View Full Version : Soft lead / cable sheathing

03-20-2018, 10:56 PM
Hi all, I'm new to casting bullets but not to reloading, I have purchased a small furnace, a couple of molds and sizing dies, I have a couple of hundred pounds of lead cable sheathing I've saved through the last many years and wanted to cast bullets and powder coat,, I'm finding the mostly pure lead seems to cast out small; even with powder coating I'm having troubles with to small of a bullet such as casting for .452 and after sizing and coating i still measure out somewhere around .450/.451,, Is this because of the close to pure lead shrinking/contracting so much as it cools? I've added small amounts of foundry alloy(antimony/tin mix) to the lead sheathing and it seemed to cast out larger but I am trying to stay away from hardening and just stop leading by powder coating, Is this even possible?
My biggest problem seems to be the bullet is so small or coating is so slick that the bullet won't stay in place with tapper, profile or factory crimp dies (9mm and 45Acp); my .44 with roll crimp holds in place a little better.. I'm new and eager to learn,, thanks for any in sight ...

03-20-2018, 11:03 PM
The cable sheathing that you have is probably as close to "pure" lead as you can get. I would add hard alloy to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 97% lead, 2% antimony, and 1% tin to powdercoat with.
The taper crimp die is probably swaging the pure lead slug under size when you put enough crimp on the case to allow chambering.

03-21-2018, 01:36 AM
Antimony makes a larger diameter bullet. I add linotype.

03-21-2018, 01:43 AM
Some of that cable sheathing had some antimony in it. Try dropping your boolits into cold water. They have less time to shrink that way. You will probably want to add about 1/10 or more of linotype to get the bhn up.

03-21-2018, 02:19 AM
wintys -------- welcome to CB
Casting boolits (lead bullets) properly is a science, once you know the basics, not a hard science.
There is a lot of good information here
1. Boolits need to be cast .0005 to .003 over the slugged diameter of your barrel for accuracy and to avoid leading. If the fit is wrong nothing else will work right.
a. slugging a barrel (it is safer to use a brass rod or a steel rod with a couple of coats of tape to avoid damaging your barrel http://7.62x54r.net/MosinID/MosinSlug.htm
b. chamber casting https://www.brownells.com/guntech/cerrosafe/detail.htm?lid=10614
or pound casting http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?356251-Pound-Cast-instructions-(for-rifle-chamber)
2. the right alloy needs to be used for the velocity and purpose of the boolit (don’t fall into the trap of going with to hard an alloy
Economical way to easily test lead hardness
Some alloys harden over time
http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_3_alloySelectionMetallurgy.ht m
different alloy’s different end sizes
Lead alloy calculator
3. velocity the bullet needs to be pushed hard/fast enough to get the proper spin, have the proper velocity to accurately reach the target but not so hard as to be dangerous or strip the lead off in the grooves instead of spinning the boolit..
Powders range from fast to slow, you need to choose the right powder for your application.
Loading manuals list the best powders for certain calibers and boolit weights.
Link to free online load data

different powder coating powders add different thicknesses to the boolit from .001 to .004 depending on the powder and application

03-21-2018, 05:28 PM
wntsy welcome to the madness of casting boolits.

Grmps great job.Now wntsy has alot of reading to do all great helpfull info.

03-21-2018, 08:25 PM
Old phone co. Shielding has 1% Sb & possibly some Sn. To prevent cold flow.

03-21-2018, 10:05 PM
Thanks everyone, I did weigh out as close to eight pound of sheathing and one pond of (Foundry- 64.5% lead, 23% antimony and 12.5% tin) with this mix 8:1 ratio by the hardness tester it came out to .060 indent or 14.3 BHN (a little harder than I was wanting) I'm trying for a heavy bowing pin round around 750/800 fps hoping the softer lead would smash and grab pins off the table. with powder coat I can get a full .452 bullet but it still won't stay put with a slide release, I did find a supposedly a roll crimp die from rcbs that I'm hoping will help with the .45acp
I added another two pound of lead at a 10:1 ratio and came out with a hardness of 9.5 BHN, closer to what I wanted but this mix cast out small at .4500 to .4515 measured with a micrometer, I tried casting at 700 up 900 degrees, air cool and water cool and nothing changed, thanks again and yes I have some reading to do :)

03-21-2018, 11:34 PM
The higher the casting temp, the more it shrinks. Roll crimp is not for 45acp. My sized and lubed boolits are .4517. The alloy is 50/50 +1% pewter (around 95% Sn). You taper crimp die should be able to provide an adequate crimp. Are you seating and crimping in separate steps?

03-22-2018, 10:09 AM
I did weigh out as close to eight pound of sheathing and one pond of (Foundry- 64.5% lead, 23% antimony and 12.5% tin) with this mix 8:1 ratio

Looking more like a mold problem, under size. Lyman?