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What to expect with wheel weights

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bersaguy, Feb 19, 2019.

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  1. cornfused

    cornfused Member

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    I'll add one caution: be very careful not to get any type of liquid in or near your melting pot while it contains any molten lead. The resulting steam explosion can be very dangerous!!! Wear good safety glasses or better yet a face shield when doing anything with molten lead.
     
  2. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    Did you have a chance to look at the wheel weights yet? Hopefully they are mainly lead but that’s not common anymore.

    Once you start sorting them you should get a feel for what’s what pretty quickly. Most iron ones are marked FE or something similar and are usually more square shaped. The zinc ones are marked ZN or something similar. I’m sure the link in post 6 spells it out pretty well. When sorting I can tell 95% of the time just by looking at the thing what it is. I use a hammer to test the ones I jl have questions about. A light smack with a hammer will deform lead easily. Zinc and iron won’t be effected.

    For my last smelt I was being cheaper and wanted to see if my cast iron pot would get up to melting temp using fire. It worked like a charm. My 4 oak trees had dropped enough debris over the course of the last year to melt over 100 lbs of lead down.

    The cast boolit forum has tons of subforums and most forums have many stickies which contain tons of info for a new caster. Once you understand the layout of the forum it’s actually pretty efficient for the volume of info but it does seem cluttered.

    I’d also advocate for powder coating. I’m pretty sure it’s the most common method of preventing leading among new casters. The other methods can work but they are either expensive or require much trial and error.
     
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  3. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I took a quick look on the internet, and found I can get a lubricator-sizer for about $200. For that price, I can get 10 toaster ovens and powder coat about 2000 bullets at a time.
     
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  4. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    A guy gave me a bucket of "lead?" fish net weights. What does anyone know about whether they are lead or zinc or what?
     
  5. LOLBELL

    LOLBELL Member

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    Keep an eye on the classified section on Cast Boolits you might find a lubrisizer for a good price. I have $10.75 invested in mine. I know that is rare, I was buying some bulk lead and was within 10.75 of a hundred dollar mark and the sizer was thrown in for the difference. It’s a Lyman 450 and has sized many many BOOLITS with only one O-ring replaced.

    If you get into casting with a passion a lot of us have, you will fully understand the difference in a bullet and a boolit.
     
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  6. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Come now, let's not be dramatic, unrealistic and misleading. It's not at all difficult to find a used Lyman lubrisizer for $50-$75 and unlike toaster ovens they have resale value. As far as that goes, for $200, one can find a used Star sizer and in the time a $20 toaster oven spends pre-heating, lube and size what...a couple hundred bullets?

    It's all about expectation, wouldn't you say? PC-ing is an alternative to traditional lubing and sizing, and that's all. Some shooters like to turn out the bullets, some like to piddle around with powder. Nothing wrong with either way, but there's really no need trying to convince a new caster that PC-ing is somehow better.

    35W
     
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  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    PC-ing is an alternative to traditional lubing -- you still have to size your bullets (if they require it.) I use Lee sizing dies.
     
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  8. lightman

    lightman Member

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    There is no way to know, anything said would only be a guess. They could be made from anything. There are a few things that you could try that might make your guess more accurate. You could scratch them with your thumb nail. Leaving a mark would indicate soft lead, no mark would indicate harder lead. You can also drop them on concrete. A thud indicates soft and a ring indicates harder lead. You could also test each one for zinc using a drop of acid.

    Personally, I would melt them all together, test an ingot for zinc and then try casting with them. If its contaminated with zinc you sell it for scrap or slowly add it to a known good alloy, a little at a time.

    I wish I could tell you more but those weights could literally be made from just about anything.
     
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  9. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    Thanks for the reply.. I'll do some testing on them
     
  10. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    I haven't seen any used Lyman lube sizers in the $50-$75 range in quite a while. Most are north of $100 plus shipping. Then ya need the dies and top punches.

    I prefer to use Hi-Tek.
     
  11. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    https://www.ebay.com/itm/LYMAN-RELO...871215?hash=item3b2a20ec6f:g:U9UAAOSwVXdcW0Qz

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Ly...215997?hash=item3b29f8687d:g:-1wAAOSw~NZcVlh7

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/LYMAN-450-LUBE-SIZER/173765346111?hash=item287538c33f:g:AOgAAOSw2fpcTket

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lyman-450-lube-sizer/233118005012?hash=item3646ea7714:g:~zwAAOSwxLFcVJqH

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/d-Vtg-LYMA...237741?hash=item468e6d49ed:g:K9MAAOSwFtNcRnap

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-LY...399427?hash=item1cc7933c03:g:QIMAAOSwb15cR0WB

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/RELOADING-...507395?hash=item591d3b2f83:g:HcIAAOSwdGZcRKCf

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/LYMAN-450-LUBE-A-SIZER/113554968081?hash=item1a70674e11:g:z-wAAOSwMQ1cO9kg

    I got some Hi-Tek coated bullets in on a brass deal and really got interested in the process, so I thought I'd try it. I went to their site, read through their 8 step instructions until I got to the part where it said "Repeat". Just too time consuming for me.

    35W
     
  12. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    It takes SECONDS.

    Put bullets in bucket.
    Add Hi-Tek
    Swirl for 15 seconds
    Pour in baking container and allow to dry
    Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
    Repeat.

    Total time spent, about 35 seconds to do 5.5 lbs of bullets.

    Obviously I haven't been looking in the right section of eBay.

    It's funny, all the conventional lube guys saying how bad Hi-Tek is or how long it takes would have been telling us how bad smokeless powder was 120 years ago.
     
  13. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    I'll be getting that bucket of wheel weights from my dad tomorrow, thanks for all the replies. I'll be picking up a Lee push thru sizer, and probably pan lubing my first few batches. Luckily, I have plenty of jacketed bullets to shoot for now and am kinda looking forward to learning the ins and outs of making good looking as well as accurate, functional ammo. If I ever did powder coat, I'd probably use the clear...not a big fan of the lipstick, candy colors for bullets. But who knows, my find lubing to be a PITA, but would like to give it a go
     
  14. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    WOW! Drying, baking for 10 minutes and allowing to cool only took 35 seconds! With math skills like that, you should consider a career in finance!

    35W
     
  15. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    Nice!!!
    The old pagen tradition of lube/size VS the modern era of pc
     
  16. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    I'm a John Deere green man myself but the misses likes pink & what the misses wants, the misses gets.

    If you truly want to learn something you should do both lube & pc. Cast up a pile of bullets & lube 1/2 of them and pc the other 1/2. Same alloy/same sizer/reloader/firearm/etc. Do ladder tests using 4 or 5 different powders with lubed VS pc'd bullets. Test all the lubed bullets 1st & save the targets to compare with the pc'd bullets targets. Take a god look at the firearm being used & clean it and write down what it took to clean the firearm and save the patches, towels, wadding, etc. After reloading the lubed bullets clean you reloading dies. When shooting pay attention to which bullet put smoke in the air. Do the same thing with the pc'd bullets, clean the dies after reloading them. Clean the firearm after shooting the pc'd bullets. Compare the targets for accuracy. Hopefully you have a chronograph to run the lubed VS pc'd bullets over. It's a real eye opener & will tell you how good your alloy/lube/powder combo really is.
     
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  17. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Well if you're stupid enough to stand there while it's baking it will take more time. Myself and most bullet casters can multi-task. Do things like sizing bullets or casting bullets while it's baking.
     
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  18. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    I'm a lipstick lover. Astatic red. That's my goto. However there is as reason. When shooting matches it makes any live ammo that hits the ground easy to find.
     
  19. rscalzo

    rscalzo Member

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    Surprised you were able to find any lead wheel weights. they have been outlawed in so many areas and tire shops moved to zinc or steel. Pain as the zinc won't moulid to the rim, especially for mototrcycles which tend to throw them frequency.
     
  20. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Much of the differences obtained by using the two methods can be ascertained by applying simple logic.

    Accuracy- There's not much point to ladder tests because if traditionally sized and lubed Bullet A will shoot 4" 50 yd. groups out of a given revolver, adding any kind of coating to the bullet simply cannot make that bullet more accurate. In fact, odds are the bullet will likely be less accurate because with powder coating (Hi-Tek coating excluded) there's no means by which to apply the coating evenly on all sides. Conversely, if a cast bullet is inaccurate in a given firearm, adding a coating won't help it be more accurate. An exception would be in the case of undersize bullets, which are typically inaccurate. In theory one could PC them to add a few thousands to the diameter, thus rendering them the proper diameter.

    Cleaning- I presume you're referring to the potential for leading with traditionally lubed/sized bullets. There's no need to clean your firearms and analyze patches, etc. If you're using a reasonable alloy and sizing your bullets properly, there will be no leading. Sizing to the proper diameter is an important part of using cast bullets and is evidenced by the litany of different diameter sizing dies available.

    Dies- Yes, inevitably some lube is going to end up in a seating die. Over 20 or so years of using lubed cast bullets, I had never given much thought to cleaning out my dies other than every few hundred rounds I'd check them and clean, if necessary. So when the anti-lube crowd being using lube in the die as a reason to PC because not having to clean the die would save time, I decided to see just how long it would take. On two separate occasions when I was loading .38 Specials, in hurry at all I screwed the die out of the press, ran the seating stem out of the die, put a patch in a loop on a cleaning and spritzed it with carb cleaner, swabbed out the die body, wiped off the stem, reassembled and reinstalled the die and checked my watch. Both times took about 90 seconds.

    Smoke- This is the one that makes me scratch my head and another I had never noticed. Several years ago I shot High Power competition on the reduced course at a local range. I competed strictly with cast bullets. Our 100 yd. range is very narrow being about 60' wide and surrounded on both sides and the far end by a 15' tall berms, there was virtually no wind. Our 100 yd. targets were buff colored with 6" black bulls. If ever smoke would obscure a target, that certainly would've been the perfect situation for it. But not once did that ever happen nor did any of the competitors on the line with me ever mention smoke from my loads.



    Fella, no matter how you spin and twist this, coating is simply a slower process. Even excluding the baking time, if you're following Hi-Tek's instructions, it's not a 35 second process. From their site-

    6....You can speed up the drying process by using a fan to blow onto the bullets, but don’t rush it; the bullets need to be fully dried before they are baked.
    8. Once the bullets are baked take them out and let them cool fully before the next application of coating....
    9. Repeat the process (usually two coats will do, but feel free to experiment) until the coating completely covers the bullet....

    And when you reach this point you still haven't sized your bullets. That's why companies like MBC charge more for coated bullets; there are extra steps involved in the coating process. At non-bulk prices it takes less than $1.00 worth of coating liquid to coat 500 .45 caliber bullets, yet 500 coated bullets are $5.00 per box more than lubed bullets..

    If you like to multi-task in your reloading room, I support you in that. But I find it much, much more efficient to do things in large batches. I cast in large batches, I size/lube in large batches, I prep cases in large batches and I load ammunition in large batches. Heck, if I had the means to coat thousands and thousands of bullets at once, I might very possibly do Hi-Tek, in large batches of course.

    PC or coat to your hearts content, but flatly presenting it as somehow superior to traditional lubing and sizing is incorrect. It's an alternative. Period.

    35W
     
  21. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    My time is my own & to me it's time well spent making a superior product. I understand what it takes to make high quality/highly accurate cast swaged lead & jacketed bullets. I also understand what the mechanics involved are to make an accurate load/bullet. I also understand what pc'ing brings to the table & why it's superior to traditionally lubed bullets.

    Why don't you put in this thread or start your own thread stating what makes a cast bullet accurate and why pc'd bullets are not superior to traditionally lubed bullets.
    If you do that I will gladly post the mechanics of a reload & it's affect on cast bullets and what makes a cast bullet accurate coupled with why pc'd bullets are superior.

    Reality:
    I have yet to see anyone use 9/10bhn alloy to cast rifle bullets with and run them +/-2500fps with accuracy using traditional lubes/sizers. With pc, it's a walk in the park.
     
  22. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Expand the above to see my reply.

    35W
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  23. Series70

    Series70 Member

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    Had a bucket of wheel weights, maybe 30 years ago. Nearly all were the clamp-on type. I assumed all the clamp-on types were lead and melted them into ingots. The stick-on type started appearing at that time and I assumed those were the new zinc ones. I assumed many things in the pre-internet days.
     
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  24. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    All the old clip-on type I've seen have pretty much been lead, with a few steel/iron mixed in. Easy to deal with, throw 'em the pot and turn on the fire. The lead melts and everything else floats to the top. Ah the good ol' days.

    35W
     
  25. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    Looks like the PC people are all stirred up again. For the record I bought a Lubamatic new for $160 and I'm saving even more exchanging garden vegetables for beeswax. When I get tired of hot sammiches I'll give it a try.

    OP, the best way I've found to sort wheel weights is to scratch some known lead samples with a screw driver. Zinc and other non lead alloys will not scratch as easily. You'll get a feel for it pretty fast. Even the shorter ones will bend in your hand so thats another method. Just do yourself a favor and don't melt down wheel weights in your casting pot.
     
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