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Old August 20, 2009, 10:43 PM   #1
msta999
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Made my first bullets, but....

Ok, my first batch of .452 200 gr rn fp, I dropped out on an old sweat shirt and they stuck to it (I guess it wasn't cotton like material), plus only a few looked like keepers, due to cold mold. So I made a second batch, I kept the mold on a hot burner and dropped the bullets in a bucket of cold water. The bullets in the water do not scratch (leave a mark), but they look real good. I can scratch (with my finger nail)the bullets that I dropped on the sweat shirt. My question is, Should I make more bullets by dropping them in the water? Is there anything wrong with dropping them in the water and making them hard?

I'm using a lee 6 mold and a white gas camp stove for heat.
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Old August 21, 2009, 05:48 AM   #2
QBall45
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This is exactly what a guy wants when casting, at least I do.(45ACP)
Hard cast leaves little if any lead in the barrel.

What are ya using for lead?
I'm using straight wheelweights w/some tin added to fill out the mold. This is about the correct hardness for 45's
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Old August 21, 2009, 06:54 AM   #3
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I can scratch (with my finger nail)

This would almost be pure lead. A trick old Muzzle loaders would do to check scrap lead to see if it was soft enough for muzzle loaders. As said wheel weights make a great source for mid range loads. With you starting out in casting. I would get either Lyman or RCBS books on cast bullets. Another suggestion would be go over to the cast boolit sight. Casting can save you a lot of money . If done right. If not it can give you some real problem..
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Old August 21, 2009, 08:09 AM   #4
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Your different hardness is likely from a different alloy. Lead does't act like steel, it doesn't get harder from a quick water treatment.

And, yes, dropping bullets directly into a bucket of water is a good way to cushion/cool the drop and prevents damage to hot, soft bullets.

Straight wheel weights are quite "hard" to the touch but they don't make real good bullets as they are, they need a bit of tin to help keep the antimony in alloy as they cool. Otherwise the hard antimony and soft lead will seperate and the exposed lead will smear onto your bore, sometimes badly so.

Last edited by wncchester; August 21, 2009 at 08:15 AM.
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Old August 21, 2009, 08:16 AM   #5
wncchester
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duplicate
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Old August 21, 2009, 06:17 PM   #6
msta999
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QBall,
I was just doing some test bullets and using straight wheel weights, not tin added, that is why I was surprised at the hardness of the bullets. I assume they are hard, due to quenching them in the cold water, like you would do to harden metal.
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Old August 21, 2009, 07:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Lead does't act like steel, it doesn't get harder from a quick water treatment.

And, yes, dropping bullets directly into a bucket of water is a good way to cushion/cool the drop and prevents damage to hot, soft bullets.

Straight wheel weights are quite "hard" to the touch but they don't make real good bullets as they are, they need a bit of tin to help keep the antimony in alloy as they cool. Otherwise the hard antimony and soft lead will seperate and the exposed lead will smear onto your bore, sometimes badly so.
hmmmmm.............???? No. This is not good information. I hate to disagree wth anyone, but this is just flat out wrong. Lead does in fact get harder from a quick water quenching. Straight WWs make GREAT boolits as is, even with no tin. Lead/tin/antimony (which makes up WW alloy) is a STABLE SOLUTION. Once mixed, it will NEVER seperate.
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Old August 21, 2009, 07:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
it doesn't get harder from a quick water treatment.
Yes they do. I have tested this to be sure. I use straight WW's almost exclusively and air dropped they get around 12 or 14 BHN and water dropped they get to around 24 to 26 BHN and will slowly over time become softer again.

With 45's it wouldn't matter because they'll only be used at maybe 900 fps or so tops. If you want hard cast 44's you can push to 1200-1400 without leading but use them up asap because they will lose the hardness over time.
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Old August 21, 2009, 07:54 PM   #9
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ON THE OTHER HAND, leading is mainly caused by 4 things: 1.) boolit not fitting the barrel correctly ( ie boolit too small for groove diameter...unable to create a good seal with the bore) 2.) not pushing hard boolits hard enough 3.) Pushing soft boolits too hard 4.) Lube issue (not enough, poor mixture, etc).Conbinations can also be used: ie. boolit to small, not being pushed hard enough with a terrible home-made lube (who has ever done such a thing... ).
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Old August 21, 2009, 07:56 PM   #10
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and the 3rd post within 20 minutes...back to the OP... don't water quench your 45 boolits if you are using WW's. 45 acp is a relatively low pressure round that does not require a hard boolit.
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Old August 21, 2009, 08:08 PM   #11
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I water quench my 45's just so they don't get dinged up while hot. It doesn't seem to hurt them in any way.

I know it's not needed, but I can cast faster with less rejects!
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Old August 21, 2009, 09:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Your different hardness is likely from a different alloy. Lead doesn't act like steel, it doesn't get harder from a quick water treatment.

And, yes, dropping bullets directly into a bucket of water is a good way to cushion/cool the drop and prevents damage to hot, soft bullets.

Straight wheel weights are quite "hard" to the touch but they don't make real good bullets as they are, they need a bit of tin to help keep the antimony in alloy as they cool. Otherwise the hard antimony and soft lead will seperate and the exposed lead will smear onto your bore, sometimes badly so.
I'll second the comment by yote hunter, that is totally wrong. A re-peat of a bunch of myths, does not make a fact.

Lead alloy can certainly be heat treated. Either by cold water quenching directly out of the mold, or by re-heating in an oven, then dropping directly into cold water. If using the oven method, you should determine at what temp the bullet starts to melt/slump. Then stay about 25 degrees BELOW that to keep the size and form of the bullet stable. Some say there must be some arsenic in the alloy in order for heat treating to work. I dunno if I believe that, most lead-tin-antimony alloys will heat treat just fine without adding arsenic.

The one part of the above is correct, tin should be added to wheel weight alloy, but not to keep the antimony solvent. It will make the alloy melt at a little lower temp, and make the bullet fill out the mold much better.


Quote:
This would almost be pure lead. A trick old Muzzle loaders would do to check scrap lead to see if it was soft enough for muzzle loaders. As said wheel weights make a great source for mid range loads. With you starting out in casting. I would get either Lyman or RCBS books on cast bullets.
I can scratch a wheel weight bullet with my fingernail. Or should I say any bullet up to around 15 on the BHN scale. I can DEEPLY scratch and even raise a shaving on pure lead. This is shade tree casting at it's best. The only real test is done with a lead hardness tester.
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Old August 21, 2009, 11:06 PM   #13
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So, it sounds like, pure WW are fine for 45 acp and low pressure cowboy (700-800 vol) 45 colt.
And
dropping them in water won't hurt when it comes to these, but be advised, they will soften up after a while.

I made some more tonight, they turned out good. I have to call the paper company and see if they will sell me some type lead, to add as tin.

I am finding bullets pretty cheap online, but I want to know that I can make them myself, just in case I have to. There is something about being able to do this that makes it fun.....

What is the best way to check for leading? I have lead remover, that I use mostly in my cowboy guns, but also in my 45 acp, after shooting lead bullets, but I have never seen anything that looks (in the barrel) different from copper coated bullets.
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Old August 22, 2009, 07:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
What is the best way to check for leading?
Visually inspect the bore. Leading in certain areas of the barrel are usually tell-tale signs of certain problems (ie leading at the end of the bore usually means a boolit may be pushed too hard or inadequate/not enough lube). I have found that if I don't push some boolits hard enough/or they are sized just a little too small, they will lead at the beginning of the barrel...maybe just a quarter inch or so. If a boolit is grossly undersized, you may have lead strips in your bore because the boolit could not full engage the rifling and the rifling strips the lead right from the boolit. Another sign of this is leading at the leading edge of the rifling.

The key to success with lead boolits comes doen to SIZE. Most guns prefer lead boolit to be .001" (sometimes even .002") OVER GROOVE DIAMETER. This means you need to slug your bore to figure out where you need to be sizing your boolits. Good luck!
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