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Thread: Any Casters Handy Dandy Toy.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Any Casters Handy Dandy Toy.

    Just ordered my first lead hardness tester. Been casting lead bullets for a awhile now. I thought it was about time I could use one for the many lead recipes I'm using these days. My dabbling in these areas> Muzzle loading_ modern Magnum pistols_ paper patching_ G/checking.
    I was considering a Lee Hardness tester ~~~than a Saeco. Than I happened to bump into Mr. Idaho Rons BHN lead testing video on Utube. The hardness tester he used and praised appeared sturdier built and a whole lot easier to read than the two I was considering. So I check the internet and found the Cabin Tree's Tester manufacture. To late been Discontinued for quite some time.
    Looking here and there on the internet I found its new manufacture. Bought a brand new in the box one. Identical in every way to the old Cabin Tree Lead Hardness Tester.

    So do any other casters here on C/B feel the need to have a hardness tester handy to check their bullets BHN with?
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    I don't own one, as 99.44 % of my alloys are of a known BHN alloy. It would be kind of nice to have though to check on the other .56%...can't have too many toys.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    I use my Cabine Tree a bunch for checking relative alloy hardness from one batch of melt to another. It won't tell me the alloy, of course, but it does help to keep bullet performance on an equal level from melt to melt.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Buying a hardness tester now insures me from now on I'll have the correct BHN factor lead for my purpose. No more guessing what to do about those little left over piles & pieces of prior mold pours.
    Besides being a hardness tester the tool has other capabilities also. Won't know what they are until I read its Directions.
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  5. #5
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    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    I have and use the original Cabine tool. For what it's worth, I use all "????" stuff -- for lack of a better term -- in making my alloys. My only real fear has been zinc, and when my alloy appears to be one that is free of that metal, I generally add a bit of (RotoMeltals) pure tin to make it flow better, and a bit of their Super-Hard Alloy to make it, well, harder.
    When done casting I ALWAYS wait a day or two, and then do a relative hardness test. My use of the tool is totally one of comparison -- e.g., I have a small cache of Hornady 148gr wadcutter boolits, and note where the needle stops in using the Cabine tool on it. Then I check MY cast boolit. Hence, to ME, I can determine if my product is, perhaps, softer, the same, or harder than theirs. My thinking is if it works for them, it should for me. For rifle boolits, I generally use Oregon Laser-Cast as my measure standard.
    I don't have the knowledge base to do "real" alloying as, again, I'm not using any virgin metals in original melt. COWW + range scrap + scrap-yard bought ingots someone else made = ?????
    So, I reckoned -- and am happy I did -- to buy and use the Cabine tool exclusively as a relative hardness checker.
    Works for me
    geo

  6. #6
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    EMC45's Avatar
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    I casually mentioned the SAECO lead hardness tester to my brother while talking about cast bullets once. He is a science teacher and was inquiring how I knew the hardness for my bullets. I told him they are all clip on WWs and they come out pretty hard. One morning I was getting ready for work and a knock on my door around 0630. It was my brother and he said "happy birthday, now open it" I thought it was a pocket knife due to shape and weight, but lo and behold it was the SAECO. I was floored!!! It is one piece of equipment I like to use, but would have never bought it on my own due to price.
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Now that's a brother who deserves a big hug!


  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    I also have the Cabine Tree hardness tester and while the Lee followers here won't like what I'm going to say I will say it anyway. Its leaps and bounds above the Lee tester.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by EMC45 View Post
    I casually mentioned the SAECO lead hardness tester to my brother while talking about cast bullets once. He is a science teacher and was inquiring how I knew the hardness for my bullets. I told him they are all clip on WWs and they come out pretty hard. One morning I was getting ready for work and a knock on my door around 0630. It was my brother and he said "happy birthday, now open it" I thought it was a pocket knife due to shape and weight, but lo and behold it was the SAECO. I was floored!!! It is one piece of equipment I like to use, but would have never bought it on my own due to price.
    That's a nice brother.

  10. #10
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    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    I accumulated an LBT and a SAECO hardness tester over the course of years of Gun Show attendance. The data I got from them was pretty much under the heading of "Too Much Information" until I started getting into paper-patched boolits. With a good source of Free Range scrap lead, I use the hardness testers to blend to the optimum BHN, and save the expense of buying and alloying lead and tin.

    Another area where a hardness tester might be a necessity is with the water-quenched high-antimony alloys needed for achieving jacketed bullet velocities. But the average cast boolit shooter, shooting normal cast-boolit loads from his rifle or pistol, could definitely find a better use for the money.

    In the use I make of the testers, I haven't found anywhere near the precision needed in, say, a powder scale. Where grain or two difference in powder charge from that desired might be critical, a similar difference in BHN from the optimum doesn't seem to matter that much. The more expensive testers are easier to read to more precise divisions of hardness values, but I would have to be convinced by a lot of target results that the guy who has bought an expensive tester and is separating his boolit lots by a half or a tenth of a BHN unit hasn't just wasted a lot of money in order to waste a lot of time.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I'm all for gadgetry use.
    You'll never catch me culling casts being 1/10 BHN short. Although I don't consider myself a perfectionist I still would like to know the composition of my leftover pot lead is before I shoot it. If I'm able to read its BHN I basically know just what I mixed together way back when to achieve that BHN. As my supply of lead alloys available hasn't change over the years. Just there storage weight is all.
    Frankly I didn't know this tool existed until I watched a video on Utube of IdahoRon demonstrating its use. I could have bought a Lee Tester cheaper. Saeco would have been considerably more. Surprisingly the Cabine Tree was in-between the two others in price. And that was just Jim Dandy with me.
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  12. #12
    Boolit Master OutHuntn84's Avatar
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    I never had the need until recently since I had what seemed to be a never-ending flow of WWs and always just used COWW for everything and it was plenty hard. Now since COWW are becoming harder to get I believe knowing how to allow things together to get the right BHN will become a necessity to the craft. I am saving my pennies right now to buy a Cabine Tree

  13. #13
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    EMC45's Avatar
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    Like I said, I was floored. I freaked out a little bit. It was very cool of him.
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    By the way, for anybody who is curious, I met the proprietor of CabineTree up at the Quigley. He told me he was a cabinet maker and a shooter/tinkerer on the side, and when he set up his company to sell his casting-related stuff, he wanted it to reflect his main occupation.

    So, it is pronounced "cabinet-tree." (I was pronouncing it "cabeen-tree" previously. )

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Hmm, I always wondered about the name of that business.

    As for hardness testers, I have never owned one though would like to. His or the LBT one looks like a neat thing to have. When I got started in this, back when the dinosaurs were still roaming the earth, an old man showed me how to test lead. He said if your fingernail will dent it, it is soft lead. If it won't, it is hard lead. So far that has served me well for many years. I don't shoot many naked cast bullets with smokeless any more, preferring to paper patch most everything, but when I do I use hard lead. Usually water dropped or heat treated/quenched wheel weights. everything else - black powder bullets, PP smokeless bullets, handgun, muzzleloader, etc. is soft enough to dent with a thumbnail. Not very scientific but has been working just fine for me.

    -Nobade

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    an old man showed me how to test lead. He said if your fingernail will dent it, it is soft lead. If it won't, it is hard lead.

    -Nobade[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the laugh! Same thing my best friend, and pistol coach, said to me back in the '60s when I started shooting....charlie

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Got my lead tester today. Took me a 1/2 hr to put it together. 2 minuets or less to test a boolits hardness of known BHN.
    Good quality machine shop made tool. Was surprised by the tools second BHN testing. My NOE .311041 Paper Patched casts. Thought those .041s were near a 9-10 but actually measured 14 BHN. Oops!! "Well that won't happen anymore."
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Earlier threading's.
    Since Lee Precision is a sponsor for this site and too sells a Lead Tester. I didn't think it was appropriate to thread the business name & contact info of the Cabine Tree tester I recently purchased. Although, if anyone is indeed interested in the tool? Feel free to PM me for those contact details.
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    OverMax, I have one as well, These Cabin Trees are TOP NOTCH tools!!

    Attachment 190929

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I got a number 3 lead pencil and if doesn't leave a scratch in the bullet it's hard enough.

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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