View Full Version : Lead alternatives for the C&B crowd?
December 16, 2009, 03:23 PM
Not that I live in the condor range, or ever will...
This question came to me while I was tinkering the other night.
I really don't think there is a cost effective or hassle free alternative.
The only things that came to mind were copper, brass, zinc, tin and bismuth,
You'd have to have a real press to load even a closely sized copper or brass ball.
They'd be easier to clean the metal fouling that the others.
Tin you can cast yourself, but its $$$$ and the lightest metal...
zinc is cheap, is possible to cast yourself with the proper precautions and safety equipment, but it's heck to clean zinc fouling out of barrels.
Bismuth, I've heard is very brittle and doesn't lend itself to bullet making easily...but I don't know.
If course, we can just hope for all the condors to die off quickly from a disease from an ivnasive species so they can get rid of that hogwash law.
December 16, 2009, 04:15 PM
It's pretty fun!
December 16, 2009, 08:17 PM
Gold would work very well if you have your own gold claim. Otherwise it would be too expensive for the vast majority of us. A .45-70 shoots bullets of around an ounce or so...... so make every shot count!;)
December 16, 2009, 08:37 PM
Even if I had my own gold mine, I could probably think of better ways to use it.
December 16, 2009, 10:47 PM
I will definatly have to give it a try.
December 16, 2009, 10:52 PM
Andy, I cast my own balls, I use pure lead. Heard about the tire weights.
But the rest is all new to me. I have Buddy that owns a scape yard and I, get lead for.........well I will say it this way. I got 220 lb. for $45. Winter time is when I make my balls.
December 17, 2009, 11:39 PM
actualy there is no alternative to lead for the muzzleloading rifle, shotgun, carbine, or revolver. the steels used in these weapons preclude the use of non lead bullet material. even with a plastic sabot, most barrels would have serious damage after a few rounds.
revolvers wouldnt take the extra force required to load a bismuth steel bullet into the cylinder. parts would fail fast. heck, you couldnt get obturation if you used those materials in a cartridge revolver either.
December 18, 2009, 03:39 PM
the steels used in these weapons preclude the use of non lead bullet material. even with a plastic sabot, most barrels would have serious damage after a few rounds.
B.S. Barrel steel is mild steel. Even modern high powered rifles use relatively soft steel. A patched round ball would be the way to go with alternative metals in rifles. Even marbles would work if you could find them in the right size. You'd have to do some playing with loads to make up for the differences in weight but shouldn't be a real problem to use any of the above mentioned metals. Babbit would be another alternative that might actually work with revolvers but would require a loading stand.
January 17, 2010, 09:53 PM
I just had an idea. What about swaged aluminum foil? It seems to me you could swage it right into the cylinder with the loading lever.
January 18, 2010, 06:20 AM
Hi Ho Silver, away! :D
January 18, 2010, 12:18 PM
Gold would work very well if you have your own gold claim.
Except that the melting point of gold is nearly 2000° Fahrenheit. Your aluminum mould would melt at around 1250°, and your iron mould would be glowing brightly enough to light the room, as well as heating it too!
Metallic sodium is soft enough, but not very dense and has a nasty tendency to burst into flame when coming into contact with any humidity... such as moisture in the air.
January 18, 2010, 08:10 PM
Metallic sodium~ Yea, flaming bullets! A new legend of the west! Like tracers! :D
January 18, 2010, 11:21 PM
What calibers are the fingertips of tree-huggers?
January 19, 2010, 02:23 AM
or that lead free pewter?
I think a man would be in a bad way the moment his sweaty paws touched the sodium
January 19, 2010, 11:46 AM
Bismouth is another alternative but it is harder than crap & more than likely be a pain to load.
January 20, 2010, 09:31 PM
My great, great, great, great, great-to-the-10th-power Grandpa Gatofeo used to load his cap and ball revolvers with the gizzard stones of Triceratops.
Kinda hard to find today, though ... :D
January 21, 2010, 07:23 PM
So nobody liked my aluminum foil idea?
January 21, 2010, 07:49 PM
Aluminum foil is too light, even a thick wad of it has almost no penetration and very poor accuracy, I tried it in the 60's with my 1st kit pistol, quickly got a cheap scissor mold from DGW and lead sheathing from the local hardware store. I did have fair success with 410 plastic wads and scavanged, previously fired jacketed bullets from 38's fired at the local clay pit by the local PD. The bullets were mostly in good shape, any damaged ones went into the pot with the sheathing lead.
January 21, 2010, 11:00 PM
I hear you can shoot darned near anything out of a blunderbuss. Yep, a flintlock blunderbuss, homemade BP, and all the nuts and bolts you can stuff in there. The ultimate doomsday gun!
February 2, 2010, 06:38 PM
I don't remember what western series it was in the 60"s but there was this one episode with an old timer that had a muzzle loading shotgun that he loaded with gravel instead of shot. Probably would shoot ok for short range firing.
February 4, 2010, 12:24 AM
I don't remember what western series it was in the 60"s but there was this one episode with an old timer that had a muzzle loading shotgun that he loaded with gravel instead of shot. It was on, "The Big Valley". I think the character was called Handy. He said using gravel cut down on his overhead. Back to the gold idea: It would probably swage easier than melting and casting.
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