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Thread: Oil quenching boolits? has it been done?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man Raven_Darkcloud's Avatar
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    Oil quenching boolits? has it been done?

    A question I have is if oil quenching would work, and what would it to to the lead. I think it would be safer then water around hot lead. Has anyone tried it?

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    runfiverun's Avatar
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    to make the boolits harder from quenching the fluid used isn't important it's the rapid cooling that does the job.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    the more i find out about shootin boolits, the more it contradicts everything i ever learned about shooting jaxketed.

  3. #3
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    Sounds messy and not worth the trouble, even if it did have some magical effect.

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    Boolit Master jabilli's Avatar
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    Creative thought-
    In terms of "Will it do everything water quenching does?" - Sure, I'd think so. The idea is to bring the temperature of the boolit down in an abrupt manner, to harden the bullet. Will it do this? Yep.

    I'm no chemist or metallurgist, but I'd say it wouldn't yield any side benefits (like impregnating pores in the lead with oil or anything cool like that.)
    I believe you...but my Tommy gun don't.

  5. #5
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    What r5r said - No added benefit in using oil over water. It's the rapid cooling. Be a hell of a mess, tho ?? Mike
    Politicians are a lot like diapers. They should be changed frequently, and for the same reason. Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    Boolit Man Raven_Darkcloud's Avatar
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    My first thought was it wont flash boil and erupt in the lead if a drop gets in. The second thought was if it will be like oil quenching steel, add hardness. I will have to give it a try and see.

  7. #7
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    44man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven_Darkcloud View Post
    My first thought was it wont flash boil and erupt in the lead if a drop gets in. The second thought was if it will be like oil quenching steel, add hardness. I will have to give it a try and see.
    A drop of water into the lead pot will not erupt, it just boils away. Water has to go under the surface.
    I put my water bucket on a short stool next to my bench so I have to turn to dump the mold. Water is not even close to the pot.
    Oil will be super messy and boolits will need washed off because some lubes will not stick in the GG's. It will do nothing more then water does.

  8. #8
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    Most oils have a lower specific heat than water, in other words oil won't take away as much heat as fast as water. Agree with 44man and all the rest - it will be messy and if anything less effective than water. I'd leave the idea alone.
    I am now in full production of top punches for Lyman/RCBS and Saeco lubers ($8 each including shipping, two business day turnaround), and blank sizing dies for Lyman/RCBS, Saeco, Herters, and Star machines. Other products will be added as time and health permit. PM me for details.

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    Petroleum oil quenching works on steel, at much higher temperatures, adding some carbon to the steel. I don't think it will do anything special to lead.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    As mentioned, you can pour water onto molten lead and it will just boil a way. A few drops from a splash wouldn't do anything and could be totally avoided by keep the water a safe distance from the lead pot.

    To have a steam explosion, the water has to get under the surface of the molten lead. In fact, in my experience it is actually hard to create conditions where the water gets deep enough to cause any issues. I regularly melt down damp range boolits by laying them on top of a pot full of molten lead. They cause the surface to freeze a skin then they steam off any water, then melt.

    Adding damp ingots is a good way to get water under the surface because they have enough weight to displace lead in the pot, and I suspect that is how most get visits from the tinsel fairy.

    Some good reading here:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...nd-molten-lead

    theperfesser said it well. Oil is not likely to be as effective as water even when cool and will heat up then be less effective. Afterwards you have to handle oily boolits and deal with saving the oil bath.

    I wouldn't bother with oil cooling but that's just me.

    Longbow

  11. #11
    Boolit Master dakotashooter2's Avatar
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    I have had a couple situations where the inside of the mold got a water droplet splashed in it after the bullet was dropped. It made for an exciting refill of the mold.....................................but water on the pot has not been an issue. One thing I do is make a funnel out of a towel, cut a hole in the middle, wet it and put it on my water bucket. I get very little splash that way.

  12. #12
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    Hey! You guys are dispelling the "single drop of water/sweat dropped in my pot and exploded all over the bench/room" myth. What will the new casters have to fear??
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  13. #13
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    OK, there seems to be some misunderstading as to what oil quenching versus water quenching versus Air cooling, actually does.

    Keith touched on some of it, but the whole story goes like this.

    Different steels have different hardening temperatures.

    O1 is @1450-1500F. Cromoly's are also at 1450F ish, A2 is 1750-1800F, D2, 440C and other high carbon stainless steels run at 1950-2000F and the really exotics go off at 2150-2200F. All of the materials above 1500F must be done in a vacuum or inert gas atmosphere or wrapped in SS foil to prevent the carbon from being cooked out of the material. This is called "Carbon Precipitation." It also prevents the build up of undesirable scale on the parts.

    Then all of them must be quenched,,, in something. That something is the medium that provides the correct "Cooling Rate" for that specific material. IE; W1 is quenched in water because water takes the heat away from the material at a specific rate. O1 and Cromoly's use oil because it provides the correct rate of heat removal, A2 is air hardening for the same reason, etc.

    If you try to air cool O1 it won't get hard. Other types might get hard if quenched in incorrect ways however the results will not be predictable. For example you can quench A2 in oil, but the is no telling how hard it will get. If it is done correctly the results are consistant. IE; A2 goes off at 63Rc everytime.

    None of this has anything to do with tempering or drawing back the materials. Those are completely separate operations done after the hardening process is complete. All of the common materials have specific profiles to achieve the desired hardness after tempering which can be varied over a range depending on the heat/cooling profile that is used in the tempering process. Some of the exotics must be done 2-or 3 times to achieve optimum results.

    The standard rule of thumb for how long you keep the material at the hardening temperature is 2 hours for every inch of thickness. IE a 1" cube of O1 would stay in the furnace at 1500F for 2 hours before it is quenched. The hardening temp of O1 is 1450F, however if the furnace is set to 1450F the interior of the part will never get to 1450F, that why I said 1450-1500. The 2 hours per inch part is to also insure that the entire part reaches the hardening temp.

    How hard a material will get is entirely depending on the carbon content. Steels with .2% carbon like 1018 or 1020 won't get very hard at all. Those materials are generally "Case Hardened" by applying pure carbon to the exterior of the material when it is at 1450F or above. The material absorbs the carbon a certain distance into the surface. This can be controlled very closely nowadays. IE; if you want a .020 case, it can be delivered.

    Steels with around 1% carbon will get to Rc 63 during the hardening process. These include A2, D2, 440C etc. There are also 440 A and B which contain less carbon and are used for things that require less hardness.

    This is the short course on heat treating of high carbon steels. None of this has anything to do with LEAD. Dumping hot boolits into oil will do nothing more than stink and make smoke. Then,,, theres that annoying clean up that follows.

    The fact that you can influence the hardness of lead at all is pretty amazing. Water dropping as opposed to aircooling seems to be the biggest difference. You can also reheat them in an oven to change the hardeness.

    If you are going to try to get anything consistant as far as altering the hardness of your boolits you really need some kind of accurate hardness testing device or else you are just guessing. That system also needs to be a little more accurate than +/-5 Bnh or you are wasting your time. I use the Lee tester, and measure the dimples with my optical comparator in my shop. I can get pretty close this way. If you don't have an optical comparator, then make a holder for the little microscope that comes with the Lee tool. You should be able to get +/-1-2Bnh accuracy. I might add that there are many variables in the make up of lead alloys and you might be chasing specific hardness results for along time. If you can't control everything, you will never know what does what. This is called "Empirical Results." IE results from tests where all variables are controlled and documented. These are the kind of results that you actually learn something valuable from.

    If you are worried about splashing water around then hang a towel in the water bucket so that the boolits slide down the towel and don't plop directly into the water. Someone here told me about this a couple of years ago. It works really well.

    Randy
    Last edited by W.R.Buchanan; 02-06-2013 at 02:33 PM.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  14. #14
    Boolit Man Raven_Darkcloud's Avatar
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    Ok thank you all for the info. now i have no need to play around with it. i will keep to my bucket and 2 old t shirts.

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    Have you considered salt water (brine) quenching?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Not sure that brine would do any more than chilled water. The brine quench for steels is so the quench liquid doesn't boil so fast. With boolits there is little boiling when they hit the water. It certainly wouldn't hurt though and it might help with some lead alloys but as Randy says you would probably need a pretty good hardness tester to determine the differences in hardness.

    I do find that when I oven heat treat, boolits are noticeable harder than just water dropped but that is a subjective comment because I don't have a hardness tester. What I can say is that oven heat treated boolits easily dent ACWW and they ring if tapped together.

    Longbow

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Just for fun- what about anti-freeze. Is the specific gravity not different allowing for greater and more rapid transfer of heat? Gtek

  18. #18
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    To much science here for me. I water quench everything, and to it in a bucket between my legs under the table I cast on. Been doing it that way for years, and as it works, seen no need to fix it!
    1Shirt!
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quenching in oil will make the bullets easier to size!
    R.D.M.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I made alot of shot with a Littleton and tried some different liquids for coolant. Water "popped" the side of the shot like popcorn, antifreeze worked but got hot and smelled, trans fluid got hot real quick and started smoking. I ended up using All Free & Clear laundry detergent. Not quite the same as dropping boolits in it but close.
    If a mold retains a drop of splashed water it is probably too cold. This is the only time it has happened for me.

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