PDA

View Full Version : bullet casting


hangfire
05-03-2008, 12:26 AM
Anyone doing much bullet casting? I am starting to give it a go again. I did some before for my 8mm, but had terrible accuracy. At the time, I didnt know anything about bullet hardness though, or use gas checks. I just cast a bunch for my 380 using a lee 102 grain mold (i forget the exact model) and a lee lead melter. I was impressed with how smooth the lead flowed out of the melter, beat the pants out of trying to ladle it out of an old pot on a propane stove.

Anyway, I did run into one problem during my casting. The lead started to gell after melting a bunch of wheelweights. I kept an eye opened for zinc ones, but didnt spot any. Are they starting to become more common place and maybe one got by? Would anything else cause the lead to "gel" up like that?

DM
05-03-2008, 12:59 AM
Anyone doing much bullet casting? *I am starting to give it a go again. *I did some before for my 8mm, but had terrible accuracy. *At the time, I didnt know anything about bullet hardness though, or use gas checks. *I just cast a bunch for my 380 using a lee 102 grain mold (i forget the exact model) and a lee lead melter. *I was impressed with how smooth the lead flowed out of the melter, beat the pants out of trying to ladle it out of an old pot on a propane stove. *

Anyway, I did run into one problem during my casting. The lead started to gell after melting a bunch of wheelweights. *I kept an eye opened for zinc ones, but didnt spot any. *Are they starting to become more common place and maybe one got by? Would anything else cause the lead to "gel" up like that?



I started casting around 1970 and by 1980 i was casting thousands of bullets, using some for competive shooting and selling others...

Anyway, i'd say you cooled your furnace off when you added the wheel weights, it just couldn't keep up...

It would be a good practise to get use to melting your lead in an old cast iron fry pan to clean it, before useing it in your melt pot. Pour it into ingots, and then use the ingots to make bullets out of...

Another thing, when your done casting, leave your pot at least half full, your lead will melt faster and your pot will last longer too...

DM

kawalekm
05-03-2008, 12:59 PM
Hi Hangfire
When you say gel, is the lead uniformly thickening to be like cake frosting, or is it more lumpy, like poorly prepared oatmeal cereal? If it's uniform, than I think the pot temperature is too low. Just crank it up again. If lumpy, that throw it out, it's contaminated with zinc.

One way to prevent this from happening again is to use a lead thermometer like this one...

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=595204&t=11082005

I set my pot to melt lead at no more than 625-650F. A zinc weight can be immediately spotted because it just floats on top of the lead without any signs of melting. Get it out immediately. If you raised the temp of the pot up past 800F then the zinc would melt and contaminate the lead alloy. If you don't want to get a thermometer, than just incrementally creep the temperature of you pot up till the lead weights just start to melt. Mark that temperature and use that for your initial melting.

By the way, I like to add a bit of tin to my wheelweight alloy to improve castability. I like to use tin based lead-free plumbing solder added to 2.5-5%. This duplicates Lyman #2 alloy and produces a very nice bullet!
Michael

cubcadet
06-14-2008, 04:44 PM
Has anyone used pure wheel weights for casting? I used them to cast .44 slugs for use in a Ruger Super Redhawk. i loaded .44 Special cases, and downloaded the powder charge, I forget how much, and shot it that way for paper shoots. I didn`t notice it right off, but I was really fouling my cylinder badly. I wonder if there was some contaminant in the weights that stayed behind when the slug went down the barrel. I can`t get that fouling out of there. I tried solvents, bronze screens, averything that people recommended.

Florida_boy
06-14-2008, 07:08 PM
Hoppes #9, a bronze brush, and lots and lots of elbow grease.

What kind of lube were you using?

cubcadet
06-14-2008, 10:46 PM
Hey Florida_boy,
Back then, I used Lee Lube. It`s been years now, so don`t quote me. I think I just put my cast bullets in a margerine tub with a little squirt of Lee Lube, and swished them around a little till they were well coated.

kawalekm
07-25-2008, 12:29 PM
Hi Cub
I never use plain wheelweights. I alway add a little tin, at least 2.5% which improves both castability, performance, and bore cleaning. I shoot my cast in .357 and .44Mag and usually only clean out the leading with a cotton patch. Just drop in a 1lb roll of 50:50 tin:lead solder to 9lbs of melted wheelweights and you'll get fantastic alloy that shoots well even in rifle length barrels. You'll also be surprised how well the alloy mixes in the pot after adding the tin and also how much nicer the bullets come out!
Michael

Shortstack
07-29-2008, 05:40 PM
Zinc wheel weight are becoming more common...I've got a bunch of them and really don't know what to do with them other than maybe turning them into fishing weights..

Florida_boy
08-04-2008, 12:47 AM
Make sure you keep that zinc far far away from any lead you want to melt down for bullets. One zinc wheel weight can ruin a whole pot full of lead.

iammarkjones
08-11-2008, 12:30 AM
Hi Hangfire,
I cast all my .45 acp bullets. I built my pot from 6.25" sch 40 steel pipe with a 1/4" plate for a bottom. I use a Coleman gas stove to heat. I use ingots from E-bay advertised as pure wheel weights. I also buy used wheel weights when I can locally these are melted in a separate pot to avoid contamination from Zinc. I would suggest not using your primary pot to do the initial melt on WW it has given me contamination issues in the past. If you plan to fire cast bullets make sure you clean ALL the copper fouling from your barrel first. If you miss some you will find it when you shoot cast for the first time. The copper fouling acts like an abrasive on the surface of your cast bullets shaving some off each shot. Once ALL of the copper is out and you have developed the correct load you should have little or no leading. I have saved a TON of bucks casting my own. It is well worth the effort.

kawalekm
08-11-2008, 11:40 AM
HI Mark
Which bullet are you casting for your .45? I have a mold for Lyman's 200 grain SWC and it has become almost a mission from God to make it shoot right! Finally got it to feed by increasing the OAL .015" over max and taper crimping to reduce the case mouth to .472".

iammarkjones
08-11-2008, 08:59 PM
I am using a lee 6 cavity 230gr round nose my cartridge OAL is 1.250 +/-.003. These feed in my Spring Field Armory 1911 GI edition very well.

Lanark_Sixgunner
09-07-2008, 04:46 PM
DM said it right on.