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Old School.
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Is there any of you guys out there that make your own Bullets? I know a few that do and they get most of their lead free and that cuts the cost of a cartridge about in half again. Now $5.00 a hundred sure would be nice. :thumbsup:
 

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I don't, my buddy does. I have been around commerial lead bullet making operations, they are hot and nasty. The home bullet DYI'ers is not nearly as bad. Whenusing lead wheel weights, you need to watch the tin and aluminum. The aluminum won't melt, but Tin will contaminate your whole run. If you are considering casting your own bullets, pick up the Lyman book on cast bullets. Great info in there. I rarely shoot lead anymore. When I do, there is a source here in town that sells them for $1 or $2 per pound bulk. At that price, why cast my own?
 
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I don't, my buddy does. I have been around commerial lead bullet making operations, they are hot and nasty. The home bullet DYI'ers is not nearly as bad. Whenusing lead wheel weights, you need to watch the tin and aluminum. The aluminum won't melt, but Tin will contaminate your whole run. If you are considering casting your own bullets, pick up the Lyman book on cast bullets. Great info in there. I rarely shoot lead anymore. When I do, there is a source here in town that sells them for $1 or $2 per pound bulk. At that price, why cast my own?
Wait a minute.....

Tin is a valuable part of any cast bullet alloy. A minimum of 1/2% and up to 5% is required for good casting, and tin sells for around $5 to $10 per pound right now. Wheelweights contain about 1/2% and that alloy makes good bullets for up to around 1300 fps. in a plain based mould, even higher if a gas check is used.

I believe you're thinking of zinc as a contaminant, not tin or aluminum. Zinc melts at 787 degrees, and CAN contaminate an entire batch of alloy if it is heated to that temperature. Recently, zinc wheelweights are appearing more and more, the metric car companies use them exclusively. To avoid contamination, keep smelting temperatures below 750 degree, and skim the zinc weights off the top. They will float due to their lower density.

Antimony is another valuable element in the alloy, and it supplies the hardness required in high pressure/high velocity loads. Common sources are wheelweights (about 3%), linotype (about 12%), and magnum shot (3% to 4%). There are a lot of "old wives' tales" concerning alloy hardness, and commercial casters frequently advertise "hard cast" as a selling point. For the most part, they use "hard cast" as a means of protecting their bullets from shipping and handling damage. Overly hard alloys can actually cause leading if the bullet is too small. A softer bullet will allow obturation and sealing of the bore. A better solution is to use a properly sized and lubricated bullet to start with. I generally size .001" to .002" over bore diameter. In the case of a revolver, sizing is determined by measuring both the cylinder throats and the bore. If the cylinder throats are the same diameter or perhaps .001" larger than the bore, you're good to go. If they happen to be .002" or more larger than the bore, the bullet needs to be sized to fit the throats, rather than the bore.

Any of you that want to learn more about bullet casting, come and visit us at:

http://www.castboolits.gunloads.com/
 

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There are some lead alloys with too high of a tin content. This actually makes the lead too hard to cast properly. The aluminum even thought it will not melt can contaminate the mix. That is all I was saying.
 
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Pure tin has a BHN of 7, pure lead has a BHN of 5. Even if you mixed them 50/50, they would be softer than wheelweights (BHN 12). I agree, it's not a good alloy, but not because it's too hard, because it's unnecessarily expensive.

Elmer Keith used an alloy of 1/16 for his plain based cast bullets in the .44 magnum, and many BPCR shooters like 1/20 mix, which is 5% tin and 95% pure lead.

I've never heard of aluminum contaminating lead in any way, in fact some casters use empty aluminum cans as ingot moulds. I own 20 bullet moulds that are MADE of aluminum. Aluminum melts at 1220 degrees, which is 400 degrees above normal casting temperatures. I've been casting bullets for 38 years, and have melted probably 5 tons of various lead alloys in that time.

Here is an excellent reference for casting alloys and techniques, and it dispells a lot of the misinformation about them.

http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm
 

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I have dabbled in casting my own, but by no means an expert. I was taught by an old guy who was in the commercial business for 40+ years and was parroting what I had been taught. The issue I was told about aluminum is not the metal itself but the oxides that form in certain alloys that can adversely effect the pour.

Thank you for the article. I will read it.
 
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