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Old December 13, 2013, 02:19 PM   #1
chris in va
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Pure lead, adding shot?

I found a source of pure lead, but it's my understanding it doesn't work for 9mm and 45acp. Can I add a bit of lead shot to harden it up?
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Old December 13, 2013, 02:51 PM   #2
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You can, or you might consider swapping with muzzle loading people who must use pure lead for their shot.

Check out and see if you can trade your pure lead for alloy.

Alternatively, you can add tin.

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Old December 13, 2013, 08:24 PM   #3
chris in va
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Thank you. I had a palm slap 'duh' moment and realized I could just add in some wheelweight ingots to the melt. We'll see how it turns out.

The guy I bought the lead from replaces windows and salvaged some big square counterweights. They're quite soft so I suspect it's darn near pure lead.

Now to figure out how to cut them down.
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Old December 13, 2013, 09:55 PM   #4
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With stuff like that I melt it down in a big pot and pour into muffin tins. I do the same thing with my WW. Mark each kind for identification and it makes it simple to make the ratio of pure to WW you want. I also have a big iron lead ladle that helps but I am sure you can find something suitable for dipping the lead into the tins.
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Old December 13, 2013, 10:54 PM   #5
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You may want to adulterate your pure lead to 50/50 WW just to get the antimony and arsenic up to a useable level. A bit of tin--1 -2% is all you would ever really want in your alloy anyway. More than that won't really harden the alloy and too much turns it into solder.
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Old December 14, 2013, 11:54 AM   #6
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Adding shotgun pellets to pure lead won't do much to harden that pure lead. Shot is made in 2 main configurations. Regular and magnum. The regular is commonly called "chilled shot". That means the pellets were dropped into very cold water to "chill" them quickly. There's only about 2% antimony and a trace,(less than 1% tin), which allows a hard skin on the pellets. It's what us casters call water drop hardening.

Magnum shot is about 6% antimony, with enough tin to keep the antimony in solution with the lead, about 1.5%. Magnum shot will harden pure lead, but you'd need a lot of shot to do it. Since a 25# bag of magnum shot is right around $50.00, it's a VERY expensive lead to use to alloy pure lead.

Roto metals sells a lead additive that makes for very good alloy by simply adding it to pure lead. It's 30% antimony to 70% pure lead.

You WILL need to add some tin with it to keep the antimony in the alloy. Tin is required in any alloy to keep antimony in solution. If you have too much antimony without tin, you will see antimony crystals surrounded by pure lead. Go to that link at Roto metals for the super hard alloy, then click on the link to the LASC about how to use it to arrive at a useable alloy for your needs, or go straight here;
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Old December 16, 2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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Tin around here is too expensive to use much of. I always use straight clip on WW, but for hunting bullets I use 50/50 pure lead/WW and 2% tin. Makes a very good performing bullet.

I have never used it, but I think allota guys use pure lead-tin in 10-1, 16-1 and 20-1 depending on what gun they are shooting.
I might be wrong, but I think most of the old "pre jacketed" guns shot 20-1 and 30-1.

A good friend of mine is a collector of the old guns. I asked him once his alloy for 45-70 and he said just pure lead with a little tin. He didnt even weigh the amounts. It worked fin for him.
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