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Old February 17, 2006, 07:14 PM   #1
quickshot
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bullet casting gurus--please advise

I have almost decided to start casting due to my shooting volume and recent financial (sp) situation however, there a few questions that need answeringforgive a noob please if these have already been bashed to death)
1) is GC and water quenched wheel weight lead suitable for full power (2000ish+ fps) rifle loads?
I will be casting for 45-70, .308, 30.06 and 30-30 respectivly.

2) is there a shelf life for ingots and bullets?(good forever,1yr,2,yrs,etc)

3) what hardness is best (least leading/most accurate) for handgun? I will be casting for 45 acp, 38 spec,maybe 9mm respectivly.

4) Approx. how many bullets can be made from say... 20# of lead? (does the 7000gr per pound rule apply?)

sorry for the long post but I just gotta know.
TIA
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Old February 17, 2006, 07:59 PM   #2
ribbonstone
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Will give it a try:
1. Water quenched bulelts will praobly do the job for all with the possible exception of full powered 308 loads. Might do the trick, but generally water quenching gives hardness in the 17-19 range.
(If shooting at low vel., as some 45-70 rifles demand that you do, then the alloy is a bit too hard).

2. Shelf life?...lead stayes lead pretty much forever. As to the hardness of bullets, it depends on the alloy and the hardness level it's heat treated to. Generally, for heat treated bullets, they quickly grow in hardness, then a slow decline over years, eventually stablizing in the 16-19 range. Those that start out in that same range tend to stay there for years and years...who knows for how long...they get shot before too many years.

3. The above should be good for the handguns. Might want some bullets not quenched for the 38specail and 45acp; neither of those two run at high pressures and if the bullet is too hard, are likely to get gas-blow-by leading.

4. yep...going to be 7000gr. per pound. But you have to count in some waste, some oxidation, some "gunk" skinned off, etc.
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Old February 17, 2006, 09:13 PM   #3
Ken O
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Just to add to what Ribben says. There is not a one size fits all for bullet casting. Different velocitys, pressures etc dictate different approches.
The .45acp and 38 I use air cooled wheelwheights (ww), for rife, as ribben said, the 45-70 some even use plain lead, some use lead-tin, I use ww. For the 30-06 I use linotype for gas capped, and plain base water quenched for slower velocitys with pistol powder. Pick up the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, and go here Cast bullet forum
this forum covers all the aspects of bullet casting, sectioned off for casting equipment, group buys for molds, and general casting problem.
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Old February 17, 2006, 09:25 PM   #4
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Just make sure that the bullet diameter matches the throat diameter, else they will lead at any hardness.
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Old February 17, 2006, 11:14 PM   #5
ribbonstone
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Have come to that conclusion for most of my mid-range cast bullet shooting...will size the bullet to whatever the diameter just ahead of the chamber. Figure the bullets are going to become that diameter when fired at this pressure level so may as well start out that size (so long as the case has enough room for a clean release).


Don't be quick to blame leading on velcity. Leading that starts at the breech and works forward is most often casued by too small a bullet, too hard a bullet for the pressure. Velocity leading (or lube run-out) will start at the muzzle and work back (if speed is the cause, then it's going to happen where the bullet is going the fastest).
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Old February 17, 2006, 11:23 PM   #6
HSMITH
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I am no guru, nor do I have a lot of experience casting rifle bullets, but I have shot literally tons of lead pistol bullets. What Ribbonstone has told you rings true.
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Old February 19, 2006, 10:58 AM   #7
JJB2
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be very careful not get even one tiny drop of water into a pot full of melted lead!! one drop of liquid will cause a pot of lead to explode and it ain't pretty!!!!
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Old February 20, 2006, 11:09 AM   #8
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For what it is worth, I use straight wheelweights for all my bullets (45acp/lc, 357, 9mm and 45-70).Since there is no "standard" mix formula for wheelweights, if the molds don't fill well, I sometimes add a little "leadless solder" as it is almost pure tin. I drop my bullets into ice water, not just cold water. In the winter I scoop up a bucket full of clean snow and add a little cold water. Be very careful not to get any Zinc in your mix as you will never get good bulets with even a little zinc in the mix.
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Old February 20, 2006, 12:57 PM   #9
918v
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Quote:
Have come to that conclusion for most of my mid-range cast bullet shooting...will size the bullet to whatever the diameter just ahead of the chamber.
That is called the throat.

Quote:
Figure the bullets are going to become that diameter when fired at this pressure level so may as well start out that size (so long as the case has enough room for a clean release)
The bullets will swage down as they are forced down the bore, but if they don't match the throat diameter perfectly, gas cutting will lead-up your barrel very quickly. Gas overtakes the bullet in the chamber (7000 FPS v. 1500 FPS) if the bullet is undersized in the throat.
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Old February 20, 2006, 05:58 PM   #10
ribbonstone
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Figured the first poster has enough on his plate..throat, ball seat, lead (sometimes leade in older texts)...are several parts to the secion ahead of the chamber but before the rifling actually starts.

Can sometimes get away with a slightly undersized soft lead bullet using black powder...sometimes have no real choice as the chambers can be cut too tightly to allow a full diameter bullet to escape the case mouth...but that's not somthing you find on many modern rifles (at least not reputable makers). Even when you do find that problem, unless is it a five figure collectors item, would tend to have the chamber adjusted rather than living with that tight neck.


Basic rule of thumb test (not an exacting test) is to try various diameter cast bullets in a fired.unsized case neck...looking for the largest size that is a slip fit into the case. That case has contracted a bit after being fired, so whatever size that will barely fit into it should have enough room when the case is fired to cleanly release the bullet. Will find many 30's will do their best mid-range work with .310' bullets (and some with .311's).


Poster's "problem" is that there are 3 30cal. rifles on his list, and it would be unusual for all three to have the same dimetions.
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Old February 20, 2006, 07:18 PM   #11
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That is why chambercasting is absolutely necessary when contemplating shooting lead bullets in rifles.
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