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Powder coating lead bullets

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Benchrest, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    What works for me (orginal post is below). None of the information / ideas presented here are original to me - credit is due to those participating in 'coating' threads on other forums.

    Cast boolits: Haven't run into any limitations on design / shape / size - as long as the bullet is clean (if you have some that are lubed with Alox and want to try this process, simply soak in white gas and rinse with warm soapy water).

    Powder: I've tried Harbor Freight red ($5.99) and RAL. RAL seems to offer a more consistent finish, though I doubt that has any effect on function. User smoke4320 over at castboolits sells RAL for $17.50lb delivered, or pick four colors (out of about 20) and get a 1/4lb of each delivered for the same price. From my usage, I suspect a pound goes a very long way.

    Application container: Tried a few different sizes / shapes, and the ones pictured below worked the best. Available at Wally World in 3 paks for about $3.

    5-good_zpstybwl9al.jpg

    These are no good - They're too brittle, the bottom of the bowl cracks after just a few uses.

    5-bad_zpsxfcmoym9.jpg

    BBs: Ah, the plastic BBs. THIS type works for me, and is available at WW for around $15. I'm up to seven colors, and each has it's own container / BBs, and I've used about have of what's pictured below. If you order powder from smoke4320 he'll sell you 1,000 BBs for $3.

    red.bbs_zpscwatwdcp.jpg

    Diggin' the boolits out tool: I tried long tweezers, different needle nose pliers... A set of $4.99 hemostats from Amazon worked the best.

    hemostats_zpsvlks8lhp.jpg

    Oven: I have a convection toaster oven, though I don't see any difference using convection, or just 'bake'. If I didn't get the hand-me-down from the kitchen I'd buy the least expensive one from WW, and spend another $5 on an oven thermometer (the oven I use was off by 50deg).

    Non stick foil: Buy this, use it. Put the correct side up. Available for under $4 at WW, a roll should last a lifetime.

    Process: Fill your container with enough BBs to cover the bottom about 'two BBs' deep. Add a teaspoon of powder, cover (snap the lid tight, trust me on this one) and 'swirl' a moment to cover the BBs - add small amounts of powder as necessary to get good coverage.

    Add bullets - Make it easy, start with 20 -25. Swirl for a moment or two, then shake the container up and down aggressively (watch the lid!) for 10-15 seconds. Why the shaking is important I can't speculate, but it is.

    Open and close your tweezers / hemostats in your powder a few times to coat the tips (it'll keep them from removing powder from your bullets where you grasp them) and dig your bullets out (I try to grasp them from the lube groove, not the bearing surface that you're tying to protect). By the time you get to the bullets on the bottom you may have moved them around enough to remove some of the powder - simply cover, shake the container up and down again a few seconds.

    Place bullet base-down on your 'foiled" tray and bake for at 400 for 20 minutes (I start with a cold oven). Let air cool.

    Sizing: May, or may not, be needed for your loading. Each coat of RAL added around .001, enough to cause chambering issues in my 9mm. Lee sizers are fairly inexpensive, and work perfect for this task.

    Do the above (with experimentation and tweaking) and you'll get this:

    newcolors2_zpsxolxeyxu.jpg

    mixed-coated_zpsa9lycsnp.jpg

    260gr_zpsg2tmhqiy.jpg

    10mm (T&B .401 180gr) & 9mm (LEE 356-120TC, BHN 11) coated with RAL, fired into an embankment (clay and rocks). The coating is intact at the rifling, and the barrel is lead free.

    fired-coating_zpshkakos4n.jpg

    ****************
    Orginal post that started this thread below
    ****************

    Found an interesting read over at 10mm-firearms.com http://10mm-firearms.com/reloading-10mm-ammo/goodbye-bullet-lube-goodbye-leading/

    As I just began casting I decided to give it a try (LEE 356-120-TC coated with RAL):

    PC9mm_zpslhirhkkb.jpg

    Product is from Prismatic Powders. Pretty simple process really - 50 bullets / tsp of powder in a small plastic container, shake, & bake @ 400 for 10 minutes.

    Now off to the range to see what the results (in my guns) are!

    :)

    redcontainers_zpsoqvecbnv.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2015
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  2. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    Can't wait to try this for my 300 blackout subs.
     
  3. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    If you're interested I'll send you enough powder to try the process out.
     
  4. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    That would be great. Have you tried using any of the cheap harbor freight powders? I have heard the red is the only one that's worth trying. How much $ is the powder you use?

    I don't have the mold for my blackout yet but I do cast some other .308 and also some .357 that I could try it on.

    I am mostly curious about running PC'd subsonic through a supressor. If they don't cause any fouling, I will be able to shoot CHEAP subs.
     
  5. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    From what limited I've read about the Harbor Freight product it's a stay away type thing - Epoxy based, hard on barrels.

    $ is dependent on color. The few I looked at were $11 - $15lb.

    I bought an 'overstock' color at $3.99lb to try it out.
     
  6. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    Online source? Any local sources?
     
  7. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    Prismatic Powders online
     
  8. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I've been using some "platinum" powder coat that I got on Ebay on my 45-70 bullets, actually looks dark grey. Easy to do and so far works great,no mess with lube and no leading. Bought some red and didnt like the way it coats. Both were under $10 a pound and it goes a long ways. Hardest part was finding non stick foil.
     
  9. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    I'm using metal screen material, which seems to be working.

    Last night was my 1st attempt so certainly there's some refinement in the process on my part :)
     
  10. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    One thing to think about is sizing - each layer of the RAL adds about .001

    My LEE .356 moulds are dropping .356, but two coats later and they were miking .358 / .359.

    I only have a .358 sizer (the $25 LEE job works great for this process, and it doesn't ruin the coating) so we'll see how my 9mm likes .358 while I wait for the new sizers to come in :)
     
  11. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I use one of those cheap Lee sizers and it works well for me too. I coat the bullets and then run them through.
     
  12. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've not tried powder coating, but with respect to a surface to cook it on, have you considered trying parchment paper? It's basically silicone impregnated paper. As a guy who does a lot of baking, I can tell you it's about the most non-stick surface you can get, plus the paper is relatively cheap and easy to find just about anywhere they sell AL foil. Might be worth a try.
     
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  13. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    Pardon my ignorance, does the parchment paper hold up to the heat (400°F)?
     
  14. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yes it does. Most all commercial parchment paper is rated up to 450 degrees F (paper starts to burn above that level). I've used it up to 400 degrees F for baking with no problems. I wouldn't go much above 400 degrees with parchment.

    The other option to try would be a reusable silicone baking mat (like Silpat). They can stand up consistently to 450-500 degrees F depending on the brand, and they are reusable pretty much indefinitely. I've got several at home that I've had for years. Just don't ever, ever take a knife to them, it will ruin them for good, just FYI.

    Here is just one example:

    http://www.amazon.com/Artisan-pk-No...426860573&sr=1-1&keywords=silicone+baking+mat

    And some parchment paper that shows a rating of 400 degrees:

    http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-415-68...id=1426860682&sr=1-2&keywords=parchment+paper
     
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  15. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Mind you, I've never tried either for powder coating, but I would suspect they would hold up just fine. I wouldn't be concerned to try them out.
     
  16. bockja

    bockja Sandy, OR Member

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    If you guys are looking for information on powder coating bullets, there is quite a bit of information over on the castboolits forum.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forumdisplay.php?184-Coatings-and-Alternatives

    Also, I would suggest not baking the bullets in an oven that you are going to be cooking food in. Most people use the small toaster ovens you get at Walmart for around $40.
     
  17. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I had to go to Amazon to find the foil, two rolls for around $12 which should be a lifetime supply. I paid right at $40 for a fancy toaster oven cause I liked it better than the $20 model that would have worked just as well.
     
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  18. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.

    Told the wife I needed a toaster oven, so she went and bought a new one. I got the old one (pretty sure I killed two birds with one stone ;) ).

    oven_zpsbk7zo7ti.jpg

    Thought that first batch smelled like lasagna :D
     
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  19. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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  20. Benchrest

    Benchrest The Desert Planet Well-Known Member

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    So after reading a good chunk of the castboolits link and decided to try the HF Red w/ air soft BBs. 1st go around worked pretty well.

    1 coat:

    red.boolits_zpsovkwvlbc.jpg

    red.bbs_zpscwatwdcp.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
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