Several questions...

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by glocknut, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    #1 I'm going to be reloading a bunch of 45acp rounds with Speer gold dot bullets. Powder recomendations? What brand works best for the "premium" ammo?

    #2 A friend made a case for reloading using lead bullets that he makes himself. He said i could go to a scrap metal place and get scrap lead. I rememeber someone else saying something about having to add other metals to the lead to make it work right. I guess you need to add tin and some other metal or additive?

    Being new to making lead it likely that i would screw up my revolvers by not getting the lead mixture right?
    Is it possible i could get a batch of lead that has something else in it that would be bad for barrels?

    #3 Is there a test that can be performed on lead bullets after they're made to make sure they are good to shoot thru a gun?

    #4 How many 230 grain 45acp lead bullets can a person make out of a pound of lead?

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    #1 - I use Unique for my 45 loads, whether it is ball or lead or hollowpoints. I don't see why you would need a specific powder for "premium" bullets.

    #2 - If you have pure lead, it is too soft for cartridge ammo. You need to add some tin to it. Between 5 and 10 percent, by weight. The easiest way to do that is to buy 50/50 bar solder at a plumbing supply house. A one-pound bar is 1/2 pound of tin. A pound of 50/50 to ten pounds of pure should be fine. If the scrap lead you get is mostly wheelweights, it already has lead and antimony in it, and is hard enough for pistol.

    I would not use battery lead. The lead from in the plates is dangerous to use (it gives off toxic gases), but I had thought a time or three about those nice big lead terminals sitting up there on top of the battery. But I decided I did not want any sulfuric acid residue in my guns. Don't know if it could happen, but won't take the chance. Too many wheelweights out there.

    When the lead is melted, all the crap in it will float to the top. That's because the lead is so heavy. The dirt and the tire rubber and the brake dust and the metal clip from the weight all float. Make sure you skim that junk off, so it looks like a pot of molten silver. Then there should be nothing in the melt that will cause a problem. Unless your metal's too soft.

    #3 - Try to gouge it with your thumbnail. If you can, the bullet is too soft. If the best you can do is make a slight scratch, it's okay. Cast bullets are actually pretty easy.

    #4 - A pound is 7000 grains. Dividing 230 into that gets you 30.4. Realistically, between 25 and 28, at the most.

  3. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    Lead from Batteries? Huh, go figure. Do you think lead ingots that a scrap metal place sells would have any of those battery cores in it? Is it possible? Or unlikely...?

  4. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    It might be possible...they'll melt down any lead they get in to pour up those ingots.

    But...The initial melt is where most of that sulfuric residue will burn off...and this should always be smelted outdoors (or under VERY GOOD ventilation). In fact even melting down pure lead should be done with good ventilation as there will always be a little lead vapor produced...

    I've smelted down a few old batteries to reclaim the lead to use to make babbit-metal (tin/lead alloy) for poured bearings for old farm machinery resto. I do this outdoors in a forge...load up the melt pot, fire it up, and keep away from the fume cloud until the sulfur smell is burned off.

    Just remember though..."lead vapors are known to cause cancer in the state of California". I'm glad I don't live in CA! :D
    Just kidding...if you do decide to take up bullet casting, take the health warning seriously!
  5. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    1. Why do we reload? To save money! Use what ever brand of powder you want for pistol ammo. Your gun might perform better with some other brand, but it won't be much. I use AA #2, 4.6 gr, for 769 fps. I use FMJ, if I do load LRN I will make sure to keep the speed of the bullet about right where mine are now, 769 fps.

    2. Wheel weights, and scrap lead work fine, just be sure to keep the bullets below 850 fps. If you push lead to fast it will lead your barrel. Harder lead will go faster, but are you trying to make a hunting round, or a target round?
    Soft lead will not hurt your gun, but if it fills the lands and grooves, you will have to work hard to get it out, and until it is removed, it will affect your accuracy.

    3. Yes, you can buy a tool for testing the hardness of your lead, but you don't need one unless you want to start to make bullets commercialy.

    4. There is about 458 grs. per oz. So, 2 bullets per oz., 16 oz. to the lb., = 32 bullets per lb.
  6. army mp

    army mp Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    western Pa,
    Personally I would take it one step at a time, Get comfortable reloading , then go into casting, neither is rocket science, but both take a lot of research and practice. There are 2 lead testers on the market. Lee make a cheap version, I have the saeco, It Is more money but you get a good quality product. As for not needing a tester unless you are a commercial caster. I have to disagree, I cast only for my self. I know I will hear different on here. But. Under the right circumstances, Too hard of a bullet will lead as bad as too soft of a Bullet. I would recommend to anyone, new to casting or just starting out. Buy the Lyman or RCBS bullet casting book and a lead hardness tester. And stay away from Batteries. They just are not worth the trouble or your health
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    1. I use either Unique or Titegroup powder. Mostly Titegroup becaues you can use less of it than unique, so it goes further.

    2. If you can get Linotype, it is just about the best "lead" to use for bullets making. I usually mix 50/50 wheel weights and linotype.

    3. Carver is correct, I think, about not needing an instrument to test hardness. I think Lee makes one if you still want one.

    4. as Alpo said, there are 7000 grains to a pound, so divide by 230 to get the number of bullets.
  8. 3ME

    3ME New Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    These days, picking a powder and/or primer is more a matter of what you can find rather than what you would like to use. Power has been so hard to come by here that I have been using Solo 1000 for .45 ACP.

    Ditto on what has already been said on casting lead bullets. The problem with casting your own is getting the mixture just right so a 230 grain bullet actually weighs 230 grains. I usually ended up making my lead in batches and then casting it into ingots for later use. If you use scrap lead and wheel weights, I usually ended up adding high-antimony shot (Magnum shot) into the mix to get it right. With the price of magnum shot, it is probably cheaper to just buy the bullets rather than going through all the fuss of making them. The sizing and lubing process is also messy and stinky. It is just a better use of my time to buy cast bullets from someone else who is set up to make quality bullets.
  9. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    Yeah but with a bullet catcher behind the target i can capture and recycle the lead indefinately.

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