American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2013 Digital Edition - Page 34

SHOOTINGIRON thumb bustin’ musings from the duke mike “duke” venturino Photos: Yvonne Venturino duke always considers it near magical that shiny bullets can be made from grungy looking lead. 4 EDITION I TH LYMAN’S CAST BULLET HANDBOOK THE bOOk H ere’s a brief synopsis of what the Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition offers you. Cast bullet dateranges for handguns begins with the .30 Luger (aka 7.65mm Luger) and goes to the .500 Smith & Wesson. In between are 32 other pistol and revolver cartridges. Some are as new as the .480 Ruger and .45 GAP, while other rounds covered are quite old and have been given new leases on life by the popularity of the cowboy action sport. Examples are the .44 S&W Russian and .45 S&W Schofield. Also as a departure from previous Lyman cast bullet manuals, this new 4th Edition does not present data only on the company’s own designs. There’s also data on Lee, Redding/SAECO and RCBS cast bullet numbers. ’ve written this many times but I’ll say it again. When I started handloading late in 1966, at that time and in my locale casting bullets wasn’t an option — it was a necessity. An older gent in the local target pistol shooting club sold me a gas-fired lead pot and another sold me a Lyman bullet mould for a .38 Special wadcutter, Lyman #358432. From the very beginning it fascinated me I could take grungy-looking lead alloy, melt it, pour it into a bullet mould and upon opening the blocks a shiny bullet would drop out. Not only did those new bullets look good, they were accurate enough I eventually became reasonably proficient with my S&W K38 revolver. In those days solid information on how to produce good cast bullets was not overly abundant. There did exist a book called Handbook Of Cast Bullets printed by the then-named Lyman Gunsight Corporation. It was copyrighted 1958 and full of information. Neither was it found in great abundance, but a third member of that pistol shooting club loaned me his copy to read, stressing he wanted it back. That book was greatly admired by me, but it was so rare about three decades passed before I finally obtained a copy of my own. In the interim, Lyman published two more editions. Neither of them are dated, but by my memory the second edition appeared in duke has all four editions of Lyman’s cast bullet handbooks. duke is pleased to be listed as the author on the newest edition. the early 1970s and the third in the early 1980s. Their tattered condition is physical proof I’ve used them heavily. Then late in 2009 there occurred the greatest compliment ever bestowed on me during my gun’riting career. The now-named Lyman Products Corporation asked me to be the primary writer for the informational chapters of their Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition. I say “primary” because of 18 informational chapters, I wrote 15. Three specialized chapters were contributed by others. Still in the book’s table of contents I’m listed as author, which is a source of great pleasure to me every time I open it. I won’t say it was my brain that dreamed up those 15 topics. Lyman listed a general idea and then let me tackle it with no interference. Writing it during the winter of 2009/2010 was also one of the most pleasurable events of my career. OBvIOUS TrENDS H duke is still an avid fan of casting bullets, even after 46 years of doing it. 34 aving all four of Lyman’s cast bullet books on my desks allows me to see some of the changes in the firearms industry since 1958. Regarding smokeless propellants, the first cast bullet handbook mentions only Bullseye, Unique and 2400 along with a couple other long discontinued types. In the fourth edition, there are 13 smokeless powders listed for .44 Magnum, 15 for .45 Colt and a total of 19 different types for .45 ACP. I wish I could claim some credit for the data sections but alas that cannot be. Rightly so, Lyman garnered that information from their well-equipped laboratory in Connecticut. None of it came from my shooting range (aka: horse pasture) in Montana. With the immense increases in prices of factory jacketed bullets, and likewise increases in the cost of shipping factory-produced cast bullets, I foresee strong incentive for people to take up bullet casting as was necessary a half-century back. For those who would be interested in learning about casting and those already casting but needing fresh data, I recommend taking a look at Lyman’s new Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition. And I confess, I’m proud of the final product! * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY2013

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