lead for making bullets

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by micman, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. micman

    micman New Member

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    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.
     
  2. whtsmoke

    whtsmoke New Member

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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.
     

  3. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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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. :rolleyes:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
     
  4. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  5. 207driver

    207driver New Member

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    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;)
     
  6. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  7. quigleysharps4570

    quigleysharps4570 New Member

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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.
     
  8. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Now there is a bullet casting sticky if I've ever seen one! :cool:

    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.
     
  9. quigleysharps4570

    quigleysharps4570 New Member

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    Yep...I'll have to agree. ;)
     
  10. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Suck up :(
     
  11. micman

    micman New Member

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    re what lead

    I would like to thank everyone for their advise, I have ordered the Lymans cast bullet book. And am in the process of finding source for lead tin and antimony. I do load bullets fro a 270, 30-06, 338 and a 32 win special. I have just acquired a Pedersoli, Sharps 1874,45-70 replica, this is what I want to cast bullets for, am also getting into muzzle loaders so it was another area I wanted to cast bullets in.
    Again thanks for the knowledge that you have given me

    Mickey
     
  12. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    My first instinct was to break the sage coach driver's rule #2.
    I went with my second choice.
    Apparently I need to go with plan "C"?
     
  13. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I did not mean it in a bad way.
     
  14. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Casting for the rifles is quite a different proposition that casting for something like the .45 ACP. You need much harder lead that is much more difficult to get cheap.
    Linotype is the most common high grade alloy. Places like Rotometals carries it. Check estate sales and garage sales for loose type metal.

    I get large quantities of lead, melt and flux it, then pour it into ingots. I use a sharpie to mark what alloy it is (L for linotype, W for wheelweights, V for virgin, etc). I use varying amounts of each for specific purposes (50/50 L/W for rifles, etc).

    Muzzle loaders are a different animal entirely. Minie balls and shotgun slugs seem to perform better in 20/1 Lead/tin alloy. Tin is available in 50/50 bar solder from many plumbing supply stores. Rotometals also has this. 9 1/2lbs of virgin lead and one bar of 50/50 solder closely approximates 20/1 blend.
     
  15. AH-1

    AH-1 New Member

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    this will keep you busy for a while:)

    Glen E. Fryxell, Cast bullets and firearm information and history

    Comments on cast bullet alloys

    I cast bullets in just about everything I shoot handgun and rifle.I use a mix of 9lbs ww to 1 lb of linotype.I had a bud measure it and it was 15 BHN.I have been using this mix for years.imho super hard alloys are not required.
    here is a test @ 2200 fps with my 44 cal 265 gr ranch dog bullet.

    HORNADY 265 VS RD265 [PICS AND DATA]

    I was lucky years ago as I ran into a guy that bought a old printing shop and wanted to get "rid" of all the linotype laying around @ .25 a lb:)

    pete
     
  16. quigleysharps4570

    quigleysharps4570 New Member

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    What bullet do you have in mind for that 45-70?
    As for your muzzleloader...I generally use plumbers lead or whatever soft source I can come up with for round ball. Have cast alot of them ftom old lead lab sinks...for hardness they test between pure lead and WW's.
     
  17. patret

    patret New Member

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    Casting is a labor of love for me. A good bullet caster will a BHN tester. I make my bullet lube which reduces cost. Cold Molds and low alloy temperature are often a source of malformed bullets. You have to cast your bullets to a BHN which will match your velocity. This will reduce leading. A hard bullet will lead your barrel at a low velocity. There are numerous firearms not designed to shot cast bullets because of the rifling. Alloy`s typically contain tin, lead, antimony, and arsenic. Wheel weights can very in BHN number. I typically utilize wheel weights, solder, lead and linotype to cast my bullets. Let me say that casting is not cheap. Good luck to you and let me know if I can help. Do not try Babbit.

    patret
     
  18. AH-1

    AH-1 New Member

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    I have pushed these to 2000 fps in my 375 ouch & ouch:) and 1600 fps in a win BB94 in 375 winchester.I have shot several deer with this bullet.boom flop.
    pete

    lyman 375449

    [​IMG]
     
  19. 207driver

    207driver New Member

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    Not necessarily so. You can 'harden' lead by heat soaking--I've taken BHN 14 to over 27 with some oven bake time. Time itself will harden lead, some of my very old stash that started off as WW's at about 14 is almost BHN 30 now. BTW don't do any 'work' with the bullets like sizing as this will soften the bearing surface, and you are right back were you started.

    FYI...I built my own BHN tester with a calipers, magnifier, shotgun wad compression gauge and a BB.