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Melting Lead for Ingots
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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MacD
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:07 am    Post subject: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Okay I have spent hours reading and finally took the big step and melted and poured 45 pounds of ingots. I used sawdust for my flux followed by paraffin wax. I get all the black crap out but there is still a dull gray/silver scum on top of the melt that I can't stir back in. Is this tin oxide and should I be concerned that I am losing this from my wheel weight metal? I know the answer is buried in the Castboolits sight but I can't find it. I hate to make my first post there be a dumb question.

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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

when you flux with paraffin wax or a piece of candle, you have to stir with your spoon to get as much air in mixture as possible. The grey stuff you're loosing is in my opinion Sb antimony. The more Sb, the harder the bullet. But you cannot mix Sb and Pb lead. You need Sn tin to get the Sb in the mixture.
Looks like chinese perhaps, but it's easy: while your wax is burning, shovel some mixuture out the melting pot with a spoon and let it drop in. When you use a normal spoon, put some wood on the handle or you'll burn your fingers Smile
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MacD
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:49 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Thanks Aloysius. Would adding a small length of 95% tin solder help keep the antimony in the alloy ............ Aloy?

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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:10 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

That dull scum you are seeing at the surface is antimony, you need to add some tin to the mix as most wheel weights have less than .6% tin. If I don't have tin to add to the mix I use 9 lbs wheel weights to 1 lb. 50/50 solder. this will give a hardness equivalent to Lymam #2. I use this for rifle and handgun bullets and have no leading problems.



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Aloysius
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:08 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Omini is fast and gives all you need to know in far better English than mine.
I only want to add: when you're only making bullets for handguns you don't have to botter that hard about hardness. When you dilute that Lyman #2 or linotype with pure lead on a 50/50 base, you still will have good bullets, you avoid some problems with antimony, it casts easier and cheaper.
When you want to cast fire a rifle: try to make them as hard as possible and use a gasscheck.
And for handguns: don't use lead bullets for magnum velocities because you'll loose accuraty and will get lots of cleaning problems to remove the stripped lead in the barrel.
When you have the choise for powder, take the fast burning one to start and load at low velocities.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:12 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

I always just stir that gray stuff back in as best I can and my cast bullets for .405 Win always work pretty good. I use the same sawdust and parrafin combo. I found an ingot of high speed babbet at a farm sale that I throw in for that. It is pretty close to pewter. I know we can split hairs trying to do our best but sometimes I need to be reminded when I arrive at the goal.

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MacD
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Thanks Omni and Aloysius. I'll have to try and find a reasonable source of tin. Solder is pretty expensive and no linotype or such around here. I intend to cast only for 9mm and keep around 1000 fps or lower. I was have read a bit about heat treating cast bullets either by quenching when casting or reheating in an oven and quenching.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

I drop mine in a towel in a 5gallon bucket of water out of the mold. the towel kinda floats, and prevents splashing. You don't want any drops of water getting on your casting equipment! including moulds, dippers etc.

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TRBLSHTR
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Very Happy Instead of gas checks-i'm going to reinvent the wheel and use a base patch or wad.Paper-like a beer box guage of cardboard,and even the pre-lube-treated black powder felt wads under the bullet base with a reduced load to accomodate the volume of the wad.I will see if the accuracy changes much.As far as casting goes I like to do non-gas check types of bullets so its' one less part or piece to have on hand! Bang Head

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fnuser
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Wonder Wads

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

If you got metallic scum that floats on top of your lead alloy even after you flux, you may want to increase the temperature a tad.
There is a window of temperature where all the alloy will mix well.

Another way to increase the temperature (temporarily) is to drop in a bit of wax to the molten alloy and light it up.

I also drop my cast into a bucket of water to harden.
Like fnuser I also use a blanket to arrest the boolit fall.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Like Gelan, I too use bees wax to flux my alloy and drop the cast bullet straight into water using an old cardboard Bullseye powder tin I cut open, as a funnel.

I am lucky in that I have a source of Lyman #2 close by (there is a scrap metal yard run by a pistol shooter about 20 minutes from my place and he makes the bullet alloy). If you have a scrap metal yard nearby, ask them if they can make the alloy for you or recommend someone who will. Can't hurt to ask.

I flux my alloy as soon as I believe the mix is up to temperature, then I scoop the scum off the top. I then flux about every 5 - 10 minutes to ensure everything stays together.

I have tried a number of different things for fluxing the alloy and found the best to be pure bees wax with Yorkshire flux not too far behind, although the Yorkshire Flux works out a little expensive. A lead thermometer might be of assistance as well Mac. We use one for when we are casting shot.

Cheers, Vince

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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Here is a link to a site that goes thru the abc's of casting bullets, also there is at the top left of the page to download a pdf copy. www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Bo...ntents.htm

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MacD
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:17 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

Thanks again. I believe temperature is my problem. I will order a thermometer today.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:36 am    Post subject: Re: Melting Lead for Ingots Reply with quote

When we are casting shot, we work on 650 F(that is with a 50/50 Lyman #2/pure lead mix). The drippers on the shot maker work well at that temp. I would imagine that the same temp wouldn't be too far off optimum when casting bullets mate.

The main signs I use for judging temp when casting bullets though is the length of time it takes the sprue to set, and the look of the bullet when it comes out of the mold. The sprue should set within a few seconds when the mold is at the right temp. If the cast bullet is wrinkled then the temp is too cool, and if it has a "sparkly" frosted look to it, then the temp is too high.

It doesn't take much to lower the temp of the mold...holding the mold open, away from the heat, for around 10 seconds is usually sufficient to lower the temp enough for a few more "throws". When warming the mold I open it and set it over the top of the melting pot while the alloy melts. NEVER heat the mold by putting it into the alloy in the melting pot.

Cheers, Vince

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