Wheel weights for casting bullets

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by TankTop, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have not gotten into reloading yet but I have an endless supply of free lead wheel weights. First of all, with that be a good lead to use for 45 or 22? Second, would casting lead and reloading 45 be a good start for someone who would like to get into reloading?
     
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  2. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For many years, I used wheelweights almost exclusively for handgun bullets.

    .45, and .38 are ideal places for a new reloader to start.

    Good luck, and get a copy of the "Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook."
     

  3. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    I have always just used wheel weights for casting, both handgun and rifle bullets. I do use mostly pure lead for my muzzle loaders.
     
  4. EclecticShooter

    EclecticShooter Well-Known Member

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    We almost only use wheel weights for all of our casting. If we need softer lead, we use some of that dental film used in xrays.
     
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  5. SGWGunsmith

    SGWGunsmith Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I used wheel weights in the past also. Kind of messy melting those down and fishing the metal clips out of the stew. I found that I needed to be careful with scraping out those wheel clips because the antimony seems to float to the top of the melted lead, so I picked the clips out with a needle nose pliers. Then I had a bunch of bees wax in half-gallon milk cartons I got from a neighbor who kept bees for honey.
    I used that wax to flux and stir the antimony back into the mix. For me, they made excellent .45 Colt, Keith style, semi-wadcutter bullets. I had an old Lachmiller bullet sizer lubricator and always made sure the grease groove was filled with as much lube as it would hold. Never really knew how hard those bullets were, as the only test I knew about was to see if a thumb nail would scratch a cast bullet.
     
  6. OLD Ron

    OLD Ron Well-Known Member

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    I too used wheel weights for bullets . Then added Linotype to make them harder ..... now I powder coat them . I haven't loaded them yet because my loading bench turned into a rescue bench with parts. here are some 45 & 38 that I did .
    PC 1.JPG
     
  7. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Looking at all the equipment needed I think I need to hit some local gun shows, see what I can find second hand.
     
  8. OLD Ron

    OLD Ron Well-Known Member

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    You don't need a lot to get going but as the bug hit you it can get worse .
    Try not to get like mine Tank :cool:
    rescue room.JPG
     
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  9. Greg_r

    Greg_r Well-Known Member

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    I use wheel weights almost exclusively for my handgun loads. they work well.

    just be careful that you are getting lead wheel weights. lots of zinc and steel ones out there. the steel ones are not a problem as they can be skimmed off. zinc however will mess up a whole pot of melt. I have a piece of old railroad iron. tap the wheel weight against it. "thump" and you are good. "tink" and throw it in the scrap pile.

    a set of dikes is a good test as well. cut it and its lead. if it dosent cut, it is zinc.
     
  10. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    Completely unrelated to re-loading/casting.

    When my father passed, I inherited his lead toy soldier molds he had as a kid after WW-I. I've been saving used lead from shooting to eventually make some more of toy soldiers from his molds. Then, upon the discovery of some gold in our stream (and stream-bed), I thought perhaps I would melt down some of that gold into his molds and make some gold soldiers for my nephew and his son. I may still do that, but presently am limited to perhaps two soldiers...

    So, wheel weights are certainly a very viable option to build an expanded set for my nephew and his son. Dad would approve, but I'd prefer to pick out more gold to make them; just takes too much time for the priority I place on that right now...
     
  11. OLD Ron

    OLD Ron Well-Known Member

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    RJF you might want to think on the making gold soldiers out of your dads mold . I have cast gold many times over the years . Use the mold to cast wax ones first . Then make a lost wax mold .... then cast them in vacuum . That will give you much better quality of casting . After you have the wax ones done if you don't have the equipment to do the lost wax process there may be schools or shops in your area that could do it for you .
    Just a thought .
     
  12. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for that advice. I grabbed about 50lb yesterday so I’ll start by sorting it.
     
  13. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    Ron, thanks for the info and advice. Before I get into that rather extensive process (of which I wasn't aware), I'll need to go back down to our stream and pull out some more gold. Too many other things to take care of before that, but your advice is well appreciated, since I pretty much figured all I needed to so was heat up/melt the gold and pour it into the molds.

    Maybe I'll just stick with wheel weights...:(
     
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  14. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To harden the bullets, drop them from the mould into cold water (Carefully)

    And when working with molten lead, ALWAYS wear safety glasses or goggles, long sleeves, leather gloves and a hat/cap.

    I wear a leather shop apron as well.
     
  15. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

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  16. OLD Ron

    OLD Ron Well-Known Member

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    It is a lot of fun to do during the winter months . I bought 2 cavity molds when I first started ..... that was a mistake . Now I use 4 cavity molds for everything . One trick to casting is to heat the mold up first . I usually fill the molds & let them sit to allow the heat to get in the mold . A cold mold will cause wrinkles in the casting . As it heats up then you will get good castings . If I do summer castings .... I break all the rules . I wear shorts ... flip flops .... no shirt .... no glasses . The one thing I stick to is to cast in a well ventilated area . Winter casting I have the garage door open & a small fan moving the air out .
    On the gold casting ...... if you cast with mold wax then add a sprew to the figure .... you then can do 2 things to the wax .... you can clean up the peace & weigh it . Then you can figure out how much gold you will need to make one casting . I used to buy scrap gold at pawn shops so to have enough for the cast . The gold you are panning is mostly 24k but some junk in it too ..... if you add 18k gold to it then it won't be so soft . A nice thing to do after you cast the lead men ..... have a nice box & cast a gold plate for it that said something like grandpas army on it . ( just a thought )
     
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  17. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ron,
    I once had an ingot with a bit of moisture, I guess. It blew and covered both lenses of my safety glasses with lead. I had burns all around my eyes. For a week, I looked like a raccoon.

    Had I not been wearing safety glasses, today I would be blind. I am a "true believer" in safety glasses.
     
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  18. SRK97

    SRK97 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've heard water turns to steam it exapands 1600% or something. I've had it happen once while casting luckily I was not next to it.
     
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  19. OLD Ron

    OLD Ron Well-Known Member

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    It is like all things ..... if you slip up it can cause you pain .
    I have had many bad things happen with a ladder when I built shop 2 . The thing I learned fast was as you are going down .....throw the hammer away from you . When you are 16' up you have time to do that . ( I don't bounce well ) I am all for being safe while doing things but you can over kill on being safe too . In all the years I have been casting I have never put wet bars in the pot or had one spit at me .
     
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  20. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

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    +1000 on the safety glass thingy.
    You may want to look at the Lee Tumble Lube molds. I cast straight lead wheelweight for .38 Wadcutter- use a bit of Alox spray lube, and done. No sizing, no running thru a luber.

    Ventilation- have air move AWAY from you, not up. Wash your hands after handling lead. You have a better chance of ingesting (eating) it than breathing it.
     
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