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Old December 12, 2019, 07:51 PM   #1
burbank_jung
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Why yoga when I can reload and cast bullets

How accurate are cast bullets made from random lead collected the target range and cast into 148gr wadcutters or 230grain lead bullets? I plan to use a LEE 6 cavity mould.
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Old December 13, 2019, 12:02 AM   #2
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It depends on what is shot there. I find mostly lead from .22 rimfire at my range. It's softer than most casting alloys, being closer to pure. That means it will melt hotter, cast larger in diameter, and won't fill mold details out as well. But you can add tin to bring it to a perfectly usable alloy. Adding about eight ounces of 50:50 solder per 92 ounce of soft lead will do it.
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Old December 13, 2019, 01:46 AM   #3
burbank_jung
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Type of bullets I have

Thanks Uncle Nick. I have jacketed pistol bullets and hard cast bullets
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Old December 13, 2019, 10:21 AM   #4
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I always appreciate and usually learn something from Unclenick's posts but to answer the OP's original question:
Quote:
Why yoga when I can reload and cast bullets
You miss out on the goats of course!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9A0AxoleGA
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Old December 13, 2019, 02:33 PM   #5
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Where the lead comes from isn't as important as what's in it. Range lead will require some "cleaning" out the dirt and whatever else got into it. Range lead wasn't likely "clean" to start with either.
Pure lead is best for swaging. Swaged 148 grain WC's beat cast bullets, but it takes more tools. Swaging is bullets made from pure lead wire that you'd have to make vs just melting the stuff and adding the tin for casting.
Oh and you cannot cast or swage bullets while standing on your head or with your leg stuck somewhere unnatural. And if you play with goats, people will talk. snicker.
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Old December 13, 2019, 09:07 PM   #6
burbank_jung
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What a pity. There is so much lead at shooting ranges that go to waste. I picked up orphan brass often. Then I needed to find a home for them and bought the guns.
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Old December 13, 2019, 10:02 PM   #7
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I recently started casting with range scrap. I powder coat the cast bullets and then swage them in Lee bullet sizer dies. I have zero leading in 44 mag with full power loads of 2400. I haven't shot paper with them yet, but they are soda can accurate at 15 yards or so.

Those are the luckiest goats I ever saw almost makes me want to take up yoga...... almost
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Old December 13, 2019, 10:06 PM   #8
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Burbank Jung,

If you have a good quantity of cast bullets in the mix you will be good to go. As far as jacketed bullet cores go, Sierra says they use five different core alloys, depending on what the bullet is designed to do; pure lead, 1½% antimony, 3% antimony, 6% antimony, and 4% tin. So if you have a good percentage of hard cast bullets in the brew and you have cores melted out of jacketed bullets and mix the two about 50:50, you should still have a very decent casting alloy for target loads. It won't shine as brightly as some with additional tin, but as long as you aren't worried about looking like you are shooting silver bullets, it should work fine.

I think this really belongs in the casting forum. I will move it for you. You may get some more comments there.
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Old December 14, 2019, 06:20 PM   #9
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How to make mystery metal. To me, in using range scrap one has to own that there will be a different ratios of basics. This is voodoo reloading before hand. I can melt down jacketed bullets and cast bullets from the back stop. Cast into ingots by crude measurements comes out similar to Lyman #2. The last batch I made up was thirty five pounds worth usable lead. I start all over again next batch. I feel with lead becoming more difficult to get using range scrap and similar will become more common. Is this subsistence reloading? Yes.
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Old December 15, 2019, 05:09 AM   #10
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Get a Brinnel hardness testing kit, like this one;

https://www.amazon.com/LEE-PRECISION.../dp/B004Y6YH3W

Then alloy to your hearts content. Most FMJ lead is dead soft.

To be honest, I don't really worry about it too much as sizing seems to be the key to no leading for me, and I powder coat my home cast bullets. I know I have bullets with many different hardness levels, but they all seem to do what I need to with my 9mm practice loads. I don't use cast lead for much else, except 7.62x39mm practice loads as well. Freaks people out when they see those...especially when powder coated pink.
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Old December 17, 2019, 10:28 AM   #11
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See UN post#8 on bullet cores. I also keep; foundry metal, Super Hard plus the option of using Linotype. Got an entire pig of Linotype in reserve but need to get tin. With a portion of commercial savaged bullet in the mix it will work. I do need to get some tin. Got s fifty pound ingot of wheel weights on the way. The range scrap can make good accurate bullets.

I am among the cohort of those who have been casting long enough not to have a leading problem. Also, what keeps me in the old ways is a considerable investment in traditional equipment. I don't have any opinion on coated bullets one way or another. If it's not broke don't try to fix. The Star sizer is on line. Those things, the Star sizer, are fast beyond belief. As you may have figured, I like to tinker.
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Old December 17, 2019, 12:40 PM   #12
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J.G. Terry,

Glad to hear you're old school like me. Yep, you need tin. I get mine from scrap yard solder, although I have been known to buy some second hand solder online.

Don
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Old January 3, 2020, 09:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
Swaging is bullets made from pure lead wire that you'd have to make vs just melting the stuff and adding the tin for casting.
I swage .40 jacketed hollow points using cast scrap lead cast in a Lee 9mm mold as the projectile core and using a 9mm brass case as the jacket - annealed and formed. If you search my posts you'll find pictures of these on this board.

There's nothing that says one must swage only with pure lead wire - that's bull. I've never used pure lead wire. I've used several hundred pounds of all sorts of lead scrap.

Next - are you talking pistol or rifle? 148 grain suggests pistol - 230 grain could be a very large pistol round or a rifle round.

If we're talking pistol I have to ask why do you care as most pistol confrontations are between zero and 18 feet and accuracy at that range doesn't significantly matter. Center of mass.

If you care about distance accuracy in pistol - you're not going to be using cast rounds. You'd be using speced jacketed rounds weighed out to the 100th of a grain and sorted by weight and factory batch.

The projectile material will matter FAR more with a rifle round. The specific hardness of the lead will make a difference in a lot of different parameters. You can measure and adjust hardness. Adding tin or - for the poor man - solder scrap - will change the hardness of your alloy. Quenching the cast rounds in liquid will affect hardness as well. Powder coating cast rounds and re-sizing them will impact weapon performance and accuracy as well. With that said I am aware of reloaders who love .223 / 5.56 cast powder coated rounds and with some care do reasonably well with them.
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Old January 18, 2020, 12:11 PM   #14
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I have purchased "range lead" a few time from a vendor on another forum. Each time the BHN when measured with a Lee tester came out 11-12 BHN, with one running 13 BHN. I cast for several years before I got a hardness tester and shot some very accurate loads in my 44 Magnums. I was concentrating on bullet to gun fit and lube much more than hardness...
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Old January 19, 2020, 09:44 AM   #15
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Yes. That^^^^^. I've reminded people before that Elmer Keith worked up the 44 Mag loads starting with 20:1 lead:tin and going to 16:1 lead:tin when the first proved a little too soft, but it's only in the BHN 11 range. If the gun has a smooth bore and no gross constriction where the barrel screws into the frame, that can work pretty well. If you want to shoot harder lead bullets without leading, lapping the constriction out and reaming the cylinders to match the bullet diameter matters more.
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Old January 19, 2020, 12:09 PM   #16
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Hee, Hee. I purchased some "Keith Alloy" a while back; 16-1. (I just thought I'd do a bit of name dropping to show how much I know about lead...)
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Old February 22, 2020, 12:55 AM   #17
Dead-Nuts-Zero
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burbank_jung

Your Question...

Quote:
"How accurate are cast bullets made from random lead collected the target range and cast into 148gr wadcutters or 230grain lead bullets? I plan to use a LEE 6 cavity mould."
My Answer...

I'm using indoor range lead to cast in a Lee 6 cavity Lee 358-148 WC mold.
I powder coat them & then run them through a Lee sizing die.
Then load 38's with Win 231 (not sure of grains used without looking). It's a suggested middle of the road load as listed in reloading manuals.
I shoot them in my S&W Model 686 4" mostly at 6" & 8' steel hanging plates outdoors generally at 12-25 yards & they do quite well IMO. To be honest, I haven't shot them much at all on paper to tell you how accurate they really are.

Have shot about 2500 or so with this method without any problems whatsoever.

The range lead I use is about 95% assorted center fire handgun, the rest is .22 lead.

I powder coat everything I cast.
I don't do any 230 gr. bullets yet...will probably try it this summer.
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