Saturday, December 18, 2010

168 Keith Boolit, an Excellent Design

I've spent a lot of time buying, casting, loading, testing, and then selling moulds.  The design that keeps rising to the top as consistently accurate is the Keith.  For instance the 168 or a SWC which is fashioned much like a Keith. Everything else gets sold off unless it can group less than 1 inch at 25 yards.

The best so far is a 168 Keith cast from a Night Owl Enterprises (NOE) mould.  I really like it, as it has the plain base, squared off large grease groove and 3 equal size driving bands.  I suspect the crimp groove is modified a bit from the original design of Elmer Keith, but it works well and that's what I care about.  Most important is the 1 inch or less groups that it is capable of. Off a rolled up carpet rest.  That's pretty good in my book.  The best group is .6 inch measured center to center.  I judge the mould, the design and the final boolit by how well they perform and this is excellent performance.

I grabbed a few that I cast this morning and took this picture:

There's at least one that's rounded and will be recycled, but this should give you a good idea of how they look.  As a footnote: these are 10 lbs of pure lead with 1 oz of solder for tin.  This is consistently the most accurate alloy in my 357 revolver.

A 145 SWC from NOE just showed up so sometime in the next month or two I'll post those test results.

The Lee 158 SWC TL is also an incredibly accurate design when loaded in 357 brass and crimped into the second TL groove.  Lee Alox works well as a lube, but I prefer the shiny barrel left by a conventional homemade lube such as Darr lube. Since I force rank the boolits, even this mould got sold off to help fund testing another.

Right behind the 168 Keith and the 158 SWC from Lee is the 148 TL Wadcutter from Lee.  It's very accuracte, however it groups slightly bigger.  So it got sold too.

The various other boolits like the 105 SWC, the 158 RF (flat nose) and several other flat nose designs didn't group well at 25 yards.  So they all got sold too.  Some are from high end mould makers and are costly.  If they don't group less than 1 inch, they are sold.

I'm looking for the best accuracy in my Taurus 66, 6 inch revolver and can't imagine starting a casting session excited about using the second best or third best mould.  It takes some time to cast, lube and handload so why not use the best most accurate boolit all the time  I'm sure I'll find something I really like and may end up with 2 or 3 keepers.  But they will have to have something very special about them, or they will all get sold.

The NOE 168 Keith is very special, it's a keeper.  I'm looking forward to casting and testing the 145 and begin evaluating it.

Find the most accurate design that works with a good throat fit and everything else works better.  Once you get something capable of less than 1 inch, work with it, practice with it and enjoy the results.  Even shooting off-hand the groups are excellent, that's actually how most of my 1,000 rounds a month are shot.

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