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My first casting

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by gunfreak, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    I casted my first 175 grain .40 bullets today. My old friend John gave me his 2 cavity Lee mold, wheel weights from my bro-in-law, and borrowed pot from another buddy. 298 total, lubed em with alox and will get some loaded up soon.
     
  2. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Lee Tumble lube are the best for production casting and shooting. I'm about to load up 2,500 of that exact bullet that I cast (6 cavity is really fast) and lubed last year

    I use Lee Tumble Lube and a 1 lb coffee can
     
  3. gnarl

    gnarl Sequim, WA Member

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    Same bullet style/lube I use for my .44 plinkers.
    I take about a week out of the year and make a few thousand.
     
  4. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    One trick with WW is to let the alloy age harden, LASC has tables for how long it will take arsenic alloys to age harden (WW contains about .5% arsenic). I used to do lee molds with the alox lube, but always had severe leading issues. I bought a master caster back in 06 when they were still only $600, and the star lube sizer to match, I've been using rooster lubes for most of that time, and they have the best adhesion to the lead, and while they tend to be a bit smokey, eliminate all leading unless the alloy is of inferior quality (WW is actually one of the better alloys).
     
  5. gnarl

    gnarl Sequim, WA Member

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    I add about 5% lead-free plumbing solder to my alloy; have not had a
    leading problem at all, but I'm only running the pills about 900-1000 fps.
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Lead free solders are usually tin, with copper and silver. Which don't really add hardness, but increase mold whetting (the ability of the alloy to take the shape of the mold) and decreases melting temp. However, tin does not increase hardness, if you want harder lead you need to add antimony, the best ways to do this are to add monotype or linotype. I've tried alloying pure antimony with lead before: I would not suggest it. You need to heat the antimony up above it's melting point (about 1200F) and then mixing it with molten lead (which is boiling at about 900F).
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Another time tested method of "hardening" Wheel Weight metal is "Heat Treating". Put all the cast bullets base down on a cookie sheet and heat them in the oven to just below the sag/melt point. Hold them at this temp for about 45 minutes and quench in tap water. 450-460 degrees is about right temp but some will test the individual alloy first. Make a support out of a piece of hardware cloth and support a bullet or two horizontally, tip or base hanging over the edge. Increase heat until tip or base sags or falls off. Reduce temp about 10 degrees for heat treating. Using this method WW alloys can be hardened to around 30 BHN.

    Some will say that the quenching when parted from the mold is "good enough". Unfortunately, not every "cast" is the same temperature, dropped with the same speed, and the hardening is not as uniform as when Batch Heat Treated.

    If you are looking for consistent accuracy, try heat treating in batches of 100 or so. I've shot next to Cast Bullet shooters that will put 3 shots in the same hole, all day long using heat treated WW bullets and they aren't shooting them at snail speed either.
     
  8. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    As deadshot2 has said, heat treating your WW cast bullets can significantly increase their BHN. If you shoot sized and/or gas check bullets insure you size them and add the gas checks PRIOR to heat treating them.

    Use a die .0001" - .0005" larger then your sized bullet to lubricate them following heat treatment and age hardening.
     
  9. gnarl

    gnarl Sequim, WA Member

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    Good ideas!
    I'll try these next time I have the casting stuff out.
     
  10. DukkButt

    DukkButt St. Maries, Idaho Active Member

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    Anybody have trouble with the antimony separating in the melting pot? Mine seems to float to the surface and fluxing doesn't seem to help. Any comment appreciated.

    I think I found the answer to my own question over at

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=63550

    The stuff on top may be oxidized lead from heating the mix too hot. Have to turn the heat down and see if that makes a difference.
     
  11. Sheldon

    Sheldon California Member

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    I also have recently started to cast my own bullets. Over the years I have accumulated everything I need to do so but had been reluctant to start because it looked like so much hassle versus buying commercial cast bullets. I mean, I used to get the 9mm and 38 spl. cast bullets for about $30 per K and the 45 bullets for about $40. You have to process wheel weights (a smelly dirty task) and then cast and then lube. Couldn't see doing it.

    In the meantime I was doing a lot of fishing using leadheads with plastic swimbait lures. Those leadheads were $0.15 to $0.25 each. Now that I could see casting for the savings even if I didn't go thru hundreds of them every outing. I got a couple of the mold designs I used the most and utilized the lead pot I had aquired used some years back. You just align the hooks in the mold, pour the lead, and cut off the sprue....so easy. I have enough for years to use for my brothers, my kids, and I. As time went on I ran into a deal where a smalltime/garage fishing weight producer was selling off a nice 60 lb. electric leadpot set into a nice cart along with a couple milk crates full of various fishing weight molds. I got it all for $350 or so. There were quite a few smaller type downrigger ball weight molds and looking on Ebay they seemed to sell really well, so I auctioned those all off for more than what I paid for the whole setup. It seems the black powder cannon shooters use them for casting cannonballs!! I still have various fish weight molds, but the leadpot was really what I was after to be able to process wheel weights into clean ingots to use in the smaller 20 lb capacity Lee leadpot.

    A nice 4 cavity mold I was able to buy off Ebay, for less than the usual overbid amounts you find there frequently, was a H&G #68. That's the design most casters 45 cal. 200 gr. SWC is based on. I was also lucky enough to bid on a cheaper priced Star Lubrisizer. That all led to me starting to cast them 200gr SWCs when I started to run out of bullets and started to price them again. $70 and up per K now shipped.

    I still think it's a ton of work, but I will admit there is a certain satisfaction to it.....much like reloading has. With lead wheel weights being banned everywhere it will be a lot tougher to get free or nearly free lead, and if I have to pay $1 a pound for the stuff......I may just go back to buying commercial cast again.