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Thread: Lowest alloy for powder coating.

  1. #1

    Lowest alloy for powder coating.

    I have a lot of soft pure lead and some range scrap. I'm going to be powder coating these bullets for 9mm. I've read that pure soft wouldn't be a good idea, but was wondering what would work good since I don't have a lot of antimony.

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  2. #2
    Boolit Man Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I use straight range scraps for my 9mm. I have tried tumble lubed, pan lubed and powder coated. All works well for what I shoot with a BHN of 9ish... side note I have a Lee hardness tester and measure the BHN of range scrap ingots and mark them with a scribe.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  3. #3
    I'm shooting pistols into a bullet trap so I can recycle the lead, problem is I have a lot of soft lead I want to mix in. I don't have any superhard to up the antimony content of the soft lead.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I had an issue with soft lead in 9mm after powder coating. The baking process removes nearly all hardness from the lead it may have had from quenching after molding. When I seated the boolits into the case, they were soft enough that the nose(round nose boolit) compressed and deformed enough the rounds would not chamber.
    It might have still worked if I had water quenched the boolits after I had powder coated them.
    I was using range scrap. I normally water quench from the mold during the casting process. This gives them enough hardness that I normally have no issues with accuracy or leading.
    If your alloy is hard enough naturally that it works fine without water quenching, you will probably be ok. The issue is, you state your alloy is pretty soft. Without some sort of hardening process after the baking, you may have issues depending on boolit design.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Have been experimenting with the 45 acp. BHN around 8/9 and powdercoated. Accuracy has been pretty good and no leading

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    I'm using 10bhn range scrapes & it's working with Smoke's clear pc. I did take me a while & a lot of reading in the castboolits forum to find & try all the tricks to get 9mm to stop leading. I'm happy with my 9mm soft lead load now.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Depending on what your range scrap is, it is all I need for 1200fps or so, especially with coatings. I also water drop out of the oven, at least on my hardness tester it is showing some BHN gain.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    I got pure to work in a hot load for 180gr. 40sw by adding Zn, ~1% with a tad of Cu. PC helps but just barely,AC. They will drop shiny, heavy & small so PC should help. Best solution though is to get some superhard, cast into boolits and add as needed. One ingot is ~$20 and will last a long time. 1%Zn/1%Sb/0.3-0.5%Cu works good in the 30/30 @ hunting fps. Should be good for 9mm. It will get harder WD after coating. Adding Zn to the range scrap will help but with a limited supply, you do need some Sb for the soft. Adding R.S. to the pure won't help.
    Whatever!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    . I've read that pure soft wouldn't be a good idea,
    Where did you read this? Why would the soft lead be inferior to "hard cast" for powder coating? You are PCing them so leading isn't a problem, and if used for hunting or SD, expansion will be better than "hard cast"...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Pure lead might not work well in 9mm, but not because the powder coating. If anything powder coating will be more likely to work vs traditional lube.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    Where did you read this? Why would the soft lead be inferior to "hard cast" for powder coating? You are PCing them so leading isn't a problem, and if used for hunting or SD, expansion will be better than "hard cast"...
    I have just read other people's comments. I am not sure if I would chance soft lead due to my bases not being coated.

    I just loaded up my first bit with the powdercoating and only shot about 20. I had some powder fouling, but no leading.

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  12. #12
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbles23 View Post
    I have just read other people's comments. I am not sure if I would chance soft lead due to my bases not being coated.

    I just loaded up my first bit with the powdercoating and only shot about 20. I had some powder fouling, but no leading.

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    You do NOT get any leading off an exposed base. All FMJ have exposed bases, no leading.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
    NRA Cert. Inst. Met. Reloading & Basic Pistol

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I am working with WD range scrap. Am not there 100% yet with no leading, but can send 200 down the pipe with about a 5 minute cleanup to follow.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I would recommend you start with a small batch using your range lead. Save a few for reference. Water drop is a real good idea as is keeping your PC baking time/temp just enough to pass smash testing. Size as big as you can get to work.

    See if they lead. Smile if they do not. Say a prayer of thanks if so inclined.

    Smile real big if they do not lead even when you try loads at the hot end of your desired power range. Say a prayer of thanks and brag on your blessings if so inclined.

    Blend in some pure if you feel like it for a subsequent batch. Compare hardness as best you can. The pencil method is not bad for this type of thing.

    See if they lead. Repeat the first round of responses. Add in an occasional happy dance, or other similar gesture if you find that you can use softer than range pickup for a 9 mm.

    Note: You may see a little "pessimism" showing through even though I put the best spin on it I could. This is due to the time, effort and money I have spent without getting satisfied with any specific load/technique (yet).

    Lead softer than my range scrap (around 8 bhn) does not sound good unless you get real lucky.

    The condensed version is: The 9 mm has thick walled cases, most dies were made assuming use of jacketed and most 9 mm loads that will reliably cycle most guns do not have much free space above the powder.

    I have been fighting problems in a 9mm Glock for a while. I gave up on the factory barrel, bought an aftermarket version and I am still not happy (yet).

    My latest efforts focused on trying to get my loaded bullets to stay just a little bit above groove diameter. To get enough neck tension to keep them secure, expect soft boolits to get squeezed down some. To keep diameter big enough to not lead can be a real challenge. The softer you go, the harder it can be to find a workable solution.

    Note that if you start talking about some other caliber, the probability of finding a good use for softer lead may be much better. Of the numerous other handguns I load for, only two need PC instead of the much easier BLL for target loads.

  15. #15
    I am using a 125gr flat nose bullet mold with no lube grooves, powder coat, and size to .358 with 5.1gn power pistol. So far so good. Being shot using glock 17 and 43. Soon I will have a glock 34

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbles23 View Post
    I am using a 125gr flat nose bullet mold with no lube grooves, powder coat, and size to .358 with 5.1gn power pistol. So far so good. Being shot using glock 17 and 43. Soon I will have a glock 34

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    Sounds like it is time to: Smile. Say a prayer of thanks if so inclined.

    The Alliant guide I have only has 110 and 147 gr bullets. Your load looks close to 90% of half way between the loads for these two. Based on a survey of the web, a bunch of people go close to or just above 6.0 grs with a 125 gr bullet.

    Were you using range lead, a blend or something else?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I have had to go to 1.050 OAL with my booilt.... no way I could stuff 6 grains in there.. unless it likes being compressed

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by P Flados View Post
    Sounds like it is time to: Smile. Say a prayer of thanks if so inclined.

    The Alliant guide I have only has 110 and 147 gr bullets. Your load looks close to 90% of half way between the loads for these two. Based on a survey of the web, a bunch of people go close to or just above 6.0 grs with a 125 gr bullet.

    Were you using range lead, a blend or something else?
    In my Lyman cast handbook I believe it showed 5.2gr I started at 5 and was working up a load at 1.065 OAL

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    There are numerous posts that seem to indicate that coating at 400 degrees doesn't affect the hardness. People have compared the hardness before and after and found no differences. I have some bullets that test a straight 5 as tested with a REAL bullet hardness tester. I will coat some and test them.

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    I had an issue with soft lead in 9mm after powder coating. The baking process removes nearly all hardness from the lead it may have had from quenching after molding. When I seated the boolits into the case, they were soft enough that the nose(round nose boolit) compressed and deformed enough the rounds would not chamber.
    It might have still worked if I had water quenched the boolits after I had powder coated them.
    I was using range scrap. I normally water quench from the mold during the casting process. This gives them enough hardness that I normally have no issues with accuracy or leading.
    If your alloy is hard enough naturally that it works fine without water quenching, you will probably be ok. The issue is, you state your alloy is pretty soft. Without some sort of hardening process after the baking, you may have issues depending on boolit design.
    I can easily shoot 1100-1200 fps with straight lead bullets with no leading. Having the coating on the bullets I would assume would be a plus.

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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