Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook

  • Last Post 25 June 2014
LWesthoff posted this 28 February 2011

Got my copy of the new (4th edition) Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook the other day.  Nothing especially new or exciting - from my point of view, at least.  In the reference section, there is a very good chapter on the CBA by fellow member Tom Acheson.  The bulk of the reference section is written by Mike Venturino.  Mike got his foot in his mouth recently with an article in the Handloader, but in his stuff in this publication he stuck mostly to bullet casting and reloading for BPCR competition, and I think he pretty much knows what he's talking about there.  There's a large chapter on “The Metallurgy of Cast Bullets” by Robert J. Block, Ph.D., P.E. that I'm going to have to make two or three more tries at reading (he's not as easy to follow as Dennis Marshall was).

Lyman has made an unusual and very commendable departure from custom with this Handbook: they have included loading data for CB's from molds made by RCBS, Lee and Saeco, in addition to Lyman.

They've also made one change that has my curiosity working 'way overtime.  I hope somebody can help me out here.  I'm referring to their depiction of Lyman bullet 311644.  Every drawing I've seen of that bullet, up to and including their 49th Edition Reloading Handbook shows that bullet having almost as many steps in diameter as the stairs up the Empire State Building.  This new book shows a nice, tapered body, spire point bullet.

Did they change the bullet, or did they just change the picture?  And what does that bullet look like, anyway?


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RicinYakima posted this 01 March 2011

Unless they have re-numbered:

I have the original 311644 that has the two hand lube grooves in the bore riding nose. The latest '644 are smooth nosed with the small flat point.

The first model 311679 is the the late '644 with a spiral point.

Lyman has made more than one error in the pictures in the last 50 years of publishing their books.


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billwnr posted this 01 March 2011

I bought the book also and enjoyed Tom's chapter.

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Tom Acheson posted this 01 March 2011


The first photo is not captioned right. I made two photos; one with 5-round groups and the other with 10-round groups. But I screwed-up and sent the 10-round caption with the 5-round photo. My mistake, not Lyman's. The photo is the one with Savage and the Postal targets (I score that Postal for the CBA so I saved the better looking targets to use in this photo).

The CBA chapter was done as an attempt to serve as a recruiting effort for the CBA. Will be interesting to see if it helps grow our membership!


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CB posted this 13 March 2011


Thanks for getting in there with your pitch for the CBA. We are all in your debt.


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dimebox posted this 13 March 2011

When I got my copy, ordered months in advance from Mid-South, I turned wistfully to the 8mm Mauser hoping to get 200 grain+ data. Nothing. Not very surprised at that.   Then I turned with eagerness to the 35 caliber rifle info. for heavy bullet data. Nothing.  Saeco makes a beautiful 245 grain bullet, SURELY they will have data on that! No.  I have a 35 Whelen and 2 Marlins in 356 Winchester (my sons rifles).  No help with heavier bullets. I know the 356 won't be listed but the 358 is still listed but only with the lighter and only Lyman bullets.  The data is updated but that is all.  I too liked MLV's and other's articles.  Incidentally, I have shot that 245 gr. Saeco in the 35 Whelen and 356 Winchesters.  Does great!  Yes, if the cases are trimmed to minimum the Marlin will cycle them through the action.


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Dale53 posted this 14 March 2011

I was disappointed when I first got the Lyman 4th Edition Cast Bullet Handbook. However, as I read it and looked up more calibers I find it a very useful addition to my library. I believe that Mike did a nice job on this one, too.

I DO wish someone would run some REAL data on the .44 Special but it doesn't look like anyone is going to do this. This kind of leaves us up in the air without a parachute.

The old timers around here won't have a problem with this as we have been loading the Skeeter load for a long time with NO problems in modern full size .44 Specials. For those who may not be familiar with the Skeeter load it is 7.5 grs of Unique behind a 250 gr Keith cast bullet (my choice is the MiHec clone of the H&G #503). This will give about 950 fps and will do 95% of what most of us use a revolver for anyway. Really, nice, practical load for general field use.


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Ed Harris posted this 14 March 2011

In my oldS&W Hand Ejector I load 5 grains of Bullseye behind Saeco #441 and this is accurate and shoots to the fixed sights. Velocity 720 fps from 5 inch barel.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Tom Acheson posted this 14 March 2011

You'll notice that the .41 Mag section does not list the Lyman 410610. My memory says there is RCBS and Saeco moulds only shown there. They explained that since Lyman no longer offers the 410610 mould, they listed other makes. You'll also notice that on the last page of the CBA chapter, there is a 30 BR chart which they allowed me to list molds other than Lyman's.

I especially liked the listing of quite a few BPCR chamberings that are not in the previous version of the book. No black powder loads are shown but it's still nice to see the expanded coverage.



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Michael K posted this 14 March 2011

I understand developing and publishing load data is a huge major undertaking both in time and expense.  Redeveloping complete data all over again would be redundant. However, at the risk of being blunt, over the years I have come to notice that sometimes new editions just appear to be means to sell the same data, just in a different cover, format and color, be it metallics, BPCR or shotshell, etc. Often times not taking into account new propellants and/or other components.  Understandably new rounds are added and some older/less popular ones are omitted.

I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the 4th ed, but I must ask the $25 question.  How does the 4th ed compare to our well worn vintage 3rd ed., taking into consideration the changes in propellant offerings/availability since 1980? 

For those of you have purchased it, was it money well spent and would you recommended as a worthy succesor to a torn, tattered, frayed 3rd ed?  Hopefully data for Alcan, vintage WW and Hodgdon powders have been omitted and replaced by some of more recent technology and current availability.

Sincerely,  Michael


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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 14 March 2011

I prefer to have BOTH.  The 4th edition for new cartridge data,  the older one for those cartridges omitted in the newer book. 

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armalite53 posted this 25 June 2014

To Tom Acheson

Regarding the CBA recruitment effort. It got me to join!

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