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Lead hardness ?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bullseye308, Sep 10, 2008.

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  1. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Let's say that you made up a batch of lead consisting of 50lbs WW's and 1 1/2 lbs pure tin and then cast them into bullets that were water dropped to harden them. Now you find out your mold is dropping them undersized and you need to re-melt them and re-cast in a larger mold. How will the new batch of bullets come out as far as hardness this time around? I'm thinking adding a few pounds of pure lead may be needed, but that is only a guess, as this is new territory for me and I'm not a metalurgist. :) What say you?
     
  2. frank_1947

    frank_1947 Member

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    just melt them back down, its not like they will ever get to hard like a jacket with that mixture
     
  3. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Adding lead will make the bullets softer and the bullet as it drops from the mould will have a smaller diameter as lead shrinks more than tin or antimony.
     
  4. frank_1947

    frank_1947 Member

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    he said he is using WW wheel weights that have antimony there should be no problem with the tin that should be 1/2 pound per 9 pounds of WW for a lyman #2 mix and I have never seen any shrink when drop in water and I been dropping them along time that will only harden them according to support at lynman, who's mold are you using
     
  5. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    The mold is a Lee Tl356-124Tc 2 cavity purchased new.
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Frank 1947, The shrinkage takes place inside the mould as the alloy turns from a liquid to a solid. Do a test using the same mold, case some bullets with pure lead, and some with linotype. Lead will be smaller in diameter when measured with your micrometer.
     
  7. frank_1947

    frank_1947 Member

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    243win, never heard of such a thing, anything can happen but more lead the heavier the bullet will be but it should not be smaller if the mold is full but like I said anything can happen

    bullseye I have never been to crazy about lee molds I may have that mold from when I first started but I use all Lyman and got lucky and bought a HC 45 mold all Iron molds, are you getting your mold hot before casting, I use a little propane cooker thing and set my mold on it just after lead is totally melted down for about 45 seconds. is your mold new if so you might want to take some mineral spirits and scrub it then put it over a flame and I always take a match and get each cavity black with it for a easier release.

    Try a few without water and see what size they are drop them on a soft cloth.

    what are they coming out of mold at size wise
     
  8. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  9. frank_1947

    frank_1947 Member

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    One more thing Lee molds cast light if using Lyman #2 mix they test their weight at a 20 to 1 mix, in other words the same mix in a Lyman mold will be on the money weight wise in a Lee mold it will be light by 2 gr. on a 9mm and about 3 to 4 on a 45, I got that info from Lee, long time ago Pat is the guys name at Lee call him he is very good there are adjustments and measurements you might need to make simple ones.
     
  10. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Re-melting lead does nothing to the alloy as far as hardness goes.

    A couple of questions; You say they're undersized, what are the measurements? What do they weigh? You're concerned with the hardness, why? From your second post, we see it's a 9mm mold. Even at top velocity, the straight wheel weights are hard enough for 9mm. And, all the tin you added did was make the lead melt at a lower temp, and made it fill out the mold better,(which should have made it cast at a larger diameter). it did NOT harden the lead to any appreciable amount.

    There's nothing wrong with lee molds. They work quite well for the average caster. They DO need more care, they ARE made of aluminum so they can't be miss handled. Dipping the corner of a lee mold in the melted lead until the lead no longer wants to stick to it, will pre-heat it properly so the first boolit cast will be filled out.

    Since this is a tumble lube boolit, you should be able to lube it and shoot it unsized. I have this boolit in a 6 cavity, I got it for use in 357 sig. Even at top velocity, it does NOT lead the bore, and I shoot it WITHOUT sizing first. They cast at .357.
     
  11. scrat

    scrat Member

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    +1 agreed. follow Snuffys advice
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yup, he's dead on.
     
  13. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

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    Adding some Antimony will make for a harder bullet (especially if water dropped), and a lot of people claim they get a bigger bullet with the addition of Antimony. A common source is high-Antimony Lead shot.

    CDD
     
  14. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    It could be that your mold casts too small. I"ve had a couple of Lee molds that were out-of-spec. (one cast bullets too small and the other cast way too big -- from the same lead)
     
  15. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I use a Lee 4# melter for these to ladle cast out of. I do the smelting/alloying in a harbor freight dutch oven 50 lbs at a time. The mold was cleaned per Lee instructions and then the corner of the mold was dipped into the pot till the lead didn't stick to it to warm it up. First bullets cast filled out nicely. The cavity near the handles is "sticky" and I have to tap the mold to get the bullet to fall out. I used a hurricane lamp to smoke the mold(works nice) beforehand and when the bullets don't drop right out.
    The bullets drop out at .355-.356 and average 123.2-124.2 for the 50 I weighed.
    Snuffy, the tin was added to aid in fill out, and I did know it will not harden the lead, hardening was to be done by water dropping them which I now realise is not needed for 9mm.
    zxcvbob: It could be that your mold casts too small. That's what I'm thinking, I may have to get some lapping compound and open it up some.
    NuJudge: Don't have any Antimony, would lino do the trick?
     
  16. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Search the "cast boolit" web site for "beagling" (shimming a too-small mold to make it cast bigger.)

    BTW, i sent my molds back to Lee and they repaired them.
     
  17. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Could it be sent back to Lee and be sized up to .358? Is that something they will do, or do I need to do it?
     
  18. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    If it is spec'ed at .356, they will repair/replace if it's < .356 or >=.360"

    With a 2-cavity mold and you only need .001 or .002, you might be better off shimming it or lapping it yourself.

    Mine were 6-cavity molds. (all my 2-cavity Lee molds have been right on the mark.)
     
  19. frank_1947

    frank_1947 Member

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    have you even tried shooting any of those at .355 or .356 if not shoot them your barrel should be .355 and either should really be ok
     
  20. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    frank_1947 Yep, sure have and the accuracy wasn't too bad. They hit a little low compared to my usual load of 115gr FMJ. I'm thinking the blowby is causing the buildup in the last 1 1/2" of the barrel. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=391738
     
  21. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    If your shooting a 9mm, your bullets are the correct diameter. I don't see a problem. Dont worry about the weight. If your not going to size a bullet, this is what you will have to work with.
    A tap or two to get the bullet out is normal. The less the bullet shrinks, the harder it is to get the bullet out of the mould. If you let the mould cool 5 to 10 seconds longer the bullet may drop out of the mould easer.
     
  22. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Stop dropping bullets into water. 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. I have read that this process can take up to 24 hours as the alloy oxidizes. If your going to size a cast bullet, wait 1 day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  23. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  24. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    leementing

    Here's a link to a thread over at cast boolits .com. It describes a procedure to solve some of the short-comings of lee,(or other), molds. This could also be used to make the mold cast a bit bigger, IF you kept on with the abrasive treatment.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=654

    I did this to a .458 lee mold for their 340 RNFP boolit. It would always hang up one of the 2 cavities, refusing to let it drop free. Since performing the procedure, it fills out, and drops the boolits as soon as the mold is opened.

    Yeah, I know I sung the praises of the lee molds prior to this, BUT of a couple dozen lee molds this was the only one that needed help.
     
  25. frank_1947

    frank_1947 Member

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    bullseye, sounds like your good to go, if you have no leading your good as far as dropping in water I been doing that 20 years so I disagree with 243win and if you talk to Lee or Lyman they will tell you it does harden them and like I said been doing that long time never any leading I shoot my 9 mm out of a
    open Class gun that has a compensator at 1400 fps, the tin binds the alloys and that what also lightens it to proper weight if using Lyman mold and Lyman #2 mix if you want lyman #2 it is 9 pounds WW and 1 pound of 50/50 solder that is 50% lead and 50 % tin you cant go wrong with that mix Lyman has a hole chart that gives the BHN of 15 by dropping in water you go to an 18 example Linotype is 86% lead 3% tin and 11% antimony that give you a BHN of 22 Lyman #2 is 90% lead 5% tin and 5% antimony is a BHN of 15
     
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