Snapshot – Combination mould #321297 & #323471

Just the thing for the man who brought home a trophy from his time in Europe during the war. Typical combination mould in that the two calibers have some sort of relationship to each other – in this case both can be sized for use in .32/8mm caliber rifles although the flat nose #321297 is probably not as a good a choice out of a .32-40 or .32 Special as the other bullet. On the other hand, the #323471 is probably a better choice out of the Mauser than the #321297.321297-323471-1 321297-323471



311413-2 One of the more common .30 caliber moulds is the #311413. This bullet was introduced as a suitable bullet for duplicating the .30-06 cartridge in use by the military. Although this mould was made in huge numbers and is frequently encountered, most of what is written about it hints that the design was tempermental and difficult to get to shoot well in a rifle.

The #311413 had a large amount, more than half its length, unsupported in the barrel. Seated or sized improperly, it isn’t hard to imagine the wild gyrations of this bullet as it leaves the barrel.

Typical for the time, the bullet features two grooves, a gas check heel, and no forward band. No doubt the idea was to duplicate the length and general shape of the .30 bullet in use by the military.

311413-1Later experiments in bullet design would result in Lyman creating the ‘dot pattern’ bullets. These bullets were given this nickname because of the use of a dotted outline in advertising to illustrate the relationship of bearing to non-bearing surfaces.

The #311413 is probably the most common non-.30-30 bullet mould out there in .30 caliber.

The #311413 made it’s last appearance on one of the Special lists back in 1975 and was never seen in the catalogs again.

Lyman #452626 – Composite bullet

In the late 1970′s Lyman introduced several ‘composite’ bullets. These bullets were of two-piece construction. The idea was that the front half of the bullet would be cast from softer metal to promote expansion and the rear half of the bullet would be cast from a harder metal to allow top speed. This idea was not new, Ideal had made composite moulds about a hundred years earlier.

The new composite moulds were:

  • #358624 – 170 gr.
  • #429635 – 232 Gr.
  • #452636 – 245 gr.

In addition to the usual 6-digit mould numbers, each mould was designated ‘A’ or’B’. For example, the complete #452636 set would include mould #452626A and #452636B.

The main drawback of these designs was that, unlike earlier composite designs that had one bullet formed by filling the mould with two different metals resulting in a fairly homogenous bullet, the newer composit bullet had the user epoxy the two halves together. The front half would nest into a hollowpoint-like portion of the rear half of the bullet.

In practice, it was very easy to epoxy the front half into a less-than-perfect-alignment and accuracy could be degraded.

The moulds were discontinued after a few years and are somewhat collectible. Unfortunately they do not always come as a matched set….a complete two-mould set is far more valuable than one set of blocks that is missing its mate.

452626 452626-1 452626-2 452626-3 452626-4 452626-5


Snapshot – #225415 / #224450 Combination Mould

Example of a .22 caliber combination mould for the .22 caliber bullets. Like virtually all combination moulds, this one was probably a special order. At various points in Ideal/Lyman’s history a customer could have moulds ordered with different cavities or with hollowpoints for a small extra charge. The moulds often, but not always, were shipped in the ‘special’ box.

225415-224450 225415-224450-1

Ideal #37584 – Perfection mould

Ideal offered adjustable weight moulds under the ‘Perfection’ name. The design was simple -  a plug, which fit into the base of the mould like a hollowbase plug, was threaded to allow an increase or decrease in the length of the bullet, thereby changing it’s weight. To give as wide a range of weights as possible, the Perfection moulds favored bullet designs that had many narrow grooves. Popular weights of a particular Perfection bullet could be had in normal non-adjustable mould blocks as well.


Ideal Perfection mould for #37584

Ideal #37584 is a flat-nosed bullet for the .38-caliber rifles, and looks very similar to a Loverin bullet except for the lack of gas check. While the Perfection moulds were discontinued early in the twentieth century, Lyman offered the #37584 in a non-adjustable block all the way up until 1977 when it was last seen on the Special C list.



#323060 – Odd uncataloged modern variant

Every so often something unusual comes across the internet, usually on eBay, that leaves the bullet mould enthusiast scratching his head. This particular #323060 mould is one of those head-scratchers.


Original #323060 mould. This particular sample being an older, unvented Ideal single-cavity block. Like many bullets, this one was available in several weights…so some samples will have more or fewer grooves.

As you can imagine from the low cherry number, #60, this is a very old design. Like many old designs it was carried on the Special Order list until about 1978. After that, like many of the old designs, it was gone for good. Or was it? This mould not only resurfaced as a somewhat-current production but also as a special variation on the #323060.


Modern-manufacture version of the #32360 bullet. Note the modern 6-digit versin of the number, and the “AV” designating which specific cherry was used.

A very interesting quality of this mould is that it is for two different weights of the same bullet, but the difference in weight appears to come simply from running the cherry deeper into the block rather than from having more grooves added to the bullet.


And here’s the very modern box the mould came in. Note that it is marked “Special Mould”.


Special, indeed!

The history behind how this mould came to be is uncertain but it does provoke some interesting theories…the most obvious is that Lyman will, in some circumstances, produce an uncataloged special-order mould. It’s possible this was part of a large ‘group buy’ but my understanding has been that to make such a buy feasible the quantity purchased must be fairly high. That being the case, it would seem that other moulds like this would have turned up.

Regardless of how this mould came to be, it’s a fascinating and exciting addition to any collection.

#338320 – .33 Win. bullet

Until the introduction of the .340 Weatherby there was only one factory .33-caliber cartridge that achieved any popularity – the .33 Winchester. There were a few wildcats, of course, but when it came to the .33 caliber the Winchester cartridge as pretty much it.

The #338320 was a 200-gr. FN GC. The flat-nose profile is one of the more obvious traits of a .33 Winchester bullet since the cartridge was chambered almost exclusively in lever-action guns using tubular magazines….making a flat-nose (or round-nosed) bullet a requirement in order to avoid some exciting magazine detonations.


Like many of the older designs, the #338320 eventually migrated to the Special List (in this case the Special ‘B’ List) and was discontinued in 1978. An interesting bit of trivia: Ideal started gas check bullet designs around cherry #319, making this bullet one of the earliest production gas check designs.

338320-1Although the .33 caliber never amounted to more than a handful of cartridges, Ideal/Lyman offered several designs in this caliber. One plain base and two gas check patterns were the entirety of Lymans efforts towards the .33 caliber.

Currently, RCBS offers a 200 grain .33 GC FN mould off their Special Order list.

Snapshot – 358156 / 431244 Combination Mould

A handy mould for the man with a Model 27 and a Model 29. Both designs are credited to Ray Thompson. Note that the #244 bullet is given the sizing of 431″ to make it “431244″. Many of the .44 bullets were listed at different sizes over their lives. Most common is .429″ as seen in #429421, but sometimes moulds are encountered as .430″ or even .431″.


#410662 – Proprietary .40 rifle mould


Lyman #410662 exclusively for Dixie Gun Works

In 1996 and 1997, Lyman introduced the #410660 and #410663 bullets for the .40 caliber rifles, which had seen a revival of interest. In addition to the cataloged moulds, a non-cataloged proprietary mould was introduced that was exclusive for Dixie Gun Works. Lyman has a previous history of making moulds specially for other companies and having those moulds only be available through those companies (Freedom Arms, Wildey, Lakeville Arms, etc.) so this was not a new idea. #410662 was a 400~ grain bullet of similar design to many of Lymans ‘blackpowder cartridge rifle’ moulds (BPCR). Since this mould was available exclusively through Dixie Gun Works, it is difficult to tell just how long it was offered.


Faces of the Lyman #410662

Since Lyman introduces new bullet sequentially, it is likely that at about this time another mould was introduced using the “661″ designation. However, if it was a proprietary product, like the #410662, it would be difficult to tell where it went without, essentially, just stumbling across it. It’s possible that #661 was another exclusive for Dixie Gun Works but without a catalog from that time period it is difficult to get a definitive answer.