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Thread: Powder Coating Boolits

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Powder Coating Boolits

    Fess up - who else is doing it? I have been playing with it a little and just went on a casting marathon last week so I'd have plenty to coat. From my understanding you do not need lube when you powder coat your boolits as the powder (in it's cured state of course) on the boolit provides a barrier from the lead to the bore as a copper jacket does.

    I've shot several 300 Blackout boolits that were coated with no ill effects (bore is clean afterwards, certainly no leading!) But several questions remain:

    1. Size before or after coating? My thought; size before so the coating provides that barrier and seals the bore better.

    2. If no lube is needed, then are lube *grooves* needed? Essentially you are putting on a polymer jacket at that point; are we just conditioned that we need these grooves or could they be removed for powder coated boolits? (i.e. paper patch boolit designs?) These things are pretty slick, and glide right through the sizer as if they were lubed (and lubed very well!)

    3. Are gas checks necessary? Will the powder coat serve to eliminate gas cutting at higher speeds? - which brings me to the last question:

    4. What's the fastest speed you can send one of these pills down the bore? From what little I've seen most (if not all) people are running these in handguns at or near subsonic speeds. I've been shooting them (I've shot maybe 50-75) at subsonic speeds through my 300 Blackout.

    Having said all that - my method so far seems to be working, one of the tricks I'm using is to actually coat the aluminum foil with a fairly dense coat BEFORE I place the boolits on; that way the bottom of the boolit gets coated AND it creates a sort of aluminum foil "gas check" at the same time; meaning there's no exposed lead. I'm still trying to perfect that process though as they're difficult to remove from the foil and when I run them through the sizer, it just makes a collar below the boolit's bottom that I have to pick off with my fingernails. Might have to make a simple trimmer for it.

    Here's some 300 Blackout rounds I did a while back for a visual reference:



    I cast some 9mm and 45's that I'm coating this week as tests, too. Waiting on brass to come in before I can load them though!
    Last edited by Ken73; 07-24-2014 at 03:31 PM.

  2. #2
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    Good work! I don't know what your velocity limit will be before you need gas checks, but it will probably vary with bore size (smaller=faster) and the limiting factor on check-less boolits will likely be accuracy, not leading. You'll just have to try some higher-velocity loads and see.

    I wouldn't lose any sleep over the ridge of paint left on the bases after sizing, shoot some with and without and observe the difference. Neither would I worry about exposed lead on the bases, it's not like it will melt from powder gas. I use paper wads on the bases of some plain-based boolits and the discs can be recovered a few yards ahead of the muzzle on the ground with at most a little soot on them.

    Gear

    PS I'm assuming you've looked over the powder coating thread in this sub-forum? It shouldn't be more than a few pages back, and is a long one.
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    Gear, yes I looked (and even posted in) the other thread; but it was varying in topic (i.e. there are other coatings out there that are not powder coating) and also talked about graphite/moly lube, but didn't get into the specifics of actually powder coating boolits so I thought I'd bring it up separately.

    My brass came in this afternoon and I have a handful of coated boolits to try so I'll see about punching some holes with standard commercial ammo, then with mine and see what I come up with.

    I wasn't sure about the exposed lead - I've been shooting that in my 300 Blackout with no apparent ill effects. I did cast some lighter boolits (160gn) for the 300, that I want to shoot faster so I'll see how that goes as well. Can you shoot gas-check-type boolits without a check if you're not going too fast?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    yep.....
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  5. #5
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    loob gruuves give a displacement zone for the lead to go when the lands crush it...which helps relieve internal stress within the boolit. If I were doing what YOU are doing I would use a plainbased or bevel based lee tumblelube type boolit. A properly powdercoated boolit that has been cured should be able to run full speed for the cartridge. That is a W.A.G theory supported by my experience with other "jacket" materials. I had best luck with post sizing the cured boolit but your efforts look better than mine did.


    Your powder coating skills far surpass mine. I would like to hear about your method of attack.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by 357maximum View Post
    loob gruuves give a displacement zone for the lead to go when the lands crush it...which helps relieve internal stress within the boolit. If I were doing what YOU are doing I would use a plainbased or bevel based lee tumblelube type boolit.
    So far that's all I've shot is the Lee TL309-230-5R for the 300 (in the picture above.) My 9mm and 45 are both standard groove boolits but I'm looking at picking up the tumble lube versions of both. I had thought about the displacement zone but wanted to hear other's input.

    A properly powdercoated boolit that has been cured should be able to run full speed for the cartridge. That is a W.A.G theory supported by my experience with other "jacket" materials.
    Your W.A.G. is better than mine! I am going to try some 160 grainers for my 300 Blackout at higher speed to see what happens. Really wish I had some sort of boolit trap to recover these. I know there are plans but I don't have the materials at the moment.

    I had best luck with post sizing the cured boolit but your efforts look better than mine did.

    Your powder coating skills far surpass mine. I would like to hear about your method of attack.
    Bought the wife a new toaster oven that she really liked, and took hers for the project. (Wife gets a new one, I get an old one, everyone is happy!) Bought a handheld all-in-one powder coating gun off Amazon (>$40) and already had some powders. Line the tray of the toaster oven with aluminum foil, stand (clean) boolits up on the foil and ground the tray - then coat! I'd suggest ventilating in some fashion as the powder is EXTREMELY fine (as I'm sure you know) and not necessarily good for you. I wear a dust mask when I coat just to be safe and have a fan blowing out the door directly behind where I coat. There's no fumes of course, but that fine particulate dust isn't good for your lungs. Make sure you give it a good heavy coat and bake at 400 degrees for 20+ minutes. Ding! Boolits are done. The trickiest part is standing up the tall skinny boolits and not knocking them over, followed by getting them off the foil as the cured coat forms a small "fillet" at the bottom.

    If there's any interest, I can post a step-by-step.

  7. #7
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    I'm interested in how they shoot, accuracy, fouling, etc. Once you get this method all proven out at the range, a short tutorial of the process with pics would be very much appreciated. We get the idea, but the devil is always in the details.

    My only concern is that 400F is pretty near the anneal point of many lead alloys. If you get them too hot and cool them slowly they will become very soft. Now, if you were able to take them from the oven and dump them all into a bucket of water at once without messing up the powder coat, you could harden and coat at the same time.

    Gear
    You can't fix Stupid, but you can occasionally head it off before it hurts something. --Stephen Adams

    To universalize one's experience and state it as the norm is always thin ice on which to stand.--CharGar

    Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been a valuable skill in all of life's activities. --Bwana


  8. #8
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    400 degrees is a slow degrees for biggie diameter boolits which means baking at more than an hour for a good heat treatment. What happens to the paint when 20 minutes is exceeded, like for an hour? However, for hunting boolits the 20 minutes might be appropriate. Water jug tests required? What happens at 450 degrees for 30 minutes? Boolits more accurate than 400 at 20? Fun and games galore! ... felix
    felix

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    i don't think 20 minutes is going to affect the alloy all that much.
    i'd be more comfortable at 375 though.
    i'm seeing a possibility of shooting soft alloys at higher velocitys though.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  10. #10
    Boolit Master bstarling's Avatar
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    Very interesting, one quick question. Is the coating gun the Craftsman one on Amazon?

    Thanks for the idea!

    Bill

  11. #11
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    Lead alloy looses all tempering at 300 degrees, 200 is entirely safe. ... felix
    felix

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by bstarling View Post
    Very interesting, one quick question. Is the coating gun the Craftsman one on Amazon?
    Yep! I actually have the big Harbor Freight one as well from back when I coated car parts, but the Craftsman one is so much simpler and easier to use. You can still get the additional cups through other vendors, so I bought 4 additional ones for the powders I typically use (transparent red/green/blue/copper.)

    I'll keep testing and report back as I can..

  13. #13
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    Ken, the colors look interesting. Use military standards? Black for HARD, red for SOFT boolits. ... felix
    felix

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    i was thinking slump from a tin alloy in the heat.
    pulling off a 30/40-1 type alloy at 24-2500 fps would have some usefulness around here.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have powder coated pistol bullets with good results. I am extremely intrigued by your black out bullets. I would love to see what 160 and even 125 grain bullets would do. The powder coating seems to be very tough.

  16. #16
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    Cured powder coated lead is tougher than woodpecker lips. I have actually smashed large coated jighead totally flat without splitting/cracking the coating. My coating was pro-tec powder paint for fishin lurs.

    I personally do not see a problem with the heat for curing as I believe anything a bit harder than pure lead will survive well even at J-word speeds. But I confess to not actually giving it a thorough testing as my application method sucked. I will look into the spray gun and give it a whirl at full throttle someday as this issue will not quite leave the ol grey matter. For right now though gun seasaon beckons me.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master bstarling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken73 View Post
    Yep! I actually have the big Harbor Freight one as well from back when I coated car parts, but the Craftsman one is so much simpler and easier to use. You can still get the additional cups through other vendors, so I bought 4 additional ones for the powders I typically use (transparent red/green/blue/copper.)

    I'll keep testing and report back as I can..
    Thanks Ken, just ordered one. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

    Bill

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Keeping Aluminum Foil From Sticking To Bullet Base

    A conductive coating could be applied to the aluminum foil before the bullets are set up.

    A thin layer of carbon from an acetylene cutting torch with the oxygen turned off should make a conductive coating of carbon that the powder coating would not stick to the aluminum foil.

    I too apply powder coat to pistol bullets with very good results.

    The powder coat results in no lead in the barrel and the barrel is very clean after several hundred of fired rounds.

    The next time I coat some bullets I will try coating the foil with carbon from a cutting torch.

    I tried some case lube one time in a very thin layer on the foil but the lube sort of insulated the bullets and the powder coat did not stick very well.

    Picture of bullets for 380 Auto, powder coared with cola can gas checks installed

    Just an idea on how to keep the powder coating from sticking to the foil.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    The real issue with the powder coating and the foil isn't so much the conductivity, as it is that the powder just "falls" there anyway, and forms a small fillet there during curing. If no gas check is needed then it's not an issue at all; plain base boolits will have the fillet removed when resizing and gas check boolits won't really matter (though I would be concerned about it affecting the flight and causing the boolit to tumble.) The solution there is either to add a gas check or modify the mold to make it a plain base (if indeed we can run these boolits at higher speeds with no issues.)

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hey guys....been searching far and wide for more info on this. I got my powder in yesterday and gun will be here tomorrow. I have about 160 of the blackout 230 grain boolits made up and Im gonna give them a coat of flat black powder coat. I mean after all it is a "blackout" right??? What do you clean the bullets with before coating??

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check