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rusty marlin
04-05-2006, 11:42 AM
Hi, I'm new to this site, it was referenced by a shooter over on Accruateloading.com.
I posted this over there and thought I might get more feed back if I spread it around a little.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Rusty

Observations and musings about wheel weights.

First I’m new at using wheel weights for bullets. I have been using pure lead for round balls and Minies for 20 years. Started casting my own .58’s at something like 12. And then started using 20:1 lead: tin for .45-70 405HB’s. I always had known alloys to start with and my bullets almost always came out great.

I have always purchased my hard alloy bullets for my center fire pistols and rifles. The prices were reasonable and quality was great for run of the mill calibers.
Then I started to play with big slugs, 420-grain .45-70 and oddball dia. slugs like .382 for a .38-55 and either the prices were too high or the size unobtainable.
So I started to play with wheel weights and wouldn’t you know it I killed my first batch of alloy with a zinc weight (or two). I also have some other theories, as yet untested, about what went wrong with my first foray into using wheel weights for cast bullets. After fighting with poor mold fill and bullet weights that varied by as much as 10 grains, I figured out part of the problem, Zinc. But I think there are other metals too that are in wheel weights that doomed my first attempt. I took all my pre-cast ingots, about 100 pounds and tossed them in the bottom of the cabinet my bench grinder is on. At least they can do one thing right, deaden vibration in my grinding bench.

I’m getting ready to start casting again and have decided to sort my wheel weights by ductility and fracture characteristics. Maybe I’m wasting my time, but here’s what I’ve started doing. Any wheel weight that says MICRO or has a single M, P or T goes in the “good” bucket. Everything else goes in the “unknown” bucket; if it’s too small to have a code I toss them too. I have a very unscientific test that I use to determine this. I took longish (2 ½” to 3”) wheel weights of all the various letter codes I could find in my buckets, clamped one end in my bench vice and then tried to bend them 90 degrees. MICRO’s will bend 90 or beyond and might tear just a little across the outside of the bend. Good ductility, and fairly soft. The M’s act the same.
The P’s and T’s will bend 90, tear about 30% through the thickness with obvious tensile stretching and the grain structure inside is nice and tight with no voids or bubbles. Good toughness and good ductility.

The other letter codes like AL-MC, MC and others I can’t recall just now bend about 10-20 degrees and then they snap off like a piece of cast pot metal with no signs of tensile stretching. These have big voids with discolored (reddish brown) surfaces inside the bubbles and varying grain structure; small grains mixed with blobs and large grains. I have no idea how hard these are, perhaps if I cast samples from the “Good” types and heat-treat them they will act the same. But I doubt it. The clue is the voids. What is in the alloy that is out-gassing at pour? I have no idea; maybe they have high Zinc content, or Cadmium from recycled batteries, or some percentage of Aluminum. The Lyman book lists how these metals affect the bullet alloy and the descriptions pretty much match what I’m seeing.

The next step is to make a mold and cast some test samples of my sorted “Good” and “Unknown” and see if after melting and pouring the physical characteristics change.

Have any of the fellows with more experience with WW casting done anything like this?
Has this experiment been done and documented before?

Any and all constructive feedback is welcome. I just want to make the best bullets I can.

Bucks Owin
04-05-2006, 12:14 PM
Hmmm...Good post!

I have never even thought about zinc. I've had some problems with getting bullets filled out properly too with straight WW metal. My "fix" was to just use it 50/50 with linotype which seems to work fairly well. Problem I have with WWs is getting all the dern dirt out of the mix! Any recommendations regarding flux? I've just been using a little Lee alox bullet lube and I'm sure there are better "recipes"...

Dennis :Fire:

BTW, we have about the same background with casting. I too started out casting RBs and "Minie balls" for my front stuffers. This "scientific" casting for handguns is new and kinda experimental for me....

Dye
04-05-2006, 12:24 PM
rusty marlin
I would like to buy some of that contaminated alloy to mess with. It will take about 15 lb..
If you will sell me some PM me a price and your shipping address and I will send you
the money. Also would appreciate a short narrative on how you processed them.

Be carefull Dye

Dale53
04-05-2006, 12:55 PM
Many use straight wheel weights with success. I have better success if I add 2% tin. I bought my tin in extruded bars from a local refinery. I give a general "look see" when I add wheel weights to my "smelter" and remove valve cores, odd looking WW's, and other junk. That's all the sorting that I do. I put only clean metal in my casting pot. I use NEI flux, LETS flux, or LEADX flux. All of these commercial products seem to do a better job than beeswax, parafine, etc. YMMV After the metal is smelted, I only flux one time (each time I start up the pot). I get NO separation of metals.

When I want harder bullets, I add linotype (up to 5/1 WW/lino). I have a simple kitchen scale next to my bottom pour pot where I mix alloys just before casting. I also have a little postal scale there, to weigh tin (take a bar of tin and melt off the amount needed right in the molten metal - check weigh as I go with the greater accuracy of the postal scale).

Dale53

w30wcf
04-05-2006, 01:01 PM
See http://www.perfectequipment.com/non_lead.php for info on zinc wheel weights.

w30wcf

Bass Ackward
04-05-2006, 01:13 PM
Rusty,

There are many possibilities here. The easiest method is to sell some to Dye with the stipulation that he report back on it. I would do this before I added anything else to the mix that increases costs.

But if you get a wild hair, sometimes a batch can be .... saved by dillution with another batch that get's you where you want to be. But better safe than sorry. If you do decide to mix it, the best way I believe is to mix it with pure lead. That will raise the melting temperature where the zinc becomes more fluid and may work. If you go even down as far as 50/50, you can still water drop or HT for a hardness at least up to 16 BHN.

KCSO
04-05-2006, 01:13 PM
I currently have about 400 pounds of wheel weights to melt down. I just do a quick visual check and then smelt them in a big pot outdoors. I save candel stubs and use the wax for flux, I melt about 200 lbs at a time and put in about a quart of wax and keep mixing until it is all burned off. I then skim with a scoop made from a big old ladle and then flux again. If I am needing hard bullets I add 1/2 lino or for w/w mix i just throw in 5 pounds of tin to 100 pounds of w/w to help with fill out. I then pour it all inot a commercial muffin tin for ingots and stamp the alloy on the side. I usually smelt once a year and I do 1 pot of ww1 of lino ww and one of pure lead. This does me for bullets, sinkers and trading stock. I have been lucky so far as I have yet to get a zinc w/w in the mix.

454PB
04-05-2006, 01:22 PM
In the 36 years I've been melting wheelweights, I've never come across one made of Zinc. Maybe it's because they were all OLD wheelweights. I have two 5 gallon buckets that need smelting, but I'm still working on 300 lbs. of wheelweight ingots I made several years ago. Those two buckets are about 15 years old. I'm not to hot about sorting and testing them, the last time I smelted I bet it was 5 or 6 thousand individual wheelweights.

It seems to me that if a Zinc wheelweight made itself to the melting pot, it would float. Zinc is less dense and has a higher melting temperature than lead (787 degrees F)

I flux with parafin, bullet lube, crayons, motor oil, and other things unmentionable when smelting. I do this outdoors, and do the "potty dance" trying to avoid inhaling the smoke. For casting, I use Marvelux, because I cast in a shop with poor ventilation. I've used the NEI flux and a flux from a commercial lead smelter, but I can't see any difference in how well they work, only how noxious the fumes are.

The addition of 2% tin certainly makes wheelweights cast better, but I've made some fine looking boolits from straight wheelweights. Since I have a lot of linotype, that's what I use for hardness and castability. Depending on the application, I've used from 25% to 75% linotype to wheelweights. A mixture of 50% linotype and 50% pure lead is an excellent alloy, about like wheelweights with 2% tin added.:castmine:

rusty marlin
04-05-2006, 01:24 PM
Last night I picked out 6 known zinc wieghts out of about 60 pounds.

Bass Ackward, I'm not going to melt those down again unless its for balast. I've wasted too much time with that batch of alloy already and I've decided its time for a "Do Over".

w30wcf: many of the weights pictured in that link look like what I was tossing out. But the letter designations didn't match. Its "nice" of them to put a Z in the type designation so they can be easily sorted.

rbstern
04-05-2006, 01:35 PM
I've gone through a couple hundred pounds of recent wheel weights. The only sorting I do is to take the soft stick on weights out and ingot them separately. I've never experienced zinc contamination, or if I have, it hasn't shown up in the bullets. Bottom pour pot results, perhaps? I never fully empty my bottom pour, so it's entirely possible there is a layer of zinc on top, or that it gets skimmed off with the flux.

Calamity Jake
04-05-2006, 01:48 PM
You can save that zink contaminated mix by remelting at as low a temp as possible, the zink will float to the top and can be skimmed off.
After the questionable mix is just liquid turn down the heat a little then stur and let it set 10-15 minutes then skim the top, repeat these steps 5-10 times depending on amount of contamination, then flux again an cast some boolets to check fillout, if still bad then skim somemore.

mooman76
04-05-2006, 02:02 PM
I'm not sure if it correct or not but I've been told the zink WW will stay shiney when the lead gets that dull finish after awhile!

rusty marlin
04-05-2006, 02:16 PM
many o fthe new ww have a poly coating to keep them from staining alloy wheels, so shiney or not is not a good indicator. Infact all the Zinc ones I pulled last night were painted black. They are flat and screw holes in them.

Duckiller
04-05-2006, 04:44 PM
I have found zinc in wheel weights from various shops. I sort to get rid of trash and zinc. Inaddition to being riveted to clips zinc is lighter than lead and harder. Anything that is suspious is set aside and checked with a knife point. If hard to scratch out it goes. I smelt with a turkey cooker and cast iron pot. Watch the temperature, Zinc melts at a high temp and floats. Once the lead starts to melt I reduce the gas and take a little longer to get lead melted. Even with hand sorting a few wheel weights float to the surface. These are scooped off and thrown away. Slotted spoon from the local Thrift store works real good to remove anything I don't want in the melt. Need to flux often and stir deep. Somehow some weights stick/stay at the bottom of the pot without deep stirring. Calamity Jake's method may salvage the contaminated mix. May loose a little tin/antimony but you would save the lead. I also sort out stick on weights and make seperate ingots. Zinc also appears in stick on weights. With low melting temp the Zinc was easy to scoop out. Best method I have foundto avoid zinc is to sort carefully and melt at low temp. Duckiller

Springfield
04-06-2006, 06:59 PM
I do like Duckkiller, melt at the lowest temp possible and scoop out the silver lump that floats to the top. Might be lead, might be zinc, but if it don't melt with everything else, out it goes. I can afford to lose a couple of pounds of lead in a 600 pound batch. My bullets always come out great so I must be doing something right. When I sort the wheelweights I also take out the stick ons, and any that look different than traditional weights, especially flat ones with holes in them.

Greg5278
04-06-2006, 09:12 PM
I had never had a zinc problem until a few weeks ago., I clean my weights in 100-150# batches in a large dutch oven on a turkey burner. I usually keep the temp below 600-650F to keep Zinc weights from melting. I left the burner on 3/4 heat for a while when doing yard work, and came back to a pot that was over 800F. I fluxed and skimmed the mix. It would not fill the mold very well. The surface of the melt would look like silver oatmeal flakes when stirred. I can only assume that zinc is the culprit. I get all of my WW for free, so I will discard the alloy for scrap or fishing sinkers. I am fortunate, the tire shop calls me when they get 300-1500#, and gives me an additional discount on my tires. Greg

NVcurmudgeon
04-06-2006, 09:16 PM
Duckiller, I sort weights much as you do, with two exceptions. After sorting out trash and saving tape-on weights for bore slugs or giving/trading to muzzle loader shooters, I set aside any that look suspicious. The few JDLR (just don't look right, a phrase I learned from friends in law enforcement,) are first magnet tested. Most of the riveted weights I have seen proved to be iron or steel. The remainder are melted separately and most prove to be lead alloy, which join the "normal" weights in being made into ingots. Over the last ten years and 1000+ lbs. of WW, I have found two weights that did not fit into the above categories. One was a flat weight with holes that appeared to be plastic, as it stayed on the surface, assumed a spherical shape, and melted away. The other was riveted, non magnetic, and hard. This may have been zinc. I don't worry much about zinc because it has a much higher melting point than anybody needs to use for smelting. YMMV!

6pt-sika
04-08-2006, 12:00 AM
Rusty marlin , I live in Orange County VA , where you at in the northern neck ? Reedville by chance ?

6pt-sika
04-08-2006, 12:01 AM
Rusty marlin , I live in Orange County VA , where you at in the northern neck ? Reedville by chance ?

6pt-sika
04-08-2006, 12:03 AM
Rusty Marlin , I'm in Orange VA , where are you in the northern neck ? Reedville perhaps ?

Blacktail 8541
04-08-2006, 01:44 PM
I use a big homemade burner that is capable of putting out a lot of heat very quickly, but I only use it to bring everthing up to temp without the long wait. After things start to melt good I turn down the heat and any weight that is floating with the clips get tossed. Don't Know if they are Zinc or not and don't care. Just know that the loss of a couple of weights do not amount to much out of each pot. So why risk it.

rusty marlin
04-10-2006, 08:49 AM
6pt-sika
I'm in Westmoreland County.
Hopfully this week I'll get some time to play with casting. I played with my .22-250 yesterday, getting ready for groundhogs.
I have a thermometer and have been casting hot, 800-825. I'll cool things down some and see what "floats up".

Dye, I have a box ready to go. I need to take it to the PO and get a quote. For some reason the PO clerk wouldn't give me a quote without the pakg on the scale. beats me why, i would have thought they could look it up on a chart.
wieght+ZIP=charge :rolleyes:

ANeat
04-10-2006, 10:07 AM
As for shipping; You can look it up at USPS.com . Also you can get a Priority flat rate box that is 8.5 X 11 X 5 deep. The boxes are free, The shipping price is $8.40 or something like that and you can ship whatever you can fit in it up to 70 pounds. Its great for shipping things like lead and brass that used to be such a pain to ship.

Adam

Dye
04-10-2006, 11:22 AM
Rusty

A PM coming.

Be carefull Dye

buck1
04-10-2006, 08:22 PM
Every batch now I seem to find more and more. But a low temp melt takes them out with the clips.......Buck

lefty_red
05-01-2006, 10:13 AM
I think my batch is done for! I finished sorted what's left and I'm getting around 50% zinc wws. This sucks...

Jerry

Dye
05-01-2006, 01:14 PM
lefty red
50% seams high unless you are getting your ww from a European Dealership.
There is a lot of steel weights in the small sizes.I will pay shipping for the zinc
weights and the the plastic ones that cuts easily with a knife . I am doing some testing on zinc contamination. PM me if you want to take the time to mess with it

Be carefull
Dye

Beau Cassidy
05-01-2006, 03:56 PM
Is that a verified zinc ww or assumed zinc? Your numbers just don't seem right. I have never had any problems with zinc contamination and that is with with melting a bunch and I do mean a bunch of ww. Have they been there? Probably. My SOP is if it one of the last few left ww in the pot when the majority are melted then it gets trashed. I certainly don't mind letting a few unusual ww go in the trash at the expense of ruining a 75 lb. pot of lead.

Beau

lefty_red
05-01-2006, 04:06 PM
All post pics of the assumed zinc WWs, but they match the same ones from the website that was given earlier.

Jerry

lefty_red
05-01-2006, 04:43 PM
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/936c0f78.jpg


Here they are The ones on the left are SUSPECTED ZINC WHEEL WEIGHTS, and their codes are as follows, MC, AW, AL-MC. THe AW is the only one I'm not sure about.

THe ones on the right are SUPPOSELY GOOD WHEEL WEIGHTS: MICRO, P, T, M. I like the MICRO and M and P, but the T series looks awful like the MC series on the inside.

Jerry

Duckiller
05-01-2006, 04:59 PM
I would probably throw ALL of those weights into my melt pot. Most of my zinc weights are riveted to clips. Have none on hand now to show. Will visit my scouces in a week or so and will probably get some to photograph. Kids( adult age ) will be able to figure out how to post if I can't. That is why we had them, just didn't know it at the time. Duckiller

lefty_red
05-01-2006, 05:07 PM
I'm getting a pile of oatmeal like junk in my pot when I reheat at low temps. What's that?

Jerry

lefty_red
05-01-2006, 05:12 PM
The inside of the wheel weights are like pourous and bittle, like the oatmeal stuff I scoop out. What's that? Except for the P, M, and MICRO series.

Once again, I'm getting up to 18 grains of diffentences in weights on FILLED OUT MOLDS. I can put some of the bullets side by side and they look the same except for the coloring. But they are very different in weight. And its not the mold not filling out, too cold, too hot, are whatever. I used plain lead this weekend, stuff I had leftover from my flintlock days, and I got good bullets quick and easy. This alloy in the WWs is ****!

Jerry

Old Ironsights
05-01-2006, 05:38 PM
I'm getting a pile of oatmeal like junk in my pot when I reheat at low temps. What's that?

Jerry
Prolly Zinc. But whatever it is, if it stays (semi) solid at lw temperatures, you don'tneed it in your alloy.... IMO...

Doc - J
05-01-2006, 06:04 PM
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/936c0f78.jpg


Here they are The ones on the left are SUSPECTED ZINC WHEEL WEIGHTS, and their codes are as follows, MC, AW, AL-MC. THe AW is the only one I'm not sure about.

THe ones on the right are SUPPOSELY GOOD WHEEL WEIGHTS: MICRO, P, T, M. I like the MICRO and M and P, but the T series looks awful like the MC series on the inside.

Jerry

Anyone know what the number on the right side means?

lefty_red
05-01-2006, 06:16 PM
I'm think weight in grams.

Or possible a sub type series number.

Jerry

After reading the website again, it did some looking into these new wheel weights. They are not rivited on.

Jerry

Dye
05-01-2006, 06:25 PM
The inside of the wheel weights are like pourous and bittle, like the oatmeal stuff I scoop out. What's that? Except for the P, M, and MICRO series.

Once again, I'm getting up to 18 grains of diffentences in weights on FILLED OUT MOLDS. I can put some of the bullets side by side and they look the same except for the coloring. But they are very different in weight. And its not the mold not filling out, too cold, too hot, are whatever. I used plain lead this weekend, stuff I had leftover from my flintlock days, and I got good bullets quick and easy. This alloy in the WWs is ****!

Jerry

lefty red
You stated there was a color difference, did they have a redish,blueish tinge to them.
Also on the fill out was their a small area, usually near the top, that was nice and shiney but no reason for it, not like a cold mould that usually has a wrinkle in it.

Be carefull
Dye

lefty_red
05-01-2006, 08:43 PM
Nope, its not that Dye. Like I said before, I could get two "twin" bullets together identicial in diameter (gunsmith checked) and they would still weigh up to 10 to 12 grains different.

I just don't get it, I can load near perfect bullets and RBs with pure lead, but this damn WW thing has me baffled. I will admit if I'm doing something wrong, and will welcome corrections. And the Blackhawk is shooting great with factory cast and jacketed bullets. So I just don't know what is it except for the WW alloy that I got.

Jerry

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
05-01-2006, 10:13 PM
Jerry,

Try this:

1. I didn't see if you had a thermometer or not, but if not, get one.
2. Heat the lead up very slowly and carefully to just 650 degrees, no more.
3. Flux and stir the lead a lot using sawdust as a flux. Keep skimming out anything that doesn't look like quicksilver.
4. After you think you've fluxed enough, flux it again a few times more.
5. Once it's good and shiny and appears clear at 650 Degrees F, then pour your ingot molds full.
6. Try casting it making sure of a clean and properly heated mold and flux. Make sure to cast at temps low enough the Zinc can't melt.

BTW, I just recently ran through a couple buckets of wheel weights. I kept my temperature around or below 650 Degrees F. When I got ready to skim the clips, dirt and trash, there were several Zinc wheel weights floating in the trash. I simply skimmed them out because I was below their melt temperature. I'm sure you can do the same.

Dave

rusty marlin
05-02-2006, 09:23 AM
Lefty,
You have the exact same problems I am expirencing. This is the whole reason I startd this thread.
Thank you.

lefty_red
05-02-2006, 09:59 AM
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/PICT0001.jpg


Here's a pic of the stuff at lower heat for three hours. I've got some "liquid" bt mostly this stuff.

Jerry

lefty_red
05-02-2006, 10:01 AM
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/PICT0002.jpg

Here's some of the stuff cooled.
Jerry

Dye
05-02-2006, 11:25 AM
lefty red
On your picture of wheel weights,the number on the left is weight in ounces.The number on the right is the weight in grams and the number in the middle is the type of wheel flange it fits. All the weights that you have pictured look good.
The picture that shows the spoon has the reddish,blueish tinge I was asking about. I have 2# of zinc coming so I can get a standard on what we are up against.

Be carefull Dye

lefty_red
05-02-2006, 05:02 PM
Dye

What's the color got to do with it? It isn't going to "do" things to me is it? Sorry, I'f I don't laugh, I would cry right now at the possible lost of $75 in WWs.

BTW, if you want some of my stock, PM and I'll pay the shipping as a little "chipping in" to figure out wha tthe hell is going on.

RIght now, I've picked through what left of the WWs and using only the MICROs, they seem to be the "leadiest" of the bunch. Its only about five pounds worht, but its a start. That $0.40 a pound for lead is looking pretty good now...


Jerry

garandsrus
05-02-2006, 09:16 PM
Lefty,

Most folks on this board are far more experienced at smelting than me, but to me the stuff you have on top looks like tin. This is probably a lot of tin for wheel weights, but who knows what was really in them.

When you had the melt at a low temperature, did you flux it? I mean REALLY flux it? I melted some linotype and had what looked like the same stuff on top, but I knew it was tin. I added a big handfull of sawdust and a candle stub to the pot, lit it, and stirred. All the stuff on top was absorbed back into the melt and the pot turned shiny silver.

With the wheel weights you think are Zinc, did you try to scratch them with a sharp knife? You can cut slivers from the lead weights but the Zinc one's will only yield little chips as the knife chatters. I haven't tried to cut slivers from a mix heavy in Tin, so I don't know what it would do.

John

454PB
05-02-2006, 09:36 PM
That's antimony causing the slush. Turn up the heat!

Beau Cassidy
05-02-2006, 09:44 PM
When I see the slush, I know temp is to low. I just let it set a few more minutes and flux. Doing that usually takes care of the slush.

Beau

BigSlick
05-03-2006, 03:14 AM
I've been hangin' around running searches and trying to read up as much as possible and this thread is perfectly timed.

I plan on doing my first melt in about a week or so, and if I saw the stuff in the pics I would be discouraged as hell.

Mainly due to ignorance on my part, but this is just another post that typifies the helpful attitude around this forum.

I've got about a bucket full of ww's together now, so I'm hoping it will be enough to start with.

I don't have a thermometer, so I will have to get one.

Is the stuff in the pics good, bad or real bad ?

Thanks

BigSlick
________
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (http://newjersey.dispensaries.org/)

Finn45
05-03-2006, 04:11 AM
I've found many different zinc weights, but none of them with riveted clip. All riveted ones have been iron without a question.

Best method for clearing out zinc weight from a lead alloy one is to use knife or cutting pliers as I did with my latest batch. If you have true zinc weight and lead alloy weight in your hand, it's not possible to not to recognize the difference if you just squeeze both with your pliers. It's very clear difference. Lead weight alloy, hard or softer is clearly malleable but zinc is kind of brittle and very hard.

According to Lyman #3, it's possible to separate zinc from lead alloy by heating technique, but it's not possible to separate the last about 2% of it...

Here's something from my last sorting, also link to older zinc thread is there:

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=6484

garandsrus
05-03-2006, 09:14 AM
Bigslick,

"Is the stuff in the pics good, bad or real bad ?"

If the stuff in the picture is Antimony or Tin, it's good...

John

lefty_red
05-03-2006, 09:19 AM
Ok, I'm trying it agian today. I'm setting the Lee pot to 4 and seeing if I can get her to melt everything and then flux the hell out of it since this seems to be the main suggestions. Also, I don't think I fluxed it that well, so this might be the "missing link" in my saga. At least its the only other thing I can think that I might have not did like it should have been done or at all.

About the "other" WWs, the double letter ones. When broken into, they are pourous and tend not to bend but snap off. The MICROs and the P series and the M series are the only ones that bend and are solid looking in the middle. Even the T series looks pourous and casts brittle. If these weird WWs are not zinc, they might just be a new alloy to replace lead for a nontoxic WWs.

Jerry, backtracking and staring from the begining AGAIN!

454PB
05-03-2006, 11:13 AM
Lefty, try about 8 on your Lee pot. Once it's well heated and fluxed, cast about 50 boolits. If the boolits are not filling out, very dull and not crystalline (as in frosted), and weigh 5% less than advertised, you may have Zinc contaminated alloy. Your pictures don't show me contamination, they show me that your alloy is way too cold.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
05-03-2006, 11:51 AM
Jerry,

The one thing I've noticed reading the posts is I don't see you mentioning your actual lead temperature. I'm assuming from this you haven't yet gotten a thermometer. From my recent few smelts, but with fairly large quantities of wheel weights, I've learned enough to know that while you don't absolutely need a thermometer, you're way money and marbles ahead to spend the little bit of money to buy one and monitor your lead temperature so you KNOW where you're at, rather than guessing what temperature you're at.

I think part of your frustration has been probably been caused either by having the temperature too high and melting zinc weights into your alloy or by having the temperature too low and not getting it hot enough to melt the lead.

I would strongly urge you to get a thermometer if you don't have one so you won't have to guess what temperature you're at, you'll know and be able to better control your results.

www.antimonyman.com

Just my .02,

Dave

lefty_red
05-03-2006, 12:51 PM
Dave

I agree wholeheartly that I need a therometer. I wish now I ordered one instead of the calibers that I needed this payperiod! But then hindsight is 20/20.....

Jerry

lefty_red
05-03-2006, 02:55 PM
Here's two bullets I just casted (top two) and two that I casted last week (bottom two). The two that I just casted were casted via directions by the members posting on the thread, flux the hell out of it, turn pot up to 8, and water cooled. The other two were from the last of a group of around 700 bullets. The bottom two were also sorted by weight.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/PICT0003.jpg


Here's four bullets, from the same mold, be casted by another member who used his own stock.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/PICT0004.jpg


Here's a close up of the bullet from my stock.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/PICT0005.jpg

Here's a close up of the other member's bullet, same mold, different stock.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d48/JRHCDH1993/PICT0006.jpg

I noticed mine just isn't filling out like I want. The mold is hot ( these top two bullets were sorted from a group of 65 bullets that I started to keep after casting 25 to warm the mold up), I fluxed the hell out of the alloy, the mold is clean and smoked and they are dropping out of it like butter. Any other suggestions other than this alloy is ****? Maybe not zinc, but too much of something not lead. Add 50% lead to the mix? Add some tin?

Jerry

lefty_red
05-03-2006, 03:08 PM
Also, on the top bullets, the ones I just casted and casted a week ago, they have one side looking pretty go. I mean, everything is squared off, and the other side is rounded off.

I just weighed the bullets also. Using the SD, I got a SD of .4grs with my bullets and a SD of .2 with the other members stock casted bullets. The average was the same at 240.2 for a Lee SWC 240 grain mold.

Jerry

Beau Cassidy
05-03-2006, 03:15 PM
You need more "filling pressure" as I call it. You need to move your mold closer to the spout. Looks good otherwise- just rounded edges.

Beau

lefty_red
05-03-2006, 04:40 PM
Beau

Thought of that, I'll put that down on my list of things "to do" on tomorrows castings. But, I'm pretty close, no more than an inch away from it. I'm thinking of using a ladle to see if it helps also.

Jerry

lefty_red
05-03-2006, 06:04 PM
Ok, I am getting better fill out with the mold right up on the spout, but its still not 100% and I am getting alloy everywhere do to not being able to see.

A question about the distance from the spout to the mold. Does it matter what pressure the alloy is coming out of the spout? With the LEE pot, the pressure is less when its not as full and since I am not able to see the dilling holding it that close, I don't let it come out that fast. Does this effect the filling of my molds and not leaving my bullets with nice sharp square edges but with rounded edges?

Jerry

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
05-03-2006, 06:21 PM
Dave

I agree wholeheartly that I need a therometer. I wish now I ordered one instead of the calibers that I needed this payperiod! But then hindsight is 20/20.....

Jerry


(Grin) Jerry, I'm totally sympathetic. Been there, done that kinda thing myself. Hang in there and don't get discouraged. It looks like your boolits are improviing, maybe you just need some tin. Casting is different than smelting in my mind. I'd cast at a hotter temperature, once I was sure I'd cleaned the lead as much as I could.

Regards,

Dave

Slowpoke
05-03-2006, 07:13 PM
Dave

I agree wholeheartly that I need a therometer. I wish now I ordered one instead of the calibers that I needed this payperiod! But then hindsight is 20/20.....

Jerry

Olive oil used as flux will not flash until real close to 800 *, you could try this as a down and dirty temperature gauge. I haven't read the whole thread have you been able to cast a frosted bullet?

Get your melt hot enough so the oil will flash and continue burning on its own, you might have to light the smoke at first, if the flame goes out with in a second or two you are not at 800* yet..After you get a good 5 -10 second burn and the flame goes out and the pot quits smoking skim off the dross (black goo ), float your WARM CLEAN mold on the melt for a count of 12., fill the mold. Report back.

Use at least a full teaspoon of oil, a little more would not hurt.. It will smoke terrible bad until hot enough to flash so be prepared!

If you do the above and still get poor fill out, you can eliminate temperature as the culprit!

Good luck

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
05-03-2006, 08:31 PM
I would make note that you don't need quite that much time heating the mold if you have an aluminum mold. You can just do two or three bullet dumps and a Lee aluminum mold will be warmed up. Toss the initial bullets back in the pot.

lefty_red
05-04-2006, 08:47 AM
Ok, the next thing to dois get some soldering tin. Who much (length) do I add to the pot? I read here, someone elses post, that it was 18 to 24". Can anyone back that up? I have a Lee 10# pot, but my guess is more like 8#.

Jerry

swampmaster
05-05-2006, 04:43 AM
It might have been in one of my posts and I have been using about 24 inches to 36 inches in a 22 pound RCBS Pot

lefty_red
05-05-2006, 08:52 AM
Swamp

Thanks for replying.

I filled up my pot and made bars and weighed them. I can get 10# in it. So 2% of tin equals 3.2 ounces.

Jerry

Uncle Grinch
05-05-2006, 09:37 AM
Even though I have not had these type porblems with my

smelting, I have found this thread to be very informative and

intersting. The comments, follow-ups, and photos have really

added value to this forum!!

This is the way to educate... learn from our peers.

swampmaster
05-05-2006, 03:40 PM
Swamp

Thanks for replying.

I filled up my pot and made bars and weighed them. I can get 10# in it. So 2% of tin equals 3.2 ounces.

Jerry

I have to also remind myself that 50/50 is only half tin so I must double the amounts to make the 2 percent and I dont really weigh it I just sorta quess but I could do a better job :oops:

lefty_red
05-05-2006, 11:27 PM
I think I got this alloy thing worked out. Thanks for everyone's input. I know this has went a 180 from zinc in WWs, but I still think that the alloy thats coming out in the newer WWs are going to be less adapted for casting.

Jerry

snowtigger
05-07-2006, 11:31 AM
I have to also remind myself that 50/50 is only half tin so I must double the amounts to make the 2 percent and I dont really weigh it I just sorta quess but I could do a better job :oops:
The solder currently required for soldering domestic water lines is 95/5 ( 95% tin/ 5% antimony). You can get it at any plumbing supply store.
With this solder, you need only unroll the 1 lb roll of solder, bend it in half, cut it, bend each half, and cut it again. You now have four pieces, each weighing right at four ounces,
This added to a 20lb pot will add about 1% tin, and a smidge of antimony. I usually refill the pot when it is half full, so this much tin adds up to two percent, works for me.

sundog
05-10-2006, 11:00 AM
These are some NOGO wheel weights

http://home.valornet.com/corkyconnell/photos/nogo_wws.jpg

Old Ironsights
05-10-2006, 02:39 PM
Heck, those barely look like wheel weights anyway. IMO if they ain't roundish & cast looking with the tab cast into the weight itself, it gets tossed aside.