Here's a few links for you I-owe. Maybe you can find more info on all the goodies needed. At the very least, you should find enough info to get thoroughly confused! LOL
and the above is available as a pdf file here
For those that do not cast bullets or those that do and don't get the performance they think they should get, this may be of interest to you.
Starting from the begining. Cast bullets are the cheapest way to shoot a lot. I get my lead mostly free from local tire shops. Sometimes I just go to the shop on Sunday when they are closed and mine the parking lot. During the summer the workers are in the habit of just throwing the old wheel weights at the barrel and most of them end up outside. I can get 5 lbs or so every Sunday. Some turn up their nose at wheel weights citing unknown quality of lead etc, but I have never had a problem with them. Others say only linotype is the way to go or to buy lead in ingots from a foundary. What ever you can afford I say. The wheel weights are mostly free. When we are at shopping centers (this is the only reason I let Lt. Linda drag me along) I walk the parking lots and usually pick up 4 or 5 lbs of wheel weights. Some are hard to get off tho.
Truck stops have huge wheel weights and you can get them for almost nothing.(now lead is considered a toxic material so they have to pay someone to take it away)
Anyway I use wheel weights almost exclusively. Now wheel weights are normally about MN 11 to 12 where as pure lead runs BN 4. Linotype is BN 21. So you can see if you want to shoot WW (wheel weight)bullets you might have to keep the velocites down or get leading of your barrel. But there is a way to make WW's harder.
After you cast the bullets and they have cooled down for a couple of hours and before you size and lube them, take them inside to your wife's oven. (Preferably when she is not home) Use a cookie sheet and spread the bullets out one layer deep and not touching each other. Then put the temperature dial at 450 degrees. (it is that round dial in the center of the back of the stove and usually says oven on it and some numbers) Bake the bullets for 1 hour and then take the directly out of the oven and pour them into a white plastic bucket half full of cold water. (use pot holders or heavy gloves) If you are not sure about the oven temperature somewhere in the kitchen cabinets your wife should have a oven temperature gage. It will look like a car temp gage but be mounted on a little stand. Put that in with the bullets and check it every once and a while to keep from melting your bullets. (they will melt at 600 deg.)
This will raise the BN hardness of your cast lead WW bullets to about BN 30 or even harder than linotype. I have found that bullets this hard will work real well in rifles especially 30-30 rifles and other bolt action rifle of 30 cal. do not use cast lead bullets in rifles that have gas operated systems because they will gum up the piston with lead flash.
Good luck and remember to put the cookie sheet in the dish washer before the wife gets home.
Good rule of thumb to determine the proper BHN for the cartridge you are loading for; divide the average chamber pressure in PSI (not CUP) of your load by 1,422.
Example: 30,000 psi chamber pressure equals a BHN of 21 for proper base obturation (base upset).
Wheel weights make a great source of lead as is or with the addition of a little antimony to make it a bit more ductile.
Anyone casting bullets needs to have a copy of Veral Smith's Jacketed Performance with Cast Bullets. (Lead Bullets Technology, HCR 62 Box 145, Moyie Springs Idaho 83845). This book will open your eyes and make you reconsider what "we all know" about cast bullets. With all due respect to my handgunning hero Elmer Keith, you will find that scientific testing of his bullets shapes and loads prove them to not be all we thought.
Spent all of Friday casting bullets. Got a question tho.
Now I have been casting bullets since the late 60's and thought I had seen everything that could happen. I have had bullets that turned out frosty (to hot) wrinkled (to cold) and shiny (just right) but this time I noticed that some of the bullets had colors on them. (No I was not drinking malt) The colors range from blue to red to black. The bullets had no voids or other unnormalcies that I could see by the naked eye. And the colors came off when I sized them. I looked in the molds and could see no deposits or bad spots. What is happening? They don't seem to affect the bullets or I hope they don't. I haven't shot them yet. Perhaps a little strange allow in my lead? You can see the dark bullets below in the normal looking ones.
Make that "alloy in my lead"
Sarge, I think you are seeing the sheen from an extremely light coating of oxide on the surface of the slugs. Sometimes heat causes oxides to form a very thin film on some metals when they are melted. When you size them, you are removing the thin film of oxide. I assume that you are thoroughly fluxing the metal before casting. Also does the colors seem similar to the film that floats on the mass of molten alloy?
Safari, yes that is what it looks like. I hadn't put the two together, but you are right. But how does it get to my bullets from my bottom pour Lee Production pot?
I flux every time I add more metal with bees wax because I have lbs. of the stuff. (I have two bee hives in my yard) It will burn off quite well and brings the dross to the top for skiming. Like I say, it doesn't seem to bother the bullets but I was curious about the stuff showing up on my bullets. Thanks for the info. Now how do I get rid of it? LOL
|From: Honcho ||Sent: 11/3/2003 9:54 PM|
One question, regarding the bullets, did you weigh them, as compared to earlier bullets cast in the same mold? If you find a substantial weight difference, it may be that your alloy mixture is different from previous batches. I find when I'm casting, if I use too much Tin and Antimony in the mixture, it causes the bullets to be lighter in weight, and can also cause discoloration of the bullets, due to the oxide composition being different. I've never seen it make any difference, performance wise, (translation: I don't shoot any WORSE than usual!!!LOL!) Another consequence of using a little too much Tin/Antimony is that the bullets will cast slightly oversize, as they don't produce what is known as "spring-back", (shrinkage) that you get when using pure lead. They will still run thru a Lee sizer die with no sweat, tho. (Be sure to give them a light coating of Alox (tumble) lube before, AND after sizing them.!)
Are you able to barely able to scratch the cast metal with your thumb nail? It's a very unscientific method we old-timers use, to test the bullet metal hardness. Do you also blend your own metal, or do you use "wheel weights"or Linotype metal? Wheel weights are usually crap metal, and can produce weird colors, especially if the metal temperature is a little too high. (Remember that Tin and Antimony have a much lower melting temperature than lead--) Frequent fluxing of the pot is in order, when using wheel weights. (I'm a bee-keeper too, and have found that the Caucasion strain of bees go NUTS with over prodution of Beeswax!)
Hope this helps, let us know how they performed on the range!
Fred (Honcho) Another proud veteran!
|From: Sarge ||Sent: 11/4/2003 11:34 PM|
Honcho, You may have hit on something. The colors may be coming from too much antimony. I do use wheelweights (they are free) and sometime I get a batch that are very hard.(too much antimony) I use the thumbnail method also to check the ingots. Someday I will get a hardness tester. It may drive me crazy tho. LOL I have never weighed my bullets, just check to see that they are all filled out. I cast bullets just for fun shooting but I used to use them for practice when I was shooting on the Army teams. Then I could squirrel away the 5000 rounds of practice ammo the Army gave me every year and still get practice in. I have lots of wheel weights and also some very hard lead that was used in the xray shields in a Airport. I have to cut it into pieces with my acytalene torch it is so hard. I have worn out a set of handles on my Lyman 4 cav mold and will have to order a new set. I have my Lee Production Pot set up permanately in my garage and all I have to do is plug it in and then start casting.
My Caucasion bees go overboard on wax too, but I got 85 lbs of honey out of one super and we have been using it for two years.
Catch you later.
You know that linotype(old printing type setting" lead has high content of tin & antimony, wheel weights less and "battery lead is more pure. So variations in the recipe will affect the characteristics of the alloy. Also the cooling rate also affects "grain structure". This appears to me to be tempering discoloration. SWAG - Scientific Wild Ass Guess. 2drecon
Drecon, have you ever tried to temper lead by dropping it into water after it comes out of the mold? I have read about it but have not tried it yet.
I am tempted to try it on my .44 mag bullets as they are pushed pretty fast and do lead the barrel up some.
I 'm not sure if they still drop shot from towers into pools any more (shotgun pellets) but seems like closest analogy to think of. For less fouling , try higher tin/antimony to make harder or- A friend shoots lead 30-06 at 2200 fps with gas checks -base of bullets. I have found fouling from straight lead above about 1150fps in most guns. As pressure and velocity increase, bullet is flattened and more force applied to rifled bore. The bore surface does not really have a "smooth microfinish ie fine 8,16,32,64,125,250 rough. chromed barrels take that finish finer only a step or 2 and need to be bernished, lapped, honed, ground or polished. I got an idea - no friction in barrel, no propellant(fire)--- a maglev rail gun! Power source fits on a traincar---but can be shoulder fired? 15Kmps velocity and range out of this world. a bit overkill for game or antipersonnel use.2drecon
I firelap my barrels so I probably have smoother inner barrels than most. I shoot very few rifle cast bullets, most of my bullet casting is for cheap practive with many different calibers of pistols that seem to collect in my vault. I don't know where they all come from.
I have two molds for rifle bullets. One for .30 cal and one for 7 mm. That is about it. Of course that covers a large spectrum of guns and cartridges. Now that I have more time on my hands I will probably get back into developing loads for those two bullets.