Best cast lead harness for 9mm


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Tinker
June 10, 2013, 03:08 PM
I have some pure lead that I'd like to alloy up for casting 9mm. Is there a "golden range" of BHN for lead 9mm?

In my manual and reading online I keep seeing reference to Lyman #2. What hardness is that alloy? Thanks.

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splattergun
June 10, 2013, 03:18 PM
Lyman #2 is 90% lead, 5% tin, 5% antimony. Brinell +- 16.5

eam3clm@att.net
June 10, 2013, 03:19 PM
Mix it half to half with clip on wheel weight alloy. I dont have a hardness tester so I cannot say for sure how hard they are. My bset guess is around 12 bhn. Whats more important is the size of the bullets, I size to .358. The hardness will matter on how hard you push them.

USSR
June 11, 2013, 07:49 AM
eam3clm@att.net's suggestion of mixing your pure lead 50/50 with wheelweights is a good one. BHN would be about 10, which is plenty. Simply no need to go as hard as Lyman #2 (BHN of 15) for 9mm.

Don

dragon813gt
June 11, 2013, 08:02 AM
50/50 WW/Pure puts you at a BHN of 9.6. It also gives you reliable expansion for hunting. Not that you'd be hunting w/ a 9mm. But the 50/50 alloy is one of the most common used. Even using straight WW will work just fine for 9mm.


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kerreckt
June 11, 2013, 08:32 AM
Final size (dia., wgt.) is partly determine by the alloy used. This gives some info: http://www.redding-reloading.com/online-catalog/88-bullet-moulds-charts but as always the place to go is: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/. Thought I would throw this out there.

USSR
June 11, 2013, 08:44 AM
If anyone wants an Alloy Calculator in Excel format that determines BHN of whatever alloy mix you might use, send me an email and I will send it to you.

Don

steve4102
June 11, 2013, 09:09 AM
Alloy calculator found here.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?105952-Lead-alloy-calculators

NuJudge
June 11, 2013, 06:27 PM
There are frequent discussions on the various 1911 boards about how one should use a softer bullet in lower pressure cartridges (like the .45 acp), and harder bullets in higher pressure cartridges. I disagree with them and like hard Lead for everything, but the 9mm is a higher pressure cartridge.

Even if you want a soft Lead bullet, a bit of Tin will vastly improve fill-out of your bullets, with just a little increase in hardness. A large increase in hardness will come with adding both Tin and Antimony, and the hardness will increase a lot more if you drop the hot bullet from the mold into a 5 gallon bucket of water. I like wheelweights plus 2% Tin, water-dropped. The water dropping also simplifies handling all those HOT bullets.

LUCKYDAWG13
June 11, 2013, 06:46 PM
mix your pure lead with wheel weight lead clip on 50/50m good to go
stick on WW lead is soft like pure lead

Tinker
June 12, 2013, 06:01 AM
Thanks for all the input. I'm looking to make about 20lbs of a good, medium hardness alloy for my 9mm shooting the next year or so. Make one big batch to just have on hand. I don't have a hardness gage, so I hope to get it right by mixing to formula.

Already have the pure lead. Just need some antimony and tin. My aim is to buy these other additives. Found a place called Rotometal that sells this.

USSR
June 12, 2013, 07:26 AM
Already have the pure lead. Just need some antimony and tin. My aim is to buy these other additives. Found a place called Rotometal that sells this.

Tinker,

You would be much better off just going to http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ and finding someone selling ingots made of wheelweights or isotope lead. Much cheaper!

Don

dragon813gt
June 12, 2013, 07:42 AM
Not really. If he added 1# of Rotometals SuperHard and 1/4# of 95/5 solder to 20#s of pure. The resulting alloy would be 97.4/1.5/1.1 at a BHN of 10.3. Leave the solder out and it's at 9.9 BHN. Solder can be found cheap at yard sales if you don't have any. I'd try it w/out the solder first and see how fillout is. Chances are it will be just fine.

Whatever you do, don't buy pure Antimony. It's a pita to get it to blend w/ the lead. The super hard melts right in like any other piece of lead.


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Arkansas Paul
June 12, 2013, 09:26 AM
Casting for 9mm can be tricky, as I found out when I first started.
This thread on the Castboolits site helped me a lot. Take a look.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?121737-Setting-up-for-boolits-in-a-new-9mm

USSR
June 12, 2013, 09:57 AM
Not really. If he added 1# of Rotometals SuperHard and 1/4# of 95/5 solder to 20#s of pure. The resulting alloy would be 97.4/1.5/1.1 at a BHN of 10.3. Leave the solder out and it's at 9.9 BHN. Solder can be found cheap at yard sales if you don't have any. I'd try it w/out the solder first and see how fillout is. Chances are it will be just fine.

Whatever you do, don't buy pure Antimony. It's a pita to get it to blend w/ the lead. The super hard melts right in like any other piece of lead.


Have you priced Rotometals lead as opposed to what can be bought through individuals on castboolits? "Solder can be found cheap", show me where and I will buy it. I have bought it off of individuals on castboolits website (sorry, but my yard sales searches have turned up zero solder), and it ain't cheap. Rather than pay $4.60 a pound for Rotometals SuperHard (which contains no tin), or paying nearly $20 per pound for 95/5 solder, buy some isotope lead (95/2.5/2.5) for about $1.50 a pound and mix 8 pounds to 12 pounds of pure for a 9.8 BHN alloy.

Don

dragon813gt
June 12, 2013, 12:31 PM
Yes I've priced out their alloys. SuperHard is one of most economical ways to add antimony to an alloy. Solder is hit and miss. But pewter is another economical way to add tin to an alloy. I'm on castboolits daily. The lead sales have gone down quite a bit as of late. I buy isotope lead as much as I can. Unfortunately the consistent suppliers of it are not getting it anymore.

Tin is nice for fillout but not 100% needed. And a few pounds of SuperHard will go a long way. The OP said he has pure already. Order up 5#s of SuperHard and go from there. Yes you can buy WW lead. But I don't trust others to clean it up properly. And the chance of zinc contamination is to high for me to spend money on it.


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ArchAngelCD
June 12, 2013, 01:19 PM
Since it's really pressure that dictates how hard the bullet should be it's not exactly tied to velocity but since we can't test pressure velocity is all we have.

Here is a general chart on bullet hardness and velocity.
Muzzle Velocity Brinell Hardness (BHN)

800-1000 fps 10-12
1000-1400 fps 12-16
1400-1700 fps 14-20
>1700 fps 20-30

Tinker
June 12, 2013, 02:04 PM
9mm has proven to be interesting to reload, to say the least. :fire:

In hindsight, I should have started with .45ACP stuff. :D The end goal is just to have a non-leading home cast recipe for medium pressure range plinking ammo.

I've fiddled with some wheel weights, but I have no idea what hardness it is. Seen some light leading. My barrel slugs at .356". The WW castings come out of the mold .358". I have a Lee push through die for .357' OD, but leading seems worse. Been running as cast .358"s with better result. I read a slight oversize is safe. Hadn't blown myself up, so far. :D

If buying some additive metal is slightly expensive, that is OK. I reckon a lb or two of whatever is still cheaper than investing in a hardness tester. I just want to run one batch of about 25 lbs, in the right hardness, to have for a while.

germ
June 12, 2013, 02:19 PM
Make sure your brass isn't post sizing your bullets down. I find that 9mm cases can be really tough and may spring back some after expanding. CPC and HRTRS are two that seem unusually tough to me. But I'm expanding out to .358 for .359+ bullets. Remember, if you're using heavy for caliber bullets, that 9mm cases are tapered and can easily swage the bullet's base when seating deep.

ArchAngelCD
June 12, 2013, 02:26 PM
Try adding 2oz of 50/50 solder to 10 pounds of wheel weights and see if the leading goes away.

Then try 4.0gr to 4.4gr W231 under that 125gr bullet and see how well they shoot. I think you will like the results.

Arkansas Paul
June 12, 2013, 02:35 PM
I've fiddled with some wheel weights, but I have no idea what hardness it is. Seen some light leading. My barrel slugs at .356". The WW castings come out of the mold .358". I have a Lee push through die for .357' OD, but leading seems worse. Been running as cast .358"s with better result.

Sorry if this is a hair off topic, but what are you using for lube? Lee Alox?
I've had horrible leading with it in 9mm. The .40, .38 Spcl and .45 Colt do okay with it, go figure. My barrel measures .356 as well and my RCBS 124 grain mold drops them at .3575, so no need to size. I've got a batch pan lubed up I'm about to try and see if that helps me. I think it will.

greyling22
June 12, 2013, 06:33 PM
according to my lee hardness tester, water quenched wheel weights with just a smidge of lynotype are about bhn 14. My barrel slugged out .356 according to calipers, so +/- .001, of that. I had bad leading with .356 and .357 bullets. .358's do a lot better, but I still don't have a particularly accurate load yet. Can't do better than 10 rounds in a fist at 10 yds. 9mm is hard. Hardest caliber I've ever loaded for. Stupid tiny high pressure tapered case........

I'm using lee alox paul.

Tinker
June 13, 2013, 02:53 PM
Make sure your brass isn't post sizing your bullets down. I find that 9mm cases can be really tough and may spring back some after expanding. CPC and HRTRS are two that seem unusually tough to me. But I'm expanding out to .358 for .359+ bullets. Remember, if you're using heavy for caliber bullets, that 9mm cases are tapered and can easily swage the bullet's base when seating deep.

Germ,
This, I think, was a problem for me when I first started making some with lead WW alloy. I even made a special "spreader" die insert that attaches to my universal decapping die. It has a section that opens every case mouth to .358" during decapping. Then I set my factory crimp to just barely set some tension. Just enough that pulled bullets OD at .357". Still fiddling with that alloy experiments (purpose of this thread). This has lessened leading from what I first saw.

The lubes I've tried are straight alox and other home recipes that use alox and other stuff. Still fiddling with that too.

Hondo 60
June 14, 2013, 01:05 AM
Here's a real good read on bullet hardness. (also an outstanding product made by outstanding people).
I'm not related, nor do I know them, other than being a very satisfied customer.

http://www.missouribullet.com/technical.php

greyling22
June 14, 2013, 04:50 PM
oops, I just rechecked my data, and and my ingots are running bhn 14, not my cast quenched bullets. they will be harder than 14. I think a water quenched wheel weight is supposed to run around 18, which is slightly harder than lyman #2, if my faulty brain is working right. 18BHN should be good for roughly 22,000 psi of pressure, which is a medium light 9mm load.

Arkansas Paul
June 14, 2013, 05:01 PM
If they're that high, (18) you may not be pushing them fast enough.
Hard cast bullets do not get along well with low velocity/low pressure. If they're that hard, you may need to push them closer to max.
This is something I'm dealing with right now too.

USSR
June 14, 2013, 09:38 PM
There is a formula for optimal bullet hardness which is simple and it is worth knowing:

Optimum BHN = CUP / (1422 x .90)

The CUP of your reloads is published in the reloading manuals. Take a typical .45 ACP load, using a 200-grain LSWC bullet 5.0 grains of Bullseye. This load develops 900 FPS and is in common use among IPSC and IDPA gunners. The reloading manual shows that the pressure generated by this load is 20,000 CUP. So, the formula for optimal bullet hardness is

20,000 / 1279.8 = 15.62

There it is! For this application shooting a 200-grain LSWC at 900 FPS requires that you use a bullet with a BHN of 16 to 18 (round upwards a couple of BHN points for flexibility.)

That's ridiculous! Elmer Keith developed the 44 Magnum, which operates at nearly TWICE the pressure level of the .45 ACP, and he did it with bullets with a BHN of 11. Use your head, guys, and don't buy into the commercial caster's propaganda. My 200gr .45 ACP bullets don't exceed a BHN of 10.

Don

zxcvbob
June 14, 2013, 10:01 PM
If you have pure lead, trade it to a blackpowder shooter for wheel weight alloy or typemetal or other hard lead. Pure soft lead is worth a premium.

vongh
June 15, 2013, 12:12 AM
I tend to agree with Arkansas Paul that 18 bhn may be to hard and may have to be pushed to hard to obtain proper bullet obduration and may lead to gas cutting which also causes leading of the barrel. I also had leading problems with ww cast bullets using lla and switched to white label 45/45/10 tumble lube and just made sure my micro grooves were fully filled with lube.

LUCKYDAWG13
June 15, 2013, 09:23 AM
pure lead and wheel weight lead use a 50/50 mix make a good hunting
bullet in a 44 magnum soft lead is a good thing to have on hand

Leadman1
June 15, 2013, 10:42 PM
A hard alloy works just fine, IF the bullet is of the proper size, normally .001" over bore diameter. That said 11 BHN is fine for most 9mms. Just have to watch that you do not size down the bullet when taper crimping the case. Use your caliper to measure your bullet, the case mouth X 2, and add it together. This gives you the diameter of all of your components. I like to see no more than .001" reduction at that case mouth after crimping.
A good lube is also necessary for sucess. Lee's Alox is not on my list.

How you doing LUCKYDAWG13?

dagger dog
June 16, 2013, 12:14 AM
Straight clip on wheel weights (COWW) air cooled come in about 12-13 BHN, water quench them as they drop from the mold and let them set for two weeks and they'll test at 15-18 BHN. Place them in a 450 degree oven for an hour then water quench and they will test 20 BHN.

Stick on wheel weights (SOWW) test at 7-8 BHN they don't respond to hardening or heat treating, the other trace metals in the COWW along with the presence of arsenic that acts as a catalyst to make the alloy harden.

Mixing the two will no doubt will give you something in between but it will respond different to heat treating-water quenching.

More lead = smaller diameter and heavier, softer (if not heat treated) boolit
more tin, antimony and any other alloy besides lead=larger diameter, harder (without heat treating) boolit, cast from the same mold at the same temps and techniques.

Correct diameter is more important than hardness, bullet lubrication is second, hardness is third. COWW air cooled will shoot fine at 9MM Luger pressures.

Lees 2ND Edition Modern Reloading has a chapter on pressure and it's relation to boolit hardness on the Brinell hardness scale. It's a good read and an eye opener.

Just another line from John Linebaugh's Dissolving the Myth Article, he uses straight wheel weight boolits for 30,000 psi 45 Colt loads, and his special lube he states anything sticky.!

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