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Thread: Question about use of extra-hard lead alloy for bullet casting

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Question about use of extra-hard lead alloy for bullet casting

    Howdy Pards

    Would appreciate some input on use of an extra-hard lead alloy for bullet casting. This may be covered in older posts but my simple mind hasn't been able to find what I'm looking for.

    First off, I'll give a shout-out to Rotometals, the firm that advertises on the mast head of Cast Boolits. Ordered some linotype from 'em and appreciated the good deal and fast shipping. The lino is in tiny type-set pieces that are very handy to a small-scale bullet caster to either melt into ingots or add directly to softer alloys to harden them somewhat and improve casting characteristics.

    My question concerns the 64.5% lead/23% antimony/12.5% tin alloy Rotometals describes as Foundry Type Nuggets. Seems to me it might have at least two uses (and probably others as well): (1) casting extra-hard bullets for use in high-power rifles for loads approaching jacketed-bullet velocities or (2) even little bits of it could be an improvement over lino for adding to soft-lead alloys to add hardness and improve casting qualities.

    Any of you Pards have some words of wisdom/words of experience/both that would add perspective? I've thot about a monotype mixture (72-19-9) but the Foundry Type Nuggets from Rotometals would be even harder. It's also occurred to me that, after a point, extra hard alloys may represent an increase in expense with little actual improvement in bullet performance. Has that been the experience of some of you Pards?

    Curious about your experiences with extra-hard alloys for casting and for additives to softer lead alloys. Ditto for references for more detailed info on the subject.

    Many thanks and Happy Trails

    Fort Reno Kid

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Oklahoma Rebel's Avatar
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    that much antimony (sb) will make the boollit brittle, if you hit a der bone with that it will shatter and may only wound it.a better way to get hardness is to have like 3%sb and 1-2%tin, and then either immediately quench in water from the mold, or heat treat in the oven, at say, 400 degrees for an hour or so, then take them out and quench them. give them a day or two to finish hardening, and they are ready. this way you have hardness with much less brittleness.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    I have used lino @ 4-1 with pure for a gen purp handgun bullet. Back in the day I cast everything out of lino, because I could get it cheap from the local newspaper printer. Today it's range scrap & a bit of lino water dropped if I need a harder bullet.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    Howdy Oklahoma Rebel

    Thanks for the info. Prob should have indicated that I'm not a hunter. The animals I hunt go "clang" when they're hit: really enjoy cowboy silhouette and thinking about high-power rifle silhouette and possibly pistol silhouette). The intent of my post is an interest in hard-cast bullets for high-power rifle or max-load magnum pistol. Thinking that many rifles have rifling intended for "j" word bullets and perhaps a hard-cast lead alloy bullet might work well. After posting this I read an interesting post from the LA Silhouette Club on the pros and cons of linotype. In a similar vein to your comments, they did not recommend it for hunting bullets.

    Altho I've lived in Texas most of my life I was born in Oklahoma (El Reno) and have a fondness for a town in your area, Yale, where paternal grandparents raised their family and are buried. Ditto for Elk City in the western part of the state for Mom's birthplace and still a **** potful" of relatives. Bad, bad, bad for OU to beat the **** out of my town's university, UTEP. Oh my, what a shellacking! Altho I follow UT, my heart is still with OU and OSU.

    Happy Trails

    Fort Reno Kid
    Last edited by JonB_in_Glencoe; 09-08-2017 at 04:01 PM. Reason: language

  5. #5
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Get their superhard instead, much cheaper. Hard is not needed for fast or steel. Use only enough Sb to prevent stripping in the rifling. Tin~1% if the mould doesn't fill out well.
    Whatever!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Oklahoma Rebel's Avatar
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    always good to see another okie! yep, you guys are just 45 min maybe? west of here., and as popper said, real hardd lead isn't needed to grip the grooves, but as your velocity goes up, so does your need for hardness, but I think popper would agree clip on ww's dropped from mold to water, would be plenty hard, or you could get superhard, I would still dilute that in half with pure lead if you can, and that will do good to plus 2,000fps. I don't think you did say, how fast are you shooting?
    Norinco SKS
    mosin nagant est 1937
    S&W 15-2 combat masterpiece
    Remington 597 22lr w/30 rnd clip
    12ga NEF single shot
    heritage 22lr/22mag

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Hello again, Fellow Okie

    Actually, good ole wheel weights and/or range lead (with a little 60/40 solder or lino added) serves most of my needs. Biggest consumption of cast bullets is for Cowboy Action Shooting and for Cowboy lever-action silhouette matches. WW/range lead w/wee bit of hardening alloy works fine there. Do some high-power rifle shooting and that's where I thot the harder alloys would be of use. Use lino for rifle bullets (usually w/velocities in 1,500-1,700 fps range but I'm considering the use of heavier loads), heavy mag pistol loads, and for military auto pistols (per Mike Venturino: advocates lino for pistols designed for jacketed bullets as hard-cast bullets in his opinion work best).

    Basically saw the extra-hard alloys offered by RotoMetals and wondered if some of the good Pards on the Cast Boolit Forum had some thots on it. Suspect that for most of my hard-alloy needs, good ole linotype will work fine.

    Live in El Paso now and it's a pretty far piece from Oklahoma but I always experience a warm sensation when I cross into Okie land.

    Adios

    Fort Reno Kid

  8. #8
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    I use Lyman #2 for everything including .223 at 2,600fps... decent hunting boolit form the Lee Bator. And I can light load it for 22lr speed and pressure from my Savage Axis. Also run it in 9mm, 380acp, and 7.62x54r...

    Making sure your boolit fits the barrel is key! If it fits right leading is not an issue even at rifle speeds. In the .223 I have pushed them water quenched close to jacketed bullet speeds before they started to disintegrate...

    And look at adding a tiny amount of copper, it makes for a tougher boolit! Some type metal might have copper contamination and when mixed with soft it makes for a very good boolit. My little brother used my Chinese Type 53(in an Archangel stock) last year deer hunting and he dropped 2 nice bucks with my loads. Recovered boolit maintained most of its weight and mushroomed nicely. Now he wants my rifle and I told him no, go buy one for yourself! It was his first year using rifle to deer hunt, most years he has hunted MN shotgun only zone.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    OK Rebel just went through all this not too long ago, he should be able to talk you through it pretty well.

    Popper is pretty spot on
    he has been shooting <1% antimony air cooled bullets through his 30-30 at about 1900 fps the last couple of days.
    it only took me a couple of months to talk him into adding that 1%.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

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

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    A friend gave me a bucket of small pieces having the little letters in the ends so that I "assumed" it was linotype. I cast up a batch of my old standby .225415 but they didn't shoot well for me, some not even hitting the target (big difference from my bullets cast with real lino). This was in a 22 hornet that has always been a tack driver with my cast boolets. When I got smart and weighed the new boolets they were somewhat lighter than my linotype boolets. I finally figured out they were foundry type, and indeed they are haaard! So hard that if you whack one with a hammer it shatters into fragments. But I think some of them may have even fragmented on the way to the target.

    Turns out they are wonderful to add a little "sweetener" to the pot of wheelweight for a nice casting alloy.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    I couldn't even get Lino to shoot for me.
    I'm closer to Mary's alloy for the little guy's in zipp land.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

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

  12. #12
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Almost everything I shoot is clip on wheel weights, Range scrap, or the 2 mixed.

    Unless your pushing well up into the speed range it is my experience that for punching paper super hard, lots of tin or antimony is simply not needed.


    Assuming you have good bullet to bore fit and everything else being equal.

    Why spend money on expensive alloy when you can do the same thing with 1 a lb or slightly over wheel weight, range scrap or a 50/50 mix of the 2 with perhaps 1% tin added just for shiny bullets and good fill. Its all you need. Unless you are pushing the speed.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
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