Please Help ID Mystery Molds

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Hello to the group. I joined in hopes of getting input identifying old black powder items I come across from time to time. I feed my obsession...err...hobby... by purchasing lots of grubby stuff at auctions in hopes of finding nuggets in the grub. I keep a piece or 2 or 3 and sell off the rest to feed the cycle. Slowly building a nice collection. Most of my focus is on post-Civil War to 1900. Early cartridge weapons mostly, but I certainly don't walk away from nice cap & ball items when they show up.

I am asking for help identifying some bullet molds. I attached photos with some markups. I've never been able to find a good source of info to identify these older ball/bullet molds.

1. 2nd time I've seen this type of mold. Iron, similar to the early Colt molds pre-Civil War. No marks, numbers or any indication of manufacture. Look at the mold, not the bullet. Photo angle didn't catch the bullet shape. Look like a suppository (don't ask how I know). The .31 ball is typical but the .34 suppository is just weird. I have no idea what pistol (assuming it is for a pistol) this mold is made for.

2. I run across this style of mold on a regular basis. Some with, some without sprue cutters. Many ball sizes, usually with no marks. When they do have marks it usually a 2 digit number stamped in using single number stamps, resulting in an irregular looking number. In this case the number is 28. Not a clue about the numbering on theses molds. The sprue cutter would seem to place it closer to the Civil War than 1800, but that is guesswork on my part. If there is a web source or specific books covering the period between the Revolution and the Civil War please point me at them.

3. Never seen this before. Looks like a square hammer but that would be too easy. Or maybe it is. Iron mold. The mark on it is No. 40 or possibly No. 42. the second digit looks like 0 or 2 was overstruck. Can't tell which was 1st. The lower case "o" is elevated or susperscripted to be level with the top of the N. I would love to know where this came from, what the design is all about.

4. Another oddball. I've seen the basic mold design as early as the Revolution. Nuemann & Kravic have a similar mold on page 192 but it doesn't have the ring on the end. It seems unlikely the mold is that old, but I can hope. It has no marks that I can find. I am hesitant to clean it further than the light copper wool/oil scrub already done. It appears to have a thick smooth coating that has partially flaked away. It might simply be the original iron flaking away but I am reluctant to pry a sample off to examine.

Any and all input is welcome. These early molds are a mystery to me. I don't want to make the mistake of selling off a special piece just because I can't identify it as such.


Thanks in advance

Mold 1.jpg



Mold 2.jpg


Mold 3.jpg
 
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I can help on a couple. Many times the mold is marked with the gauge or balls per pound.

A 40 gauge ball will measure 0.488" in diameter. A 42 gauge ball would measure 0.480" in diameter.

The one marked 28 is more problematic. A 28 gauge ball should measure 0.550". A ball measuring 0.606" in diameter is a 21 gauge ball.
 

hanshi

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Back when I had an 1858 Remmy I also had a mold very much like your #1. Only difference was that it was for a .44.
 

Uncle Miltie

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Mold #1 is likely for a picket rifle, which often used both round ball and cloth patched (picket) bullet. #s 2 and 3 are round ball molds for use with a rifle. Mold handles were purchased by gunsmiths uncut from jobbers and when a barrel was made for a rifle the handles were cut with a cherry to make the cavity. In the old days molds were marked not by diameter but the number of balls to the pound. Mold #4 appears to be for a picket rifle.
 
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Mold #1 is likely for a picket rifle, which often used both round ball and cloth patched (picket) bullet. #s 2 and 3 are round ball molds for use with a rifle. Mold handles were purchased by gunsmiths uncut from jobbers and when a barrel was made for a rifle the handles were cut with a cherry to make the cavity. In the old days molds were marked not by diameter but the number of balls to the pound. Mold #4 appears to be for a picket rifle.
Any thoughts on the purpose of the ring at the end of the handle?
 
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Back when I had an 1858 Remmy I also had a mold very much like your #1. Only difference was that it was for a .44.
Did your mold throw the same diameter bullets or did it have the wide variance seen on this one? 0.035 is huge. I'm not sure how you could even force that slug into a bore designed to take a .31.
 
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I used to pick up quite a few old moulds at antique shops, flea markets, etc. quite cheaply. Don't see them much anymore. But, I never worried about what rifle they were made for. IMHO, they are what they are. To get size, just cast a couple balls and measure. I don't like hot handles so mine were mostly for display and trade. Don't think I have any left anymore.
 
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I used to pick up quite a few old moulds at antique shops, flea markets, etc. quite cheaply. Don't see them much anymore. But, I never worried about what rifle they were made for. IMHO, they are what they are. To get size, just cast a couple balls and measure. I don't like hot handles so mine were mostly for display and trade. Don't think I have any left anymore.
I'm an information junkie. Doesn't matter if I am keeping the item or not. Every item has a history, a past. I wish I knew who, what, where, when.

Came across a pair of Winchester tools (mold/press) with matching numbers stamped into the frames. Can't find anything about them. Makes me a little crazy, but half the fun in playing with old things is the research. Like the man said in the movie "I gots ta know."
 
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Heat maybe?
Unlikely. The mold is only 4-7/8". I suspect it would be uniformly untouchable within 2-3 casts.

I might be "just" an handle but it seems to be a lot of trouble to craft a near perfect circle.I may be wrong but logic dictates some specific purpose. Can't be a barrel wrench because it has no notches or facets. Unless it relies purely on friction.

A mystery, for now.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Any thoughts on the purpose of the ring at the end of the handle?

Looks like the ring of a key. Maybe the mold was contracted for a sheriff's office or ..., even better...., for casting bullets for penal guards' (corrections officers) revolvers, and they wanted to keep it on the ring with the cell keys? Keep from losing it? A state might have ordered a bunch made this way for several different facilities.

Makes a good story even if pure conjecture.....

LD
 
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