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Old March 24, 2013, 01:31 AM   #1
80viking
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Range Lead and Monotype

I have lots of range lead (about 400#) and a five gallon bucket of monotype. What would be a good ratio for pistol boolits?

Thanks in advance.

John
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Old March 24, 2013, 05:45 AM   #2
Mike / Tx
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Which pistol bullets would we be referring to, and to what velocities will we be looking to get?

My experience with reclaimed range lead is, that it needs only a touch of tin added to work in most calibers up through 44 magnum, as long as your not loading over around 1200fps.

If your planning on pushing them higher and DO want them harder, then I would start out by trying some that were water dropped to begin with. Then if they still aren't hard enough I would try using around .5% to start out with and air cool the first batch, and the second batch I'd be water dropping. It's easier to add more than to dilute what you have added. Here is a better explanation than what I could give.

Range lead: add antimony (Rotometal super hard alloy)

This might also be helpful, be sure to look at the other articles as well, MORE than enough info on this site to keep you interested,
Cast Bullet Notes Page

If I were you, I would personally, if you have any means of checking the hardness of your range lead alloy, start from there. I would pour up a dozen or so water quenching half and air cooling the other half. I would wait a week then check one of the samples, then after another week check another one, and so on. Yes I know it is a slow process, but you will find out exactly what is going on. This will let you know just how hard your alloy is going to get. What happens is you pour up say 2-300 bullets. you load up 50-100 of them within the first week and shoot half of those. They shoot great with no issues. Then a month later you shoot another 50 to 200, and now you aren't hitting the same nice groups, and you experience a bit of leading. No biggie you thing, probably just the lube or temp change. THen a month or so later you shoot the rest and get severe leading, and cannot even make it through one box of 50 before having to clear the lead out of your pistol.

That's just a hypothetical of what could happen as your bullet harden up over time. It's also a reason I always pour up sample bullets of what ever alloy I am working with at the time, or making ingots of.

All this said there is plenty of info on range lead being used over at Castboolits.
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Old March 24, 2013, 10:26 AM   #3
80viking
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Thanks for the great post Mike.

The alloy will be used for 9mm, 45acp, and 40s&w (40s&w in a revolver). They will all be light loads for steel plates.

I have been casting for 20 years or so and have always used water dropped ww with satisfactory results. After reading the link you gave from the cast boolit site I am thinking that my boolits are a little too hard and that is the reason for the minor leading I have always gotten from the ww.

Should I have been air cooling my ww alloy boolits all this time?

I am thinking that my course of action should be to smelt all of the range lead into ingots, cast some air cooled boolits as well as some quenched boolits, and test their hardness. Then decide if I should add anything to it.

Again, thanks for the great reply Mike!
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Old March 25, 2013, 04:31 AM   #4
Mike / Tx
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Quote:
The alloy will be used for 9mm, 45acp, and 40s&w (40s&w in a revolver). They will all be light loads for steel plates.
Of the ones you mention I have only poured up the 45's. The thing with the 9 and 40 is they are both somewhat peticular on fit and lube from what I understand. This is mainly due to being more of a high pressure caliber than most from the get go. This isn't to say they can't shoot lead but that they require a bit more testing to get the powder and alloy just right to avoid leading. These are two where your harder bullets might work, but you might simply have to play with your lube a bit.

Quote:
I have been casting for 20 years or so and have always used water dropped ww with satisfactory results. After reading the link you gave from the cast boolit site I am thinking that my boolits are a little too hard and that is the reason for the minor leading I have always gotten from the ww.

Should I have been air cooling my ww alloy boolits all this time?
If your seeing minor leading I would look hard at your lube. Is it at the chamber end or the muzzle end? If at the chamber it could be a sizing issue where just a touch bigger will bring it under control. IF at the muzzle it might simply be a mismatch of the lube. What type or process are you using to lube?

Looking over the LASC pages you will find that having a bullet too soft as well as too hard can induce a bit of leading. How much is usually determined by fit, velocity, and lube. If your using a lub-sizer you might simply give a couple dozen a quick tumble lube with some Alox in addition to what your using. If you still experience leading then possibly try a bit larger sized bullet.

Quote:
I am thinking that my course of action should be to smelt all of the range lead into ingots, cast some air cooled boolits as well as some quenched boolits, and test their hardness. Then decide if I should add anything to it.
When I pour up ingots of any alloy I usually use a Lee 452.255 RF 2 cavity or the six if it's handy to pour up a dozen or so test samples. They don't have to look pretty just be filled out on the top and bottoms. I toss them in a baggie and stick them in the box with the ingots for checking the hardness at later intervals. I use a sharpie to write the dates tested and the hardness on the baggie or the lid of the box of ingots.

When I started out I was pouring up 300gr RFN's for my Raging Bull in 454. I just couldn't afford to shoot up the commercial loads for it as much as I was shooting it at the time. I have used both water quenched and air cooled straight WW in it with velocities running up to just over 1700fps lubed with straight Alox. The top end wasn't much fun at all but did show what I could do with the alloy and the lube. I have also used what is referred to as Felix Lube, and some Carnuba Red from White Label Lubes. The Felix Lube just never came around as far as accuracy went, but the Alox and CR both did great. The downside to the CR was I have to pan lube and it isn't much fun cutting them out one at a time, then cleaning the remnants off the die after sizing. I went with a version of the Alox referred to as 45/45/10, which is simply equal amounts of Alox and Johnson's Paste Wax with a splash of mineral spirits thrown in. This is what I use for everything now for the most part.

I would pour up a couple dozen each, water quenched, and air cooled. Give them both two weeks before shooting. Size and lube the water dropped ones right after casting and the air cooled after the two weeks. Then give them both a good side by side comparrison using the same everything. Be sure to clean your barrels really well before starting and in between shooting one or the other. If you have them coming out of the mold anywhere near what your sizing to I might even try a few that were unsized to see if the added difference might help.

That is the big thing with cast as your aware, you can do some much to taylor the alloy, lube, or bullet to your particular barrel.

Hope this gives ya something to think on.
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Old March 28, 2013, 10:34 PM   #5
80viking
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All boolits are cast from Lee 6 cavity molds and will get the tumble lube treatment. I do not size my boolits, but every round goes through a carbide crimp die on the way out of my RL550 for the occasional fatty that would jam up my gun. Since I started using the carbide crimp die I have had zero stoppages that were ammo related.

Next time I cast I will air cool the boolits instead of dropping them into a bucket of water. I would like to see what this obturation is all about.

Thanks for your help.
John
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