joecool911 wrote: So how does a novice make a good choice? I have a new ballard type 444 and am looking for a mold. It appears that you dont make recommendations. Am I better off to order a production mold and forget about a custom?
Lever actions are the most difficult type of firearm to design a bullet for. They can be very picky about what they will cycle and chamber.
That is why I have posted a few "proven" (and I use that word loosely) designs for lever actions. They were proven to cycle and chamber. Beyond that, there are few guarantees.
No, I don't make recommendations. For one thing, I don't get paid for the time required to make a careful recommendation. That's a pretty darned good reason. I used to try to help customers design bullets, sometimes donating up to 40 hours a week. Most of the time, the customer would end up ignoring my advice and doing things his way.
When I made free recommendations, people would hold me responsible when it didn't work. "Hey, this sucker won't chamber. I demand a new mold." Lotsa luck making a living by giving away free advice and free molds.
For another thing, to properly design a bullet for a repeating rifle, I would either have to have possession of your firearm, or own such a firearm myself. Even then, it sometimes takes several attempts before a satisfactory design is achieved. Read my ramblings on my 357 Marlin, where I went through several bullet designs before the Marlin was content. Guns seem to have a mind of their own.
Mass produced molds are satisfactory for most people and most guns. For the 444 Marlin, the mass produced offerings are limited. If LBT is still open for business, Veral could probably set you up with a proper mold. I seem to recall that Veral has personal experience with a Marlin 444, so it would be a no-brainer for him. Just be sure to tell him it is for the 444 Marlin. If you just order an ordinary 44 LFN without mentioning it is for a Marlin, he may give you a LFN handgun bullet, which won't cycle or chamber in the Marlin as it comes from the factory.
(The LFN handle is somewhat meaningless. Some of the LFN bullets sold by Beartooth were not made by Veral and are not the same as Veral's LFNs. Furthermore, not all of Veral's LFNs were exactly the same, as he would tweak them to fit particular firearms).
As I have suggested on another thread, the simple solution would be for other 444 owners to post their designs, including a screenshot of the design page. Then the novice would merely have to print out the design page and mail it in. But, I cannot force customers to post their designs.
Someday I hope to have an online database of customer designs that you can choose from. Right now, such a database doesn't exist, and it might take me hours to dig through boxes of old files trying to find a design that someone ordered years ago. I simply can't make molds and play secretary at the same time.