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If I wanted to make lead harder, how?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by possom813, Dec 9, 2008.

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  1. possom813

    possom813 Member

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    I've got quite a bit of lead ingots now that are made out of wheel weights. But my supply of wheel weights has all but dried out.

    So I found a couple of other sources, but how to I make the lead harder when melting it for ingots?
     
  2. Funderb

    Funderb Member

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    add tin.
     
  3. possom813

    possom813 Member

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    Like tin roof tin?

    Or some other type of tin? If so, where is it to be found?

    -John
     
  4. easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca

    easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca Member

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    If you mean you found pure lead, add linotype, which is 11-12% antimony and 3-4% tin.

    I will mix 3 parts pure lead and 1 part linotype, which should give you about 3% antimony and 1% tin. This alloy should be similar to wheel weight alloy.

    Drop your bullets into a bucket of room temperature water to harden it some more.

    I bought some linotype off ebay.
     
  5. possom813

    possom813 Member

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    Car batteries and I've got a rather large lead pipe in the pasture I've been wanting to melt down.

    -John
     
  6. Funderb

    Funderb Member

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    you can buy pretty much any metal in ingots of any size on ebay,.
    Tin is only slightly harder than lead, antimony, slightly more. You can use tin to make it harder, but anything that makes it harder will make it lighter. Nothing to be worried about, but just to consider.

    Happy melting!

    oh, as easyrider says, rapid cooling does harden the bullet, but also increases the amount of shrinkage.

    oops, tin as in Sn, the element tin.
     
  7. easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca

    easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca Member

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    Big NO NO!!! Lead for batteries will have sulfuric acid in it.

    Antimony will allow you to water quench/harden bullets. The tin will allow you the lead to fill the mold better, like the base, the bullet grooves and/or shoulder.
     
  8. possom813

    possom813 Member

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    The sulfuric acid won't burn off when melting the lead???

    I'm not casting bullets, I'm casting ingots for trade for other junk.

    I don't want to mix up anything that could be potentially harmful to firearms, I like guns.

    I might oughta leave it alone and just melt the lead into the ingots and let the receiving party melt it to their specs.

    -John
     
  9. Funderb

    Funderb Member

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    Sulfuric acid can be diluted with water, it is not terribly dangerous, not nearly as people make it out to be.

    It doesn't burn off, that is the worst thing you can do, to vaporize it, thats how it becomes very dangerous. Just wash all the battery lead with water into a 5 gallon bucket and add a basic chemical to neutralize the acid. If you want to go that far.
     
  10. janobles14

    janobles14 Member

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    to harden cheap:

    get tin solder in bulk at a welding supply store and add it in 6 inch strips for every 10 lbs lead. thats it.
     
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    It's not just the acid in the car batteries that makes it dangerous. There are other trace elements in car batteries that when heated will give off very dangerous fumes that can and just might kill you. You can of course salvage the terminals on older batteries but that's all I would do if that.

    It's just not worth it for the little lead you will salvage. Wheel weights and other easier (and safer) sources are a much better idea.

    For information on making different alloys read about it on Antimony Man. The information and products you need are there.
     
  12. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

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    To make cast Lead bullets harder, you can add Tin, which will make them a little harder and dramatically improve bullet fill-out.

    To make them much harder, add Lead and Tin. The two in combination do more than one alone.

    To get close to maximum benefit from the Lead and Tin, drop the bullets from the mold into a 5-gallon bucket of water. In addition to improving hardness, this eases material handling by preventing the bullets from dinging each other.

    One can get maximum benefit from the Lead and Tin by putting the bullets on a cookie sheet, raise them to within 50 degrees of the point where they start to melt, then slide them into a bucket of water.

    CDD
     
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Add Linotype. Forget the car batteries. While antimony is used to harden the bullet, the mixture of tin is critical, for while antimony mixes with lead in its molten state, it will not remain mixed when it solidifies. If tin were not added, we would have pure antimony crystals surrounded by pure lead. A bullet of this type , while it feels hard , would certainly lead the bore and eliminate all potential for accuracy. In a lead-tin-antimony mixture, the antimony crystals will be present just the same, but they will be imbedded in a lead-tin mixutre. As the bullet cools the tin will form around the antimony-lead keeping your bullets from* leading the bore.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Bullet Sizes & Weights – How to Vary Them
    The bullet diameters and weights presented in this list
    are based on the use of Taracorp’s Lawrence Magnum
    bullet alloy (2% tin, 6% antimony, 1/4% arsenic,
    91.75% lead).
    Bullet diameters and weights will vary considerably
    depending on the lead casting alloy used. This variation
    can be as much as 1/2% on the diameter, and 8% on
    the weight among the most commonly used casting
    alloys. For example, a .358-158 grain bullet might
    show a diameter variation of .002", and a 13 grain difference
    in weight.
    Of the most commonly used alloys, wheel weights (.5%
    tin, 4% antimony, 95% lead) will produce bullets having
    the smallest diameter and heaviest weight, with
    such bullets running approximately .3% smaller in
    diameter and 3% heavier than bullets cast with
    Taracorp's metal. Linotype will produce bullets with the
    largest diameter and lightest weights. This alloy will
    produce bullets approximately 1/10% larger and 3%
    lighter than Taracorp. Other alloys of tin and antimony,
    with antimony content above 5%, will produce bullets
    with diameters and weights falling between those cast
    from wheel weights and linotype.
    Alloys containing little or no antimony will cast considerably
    smaller than wheel weights and in some cases
    will produce bullets too small for adequate sizing.
    Within the limitations given above, the weight and
    diameter of a cast bullet can be adjusted by varying the
    alloy’s antimony content.
    The size and weight of bullets of a given alloy will also
    vary according to casting temperature. Higher temperatures
    will result in greater shrinkage as the bullet
    cools, thereby producing a slightly smaller and lighter
    bullet than one cast of the same alloy at a lower temperature
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  14. Cloudpeak

    Cloudpeak Member

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  15. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    No car batteries.

    95/5 solder

    Linotype

    Tin will help a little, but it is mostly useful to help the alloy fill out the mold better and you don't want to waste it.
     
  17. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Member

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    Or you can alloy it 50/50 with wheel weights to stretch those wheel weights. This is fine for low velocity pistol loads (anything less than .357 magnum loads). I haven't done this myself, but it's a standard practice.
     
  18. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    Tin will help the lead flow and fill out the mold but won't harden it. You will want linotype or monotype for that. You don't need to add more that 2% tin to help with fill out, any more is a waste. I only add around 1% tin to mine.
    Rusty

    Edit: I forgot to agree with the others, DO NOT USE CAR BATTERIES.
     
  19. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    chilled shot is antimony rich.try 6% to pure lead or 50/50 wheel weights.
    2% tin , more than that & your wasting it .
    oh yeah : the car batterys contain alot of cadium , fumes are very toxic& odorless !!!!
    not worth it !!!!!!

    GP100man
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  20. Madhatter333

    Madhatter333 Member

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    I realize this is an old discussion, but I don't see why led from car batteries couldn't be used as long as the impurities were skimmed of the top whle the lead is moten. That's all the recycling industry does. Not that you should be doing that without proper equipment and training. Just do a query on 'how are car batteries recycled' and you'll see what I mean. Still really unsafe.
     
  21. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Newer car battery plates are not a god source of lead for bullets.

    Calcium and a number of other chemicals have been added to the alloy, and the dross that results can react with water to make things you do NOT want to even consider breathing (IIRC stibine gas was one possible product).

    Tin dos not improve hardness all that much.

    It does improve flow ad allows molds to fill better.

    You need antimony.
     
  22. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    tin. 5% by mass. much lower melting point than antimony, even lower than lead... if you can melt lead, you can melt tin. it's a good hardening agent. also yields an alloy with lower surface tension in the liquid state.
     
  23. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Tin absolutely will harden lead. Elmer Keith's standby was 16:1 for his heavy .44 Special loads. Run a Bhn test on a bar of 60/40 solder if you have doubts. A few years ago, I found a honey hole of cheap, salvaged 63/37 bar solder and whipped up some 16:1 alloy. It made beautiful bullets and they shot fine.

    The problem with using tin in those quantities is that it's expensive, and tends to clog nozzles. Better to use a ladle for high tin content alloys.

    The advantage to using cheaper antimony is that it has a property similar to water. It expands slightly as it freezes. Lead/tin alloys lack that.
     
  24. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    Tin does nothing for boolit hardness, a little tin gives better mould fill out for casting. Arsenic and antimony are what primarily imparts hardness to lead alloy.
     
  25. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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