bullet casting question....


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quiknot
December 25, 2006, 04:41 PM
recently started casting my own .44cal lead bullets....the first few came out all shiny and silvery....later they turned more to a gray dull color...i was adding some 50/50 solder to add a little tin to them to harden the bullets....

i was just wondering if this was normal to go from silver to gray...they looked OK and had no flaws in their shape or appearance...

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Jim Watson
December 25, 2006, 04:50 PM
May have been what a caster calls "frosted" and is due to casting too fast or running your pot too hot and getting the mould overheated. It won't hurt anything in the shooting.

loadedround
December 25, 2006, 05:04 PM
Jim hit it on the head. Your melting pot is way to hot, cut your temperature back by at least 50 deg or possibly more until the bullets come out of the mold shiny as before. A casting thermometer will be a big help to you and don't forget to flux. Good luck.

JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
December 25, 2006, 05:30 PM
I'll dissagree ever so slightly.. Not Way Too Hot. There's a fine line between too hot, and your mold coming to temperature. So I ask if you're using an aluminum mold or a iron mold? You'll find as you start a pouring session that your pot will retain heat, and at one point, you may need to turn the heater down a bit. Theromostatically controlled or not. I've found this with many electric pots. You'll also find, that as you pour, keeping a constant pouring rate is benificial. An aluminum mold will 'get hot' as you pour a long session. But at one point it won't get any hotter. An iron mold will retain heat much longer. Keeping an eye on your bullets will tell you when it's time to slow down a bit. If the bullets are tough to extract from the mold, then you want to let things cool a bit. Which may force you to turn your melt pot down a touch. I find that with iron molds this isn't quite as much a factor, but it's possible to have too hot a pot, and too cool a mold. That'll produce frosted bullets that aren't full inside. Weigh your frosted ones to be sure that they're +-3%. If your weights vary, then I'd guess that your lead may be too hot, mold too cool, and or... Your lead mix not Mixed. Your sprew cut should be smooth without any divets or holes in the bullet base. If you're adding 50/50 to lead, -you don't need to for most wheel weight concoctions, then use a dry spoon to stir the lead once in a while. Be safe. Use eye and hand protection, and don't melt lead unless you have a properly ventilated work area.

-Steve

Check out: http://castboolits.gunloads.com

quiknot
December 25, 2006, 07:24 PM
using an aluminum mold and have an old pot heater....consistent heat at 120V 400W...was finding my mould not getting heated at all and not filling the cavity..had to put in the the mix to heat up....sprue end looks good and smooth....bullets would stick to the mould and a slight tap on the hinge they fell out.....

figure now i need to invest in a regular pot heater...

thanks for all the advise....

JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
December 25, 2006, 08:22 PM
Tapping the mold is the expected means of getting the bullets to fall out. I use an old wooden hammer handle to rap the mold block. Drop the bullets onto a nice soft terry towel. Then dump the fresh ones into a coffee can of chilled water. (quenching bullets for hardness)

One thing to watch for are clean edges on the lube grooves and bullet face edges. If the edges are rolled, not sharp like in the mold, then your lead as a liquid is probably too hot, Or too cold, but you'd see other signs if too cool. Yes, putting a corner of the mold blocks in the melted lead will assist in heating the mold blocks to a good operating temperature.

Your old melting pot will probably do the trick, you just have fiddle with it to figure out what works for you.

-Steve

Walkalong
December 25, 2006, 09:48 PM
Get a thermometer suitable for your lead pot and test until you get the temp that works for you, your mold and your technique.
I have some .44 208 Gr. WC's from a Lee mold I cast 15 to 20 years ago and they are still shiny. I always added some 95/5 solder to wheelwieghts to get a suitable alloy for my needs. I dropped them from the mold into a 5 gallon bucket of water to quench and further harden them. They worked great for .44 special and .45 ACP velocities.

shooting on a shoestring
December 25, 2006, 10:49 PM
I've cast .38s, .357s, and .45 Colts since the 70s. Most of them have been wheel weights. I don't care to alloy with more tin to increase mold fill-out, so I just crank up the heat and let them frost. They fill well, pour well, and release with a rap of a mallet on the hinge or backside of the mould. For revolvers and pistols, I don't get too worried about perfection, the bullets will always do better than I can hold.

I have never had an electric pot. I've always used a plumbers pot over a gas flame. We used natural gas when Dad had a shop setup for reloading. had a fumehood with fan above to suck out the fumes, cast inside year round. Now I use a Coleman stove burning unleaded gas. Its dirt cheap and gets wicked hot if needed. I am so lazy that I even use an air compressor to pressurize the fuel tank instead of the thumb pump on the tank. I like casting fast, easy, cheap and good.

BruceB
December 26, 2006, 02:46 AM
I strongly suggest that you make the trip over to the Cast Boolits Forum, where we have over 2300 avid casters to answer questions like yours.

www.cb.gunloads.com will get you there. Just get registered and then make an introductory post on the "Shooters" forum, and start getting acquainted. You'll be welcomed, I assure you. Also, get into the archives...there's enough informational reading there to keep you going for weeks.

Incidentally, "boolits" is just a convenient shortcut we use for distinguishing between our cast projectiles and them "other" sort of bullets (jacketed). If someone writes about his "boolits", we instantly know what he's talking about. Rest assured, some of us actually can spell, more or less!

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