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Old September 9, 2009, 02:02 PM   #1
rbf420
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using only wheel weights?

so ive read here and there saying different things bout using wheel weights, can you use straight ww's to cast bullets for guns such as the 30.06 and 9mm? or do you need to mix it with another alloy to make it softer?
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Old September 9, 2009, 06:41 PM   #2
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I've successfully used straight wheel weights for pistol bullets for many years at velocities up to 1425 fps. For rifle bullets, depends on the bullet design, lube, gas check or not, and velocity. I've shot wheel weight bullets in rifles at approx 2000 fps with gas checks and ALOX lube. Faster than that and you may begin to have serious problems and need special alloys.
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Old September 9, 2009, 06:43 PM   #3
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ive used straight ww in .40, .38, .357, and .44mag
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Old September 9, 2009, 07:09 PM   #4
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...or do you need to mix it with another alloy to make it softer?
You would not want to make it softer. Despite the antimony in it, it is pretty soft already. You may want to heat treat it (in oven) to make it harder. Nevertheless, the common practice is to add a little tin (elemental tin, sheet metal is not "tin"), to make the melt flow better in the casting process.
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Old September 9, 2009, 09:08 PM   #5
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NO. Straight wheel weights. Save the straight lead for very low pressure stuff or for BP guns. I use WW in everything from the 32 H&R to the 44 mag to the 308 Winchester. (Reduced loads in the 308 of course.)
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Old September 10, 2009, 06:10 AM   #6
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Elmer Keith and Skeeter Shelton Two of the pioneers of the modern cast bullets. Pushed a bullet of about wheel weight hardness pretty fast. I think slugging the barrel and the right lube have as much to do with good Bullets .As actual hardness. Having said that. Most loads for Rifle in my Lyman cast book recommend Lyno-type. I cast my first bullet in 1975. And one thing I have learned over the years. The variables in casting can mess a good Bullet or gun up fast. Mix of lead, Dia, of Bullet ,speed of Bullet as well as lube used.
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Old September 10, 2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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Elmer Keith and Skeeter Shelton Two of the pioneers of the modern cast bullets. Pushed a bullet of about wheel weight hardness pretty fast. I think slugging the barrel and the right lube have as much to do with good Bullets .As actual hardness. Having said that. Most loads for Rifle in my Lyman cast book recommend Lyno-type. I cast my first bullet in 1975. And one thing I have learned over the years. The variables in casting can mess a good Bullet or gun up fast. Mix of lead, Dia, of Bullet ,speed of Bullet as well as lube used.
That Lyman cast book you mentioned, does it have just load data in it or is there also plain reading to learn about alloy mixes and speeds and such? I'm still new to casting and I've been reading everything I can get my hands on. What info can I find in that Lyman book that I need?
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Old September 10, 2009, 02:38 PM   #8
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It has both loads and general casting information. It is the best one out there IMHO. Very, very good read, and I think a "must" for casters both experienced and new to the hobby.
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Old September 10, 2009, 03:14 PM   #9
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Score! i just picked up a bucket full of ww's from sum tire stores... they just throw them out and said if i can convince the guys i can just put my own buckets there and pick em up weekly!!!!!
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Old September 10, 2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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I use wheelwights in everything.
That being said, I have no idea what I am doing. I just bought a 55 gallon drum of wheelweights at the junkyard and started casting bullets. Used them in all manor of revolvers and rifles. But, I never made any attempt to see how fast I could push them or anything. I was just using them for light practice loads.
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Old September 10, 2009, 04:15 PM   #11
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Could someone tell me which edition of the Lyman cast bullet manual is the most current edition? I googled it and found tons of used ones available for less than $20 but I'd like to know what is the most recent??
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Old September 10, 2009, 05:49 PM   #12
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I cast SG slugs and use the plumbers lead scrap for those because it's basically pure lead. Little known secret, crawlspaces are a great place to find pure lead scrap leftover from the plumber's repairs. Old lead drain lines just laying there...add some 50/50 to harden it up for general use or use as is for SG slugs, 45/70 bullets, and roundballs for all you CAS shooters.
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Old September 10, 2009, 08:29 PM   #13
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I just bought a 55 gallon drum of wheelweights at the junkyard
WOW out of curiuosity how much did that weigh?
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Old September 10, 2009, 08:39 PM   #14
444
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No idea but it bent the tailgate to my F250
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You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
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Old September 10, 2009, 08:43 PM   #15
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I have the Third Edition Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. Good stuff!
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Old September 10, 2009, 10:05 PM   #16
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Score! i just picked up a bucket full of ww's from sum tire stores... they just throw them out and said if i can convince the guys i can just put my own buckets there and pick em up weekly!!!!!

You lucky Duck. I have to buy almost all of mine and I have to make sure to call every two weeks otherwise someone else comes and buys them up. I only have half a ton or so of ingots. Local Scrap yard wants 3 times the going rate for WW at the auto shops.
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Old September 11, 2009, 07:21 AM   #17
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A 5 gal bucket weights in around #150-175. So a 55 gal barrel would be around #1650-2000. No wonder your tailgate bent.

I get my WW free. I know the mgr at the tire shop.
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Old September 11, 2009, 08:14 AM   #18
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"using wheel weights, can you use straight ww's to cast bullets for guns such as the 30.06 and 9mm?"

Sure, you can use it. But...it really needs a bit of tin to cast AND shoot better.

Part of what happens during cooling/solidification of WW metal is the antimony crystalizes out before the lead solidifies. The (hard) antimony is then held in the lead as a two part matrix, much like rocks in concrete, leaving the exposed soft lead to smear onto a bore more than it should. That does't matter for wheel weights but it does for bullets. A little bit of tin changes the mixture into a real alloy and that makes MUCH better bullets.


"do you need to mix it with another alloy to make it softer?"

Wheel weights don't need to be softer so far as shooting it goes. It does have quite a bit more antimony than is actually needed, especially if you add the tin, so it's something of a waste that could help harden pure lead if you have some of that too.


Any of the older Lyman Cast Bullet handbooks are good, as is the NRA published "Cast bullets" by Harrison. It's out of print of course but Amazon's used book sellers usually have it available for reasonable prices. There is little new about bullet casting that the old guys didn't know.
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Old September 11, 2009, 10:51 AM   #19
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Part of what happens during cooling/solidification of WW metal is the antimony crystalizes out before the lead solidifies. The (hard) antimony is then held in the lead as a two part matrix, much like rocks in concrete, leaving the exposed soft lead to smear onto a bore more than it should. That does't matter for wheel weights but it does for bullets. A little bit of tin changes the mixture into a real alloy and that makes MUCH better bullets
You sure about that..........
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Old September 12, 2009, 07:00 PM   #20
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Any of the older Lyman Cast Bullet handbooks are good, as is the NRA published "Cast bullets" by Harrison. It's out of print of course but Amazon's used book sellers usually have it available for reasonable prices. There is little new about bullet casting that the old guys didn't know.
I agree with ya that the old timers know a lot about bullet casting and such but I was asking because all the reviews I've read concerning the Lyman manual complain about it only covering loads using Lyman molds and only have a select few load data tables for certain powders. I'm the type that tends to read tons before I spend a dollar. I insist on getting the most for my money and I will research for months before investing in anything I want to last a long time.
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Old September 15, 2009, 07:42 AM   #21
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wheel weights

trip sticker don`t wait too long because WW are gettin harder to get ahold of these days!!!

alot of the clip on WW have alloys already blended but not a given .

some stik on WW are close to pure lead but not a given.

alot of variables involved with WW , most people get by with bhn 11-14for most shootin but when ya want to wring every fps ya can then ya gotta blend some expensive alloys with your WWs to get there , then when ya get there the very hard cast bullet is useless to hunt with because it`ll fragment upon contact .
it`s a balance of pressure & alloy strength.

i cast mainly for revolvers & have "conditioned" my revolvers for optimum performance with such & can easily match jacketed speeds with out the dreaded smeared barrel using WW & a little tin .

if info on castin is what ya seek go to castboolitgunloads forum & glean info until your files are full !!!
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Old September 15, 2009, 11:47 AM   #22
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I agree with ya that the old timers know a lot about bullet casting and such but I was asking because all the reviews I've read concerning the Lyman manual complain about it only covering loads using Lyman molds and only have a select few load data tables for certain powders. I'm the type that tends to read tons before I spend a dollar. I insist on getting the most for my money and I will research for months before investing in anything I want to last a long time.
There's so many different bullet molds that you'll never find specific info for particular bullets. What you have to do is interpolate what you find into a different but similar bullet. What that means is, for instance, a Lyman 200 SWC 45 acp bullet gives a certain powder charge. Use that for a lee 200 SWC, being sure you start at the recommended starting load and work up. As long as the two bullets are close to being the same, you'll be fine.

I do the same thing for the lee 200 RFN, round flat nose. Mainly because my SA 45 1911 doesn't like to feed SWC bullets. The lee works just fine.
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Old September 16, 2009, 10:43 AM   #23
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trip sticker don`t wait too long because WW are gettin harder to get ahold of these days!!!
I didn't wait to gather lead and lead alloy. I have so much lead laying around now I could never shoot it all. I don't know how much an individual ingot of lead I made out of a muffin tin weighs but I have so many of those that I can't count them all. I have boxes and boxes of WW's now that I have found a tire shop that wasn't doing anything with them. What I am just learning is the casting process, I have the lead gathering process down to a fine art.

I've gone thru a learning curve for my .38/.357 bullets but I am wanting to cast for my 30-30 and my 45/70 GOV't. From what I've read, my 45/70 isn't a good rifle to cast for because it is the micro-groove not traditional land and grove barrel. So far, I own a mold for the .357 and for the .490 round ball. I'll add to this as I learn more.
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