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Old November 24, 2011, 10:43 AM   #1
Join Date: January 10, 2011
Posts: 65
Sailboat Lead

I am gearing up to do my first ghetto style casting session (fire, pot, and ladle) within the next month or so. A friend who works at a boat building/repair place got me a free 45lb chunk of salvaged lead, probably cut from the keel of a dead sailboat. With almost no effort I can easily scratch a nice shiny line it it with my fingernail so I am assuming it is pure lead or pretty close. I plan on casting for 357 magnum initially.

A nearby shop has some linotype, I think it's about $1.50/lb in 60 lb pigs/ingots.

1. Would this be good for mixing with my sailboat lead?
2. What mixture would be suggest?
3. Would that be a good value for me to purchase for mixing or would tin & antimony be a cheaper choice?

Much Appreciated.
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Old November 24, 2011, 10:52 AM   #2
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Yeah, ballast lead is dead-soft, at least all the ballast lead I've seen is dead soft.

How fast do you intend to push those bullets? For target bullets and midrange stuff, simply adding tin in a 5% ratio will improve castability. Any more than that and you're wasting the tin.

I use very little linotype, mainly in rifle bullets where I'll be driving them over 1500 fps and need the toughness that linotype imparts to the alloy.

The one thing that will improve your bullets is the tin, for .357 velocities. If you want them a little harder you can water-drop them which will harden them. The one thing you'll want to pay attention to is sizing. Your bullets might drop from the mold and not need sizing, or they might need to be sized. You won't know until you have bullets in hand.

The best resource online for this type discussion is the Cast Boolits forum. Lots of old hands over there willing to pass along good information. Go over there and read the stickys, then start asking questions.
Dennis Dezendorf
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Old November 24, 2011, 11:27 AM   #3
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I wish I had a hunk of soft lead like that. It would work great for my Black Powder casting.
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Old November 24, 2011, 11:45 AM   #4
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A nearby shop has some linotype, I think it's about $1.50/lb in 60 lb pigs/ingots.

1. Would this be good for mixing with my sailboat lead?
2. What mixture would be suggest?
3. Would that be a good value for me to purchase for mixing or would tin & antimony be a cheaper choice?
1. Yes. "Pure" lead can have Tin, Antimony (in Linotype), added to it to make bullets.
2. is a good place to get specifics on how much Lino to get the results you want.
3. Adding pure Tin and pure Antimony is problematic. Linotype contains Tin and Antimony. You are fortunate to have a source for Linotype; it is becoming ever harder to find...must of us casters are using wheel weights and adding a little tin; it is all we have access to.
For heat treating, the alloy should have both Antimony and Arsenic (found in wheel weights).
Almost any/all lead-based alloys may be used, with alloying, to produce good bullets. Never discard any cheap/free lead alloys.

Another must read:

Last edited by dahermit; November 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM.
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Old November 25, 2011, 04:27 PM   #5
Paul B.
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If you're looking for a source of arsenic to add to the mix for water quenching, get some magnum or "chilled bird shot. Pick on the smaller sizes. I won't use anything larger than 7 1/2 shot myself and would prefer #8 shot or #9 if I could find any. If you can find it in a 10 pound bag, that'll last a long time. I bought a 25 pound bag of # 7 1/2 chilled shot about 20 years ago and still have some left. The important thing is it takes very little arsenic to do the job. My alloy that I use for just about everything consists of 10 pounds of wheel weight metal (cleaned of course) one pound of linotype, a one-third cup of chilled bird shot, and a three foot piece of 95/5 percent lead free solder. The BHN number for bullets air cooled from this alloy runs right 12 on the BHN scale. Heated to 425 degrees in a calibrated toaster oven and then water dropped will immediately produce a BHN numbe rof 21 to 22 on the scale and after a couple of weeks of age hardening they will run from 30 to 32 BHN.
As cast, the air cooled bullets work just fine in magnum handgun ammo and the water quenched can be pushed a bit in rifle cartridges. All I will add is the Lyman #311644 over 25.0 gr. of IMR4895 with a one grain tuft of dacron is a consistant 1.5 to 2 MOA load at 200 yards from my Winchester M70 in .308. That same bullet and charge in a 30-06 will, if you hit the top third of a 50 plus pound pig silhouette actually knock it down, even if it is reluctent to fall.
HOpe this helped. I size my 30 caliber cast bullets to .310".
Paul b.
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