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Time to make up a new batch of alloy. #16403118 09/03/21
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Idaho_Shooter Offline OP
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On the agenda for the morrow.

I last mixed alloy about seven years ago. I made 100 lbs then which turned out with a BHN of 14-15 and I wasted the last twenty lbs of it making sinkers for the grandkids' catfish rigs.

I have a Camp Chef propane stove and a four quart dutch oven for batching(75 lb per batch), and a couple muffin tins which will make 2.5 lb ingots.

There is about three hundred lbs of mystery metal in the shed. I have Identified some of it, there's about 30# Bell Wiping Solder (40/60 Sn/Pb), and 7# nickle babbitt (91/9 Sn/Sb), 10# Antimonial lead which is 96/4 (Pb/Sb). I also have purchased ten pounds of 30/70 solder sticks (Sn/Pb), and 30# of Superhard (30/70 Sb/Pb).

The target is 250 lbs of uniform alloy consisting of 7%-8% tin, 4.5% to 5% antimony, 86%-87% lead with a BHN of 15 to 16.

The bullets should temper a bit harder when they go in the oven for powder coating.

We will see how my algebra stands up to the task. I have high hopes. There are three borrowed molds waiting for alloy. Bullets will be 140 TC-SWC for the 38 Super, and 150 gr and 200 gr HPs for the 10mm.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
BP-B2

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16403214 09/04/21
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I was thinking your BHN would end up a little higher than that, either way....should definitely bore a hole through most anything it will come up against!

Have Fun!


Frog-----OUT!


~Molɔ̀ːn Labé Skýla~
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16403919 09/04/21
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Do you have a hardness tester? It's the only sure way to know how hard your bullets are and to guarantee consistent results when reprising former alloys with shadowy components.

Out of curiosity, why make them so hard, and then harder still in the course of baking the powder coating? The whole idea behind powder coating is the ability to drive a soft bullet faster than the elastic limits of of the lead would normally allow. (Which in the case of pistol bullets really is a moot point anyway unless screaming magnums are the topic.)


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
"Always certain, often right." Keith McCafferty
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16403968 09/04/21
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I have the Lee tester. It shows my previous alloy at 14.3 BHN.

That alloy has worked superbly from 700 fps to 1400 fps in my revolvers and up to 1700 fps in the carbines. The hope is to duplicate that performance or very slightly harder.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16404392 09/04/21
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I've been pushing 180 gr 308 cast, powder coated #315 bullets at anywhere from 2100-2500 fps with no leading. Alloy had maybe a quarter of the Tin you propose, and about half the Antimony. For my 45 pistols, both acp and Colt I use about half the sweetners as that mix. Using the same mix in 38-55 and 25-20 at up to 1600 with no gas checks. Hard isn't necessarily the answer.

IC-A

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16405277 09/04/21
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Half the Antimony and 1/4 the tin? 2.5% Sb and 2% Sn.

Lead gives BHN of 5
2.5% Antimony adds about 2.2 BHN
2% Tin adds .6 BHN
For a hardness of 7.8 BHN

At that low level of tin, I can not make the mold fill properly. Additional tin aids wetting properties thus mold fill.
My goal is duplication of Lyman #2 with possibly a bit additional tin.

I have 200 lb melted and formed into ingots. It looks like I might have enough components for another 200 lbs. But then I have to remelt it all and blend the batches for a uniform lot.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16405309 09/04/21
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That’s a high tin content and really not needed. 2to 3 percent tin is about all you need. An inch of silver bearing solder in a ninety pound pot makes your bullets a beautiful silver color and they fill very well.

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16406999 09/05/21
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I ended up with five full gallon pots of alloy. By my calcs, that should be pretty close to 100 lb ea. Two pots as low as 10 BHN, one at 15.4, and two more at 14.3 as they came out of the pot.

I have the initial batches distributed among six piles for remelting. The blend should give me just the BHN I desire after blending.

I have 20 lbs of Roto-metals Super Hard and 20 lbs of 40-60 solder left over. Apparently my scrap had a lot more Antimony content than I had guessed. Might have been a good amount of wheel weights in those blocks.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16408584 09/06/21
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Originally Posted by Idaho_Shooter
Half the Antimony and 1/4 the tin? 2.5% Sb and 2% Sn.

Lead gives BHN of 5
2.5% Antimony adds about 2.2 BHN
2% Tin adds .6 BHN
For a hardness of 7.8 BHN

At that low level of tin, I can not make the mold fill properly. Additional tin aids wetting properties thus mold fill.
My goal is duplication of Lyman #2 with possibly a bit additional tin.

I have 200 lb melted and formed into ingots. It looks like I might have enough components for another 200 lbs. But then I have to remelt it all and blend the batches for a uniform lot.


Either your calculations are off or my Bhn tester(Cabine Tree) and rifle performance are. I'm getting 10-12 Bhn with most of my batches. Using an alloy spreadsheet calculator on another site, I mix range lead(mostly full jacket pistol with some cast bullets mixed in that I've had tested at 1.4%Sb), pewter and Linotype or know alloy babbitt. Probably 90% of my alloys run under 1.5% Sn, and under 2% Sb. If you get the fit right hard isn't needed. If you get it wrong, sometimes hard makes it worse because the bullet won't obturate as needed. To me, hard is anything over 15
Edit to add
I checked that spreadsheet and the example you gave as 2%Sn, 2.5%Sb shows a Bhn of 11-12, not 7.8

Last edited by Ole_270; 09/06/21.
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16409303 09/06/21
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Everything I can find, including the sheet which came with the Lee hardness tester says pure Lead has BHN of 5. Add .29 for each percentage point Tin. Add .92 for each percentage point Antimony.

The Lee instruction sheet specifically states "85% Lead, 10% Tin, 5% Antimony yields BHN of 12.5"

Which matches very well with any other sources I have read over the last ten years of casting.

Linotype is extremely rich in Antimony. A little increases BHN quickly.

I am curious how you had samples tested for Antimony content and cost for that procedure?

My ingots, after cooling overnight are testing at 12.4. After casting into bullets they will harden over time and powder coating will probably increase hardness as well. My guess is that bullets a year from now will test at 13.5 to 14 BHN. Which is exactly where my alloy has been that I have used since '14-'15.

With 450 to 500 lbs in this batch, I am sure the grandkids will be using it long after I am gone. Even if I make it to 90.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
IC-B

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16410685 09/06/21
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For testing there was a member of another site that worked with an xray tester at his job. He would test samples for 1 lb of lead per sample, this was before covid. He has put a pause on it for the last year.
The spreadsheet calculator mentioned above has this statement in the note section. Estimated hardness calculated by Rotometals formula: Brinell = 8.60 + ( 0.29 * %Tin ) + ( 0.92 * %Antimony )
No way will I use tin at 10%, too expensive. I seldom get over 1.5% tin, a couple of the most experienced casters on another site I frequent run mostly below 1%. We're using just enough tin to help fill out the mold, letting the antimony do the hardening. Again, my fastest rifle loads are 308 at up to 2500 and I stay below 3% antimony on those. Much above 5% gets brittle and I hunt with these loads so I don't want brittle.

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16411411 09/07/21
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Sound advice there. There is a point of diminishing returns when using tin as a hardener.

For pistol bullets I'm not terribly picky about alloy. Clip on wheel weights (COWW's), of which I still have a serious supply of - they're becoming difficult to find - get mixed at 50/50 with soft lead (some of which is admittedly suspect as to purity) with a healthy "pinch" of pure tin as a mold filler-outer. As you can imagine, the bhn fluctuates a bit, say in the 8-10bhn range, but that is entirely suitable for my pistol and revolver shooting as long as I mind final diameter for a good throat fit. .32, .38 Spl, and .45 ACP and Colt is about the extent of it - but I shoot a lot in those calibers and experience zero leading with excellent accuracy. I don't feel that strict adherence to a narrowly defined alloy is completely necessary. As long as it's good and bloody soft, I'm good to go.

The last time I dealt with leading was back in the bad old days of my cast bullet Dark Ages when like so many people I was convinced that the harder the better in order to defeat leading in the bore. I was resigned to dealing with that bugaboo as the price to pay for cheap shooting. Then I wised up and started paying strict attention to throat diameters and sized accordingly, and concurrently softened my alloys drastically. Think of a soft bullet as acting like a very efficient cork to bottle up the hot gasses behind it as it starts its journey from the cartridge case. It's those hot gasses which jet past the bullet in an ill-fitted situation that causes leading, and contribute to inaccuracy. My mentor way back then routinely shot .357's and .44 mags and his bullets were definitely on the soft end of the scale - and his lack of leading was an eye opener to me.

As an aside, a large part of my casting efforts today is for single shot target rifles using plain base bullets, and my alloy of choice is 1-30 tin/lead with some occasional 1-20. No antimony need apply. My .22 long rifle casting is 1-40 tin/lead. (Yes there are those of us who shoot our own .22 LR handloads. In my case by breech seating the bullet ahead of a charged case for ultimate accuracy. It pays to have a couple buckets full of empty primed brass in that regard.)


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
"Always certain, often right." Keith McCafferty
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16411806 09/07/21
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I’m glad that I started casting seriously about the time the WWW and shooting forums really got going. Saved me many of the pitfalls that Gnoahh mentions as pertains to bullet hardness and fit. I had older friends who shot cast bullets and they were hung up on super hard bullets as a way to combat leading. Straight Lino was right where they liked their bullets. One of them would go as far as to trade a gun off if it leaded badly with his bullets. In reality all he needed in most cases was a different sizer die.

I got going pretty early in my journey worrying more about fit and uniform throats in revolvers and it saved me lots of heartache.

I use almost nothing but COWW with a small amount of tin added. With good lube and a good fit it works fine for everything I do, revolvers and pistols from 700fps to rifle bullets at 2200fps. I’m sure I could alloy my pistol bullets softer but I only have one pot and a ready supply of COWW.

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16412320 09/07/21
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"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
"Always certain, often right." Keith McCafferty
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16423336 09/10/21
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If you ever make it to Eastern Idaho I have a bunch of monotype. It's hard stuff and only has about 72% lead the rest being tin and antimony. I recently started casting again and have been mixing 1 pound of this to 4 pounds of wheel weights.

I'm not sure where that puts me hardness wise but it casts well and 340g 458's shoot well at 1600 fps from my guide gun powder coated with Ford light blue.

I bought about 1300 pounds of the monotype maybe 10 years ago from an old printing shop in Idaho Falls. Most of it is in 22# pigs but I've been using actual type scraps he hadn't remelted yet. I put 10 pounds ww alloy and 2.5 pounds of little bars of letters In my pot, Flux a few times, and it casts great.

I just did a bunch more lee 310g .430" 44 bullets the other night. I'm saving milk jugs full of water to test them in to see if they expand at all with this alloy. I'll try some in my 329pd at about 1050 fps which likely won't expand and then I'll see what they do out of my marlin 444p at maybe 1800fps or so. They get powder coat and then a copper check.

Bb

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16429013 09/12/21
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I have cast about 100 lbs of this alloy so far. 41 cal: 175, 210, and 250 gr; 40 cal: 160 gr hp, and 200 gr flat point. Still going to run about twenty pounds more through that 40 cal 200 gr mold. Then twenty or thirty pounds of 9mm 140 gr truncated cone.

I have not shot any yet, but they pass the hammer and anvil test. They smash and do not shatter.

I have some Harbor Freight lime green paint that I have been using for the 327. I need to start shopping for alternate colors.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16432214 09/13/21
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Idaho,

What is your 200g hp mold for 40 cal. I'm looking for a good 200g or so mold for my 10mms.

Bb

Re: Time to make up a new batch of alloy. [Re: Idaho_Shooter] #16453376 09/20/21
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Sorry for not seeing this question earlier.

A friend was good enough to loan me three molds. The 10mm molds are Mehec brass models with HP pins. I cast the 160 gr with a deep HP. The 200 gr mold is labeled Mehec 401 200 gr. I only cast flat points with the 200 gr. But it comes with pins to make HP bullets as well.

I shot some Hunter's Supply cast 200 gr truncated cone over 8.4 gr Longshot yesterday. I only shot one mag of them and then put the 38 Super barrel on the gun for my son to shoot. He is considering a 1911 in 9mm. And I have some Supers in 115 gr which shoot just like a 9.

Yep, that aforementioned 200 gr load is a handfull.

Send me a PM if you want to discuss these bullets or perhaps see some samples.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.

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