Dry Creek Bullets Works 230gr 41 Keith

Dry Creek Bullets Works (DCBW) is a custom bullet caster located in, as owner Lynn Halstead (aka. Creeker) puts it, a hollow in West Virginia. They specialize in Keith bullets although other types are available as well. Lynn has over 30 years experience casting bullets and the quality of his bullets reflects that.

The subject of this review is their DC41-230K. It is a 230 grain Keith Bullet in 41 caliber and is designed for the 41 mag. The picture on the right shows a typical 215gr cast SWC on the left with a DCBW bullet as cast in the middle. The right hand bullet is a DCBW bullet that has been sized and lubed. The distinctive characteristics of the Keith Bullet are clearly evident. Note the three wide and equal width driving bands with the first driving band being full caliber. The lube groove is deep and wide with a flat bottom. The crimp groove is deep to allow a secure crimp and is beveled to help open the case mouth upon firing. The bullet carries a large percentage of its weight forward to allow for more powder capacity. It has a plain base as opposed to the bevel base the SWC has. Note also how long the Keith Bullet is in comparison to the SWC. This will be discussed later in the review.

Upon inspection the first impression was that this is a very well cast bullet. There are no mold seams visible and the sprue cutoff is smooth and even. The bullets are well filled out and there is no frosting or wrinkles evident. Ten random bullets were selected for weighing and measuring. The average weight was 229.3grs with an extreme spread of only 1.8grs. The standard deviation was .6grs. The bullets were requested to be sized at .411”.The average size was .4113” with an extreme spread of .0003”. The standard deviation was only .0001”. Needless to say, they are very consistent.

The second impression was that this is a long bullet. The crimp groove to nose measurement is .390”. When seated in a 41 mag case at the maximum length of 1.290”, the overall length is 1.680”. The test firearm was a Taurus Tracker 425Ti. It is a compact framed revolver and as such, has a shorter cylinder than normal. It can only handle an overall length of 1.630”. Two methods were employed to get around this problem. The first batch of bullets were loaded with the bullet seated deep enough to crimp over the first driving band of the bullet. This was not satisfactory as the powder capacity was reduced too much. The second batch was loaded with the cases trimmed from the maximum length of 1.290 to 1.240”. This reduced the overall length to 1.630” and allowed the bullets to fill the cylinder nicely. The picture at the right shows a 215 gr SWC on the left. The middle bullet is a DCBW bullet seated over the driving band and the bullet on the right is a DCBW seated normally. Clearly, this is not the fault of the bullet but must be taken into account when selecting a bullet for your 41 mag. I doubt very much that the Ruger or Smith and Wesson will have this issue.

Taurus 425Ti 41 Magnum

Now to the shooting and it was not disappointing. The combination of this gun and shooter has been capable of group sizes ranging 2” to 3” at 25 yards with most loads shot. This gun has also shown a decided tendency to require heavier bullets be moving along pretty fast to shoot well. The first set of loads tested were with Accurate Arms #9. The results are listed in the table below. Groups are the best 4 of 5 shots using open sights, the purpose of this is to measure the accuracy of the gun and load not my shooting.

Powder ChargeAverage VelocityGroup Size
16.0 grs AA #911281.750
16.5 grs AA#911641.875
17.0 grs AA#912041.800
17.5 grs AA#912301.875

These loads shot better than any load ever has in this gun. Any of these loads should be dynamite on any deer, wild boar, or black bear they are used on. I will admit however, that a 230gr bullet at 1230fps in the 28oz Titanium Tracker is “enlightening” to shoot.

Using Hodgdon Universal to try to get a mid range load proved once again that the Tracker does not like heavy bullets moving slowly. The loads clocked between 765 to 1000fps but grouped poorly at around 4”.

In the August 2002 Handloader magazine, Brian Pearce wrote an article about Keith bullets. I quote his article “Dry Creek offers a very extensive line for many calibers and includes the option of hand cast or machine cast bullets with bullet lube options that include Ballisti-cast and Apache Blue. They are the best commercial cast Keith bullets I have tested”. (* Editors note: Dry Creek no longer uses Apache Blue, they now use LBT Soft lube *) In summary, Dry Creek Bullet Works casts an exceptional bullet. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking for an excellent bullet.

Lynn can be reached via e-mail at lynn44mag@webtv.net, at his website http://www.creeker.net, or by phone at 304-854-0545.

Terry Willis

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