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Cast Bullet Weight

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Ed Gallop, Jan 3, 2008.

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  1. Ed Gallop

    Ed Gallop Member

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    I weighed a hundred 45 cal bullets from a 255 gr Lyman cast and it weighed an average of 240 gr (about 4 grain variation). I did the came with my 38 cal bullets from a Lee 150 gr cast and they averaged 141 gr. The powder charts I've been looking at were based on what I thought they were. I first thought it was only important to weigh powder and all I had was a mechanical scale I bought an electronic scale that was rated high enough so weighed the bullets. The lead was wheel weights with 50% linotype. Is this normal? Ed.
     
  2. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    Perfectly normal considering your alloy, and as cast they should be harder than woodpecker lips. Lyman #2 alloy is what the factory uses to calculate bullet weight, and if you want to get much closer to this weight you might try:

    2% tin, 6% antimony and 92% lead. This is Lyman #2 alloy, or you could keep adding WW and check the weight and add as needed.

    When I want "heavy" cast bullets from the mold, I will use straight wheel weights that are water quenched. This way I get a reasonably hard bullet that is heavier than what the mold was made for. Also, just my experience but matching alloy and harness to the intended speed and pressure is important. For example: I like my 9mm bullets hard to withstand the 30k plus pressures it will deal with, and my target 45 auto bullets pretty much straight wheel weights not quenched and relatively soft.

    Good luck.
     
  3. fecmech

    fecmech Member

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    Ed--different alloys will give you very different weights from the same mould. IIRC my Lyman Keith .357 bullet (358429) weighs about 173 grs cast out of straight Wheel wt metal, 168 grs cast out of Lyman #2 alloy and 162 grs cast out of straight linotype metal. Lino has a high tin content and high antimony which make it hard but both tin and antimony are light in comparison to lead. That make for lighter bullets. I don't know what alloy Lee uses as the base for their mould wts.
     
  4. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

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    Interesting thread.

    Do you guys find that straight wheel weights give you a weight higher than what the mold indicates? I've always found that on say a 440 grain Lee mold that straight wheel weights give me slightly less than 440 . .like 430 or so. (I need to go weight some now) I've found the same with my lyman shotgun slug mold. It says it's a 525 grain mold, but I get slugs that are right at 500 grains as dropped (water quenched). I can't say I've ever played with other alloys, so I can't comment on relative weights.

    Regards,
    Dave
     
  5. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    Yep. As I said in my post, when I want a heavier bullet than stated from the maker, I use straight wheel weights that I will or will not quench depending on application.

    Example, Lee 124 grain mould drops WW @ about 129 grains. Lee 240 drops about 250 with WW.
     
  6. AKCOP

    AKCOP Member

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    I am wondering about wheel weights of late, are they cast using more zinc these days than lead? What results might a person expect as to weight of bullets, how casting might change and what it may do to molding blocks?
     
  7. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    By changing the alloy of the bullets I can make anywhere from 210grain to 240grain bullets from the same 230grain mold.
     
  8. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    If you get a zinc WW in your pot and are running your pot hot enough to melt one, it will cause you big headaches. Your moulds will not fill out no matter what you do and you'll need to scrap the entire batch of lead that you smelted that contained the zinc WW. The good news is that zinc WWs melt at a higher temp than lead, and will float on the top of your smelting pot until they get hot enough to melt. I had this happen once and had a lot of frustration because I couldn't cast a good bullet until I figured out what had happened and had to scrap about 30 lbs of lead.:banghead:
     
  9. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

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    Now you guys have got me wondering what I'm doing wrong. Maybe I don't have my temps up high enough and that's why I'm not getting "heaver than advertised" on straight WW's. Hmmm . . . . have to play a bit this weekend. I've been casting right at 750 degree's.

    Have a good one,
    Dave
     
  10. Ed Gallop

    Ed Gallop Member

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    I took my new digital scale to the post office (no lines in small town) today and it was not accurate with theirs. I then took it to a local jewelry store and they confirmed the scale was off with all measurements by about 10%, even after calibration showed it was calibrated. This might come close to the intended bullet weight so I suspect the difference between wheel weights and linotype is only a fraction of my measurements. I plan to weight all cast bullets when I get a replacement scale.

    If a scale is off showing less than actual weight, and you load maximum powder, it could be considerably higher and cause damage. People with digital scales should not only calibrate, but have the measurements verified by other scales, such as a jewelry store or post office. Ed.
     
  11. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    When I got my Dillon D-Terminator 1500 grain scale, I took it to the lab where my wife worked with it switched to grams, and compared it with a multi thousand dollar certified Sartorius balance. Only because the Sartorius showed three places past the decimal (Dillon is two), did it vary at all from mine with lighter weights. When weights got heavier, the Dillon did show a different weight, and even then it was very close to the lab balance. Almost 15 years later, and the Dillon is still accurate.

    Curious what brand of scale you have that is so inaccurate, and won't hold calibration? Is it absolutely level when used? Regardless of scale used, more lead in the mix will equal heavier bullets, less lead lighter if cast the same.
     
  12. fecmech

    fecmech Member

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    Lee bases their mould weights on a 1:10 tin/lead mix that very few people use.

     
  13. AKCOP

    AKCOP Member

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    Thanks cracked, I am sitting on a 5 gallon bucket of wheel weights and will watch for those floaters.
     
  14. Ed Gallop

    Ed Gallop Member

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    I bought the scale on Ebay. It is a pocket type that I left at the jewelry store (can't remember the brand) and now have one of theirs to use.

    When weighing the same cast bullets tonight I found the 255 gr. Lyman mould to cast consistently 240 gr. (only a few were +/- 1 to 2 gr.). The cast in a 150 Lee mould was 140 gr. That is not much difference than my scale (maybe 5% off at most) that they said was not accurate. Apparently it was accurate enough.

    I know the cast bullets are harder than they need be. I didn't know the increased amount of lino would make that big of a difference, but apparently it does. Ed.
     
  15. hawkeye1

    hawkeye1 Member

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    I have also found that the occasional zinc weight will end up in the same barrel with the lead. But it is easily caught because it won't melt as quickly as the lead. In fact it will usually just sit there. Allowing you to pick it out with the clips from the other weights. Also, they look different. They have a painted look to them. I read on another thread that they were marked with a ZN. Im not sure about that, but I will look.

    Just keep a look out as you are melting in mass, and you should notice quickly the zinc weights if they happen to show up. Just pluck them out and continue.

    Good casting and good shooting
     
  16. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    50/50 mix of WE and lino should give you close to No 2 alloy thay's what I use
    for my cast bullets and my bullets come out at the weight that the mould states
    but my blocks are RCBS,Redding,LBT and Rapine. I have one Redding block that casts a 520 gr bullet for a 45/70 using 1 lb of tin to 19 lbs of WW the weight varies by about .5% or 519 t0 521 grs
     
  17. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    50/50 mix of WW and lino should give you close to No 2 alloy thay's what I use
    for my cast bullets and my bullets come out at the weight that the mould states
    but my blocks are RCBS,Redding,LBT and Rapine. I have one Redding block that casts a 520 gr bullet for a 45/70 using 1 lb of tin to 19 lbs of WW the weight varies by about .5% or 519 t0 521 grs
     
  18. Ed Gallop

    Ed Gallop Member

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    When I cast 50% WW and lino in my 150 gr Lee cast I get 140 gr bullets. My 255 gr Lyman cast puts out 240 gr bullets. Big difference. I reduced to WW 75 % and 25% lino and there was not that mush difference. Factory copper jacketed are right on target so it isn't the scale. I am confused. Are there others here that found similar result in Lee and Lyman cast? Ed.
     
  19. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    First I heard of zinc weights. Good to know.
    The .38 bullets that my father casts end up at 162gr rather than 158.
    I haven't found a powder recommendation for that weight, so I just use a bit less than what is recommended for 158gr. LSWC bullets.
    Anyone know what I should use? I don't find anything in the gap between 158 and 170, so I just guess and go with a lighter charge.

    Also, is the water quenching process as simple as dropping the cast bullet right into a bucket of water straight out of the cast? Or do you dip the whole cast and hot bullet into the water?
     
  20. fecmech

    fecmech Member

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    Water quenched bullets are dropped from the mould into a 5 gal bucket of water usually. If you are going to run them thru a lubrisizer it helps if you do it the same day as the bullets harden up quite a bit in the first 24 hrs. They will require more effort to run thru the sizer if you wait but it's not that big a deal unless you do as I do and run 1000-1500 at a time.
     
  21. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

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    If you do the water quenching make sure that you either have the bucket a long ways away from your pot or you put a T-shirt or towel over the bucket with a slit in it . . . .at least that's what works for me. You don't get a tinsel fairly visit if a drop of water plops into the pot but it does crackle and pop a bit . . .

    FWIW.
     
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