Casting Bullets . . .

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by glassparman, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. glassparman

    glassparman New Member

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    Greetings gang!

    I've been carting around this 75 pound ingot of lead for many years. I don't have a hardness gauge but this thing seems like fairly hard stuff.

    Anybody have any experience with Pacific Smelting? The brownish color is fine sawdust because it is laying in my woodshop.

    Does anyone have an idea to see if it is hard enough for casting bullets without using a hardness gauge?

    Thanks in advance,
    Michael

    [​IMG]
  2. res45

    res45 New Member

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  3. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    First of all pure lead works just fine for target bullets that are well lubed and are not driven over 1,000 feet per second. In other words what do you want to do with the bullets when your done making them? Also you can buy antimony and tin to harden your mixture. A word of caution if you make your bullets so hard as to want to drive them in the 2000 fps range they will not mushroom but rather act more like a brittle yet not very strong solid, fragmenting horribly. As for the hardness tester SACO use to make one that sold for about 20 bucks as I recall. A word of caution it might sell for 200 bucks now because I bought almost all of my stuff at about the same time the wheel was invented.

    Ron

    Ps: Your next thread is going to be asking how to cut up that chunk of lead so it will fit in a reloaders style pot. My answer is find yourself a friend who is a plumber.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  4. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

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    I had a 440 LB. chunk that was from a fork truck. I had to use the set of torchies. it took some clear planing to cut it up as it was 8" thick 4' long and 1 1/2' wide. had to slide it to the tail gate of the truck and cut it. put a BIG pan under it to gather the run off.
  5. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    gun-nut: The reason I did not suggest the tourch thing even though I too know it works is that you can get the lead so hot it turns to a gas and breathing it will kill you, not to mention a boot full of hot lead if you miss any of the "run off".
  6. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    Pure lead by itself can be made into pistol bullets but would benefit from a small amount of tin to allow the melt to fill the mold properly. Pure lead will leave rounded corners in your bullet mold but tin will allow it to fill properly and cast crisp edges.
  7. mikld

    mikld Member

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    Without any markings on the ingot (95-5, 60-40, etc.) it's prolly pure lead...
  8. 243winxb

    243winxb New Member

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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  9. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

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    Lead is scarce as hens teeth these days...I wish I could find a source around my neck of the woods....Ive cast many a boolit in the past with wheel weights, but now I understand they have been adulterated with zinc and other strange crap and not worth using for casting purposes...:mad:

    So my melting pot stays cold until I get a supply of lead that aient gonna cost its weight in gold...;)
  10. res45

    res45 New Member

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    Duke I've had the same problem recently finding good quality WW's although I have a good supply stashed back and can mine my own backstop and reclaim many of the bullets I want be getting any more good WW's it seem not in buckets like I used to.

    I started buying lead roof sheeting and lead pipe at the local scrap yard for 40 cents a lb. current price and alloying it with some WW or plumbers solder to harden as needed. You can also buy a product called Super Hard form Roto Metals http://www.lasc.us/SuperHard.htm and alloy your PB and get air cooled WW hardness or water quench if it needs to be harder.
  11. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

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    Yeah, Res45, them were the good ole days...Local service stations would give me all the wheelweights I wanted to haul off...Good casting material then...I had a bud with the power company who would bring me pure lead pipe cut-offs too short for anything except for junking...3-4ft sections of 8in pure lead...Id cast this for my BP...Them daze is long gone Im afraid..:(:(:(
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  12. RustyFN

    RustyFN New Member

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    I guess I'm lucky. I went and got tires on my truck the other day and asked the owner and they are still using lead WW's in West Virginia and Ohio.
  13. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

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    Thanks for the info, Rusty...Ill have to check that out...I got my information second hand from a caster buddy...Now the tire people want to charge ya $50 for a 5 gallon bucket full around here because thats what the scrap people pay them...If still good wheelweight, its worth it.
  14. carver

    carver Moderator

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    My furnace has about 7lbs of lead in it right now. I haven't used it in a lot of years, but if I were to get back into it, I would probably buy my lead on line. If anyone around here has WW then they already have some body who has claimed first shot at them.
  15. The Duke

    The Duke New Member

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    Carver...My bud gets his from Midway...S&H is outta sight via UPS.....I dont remember what the shipping rates for truck runs these days, but I know they have certain limitations that they will deliver....Shipping by truck if far cheaper, but you must purchase a good amount for them to handle it...
  16. Harryintheboro

    Harryintheboro New Member

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    I have given up on using wheel weights for casting and have bit the bullet (no pun intended) and buy my alloy online. One company that I recommend is Rotometals.com, that make a hardball (BNH 16-18) alloy for about $1.50 a pound. The also offer free shiping if you buy over 60 pounds. Another thing I like about Rotometals is the fast shipping, get mine in three days or less.
    I've cast over 100 pounds of this alloy and have another 100 pounds put away. This hardball alloy cast nice crisp boolits
  17. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    The last I bought was 50 lbs of lino-type that I got off eBay. It was already in 1 pound ingots and they shipped it USPS flat rate box. Lino-type is getting scarce, too and the price has gone up a bunch since I got my load last year.
  18. RustyFN

    RustyFN New Member

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    I got a deal on 50 pounds of monotype a couple of years ago. I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet but I'm sure it will come in handy one day.
  19. Harryintheboro

    Harryintheboro New Member

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    While I was in the Navy I had weekend duty and was assigned to the line shack of the flight test area of a large aircraft repair station. Having nothing to do because of the weather I helped a couple of guys in my section cut up and melt lead "Dummy Loads". The dummt loads were used to repalce a piece of electronic gear so the center of gravity would stay the same.

    We had a very large melting pot and must have melted over 300 pounds what I bealive to some type of hard lead alloy that could not be scratched with a fingernail.
  20. glassparman

    glassparman New Member

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    OK, so I cut about a 2" strip off the end of the ingot. I cut it with my Craftsman 12" bandsaw with a coarse blade. It cut fairly easy but I could not go real fast.

    It is nice and shiny on the inside and seems extremely hard. I went out to my shop and got out my old drafting pencils and found a 6H. That is fourth down from the top on the hardest end of pencil grading. It did not scratch the ingot no matter what I did. Using anything metal like a screw driver, gouges it without a problem. I'm just pointing this out because on other boards they talk about using different hardness' of pencils to test the hardness of lead.

    What is the upper end of hardness that would be considered too hard for casting bullets?
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