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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2011 - Page 36
John Taffin HANDLOADING The #44-250KT hollow point works fine in both the .44 Special and .44 Magnum, while the #45-255SWC hollow point is applicable to both the .45 Auto Rim and .45 Colt. SAGE ADVICE FROM THE HANDLOADING GURUS W hen I started shooting back in the 1950s components were hard to find. To improve the effect of cast bullets on game, many turned to hollow point cast bullets. When I got my first .44 Special I also found a hollow point bullet mold designed for the .44-40. Hollow point molds were normally single cavity, with a pin entering from the bottom of the mold which formed the hollow cavity. This pin had to be put in place before filling the mold with alloy, mold allowed to cool, pin removed, mold blocks opened, and hopefully a quality bullet came out. If you forgot to replace the pin molten alloy flowed through the mold and all over everything. Since that time I have acquired hollow point molds for most of the Elmer Keith and Ray Thompson designed semi-wadcutter bullets; they work fine using a bottom pour Lyman or RCBS 20# casting furnace with the proper temperature. The problem is they are very slooooooow and I am not very patient. Now there’s Hollow Point Bullet Mold Service which is a virtual gold mine for hollow point bullet casters. Erik Ohlen offers a unique service for bullet casters, converting regular bullet molds to hollow point versions. Favorite single cavity molds can be converted with a precisely constructed and polished hollow point pin fitted with a knob assembly for $34, with a second knob of a different hollow point profile for $24. A super large hollow point in also offered for use with low velocity loads. With this style of conversion, bullets are cast one at a time with the pin necessarily inserted before casting and removed before the bullet can be dropped from the mold. hOme-made hOllOW POinTs When the blocks are opened the crosspins are in this position ready for the blocks to be turned over and the bullets will fall off or can be tapped off gently. Before the mold is closed hollow point pins are in this position. When the mold blocks are closed the hollow point pins assume this position. speeding Things up hose who have been casting for a long time may recognize the name Cramer, a supplier of quality molds prior to WWII. Erik is now offering Cramer-style hollow point conversions on current molds such as those offered by Lyman, NEI and RCBS. This modification can even be done to one, two, four, even six cavity molds. When casting I like to run two double cavity molds together using a bottom pour pot; while one mold is cooling, the other is filling, and I rarely have to stop. No time lost and the bullets pile up quickly. Some folks find joy in casting, however for me it’s simply a necessary evil and about one step above sizing and lubricating. Now thanks to Hollow Point Service I can run two double cavity molds, both of which turn out hollow point bullets almost as quickly as regular bullets. The Cramer conversion consists of hollow point pins custom crafted to fit a particular mold. Instead of inserting and removing one pin in a single cavity mold, with the Cramer conversion one simply closes the blocks, and fills them with alloy, opens the blocks, turns them upside down, and with a gentle tap, normally the bullets fall off the pins. Running two converted molds I can cast hollow point bullets 5-10 times faster than I can running a single cavity mold. 36 T he sixgun cartridges I handload and shoot the most are .44 Special, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt. I sent two double cavity RCBS molds off to Hollow Point Bullet Mold Service. Cast from old-style wheelweights, both molds drop bullets weighing 247 grains. Erik charges $45 per cavity so both Keith-style double cavity molds were converted for less than $200. Older original single cavity Keith or Thompson HP molds normally sell online for $100-$150 dollars. Casting with the Cramer-style converted molds is nearly as fast as two standard molds so my patience is not tested and the bullets pile up rather quickly. Hollow point cast bullets are designed to perform exactly the same way as jacketed hollow points. Hollow points of either persuasion should not be used for shoulder shots on large heavily muscled critters. You need tough bullets which will penetrate deeply in that case. However, for thin skinned game, hollow point cast bullets of the proper alloy work fine and used with lung shots on deer-sized game or feral pigs will normally expand perfectly and either penetrate completely or be found on the underside of the hide on the opposite side. Bullet casters are not only self-sufficient, but hollow point cast bullets can do almost anything a jacketed hollow point can do. Cheap Too T * For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/productindex WWW.AMERICAnhAnDGUnnER.COM • JAnUARY/FEBRUARY 2011