Bullet casting questions


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KC
September 27, 2003, 04:18 PM
Can you use lead shot to cast bullets?
I understand that zinc contamination in lead dramatically increases the meniscus and yields unuseable bullets. It would seem that alloys in the pellet lead would also be designed for not only hardness, but to have a high surface tension to facilitate the specialized casting process, and render it unuseable for bullet casting. Is this correct?

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cdbeaver
September 27, 2003, 05:58 PM
I can't contribute much about the effects of shot pellets containing zinc on bullet casting, but I'll be the first to tell you that zinc in wheel weights has a very bad effect on bullets.

I've had to throw out about 75 pounds of wheel weights that got contaminated. I now use pure linotype metal (stuff I know something about) and have really improved the quality of my .45-70 and .30-06 stuff.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
September 28, 2003, 12:42 AM
If you have access to a lot of shot salvaged from a range then give it a try by itsself melting a pot full and see what happens when you cast some bullets.

A lot depends on how old the lead shot is and whether it was made different back when or is a more recent formulation.

So the only way is to try it and clean up good afterwards everything it came in contact with if it turns out bad.

Also if it is good or bad only applies to your particular location and source.

Paul Jones
Moderator

444
September 28, 2003, 12:58 AM
I cast bullets all the time using currently manufactured lead shot. I cast bullets for fun, not to save money. And, to obtain bullets that would be difficult and inconvenient to obtain elsewhere. I don't have a good source of lead, so I use lead shot.
The bullets seem to shoot fine to me. I have never seriously benchrested them, but for the relatively informal shooting and plinking I do, they seem to shoot as well as the commercial cast bullets I have purchased. They also seem to weigh what they are supposed to weigh.
I say, do it.

Watchman
September 28, 2003, 09:48 AM
Ditto what 444 said...

I once used a whole 20 pound bag of number 8 shot to make some 240 LSWC bullets for the .44.

Worked great, no problems.

Pumpkinheaver
September 28, 2003, 12:06 PM
Don't that get kind of expensive?

444
September 29, 2003, 01:17 PM
As I mentioned previously, I cast bullets for fun. Saving money isn't the idea for me. And, I don't cast enough of them to make it a money issue. I don't have a good place to cast (no garage) so I do it at a friend's garage. We don't do it all that often, so I end up buying most of my cast bullets.

Jim Watson
September 29, 2003, 05:20 PM
A friend of mine bought several hundred pounds of birdshot from a store going out of business. He added 2% tin and cast a whole lot of very accurate .45-70s out of it, even though most sources recommend against antimony in black powder bullets. He is now using the more conventional 20:1 lead:tin alloy and sees no difference in the shooting. But he only shoots BPCR metallic silhouette and midrange. Maybe the melted down shot would not have held up past 500 meters or 600 yards.

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