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Molding Lead Bullet
alligator123 Member Posts: 145 ✭✭
edited July 2012 in Perry Shooter Competition Shooting and Reloading Forum
I have been pouring my own lead bullets for a couple of years and always add 95/5 solder to my lead to harden it but the cost of the solder has gone up so much that it is no longer cheap to make your own bullets. Is there anything else that is cheaper to add to the lead for hardening?
You can add metal toothpaste tubes or any metal ointment tubes to the melt since they contain tin. Of course, put them in at the start of the melt so you don't blow hot lead everywhere.
The metal wrappers on wine bottles contain Tin.
That's what I thought, too. When I melted some in to wheelweight metal, though, the bullets did not fill out properly. Symptoms were consistent with zinc contamination. So maybe the wrappers use a zinc-tin alloy or something; it's too soft for pure zinc.
Nowadays many bottlers use aluminum. Totally useless in alloying bullet metal.
I, too, water drop pure lead. I cast them in .358, and keep my pressures low. Velocities are less than 800 fps. No leading.
Keep in mind. Pure lead, combined with water dropping can cause undersized bullets. If your bullets are undersized, you will experience leading. My molds cast at about .359, and I resize to .358. Check with good calipers.
If you can't get a good fit, (.001 over bore size) then you should mix some tin to reduce the shrinking of the bullets as they cool.
Tin is plentiful, and easy to find.[:D] Go to garage sales and thrift stores. Buy up all of the pewter candle sticks, shaving mugs, statues of liberty replicas, etc. Toss them into your pot when casting ingots at a ratio of about 1# pewter to 20#'s lead.
Lube is very important to preventing leading. If you are casting pure lead, as I do, you want to use Lee Alox.
If you are after higher pressures and corresponding velocities, as I am when I load for .357, then mix your ratio at 1:10 instead of 1:20 tin to lead. I can push them to about 1300 fps with no leading. Anything faster, I'd suggest a gas check.
All of these tid bits I stolen from various places. I'm not clever enough to make things up.