Dial Keith-358429

Different Faces and Bases for a Legendary Bullet

If Elmer Keith were alive today, I imagine him pushing up his famous wide-brimmed Stetson, grinning at all the options available for his famous 358429 cast semi-wadcutter mold design. With all the options available today, the 358429 is still as viable today as it was when it first dropped from a hot Lyman/Ideal mold.

Tank loads the bullets like they were designed to be loaded — hot! They should
only be shot in magnum-chambered guns!

Elmer’s Take

Looking at the shiny brass Cramer-style hollow-point (HP) molds, Elmer would appreciate the craftsmanship and skill involved in making these beauties. He’d marvel about his bullet design making it clear across the world, to the country of Slovenia, and having more options than a taco bar.

He’d notice and appreciate the stylish vent lines, the ease and speed of operation, while making piles of HP bullets almost as fast as casting solids. He’d love the different options too, thinking which ones he’d use for each specific task.

Yessiree, Ol’ Elmer would be mighty pleased with the development of his humble cast semi-wadcutter slug. It’s a favorite of mine, too.

The results: different bullets made using M-P Molds with a vintage Lyman/Ideal mold box in the background.

Some History

Elmer’s famous trilogy of terror, caliber-wise, utilizing his famous “Keith” bullet design started with the Lyman 429421 for the .44 Special. He abandoned the .45 Colt SAA in 1927, when he blew it up on the 4th of July with heavy handloads of his own making. Oops!

He also designed the Lyman 454423 for use in the .45 ACP/Auto Rim. The 454424 followed shortly after for the .45 Colt. Lastly was the Lyman 358429, designed for heavy loads in S&W N-Frame .38/44 sixguns.

Elmer’s long-nosed design was greatly designed, making it more aerodynamic, hence flatter shooting, but it had a drawback. It wasn’t conducive to loading in .357 Magnum brass in S&Ws of the day. Bear in mind Elmer designed this bullet before the advent of the .357 Magnum, but his hot-loaded .38s got some people thinking.
Elmer designed it to be loaded in .38 Special cases, maximizing nose length and placing the crimp-groove so overall length would maximize powder capacity in the S&W .38/44 Outdoorsman.

If loaded in .357 Magnum brass, roll-crimping over the front driving band was necessary so the nose wouldn’t protrude from the cylinder. Elmer added a fourth caliber to his trilogy in 1963-64 for the newly developed .41 Magnum, with Lyman’s 410459.

M-P Molds have different pins to allow different noses. Now it’s socially acceptable
to pick your nose and brag about the results!

MP Molds

I first heard about MP Molds around 10 years ago on a cast-bullet website. People were talking about these beautiful brass HP molds from Slovenia. Owner and founder Miha Previc is just like you and me in that he enjoys casting, loading and shooting his own bullets.

He was a plastics mold designer in a previous life and tried making bullet molds for himself. The same principles are used, just different filling, right?

He knows vents are necessary to allow air to escape, preventing voids as molten alloy enters the cavities. His cavities are highly polished to allow easy drop out. The sprue-plate bolt has a cross-screw, locking it in place so it won’t loosen during operation. Yes, Miha knows his molds.

A variety of Elmer’s famous Lyman/Ideal 358429. They’ve been making .38
Specials bark like magnums since their inception.

Options, Variations

Miha knows cast bullets are versatile and made even more so when you tweak their bases, noses, and even lube grooves. By adding a Gas Check (GC) and a good lube, you can drive your cast bullets up to 3,000 fps without leading. Different HP styles allow for different rates of expansion. Go deep-cavity for a more frangible, expanding HP, shallow for less.

Do you powder coat your cast slugs? No sense having lube grooves if you do. You’ll pick up more bullet weight (5 grains in this instance) and casting will be a breeze as these groove-less bullets drop from the mold.

Miha also offers molds made in 2, 4, 6 and even 8-cavity styles. The 6 and 8 styles are limited to solid design only, but boy can they stack up the bullets!
Bobby Kell Jr. from Illinois is a big help, taking and sending measurements to Miha. They’re sent in from customers interested in getting a mold. Ninety percent of M-P Molds are sold in the U.S. at factory-direct prices.

Nothing sexier than a 358429 loaded in .38 Special brass,
except maybe the 429421 loaded in .44 Special.

Terminal Effect

The Lyman/Ideal 358429 is still an excellent bullet, especially when loaded in .38 Special cases (as intended) with 13.0 grains of 2400. This load is for .357 Magnum guns only! Velocities run over 1,200 fps from 4″ barrels.

Combined with the many options available from M-P Molds, Elmer’s classic bullets make them “the shot heard ’round the world” literally!


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