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Old August 26, 2020, 09:34 AM   #1
ghbucky
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Question for powder coaters

I don't cast bullets, so I'm fairly ignorant of the process, but I do purchase coated lead bullets.

Even with powder coated, I've found that I was still getting leading in my barrels. Once I started rejecting coated bullets with exposed lead, that problem cleared up.

I know you need to swage the bullets after coating, and I guess the swaging is removing the coating?

Is there anything that can be done after the fact to deal with that exposed lead? I hate just tossing bullets.
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Old August 26, 2020, 10:27 AM   #2
burbank_jung
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You can melt the the PC bullets back into your pot (it will smoke a bit). Or remove the PC which is a pain in the %$#%$ by soaking it in acetone. The PC will wrinkle up and you can brush the PC off with a stiff toothbrush or wire toothbrush. I never PC'd those bullets and just recycled them. To PC a bullet again will increase the diameter of the bullet or (if you resize), change the COAL.

Have you slugged your barrel? Many say that an undersized bullet will lead your barrel? I took some old fishing split shots and melted them in my ladle, then poured the pure lead into my mold. I cut it in half, lubed the shank, and drove it down the lubed barrel with a dowel (start off with a brass punch). You'll need a micromenter. I bought mines at HF but maybe you can borrow one for a minute from someone.
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Old August 26, 2020, 10:50 AM   #3
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You do have to swage or size the bullets after powder coating them. If properly coated it does not remove the PC. If properly applied the powder coating works up to full magnum handgun velocity with soft lead bullets. Bullet for still has to be right. If you are receiving coated bullets with exposed lead They should be returned.

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Old August 26, 2020, 09:33 PM   #4
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I had some bullets that I coated a second time due to exposed lead and thin coating. The powder sticks, but increases the diameter of the finished bullet enough that sizing in my Lee bullet Sizer was harder than normal, but not abusive to the press. These were range scrap and hardness was around 9 or 10 BHN. With Lyman # 2 the extra powder coat makes it a real chore to size. But it works. It is far easier to make sure the coating is thicker to start with. But since you are purchasing them coated it would be more of an investment to coat them than to return them.
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Old August 27, 2020, 02:45 PM   #5
burbank_jung
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I read a few blogs about powder coating before starting doing it myself. It seems like common practice for some PCers to powder coat twice. I've also read a thread where 98% coverage is enough. What is most important is bullet fit. I've read this many times in various threads.
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Old August 27, 2020, 02:46 PM   #6
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Can I add also to contact the company you bought the bullets from and send them a photo of the bullets that are not PC'd well. Maybe they'll send you new ones.
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Old August 28, 2020, 07:28 AM   #7
ghbucky
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It seems that as I worked through the lot I was getting fewer and fewer rejects. The last 100 or so were 100% accepted. I bought these right after SNS started doing PCing, so maybe they were figuring the process out.

I've got 1000 more on order from Missouri that I'm waiting for, I'll pay close attention to those when I get them and get in touch if there are issues.

The other source I have is a friend that gave me a few hundred PCd 9mm that he cast himself. Just going through a handful of those it looks like around 1/3rd are going to be rejects.
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Old August 28, 2020, 12:48 PM   #8
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Try the smash test one a couple of the rejects. Smash the bullet with a hammer and see if the coating flakes off or otherwise starts coming loose. If the powder is not cured / baked correctly it can come loose and cause leading.

I have some powders that go on real light and have never had a problem as long as they are baked for the right amount of time and temperature. I try and knock as much powder off as possible when coating. I want a light and even coat.

Sizing the bullets will not cause the coating to come loose If the coating was applied correctly. If the coating comes loose in a sizing die that is not a good sign and it will surely lead a barrel while traveling down the bore.
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Old August 28, 2020, 05:55 PM   #9
ghbucky
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To make it clear, I don't think the coating is coming loose.

Here's a pic of a couple of the cast bullets. These are more on the extreme side. Usually what I'm seeing is a small spot of exposed lead, like where a sprue was?

Again, I have never cast a bullet, but when I look at this it makes me think there was excess lead that wasn't trimmed, powder coated, and then run through a sizer/swager that stripped off the excess.

These are 135gr 9mm.
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Old August 28, 2020, 10:37 PM   #10
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Those are some gnarly looking bullets. The sprue should be on the underside of the bullet and centered. The base of the bullets look like they have dents in them and were mangled with pliers for some reason. That small amount of exposed lead probably won’t hurt anything. I’d still try the smash test to see if the PC is adhered correctly.

If those were my bullets I’d throw them back in the casting put, but realistically they’d work for shooting steel plates at 15 yards or something were accuracy isn’t all that important.
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Old August 29, 2020, 12:00 AM   #11
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I'm going to think outside the box and get everyone's opinion. If I had a lot of bullets like this, decided to shoot them, yet was worried about leading, how about shaking them up in some Lee Alox? Or, mix some PC with Acetone, paint the one spot, and bake the bullets.

To me, the idea of baking the bullets is to open the lead molecules and allowing the paint to melt between the lead molecules slightly. That's why when you hammer the lead bullets, the paint doesn't chip off. In the past, this was the theory for leading auto body parts.
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Old August 29, 2020, 09:07 AM   #12
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It appears that your bullets don't have powder coat on the bottom. If that is the case, the company you purchased them from is using a powder coat gun and baking them on the same sheet they coated on. When they remove the bullets there are little edges of coating sticking out. They break off when sizing or packaging the finished bullets. They probably solved that issue as they progressed.
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Old August 29, 2020, 11:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghbucky View Post
I don't cast bullets, so I'm fairly ignorant of the process, but I do purchase coated lead bullets.

Even with powder coated, I've found that I was still getting leading in my barrels. Once I started rejecting coated bullets with exposed lead, that problem cleared up.

I know you need to swage the bullets after coating, and I guess the swaging is removing the coating?

Is there anything that can be done after the fact to deal with that exposed lead? I hate just tossing bullets.
What is happeing to the bullets is that the moulds that are producing the bullets do not have tight fitting sprue plates resulting in the bullets coming out with "flash" (excess lead at the base of the bullet where the blocks mate with the sprue plate) on them. Instead of removing the flash, or elsewise dealing with the moulds producing such, the bullet caster is just coating them with a powder coat spray gun, then when heat cured, is sizing them base first in a sizing die. The the flash on the base edge is then bent forward onto the driving band resulting in the issue as can be seen in your photo.

I would suggest getting your bullets from someone else who takes more pride in this workmanship (or uses a different mould).
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Old August 31, 2020, 02:44 PM   #14
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Yes. And notice the dent in the base near the top edge of the lower bullet that has powder coat on it. That bullet was never going to shoot accurately. It's been poorly handled.

I can see the bullets are uncoated on the bottom. Backwards. If he parked the noses in holes just big enough to keep them upright and coated the sides and bottoms, then he'd have a bullet that didn't lead easily. But he'd have to fix the smearing sprue plate cutting first.

I think your idea of putting Lee Tumble Lube or White Lable Liquid Alox lube on them would work just fine to cut leading on the few with dings and would put a little protection on the base as well.
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Old August 31, 2020, 04:39 PM   #15
Don Fischer
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Boy I would not get anymore of those. I haven't done a lot of powder coating but enough to learn a properly coated bullet doe's not lead the barrel! I cast my bullets and size them. Then powder coat and re-size them. I don't think the second sizing is really necessary but I figure the PC does make the bullet a bit bigger around. I do that with handgun and rifle bullet's and no leading at all.

Thinking more about this, I'd guess alox tumble lubed would work. But, before I did that I'd run those bullet's through a sizer. Doesn't look to me like they were sized before or after coating.

Last edited by Don Fischer; August 31, 2020 at 04:45 PM.
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Old August 31, 2020, 05:03 PM   #16
ghbucky
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He does PC the bottom, and I'd say roughly 2/3 of his home cast bullets are fine.

Here are 2 more, the one on the left I'll load, but if you look closely the one on the right has exposed lead. That one I won't load.

The bullet on the right is very similar looking to some of the commercially purchased bullets I got from SNS right after they started offering PC bullets a few years ago. I didn't closely inspect the bullets before loading them, it was only recently that I discovered this. Those bullets are all gone now.

I had gone through de-leading my barrels, and over the weekend I grabbed some older reloads without even thinking about it and now I've got a leaded barrel again.

I'm just going to burn all that old stuff through the gun and then go to battle with the barrel. But that is the last time, I swear!
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Old August 31, 2020, 06:52 PM   #17
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I'm going to be blunt: I have never seen commercially-produced-delivered bullets that badly done.

Never.

That said, swirl`em in ALOX and walk away.
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Old September 1, 2020, 11:59 AM   #18
ghbucky
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Please allow me to make one thing very clear.

I have not posted any pictures of commercially purchased bullets. Every picture I have posted was of home cast bullets.

I had some issues with SNS bullets from their early coated offerings. I also have ~1000 .45 coated bullets that I purchased from them later, and as far as I can tell they are perfect.

I don't want anyone walking away from this thread thinking this is a bash on SNS. I've been overall happy with them.
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Old September 1, 2020, 12:59 PM   #19
burbank_jung
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Here is another PC option. I once took my first PC coated bullets that had exposed lead and just took each bullet and forced them into the powder paint making it stick to the bullet. Then, I baked it and the bullets were completed covered. If you can't see your friend soon enough, just have him drop some in a plastic baggy and mail it to you in an envelope.
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Old September 2, 2020, 11:46 AM   #20
ghbucky
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Thanks for the tips, all.

I'll pick up some Alox next time I'm at my supply place and salvage what I can of those. Fortunately, I'll be using these for short range stuff (steel matches) so accuracy isn't a big concern.
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