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Old January 8, 2000, 01:21 AM   #1
Bud Helms
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Even though I have been reloading for a long time, there are two areas into which I have not ventured: shotshell reloading and lead bullet casting.

I am still uninterested in shotshell reloading, but I will soon begin learning about bullet casting. I have a lot of reading to do, of course, but I have a couple of questions that were prompted from reading another thread.

It was getting a little warm in that one, so I decided to start a new one.

I may have some built-in assumptions that are not correct, but here are the questions.

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>What are the most widely used methods of lead bullet tempering?
<LI>For lead, does tempering = hardening?
<LI>How did grandpa do it? (Are there old methods vs new methods?)
<LI>How deep into the lead alloy, does the hardening take effect?
<LI>How much of this hardening does resizing remove? (i.e., how much of the bullet is typically removed by the sizing die?)
<LI>Recommended literature for my education on this (besides Lyman, of course)?
</UL>

I'll be learning on a .38-55. (.375/.376)

Lay it on me.

Sensop
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Old January 8, 2000, 08:55 PM   #2
labgrade
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"What are the most widely used methods of lead bullet tempering?"

Never bothered with it. For loads in the 700fps range, I shoot straight wheelweight material - zip for any hardening ingredients.

"For lead, does tempering = hardening?"

Yup = surface hardening. Don't know to what depth.

"How much of this hardening does resizing remove? (i.e., how much of the bullet is typically removed by the sizing die?)"

You shouldn't be removing any material by sizing. Sizing only swages the material into round. & BTW, recommended sizing should only be about .001" - just enough to round out the bullet & never enough to remove any mat'l.

"Recommended literature for my education on this (besides Lyman, of course)?"

Other good books out there but if you've got Lyman, you've got the guys that wrote the book.

I cast for .38/.357, .308/30-06/.309JDJ (& have for .44). Straight wheelweights for ~700fps & Lyman's #2 mix for everything up to ~1700fps. Use a good lube (get the heater plate & use hard lube if you can - the regular stuff is so sticky!)

Never a single leading problem w/above & have turned in some very accurate 100yd targets with the .30 cal shooters.
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Old January 8, 2000, 10:24 PM   #3
Bud Helms
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Okay, Labgrade,

I misunderstood about the sizing operation. I thought the cast bullet was rough enough to require "cutting" down to size, through the sizing die.

It sounds like the Lyman #2 recipe is what I need.

Obliged.

Regards,

Sensop

[This message has been edited by sensop (edited January 08, 2000).]
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Old January 10, 2000, 10:50 AM   #4
Paul B.
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Sensop. Wheel weight metal makes for some good bullets. You can use it as is, alloy it with linotype (if you can find some) heat treat it to make it harder. Good stuff, and usually reasonably priced. I've even had gas stations give it to me, but I think those days are gone forever.
You apparently already have the Lyman cast lead book, so here are a few other sources of information. The NRA has a book,CAST BULLETS by Col. E. Harrison, Ret. There is also a supplement #1 to the book. There are two good articles in the suplement on using heat treated bullets on African big game. If you can find a copy of the RCBS cast lead handbook, it has some good stuff, and the simplest directions for heat treating bullets I've seem. Wolfe Publishing put out a few paperback books on cast lead bullets as well. I think their web address is (www.handloadermagazine.com).
I have the RCBS mold, #37-250, a gas check mold, that I plan on using in a couple of .375 caliber rifles I use. It looks like a real winner for the 38-55.
I hope this helps. You can E-mail me with any questions, if you want.
Paul B.
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Old January 10, 2000, 04:27 PM   #5
Joe Portale
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In regards to hardening the cast bullets, why not just drop them from the mold into a bucket of cold water? After they setup a bit, of course.



------------------
Joe Portale
Tucson, Arizona territory

"The unarmed man is a subject, the armed man is a citizen."
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Old January 10, 2000, 05:47 PM   #6
alan
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Sensop: I added numbers to your questions, for reference. Some of ther following might be helpful.

1.What are the most widely used methods of lead bullet tempering?
2. For lead, does tempering = hardening?
3.How did grandpa do it? (Are there old methods vs new methods?)
4.How deep into the lead alloy, does the hardening take effect?
5.How much of this hardening does resizing remove? (i.e., how much of the bullet is
typically removed by the sizing die?)
6.Recommended literature for my education on this (besides Lyman, of course)?

1.Dumping the cast bullet into a bucket of cold water is one way, and if I recall correctly, reheating cast bullets in an oven, to a point just shy of their "slumping", then dumping into cold water, is another.
2.yes
3.He may well as fired them "as cast", after lubricating them, of course.
4. Don't know.
5.Supposedly, the sizing die used should not resize the cast bullet more than a couple of thousands, say size a bullet with as cast dia of .310, down to .308"dia. Again, if I remember correctly, you would resize your cast bullet, without lubrication, BEFORE heat treating (hardening), then lube them.
6. Lyman is likely one of the best places to start for information, though The NRA has likely poublished some technical articles on various aspects of casting, paper patching and hardening. You might also consider a harder alloy, such as linotype, but only if you really need it.

The foregoing based on some stuff I have read, over the years, as well as data obtained by asking "dumb" questions. I do not myself, cast bullets. Don't have a proper place to do it. Looking at what I pay for good cast bullets, buying the equipment and materials necessary, isn't worth while as I see it.

Hope the foregoing helps.
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Old January 10, 2000, 09:35 PM   #7
Bud Helms
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Paul, Alan, Joe,

Thanks. I'm off! That is after some cogitation about Alan's last remark. I too, have thought similarly for a long time.

Sensop
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Old January 10, 2000, 09:37 PM   #8
Bud Helms
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Labgrade ... thanks to you too.
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Old January 11, 2000, 07:42 AM   #9
swampyMO
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Sensop,

Casting lead slugs for your firearms can be a very educational and rewarding experience.

Back in my "young & dumb" days (late 70's), when money was a bit tighter than it is now, I went out & bought a double cavity Lyman 265 gr. .454 mold, dipper, a $3.00 cast iron sauce pan, and a used Lyman luber-sizer. Over a Coleman camp stove I cast up umpteen thousands of slugs for my Ruger Blackhawk and Thompson Contender (both in .45 Colt) out of mixed wheel weights and linotype metal. I had a ball doing this and really learned a lot.

After a couple of years though, when I started making a bit more money at my vocation, I suddenly came to the realization that I could walk into my local gunshop and buy a variety of cast slugs that were just as good as the ones I made for just about the same amount of cash, and a lot less time investment. This was especially true when you counted in all the time I spent canvassing tire shops and begging for wheel weights and in looking for used type metal.

While I had certainly enjoyed the experience of casting and shooting my very own bullets, it didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that I'd rather take some of those long, hot hours over a lead pot and exchange them for some much more enjoyable hours actually out at the range (or maybe even fishin').

If you just want the experience of casting bullets and the ensuing education that comes with it, by all means, go for it. If you are looking for economy of shooting, casting your own bullets can be a detour down a "wrong road".

Best of luck,
Swampy
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Old January 11, 2000, 11:36 AM   #10
labgrade
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I still cast on a pump-up Coleman stove - outside on the deck. Will do a few hundred & then stick all the stuff away. When I feel like getting around to it, I'll do the size/lube bit. More for relaxation than anything else.

Cast bullets available over the counter have come a long way in the past few years - cheap too boot.

I still like the idea of being able to steal "bullets" in the dead of night offa car wheels, tho'.
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