View Full Version : Cheapest way to harden stick-ons

July 8, 2010, 02:14 PM
A friend gave me a bunch of stick-on wheel weights. I just need to get them hard enough for 45 ACP, somewhere in the 11-12 BHN. Can someone give me some direction on the cheapest (hopefully easiest) way to harden stick-on wheel weights? Also, and I'm assuming it will involve mixing metals, where can I get the metal I need.

Jumping Frog
July 8, 2010, 03:19 PM
You can harden your alloy by adding appropriate antimony and tin.

One well known source is http://www.theantimonyman.com/

If I recall correctly, 2% tin, 6% antimony and 92% lead is about equal to Lyman #2.

July 8, 2010, 06:05 PM
1/2 Wheel weights is good tin will help but over 2% is

Slug ya bore & size to fit ya probably can get by with a 800fps load as is .

July 8, 2010, 09:30 PM
Trade them on craigslist for WW's to a CAS shooter

July 8, 2010, 10:39 PM
Many stick-on weights are zinc now. If even one Zn weight gets by and melts into your lead, it will ruin the batch to the point that the hardness won't matter.

Cheapest way to harden lead is to add magnum lead shot because it contains both antimony and arsenic. It should just take a little. Then you'll need to add a little tin (lead-free solder) to get it to cast nice and sharp.

Or, just mix the stick-on weights (after you've removed any ZN weights) with an equal amount of clip-ons and get your antimony and tin that way.

July 9, 2010, 06:54 AM
This should help you.
Composition and Hardness
Trace of
Alloy Tin% Antimony% Lead% BHN Arsenic

Foundry Type 15 23 62 ? No
Monotype 9 19 72 28 No
Stereotype 6 14 80 23 No
Linotype 4 12 84 22 No
Lyman # 2 5 5 90 15 No
Electrotype 3 2.5 94.5 12 No
1 to 10 tin/lead 9 --- 91 11.5 No
1 to 20 tin/lead 5 --- 95 10 No
1 to 30 tin/lead 3 --- 97 8 No
1 to 40 tin/lead 2.5 --- 97.5 6-7 No
Hard Ball 2 6 92 16 No
Clip-on wheel weight .5 3-4 95.5 10 Yes
96.5 12
Stick-on wheel weight * ** 99.5 6 No
# 8 Magnum Shot --- 4% 96% Yes
# 8 Chilled Shot --- 2-3% 97 *** Yes
Plumbers Lead --- --- ****100 No
Lead --- --- 100 5 No

July 9, 2010, 06:57 AM
Sorry when I posted this it lost the columns.

July 9, 2010, 02:09 PM
Thanks much to everyone. Much appreciated.

July 9, 2010, 06:34 PM
Water quenching will also harden the stick on wheel weights. I have found my most recent buckets to be 10% Zinc instead of lead. That's a minimal loss for the 90% of lead stick-ons I get.

July 10, 2010, 11:42 AM
Don't get your pot too hot and zinc will float to the top.

July 11, 2010, 11:43 AM
Water quenching will also harden the stick on wheel weights.

I disagree. Stick on or adhesive wheel weights are nearly pure lead. They might have a small amount of tin in them, but no antimony or arsenic. Lead and tin will not heat treat, which is what water quenching is. You absolutely need both antimony and arsenic to heat treat lead.

A good source of both is magnum shot. I didn't say cheap, but not much would be required to allow heat treating stick-ons, to a much harder state. You'd still need some tin. That's available as lead free solder. Get the stuff that's 95% tin and 5% antimony.

By the time and expense of making this stuff usable, you could break even by buying already alloyed, guaranteed, alloy from roto metals. Especially if you sold it to a muzzle loader that casts his own balls and conical bullets.

July 12, 2010, 09:32 AM
Whats wrong with just plain old 20/1 pure lead/ tin?
Its supposed to be as hard as WW alloy, but more malable. I aint tried it yet, but am going to shortly in my 30/30.
I know guys that do use it and like it.

July 12, 2010, 12:56 PM
As Snuffy said arsenic is the main ingredient needed for heat-treating. Stick on weights are just about pure lead, I have tested them for hardness.
45ACP bullets do not need to be overly hard to begin with, the easiest way to harden alloy up is to find some Lyno or Mono type, Antimony is the main hardening alloy in Lead, Lyno is 11% antimony, if you go fishing in the Evil-BAY, be careful on the S&H charges, if bidding there, I only bid of 50+ pound lots. Most times I can get it for about $1.75 a pound shipped.

August 14, 2010, 07:08 PM
Sorry to bring this up again but I am finally going to be someplace Monday where I can buy some magnum shot without having to pay shipping. Is this shot going to melt in my Lymn Mag 20 pot? How much magnum shot do I need for say a pound of sick on weights? All I need is to get it hard enough for 45 ACP, 38 Spl and 45 Colt. About to clip-on wheel weights. Thanks much!

August 15, 2010, 07:16 PM
Also 95/5 solder will help. It is lead free 95% tin 5% antimony. I pay about $15 for a 1 pound roll of it. It does not take a whole lot of it. Break off a few wraps at a time. Cast a few, check the hardness, keep adding a small amount of solder till they are at the hardness you desire.

August 15, 2010, 07:56 PM
Thanks much for the response on solder but I have had a heck of a time finding solder that meets 95/5. I have even asked at my local hardware store and they can't tell me what the make up is and it isn't posted on the label. Strange! Can you give me a brand and a recommendation on where to get it. I have kind of given up on the whole solder thing and have leaned toward Lynotype or magnum shot.

August 16, 2010, 08:41 AM
Bob, I added some chilled shot to my wheel weights that were destined for a gas checked 32/20 bullet I am going to use in my Marlin at an enhanced speed, water quenched of course. I dunno if wheel weights need any extra arsenic, but these suckers are hard.

August 16, 2010, 10:18 AM
Oh go into a plumbing supply house where the plumbers go get thier parts. They'll have any kind of solder you could imagine. They even still sell 50/50 solder because you can use it on boilers.

August 16, 2010, 03:27 PM
There are several different companies that make the 95/5 solder.(95 percent tin and 5 percent antimony) it should say on the side of the roll, or the package. It is refered to in slang as "plumbers silver". Plumbers use it on metal fresh water pipes. You can find it at a welding supply store. That is where I get mine from. Also a plumbing store would probably have it.

August 17, 2010, 08:36 AM
lots of really good stuff here (http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm)

August 17, 2010, 12:56 PM

Magnum shot: It contains 3% to 8% antimony. 5% is maybe most common. Get the manufacturer's MSDS. Whatever it is, add about 2% tin to make it cast better, and it will make bullets. Probably a little harder than you want, but it will be heat treatable.

Antimony and lead don't cast well until you add a couple of percent tin. Get almost any lead-free plumbing solder to use as the tin source. I've yet to see zinc in a lead free plumbing solder (I've seen it in electrical solder once), but just to make sure it doesn't contain zinc, again, check the MSDS (usually available on line). Most all those solders are 95% tin, with the difference being bismuth, copper, antimony, selenium and other odds and ends. Don't worry about those unless one of them is zinc. Otherwise, just pretend the lead-free solder is pure tin. That's close enough to being true for bullet work. The other additives actually harden it a little further, though I think they are mainly to improve flow.

I'll mention that 16:1 lead tin is what Elmer Keith settled on in developing the .44 Magnum. BHN 11. It works well enough for most handgun purposes and is in your hardness range. It does not respond to heat treating.

Lyman #2 is 5% tin and 5% antimony and is about BHN 15. The 6% antimony 2% tin recipe is for Teracorp magnum alloy and it or something close to it is used by a lot of commercial casters. It runs around BHN 16, IIRC?

Jim Watson
August 17, 2010, 01:11 PM
Note that the commercial 92-6-2 alloy is right at half linotype (84-12-4). So if you have a lot of linotype, you can make it into pistol alloy by combining it 50:50 with lead. The linotype casters will hate you for it, though.

Little as the hardening effect of tin is, the old Sharps Rifle Co. recommended 10:1 for Creedmoor bullets.

Greener recommended type metal for hard express rifle bullets... or mercury. Blend mercury into hot lead and it might be a question of whether the mercury poisoning or the dangerous game got you first.

August 17, 2010, 05:55 PM
Unclenick - I may not be understanding your first paragraph. I think you are suggesting using mag. shot with some tin added. I understand that but my problem is I have stick on weights that I need to harden to about BHN 12-13 I was hoping I could do it with mag shot but I have no clue what ratio to use. I have ot been able to find a source of Linotype near by and some have suggested 50/50 bar solder. I have found some of that now but thought it might make more sense to just pick up mag shot and add it 10/1 (or some ratio) to the stick-ons.

Jim - I am really considering linotype and a 50/50 mix with stick-ons but it appears I will have to have it shipped in rather than buy it locally.

August 18, 2010, 08:39 AM

1 lb spool of what is listed elsewhere as 97/3


Commercial alloy supplier you can contact.


Might contact this one for prices on whatever volume you want.

August 19, 2010, 08:43 AM
For casters than have lots of pure lead alloying with Roto Metals Super Hard may be an option.


August 21, 2010, 12:35 PM

My point was that some magnum shot has about the antimony levels you want in your finished alloy, while others have more. I understand it is manufactured using scrap in part, so the composition varies quite a bit. If you add pure lead from stick-ons it won't be as hard. You'll have to settle for a softer alloy. You could, for example, mix it 50:50 with lead and you may then have anywhere from 1.5% antimony, about like some swaged lead bullets to 4% antimony, about like wheel weights.

No matter what you do, you probably want to add 2% tin to make it fill in the mold well. If you use lead-free plumbing solder, just add 2% by weight. Close enough. If you use 50:50 solder add 4% by weight.

You probably need to consider investing in a Lee hardness tester to see exactly what you've wound up with. If it reads too hard, add more stick-ons. Too soft, add more shot. That kind of thing. The uncertainty of the compositions makes it impossible to present a definite solution.