cast lead
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Thread: cast lead

  1. cast lead

    I have started a small buisness casting lead hand gun bullets.. from 32acp to 45. i have been till recently using lead wheel weights but i am having a hard time getting enough... i have started ordering pure lead from metal distrubutors. is that the kind used? i have heard of tin being added to it. whats the bennifit of tin? i am also using old lead pipes but that seems to be brighter in color. i want a brinell hardness of 18 or 19. i also drop them in icewater after they come out of the mold. any sudgetstions as to the kinds of lead i shout use?

  3. #2
    Pure lead is to soft for bullets. Wheel wieghts work fine. Have you went to all the tire shops in your area? Also try metal recyclers in your area. I believe lead pipes are also to soft. You do harden lead by adding tin. Tin is harder to find and I can not remember the ratio(its very little tin). Bullets that are to soft are not the end of world but do cause barrel leading and other problems. Changing the lead/tin mix also changes the size of the bullet that comes out of the mold. I assume you are sizing the bullets after you cast them?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    The Heart of Dixie
    I believe it's 1 part tin to 20 parts lead.... Don't take my word for it though.

  5. #4

    You should go check out the castboolits website. If you want to get into casting it's the place to be. There is info there about heat treating, different alloys, sizing and lubing, molds etc. It's also a great place to find sources of lead, tin, molds etc. There's usually one or two people selling some lead alloys there for good prices.

    Keep in mind that if you wish to sell your cast bullets the feds require you to get an FFl to do so. If I remember right it's a class 6 but I could be wrong. They want their tax cut.

    Hope to see you there.


  6. #5
    By the way, the lead pipe you have is probably pure lead or close to it, save it for special purposes unless you really need to use it. It's great for black powder balls and bullets that need to be very soft.

    Wheel weights have some tin and antimony and often times other alloys that help. The tin in the mix will allow the alloy to be heat treated by water dropping. Watch out for zinc wheel weights as just one or two will ruin a whole pot of lead. Zinc contamination is a bad thing all around in most cases.

    You can vary the hardness of your bullets by varying the alloy, primarily the tin content although .5% copper helps too but there's a trick to get it to alloy. The antimony helps with the surface tension and tends to help with good mold fill out.

    Bullets can also be heat treated after the fact by heating them in an oven then quenching them.

    Correct bullet hardness is imperative to avoid barrel leading issues. Different hardness is needed for different loads. Usually the higher the chamber pressure the harder bullet you'll want. It does make a difference. If you're casting hollowpoints you'll want to use slightly softer bullets so the HP will open properly without shearing off.

    Best of luck!


  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Does anyone case their own jacketted bullets? If so, how? Do you cast the copper jacket and then fill it with the lead? What about the legality of creating steel core slugs?
    When they "Nudge. Shove. Shoot.",
    Don't retreat. Just reload.

  8. #7
    Lyman makes some swage dies for jacketed bullets. They use copper tube cut into pieces.

    You want plenty of antimony in your melt. Thats what makes it hard. The tin is to improve the flow so it fills the molds.

    No FFL is needed to sell cast boolits AFAIK. If it is theres a helluvabunch of guys fixin to go to the hooskow

    Check out the Cast Boolits forum HERE They are a great bunch of guys.

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