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Thread: question about wheel weights

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    question about wheel weights

    my question is this. what is the true brinell hardness of most ww's? i have read alot of range in this. my reason for this question is... i am casting for my 9mm's, this is a maiden voyage for me in casting. i was so excited to cast my own boolits and send them down range to that taunting piece of paper hanging there just waiting for them. well i finally got my first run cast and loaded and got my chance away from work to do this. it was beautiful. it seem like the more i shot the better the accuracy. well when i got home and cleaned up my pistol i had a lot of leading. i dont think i was shooting too hot, my load is 124gr rn with 4.0gr bullseye pushing it. i was very pleased with the performance,( at the target anyway) the recoil was light, the noise was moderate, my only complaint is leading. now, for what i read on another site(before i found this one) is that wheel weights are the right hardness for the 9's. now to enhance the hardness i do water quinch my boolits. i read that on here that most all the experienced casters do this, so i figure this is something i should do, or atleast until i get more experience in casting. what hardness do i need to strive for in my 9mm's and 38/357's and .380's and so on? i don't have a hardness tester, is this something i need to look at getting? also is there a possibility that i may have got some zinc in my melt? i try to pick those out, but once again, lack of experience will miss a few. as always i'm looking for wisdom from you guys.

  2. #2
    Boolit Mold
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    I am not an expert, although I have learned boolit size is the important variable concerning leading. Do you know what your bore diameter is as opposed to your boolit diameter? If your boolit is too soft and your charge too high you could be gas cutting, where is the leading in your barrel, what type of lube are you using?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Size is more important than hardness. Wheelweights have no standard alloy, the hardnes of any given weight is not the same as the next one. Your best bet is to melt what you have in a batch, and test that batch for hardness.
    But first, slug your bore and size bullets just a little larger.
    To lazy to chase arrows.
    Clodhopper

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    i use the lee liquid alox for lube as for the size, i size the to .356 with a lee sizer die. this is what is supposed to be correct as far as i know. i have never checked my bore diameter though.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    ok??? how do i slug my bore?

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub jondavis0904's Avatar
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    I take a spent 9mm case, put a bullet type fishing sinker in it, use a butane torch to melt down the lead, then use a bullet puller to get the lead out of the case. lube the bullet (i used case lube) use a wood dowel rod and push the lead into the barrel. I don't go all the way through the barrel just insert into the end of the barrel hammer down a couple inches and then hammer back out the way it went in. then use a caliper and measure.
    this method: http://youtu.be/KuNoo4m6jso

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    ok i will do this and check it. i need to make sure to use soft lead for this, right?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    The "True" hardness of Clip on wheel weights varies.
    There is no exact answer.

    30 years ago they were very close to BNH 15.

    Every batch I have smelted the past few years varied from BNH 12 to BNH 13.

    I strive for BNH 10 to 11 in my handgun loads - all of them.

    If you are getting severe leading with your load, using clip on wheel weight alloy, the most likely cause is that the load is too light or the bullet is too small.

    Note that you have already answered that question when you stated "the recoil was light, the noise was moderate"
    Now check your loading manual. According to my manuals, Alliant and Lee, your load is very light.

    If either of these is the case, water quenching will make the leading worse.

    You didn't mention sizing diameter. Some 9s can get along OK with .356 bullets. I recommend .357 diameter.


    See:

    http://reloadingtips.com/pages/leading-severe.htm

    This is my idea of severe leading. Note that this load produced that amount of lead after 20 rounds.



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    Last edited by williamwaco; 02-21-2013 at 10:13 PM.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    i need to be somerwhere around bnh12 from what i have been told. is this number correct or am i miss informed?

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    in my speer manual, the starting load was the 4.0 with bullseye with a maximum charge of about 4.4gr i think without looking. which manual do you use? i have speer, hornady, and lyman manuals but if you have a good load recomendation, if you don't mind sharing it, i would most certainly try it out. especially if you think my loads are too lite

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Slug that bore. Far, far, far more important that hardness. 90% of the time if the bullet fits and you have a decent lube, you will not have any issues regardless of hardness.

    One item to keep in mind is the diameter of the bullet before you load it may not be the size of the bullet when you fire it. Especially with short pistol cartridges like 9mm the bullet can be swaged down if extreme care isn't taken during loading, especially during case mouth expansion and crimping. After you slug your bore and get some bullets cast that are at least .001" over groove diameter, load a couple without powder and then pull them and measure. This way you are sure you haven't swaged your slug down when loading.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub wjb1260's Avatar
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    Sorry to Hijack your thread OP but I am new here and I also am new to smelting and casting and this things I too need to know. I have reloaded off and on most of my adult life. I allways bought my bullets for reloading but now I am disabled and retired and as we all know the cost of ammo is cheaper if we make our own and being on a fixed income not to mention I enjoy it it is alot easier on my wallet. I have never in my life ever slugged a barrel but then again I never reloaded lead bullets allways SJ's or FMJ's so I never really had a problem with fouling. I am shooting some cast bullets right now that I got from a friend and he lubed them but I am getting just a little fouling. So how do I slug a revolver? Also can it be checked with an inside mic?
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  13. #13
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    The BHN of WWs depends......

    Are they all COWWs?

    Are they all new and not reprocessed?

    Are they from the same manufacturer?

    Many variables. Like wiliamwaco I have found COWW BHN to vary over the years being softer these days. 20-30 years ago straight COWWs cast very good bullets and was a good "stand alone" alloy. Now many are finding their particular lot of COWWs to cast undersized bullets. This is an indication of not enough tin to balance out the antimony and make it go into solution in the lead correctly. Years ago it was cheaper to make WWs from new alloy but many COWWs are from reprocessed WWs these days and the antimony content is lower and the tin is close to none at all. It is why I advise to add 2% tin to whatever batch of COWWs you have, wherever you are in the country.

    Adding the 2% tin to COWWs will give AC'd cast bullets a BHN of 14 - 17 after 7 - 10 days of aging. Mould fill out with a correct casting technique (nothing complicated or secret - directions are in Lyman's manuals and others) is also excellent with bullets at or above the nominal diameter for the mould. With the tin combining the antimony better into solution with the lead you also will have few "hot spots" of antimony (grey shrunken in crystalized spots) in the bullets. With better lots of COWWs that have few or no reprocessed WWs the BHN generally runs 16 - 17.

    Larry Gibson

  14. #14
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    356 is your problem.
    i don't think i have heard of more than 2 pistols with barells even close to 355 in the 9m.
    i'd be more inclined to go with 358.

    my way around the whole bhn variable is to make my ww ingots then quarantine them as individual batches.
    then i go through and re-mix the batches by meltng them again, only i add some from each lot so that the whole thing is homogonized into one big pile.
    i also re-flux and clean everything again.
    i get the pots melted and pour some ingots, then add so many from each pile to the pot and continue doing this untill everything is ingoted.
    this just gives me a big pile of the same alloy to work with and i don't have to worry about things varying untill the next "big batch".
    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.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by sqlbullet View Post
    Slug that bore. Far, far, far more important that hardness. 90% of the time if the bullet fits and you have a decent lube, you will not have any issues regardless of hardness.

    One item to keep in mind is the diameter of the bullet before you load it may not be the size of the bullet when you fire it. Especially with short pistol cartridges like 9mm the bullet can be swaged down if extreme care isn't taken during loading, especially during case mouth expansion and crimping. After you slug your bore and get some bullets cast that are at least .001" over groove diameter, load a couple without powder and then pull them and measure. This way you are sure you haven't swaged your slug down when loading.

    i did notice that once i started loading a small amount of lead shaved off during the seating process. maybe i should be expanding the case mouth a bit before i seat and crimp.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by runfiverun View Post
    356 is your problem.
    i don't think i have heard of more than 2 pistols with barells even close to 355 in the 9m.
    i'd be more inclined to go with 358.

    my way around the whole bhn variable is to make my ww ingots then quarantine them as individual batches.
    then i go through and re-mix the batches by meltng them again, only i add some from each lot so that the whole thing is homogonized into one big pile.
    i also re-flux and clean everything again.
    i get the pots melted and pour some ingots, then add so many from each pile to the pot and continue doing this untill everything is ingoted.
    this just gives me a big pile of the same alloy to work with and i don't have to worry about things varying untill the next "big batch".

    i sized at .356 with the lee sizer die. this was very easy as it seemed that the boolit contact with the die was slight. the contact area was even around the circumference and was mostly on the bottom portion of the boolit. does this indicate my cast is too small?i use lee molds, and their claim is that sizing may not be needed. is this true? or should i run everything thru a .358 just to be safe?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Easy way to slug your barrel, Just cast up a couple of the boolits your thinking of loading and use the softest (purest) lead you have. Clean your UNLOADED gun and oil the barrel and the boolet then tap it gently into the the barrel and use a BRASS rod (wood can break and jam!) Then when it drops out measure with a mic if you have it caliper if you don't. There ya go! all done, just save it for the future in a pill bottle or measure and record and file.
    It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)

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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3jimbo3 View Post
    i sized at .356 with the lee sizer die. this was very easy as it seemed that the boolit contact with the die was slight. the contact area was even around the circumference and was mostly on the bottom portion of the boolit. does this indicate my cast is too small?i use lee molds, and their claim is that sizing may not be needed. is this true? or should i run everything thru a .358 just to be safe?
    Without knowing the bore dia. we're just guessing .356 MIGHT work but then again you might need .358. Slug it and then post the size.
    Don't worry about asking questions.
    It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)

    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. George Washington

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin101 View Post
    Without knowing the bore dia. we're just guessing .356 MIGHT work but then again you might need .358. Slug it and then post the size.
    Don't worry about asking questions.
    i will be doing this sometime over the weekend, my job seems to come before play. i will be posting it soon, thanks for all the advice. i greatly appreciate all of you

  20. #20
    I'm A Honcho! Rattlesnake Charlie's Avatar
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    I size all my 9mm and .380 ACP to .358 (Some pistols will not chamber a round sized that large). With the guns they've been fired in, they all chamber, and no leading. With light loads, a softer alloy often works better. Bullet fit is #1. Then comes the dance with hardness, lube, and powder. My usual alloy for these is 1/3 range scrap, 1/3 COWW, 1/3 lead with high tin (solder from old city water pipes). Quite soft. Can still handle full bore 10mm loads without leading.

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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