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Casting question...

I'm just starting to get set up for bullet casting. I've read that some of you drop your hot bullets into water directly from the mold. Does that effect hardness? Harder, softer, no difference? What do you veteran casters recommend, water? No water?

Thank you!

Comments

  • victorj19victorj19 Member Posts: 3,643 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The Lee guide says to drop the bullets onto a wet towel. It's the method I use. I wouldn't recommend dropping them into water. If even a drop of water gets into a mold your introuble. The lead from your next pour will turn the water into steam which expands and the molten lead will splatter. A cousin lost the sight in one eye this way when making sinkers as a kid. There's no way this can happen with a wet towel as long as you don't handle it again until your done pouring and you don't set the mold down on it.
  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    After over 40 years of casting, I am a relatively recent convert to water-dropping bullets I use for target shooting. They appear to be a shade harder than air cooled when water-dropped. You are right about not wanting any water to go into your lead pot or even onto your mold. I avoid spashing water back onto my mold by my procedure. A few times though, I have seen a drop splash back onto my mold, but it sizzles off immediately. I would never close a mold and pour lead into it, if any water were in the cavity. That could cause the molten lead to fly! Like all other aspects of bullet casting safety, use good technique, watch what you are doing, use protective goggles, gloves and clothing.
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    Hello I can't speak for Rifle bullets but in 45ACP bullets Hardness is not the end all to leading or non-leading in your barrel with cast or Swaged Bullets. I have shot over 300,000 bullets that I loaded about an even amount of my cast and swaged ..."the swaged bullets are dead soft pure lead" . The bullet size to bore .001 oversize and the right lube will do more to prevent leading then bullet hardness. Now to your question on to WATER DROP it will make them slightly harder But I have not found they lead more or less then air cooled . I to must warn you about Water and melting lead . Never dump range scrap recovered bullets into a pot with lead that is already melted any water between the jacket and lead core will cause lead to almost look like an explosion from instance steam under the surface of the molten lead[:(!][V][:(].Now as to water around the mold itself Believe it or not when casting with something like a 4 cavity mold block the mold tends to get too hot under production. Believe it or not Hensley & Gibbs "the best quality mold blocks" have a note in their instructions that "if bullets start to come out Frosted instead of shiny then the mold has gotten too hot and you can "Flash dip" the molds in a bucket of water. I have done this "with eye and face protection" and It worked with no splatter or eruption of water [:)][:0] but this is not for the faint of heart and I would not try with any other brand of mold. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.
  • PA ShootistPA Shootist Member Posts: 669 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The reason I went to water-dropping was to harden and stiffen rifle bullets a little bit with the same alloy. I agree completely with Perry shooter that a great lube and proper sizing, as well as velocities within an appropriate range, can obviate any and all cast-bullet leading. My problem was when seating gas checks and sizing longer and skinnier .30 caliber bullets in my Lyman 450 Lubrisizer, if I leaned a little hard on the bullet, the nose compressed a little in the bore-riding area ahead of the lube grooves, and the nose of the bullet would then swell a little oversize. This was only about .001" or two, but enough to make a problem. This caused the now-larger-diameter bullet nose to stick into the bore leade sometimes. Water-dropping added just enough hardness, or stiffness, with the same alloys (approx. #2 Lyman), that I have since avoided that problem entirely. And it is a phenomenon I had never encountered with any shorter, fatter pistol bullets. I used to shoot a lot of my own .38's and 45's in local matches and practice, and still do for fun and practice, and my home-cast bullets never leaded and I considered them superior to all others; store-bought swaged lead bullets were in my experience a fright for leading.
  • k_townmank_townman Member Posts: 3,588
    edited November -1
    I've been casting bullets since the 1970's. I've always dropped them on a soft dry towel.
  • Sven61611Sven61611 Member Posts: 60 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I appreciate all your input guys, thank you SO much!
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,212 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The key to gaining hardness by water dropping is antimony. By water quenching the hot bullets they gain up to 4 Brinell.

    This site is the Mecca of bullet (boolit) casting

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

    Do a search for water quenching, it helped a lot!
  • Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 12,872 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Let me add my vote to the comments made above:

    Harder is not always better. Fit and lube are far more effective at eliminating leading.

    Water and molten lead are extremely dangerous and should never be in the same room.

    A well-padded drop on dry cloth is the best and safest.
    I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    I water drop most of my rifle bullets. Adds 2-3 points on the Brinell Hardness chart.

    You can heat treat them in the oven too to really harden them.

    That said, I agree, bullet fit and a good lube are most important. I prefer water dropping for one reason and it isn't the hardness. That is, you drop a hot, still soft bullet on a pile of cast bullets that have cooled, you ding the new soft bullet. You drop it in water, by the time it hits the bottom, it is dead cold. FYI- I put a towel in the bottom of the bucket to reduce the impact.

    Regarding water splatter- once your mold is to temp it just fizzles off pretty much instantly if it gets splashed. That said try to avoid it. Some styrofoam packing peanuts floating on the water or a towel with a hole in teh center tied across the top of the bucket will solve this problem.

    Ditto on no water in a melt. It is actually ok for water to get on TOP of the molten lead- no problem there- but if any gets down INTO the lead- watch out. Won't kill you but will splatter molten lead everwhere causing nasty burns.
  • Sven61611Sven61611 Member Posts: 60 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm certainly no stranger to molten lead, having worked as a plumber for 35+ years. When I started out all the joints were still lead and oakum. I did have some water in a pocket of one of the lead ingots I put in the lead pot waayy back when. Didn't take long for the water to steam and POP! I turned away just as it did that. But the backside of my uniform had lots of shiny lead speckles. [:D]
  • 243winxb243winxb Member Posts: 264 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Water dropping makes the bullets harded, But they hit the water at different temperatures as some stick in the mould. Heat treating in an oven is the only way to go, then putting all the bullets into water at the same time. My testing in 45acp showed the water dropped bullets were less accurate than air cooled.
    [url] https://saami.org [/url]
  • kms1961kms1961 Member Posts: 391 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    relavitly new to cating . how do you go about heat treating them in a oven? as far as temp.time etc. thanks
  • 243winxb243winxb Member Posts: 264 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Lyman - Heat Treatment of Cast Bullets to Harden Them


    Quote:
    Q: Is there anything I can do to make the bullets harder?
    A: Cast bullets can be heat treated to increase their hardness providing your alloy has some antimony present. To heat treat your bullets: Cast your bullets in the normal manner, saving several scrap bullets. Size your bullets but do not lubricate them. Place several scrap bullets on a pan in your oven at 450 degrees and increase the temperature until the bullets start to melt or slump. Be sure to use an accurate oven thermometer and a pan that will not be used again for food. Once the bullets start to melt or slump, back off the temperature about 5 to 10 degrees and slide in your first batch of good bullets. Leave these in the oven for a half hour. Remove the bullets from the oven and plunge them into cool water. Allow them to cool thoroughly. When you are ready to lubricate, install a sizing die .001" larger than the one used to initially size them. This will prevent the sides of the bullets from work-softening from contact with the sizing die. Next apply gas checks if required and lubricate. These are now ready for loading.

    Many more casting tips at Lyman, look here>> http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/f...et-casting.php
    [url] https://saami.org [/url]
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