Author Topic: So - the original type reproduction Colt Molds are Just Pretty Paperweights?  (Read 307 times)

Offline Col. Colt

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Greetings All!  I am new here, and to blackpowder shooting - but not new at all to shooting itself, as a Firearms Instructor and Armorer of thirty years experience. 

My newbie question is this - I can see how much easier it is to buy a box of round balls than to buy all the equipment and cast those, but I want to try to do it "like THEY Did, back in the Day".  But from what I see, the copies of the original molds are not much used (too small diameter and difficult to handle?)  So, what's a historical purist to do??

I have a Colt 2nd Generation 1861 Navy that came in a case with Third Generation Tools, A Colt Blackpowder Third Generation Walker that came in the case with Third Generation Tools, and a Uberti Walker with another Set of Third Generation Tools I picked up before I ran across the Colt.  And I have an older Uberti 1860 Army, and an ORIGINAL 1860 Army "44H" Mold I got online. 

So, has anyone here even tried to use these reproduction molds "in the old fashion"?  I don't see any comments to that effect in my limited searches.

Also, I am told that the Walker molds produce an "incorrect" Picket bullet of about 170 grains.  (The Contract Specification was for so many to a pound of lead, which would not be correct at 170 grains.)  Has anyone ever measured a REAL Walker Mold to know if the reproduction mold is right or wrong?  Just because it was spec'd, doesn't mean it ended up that way.  I would think the reproduction companies would have just copied an ORIGINAL - rather than faking something up - or did they?? 
Thanks,
Col. Colt

Offline Captainkirk

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Plenty of our members use the original style moulds, one example being Scooby, who also likes to use the original metallic cartridge tools. I prefer modern moulds such as the Lyman or Lee for RB or conical simply because it's easier and faster...but not neccessarily "better". Casting is but one of the enjoyable spin-off tasks of black powder shooting.
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Online mike116

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You are correct that reproduction molds usually drop smaller than required balls and conicals.   I have a couple repro molds that I use even though they are a little small.  I make sure I'm using a good wad when shooting these projectiles.   I haven't done it yet but some say "beagling" the mold to a larger size can work.    You cast a ball from the mold,  mount the ball on a wood screw or stud and then lap the mold with grinding compound.   Then cast another ball and repeat the process until you are dropping a ball the diameter you desire.   It will also work with the conical bullets.   

As Captain kirk says Scooby is the most experienced member in using original and reproduction molds.   Mazo Kid also has used many original and reproduction molds.   Maybe they will have more to add.

Offline 99whip

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Col.

Welcome,

I enjoy using original moulds to cast, and I cast round ball and conicals with them.  In my experience, the original moulds do cast a little larger projectile as a few others have also indicated.  But to be honest, I really do it because I enjoy knowing that some guy sat around 150 + years ago that really depended on that mould. 

Scooby and Mazo will have input to provide also. 

Whip

Offline Len

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Samuel,
(talking round balls here)
I just got an original Manhattan Navy mold (thanks to Mazo Kid). It casts a bit to big, but I roll them in a linear fashion between two slabs of iron, to get something like an American football football. Works just fine (the bullets from the same mold pliers are just fine).
With other molds that cast too small, I put a ball mill in the Dremel and enlarge the mold diameter gradually. It won't cast perfectly spherical balls, but close enough. I then roll them between slabs, but now with a circular movement. Works just fine.
And after all, what you put into the forcing cone and through the barrel, comes out as something completely different.
As stated by other addicts above, doing some casting by the camp fire, has it's own charm.

Offline mazo kid

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I heard my name mentioned so thought I should step in and defend myself L@J Actually, most of the original molds I use are bullet molds. Primarily Winchester molds, and they were designed to be correct for the guns that shot them. I load them using the matching Winchester tong tool. The other tong tools I use are the old Ideal tong tools, and some have the bullet mold incorporated into their design. These are also correct size to use in their caliber rifle/handgun.  So you see, these are not the original molds made to be included in cased sets. Yes, the repro molds in that design seem to all cast under-sized balls. You could do as Mike suggested and coat a ball(s) cast from the mold with abrasive paste, insert a screw or stud and spin them with an electric drill. Repeat the process until you come up with the size you want. Another trick is to put a strip of furnace tape on the inside face of the mold. They might not be round, but as Len says, they will be after running through the forcing cone.

Offline scooby

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I am not up on Colt 2nd and third generation moulds but predict they are on par with the common Italian reproduction moulds as far as quality and diameters.

All of the reproduction Colt two cavity moulds that I use are of brass and cast both balls and conical of sufficient size. I shoot both balls and bullets cast from them regularly.

A pair of leather gloves and a wool rag works just fine to keep the handles from getting too hot. I do not find them difficult to use.

I do have a preproduction Paterson mould that was very poorly made and does not line up, therefore, it casts an offset ball that is beyond any use. That mould is nothing more than a display piece.

I also use a lot of different original moulds and a few of them are used at times to cast balls for my revolvers. However, I do not have any original Colt moulds. But if I did, I would use them.

As for the reproduction Walker mould, I have and use one of those too. It does in fact throw a 170 grain bullet, which is a lot lighter than the original weight of 219 grains. But it is the only game in town, so it has to do. It shoots plenty good from my Uberti Walker and it is all I use anymore.

So to summarize, yes, the reproduction moulds are fully usable, provide "old fashion" satisfaction, and the conocals and balls cast from them will provide expected accuracy.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 09:32:55 PM by scooby »

Offline tljack

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I am not up on original and repro original molds. As much as I love to cast RB and bullets I mainly use Lee, Lyman and RCBS as well as a couple of custom molds.

Casting to me is one of the ultimate exercises in relaxation!
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