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Old November 20, 2010, 10:21 AM   #1
cornbush
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non lead casting

Anybody ever try casting bullets from cartridge brass? (70/30 alloy+-)
If so, did shrinkage become an issue after they were dropped from the mold.


It's probably not practical, but once my brain starts chewing on something I have to atleast try it.
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Old November 20, 2010, 08:19 PM   #2
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You`d have to have everything hotter than the hobbyist is able to afford , now turnin em off a lathe ,Hmmmm
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Old November 21, 2010, 09:22 AM   #3
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Wont work,

The melt point for brass is over 1,600 degrees F and wont alloy with lead.
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:49 AM   #4
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WHY? Don't feed into the hype about lead's toxicity. A solid brass bullet would NOT expand no matter what you do to it. It's too hard and tough to use a hollow point or some other means to make it expand.

If it's for use on dangerous game. there's copper solid bullets available that do the job quite well. If that's not enough, then there's solid bronze bullets, but be prepared to pay 10 bucks apiece for them. To say nothing about what running brass or bronze bullets down a barrel would do.

Pouring molten brass into an aluminum mold would result in a puddle of aluminum and brass on the floor. I'm not sure if molten brass would even flow through a sprue plate, then there's the problem of shearing the sprue loose from the bullet, if cast in an iron mold.

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Old November 21, 2010, 11:52 AM   #5
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The furnace is not a problem.
I'm not concerned with the lead toxicity....I've eaten my share of shot pellets
I'm just toying with the idea because I have access to an almost unlimited supply of brass and copper as well as some lead from time to time.
The molds I have are steel.

The non expanding aspect is not an issue either, I prefer hard cast lead for hunting, I don't want expansion, I want penetration.
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Old November 21, 2010, 01:38 PM   #6
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"IF" you were able to get the brass up to pour temp to cast a solid brass boolit or one alloyed with something other than lead which wont alloy with brass , I would next wonder about this ... Just how many times you figger your sprue plate will hold up to the whoopin you would have to put on it to cut the sprue ??? I'm only guesin here but I figger maybe ONCE or LESS ??? Besides that if you can get brass to leave color on your fingers just by rubbin it a few times what do you think it would do to your bore after a few rounds ??? Jacketed bullets struggle with the right composition for the copper to create what is deemed "glideing" metal meaning able to glide easily down a bore with "minimal" metal transfer to the bore. They have yet to come up with a fouling free alloy. Remember the original Barnes X solid copper bullets ? They were notorious for heavy fouling and Barnes went back to the drawing board with their first answer to the problem being to coat the X bullet hence the XLC series bullet. This was short lived and they changed their alloy when they progated the TSX bullet plus actually reduced the load bearing surface of the copper on the bore with the "banded" bullet design. This was nearly 20 years in the making an Lord knows how much research and testing but what the heck, try the brass bullets,,, maybe you'll get LUCKY ...
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:54 PM   #7
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I'll post a report when I try it......the mold will have no sprue plate, plan on cutting the sprue off with a band saw.
This is not to take the place of lead bullets.....or any other purpose than just "because", I just want to see how it will work out.
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Old November 23, 2010, 07:54 AM   #8
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If you are doing this cuz you are afraid of lead poisoning, fear no more. Lead doesn't get into your system from melting. Only when vaporizing can you breathe it. None of our equipment can get it that hot. As for other means, wash hands, dont eat or drink until you do.

This is based on real info. Look it up. Also I've been casting for some time and get my (and childrens) levels check regularly. All good, None, no lead.

If you are doing it for the hell of it, (I'm a tinkerer too) go for it. Brass melts at a much higher temp than lead, even alum. Make sure it's sized right, you don't want to lodge one of these in a barrel. It will be much lighter than a regular bullet, take that in account when you load.

Also, Pictures. We Love Pictures. The process, the test load, the first shot, all of it.
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Old November 23, 2010, 09:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
I'll post a report when I try it......the mold will have no sprue plate, plan on cutting the sprue off with a band saw.
This is not to take the place of lead bullets.....or any other purpose than just "because", I just want to see how it will work out.
It won't work. Brass will shrink too much, you'll have way undersized bullets. I also doubt it will flow well enough to fill out lube grooves.

Band saw? I fail to see how you could possibly cut the base square and smooth enough to get a usable bullet.

But it sounds like you're determined to do this, so have fun.
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Old November 23, 2010, 09:24 PM   #10
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............so we all agree that that you would ruin an aluminum mold.
Brass will fuze to an iron or steel mold, how do you think they repair cracks in cast iron?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazing

So we all agree that you would ruin a steel/iron mold.
Your left with casting bar stock and machining them or lost wax casting bullets and then machining them.

Then I would explain to you why its easier to turn in the brass for scrap and buy lead.........or maybe I just did.

Sorry to burst your bubble, just trying to save a man from destroying a mold.
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Old November 23, 2010, 10:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Brass will shrink too much, you'll have way undersized bullets
May have to go old school and paper patch those suckers
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Old November 24, 2010, 07:51 PM   #12
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Molten brass will not stick to a mold unless its almost cherry red, we cast brass at work sometimes using steel molds......Flux is your friend.
As far as being undersized.....if you go back to post #1 thats one of the main things I was asking.
Again, this is a "why the hell not" project, I am not worried about lead in the least, not hunting dangerous game, and even if I toast a mold.... oh well it's an old cheap one anyway.
Nobody here has done anything knowing it was probaby not going to work, but you just want to try anyway......?
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Old November 24, 2010, 08:04 PM   #13
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I'm not sure I would try brass (it shrinks about 5% when cooling) but I don;t see why not try it. I have cast zinc bullets for a 357 Mag, out of a 158 gr mold the bullets weigh 95+- gr. Man! Can they just flat ruin a jackrabbit's day!
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Old November 25, 2010, 12:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
............so we all agree that that you would ruin an aluminum mold.
Brass will fuze to an iron or steel mold, how do you think they repair cracks in cast iron?
Hickstick, what you're thinking of is bronze, as in brazing. Brass has zinc added to make it bronze. Then, you'd need the steel/cast iron to be real clean and have a borax type flux used at the same time.

Cornbush, I see no reason then to not try it. If you're comfortable with loosing a mold, then why not? If you can deal with undersized and way under weight bullets, it may just work. You may be able to shoot them again if you can recover them in a dirt berm.
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Old November 25, 2010, 01:31 AM   #15
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you can braze with gold, silver and brass, and other non ferrous metals. For an full fusion to occur, yes you do need clean metal, but dirty metal will adhere to brass VERY tenaciously in little spots throughout the surface, I tried casting barstock out of scrap brass in some steel troughs, that stuff was stuck GOOD.

Quote:
Brass has zinc added to make it bronze.
bronze is copper and tin, brass is copper and zinc, but you are right about one thing, I think brazing rods have zinc in them, at least they release that white smoke if you over heat it.

Molten brass is Red hot, you also are risking scaling occurring on that machined mold, I wonder how barnes makes those sledgehammer bronze/brass? solids.

If your willing to sacrifice a mold, post pics please

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Old November 28, 2010, 10:33 PM   #16
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There's some discussion about making 'boolits' from zinc, as lead wheelweights are in the process of being banned. Melts a bit higher than lead, shrinks differently but do-able.

Can't remember about it's toxicity though, do some research.
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Old November 29, 2010, 03:42 PM   #17
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Barnes used to make a bronze bullet. I've got three boxes of them—165 grain .308 flat base solids—that I got when a dealer passed away and his stock was sold off. They appear to me to perhaps have been scintered. Frangible bullets are made by scintering and not fusing very thoroughly. But there are plenty of more completely fused scintered parts made that are machine parts, like gears. It's not as strong as investment cast parts, but for fast and fairly precise shape production, it's not a bad method.

Note that cartridge brass has a density of 8.53, so, if you make the bullet the same volume as a lead bullet, the ballistic coefficient will drop in proportion to the difference in density. In comparison to pure lead, it would be about 25% lower, owing to the loss in sectional density.
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Old November 29, 2010, 10:58 PM   #18
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One of the reasons that lead is used for casting bullets is that it is liquid at just above the temperature at which it "freezes". Brass however, will stay liquid a long time after it is poured and take a long time to cool. Therefore, you would need to pour it into many moulds in order to make a significant number of bullets.
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Old December 1, 2010, 09:13 PM   #19
chris in va
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Quote:
Brass has zinc added to make it bronze.
It was my understanding bronze is copper and tin.

Brass is copper and zinc.

Quote:
One of the reasons that lead is used for casting bullets is that it is liquid at just above the temperature at which it "freezes".
This is confusing. When a solid melts, it's not 'frozen', but liquid. Is there another state between 'frozen' and 'liquid' that brass goes through?
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Old December 2, 2010, 11:20 PM   #20
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Why not?

If you really wanted to use a sprue plate have one made from tool steel like
A2 or if you are really serious about it M2 should hold up to the licking. If money was no object (I've never been so fortunate ) have a mold made from a nice super alloy. I'm thinking Inconel. Maybe a nose pour mold.

Always remember, for Centuries the World was flat!
Good luck!
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Old December 3, 2010, 09:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
This is confusing. When a solid melts, it's not 'frozen', but liquid. Is there another state between 'frozen' and 'liquid' that brass goes through?
What I was trying to get across is that Lead melts as such a low temperature that it can be removed from the mold almost as soon as it is poured. Brass however, will remain liquid (and "mushy")longer than lead (especially linotype), and must be allowed to cool before removing it from the mold.
You can explor this further by searching on: Eutectic alloys and the word "mushy".


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solder
Quote:
Eutectic alloys melt at a single temperature. Non-eutectic alloys have markedly different solidus and liquidus temperature, and within that range they exist as a paste of solid particles in a melt of the lower-melting phase. The pasty state causes some problems during handling; it can however be exploited as it allows molding of the solder during cooling, e.g. for ensuring watertight joint of pipes, resulting in a so called wiped joint.

Last edited by dahermit; December 3, 2010 at 09:51 AM.
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Old December 5, 2010, 04:47 PM   #22
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We always called it the slush zone when working with non-eutectic phase change materials for keeping things warm or cool.
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