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Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by cynicrit, May 12, 2015.
Wasn't sure whether anyone on this site casts bullets. Wanted to check before I ask a question.
A few of us, but not lately for me. Questions come up now and then, someone usually has the answer.
My bullet metal is crumbly when it cools. I melted some lead sheathing that came off of old steam lines and added some wheel weights. I'm wondering if there is some sort of contamination in the mix.
crumbly or crinkly???
if it is frosty it is over temp... cool will not fill and will crinkle..... if it crumbles you have impurities.....
wheel-weights have a lot of antimony.... you may have to source some pure lead and tin and to dilute the mix...
I'd try a small batch at correct temp... if that still doesn't work, dilute the alloy for a small batch to try it over, if that doesn't work you have too many impurities and you will likely have to scrap the lead and work with fresh metal. We've even cast with battery lead and it works fine, so I suspect you have a temp. issue... You want to be no hotter than a smooth pore temp...
Thank you Lefty.
Fluxing the melt real good can help alot of casting issues.
If the bullets are crumbly, Flux the metal with paraffin or bees wax. Sounds like the dross is coming to the top and needs to be fluxed back into the metal or skimmed off the top of the pot till your get good metal to cast with. Work slow and careful with junk metals you collect. Some have very weird additives that will not work well in the bullet pot. Good Luck in finding a cure.
I has assumed he knew proper fluxing technique. BTW, Marvelux is a better flux IMO than using wax.
I agree with the Marvelux. I helped my dad cast thousands of bullets out of wheel weights when I was younger. I can't remember ever having issues.
Sometimes we would flux more than once. I didn't understand his method on when he decided to do that, I was just following instructions.
Some wheel weights are zinc and not lead. A few of these in the smelt and you will end up with some very hard lead. I sort with a pair of dykes, the lead will gouge quite easily, the zinc will feel almost like steel.
Thanks for all the input so far. I'm thinking that I may have gotten some cntamination. Used that batch to cast a doorstop and completely emptied pot. Gonna start from scratch with a clean pot instead of trying to salvage that metal.
I agree with possible zinc contamination, years back we used to do a lot of commercial jigging in the gulf of Alaska from Cordova to Dutch Harbor and collected all the wheelweights we could get to cast 2lb - 5lb jigging and trolling sinkers, tire shops were giving the wheelweights away for free ! When that supply would temporarily dry up my old man started collecting huge worn zinc plates that came off the keels of fishing vessels and ships at the grid in the harbor, last summer I'd come across a similar crumbling and bullets would not cast properly, I had added a jigging sinker to a batch of pure lead that came from sheets of drywall I'd salvaged during a hospital reno job, thinking it was an all wheelweight sinker got me in trouble, I scrapped that zincfected batch and cast actual wheelweights and my 555 gr .500 cal bullets came out perfect,
I shoot Civil War muskets and carbine in competition at the North South Skirmish Association and we mould all of our own slugs. Currently we mould for 4 Enfield rifle-muskets, 2 1863 Sharps Carbines, and my 1860 Gallager carbine. The Enfields use Minie balls that we make out of the softest lead we can get. For the carbines, we use wheel weights because they are much harder and work better for the breech loaders and do not foul or lead the barrel one bit. We mould over a thousand bullets in a year because my Dad, Mom, and I all compete and shoot 4-5 matches a year. Each of us shoot between 75-100 rounds in a weekend when we shoot both the carbine and musket events, so we do a lot of moulding and shooting haha.
I actually miss commercial fishing, and especially jigging for black bass and ling cod.