Lyman’s Cast Bullet Handbook
I’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 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.
By Mike “Duke” Venturino
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