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Old July 17, 2012, 08:43 AM   #1
FrankenMauser
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Frustrating...

Last night (okay, really early this morning), I just couldn't take it any more. I relocated all of the engine components stacked on my casting bench, until I had just enough room to cast.

I dug out my rifle alloy (WW +2% tin +arsenic), set up my .432" 425 gr bore-rider mold, loaded up the pot, and went to town.

Since that bore-rider mold has only one cavity in brass 2-cavity blocks and is mounted in RCBS handles, it's a little tiring to run. But, I managed to get through a little over 15 lbs of alloy, in about 3 hours. (setup time, 35 seconds per pour, plus re-heat time after adding alloy - not counting time to clear off the bench.) The bullets were dropping out of that mold with some hesitation, but looked better than ever before. I was happy... I estimated 240-280 bullets should have dropped; and they should last me at least a year.

Once everything was cool, I went to the reloading room to weight-sort.

First bullet on the scale registered 400.1 grains. Hmm.... must be a calibration problem.... these should weigh 424 grains in this alloy...
Nope... not a calibration problem. Balance beam scale confirmed the digital scale's reading, exactly.

I continued to weigh the next 264 bullets, while contemplating what could have happened...
I didn't grab the wrong alloy.... all of my other alloys are softer, and would weight more than 424 gr.
I didn't mix alloys... everything was from the same box.
The pot didn't have enough residue to contaminate 15 lbs of alloy with too much tin.

Then, it got worse....
My micrometer showed a body diameter of .434". In my rifle alloy, this should have dropped at .432". And, the nose measured .4295". I can't even chamber anything over .428"....

Then it hit me... I HAD grabbed the wrong alloy. I forgot that I had smelted more Linotype. And... I keep my Linotype ingots in a box that was formerly marked the same as my rifle alloy: "WW+2". But, the mark has been crossed out. The problem was that I had really poor lighting in that part of the garage, and couldn't see the pencil marks scratching out the "WW+2", or the new "Lino" label beside it.

So... I have 241 beautiful bullets, cast in pure Linotype. And, I couldn't shoot them, even if I wanted to. They're too big to slide into the bore, and there's no reasonable way to size just the nose (the nose was designed to have a 0.003" interference fit with the lands in a .428" bore with the intended alloy).


It's just so frustrating to spend all that time with a heavy, brass, 1-cavity mold, only to find out they have to be melted down and cast into ingots again.


But, they look great, and I'll be re-labeling all of the boxes I keep alloy ingots in...
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Old July 17, 2012, 09:19 AM   #2
dahermit
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Too bad. You will have melt them again.
Linotype was formulated for its ability to fill-out intricate shapes (characters in the type-set), which makes it an ideal alloy for bullets also. However, as your experience demonstrates, modifying the alloy content effects the size of the casting product. Bummer.
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Old July 17, 2012, 03:11 PM   #3
gorin
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At least next time you have to alloy linotype you will have plenty of small chunks to get the exact ratio. I've done this just to have small pieces of linitype.
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Old July 17, 2012, 05:50 PM   #4
Mike / Tx
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At least next time you have to alloy linotype you will have plenty of small chunks to get the exact ratio. I've done this just to have small pieces of linitype.
My thoughts exactly. No need to repour any of them simply keep them like they are for future batches. No since agonizing over them again.

I did up a 10# batch of tin into 1/2 pound ingots only to then realize I should have just poured them through my Lee 429-310 mold for the exact reason above.
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Old July 17, 2012, 06:15 PM   #5
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I once cast up some .22 cal bullets in straight lino... they were just almost flawless.

I also cast a .54 cal maxi-ball out of pure tin... now THAT was pretty.
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Old July 18, 2012, 02:18 AM   #6
FrankenMauser
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My thoughts exactly. No need to repour any of them simply keep them like they are for future batches. No since agonizing over them again.

I did up a 10# batch of tin into 1/2 pound ingots only to then realize I should have just poured them through my Lee 429-310 mold for the exact reason above.
Yea, I was considering that after I posted earlier. But, I already have about 7 lbs of Lino cast into "ingots" in the form of Lee 429-200-RFs.


I may go for round 2, tonight.
But, I need to scrub the mold and take a tiny little bur off one cavity, before I use the it again. We'll see what my motivation level is later.
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Old July 18, 2012, 11:27 AM   #7
FrankenMauser
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I give up.

I cranked up the pot again, after calculating a slight tweak on the alloy I wanted.
(93.7% Pb, 4% Sb, 2% Sn, 0.3% As/Cu -- basically WW+2% with just a touch more Antimony)

I wrote down the 10.6 lb 'recipe':
1.5 lb Magnum Shot (#9 for lower Sb content)
750 gr 96Sn/4Cu Solder (34")
1 lb Pure Lead
3 lb Linotype +800 gr

When it came out at 5.6 lbs, I figured I had written the wrong total weight. So, I simply doubled everything.

....But that's not right. Half way through writing down the recipe, I had to go help the wife calm down a screaming child. I wrote down half of a different (5.1 lb) alloy recipe, when I got back. I suspect I didn't catch it because I had just typed up a big quick-reference sheet with 12 different alloy recipes. It is mostly just different ways to get the same 2 basic alloys from different source metals, and slight tweaks for batch sizes from 5 lb to 20 lb. ...My brain must have been tired of the numbers.

The actual recipe was supposed to be:
1.5 lb Magnum Shot
750 gr Solder
6 lb Pure Lead
3 lb Linotype +400 gr

Again... I didn't catch my mistake, until I was finished casting and was inspecting/weight-sorting. I was shooting for a BHN of 12-13, and ended up with one at nearly 17 BHN (with more than 7% Sb).

I can get the alloy back to where I want it with 34" of Solder, 8 lb Pb, and 2 lb Isotope alloy. But... I'm really feeling like an idiot.

There were at least 4 'checkpoints' where I should have caught the mistake. ...but I didn't. I trusted what I had written down, and pressed on.

It's frustrating, but... There's nothing to it, other than me not paying attention.
Idiot!
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Old July 18, 2012, 01:47 PM   #8
IllinoisCoyoteHunter
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I use WW alloy. Water drop them for rifle loads. Air cool them for everything else. Simple.
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Old July 18, 2012, 03:49 PM   #9
FrankenMauser
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I use WW alloy. Water drop them for rifle loads. Air cool them for everything else. Simple.
Clip-on wheel weights are pretty much impossible to get around here. If I'm lucky, I can find about 3-4 lbs a year.
And, stick-ons cost more than I pay for pure lead at a plumbing supply company.

So, I have to mix my own WW alloy.
Antimony and Tin are easy to get. It's the Arsenic, for heat-treating, that's a pain. (Though, the Copper in 96/4 Tin/Copper plumber's solder helps make up for being a little short on As.)
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Old July 18, 2012, 04:33 PM   #10
David Bachelder
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Wheel weights are a thing of the past here as well. Ask for them and the tire shop owner looks at you like you're crazy.

I'm still using plumbers lead I found in my Dads garage. I order SuperHard and tin from RotoMatals. Lately I've been using 95:2.5:2.5, Lead, Tin, Antimony. BHN is most likely around 12 +/-. Good enough for me.
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