alternative to lead bullet ideas

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by ten_ringer, Dec 16, 2009.

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  1. ten_ringer

    ten_ringer New Member

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    No, I'm not one of those enviro-hippies that wants to get rid of lead because I think it poisons the earth. I'm interested in lead-free alternatives to bullets because of the #1. increasing cost of lead, #2. decreasing availability of lead, and #3. increasing likelihood that our leaders will eventually make modern lead cartridges impossible to legally obtain. I'm tackling the case, primer, and powder problem in another forum, but here is my current idea for a bullet alternative:

    1. I build a steel die/press that is of say .308 or .311 diameter (or a bit smaller).
    2. Put a measure of de-greased iron shavings or filings in the die along with a small amount of bonding agent.
    3. Squash them down to a determined length.
    4. Take that out and coat it with nylon or polymer or pre-formed copper jacket.
    5. Load up a cartridge and shoot without ruining the barrel?

    I realize that this will change bullet weight but not necessarily length. I'm OK with that until I find out how stable they are in flight. I also realize that the bullet diameter might have to be a bit smaller to accommodate the jacket.

    You guys are the experts on this sort or thing. I'm the one with the money to make it happen. Tell me what's wrong with this method. I think with all the scrap metal shavings out there and the energy savings on not having to melt the iron, an enterprising guy like me could design a machine to automate this process and churn out cheap bullets. Or maybe I'm just stupid; let me know either way.

    Brett
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  2. tiberius10721

    tiberius10721 New Member

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    hell with that it sounds like to much work!:D Ill just keep buying lead. If your worried about high prices and availibility of lead wouldnt it just be easier for you to smelt your own lead?
     

  3. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    You would have inconsistant properties from different batches of scrap. Even with a polymer coating there would be too much steel to steel contact. Not good for barrel.
    Using the steel inside a copper jacket could work but you would still have a light weight bullet. Perhaps scrap from non-toxic waterfowl shot manufacturing? More dense than steel.
     
  4. res45

    res45 New Member

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    What you trying to do is pretty much how frangible bullets are made it also a technique used by Hornady to make there new NTX bullet. Both are formed from compressed copper with either some form of bonding agent or mixtures of other metals under very high pressure to form the bullet and no coating is needed. I believe in the NTX bullet however that Hornady uses only the compressed metal core and the jacket is made from copper so this eliminates the lead issue.

    Steel would probably not be and advisable metal to use even if you could use and coat it,depending on how your forcing cone in pistol or rifling engaged the bullets it might cause problems with separation and I'm not a big fan of steel on steel when it comes to bullets even though most foreign surplus bullet jackets are made of mild steel there at least one piece and not compressed from powered metal.

    I'm not trying to discourage your thought process or ideas on the subject but unless you have the right equipment,material and technical knowledge to make a safe and usable bullet I would do just as I have done for years and and still doing right now stocking up on what I think I will need,commercial cast bullets are still reasonably priced all over the net or can be purchased locally,component bullets are available in bulk a decent prices.

    I just recently started casting my own pistol bullets, me and a reloading /shooting friend went in together on a lead pot and molds and in just a few week of looking around we have about 200 lbs. of WW alloy in ingots ready to cast and more on the way. I can understand about your concerns about the government and there banning of lead bullets but until I see ammo Mfg. all switching over to all non lead bullets I'm not to concerned about it,heck out here in the sticks where I live if you want to register you big game kill you have to drive 25 miles just to do that,can't even tell you last time I saw a game warden except over on the lake during the summer writing tickets for DWI and to many people on the boat. So being worried about lead free bullets isn't to high on my agenda as it is for some.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  5. jca245

    jca245 New Member

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    Was using a scrap steel bullet in a sabot discussed?
     
  6. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    You want to be VERY careful that you are not violating Federal laws on MANUFACTURE of armor piercing ammo (and check THEIR definition of the same)

    Two other problems- first the mass of a sintered iron bullet will be about HALF of a same size lead bullet. Will make major change in trajectory, down range energy, pressure curve, burring rate of powder, etc.

    Second, we tend to think in terms of speed as linear acceleration, but there is a second speed here- the rotation of the bullet as it spins. Let's see now- a .308 is about 1 revolution in 10 inches, at say, 2700 fps, times 60 to go to minutes, x 12 to go to inches, divide by 10 for the 1-10, and HOLY CRAP! This is why bullets can blow apart in flight- from the centrifugal forces.
     
  7. jca245

    jca245 New Member

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    I was thinking of a similar method except using a hardening "clay" made from finely powered metal and a bonding agent similar to the Hornady bullet. You can use pretty much any metal as long as it is finely ground and blended well. Mold forming using low temperature and pressure is more doable from a home system perspective. There was an experiment done in Myth busters in making and using cannon balls made from stone. I was thinking of a concrete type substance used for forming the bullet. I would not be able to grind out perfect bullets from a rock in my lifetime! LOL
    Either way, as it was pointed out, the forces acting on the projectile in the spinning and acceleration would bust it apart unless it was bonded together very well. JB Weld anyone? :)
     
  8. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    Truth is, lead is as good as it gets for making Bullets and Solder, both of which are being demonized for really no good reason. Bullets were made for killing, solder was made for holding metals together. Neither was created for eating and the occasional lead BB in Game Animals can be eliminated before it even gets to the kitchen. If you find one someone missed, spit it out and keep eating!

    We actually reclaim most electronic waste and even lead from shooting ranges because its valuable and it can be dangerous if ingested at high levels. Im a bit more concerned about the squiggly lightbulbs with Mercury in them, bad for your eyes (ballast flicker) and your bodies if the mercury is released into our aqua-firs!
     
  9. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cast gold or silver would make fine bullets. Judging by the cost of .22 rounds for the last six months, I think that must be what they are now being made of.
     
  10. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    So sad but so true...
     
  11. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Barnes produces lead-free projectiles.
     
  12. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Lead in its solid metal form isnt harmful to plants animals or humans even if ingested. Its when lead mixes with other substances to form things like sugar of lead (lead acetate) which is found in older photography, toothpaste from china candies from russia and mexico that its in a form that can be absorbed by the blood.

    If your dick cheneyed and forced to carry the shot in your body for life blood tests will not show any elevated levels of lead poisoning.

    Metallic lead cant hurt you. Its only when your cleaning guns and using solvents without gloves that you run any risk of lead contamination. Even that is so minor as to be a complete non factor.

    The push to ban lead is just a means of making guns and hunting illegal.
     
  13. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There was a recent case of an Australian boy suffering from lead poisoning resulting from consuming pellets contained in the game his family had hunted.
     
  14. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    JonM, maybe add melting and casting lead to that list? Seems to me it'd just be easiest to buy whatever ammo is on the market. Also, there are companies that make solid copper bullets too, no? Way easier to just get a lathe, and turn some. But even that would still be silly, IMHO.
     
  15. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    This must be up there with the best thread zombies in history. 2009? The OP made ONE post and disappeared? He claimed to NOT be an "enviro-hippie" but when he did not get the anti-lead information he was seeking, he moved on. Sounds remarkably like a troll to me
     
  16. jca245

    jca245 New Member

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    Think of one of those "End of civilization" situations where every body is stocking up on gold and silver because currency would be useless. A can of beans would be worth more than gold. Heck a box of 22 rim fire would be worth more. As previously stated, gold would make good cast bullets and I feel, fishing weights. Already with this 22 ammo shortage I have my friends trading me other ammo I want for boxes of mine and even though I try to be fair with them on equal value, I am still coming out ahead. I saw the writing on the wall after 2008 and started buying a case or two of 22 ammo at a time instead of bricks while it was plentiful for several years after that and before the 2012 fiasco.
     
  17. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can edit your post but you would have to become a supporting member to delete your post.
    Supporting members also get unlimited PM mailbox storage and access to premium sub forums... and a FirearmsTalk decal. :)
     
  18. duddie10

    duddie10 New Member

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    Theres even an easier way. Ice bullets. Gtd a few dozen in the freezer now. :-D kinda hard to crimp in a case tho ;-)
     
  19. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    Bows & arrows,

    Trebuchets and catapults,

    Sharp sticks.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  20. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That one is a bit small. :eek:
     
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