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Thread: Add copper to your alloy for tougher CBs.

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
    Baja_Traveler's Avatar
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    Hmmm.... Very interesting thread!
    I'm going to have to try this to see if I can get better knockdown power out of my silhouette ram loads.

  2. #42
    Boolit Master
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    I certainly could just add pure to the pot, I'm not sure of the particular alloy of shot that I have, it may have a lot of sb in it already (came from a crane counterweight). I thought to be on the safe side I could just start fresh so I can keep sb to a minimum. The old alloy can always go into 45 acp boolits anyway.

  3. #43
    Boolit Bub fixerupper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J. Spangler View Post
    great read.

    i can't wait to see some test results.

    so this is going to be better for high pressure loads, what about how the toughness will act for better hollow point performance?
    i would think this would really help in magnum handgun loads with HPs, you can could really push the boolit, without having leading, and without the brittleness of an alloy without the Cu

    I was thinking the exact same thing with regards to 9mm and 40. Being able to push lead boolits to a higher velocity has big time appeal.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    Tag. This is very interesting. I may give this a try before spring. Citric acid should also be found in the canning isle of you local supermarket. It is used to keep fruit from browning. Of course home-brew shops have it too if you happen to be in there picking up some grain anyway.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master
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    Well, last night I had a chance to alloy up a batch, 9lbs pure, to which was added 5 pennies worth of zinc (it would appear that the plating disappears somewhere, couldn't find any in the dross), and then after the copper sulfate treatment 1 lb of shot was added. No bullets have been made yet, hoping to get to that this weekend, if castability is an issue, some 50/50 solder will go in till mold fillout is sufficient. These will be cast into lee's 155 gr spitzer pills, and hopefully soon tested for velocity and durability.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcitizen View Post
    added 5 pennies worth of zinc (it would appear that the plating disappears somewhere, couldn't find any in the dross),
    The copper plating went into the lead, exactly what it was supposed to do!

  7. #47
    Boolit Mold
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    Has anyone tried a pure Pb/Cu alloy using the root killer/zinc method? Maybe a pistol (or subsonic rifle) bullet you could shoot fast and would expand? Is the Sn or Sb really needed in a Pb/Cu alloy for milder loads?

  8. #48
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I bought some copper sulphate, I have high tin alloy, a new drip-o-matic and some lead drain pipe. I have no idea how much antimony is in what I have so I can't just go jumping in. Do I actually need the antimony?
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  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    Yesterday I melted 8 pounds of previously smelted and cleaned WW. When melted I fluxed and cleaned again then added 8 ounces of zinc WW. After the zinc WW melted into the mix I started adding copper sulfate. The mix immeadiately turned into a silver sludge. I stirred and stirred the mix and added more copper sulfate. I had to reheat the mix several times. Was stirring with a spoon but switched to using a piece of oak and the mix started to render up the copper sulfate into a black dirt like substance. Reheated again and thought to add some paste flux and very quickly then the melt gave up the zinc.
    I don't have any idea what the composition of the zinc WW was before adding them to the alloy so I know this isn't very scientific. However I know I used 7 heaping tablespoons of copper sulfate before it remained white in the pot. The resulting alloy weighs a tiny bit under 8 pounds after cooling. Just slightly less that the WW I started with.Pieces of the alloy when hit together have a sharp clink instead of the low thud of regular WW. I think I definately got copper into the alloy but not sure how much.

    Nighthunter

  10. #50
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks popper. I gave the copper sulphate a go and produced nasal clearing fumes! The grey stuff did turn blackish. Did anyone mention the need to dry the copper sulphate beforehand and to crush it back to powder? Anyway, it wasn't as easy as it sounded. I put way too much of whatever those pyramid mold casting were - tin and babbit maybe - and can see no effect of copper absorption. I have no more lead so gave up for now. I'm still resetting up my stuff.
    You know, I can't get lead wheel weights - the fishermen grab it all! (Bless them - why can't they just use random scrap lead?)

    What does Sb and Sn look like when cast into aluminium fishing sinker molds? (My pyramid ingots).
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  11. #51
    Boolit Master cloakndagger's Avatar
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    Well after reading this thread twice, my organic and chem I&Ii are failing me, so, in leu of a rambling question I will make an "idiots guide" statement and let yall correct me.

    Adding copper to your alloy makes it harder. You do this by adding copper sulfate. It replaces the tin and zinc in the mix at exactly the same concentration. You must get the melt hotter than normal to get this to happen. If you have pure lead you have to add zinc or tin to make it possible for the copper to alloy in.

    And a couple of direce answer questions.
    Can i melt pennies down for their zinc content for this (i have veeeery few zn wheel weights in my supply)
    What bhn hardness DIFFERENCE are we talking?
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  12. #52
    Boolit Master arcticbreeze's Avatar
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    I have read the threads regarding the cu enrichment and going to do a little experimenting of my own. I do have a question however, has anyone that has tried this compared the boolit size compared to straight ww. If so was there any discernible difference?

  13. #53
    Boolit Master
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    Several have commented that when stored for several months, they tend to grow over time.
    As cast diameters in my very limited trial shows them to be just slightly larger, as I found with any harder
    IOW, the harder the metal the larger they drop or likely more correct- the less they shrink on cooling
    My boolits dont usually get stored very long

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Cast with 2 different alloys, one starting with straight COWW, and the other with Pure lead. The WW alloy a few days after casting seemed that it was going to remain soft, but now, 2 weeks later has gotten harder than WDWW, and is tough to boot. The batch starting with Pure is still hardening up, by next weekend they should both be ready to shoot. I did pound a bullet from each flat with a hammer, and its amazing how thin they can be flattened without breaking an still be surprisingly bend resistant.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    I don't remember what got me onto the copper thing - it wasn't from this site. I was reading up on grain refining or something and knew that copper is used a grain refiner in aluminium alloys (I worked in a aluminium factory) and figured copper would toughen the alloy. I did some chatting on this site and did some 'sperimenting. The alloy I concocted was marvellous but I have no idea what went into it. There was some lino and the rest was wheel weight, drain-pipe, some rather tough and springy sheet and who knows what all else to which I added copper by dissolving some tinned sheet into the melt. This stuff changed its hardness measurably in half an hour. It also had harder and softer spots in it, possibly caused by cold shuts in the mold? Firing these things into sand hardened them but they did not blow up.





    You can see that I was having quite some fun there.
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  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by 303Guy View Post
    I don't remember what got me onto the copper thing - it wasn't from this site. I was reading up on grain refining or something and knew that copper is used a grain refiner in aluminium alloys (I worked in a aluminium factory) and figured copper would toughen the alloy. I did some chatting on this site and did some 'sperimenting. The alloy I concocted was marvellous but I have no idea what went into it. There was some lino and the rest was wheel weight, drain-pipe, some rather tough and springy sheet and who knows what all else to which I added copper by dissolving some tinned sheet into the melt. This stuff changed its hardness measurably in half an hour. It also had harder and softer spots in it, possibly caused by cold shuts in the mold? Firing these things into sand hardened them but they did not blow up.


    You can see that I was having quite some fun there.
    The soft spots could well have been concentrations of un-mixed copper. From what I have been able to gleen from past literature, one of the primary problems with the so called Lyman #1 alloy with 3 % Cu was keeping the copper suspended in the mix. This is why, I have mentioned in some posts, that I have a suspicion that there is a level of diminishing returns when Cu is added. It seems to me there were some experiments some time back by another forum member (I'm thinking it may have been Felix) that mentioned copper in the concentration of as little as 1% had a tendancy to separate out of a mix if one didn't stir religiously. The alloys I have messed with had a guesstimated content of no more than 0.3% copper. I didn't find any soft spots but bear in mind, I'm adding copper to a babbit and then adding the babbit to the mix.

    Edd
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  17. #57
    Boolit Master nanuk's Avatar
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    has anyone experimented with Cu into PURE?

    like taking pure, adding zinc (measurable) then CuSO? to the melt to replace Zn with Cu?

    I wonder if this would toughen up Pb better than Sn!
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  18. #58
    Boolit Master madsenshooter's Avatar
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    I'm just guessing, but I know Cu doesn't like to alloy with Pb. My guess is you're have a mixture with pockets of the Cu floating around in it. Got so many of these threads going now, I can't find Popper's chart that would show the solubility of Cu in Pb.
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  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by madsenshooter View Post
    I'm just guessing, but I know Cu doesn't like to alloy with Pb. My guess is you're have a mixture with pockets of the Cu floating around in it. Got so many of these threads going now, I can't find Popper's chart that would show the solubility of Cu in Pb.
    Here ya go...post #22...http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-further/page2

    Edd
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  20. #60
    Boolit Master madsenshooter's Avatar
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    Thanks Edd, it appears to me that the strength here comes from Cu alloying, as in actually bonding with, the other elements, Don't think I'll try any Pb/Cu only mixes. For all I know though, maybe Cu does bond with the Pb to a limited extent. The chemistry part of my brain isn't working good today, on to something less confusing.
    "If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."

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