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Old November 19, 2011, 05:10 AM   #7
Mike / Tx
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Join Date: April 8, 2000
Posts: 1,316
Hard to add to what these folks have already put down. One thing I can throw your way however if you want a quick and simple hardness check on your ingots. There is a sticky over on CB's in the Alloy section which goes into detail on using a pencil set for general hardness testing.

Being somewhat bassackwards at times I have saved up my pennies for purchasing lead and molds, rather than for a hardness tester which is still on my list. The pencil set is cheap and when you follow the directions and use the posted scale, is close enough to get you in the ball park if you have a couple of known samples. For me I already had my initial batch of WW ingots, as well as some dead soft straight sheeting. I used the pencils on several batches of purchased ingots, and found that they were on either side of my standard WW alloy. Since this particular alloy has worked for 95% my needs, I simply base my newer blends on either side of it. Some of the purchased stuff has been harder and is easily detected, same as with the softer stuff. Since the pencil lead is of varied hardness you simply work through the scale and record the numbers.

It isn't very scientific, but for s simple down and dirty test, it rocks right along. When I blended several batches of purchased ingots, I started out with a small amount, checked it and adjusted it to get where I was easily close enough to my original alloy. Once there I simply went to town smelting all the rest of it into ingots. After three weeks and several repeat test they are so close I happy.

I do want to get the tester, but since I am mainly casting for magnum revolvers and using GC'ed boolits for the most part, what I have is working fine. I do however have several new rifle boolits that I want to play with and am going to have to get a bit more specific with them.

Hope this helps, at least it might give you another something to do while yout getting your other items in order.
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