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Driving wheel weights and 41 Mag loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by shell70634, May 15, 2006.

  1. shell70634

    shell70634 Well-Known Member

    I cast some .410 dia 210 gr bullets for my Model 57 from straight wheel weights. How fast can I drive them without TO much leading? I was told of a method of hardening them by baking and dropping into water. Can anyone speak about this from experience?

    The 41 is new (to me) and have no experience with loading for it. Any pet loads?
  2. BruceB

    BruceB Well-Known Member

    Your straight-wheelweight bullets should work just fine as they are, that is, without further hardening.

    I'm shooting four .357s, an 8.375" M57 .41 Magnum, and several .44 Mags, all with aircooled wheelweight alloy and no leading problems. The most important factor is the fit of the bullet in the throats of the CHAMBERS, NOT the barrel! The bullets should not drop through the chambers and out the front of the cylinder, but rather should need a bit of a push to force them through.

    My standard .41 magnum load uses the RCBS 41-210 semi-wadcutter, which drops at 217 grains in my wheelweight alloy. This is a plain-base design (no gascheck) and causes no leading whatever when sized at .4105". I'll maybe get a slightly larger sizing die some day, a .411 or .412, but in honesty, this bullet is already extremely accurate with 17.5 grains of 2400 doing the pushing. From that long barrel, the velocity is just over 1300 fps....NICE load.

    Try your WW metal just as it is, first. That's a fine cartridge and it's easily loaded with cast bullets. Nice gun, too!

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    A good lube will go a long way with straight wheel weights. I have shot them up to about 1300 without any leading at all, but as Bruce said you can ONLY do that when they fit correctly. Soft lubes work better than hard lubes. LBT Blue and Felix lube are my favorites.

    If you want to harden them you don't need to do a full heat treating, just drop the bullets from the mold into a bucket of water being EXTREMELY careful not to let any of the water hit your melt. If water hits the melt it can pop and blow molten lead all over you and your surroundings. A couple inches of small dollarstore sponges on top of about 4 gallons of water in a 5 gallon bucket works really well with no splashing, the bullets just roll through the sponges into the water and are quench hardened.
  4. m0ntels

    m0ntels Well-Known Member

    I'll second that one. Havent found a load my Blackhawk likes better yet.

  5. saltydog452

    saltydog452 Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to mention the fact that hot bullets and the sprue are somewhat expanded a bit by the heat. When you drop them into water, it closes the pores on the lead, traping a small ammout of moisture in the bullet and the sprue.

    As you sort your cast bullets to seperate the culls from the ones with filled out bases, it is natural to re-cast the culls and the sprue.

    If you dump a large handful of culls and sprue into a partially filled pot of molten lead which is allready up to casting temperature, don't be surprised to see the molten lead 'boil' over your lead pot from that small bit of trapped moisture.

    This happened to me a bunch of years ago when my lady and I lived in an apartment and I was using the gas cook-top and making good use of the exhaust fan in the casting process. The molten lead didn't exactly 'erupt' from the pot, but did boil over with enough enthusiasm to get on the my new brides gas cook-top and the linoleum floor.

    Water, in any ammount, and molten lead do not mix.

  6. shell70634

    shell70634 Well-Known Member

    I'll try without hardening first to see if i have problems, then I'll experiment with the hardened bullets.

    I'm well aware of moisture and lead. A few (many?) years ago while melting down scrap lead we found out there was moisture inside. The detonation was violent. Heavy clothing and glasses saved us. Not a fun time.

    Thanx for all the good advice

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