With the high cost of factory produced ammunition, many shooting enthusiasts reload their own. Some even cast their own bullets from lead. Molten lead is poured into a two-piece mould, made of either iron or aluminium. When the lead cools, the mould is opened and the formed bullet is dropped. Lead bullets must be lubricated and sized after coming out of the mould. This requires a sizing die and a tool called a top punch to steady the bullet during sizing. The top punch must be matched to the bullet meplat (nose) shape so the bullet will not deform during sizing. Below is a list of some common bullet moulds.
The Lyman #358477 mould is for the .38 Special and .357 Magnum calibres. It produces a 150 grain, semi-wadcutter bullet. This is a great general purpose bullet suitable for target practice or hunting. The bullet does not use a gas check, meaning it should be driven to medium-range velocities to avoid barrel leading. The flat nose makes it suitable for use in lever-action rifles. The mould drops bullets sized from .357-inch to .360-inch, depending on the lead alloy used. When run through a bullet sizer die, top punch #429 must be used. The mould is available in double-cavity or four-cavity versions.
The Lyman #452374 mould produces a 225 grain, round-nosed .45 ACP bullet. Round-nose bullets feed best in semi-automatic pistols, such as the popular M1911. Sizing dies are available from .450-inch to .452-inch diameter. Most cast bullets perform best when they are sized to .002-inch over groove diameter, meaning the .452 sizing die is the most commonly used. The bullet has one lubrication groove, but a long enough body to centre it in the cartridge case mouth for proper alignment during loading. The #374 top punch matches the round-nose profile of the bullet.
RCBS .30-180-FN 546
This RCBS mould produces .309-inch diameter bullets weighing approximately 180 grains for use in the .30-30 Winchester. This is a rifle bullet with a flat nose profile, meant for use in lever-action rifles with tubular magazines. The flat nose will not detonate the primer of the cartridge in front of it in the magazine during recoil. The bullet requires a copper gas check that is seated at its base during lubrication and sizing, prior to loading in a case. The bullet needs the RCBS #546 top punch.
This is a single-cavity mould designed for the .45-70 Government cartridge. It drops a heavyweight bullet weighing approximately 405 grains. The bullet is designed to function in all single-shot, bolt- or lever-action rifles. The weight of the bullet, and its flat nose profile, delivers a lot of energy on game and penetrates deeply. This bullet is ideal for hunting dangerous game, including buffalo and brown bear. The bullet drops from the mould approximately .458-inch in diameter and uses the RCBS #600 top punch in the sizing die.