lead for making bullets
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:54 AM   #1
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Default lead for making bullets

Can anyone tell what is a good lead for casting bullets, some say tire lead, others say it is to soft and will fallow a barrel to quick others say printers lead, but try finding it.

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Old 11-04-2010, 01:48 AM   #2
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Metal used in casting bullets is not all lead, it is a mixture of lead and tin to make them harder, there are different formulas for bullet making material and you can usually find it at your local store or from other big companies like midway. i have used wheel weights alot but they need to be anealed to make them a littler harder but then you still have to watch how hot you load them. If you could get your hands on some printers type it makes some of the hardest bullets and they do shoot good. Get lymans book on casting and it gives different make ups for bullets and then buy the material and mix yourself. Bullet casting is fun but is also a bit harzerdous to your health unless you do it in a well vented area and dont cast and then go eat something wash your hands first and watch for getting any moisture in molten lead as it does explode. GHoodluck to you and i hope i havent painted a bleak picture for you as im still working on a 25 gallon drum of makins for bullets.

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Old 11-04-2010, 03:07 AM   #3
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Bullets can be made from pure lead to several different alloys comprised of many different metals that are mixed in various ratios, depending on the application of the bullet. There is no single type of "good" lead to use. The biggest three ingredients would be pure lead, tin and antimony.

A lot of folks have been using "wheel-weight" alloy for many, many years to make SOME kinds of cast bullets. Buy some books, do some Google searches, and read up on the subject. Just don't believe EVERYTHING you read on the Internet because there is a lot of fact and fiction out there.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

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Old 11-04-2010, 11:39 PM   #4
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The alloy needed will depend on the application and expected velocity. Pure or nearly pure lead is OK for very low velocity applications (under 750fps). Pure lead does not pour well. You need to introduce some tin into the mix for better flow characteristics. Tin will also harden to a degree.

Antimony is the most important alloying metal. 5-6% Antimony will give a good hard pistol bullet. Most clip on wheel weights are near that amount. Drop the bullets directly into cool water to harden them (if you have antimony in the alloy) w/o Antimony, the water will not harden the bullet.

For high velocity handguns and rifles, you will need to go at least 50% Linotype and 50% wheel weights to hold up.

For most handgun applications, you will have little trouble with clip on wheel weights and some 50/50 lead/tin bar solder (1lb bar to the pot should do) to get better flow. Drop into water directly from the molds and you will be OK.

Get the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook for some good starting information.

This advise is only a bare starting point for your foray into casting bullets.

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Old 11-04-2010, 11:42 PM   #5
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You could look here, too Casting Bullet Alloys from Rotometals

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Old 11-04-2010, 11:43 PM   #6
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Default Lead for bullets

Ditto on what Highpower said.

There is a lot of hype on the 'Dangers' of melting and using lead. I have been smelting and molding lead for over 40 years and outside of a couple of minor 'splash' burns, I dont' thimk i ave anny ting wrng wit me:. To be sure you have a potential of disaster with 10 pounds or more of melted metal at 700 plus degrees F. If you are a reloader you already know how to TAKE CARE! Like Highpower says, do research and know what you're dealing with. If you are smelting weights, etc. be sure of what you have. Do NOT use battery lead--Cadmium fumes are not good, nor are arsenic and several other contaminates of lead. Lead fumes by the way are nearly a non-problem. Pure lead melts at 323 C or 614 F, alloys will modify that temp. slightly. Lead boils at 1750 C or over 3100 F. If your careful about the heat you will never see lead boil. But as said above, there are numerous things attached to lead that do fume and will do harm, ergo the need for ventilation.

Water--
If you take water and drop it on a pot of molten lead, it will skate around on the surface and boil off harmlessly. Don't believe me--try it on a stove or other flat hot surface. If it's hot enough water just steams. Don't get it BELOW the surface because the instant steam created and trapped will cause a violent eruption! Lesson? Don't put ANYTHING in your pot that may be wet.

Hardness--
There are tomes written about the need for hard lead to prevent fouling so I won't add any opinion here except that too hard isn't good either due to gas cutting--fit is important.

OK...bring it on

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Old 11-05-2010, 02:16 AM   #7
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I use wheel weights for everything I pour. I load almost every pistol caliber from .380 to 44mag. I use the same thing to pour 8mm mauser, 7.62X54R, 7.62X39 and several others. I gas check all my rifle bullets, but not pistols. No problems yet. I have easily loaded over 15,000 rounds.

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Old 11-05-2010, 02:57 AM   #8
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I use WW's for most of my cast bullets. My smokeless load with the 535 gr. Postell bullet shows 1600 fps. on the chrony and no leading to speak of.

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Old 11-05-2010, 03:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
The alloy needed will depend on the application and expected velocity. Pure or nearly pure lead is OK for very low velocity applications (under 750fps). Pure lead does not pour well. You need to introduce some tin into the mix for better flow characteristics. Tin will also harden to a degree.

Antimony is the most important alloying metal. 5-6% Antimony will give a good hard pistol bullet. Most clip on wheel weights are near that amount. Drop the bullets directly into cool water to harden them (if you have antimony in the alloy) w/o Antimony, the water will not harden the bullet.

For high velocity handguns and rifles, you will need to go at least 50% Linotype and 50% wheel weights to hold up.

For most handgun applications, you will have little trouble with clip on wheel weights and some 50/50 lead/tin bar solder (1lb bar to the pot should do) to get better flow. Drop into water directly from the molds and you will be OK.

Get the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook for some good starting information.

This advise is only a bare starting point for your foray into casting bullets.
Now there is a bullet casting sticky if I've ever seen one!

BTW folks.... "better flow" equates to better "fill out" inside the mold which results in nice sharp corners instead of rounded edges on your projectiles.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highpower View Post
Now thereBTW folks.... "better flow" equates to better "fill out" inside the mold which results in nice sharp corners instead of rounded edges on your projectiles.
Yep...I'll have to agree.
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