger that #2 alloy (at least I think it will :grin: ). Some guys are even shooting ww with BP with good results although it seems to be rare. Question is, are the good results rare or is the shooter who is willing to try it rare? :)

Anyway, the WW after two weeks aging at room temp, will be around 12bhn and a bit less likely to "slump".

If all else fails, I would be willing to buy the 3r mold from you just to try it in my 1885. Let me know on that.

Leaving town till Tuesday to try for trout and maybe a 'yote as well.
 

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3R

A friend and I have the Lee 3R mold, I use ww's +Tin and Chilled shot and cut a rabbet for a gas check with a lathe.
The air cooled bullets are BHN 11-13, depending on batch, When I water drop. I get BHN 18-20.
I use liquid alox and LBT soft blue, both do well, up to 1600fps for my handirifle with the 3R and 1800fps with a 325gr RCBS, no leading at all.
My friend had a lot of leading problems with speeds over 1400 fps with his BC, even with chilled shot added. Waterdropping and double dipping in liquid alox helped, but the real improvement came after I made him a little machine to cut a rabbet for a gas check, he is now getting 1" 100yd groups with waterdropped , double dipped, gas checked 3Rs and no leading, even at 1750fps.
So far, seems the 3R is good for 1200fps as is, but to really move it, either adding a lot of linotype or heat treating to get a much harder bullet, or add a gas check.

Might be a good subject for a group buy from Lee.
Don
 

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LEE 500 3r bullet

This is a good shooting bullet in my Wm. Malcom scoped Uberti hi wall. Drops .459 in 20:1 alloy, pan lubed SPG, 67 gr GOEX 3fg .28 milk carton wad compressed so that the front band just touchs the rifling (not forced). 5 rnds. 100 yd. bench, best group 1.25" horizontal X 1.5" vertical c to c. Wet patch 50/50 prestone/ H2O, dry patch every shot. 5 rnds. 100 yd. bench blow tube every shot 1.75" horizontal X 2.25" vertical.
 

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Re: 3R

tomaldridge said:
This is a NEF Buffalo Classic in .45-70, using 30-31 grains of AA 5744, and it's a fine shooter with other bullets, both jacketed and cast. This rifle has a short throat, and I haven't fired many heavy bullets with it. The Lyman Postell is about the only heavy bullet I've tried. The mold is inexpensive, easy to use, and makes a pretty bullet. The shipping charges make sending the mold back a foolish endeavor, not to mention the fact that it works exactly as it's supposed to work. So, having re-considered, I will slug the bore, make some 20:1 bullets, and try them. In the meantime, I'm thinking of trying the Hollow Base mold. There are a lot of positive reports on it from other shooters.
Tom

Not sure which mold is the Lee "3R" but if it is not a GC mold you are driving it TOO fast. With a 400 gr PB cast bullet I have found 28 gr 5744 to drive them as fast as they will go with accuracy. 25 gr of 5744 is about max for PB 500 gr bullets. If the "3R" is lighter than 400 gr then I advise 5744 is not a good powder. Try 4759 or Unique with the lighter bullets and start at starting charges and work up for accuracy.

Larry Gibson
 

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Lee 500-3r

I hadn't bothered to put a mic on these bullets until today after reading this post. I knew they were casting large enough because the sizing die was polishin the bands fully, and evenly. At the bands it's casting at .4605", I'm surprised the nose is at .4595", the mould line is almost invisible. I'm using wheel weight, water quenched.
Lubed with Rooster Red and rolled in powdered mica. These are shooting great in a 1 in 20" twist, and will be shooting them soon in a 14" twist as I had planned.
The one thing I don't like is how hard it is to actually get good bullets from this mould, after getting the mould heated up to where it should be casting good bullets I'm culling about 3/4 as rejects. Had 8 perfect bullets the last casting sesion, the remainder were just "good". I'll be adding a 1/3 of a pound of tin to the mix next time to see if that helps.
 

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I'm just getting into cast reloading but a 500 frain bullet in the 45-70 with that much 5744 should put you about 40,000psi or more. I would think thatmight be a problem with a non-gas-checked soft bullet.
 
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