358156gc vs lee 158rnfp

  • Last Post 23 November 2019
Rick OShay posted this 19 November 2019

I am curious on everyone's opinions.

What does the 358156gc do better than the Lee 158rnfp ? Or The 358429 do better than say the old castboolits group buy 180 rnfp (kind of a lbt design) ( IRC Junior1942 was involved in the design) I have the G.C. version and none G.C. version. 

Just looking for others opinions.

Do I need another mold? May or may not be a rhetorical question.



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RicinYakima posted this 20 November 2019

IMHO, Ray Thompson's 357156 is the best combination of design features for the 38/44 and 357 magnum. If you go back over the reloading data for the last 65 years, Lyman data specifically for this bullet, you will find that it delivers more velocity per grain of powder than any other of its size. The driving bands are narrow and displace small amounts of material from the bore lands and they are wide enough to stop finning. It will hold enough old style lube to minimize leading and the gas check will stop leading at maximum 357 magnum pressure. You can crimp it two places to optimize case volume.

So I'm not saying the boutique Lee designs are bad, they just aren't as good for maximum effort 357 loads.

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BigMan54 posted this 20 November 2019

I agree with Ric 100%.

As many different bullet designs I've tried over the past 55+yrs, I always come back to the #358156. My Dad started using it in the early 1950's when it came out, passed it's use on to me.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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R. Dupraz posted this 20 November 2019

The first bullet mold that I ever bought some time in the mid sixties was a Lyman four cavity 358156 which I still have. The old crotchety gunsmith that got me a new S&W nickel 19 6" back then, which I sadly don't have,  put me onto that mold. Never needed anything different. It has shot some very nice groups in all the .357's that I have had over the years. 

Don't have a need for horse power any more. So now all I shoot in hand guns are mild plain base loads. 

Matter of fact have been thinking lately of thinning some unused molds out. That four cavity 358156 being one of them. But, not ready just yet to pry it out of my mitts. though.



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GBertolet posted this 20 November 2019

I too have that 358156 mold in 4 cavity. It was one of the first I purchased in the 1970's. In my younger days. Back then, if it wasn't a maximum load I did not want to shoot it. In that respect the mold served me well. As a seasoned citizen now, like Mr. Dupraz, plain base bullets at more moderate velocities, are the norm now. Tin cans and paper targets can't tell the difference. I can't see spending the extra money on gas checks for the more moderate loadings. Although you could still use the bullet without a gas check. In my 6" S&W 19, 38 wadcutters, roll tin cans quite nicely. Better suited the the model 19 anyway.

The 358156 is an interesting mold, having two crimping grooves. The upper one for 357 mag, and the lower one for 38 spl, giving you the option of seating the bullet out further.

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Eutectic posted this 21 November 2019

358156 was one of the first molds I purchased. The first two bands were undersized so they would fit into the cylinder lead when you used the lower crimp groove. I sold the mold because it was a single cavity and SLOOOW. Later i bought a multiple cavity which was supposed to be a 358156 copy. The front bands were full diameter so I could not use it in the lower crimp groove unless I sized it smaller. It never shot as well as the original.

Ray Thompson was a genius!

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Rich/WIS posted this 21 November 2019

Not clear what your use will be, if hot loads then a GC mold may be a good idea, and for low power leave off the GC.  For light/medium loads the Lee will work fine, and a 6 cavity will make a lot of bullets fast.  Only experience with Lyman 4 cav molds was the 358495 WC and IIRC the weight of the mold was an issue on long casting sessions. 

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Rick OShay posted this 21 November 2019

I do have the 6 cavity lee mold in rnfp and 158swc tl in six cavity. They both shoot real well in my guns. My typical load is 5grn B.E. with both. They are my general walking around load and have taken coyotees and jack rabbits and countless rocks with them. Velocity out of my 4" gp100 and 4 5/8 b.h. is around 1050 I dont remember for sure. Then my 20" rossi goes about 1100ish once again I dont remember.

I am considering trying some 358156 for top end loads as well as trying to find some pb gc for the lee bullets.

I have thought about the 358429 for longer distance shooting with max loads, But the group buy mold that I have does pretty good at that. 

I am wanting to try my hand at cowboy lever silhouette. That will give me a reason to do more experimentation with different stuff. 

I have pushed my 177 pb kinda lbt design at 1750 in my lever gun, but I havent really done much with those in a long time just because I dont really need to shoot magnum loads for 90% of rock killing.


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BigMan54 posted this 22 November 2019

I used a pair of 2cav molds to cast my #358156, I could never get 4 good bullets out of a 4cav when Dipper casting. I was poor back then and could never find a Good pot when I could afford one. So all my molds were 2cav, and used 1cav for Rifle. 

Got Saeco #354 - 180gr FPGC 2cav, it's good for Rifle and 6"bbl revolvers. But I just preferred the Lyman. 

In fact I still have the 1cav Lyman #429215GC which I used to load in warm .44Spl load for a Colt New Service. Use it too.

Later I got a Lyman Mag-20 & RCBS Pro-Melt, and loaded up on Lyman 4cav molds and a few H&G 4cav too.  All the H&G molds are "lost" now and some of the Lyman & RCBS molds too. Replaced most molds, but the pair of 2cav still suits me fine.

You just can't beat a Thompson Gas Check Design.


Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Larry Gibson posted this 23 November 2019

I've several moulds for 38/357 cartridges, including the 358156, 358477 and TL358-158-SWC along with other designs, that I've used in numerous 38/357 revolvers, single shots and rifles over the years.  If used in true top end 38 SPL +P, 38/44 and 357 Magnum level loads where accuracy with softer expandable alloys is wanted the GC'd 358156 has always proven to be the best.  It also is best if, even with "harder" alloys, in single shots and rifles if velocity is pushed over 1200 - 1300 fps. 

For standard 38 SPL loads with any decent alloy, binary or ternary, the PB'd bullets do as well.  The same in low end or midrange 357 magnum cases; the PB's do as well.

Most all of my standard 38 SPLs these days are loaded with the TL358-158-SWC over 3.5 gr Bullseye simply by virtue the mould is a 6 cavity.  The top end +Ps are 358156s cast of 40-1, sized .358, GC'd and lubed with BAC and loaded over 5.5 gr Unique (pressure tested right at the SAAMI MAP).  After loading they are HP'd with the Forster 1/*" HP tool.  In expansion tests they give equal penetration and better expansion that the Winchester "FBI +P load.

The 358477s are usually cast of a ternary alloy, sized .358 and lubed with BAC then loaded in 357 Magnum cases over 6 gr Unique for a very good mid range level load.

In the 357 magnum my top end true magnum level load is the 358156 cast of 16-1 alloy, GC'd, sized .358 and lubed with BAC then loaded over 14.5 gr Alliant 2400.  The bullet, after loaded, is HP'd with the Forster 1/8" HP tool.  That load has proven to be excellent is used in my Ruger Security Six, Contender, rifles and any Ruger BHs I come into possession of.  This load pressure test at or slightly over the SAAMI 35,000 psi MAP.  I do not use it in my M19 2/2" as the 38 SPL +Ps are best for it.    


Concealment is not cover.........

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R. Dupraz posted this 23 November 2019

That lyman 358156 when sized to .3575" and loaded with 2400 has been my most used combination for full throttle  lead loads in the .357 over the years. Primarily because I started with it for my revolvers..  However I also have the PB version of that bullet as well.

Some time ago, I was invited to go through a deceased shooters stuff by his surviving widow and found an older Lyman four cavity 358477 PB mold in nice shape and those bullets with a mild charge of 2400 again shoot very well in my Smith 19. Pretty much takes care of those charging Bud cans, clays and steel plates in grand style.

The only time those 358156 GC bullets get used any more is in a Winchester 92 carbine, just to use those remaining GC's up     


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