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Thread: High Copper Alloys- Lets discuss this further

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    High Copper Alloys- Lets discuss this further

    So, 357maximum, has a thread going in the huntin' section about a few fellers playing with a high copper alloy.
    I want to know more about this, and didn't want to hi-jack that thread any more than it already has been.

    The talk was of tinning copper strand wire and then adding it to an alloy till the precipitation point is reached.
    I understand the basics of this, but would like to understand more specifics, such as how hot you need to run the melt to do this,
    how you tell when the precipitation point has been reached etc. The resulting high strength, but still malleable boolit is what I find very interesting.
    I would love to be able to shoot cast in a high velocity hunting boolit without having to resort to paper patching. Jwords are just to expensive anymore,
    and I'd like to be more self sufficient anyway. Here in MT, on the west most shots can be had at 100 yards or less, but the east prairie side, shots to 300+ yards can be expected.
    1100 fps cast boolits don't shine very well in that situation.
    So, any chance of discussion about this turning into a tutorial?
    Last edited by Jim Flinchbaugh; 11-08-2013 at 12:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Lefty SRH's Avatar
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    I've been playing with the higher copper contant alloys but I haven't done the copper wire tinning. Someone will chime in soon, I'm sure.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master John in WI's Avatar
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    Could you post a link to the original thread? I tried the search function and didn't come up with anything.
    I've been trying to find information on lead/copper alloys. And the sources either seem to say that it's an impurity to be avoided, or that in small doses it toughens the alloy (which I would be interested in doing). I'm curious to know how it works. If it's just a matter of tinning stranded wire and mixing it in, it might be worth playing with! I have some heavy copper wire, but the individual strands are about 0.1mm. So the actual surface area of copper is enormous. So it's a matter of making a copper/tin alloy, and then dissolving that in the lead?
    Too much of a good thing is an awesome thing!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    he is talking about tinning stranded speaker wire.
    you need tin in the alloy to precipitate the copper and help keep it in suspension.
    the copper forms a matrix on the skin of the boolit as it cools.
    a decent alloy is 2% tin added to ww's and .5% copper added.
    a really good/hard copper alloy jim might be interested in is 3% copper 7% antimony and 10% tin if you want it really hard adding 1% zinc will take the alloy even further.
    you'll want to cover the alloy and run the heat up closer to 800-f for this one, and keep the mold right on the edge of frosting [about 380-f]
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

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

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    You will need acid flux to enable the precipitant

  6. #6
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    The solubility of Cu in Sn:

    0.7% at 440*F notice this is a common lead free solder compostition Sn-Cu
    1.5% at 482*F
    2.7% at 572*F
    4.5% at 662*F
    6.8% at 752*F

    use a fine stranded copper conductor it will go faster.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. H.L. Mencken

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    While the info here is part of the equation, the equation is still missing!
    Step 1
    step 2
    step 3
    etc.
    or is there a place I can find this info? ie, Precipitating copper into lead for dummies?

    this is the thread that got me thinking
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...arbine-Venison

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    One of the biggest problems encountered while soldering with lead-free, read high tin content solders, is the dissolution of the copper that you are bonding, i.e. wire, pcb traces. In other words, the copper dissolves into the tin to the point that the traces and copper wire get thinner.

    The copper has an affinity for the tin.

    Best thing you could do is get some pure tin and some fine stranded copper wire(something like 44 gauge), heat the pot up to 750 and start dissolving. Weight out the wire according to how much tin you have, let's say about 5% and only add that amount to the pot and see if it disappears. then send a sample to the guy doing the testing in the classifieds.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. H.L. Mencken

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Hmm. Homemade bronze bullets, with homemade bronze? That's what you're making when you alloy copper and tin, after all...

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    OK, I'm starting to get the picture.
    So the railroad babbit mentioned in the thread I linked is just a "base" to start with, to get the copper absorbed?
    I have tin,
    Are you cutting the wire into certain lengths, like little 1/2 inch pieces or anything?
    I assume you separating the strands out to help with the precipitation?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Flinchbaugh View Post
    OK, I'm starting to get the picture.
    So the railroad babbit mentioned in the thread I linked is just a "base" to start with, to get the copper absorbed?
    I have tin,
    Are you cutting the wire into certain lengths, like little 1/2 inch pieces or anything?
    I assume you separating the strands out to help with the precipitation?
    That's the idea. Cutting it up would be beneficial. if you cut the wire I mentioned it will seperate itself. It is composed of 216 strands of .004" diameter wire. 30 minutes at temp will probably be enough. You will know when it's done the copper wire will quit disappearing.
    I just checked rotometals for babbit material and the Sn-Sb-Cu alloy is $17/# about the same as pure tin.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. H.L. Mencken

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    How hot do I get the babbit in order to make this happen....in a semi dark space you will see the lead has a slight red glow to it.........do this outside you are beyond the offgassing point of lead.

    WHEN I DO THIS:

    I add CLEAN/SHINY AND NEW 11 GAUGE multistranded grounding wire(like the one going from your service panel to the ground rod outside your home)...much bigger than speaker wire BTW. I found the smaller speaker/lampcord wires want to do to much sailing around the pot before they dissolve. The physical weight of the heavier wire helps.....both will work but I am all about easy.

    The high tin railroad babbit that the copper is being added to is a seperate "smelt" operation. I have found a thin stainless steel mixing bowl on top of my turkey burner to do the best job. Heat the bowl/babbit til it is HOT. Lay the 6 inch long stranded wire in the melt holding on to the tail with pliers. When the wire is HOT swish it around in a can of paste flux. Dip it back into the melt and it should now be all coated and tinned except on the pliers end. When you are sure it is tinned really good put the wire back into the paste flux and get a good bunch of paste on it. Now drop the wire into the babbit and stir until it is gone....this will take a few minutes. REPEAT this procedure until the babbit will not take anymore wire and starts to form oatmeal on top of the melt. You are now at the saturation/precippitation point...whatever you wanna call it. With the heat as high as it will go flux it again with the paste and scoop off anything that does not look like good alloy. TADAA, you now have copper enriched babbit. I use 5% by weight of this mixed into my 50/50 ww/PB alloy and it seems to work well...really well when one is pushing the limits and does not want a boolit that detonates when it hits fleshy critters one wishes to eat. It just happens to have the trait of being able to take pressure better in the barrel too.....which = better accuracy at high pressure/velocity. WIN/WIN


    This is not a magic boolit btw...YOU STILL NEED CONSISTENCY IN EVERY OTHER ASPECT FROM INGOT TO LOADED ROUND. YOU ALSO NEED TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT POWDER FOR YOUR BARREL LENGTH TO GET YOU WHERE YOU WANNA GO. THIS ALLOY IS ANOTHER TOOL TO ADD TO THE BOX, NOT A GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD.


    yOU WILL ALSO NEED TO CAST A BIT WARMER THAN NORMAL TO GET NORMAL RESULTS USING THIS CU/ALLOY. A lee dripO'matic is not the tool for the job. I ladlecast with a 40 pound capacity homemade steel pot sitting directly on my turkey fryer burner. I then turn a few degrees and drop them into a bucket of water.

    I hope the above is some clearish mud...holller back if you need more. Another option is ROTOMETALS if you do not wanna play alchemist in your yard.

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    High-amperage electricity is also handy for dissolving copper wire directly and quickly into tin/lead alloy.....and making extremely hazardous fumes.

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

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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 357maximum View Post
    I then turn a few degrees and drop them into a bucket of water.
    Your water quenching these on top of adding the copper? How freaking hard are these
    I guess, in thinking about you other posts, the copper doesnt do so much to harden as strengthen the alloy correct?

    Would oven heat treating work?

    I do like the "voodoo" aspect of this >

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Flinchbaugh View Post
    Your water quenching these on top of adding the copper? How freaking hard are these
    I guess, in thinking about you other posts, the copper doesnt do so much to harden as strengthen the alloy correct?BINGO
    Would oven heat treating work?YES

    I do like the "voodoo" aspect of this >


    You are asking the wrong question......it is not how "hard" it is????....it's how "tough" is it while remaining mallable???????........................there is the question you need answered. The answer is one that Goldilocks can explain better than I.


    . Ceramic is HARD but it would not make a great bullet.

    I am not sure about VOODOO....pretty basic chemistry in action. I have been told that my KungFu is strong, but I have no idea where I rank in the voodoo arena. If you wanna play with voodoo you need to pop up a few threads to the LUBE area....there is where the voodoo lies. PB+SN+SB+CU is not voodoo it is making the best use of what God has given us to play with. Playing with other things he gave you may make you go blind....or so I am told.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    So once I get the copper into the tin, then I can alloy those results with the lead or do it all at once,
    alloy the copper into the tin, and then maybe cool that down a little and add the lead and make a batch all at once.
    I appreciate the patience with my greenhorniness

  17. #17
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    I have never added the 50/50 to the babbit/copper mix while still molten....I do not see why you could not do it that way though.

    I add the little baby ingots to my 40LB batch of 50/50 when I am ready to make a run of boolits. It is just easier for me to keep track of how much of what goes where that way and that is why I do it that way. Whatever works for you....do it.

  18. #18
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    I tried it last night just to see how well the wire would incorporate. I had on hand about a 1/2# 96.5 Sn 3 Ag .5 Cu solder. Melted it in the sauce pan. Dipped about 1250 strands of 2" length .004" wire into some lead free tinning flux, stirred it into the melt and it disappeared in a flash. After I add a little more Cu I just have to decide what exactly I want to use this Sn-Cu-Ag for.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. H.L. Mencken

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Been using a copper alloy for my high speed stuff for a few years. Started off at 3% Cu, but down to a bit less than 1% now and everything seems to be OK. Have some 22's to cast and try out when it warms up.

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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