Author Topic: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets  (Read 13696 times)

Offline bones92

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2016, 05:08:29 PM »
Is it possible to inadvertently weld the ladle to the mould if you hold the spout of the nipple against the mould too long and the lead hardens up?

Yes - if the lead isn't hot enough, or you fall asleep while holding the ladle on top of the mould's sprue plate.

Seems unlikely, but I've dozed off in formation during long parades, with an M1 Garand at order-arms.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2016, 11:10:50 PM »
How many .530 balls in a pound?

wade was as close as needed - however, the chart shows:

.526" = 32 bore - 218.8gr.
.532" = 31 bore - 225.8gr.
.538" = 30 bore - 233.3gr.

Note as well, that the stick-on wheel weights that are used on cast or alloy wheels, are usually pure lead- they are not an alloy - at least the ones I've seen have been very soft.  The crimp-on weights are the ones we want for harder lead - the lead crimp-on weights that is- not the zinc ones.

I do not think you'll find stick-on zinc weights - but that might change due to California rules. I suspect they might have expensive pre-arched zinc weights for all sizes of alloy wheels in California?
Daryl

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Offline longcruise

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2016, 08:38:10 AM »
I've never had any problem identifying the zinc weights and tossing them.  Guess I caught them all cause the melt has never turned like oatmeal.  Didn't know that could happen and happy to have that information on file in case it does happen.  My wheel weight supply is over 20 years old so there may not be any zinc in it.

I never cast RB with WW.  Only projectiles to be fired over smokeless. 

I have a spreadsheet that will calculate the weight, gauge and ballistic coefficient of any input size of round ball.  Happy to email it to anyone who wants it.
Mike Lee

Offline hanshi

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2016, 08:11:32 PM »
I must have near a couple hundred pounds of WW.  I've cast handgun bullets and ML ball from it with excellent result results.  All mine date back decades mostly to the 1970s so I know they are all good.
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Offline bones92

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2016, 05:26:16 PM »

OK, so how "pure" does lead need to be for casting PRB (so that the balls are soft enough)?     For example will lead with 3% antimony be too hard?

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Offline Daryl

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2016, 10:40:56 PM »
3% antimony is usually what Hornady's boxed buck shot contains.  You may find these too hard for loading if the ball is bore sized or only about .005" smaller.  However, if they are .010" smaller, they might be ok.  Make sure your crown is nicely radiused and smooth- no sharp corners as cut by a machine.

The .32" Hornady buck shot I bought (5-pound box) was too hard to load in my narrow grooved .32, however with dead soft lead, ie: as pure as you can get (X-ray room wall lead), the rifle shot splendidly and loaded quite nicely with .320" balls from a DC Lee .319"mould. I didn't not even need a short starter to start these, merely choking up on the rod and pushing down, seated the .320" balls with a .0235" mattress ticking patch.
Daryl

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Offline WadePatton

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2016, 02:25:21 AM »
...

I do not think you'll find stick-on zinc weights - but that might change due to California rules. I suspect they might have expensive pre-arched zinc weights for all sizes of alloy wheels in California?

Yes I've seen plenty of stick-on Zinc.  Which is maddening because we expect stick-ons to be soft Pb.  Anyhoo, they're out there.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2016, 10:23:05 PM »
Didn't know that, Wade- zinc stick-on weights. Well - haven't seen any here yet, but I suspect they are coming.

Dead soft- as in as soft as you can find is what is needed for most rifles.  If you cannot obtain dead soft lead, use what you have to, but be prepared to purchase the size mould you need to enable loading them.

The harder the lead, the smaller with have to be the ball, and usually the less accurate they will be- after you cross the 'magic' line - whatever that might be, for your gun and load.  Do not be afraid to test for accuracy. Don't be too quick to accept mediocre results.  Further testing, might surprise you in a good way.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

yardhunter

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2016, 06:17:09 AM »
I cast all my own balls & keep it very simple. No sense in making it more difficult than necessary.
Here's how I do it & have 50+ pounds of balls ready to shoot at all times:




Offline Black Jaque Janaviac

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2016, 03:09:55 AM »
In my experience there is soft lead, and there is pure lead, and it makes a difference when loading.

Pure lead is the only stuff I've ever been able to load without a short starter and still get decent accuracy.   Soft lead alloys perform well enough in the accuracy and terminal performance department but can be a buggar to get started in some of my guns. 

The best source for pure lead I've found is sewer lead.  Its the stuff plumber's used to seal cast iron pipe joints.  That stuff is awesome.

To "test" for pureness of lead, cast a few balls with known sewer lead, then crush them in a channel lock pliers.  Then try some of the other soft lead alloys such as stick on WW and other stuff.  You'll notice a difference in how far you can crush them down.  Unfortunately the test is done after casting.

Offline KNeilson

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2016, 03:54:51 AM »
Quote
Well - haven't seen any here yet, but I suspect they are coming.
Daryl,  I got given a 20 litre pail of stick on weights last week, came out of a Penticton tire shop. My excitement lasted until the first potfull showed almost 30% wouldnt melt, turned out to have a lot of zinc and steel and (??) material mixed in. I ended up sorting them with a small set of wirecutters to test softness, also found out that by dropping them I could detect a sound difference and sort that way also... still a fair bit of work but worth it given the initial cost. I still think I like roof flashing and plumbers lead better for salvage cause of the ease of rendering it

Offline Daryl

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2016, 07:41:08 PM »
Taylor and I got into a batch of X-ray room wall lead sheeting at 50 cents per pound.  I have perhaps 350pounds of it, and Taylor, well over 400 pounds.

It's so soft, I have to add a tich of tin for good casting, like 1/4" of 50/50 bar solder per 20 pounds, or it crusts up (oxidizes) too quickly form the heat I use for good casting.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline tddeangelo

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2016, 06:27:04 AM »
I have over 400lbs of x-ray sheeting I secured for $50. I told the seller he had something worth far more, but he only wanted it gone and wanted $50. I gladly paid the man $50.

It was fairly easy to work into ingots. I just started a few months ago casting some of it into round balls, but I haven't shot any yet. I am making 0.600" balls, and they should weigh 324gr. I'm getting most out around 320-322gr, but they're also measuring 0.597-0.600 from my mold. So I'm guessing it's not perfectly pure lead, but it's gotta be awful darn close.

Offline Dan

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Re: Tutorial on melting and casting lead ball and bullets
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2016, 04:51:54 AM »

If someone has a good online tutorial link, I'd be much obliged.

Not a tutorial specific to to some of your knowledge gaps, but it is educational on most all things lead:
http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

Couple of stray thoughts I'll pass along:

-You need a lead thermometer.  Pure pb casts properly at 800* F.  Alloyed lead casts at lower temps.  As example, Lyman #2 is OK with around 650-675* F.
-See the discussion in the link above regarding fluxing.  You're not quite up to speed on that.
-You can shoot glass marbles from your smokepole if'n you want. Or anything else if the size of ball and patch is correct.  Pure lead is preferred but there is no harm in having tin in the mix.  It makes lead tougher and only a bit harder. If pure is 5 BHN, 30:1 is around 8 BHN.  A wee bit of tin will make your casting easier as it promotes fill out in the projectile.  2% is good enough, or 50:1.  BHN for that might be as high as 6.