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Lead or wheelweight?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Ironhand54, Jun 29, 2017.

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  1. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    I see someone online offering conicals for the Old Army in both pure lead and WW. Anyone ever try the WW bullets? How would they compare with lead for accuracy and penetration?

    Thank
    IronHand
     
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  2. DD4lifeusmc

    DD4lifeusmc Member

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    have to be careful with WW 's sometimes they are too hard and will damage the barrel ROA's are better but still be safe
     
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  3. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

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    You may bust the loading leaver on a Remington with wheel weight, but in the Old Army they might be ok.
     
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  4. Curator

    Curator Member

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    The loading lever on the ROA is actually easy to bend. However if you are using a cylinder loading press, you may find the WW alloy bullets actually work just fine. I do use wheel weight alloy for conical bullets in my C&B revolvers if they are cast within a few (2 ) days and properly sized so they load without undue stress. A cylinder loading press is a big help there. Wheel weight alloy is only BHN 6 compared to pure lead's BHN5 for about 24 hours after being cast. Thereafter it begins to "age-harden" reaching about BHN 12 after about 8 to 10 days. Age hardening can be reversed by simply heating the cast bullets to about 400 degrees and allowing them to air-cool. restoring the BHN 6 hardness for about 36 hours.
     
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  5. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    Go with straight lead.
     
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  6. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Some one want to tell me how lead will damage a steel barrel.

    Any lead bullet will leave lead deposits on any gun barrel, the severity determined by velocity, barrel twist and condition, and a little thing called blow by, whereas hot gases blow past the bullet base and actually melt a portion of the bullet. Other than that what would a lead projectile do to a steel barrel. Assuming proper caliber of course.

    I've been using lead obtained from any source I can find, most of it from telephone company sources, wheel weights and plumbers lead, for the better part of 40 years. Until a few years ago on cast pistol bullets and for the past five years on round balls. I do notice the mount of force required to press the ball into the chamber is somewhat lesser or greater to some degree, again assuming proper caliber, but the only revolver I bent the rammer on was a, surprise, Ruger Old Army and that was because I forgot to secure the ram and it backed out. Both the ROA and the Rogers and Spencers require diligence in making sure the rammer cross bolt is in the right position.

    IMO, at cap and ball velocities, given proper attention to caliber, hardness is secondary.
    . . .
     
  7. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Curator, with my highly scientific thumbnail-scratch-the-bullet test, and by judging loading resistance from the same batch of bullets, I can say that one week is the practical time frame to shoot newly cast (or annealed) bullets from wheel weights. Sure those bullets harden more and more with every day passing, but I believe that one week is a safe margin - after that you really start to feel the difference while loading.
    I believe that on a Ruger Old Army it's the cylinder pin that is weak by design, not the loading lever (which is a, somewhat, good enough cast part).
     
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  8. Gemmer

    Gemmer Member

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    OP asked "How would they compare with lead for accuracy."
     
  9. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    On such low powered charges it will not make any difference.
     
  10. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    If the wheel weight is lead, it's lead with contaminates in it. Said contaminates are usually skimmed off during the casting process. Nothing to do with accuracy or penetration though. Doesn't matter if it's a BP load or a smokeless load either.
     
  11. robhof

    robhof Member

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    Wrong about damaging the barrel, ROA barrels are the same metal as Blackhawks, now damaging the loading lever, because of the hardness and difficulty of loading on the gun is a whole other story. True on the Italian or Spanish clones as they are very soft steel, but it would take many, many rounds to do significant damage, but they would be completely impossible to load on the gun with the factory loaders.
     
  12. DD4lifeusmc

    DD4lifeusmc Member

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    I was talking generally BP guns. And of course would likely take several thousand rounds
     
  13. Navy Six 2

    Navy Six 2 Member

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    I actually witnessed someone bend the loading lever on a ROA about 20 years ago. Don't remember what he was trying to load(pure lead or WW), but this was not some big strong guy.
     
  14. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Likely what I did on my first range trip, which was to forget to set the assembly screw. The base pin bends rather easily. Thankfully I was able to bend it fairly straight as parts aren't available. And I'm a rather small guy myself (5'8" and 160 lbs) and using just a ball.
     
  15. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't use wheelwrights. They're made all of all sorts of stuff. Some won't even melt in the lead pot. We casted in class and stunk out the floor. Should have moved outside.
     
  16. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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  17. adobewalls

    adobewalls Member

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    About 40 years ago I got a kit BP revolver and put it together, and casted balls for it using any scrap lead I could find, including wheel weights. I figured that if I could load the ball, it would shoot the ball. I did worry a bit about the harder round balls, because of the conventional wisdom to use pure lead only.

    Mind you, I never used solely wheel weights, always mixed it with my other lead scrap. But if it cut a ring when i loaded it, i didn't worry too much about shooting it. I will say the balls with wheel weight mixed in did have less deformation and more penetration (wood posts, 2x's, 4x4's and mud banks).

    About 15 years ago when I started playing with BPCR's, i read that it was common to use alloy bullets for better accuracy in those guns, some of those alloys being as hard as 16:1 or better.
     
  18. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    UM no...OLD wheel weights are lead hardened with the addition of another metal, maybe tin, though often it's antimony, and sometimes both along with the lead, and you can't skim it off since it does not separate when melted. Now lead oxide will come to the surface and may be skimmed off, but not the metal added to alloy the lead to make it harder.

    Modern wheel weights are made of zinc because some folks think that lead while being a naturally occurring element, is also a pollutant. Folks who try to melt wheel weights that won't melt in a regular lead casting machine probably have zinc, and zinc fumes are bad for you. Might want to be sure you have old wheel weights or modern bullet alloy, and not zinc. :eek:

    LD
     
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  19. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Stopped using wheel weights for just that reason. Had a tire place manager saving weights for me for a while. Learned soon enough that, IMO, they aren't worth the cleaning and sorting necessary. So unless I had no other source for lead I will no longer use them.
     
  20. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

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    I wouldn't use them if I had to run them through my electric pot, but I also have a plumber's furnace and pot that I use for smelting used lead then pour it into a cast popover pan and mark what lead it is.
     
  21. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    All of my black powder revolvers have had nothing but pure lead jammed into the cylinder holes, and I've yet to bend a lever or pin for that matter.
     
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