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Babbit for boolits

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Catpop, Feb 21, 2020.

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  1. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    We used to use a lot of babbit bearings in my old sawmill days. We actually recast the worn out ones in the mill shop. I ran across some the other day.
    Wikipedia indicates it is 90% tin, so it must be very hard! That said and this may be a stupid question——can boolits be cast from babbit or will it hurt the barrel?
     
  2. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    Tin is softer than steel.

    However....tin is MUCH more valuable than lead. You can use tin to harden lead.
     
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  3. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Google source. Babbitt 89.3 Tin 7.1 Antimony.
    It’s my understanding tin is added to lead to increase its ability to fill out the mold. Antimony adds the hardness.

    Doubt it would hurt the barrel, but the bullets are going to be very light for caliber. Much better to find a source of pure lead and add your Babbitt material as an alloy.
     
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  4. 7mmsavage

    7mmsavage Member

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    I was going to say the same. Once I used some Babbitt material that came out of some chipper blades. They looked really nice but out of a 230 gr mould they only weighed about 180, if I remember correctly. I got nervous and didn’t try to shoot them.
     
  5. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I thought about making shot out of babbit years ago when I worked at a babbit bearing shop. Babbit has the same basic properties as lead except it is non toxic. The price of it makes it prohibitive for bullets in my opinion. You would have to an in-depth comparison between the two as far as hardness is concerned.
     
  6. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    It's been so long since I messed with babbitted bearings that I forgot about the weight differences.
     
  7. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    Get you about 10 pounds of wheel weight lead, add about 2 ounces of that babbit. Cast away.

    Serious, if you don't have lead, trade some babbit for it. Somewhere around 7 to 9 pounds lead for 1 pound babbit, depending on how badly the other guy needs tin.
     
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  8. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    You must be an old saw mill guy like me!!!! We used to do that also until they started suppling chipper knives with a threaded hole to space them out!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  9. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    I like that ratio- 2 ozs babbit to 10 pounds of lead. I have bought tin before and best I remember it was $30/lb!
     
  10. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Copper is in some babbit. Not a good thing. It will plug a bottom pour spout.
    It can be skimmed off the top by slowly heating the pot just above liquid. No flux. No mixing. But antimony may be removed also.

    Edit/add-
    If your Lee 10 pound bottom pour spout keeps plugging, its not always the alloy.

    Enlarging the hole fixed my very old pot. Dont remember the drill bit size. Got the info from CastBoolits.




    https://www.rotometals.com/babbitt-bearing-alloys/
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  11. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Saw that when I googled it. Such a disparity in melting temps I wonder what form the copper is.
    Seems there are numerous alloys of Babbitt, named after the man who discovered it.
     
  12. 7mmsavage

    7mmsavage Member

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    No, I’m in the heavy equipment business. We service quite a bit of forestry equipment too.

    I wasn’t sure what the Babbit material was made of but I got real excited when I saw all those big blocks of the stuff on an old chipper disc.
     
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  14. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    You'll want about 2% tin in your alloy mix to help the bullets fill out in the mold. About 4% to 6% antimony will harden the alloy considerably. The other 92% to 94% should be pure lead. You can figure out the weights from that.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
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  15. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Just make sure your babbitt doesn't come from railroad equipment bearings, that babbitt can have high concentrations of Arsenic in it. Arsenic make the bearings brittle but it makes the babbitt hard enough to hold up under the slow moving heavy loads associated with railroads.
    There may or could be enough Arsenic in railroad bearing babbit to turn your lead pot orange when melted. There can also be enough Arsenic in it to send you to the other side if you breath the vapor from your lead pot long enough.

    Here is a good article on Babbitt alloys,

    http://www.lasc.us/FelixBabbitbulletAlloy.htm

    This is a cut from the article.
    A blanket statement that all babbitt is made from Tin and Antimony isn't true and an abundance of caution needs to apply when melting the unknown alloy.
    Just be careful when melting any unknown allow of babbitt because there are many kinds.

    Just wanted to share this with you.
     
  16. whughett

    whughett Member

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    When I googled “ Babbitt Alloys” a chart is shown in Wikipedia of numerous types and their composition. The materials were all given in the alpha symbol, “As” for arsenic.
    Arsenic is listed in four of the harder ones.

    Lots of ways to die in this world As a bullet caster think I’ll stick to know sources for my lead and avoid any contact with Babbitt material.

    As a Machinist Mate in the Navy I worked with Babbitt bearings used on most of the steam turnbines in the engine room. Not often and not for many years. They neglected to tells us it might be hazardous.

    Thanks Tight Group Tiger I was totally ignorant of that little fact.
     
  17. lightman

    lightman Member

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    There are several different types of rabbit. You will have to learn what kind you have. If its tin based you can add it to your lead in low percentages, like 1.5 or 2 %.
     
  18. Bozo699

    Bozo699 Member

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    We still use Babbitt in our chipper and slabber knives I believe it’s way to hard for bullets! I sure wouldn’t shoot it in a barrel I cared about!... just one old sawmiller to another.
    Wayne
     
  19. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Melting it and breathing it is the dangerous part. Machining it develops such a little bit of heat due to it's softness that there were no worries of vaporizing the arsenic in it.

    I've machined my fair share of it.

    Sawmills should fall into the category of the higher speed bearings and should have no Arsenic but I wouldn't bet my life on it unless you find a full ingot that still has the stamp on it and can look up the alloy. But then you still have the copper problem which can stick to your expensive iron bullet molds and ruin them.
     
  20. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    Babbit is still going to be softer than steel. I would guess that the babbit wears out before the axles?
     
  21. whughett

    whughett Member

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    The axels should not actual touch the Babbitt. The axel rides on a molecular film of oil, most failures are caused by heat build up. At one time even auto cranks rode on Babbitt bearings.
     
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  22. Bozo699

    Bozo699 Member

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    I still own a couple of 216 Chevrolet’s with Babbitt bearings.
    Wayne
     
  23. Bozo699

    Bozo699 Member

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    it is but I don’t think I’ll run it in my expensive barrels.
    Wayne
     
  24. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    Jacketed bullets are harder than babbit.
     
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  25. Bozo699

    Bozo699 Member

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    Some Babbitt has copper in it it’s usually reddish color we don’t use that at our mill we have lead base Babbitt and at planer they have tin base Babbitt I cast up some 385 gr conicals for my 50 cal one time but felt they were way harder than my soft white lead I had been using but I suppose a guy could I just chose not to.
    Wayne
     
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