The Bullet Casting Info Megathread

Bob J

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A great place to post all things associated with casting your own bullets......[wink]

A couple of good reference threads:

Bullet Casting 101 Thread
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/69470-Bullet-Casting-101
EC thread on smelting range lead with lots of pics
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/101450-Recycling-Range-Lead
Duke's Most recent cast bullet workshop thread
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vb...Cast-Bullet-Workshop-Shirley-Rod-and-Gun-Club
Discussion thread on different casting alloys
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/104924-Bullet-Alloy-Questions
Discussion thread on disposal of smelting dross
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/105350-smelting-scrap-who-takes-it
Homemade gas checks for the S&W500 thread
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/100478-FreeChex-III-!!-Just-got-mine
Zinc in the alloy melt
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/107779-What-are-the-symptoms-of-Zinc-in-the-melt
Homemade Angle Iron Ingot Molds
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...url]http://castboolits.gunloads.com/index.php
Los Angeles Silhouette Club
http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm
Castpics
http://www.castpics.net/
Beartooth Bullets
http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/index.htm#Archive

Good reference material

Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook - 4th edition shown but any edition is good
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=867465
 
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Bob J

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Mould Prep

For those of you at Duke's casting workshop, here are the steps I use to prep a newly received bullet mould....

  1. Soak mould overnight in carb cleaner to ensure all cutting oils are removed
  2. Remove Sprue plate and stone the side that rubs against the top of the mould to remove any burrs. Also break the front edge of the sprue plate. You want to remove anything that might score the top of your mould. I usually use a 300-400 grit wet/dry sandpaper glued down to a hard flat surface for this.
  3. Take the mould halves and clean the cavities carefully with a alcohol wipe. I usually wrap it around a Q tip to ensure I get the lube grooves clean.
  4. Reinstall the sprue plate, being careful that the wave or belleville washer is between the sprue plate and the head of the bolt...
  5. If this is an aluminum mould then I put it in an oven set at 350 or so for a minimum of 15 minutes. I then allow the mould to cool down to room temp and repeat. This should be done a total of 3 times and helps ensure a good solid seating of the mould locating pins...... Note that this is only necessary for aluminum moulds....
  6. While your mould is baking is a good time to prep your mould handles..... For the lee six cavity handles that I use for just about everything there is an annoying tendency for the handles to come off from the iron tang.... To fix this I use a dead blow hammer to knock the handles free from the tang and fill the tang cavity with high temp permatex gasket goop.... I then reinstall the handles on the tang and allow to cure....
  7. I also remove the nut that is holding the two parts of the handle together and lubricate the area where the two parts rub together using never-seez... I then reassemble the handles and tighten the nut to a point where there is minimal play but where the handles are still very easy to open and close
  8. I then install the handles on the mould, using never-seez on the screws....
  9. Finally, I put a small amount of never-seez on the locating pins to ensure the mould will open and close easily.....
  10. The last thing worth mentioning is that when I start casting I usually break the sprue on the first cast and then (with the bullets still in the mould and the mould closed) using a Q tip swab the bottom of the sprue plate as well as the top surface of the mould (where the sprue plate rubs) will bullplate sprue lube.... Be careful not to get any in your bullet cavities as it might result in your bullets sticking....

http://bullshop.gunloads.com/
 
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Fixxah

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Your work is gospel to me Bob. Keep em coming.

One observation I made at the workshop is that everybody that was casting bullets would move the mold and lift the lever to fill each hole individually which is time consuming. While this may be easier for some, I find that keeping the flow going until the last hole is filled and the sprue is one long piece allows for a more consistent fill. The reason being that temperature is maintained throughout and in the end it doesn't wear out the moving parts as fast.

When you cut the sprue off there is only one to deal with instead of 6 or whatever number you are using. Try it, I bet most will agree once they get the hang of it.
 
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EddieCoyle

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Patriot

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Pewter Info

Looking for pewter at yard sales is a summer hobby. Pewter is mostly tin but has a fair amount of antimony in it as well.
Tin costs roughly $10/lb and is very useful in aiding fill out in your moulds. 1.5% of the 'tin' added to your melt is roughly
the right amount of tin to add to the mix. For purposes of adding tin to the mix I just calculate the amount to add as pure
tin and ignore the antimony but it does give a little kick to the mix.

Pewter Characteristics

Tin melts at 449.47 deg. F.

When you get started look for items that have PEWTER written on the bottom.

I pour mine in mini-muffin ingots that weigh 2-4 ozs or less (thinner is better), about .25-.5" thick. I weigh each ingot on a postal shipping scale and write the weight on it with a permanent marker.

You'll see stuff that says WILTON or ARMETALE or PEWTEREX on the bottom, or RWP on it. This is NOT pewter. It's got zinc in it and when you try to bend it, it will hardly budge.

If it is tack welded or screwed together, it isn’t pewter.

If it has a rivet, it's not pewter.

Pewter is not magnetic.

When you bend pewter, it will not try to return to its former shape.

Some Manufacturers:
Stieff Pewter
Williamsburg Pewter
Old Sturbridge Pewter
Historic Newport Pewter
NFL Licensed Pewter
Etain Zinn pewter

Fine pewter is made of Antimony, Tin & Copper (no lead)
The 1958 standard was 92% Tin, 5% Antimony and 3%Copper
This standard would change in a few years to 92% Tin, 6% Antimony and 2% Copper.
 
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Fixxah

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As a wedding party gift, my BIL gave us each a "Noggin'" which is made of pure pewter (?). I have thought of melting it but instead just fill it with beer again.
 

Bob J

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My equipment at Duke's Cast Bullets workshop

Have had several questions so thought it worth a post....[smile]

Smelting

Big solid high pressure burner - I have 2 of these:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000291GBQ/ref=oss_product

Many different moulds (I like to use a different mould depending on the lead I'm smelting). This is one of my favorites.... Casts a 4# or so WW ingot:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mini-Loaf-Pan-6-Cavity-4-1-2-X2-1-2-X1-1-2/11070439

For casting pots I used a large dutch oven and the bottom half of a 20# propane tank.... Originally got the dutch oven from harbor freight but I see the size has gone down and the price has gone up...[thinking] Any sizeable pot that is stainless or cast iron should work fine.... Aluminum won't take the stress to safely handle smelting lead....

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result/?category=&q=dutch+oven

The slotted spoon, ladle and fry pot strainer I got at ocean state job lot but I suspect Walmart has them as well....

Welding gloves and face protector I got from Harbor Freight:

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-pair-14-inch-split-cowhide-welding-gloves-488.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/mesh-face-shield-97010.html

Casting

My casting pot is a lee 4 20 - I have 3 of these, each with a different casting alloy:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=645810

Sizing

My sizer is a magna Star with the optional shovel handle and integral heater:

http://magmaengineering.com/products/54-magma-star-lube-sizer

The star is mounted using the Pat Marlin "Rock Dock" mounting system.... The one I brought to the workshop is mounted to a board and is the same as one I have permanently mounted to my reloading bench.... Allows you to easily swap out sizers and presses to maximize your available bench space

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=68714

All my star dies and punches are stored in a 12 Gage storage box. This is the one I have and it does a great job of keeping everything organized.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=810212

My dies and punches are all (except for the one that came with the star) made by lathesmith.... Highly recommend his work and also would recommend that you get the locking ring option with the punches.... Really helps speed up changing over to a different bullet or sizing die.......

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=34499&highlight=lathesmith+star

I use Carnauba Red for my lube and get it from White Label Lube LLC:

http://www.lsstuff.com/lube/

Loading

When loading cast I use the Lyman M die to ensure that the bullet seats straight and retains it's sized diameter:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=340927

Hopefully didn't miss anything anyone asked me about.....
 
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Patriot

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Re: The Star punches

If you don't want to purchase the locking rings for the lathesmith dies I put together a really easy procedure for setting up punch height. It's in pdf form
if anyone wants a copy of it. I don't have the locking rings on my punches and while having them would make it much faster it only takes me a minute
to get the height set each time I change punches/dies/settings. I only have three punches for all my calibers, and you do change punch height within the
same caliber for different casts so unless you are willing to purchase the same punch w/locking ring for the different casts, it's much cheaper to reset
the height of the punch. YMMV. [smile]
 
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As I've posted in other threads, two of us are having trouble shooting lead in our XD-9's. We are getting heavy duty leading! I loaded some of the 124 grain Speers that I have and my friend shot them in his XD and at least seven out of the first ten keyholed. I shot some of Duke's 9mm hollowpoints that were cast at the workshop and they also leaded the barrel pretty bad and a few keyholed. I took another look at Duke's bullets that I recovered to check expansion and noticed that there does not seem to be signs of any rifling but have a sort of porous look to them. I'm thinking that the diameter of the bullets we are trying are too small in diameter (.355 and .356) for our barrels and aren't keeping the hot gases off the sides of the bullets, allowing them to melt in the barrel. Is this possible? We slugged one of the barrels and found that the .356 Speer was only getting engraved by the barrel grooves to .3554. Is this a normal amount? Duke's going to send me a few hollowpoints cast with softer lead to try which will hopefully end the leading problem. Does a harder cast bullet need to be bigger in diameter in order to properly seal as compared to a softer cast bullet of smaller diameter? Am I overthinking this?
 

DukeInFlorida

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There are a few things that go on when a cast bullet goes down a barrel:
  • The lands (raised portions of the spiral in your barrel) emboss themselves into the bullet, displacing material, which has to go somewhere.
  • If the diameter (of the bullet) is designed correctly, the displaced material JUST completely fills the area into the grooves (the low part of the spirals in the barrel)
  • If the bullet diameter is too large to start off with, then there's too much displaced lead, which causes excess friction, and you get friction skidding (leading) that way.
  • Typically, when you get excess friction skidding, you can also effect a melting of the surface of the bullet, allowing hot gases to jet past.
  • Most always though with an over-sized bullet, you will get lead shreds left behind from the rubbing friction.
  • The lube can be adjusted to minimize this, but if severe oversized bullets are used, leading will be a constant issue.
  • On the other hand, if the bullet is too under-sized, then the correct seal is never made, and hot gas jetting will cause erratic flight, loss of power (less speed and performance than what was expected)
  • The hardness of the lead (needed for your bullet/gun) is a function of several things.
  • First, is how fast is the bullet going to go.
  • The faster the bullet, the more friction, and the more likely that even a properly sized bullet will get some friction surface melting.
  • If the bullet is too hard, and the speed slow, then the engraving (the embossing of the lands into the lead) doesn't get a chance to happen completely before the bullet leaves the barrel, also resulting in poor performance.
  • So, the hardness needs to be right for your bullet use.
  • That gives you TWO factors to adjust to get the right combination for your bullet and gun.
  • Hardness and diameter.
  • Here's a quick chart that Bob_J and I were discussing the other day: slower pistol (750-1000 fps) = 50/50 mix (ww's and pure lead) or straight ww's, air cooled....... faster pistol (higher fps) = straight ww alloy, or ww with tin added. Possibly add water dropping to make and keep bullets harder. Rifle bullets = always ww alloy, with tin added (linotype, solder, or other additive), always water dropped.
  • Note: The water dropping "freezes" the crystal structure of the lead alloy, keeping it harder.
  • So, slower is softer, and faster is harder.

I'll leave the discussion of slugging, measuring, and applying that info to the bullet sizing, to Bob_J.
Hope that the info on the hardness and size of the bullet is helpful though.


As I've posted in other threads, two of us are having trouble shooting lead in our XD-9's. We are getting heavy duty leading! I loaded some of the 124 grain Speers that I have and my friend shot them in his XD and at least seven out of the first ten keyholed. I shot some of Duke's 9mm hollowpoints that were cast at the workshop and they also leaded the barrel pretty bad and a few keyholed. I took another look at Duke's bullets that I recovered to check expansion and noticed that there does not seem to be signs of any rifling but have a sort of porous look to them. I'm thinking that the diameter of the bullets we are trying are too small in diameter (.355 and .356) for our barrels and aren't keeping the hot gases off the sides of the bullets, allowing them to melt in the barrel. Is this possible? We slugged one of the barrels and found that the .356 Speer was only getting engraved by the barrel grooves to .3554. Is this a normal amount? Duke's going to send me a few hollowpoints cast with softer lead to try which will hopefully end the leading problem. Does a harder cast bullet need to be bigger in diameter in order to properly seal as compared to a softer cast bullet of smaller diameter? Am I overthinking this?
 
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Bob J

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I shoot a lot of cast in a lot of different guns and the only time I have had leading problems are:

S&W1911 (45ACP) - Cured by increasing my sized diameter from .452 to .453 (BBL slugs to .4515)

Savage 10FP (308) - Cured by increasing my sized diameter from .309 to .310 (BBL slugs to .308)

S&W 629 (44 Mag) - Currently a work in process - Contrary to the above two cases which showed leading over pretty much the entire length of the barrel, this guy shows leading starting clearly in two positions in the barrel which correspond to where the barrel is attached to the frame and where the sight has been attached. The characteristic of this leading is consistent with barrel constrictions at these points.... This I expect to cure by firelapping this gun to improve the barrel finish and take out the restrictions....

As you can see above, bullet undersized has been my biggest issue by far followed by barrel issues..... A couple of things you might want to think about:

1. Bullet Diameter - Slug your barrel and ensure that your bullets are sized big enough... As you can see from my results above, a small change can make a huge difference in your results here (ask my shot chrony!).

2. Copper fouling - If you are shooting cast in a gun which has shot a fair amount of jacketed then you want to ensure that your barrel has all copper fouling removed before you even think about shooting cast. Lead (and lead alloy) has a high affinity for copper (think solder). If you have been shooting cast you will also want to take this opportunity to remove any lead that is currently in the barrel....

3. Barrel condition - Shooting lead successfully requires a good to excellent finish for your barrel. Some guns are great out of the box and some need to be firelapped to improve the finish. S&W revolvers are notorious for the condition I mentioned I found in my 629.... Was not a problem in the 500 so not all S&W revolvers have this... Not sure about your gun but again, something to think about.... A good borescope inspection after a good cleaning and a few cast rounds shot should tell the tale....

4. Lube. Don't think this is your problem since my interpretation of your leading is that it is the entire length of you barrel.... Lube failure (not good enough or not enough of it) is leading starting near the crown of the barrel and working back.

4. Too fast a powder. A cast bullet needs to be "slugged up" to seal the barrel when shot to prevent hot gas leakage around the base of the bullet... An aggressive powder will tend to leak around the bullet base before the bullet starts to move.... This problem is aggravated by undersized bullets and larger weight bullets due to the increased pressure/time delay required to get them moving...

5. Cast Alloy (Hardness) - Still have some experimenting to do here but so far this only seems to matter (for me anyway) for the really high velocity stuff (>1400 fps).... Really don't think this is your problem

Bottom line is I would put my money on your bullets being undersized....[thinking]

As I've posted in other threads, two of us are having trouble shooting lead in our XD-9's. We are getting heavy duty leading! I loaded some of the 124 grain Speers that I have and my friend shot them in his XD and at least seven out of the first ten keyholed. I shot some of Duke's 9mm hollowpoints that were cast at the workshop and they also leaded the barrel pretty bad and a few keyholed. I took another look at Duke's bullets that I recovered to check expansion and noticed that there does not seem to be signs of any rifling but have a sort of porous look to them. I'm thinking that the diameter of the bullets we are trying are too small in diameter (.355 and .356) for our barrels and aren't keeping the hot gases off the sides of the bullets, allowing them to melt in the barrel. Is this possible? We slugged one of the barrels and found that the .356 Speer was only getting engraved by the barrel grooves to .3554. Is this a normal amount? Duke's going to send me a few hollowpoints cast with softer lead to try which will hopefully end the leading problem. Does a harder cast bullet need to be bigger in diameter in order to properly seal as compared to a softer cast bullet of smaller diameter? Am I overthinking this?
 
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DukeInFlorida

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From Bob's fixes, above, it's looking like .002 larger than the slugged size is the proper bullet size.

Bob, could you address Patriot's questions about slugging?

BTW, all cast bullets drop from the mold, and shrink slightly as they cool. The pure lead shrinks differently than does the alloyed versions (wheel weights or wheel weights with linotype).
You can change the dropped size of the bullets by changing the alloy.

So, the dropped from the mold sizing on the 9mm HP's that you have are from the wheel weight alloy with a slight bit of linotype added. I'll be setting up a 50-50 batch later today, and will be able to advise the dropped size of those. I only have the .355 and .357 sizing rings for the luber. You may have to use the samples that I send to you, as-is (non-sized).

And, another issue that people used to jacketed or plated bullets don't think about when it comes to cast bullets: OVER CRIMPING will compact the diameter of the bullet, especially at the back of the bullet, where you don't want it to be smaller. That could cause problems, which otherwise might (without realizing the effect of over crimping) LOOK at first glance like under sized raw bullets.

And, yes, the powder issue which Bob mentions is also a biggie. You need slower burning powders for cast than you use for plated/jacketed. If you haven't already used up all of the workshop samples, try loading a few with a slower burning powder, and crimp only enough to slightly indent the case mouth into the lead, and no more than that. If you over crimp, you are "swaging" the bullets into a smaller size.

The Lyman reloading data book has a LOT of load data for cast bullets. Take a look at that book, and see how the amount of certain powders changes, even for the same powder, from jacketed to cast.
 
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Bob J

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Duke, I think Patriot was asking highscore but here is my slugging process:

1. Cast several bullets in dead soft lead.... Make sure you can scratch it with your fingernail to ensure it is dead soft lead..... I tried using the egg sinker/round ball method and found this to be much easier to measure and I can make as many as I need..... Do not size these!

2. I tumble lube these bullets using white Label LLC XLOX (ALOX Clone).

3. Using a soft (plastic/hard rubber) faced hammer I pound the bullet nose first into the end of the barrel.....

4. I then make a crown protector..... I find a piece of spent brass which is slightly smaller than the bore..... The intent here is for the main portion of the brass to fit and the rim to keep it from going all the way into the barrel so you have a little brass sleeve to protect your muzzle crown.... I drill this out to a diameter slightly larger than my brass rod.... I place this in contact with the lead and (using the soft faced hammer) hammer the lead further into the barrel until the crown protector is seated (or nearly seated) in the end of the barrel.

5. To pound the slug through you need a rod (brass or electrical taped steel) with a sharp point on the end...... If you are using an old cleaning rod a brass screw can be threaded into the end and then sharpened (after cutting the head off of course)..... The idea here is you want a small central point of contact with the lead so it will flow up and past the rod and not swell (obdurate) and jam into the barrel as you pound it through....

6. Insert the rod through your brass crown protector and get a heavy hammer..... I use a 3 pound hand sledge.... What you want is a lot of inertia transferred into the lead..... No gentle tap tap tap here or you will find it extremely hard to get the slug out..... Good solid (and accurate) hits are the key here....

7. When the slug comes out you need to measure the largest (groove) diameter on the slug using the most accurate measuring tool you have.... I use a 1" micrometer but if all you have is a vernier caliper that will probably be accurate enough..... Once the slug has been measured I record the max diameter in my notebook and bag/label the slug in case I have a question in the future....

Here is a pretty good video on YouTube (though the approach is slightly different):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR_WiL8Dkgw

Note that if you have a revolver, you will need to slug each chamber in the cylinder.... You will need to size your bullets .002 over the largest diameter found in your cylinder or your barrel......

Note also that some barrels have a odd number of lands and you will not be able to measure the true groove diameter without a ring gauge.... In this case I would recommend that you have the gun slugged by a good gunsmith with the equipment to measure the slug correctly.....

boredia.jpgST_lowdownleadfoul_201002-A.jpg
 
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DukeInFlorida

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Here's a GREAT reference to how changing the alloy can affect the dropped size and weight of the bullet:

http://www.redding-reloading.com/online-catalog/88-bullet-moulds-charts

"Bullet Sizes & Weights – How to Vary Them
The bullet diameters and weights presented in this list are based on the use of Taracorp’s Lawrence Magnum bullet alloy (2% tin, 6% antimony, 1/4% arsenic, 91.75% lead).

Bullet diameters and weights will vary considerably depending on the lead casting alloy used. This variation can be as much as 1/2% on the diameter, and 8% on the weight among the most commonly used casting alloys. For example, a .358-158 grain bullet might show a diameter variation of .002", and a 13 grain difference in weight.

Of the most commonly used alloys, wheel weights (.5% tin, 4% antimony, 95% lead) will produce bullets having the smallest diameter and heaviest weight, with such bullets running approximately 1/3% smaller in diameter and 3% heavier than bullets cast with Taracorp's metal. Linotype will produce bullets with the largest diameter and lightest weights. This alloy will produce bullets approximately 1/10% larger and 3% lighter than Taracorp. Other alloys of tin and antimony, with antimony content above 5%, will produce bullets with diameters and weights falling between those cast f rom wheel weights and linotype.

Alloys containing little or no antimony will cast considerably smaller than wheel weights and in some cases will produce bullets too small for adequate sizing.

Within the limitations given above, the weight and diameter of a cast bullet can be adjusted by varying the
alloy’s antimony content.

The size and weight of bullets of a given alloy will also vary according to casting temperature. Higher temperatures will result in greater shrinkage as the bullet cools, thereby producing a slightly smaller and lighter bullet than one cast of the same alloy at a lower temperature."
 
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1) What did you slug the barrel(s) with? An already sized bullet?
2) What did you measure the slugged bullet with?
3) Where did you take the measurements of the slugged bullet? On the land groves?

1- I used a .356 diameter Speer bullet. I know it would have been better to go with something larger in diameter but it's what we had. I usually turn down something like some Star swaged .45 bullets which are really soft or cast a slug with solder and turn it down if I can't get the required diameter with the .45 bullets. I shoot for what I think is .003 or .004 larger than the barrel grooves.

2. Measured the slugged bullet with a blade mic.

3. I measured where the barrel groove would be on the slug. It is still called the groove???
 
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1- I used a .356 diameter Speer bullet. I know it would have been better to go with something larger in diameter but it's what we had. I usually turn down something like some Star swaged .45 bullets which are really soft or cast a slug with solder and turn it down if I can't get the required diameter with the .45 bullets. I shoot for what I think is .003 or .004 larger than the barrel grooves.

2. Measured the slugged bullet with a blade mic.

3. I measured where the barrel groove would be on the slug. It is still called the groove???

I will add that I pushed the bullet through the barrel using a 1/4" dowel in the tail stock of a lathe. Used a bit of white grease on the bullet. Both barrels we are dealing with were very clean before shooting/testing. The Montana Gold bullets I've been shooting are probably brass, not copper. My foul-out unit wouldn't take much of it out and it took a lot of work to get it clean. I'm not usually a fan of cleaning a barrel this well but it looked darn close to new.
 

Bob J

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Thought it worth coming back to your OP....

I'm thinking that the diameter of the bullets we are trying are too small in diameter (.355 and .356) for our barrels and aren't keeping the hot gases off the sides of the bullets, allowing them to melt in the barrel.

This is my understanding of the dynamic as well though I think it is less melting and more of a metallic deposition similar to sputtering when laying down a layer for a chip... My logic here is based on the short time of exposure to the hot expansion gasses and the significant thermal mass of the bullet.... Hard to imagine actual melting occurring but a surface sputter is definitely possible..... I think the key is to seal (and protect) the base of the bullet from the hot expansion gasses.... For the classic 45/70 trapdoor 405 grain bullet for example, dead soft lead is cast and the bullet design uses a cavity in the base to ensure expansion and a good seal.... Other strategies such as gas checks, fillers etc all do similar functions to seal and protect the base of the bullet... That aside, my experience is that if you have an undersized bullet there is little you can do to keep it from consistently leading.....

Duke's going to send me a few hollowpoints cast with softer lead to try which will hopefully end the leading problem. Does a harder cast bullet need to be bigger in diameter in order to properly seal as compared to a softer cast bullet of smaller diameter? Am I overthinking this?

My understanding is that most handgun (except magnum) loads prefer softer alloys.... I have not experimented below 50/50 RL/WW (16BHN or so) since I haven't had any problem except as noted in my earlier post but there is a lot of anecdotal accounts of softer alloys (even dead soft) having better performance, particularly for light loads...

We slugged one of the barrels and found that the .356 Speer was only getting engraved by the barrel grooves to .3554.

Not sure I would trust this measurement due to the hardness of the speer.... My thoughts are that this slug might be too hard to give you a full measure of the depth of the grooves between the lands... I would recommend that you slug again with dead soft lead (can be scratched with your fingernail).... An egg sinker will do the trick and should be readily available in any number of bait and tackle shops.... Once you confirm the bore diameter I would recommend that you try bullets sized a minimum of .002 over and see if you still have a problem.... BTW, be sure all leading is removed before before slugging your barrel or shooting these....[wink]
 

DukeInFlorida

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1- I used a .356 diameter Speer bullet. I know it would have been better to go with something larger in diameter but it's what we had. I usually turn down something like some Star swaged .45 bullets which are really soft or cast a slug with solder and turn it down if I can't get the required diameter with the .45 bullets. I shoot for what I think is .003 or .004 larger than the barrel grooves.

2. Measured the slugged bullet with a blade mic.

3. I measured where the barrel groove would be on the slug. It is still called the groove???

Yes, it would still be called the groove diameter. It's the MAJOR diameter of the recovered bullet.

From the chart referenced above, I would propose that the samples that you got at the workshop will be the largest, as dropped from the mold, that we will get, as cast. When I use 50-50 mix, the as dropped size will drop. And, if I try some using pure lead, the size will drop again. If the issue with these bullets and your gun is that the bullet is undersized, the softening of the bullet will do nothing to assist. Please recall that the dropped size didn't get altered much during lubricizing. It was really more of a lubing process, since the size didn't change much after lubing.

So perhaps, for your gun, you'd need a slightly larger bullet diameter to start off with. And, we most likely won't get that from THIS mold.

Miha did some of that production run as .359 sized. That one might have worked better for you.
 
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Thought it worth coming back to your OP....






Not sure I would trust this measurement due to the hardness of the speer.... My thoughts are that this slug might be too hard to give you a full measure of the depth of the grooves between the lands... I would recommend that you slug again with dead soft lead (can be scratched with your fingernail).... An egg sinker will do the trick and should be readily available in any number of bait and tackle shops.... Once you confirm the bore diameter I would recommend that you try bullets sized a minimum of .002 over and see if you still have a problem.... BTW, be sure all leading is removed before before slugging your barrel or shooting these....[wink]

I'm cooking my barrel ( foul-out) as we speak (write) and it's not coming out easily. I think I'll get enough lead to make another bullet!
 
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Yes, it would still be called the groove diameter. It's the MAJOR diameter of the recovered bullet.

From the chart referenced above, I would propose that the samples that you got at the workshop will be the largest, as dropped from the mold, that we will get, as cast. When I use 50-50 mix, the as dropped size will drop. And, if I try some using pure lead, the size will drop again. If the issue with these bullets and your gun is that the bullet is undersized, the softening of the bullet will do nothing to assist. Please recall that the dropped size didn't get altered much during lubricizing. It was really more of a lubing process, since the size didn't change much after lubing.

So perhaps, for your gun, you'd need a slightly larger bullet diameter to start off with. And, we most likely won't get that from THIS mold.

Miha did some of that production run as .359 sized. That one might have worked better for you.

Seems like a mold at .359 diameter is an oddball from what we have found by other manufacturers. Any thought how much you can reasonably expect to be able to reduce diameter before there is a problem such as a build up of material on the top side of the size ( burr)?
 

DukeInFlorida

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Here's a mold I have coming:
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=83603

It was designed as a 9mm mold. However, my plans are to swage it into a 357 magnum 147 grain SWC bullet, using a set of Swage-O-Matic dies that I have.

It's actually the perfect match for two boxes of cast bullets that came from:
http://www.primereloading.com/hardcast.htm

I'm talking exact match.

The sizing happens when the lube gets installed, and a couple to three thousandths of an inch isn't much to resize.
So, .359 diameter isn't all that too big (a starting diameter) for a 9mm.

I'm gonna lube them at .359, and then swage them. (Or, I could just use them lubed at .356 size for my 9mm)
 

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I'm cooking my barrel ( foul-out) as we speak (write) and it's not coming out easily. I think I'll get enough lead to make another bullet!

Been there! It's amazing how much such a little change in diameter will make to a barrel leading.... I ended up going with the hydrogen peroxide/vinegar solution to make sure I got it all after scrubbing with a copper chore boy wrapped around a cleaning rod to get out the major pieces.... Worked great but you have to make sure not to leave it too long or it will oxygen pit the barrel.... Also is toxic so you have to be careful handling and disposing...... [thinking]
 

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Today was smelting day for the MIT range scrap. Along with some flashing, some lead pipe and a drum trap from my remodel last year there was just over 300lbs. I am guessing. Patriot had mentioned the green smoke from the flux (paper etc.) being an irritant but I was always downwind so it was never a problem.

I suspect the green smoke was from remnants of frangible ammo although I am not going to actually look for any info on that since I am done.[smile]Johnny's stuff 952.jpgIt is best to have a few muffin tins to save time and propane but the giant ladel is pretty key to a quick fill.http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/104343-How-many-rounds-did-you-shoot-this-weekendOnce I have enough lead I think I am going to make a sailboat keel just for fun. [laugh]
 
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DukeInFlorida

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Yesterday was also smelting day for some of the sailboat keel lead.

We got through all of the smaller pieces, and now just have the three remaining pieces that are too big for the pot. Was a very hot day to be smelting, but we had a good time!
 

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My understanding is that most handgun (except magnum) loads prefer softer alloys.... I have not experimented below 50/50 RL/WW (16BHN or so) since I haven't had any problem except as noted in my earlier post but there is a lot of anecdotal accounts of softer alloys (even dead soft) having better performance, particularly for light loads...

I have shot water dropped WW which measure over 22 BHN after water dropping, and my regular WW which measures 10 BHN. While I am not pushing anything over 1200, water dropping made no difference with respect to leading so I don't bother water dropping any longer. (It's all about fit so I've been told repeatedly! [smile]) I am about to start using a 50/50 WW/range lead mix and I don't expect to have any issues with leading. My range lead (9 BHN) measures close to my WW (10 BHN) lead. I might water drop some just to see what kind of change the mix makes to the hardness.

I am also about to start loading .32 Win Spl with a RCBS 170gr GC mold. Velocity is going to be around 2K but being gas checked (and working with a 1:16 barrel twist) I am not going to harden these and will use the same 50/50 mix. I will report how I do. I bought the mold and I am hoping it will drop a .324" or larger bullet as my barrel slugs out at .322". I might have to beagle the mold, or lap it, to get the drop to work for me.
 

Bob J

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Nice looking ingots.....[smile] Am waiting for colder weather when my neighbors all have their windows closed before I start smelting due to the smoke etc.... [wink]

Today was smelting day for the MIT range scrap. Along with some flashing, some lead pipe and a drum trap from my remodel last year there was just over 300lbs. I am guessing. Patriot had mentioned the green smoke from the flux (paper etc.) being an irritant but I was always downwind so it was never a problem.

I suspect the green smoke was from remnants of frangible ammo although I am not going to actually look for any info on that since I am done.[smile]View attachment 11459It is best to have a few muffin tins to save time and propane but the giant ladel is pretty key to a quick fill.http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/104343-How-many-rounds-did-you-shoot-this-weekendOnce I have enough lead I think I am going to make a sailboat keel just for fun. [laugh]
 
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