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Old September 01, 2019, 18:38   #1
Bwana John
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Anybody cast?

I recently started casting again in order to be able to shoot a 310 Martini Cadet.

I purchased just enough equipment to pull it off; a small electric pot, ladle, and mould.

Now I'm thinking how much more reduced 375 and 416 I could shoot.

I've got a lot of mystery metal from old Mexican fishing nets, scuba weights, wheel weights but wonder about the improvement from known alloys.

But that means a bigger bottom pour pot, lube/sizer, gas checks, lubes, elemental ratios....

Does anybody have recomendations for suppliers of equipment or alloying metals? it's been 45 years since I last really cast bullets.

I have tried powder coating (shake and bake), and it cut my group sizes by half using unsized old scuba weights in the 110 year old rifle!?!
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Old September 01, 2019, 21:06   #2
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Be very careful with mystery metal, just a little bit of zinc and your casting equipment is garbage for bullets. Keeping your melt temp below zinc melting temp is always a good idea as well.
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Old September 01, 2019, 21:17   #3
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the castboolits forum will probably be a better place for casting questions. There's also a lot of vendors that are members there
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Old September 01, 2019, 21:17   #4
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I cast for just about everything except my autoloaders, and even then, load some straight lino for the AK. Just can't tear it up, and it's easier to clean the ports. Pistols haven't seen a jacketed projo in forever.

This site is about as good as they come for info gathering on casting and anything involving it.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

I have not tried the powder coat method yet, seems like a heel of a lot of work, and I don't need another reason to piss the wife off in the kitchen, and I don't want to get those little ovens they talk about. Those heated lubes work pretty good for me.
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Old September 01, 2019, 23:44   #5
hueyville
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I cast for everything including autoloaders and cores for bullet ewaging. Sell all your mystery alloy to omeone who makes sinker and jigs for fishing. I have four big bottom pour lead pots and two smaller ones for specific alloys so not having to clean out a pot if swap from pistol to rifle bullets. Use more wheel weights than anything but the new "green" wheel weights will drive you nuts trying to pick out of a mixed bucket now.

70% of my alloy is recovered from my bullet traps. Have traps at work for indoor range and backyard range at home. Make nice safe bullet stops and on occasion open them up and recover all the bullet chunks, remelt and pour away. To do this right your going to need a Brinell Hardness Tester to verify hardness of alloys. I use pure wheel weights, Lyman #2, linotype and others.

Cheap as shipping is on flat rate boxes and the pain it is to try and get scrap yards to sell lead I buy over half my material in bulk at castboolits.com. There are plenty of people selling anything from soft lead for muzzle loaders, wheel weights, linotype, Lyman #2 and more already cleaned, fluxes and ready to cast cheaper than what it costs me in fuel to scrounge lead these days.

I recently got 500 pounds of soft lead just for hauling it off and will eventually alloy it for something or use to swage cores but it's so easy to buy ready to cast at just a few cents per pound over scrap prices on forum marketplaces it's the easiest way and most good vendors have choices and will tell you hardness of their alloy. Wheel weights have always been the most economical consistent alloy with linotype second but both are disappearing. Noticed I was down to less than twenty total fifty pound linotype "pigs" the other day.

I shoot an average or 300 to 500 cast bullets per week and a good cast bullet will out shoot many commercial bullets. Have a new technique of casting bullets then powder coating rather than using lube. Then have a new type of swaging die that seats a gas check with authority while mashing the powder coated bullet into a perfectly consistent shape. No more bent bullets from dropping long hot rifle bullets a little too far from mold to tablet pad or even into water which increases hardness for free.

Their is a small subforum at castboolits.com where guys are doing this and getting bullets that shoot as well as match bullets such as SMK's. Between correct alloy, properly seated and square gas check plus bullets being all exactly same length and shape they will shoot in 30 calibers like guided missles. I recently shot a 300 round 2" group at 50 feet with my 45 acp IPSC pistol indoors and as more rounds go down range the hole in paper slowly grows as lose your aiming point once it's cut out of the target and just trying to send the rest into the center of the hole. These were simple cast 185 grain SWCs sized and lubed with wax and no checks.

If shooting rifle bullets gas checks get expensive and are super easy to make now. I use a lot of soda cans or buy strips of aluminum shim stock or copper with good quality control when going for utmost accuracy rather than just reducing leading of bore. When shoot cast out of AK's, SKS's, AR 15's, M1a's, etc where gun is going to get hot use hard alloy, powder coat bullet and use copper gas checks. I can run binary mag dumps without leading the bore then start shooting nice groups.

Again, sell or trade your mystery lead to fisherman or someone who knows how to test and properly alloy it for you. Likely can trade it at castboolits.com for quality casting material figuring to get a pound for every two pounds you send. I worry about getting lead from car batteries full of sulphuric acid and other contamination so am careful where my alloy material comes from.
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Old September 02, 2019, 07:52   #6
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You can easily test your lead scuba weights for hardness,,if youve got enough that its worth the time.
I cast a smalll disc of any unknown lead and the same disc of pure and also clip wheel weights.
Then you just place a small ball bearing between each and squeeze them together in a vise untill you get a good indent in each.
Compairing the size of the indent in each with a machinist pocket scope will show you what youve got.
My scope was like $25. some years ago,,Im sure their more now.
FWIW, all my old scuba weights, plus a bunch of stock car weights that were given to me, were all cast from strait clip on wheel weights,,,added about 600lbs of useable alloy to my stash,,,ymmv
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Old September 02, 2019, 13:49   #7
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Friend got us a job to decommission several 50 year old x-ray rooms which had walls, ceilings and floors lined with lead plates about 1/4" thick. We were to remove the lead without EPA/OSHA fining contractor of record and get it off site without raising questions., but had no other responsibilities. Was hard work but we did one room per weekend and left with over 3,000 pounds of soft lead. Even scored three lead lined doors that have 1/2" lead sheet layered between two outer layers of 10 gauge mild steel and a filler material betwwen tje steel amd lead core that for all purposes appears to be asbesotos.

All three are installed in my house in their original steel frames with floor to top of door piano hinges. They open and close as easy as most exterior doors but are defiantly not 1/4" luan plywood interior doors when one is slammed closed a little too firmly. I will scrounge as much as the next guy to a point but what goes down the bore of my firearms has to be verified clean and all ancillary alloying ingredients identified. I bet the sum total of doors in my house weigh more than most homes roofing system. I like heavy doors and bullets.
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Old September 04, 2019, 15:43   #8
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Hardness is your friend, and Tin is also

Watch out for Zinc, as noted above. You can separate it by closely controlling your melt temperature, as detailed on Cast Boolits website.

You can get your bullets a lot harder if you have at least a little Tin, and some Antimony or Arsenic, and you drop your bullets from the mold into a bucket of WATER. The metallurgy of Lead is really odd, and to keep your bullets hard you need to avoid cold-work by sizing, as it will result in a softer bullet. Lubing as-cast will generally result in a more accurate bullet.

For higher velocities, or rougher barrels, go with a gas check bullet design.

Slug your barrels, as barrels are frequently larger or smaller than they are supposed to be. An undersize bullet will Lead like mad.

Be advised that sometimes the chambering and throating will mean that a cartridge assembled with a bullet sized appropriately for the groove diameter, will not chamber. I have a beautiful Browning High Power that will not chamber a cartridge with a bullet sized appropriately for the groove diameter. It gets jacketed bullets only.

Last edited by Democrat1; September 07, 2019 at 18:43.
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Old September 04, 2019, 17:36   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Democrat1 View Post

and you drop your bullets from the mold into a bucket of Lead.


.
Please 'splain that one to me a little better, We have dropped our in ice water or snow, but how does dropping them in lead help.
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Old September 04, 2019, 20:15   #10
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Please 'splain that one to me a little better, We have dropped our in ice water or snow, but how does dropping them in lead help.
I think he meant water. Water quenching your boolits will increase the hardness.
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Old September 05, 2019, 05:43   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hueyville View Post
Friend got us a job to decommission several 50 year old x-ray rooms which had walls, ceilings and floors lined with lead plates about 1/4" thick. We were to remove the lead without EPA/OSHA fining contractor of record and get it off site without raising questions., but had no other responsibilities. Was hard work but we did one room per weekend and left with over 3,000 pounds of soft lead. Even scored three lead lined doors that have 1/2" lead sheet layered between two outer layers of 10 gauge mild steel and a filler material betwwen tje steel amd lead core that for all purposes appears to be asbesotos.
1/4 & 1/2" thick lead plates
That would be some lead now...
Ive bought some lead stripped out of a very old xray room and havent seen anything thicker than your typical 1/8 " lead sheeting. Same stuff you typically used years ago for shower tile pans or roof flashing,,,though a bunch of it had more than a few coats of white paint on top too....

Sheet lead is nice pure unadulterated lead...
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Old September 06, 2019, 08:57   #12
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1/4 & 1/2" thick lead plates
That would be some lead now...
Ive bought some lead stripped out of a very old xray room and havent seen anything thicker than your typical 1/8 " lead sheeting. Same stuff you typically used years ago for shower tile pans or roof flashing,,,though a bunch of it had more than a few coats of white paint on top too....

Sheet lead is nice pure unadulterated lead...
This was an old hospital and rooms may have been pre WW2 and we were suprised as never seen anything heavier than 1/8" myself and most use a heavy foil now. I do radiation surveys for antenna sites and imaging rooms. Started with antennas then when realized doctors rooms had to have a report it was easy to expand into extra pocket money for more toys.

Had an MRI a few weeks ago and operator didn't notice the medicalert bracelet on wrist till getting me out of machine and freaked. Informed him it was 100% titanium which the machine does not try to pull off or out of your body. Purposely paid for a titanium unit in case rolled into emergency covered in mud and blood then bracelet not noticed till after imaging.
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Old September 07, 2019, 18:47   #13
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Okiefarmer, you are correct, it is to drop the bullets from the mold into water, not Lead. This improves the speed of quench over dropping onto a padded surface and air-cooling.

I did some work in the Met Lab at U of M long ago on speeding up the rate of quench, and colder water really does not much to increase quench rates. About the only thing that improved the quench rate was adding a lot of salt to the water, and that seemed to inhibit the size of the steam bubbles that are momentarily on the quenched surface, increasing the amount of heat transferred.
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Old September 08, 2019, 07:26   #14
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Rotometals is a good source for bullet casting metals. They have various alloys from pure lead to hardball alloy, Lyman #2, linotype, etc. They also sell a super hard alloy that is like 30% antimony, used to harden range scrap or other soft alloys.

https://www.rotometals.com/bullet-casting-alloys/

Definitely join the Cast Boolits forum if you're serious about casting. There is a wealth of knowledge available there.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php
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Old September 08, 2019, 10:19   #15
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Does Rotometals still run specials and have free shipping available ?
I havent needed anything from them in a bunch of years,,,,,a box full of their superhard goes a LONG way...
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Old September 08, 2019, 23:56   #16
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Does Rotometals still run specials and have free shipping available ?
I havent needed anything from them in a bunch of years,,,,,a box full of their superhard goes a LONG way...
I've been overseas for the last three years, so I haven't ordered anything recently.
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Old September 09, 2019, 17:05   #17
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I have ordered from Rotometals in the past. They have about anything you would need.
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Old September 12, 2019, 21:32   #18
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Does Rotometals still run specials and have free shipping available ?
I havent needed anything from them in a bunch of years,,,,,a box full of their superhard goes a LONG way...

yes, a little bit of superhard (maybe 8 ounces) will make a batch of 50# COWW 50# pure lead & 1# tin very hard so if you cast today ........ no later than tomorrow morning you had best be sizing & lubing or you will not be able to size the bullets you cast and just might break the sizer
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Old September 13, 2019, 06:15   #19
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yes, a little bit of superhard (maybe 8 ounces) will make a batch of 50# COWW 50# pure lead & 1# tin very hard so if you cast today ........ no later than tomorrow morning you had best be sizing & lubing or you will not be able to size the bullets you cast and just might break the sizer
Ive got a free program on my old computer that figures out how to get whatever youd like with whatever youd like to start with.
I use whats basically 'hardball' with a little higher tin content for probably 3/4 of my casting.
The rest is softer or pure, Ive not found a need to go higher hardness yet,,,though a bunch of my stuff is gas checked too.
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Old September 16, 2019, 01:12   #20
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Ive got a free program on my old computer that figures out how to get whatever youd like with whatever youd like to start with.
I use whats basically 'hardball' with a little higher tin content for probably 3/4 of my casting.
The rest is softer or pure, Ive not found a need to go higher hardness yet,,,though a bunch of my stuff is gas checked too.
Here's one:

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...oy-calculators
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