Air cooled vs water cooled cast bullets

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Bfh_auto, Aug 14, 2022.

  1. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I found this video interesting.



    I've been air cooling bullets. I thought about water dropping them. Since I plan on hunting with them. I am not going to.
     
  2. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    In a hunting situation how do you belive it hurts either you either way.
     
  3. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    The softer bullet won't fracture. So it will expand more readily. My hunting revolves around what's available in the Midwest. So extreme penetration isn't necessary.
     
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  4. Crosshair

    Crosshair Member

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    I just water drop everything and it has worked well for me.
     
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  5. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I have never water dropped any cast bullet. I have been able to adjust my alloy to fit the situation where the bullet would be used. I also don't expect any of my cast bullets to reliably expand (soft hollow points, etc.). Instead I choose bullets designed for hunting; RNFP, SWC, big meplat, and keeping penetration in mind...
     
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  6. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    I have always used both ways; magnum revolver and rifle bullets water dropped. Target Revolver and pistol bullets air cooled. Never hunted with a cast bullet.
     
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  7. BJung

    BJung Member

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    Water dropped bullets have a freshness date. Over time the bullet becomes softer. Your accuracy load depends on the BHN used. Also, too hard of a bullet and the softnose won't mushroom and it will pencil through your game. One method I've read from an African hunter is to add lead to soften the lead bullet until accuracy diminishes. Another is to water harden and then put the base in ice water and break the temper with a torch. Another is to pour a hard alloy for the base, pour a much softer bhn alloy for the tip, put a sliver of lead on the sprue plate and heat the mold until it melts, then lead the mold cool to drop the bullet. The purpose is to let the two alloys weld into each other. I hope you have a good meplate on your hunting bullet too.
     
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  8. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Never bothered water dropping my cast. I coat most of my bullets these days and they seem to do fine. I also tumble lube my gas checked rifle bullets and have successfully pushed them to hunting velocities. Big meplats are your friends.
     
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  9. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I started water dropping my cast so I could size them immediately. I tried to size the same alloy air cooled and wrecked a bunch of them. If you shoot in the same month as you cast water dropped is better imo. If your building piles and have time to let them age then air cooled is fine. Interestingly sizing softens the bullet.
     
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  10. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I am at the piles stage.

    Sizing softens the bullet? How much?
     
  11. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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    Air cooled out of the mold and waterdropped out of the powdercoat oven.
     
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  12. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    When I was in my 30's always water dropped just because of the casting rate. Three 4 cavity molds going with a 10 lbs pot Feeding a 20 lbs pot. Makes a lot of bullets fast that way. 35 years later slowed down a bit, so air cool is okay when only casting 500. :)
     
  13. stormshrike

    stormshrike Member

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    I'm pretty new to casting and my process is still evolving, but I air cool out of the mold, powder coat and air cool, then size, then back in the toaster oven to heat treat and water drop. Yeah, lots of steps.

    Like what AJC1 mentioned, I water drop so that I can load them shortly after. For the alloys I'm using, I find they are hard enough 12-24 hours after quenching to seat without getting swagged down.

    I could water drop after powder coating, and that worked for some of my alloys, but with air cooling after PCing, I don't have to size right away. I have learned the hard way that if I wait even a few days to size after water dropping that the effort required to size is... increased. But with cooled PC, I can size pretty much whenever, then the heat treating/water dropping should get them all consistent hardness with any softening from the sizing process negated.
     
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  14. Pottimus

    Pottimus Member

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    I water drop everything, but I do not hunt game anymore. I do feel like I can run softer lead after powder coating.
     
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  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I don’t allow water near molten lead and I don’t cast by hand, so all of mine are air cooled.
     
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  16. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Your definitely in the made by the pile club :)
     
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  17. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The “no liquid around molten lead” part came from lynotype that was given to me that must have had ink that wasn’t dry on at least one piece.

    The ceiling in that building was 19ft high and had lead from the “eruption” on it. I felt very lucky toad put on the helmet/face shield, welding bib, boots and gloves, because lead was also all over me. Still a surprise and I don’t like surprises around molten lead.

    I may be loosing something and I guess if dropping them into water, magically turned them into jacketed bullets or something else they are not, there is a way it could be done without risk. Juice just wasn’t worth the squeeze, for me.
     
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  18. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    I would take a five gallon metal bucket ( unfortunately the new plastic ones had not come along when started) towel in the bottom and old tea shirt with a hole cut about 3 inches covering the opening.

    One had to careful not to cast so many bullets you couldn't pick up the bucket to dump the water.

    When casting with more than two molds I would also use a rag that had been soaked in water to cool the sprue plate.

    Probably did 100,000 water drop bullets just be careful and don't use more than about 3 inches of water.

    This is one those things where everyone is going to have an opinion; do what's right for you.
     
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  19. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    If you can get a copy of Veral Smith's book "Jacketed Performance with Cast Bullets" it explains the why and what of water dropping bullets. Very good reference book too.

    Also The Fouling Shot number 144 April of 2000 has a good article.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
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  20. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    I was a member of big pile club but I can only do small piles now. :(

    Yesterday

    57C8FBEA-C66D-4EBB-BFDE-F06945F2B9A6.jpeg
     
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  21. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Thanks I'll look into it.
     
  22. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    That's a sound method. If I decide to water drop. I'm using it.
     
  23. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    Try to get a 6 gallon plastic bucket that little extra makes a big difference.

    https://smile.amazon.com/Vestil-PAIL-6-PWS-Plastic-Handle-Capacity/dp/B0052P2DRG/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2UO6WW2WQZJU2&keywords=6+gallon+bucket&qid=1660581212&sprefix=6+gallon+buck%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-2

    If only we had the internet back then; sometimes trial and error really sucked.
     
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  24. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    If you new to bullet casting you may want to get Aloe Vera Plant good for the treatment of small burns. They really help. ;)
     
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  25. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    My wife has 2 of them.;) You want one?
     
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