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Old September 9, 2010, 04:16 AM   #1
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How to soften linotype lead

I need to soften my linotype lead to a more desirable hardness level similar to WW lead. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to do this?
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Old September 9, 2010, 04:24 AM   #2
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Your post begs the question: Why? Linotype is sought after by bullet casters. Many would be happy to trade wheel weights or plumbers lead for your Linotype. Nevertheless, if you add enough "plumbers lead" to your Linotype, it will result in a softer alloy...that is the only way to soften it.
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Old September 9, 2010, 08:07 AM   #3
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I thought wheel weights were generally a little harder than lino?
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Old September 9, 2010, 08:22 AM   #4
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Old wheel weights were fairly hard, not much different than linotype.
But, I would shy away from wheel weights these days as new ones are no longer lead. You could get inconsistent, and dissapointing results with new wheel weights. For pistol, the linotype, as is, should be pretty good.
It softens when it is melted.
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Old September 9, 2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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I thought wheel weights were generally a little harder than lino?
Wheel weights are generally soft, but contain Arsenic and Antimony which allows them to be heat treated to nearly the harness of Linotype.
Wheel Weights are still the most available source of lead in most of the country inasmuch as salvage yards still have (and will have as long as old cars have them on their wheels), lead wheel weights despite the movement to non-lead (steel, zinc).
Many areas have little-no source for Linotype and rely on Wheel Weights plus a little tin for all our bullet casting. When Linotype is found, it is pounced upon by casters like a duck on a June bug. (bullet alloy composition: Copyright 2001 2009- 13th Confederate Infantry) (Bullet alloys: forum)

Last edited by dahermit; September 9, 2010 at 06:49 PM.
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Old September 9, 2010, 09:59 AM   #6
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I have quite a bit of Linotype that a printer friend gave me and it is harder than the WW lead that I have. As said above I just cut in pure lead until bullets drop out of the mold at the advertised weight (a pure Linotype bullet is light).
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Old September 9, 2010, 03:29 PM   #7
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Lyman lists linotype as having a BHN of 22, and wheel weights (not hardened) as having a BHN of 9. And that's for good wheel weights. I have run into softer ones.

Lyman #2 is listed with a BHN of 15. That is the exact same BHN they give for 50:50 linotype with pure lead. So, mix in an equal weight of pure lead with your linotype to arrive at the same hardness as #2 alloy. What you will end up with is about 2% tin and 6% antimony. This mix is also known as Teracorp magnum bullet alloy. It is not as pretty looking as #2 because it has less tin in it, but works pretty well.

Another approach would be to put 6½ pounds of linotype, 8 pounds of lead, and 8 ounces of lead-free plumbing solder (which is mostly tin) together. That will be very close to actual Lyman #2 alloy. Do be careful to double-check the MSDS of the lead-free plumbing solder online to make sure the brand you buy includes no zinc, but I don't believe much of it does. Zinc spoils mold fillout.

Might want to ask a moderator to move this thread to the cast bullet forum? You'll maybe get still more answers there?
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Old September 9, 2010, 10:00 PM   #8
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So is plumber's lead considered pure lead? I have linotype and plumbers lead laying around for a rainy day.
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Old September 10, 2010, 01:10 PM   #9
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So is plumber's lead considered pure lead? I have linotype and plumbers lead laying around for a rainy day.
It is not "pure lead", but for bullet casting purposes it can be considered to be "pure" inasmuch as the small amounts of metallic elements present will not effect the casting of bullets.
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Old September 12, 2010, 04:06 PM   #10
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5 parts PB to 1 part Lino (12% Sb) boolit's water dropped will give you about 12 Bhn, same as air cooler WW's. Check here for other mixes.
I'm currently using Case Monotype (24% Sb) at 9:1 for around 15 Bhn after dropped in water for 18hrs. or so.
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Old September 25, 2010, 10:54 PM   #11
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I found that straight linotype would splatter on a metal target using my rcbs kieth 250gr GC. Straight WW seemed to lead a bit. I found that if I use 4 parts WW to 1 part linotype, the leading is down to a minimum, they drive a bit deeper into the target, and they dont splatter. They also form sharper edges from the mold.
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Old September 26, 2010, 02:43 PM   #12
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The " stick on, double sided tape on" wheel weights are darn near pure lead, adding some of them to the batch should soften your harder alloy.
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Old October 10, 2010, 03:04 AM   #13
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Linotype is 4-12-84 Tin/Antomony/Lead
If you want the standard commercial cast bullet alloy mix it 50/50 with lead
to get 2-6-92 with a bnh of about 15 a couple weeks after casting.
Even air cooled alloy hardend with age but , not nearly as much as water dropped.

Mix 3 leads with 1 lino to get typical WW equivelant alloy. And since so many casters mix their clip-on WWs 50/50 with lead , you could even 5 parts lead and do just fine for most handguns.
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Old November 10, 2010, 08:53 PM   #14
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I use 50/50 lino and pure to get 7.5% antimony shot. Works fine for magnum bullets and slower rifle calibers like 30-30, 30-40, 35, and 32 Spl.
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