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Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by edwin41, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    hi ,
    today i went ahead to try to copperplate some bullets.
    as i shoot .38 spec wadcutters that i cast myself there is no special need for
    copperplating , but it looked like a nice experiment to me .
    firts i took a plastic sealable waterdrum... little one , about 3 liters or so.
    put in a piece of solid copper with a copper wire attached.
    on top some coppertubing , not touching the solution.
    the solution i mixed is demineralised water , with coppersulfide and battery acid.
    batteryacid is easy to optain at the local garage etc.
    coppersulfide is used by cow farmers to keep the hoofs of cows clean ,
    so its commonly available.
    when you take some 5 liters of dem. water youll need 275 gram coppersulfide
    and some 0.3 liter batteryacid.
    i wired some bullets with thin copperwire and hung them on the top coppertube.
    used a 1.5 volt 1400 milliampere dc adapter and put de positive to the copper at the bottom and the negative to the tubing on top..
    solution at room temperature and in about 15 minutes there was a nice deposit of copper on the bullet...
    it looked raw , but hey... its the first one.
    gonna try to lower the amperes but keep the 1.5 volts , my thinking is that
    if the plating goes slower it will be some smoother.
    for cleaning the bullet i got a can where i poured in some very fine sand .
    i shook the can till the bullet was even dull tinted.
    cleaned it with some aceton and the copper seems to sit thight to the bullet.
  2. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member


    gonna try to finetune the process , i see some possibilities.
    for instance , tumbling the bullets in some fine sand to sand them clean , and tumble them again after plating to smooth them up..
    for now... it lookes promising.
    anyone else has experience with this type of plating?
    any suggestions?

    glad you asked... yes , it was another nice day in holland !:D
  3. T Bran

    T Bran Well-Known Member

    Edwin way cool thanks for sharing now you have me wondering what else I can plate since I only cast round ball for black powder guns. Copper plated round ball might be cool but probably wont change much for me. I'll save this info in case I want to plate something in the future.
  4. Seedtick

    Seedtick Well-Known Member

    Hey edwin, :cool: That sounds cool. :cool:

    Got any pictures?

    Keep us updated on your progress. I be keeping an eye on this thread.



  5. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    today i did some experimenting with the copperplating.
    first i must say ive posted the wrong soltion mixture...
    it is 300 grammes coppersulfide per liter gedem. water , and 0.3 litres battery acid per 5 litres of gedem. water...
    so , ive set that straight now,
    ive tried a bullet at 1.5 volt and 1400 milliampere...for ten minutes.
    the result was a resonable thickness of copper , but it looks as it been powdered on.
    then a bullet at 3 volts at about 1200 milliampere , for ten minutes.
    the result was worse then the fist one...
    another one at 4.5 volts about 1 ampere , for ten minutes..
    and then another one at 6 volts at 800 milliamperes , also ten minutes ....
    the results kept getting worse , so this was not the way to go....
    so i put in another bullet , now im holding a small battery [penlight battery] with my fingers on the contacts...yes , for ten minutes.
    the result was better then all the others , a nice even very thin layer of copper...
    so , my thinking is that the first attemps are to fast plating... and with dropping the amperes it goes much slower...
    the slower it gets , the better the result.....
    also , the bullets must be cleaned to a high standard , and the plating seems to attach good to the bullet material...
    the best way to go seems to be a voltage supply that is regulating the voltage and ampere independend from each other...
    gonna think about this for a moment....i ll come back to this..
    have a nice day ... greetings from holland.
  6. cberge8

    cberge8 Well-Known Member

    Please let us know if you find a sweet spot for voltage and amperage; I have a variable regulated power supply begging me to try this out!
  7. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    i dont think there is a sweet spot for this type of plating...
    there will be one , but there are to many variables to consider...
    for instance , the relations between the solution volume with the volume of the anode versus kathode ..[ plus and min side ]..the resistance within the copperwires where the bullets hang , the depth they are in the tank etc etc...
    my thinking is that one would constanly has to chance the amperes to make the process nice and slow .
    so , mine sweet spot would not be yours and vice versa...
    but if you have the regulator for it ... go for it !
    the solution is easy to make , and it dont cost that much..
    the tank could be very simple for testing the process...
    remember... the slower the better...
  8. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member


    nothing to do with the plating , but there is something else floating in my mind.
    ive picked up some spent rimfire cases from the range and with my lathe i made a die that fits my reloading press so i could roll out the rim of the jacked.
    now i have a cillindric jacked in about 5.5 mm diameter..
    next step would be to make another die with a stem to stretch the case to some 6.5 diameter and trim them to desired lenght..
    the cases are annealed with a torch so it could be done i think..
    now i can cast a bullet , fairly soft , for the 6.5 mm swedish mauser..
    my thinking would be the lyman 140 gr no 266469.
    this bullet would be sized down so i can press it in the jacked with another die i have to fabricate...and roll crimp them in place , the bullet seems to have a nice groove for this...
    the combination would be somewhat oversized and the next step would be to size them to the correct diameter , wich will put the bullet solid in the jacked.
    ive nticed that my reloading press is not that powerfull for the stretching part, so first i have to make another press.. i m gonna make mine from a hydraulick car jack... the bottleshaped one.
    would that be something?
  9. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    now i am rereading my previous post im thinking it can also be done like this for the 223 remington bullets...
    same method , but now crimped in a bullet like the lyman 55 gr 225646.
    looks kind of easy to make... rimfire jacked could be optained for free.
    lhe bullets could be cast fairly soft thus inexpencive..
    hmm , i see some possibilities here..
  10. northark147

    northark147 Well-Known Member

    Swaging 223 bullets out of 22 rimfire brass is done by some people here in the US. I don;t know if it would work for 6.5mm or not. I think they also do 9mm from 40s&W and 40 S&W from 45 ACP if I remember right.

    There is certainly something too it since RCBS stands for Rock Chucker Bullet Swage :)


    They make the swaging dies a lot of people here use..
  11. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    ive seen the corbin presses..they form their 223 bullets from rimfire jackets and use a lead core.
    mighty fine equipment i must say.
    ive also noticed the price of a setup like that...
    lets say its not for me , i could buy about 50 years of comercial bullets for that .
    besides , a man has a hobby aint it.?
  12. popper

    popper Well-Known Member

  13. T Bran

    T Bran Well-Known Member

    Instead of a bottle jack which is pretty slow going tou may want to try a large arbor press if they are available to you.
  14. northark147

    northark147 Well-Known Member

    Oh you said a bottle jack not a bottle OF Jack.. lol Yea its a hobby, I didn;t bite on the swaging stuff either. Before I even though about figuring the cost, I looked at how much of a hassle it looked to be. I mean how long would it take me to even get enough bullets to get in a good hour on my dillon?
  15. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    hi to all , im gonna try to post some pictures , hope it works..
    today i plated one bullet for this thread.
    i used an penlight battery 1.5 volts to show that this also works.
    the bullet is a 148 gr wadcutter i cast myself , i cleaned it of by putting some fine sand in a cub and shaking it , better results are accomplished bij putting some fine sand in your tumbler and let it roll for a wile.
    as i mentioned before , a adjustable powersource works even better , but for illustration i used a battery.
    first a picture of the set up.....

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  16. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    next im gonna show you the results after ca 3 minutes in the solution..
    the copperlayer on the bullet youll see i cannot rub of with my fingers ,
    so ill think it will be just fine for the intended use...
    like to hear youre comments one this one , its much appreciated !

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  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Very cool, but very hard to read.
  18. grandpawj

    grandpawj Well-Known Member

    I am following your thread with great interest. Once you have it perfected, I am certain I would like to try it myself. I am actually asking myself, "Why didn't I think of that?" You are doing great development of the copper plating process. Maybe a professional bullet copper plating person might stumble across these posts and have some additional input. Thanks again for sharing your experiments.:)
  19. edwin41

    edwin41 Well-Known Member

    yet another try at the copperplating.
    this time i plated some 170 gr swc from my own casting.
    on the left you see one out of the mould.
    second to the left is one out of the solution.
    the folowing three are polished on a benchgrinder with polishing cloth.
    was easy to polish by the way , a few strokes works very nice .
    the one thing i noticed is that these bullets are very slick !
    this time i let them in the solution for a much longer time , i used 6 volts and 300 milliampere , so the process was a long one to get a nice even coat.

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  20. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Well-Known Member

    You're getting good results, Edwin!

    You might try reducing the amount of acid in your plating bath, to reduce theconductivity if the plating solution, which will reduce the current.

    How are you adjusting the current now?

    I think you are close to the right voltave, at around 6 Volts.

    It would be nice to eliminate the wire marks on the bullets by placing them on a conductive (copper) sheet at the bottom of the tank, and roll them back and forth while plating; tilt the plating tank from side to side. Commercial platers use a rotating 6 sided container with an electrode on each side.

    Another possibility is electroless plating, which uses a hot solution, but no electrical source. you can find details of this process at a good library. While you're there, look up "copper wash", which may be appropriate for your project.

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