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Thread: Questionable lead

  1. #1

    Questionable lead

    I bought about 50# of lead from a deceased reloader and I do not know what consistence it is. I know HE planned to use it to make bullets, but I do not know if he intended to add something to it. I have a feeling that it is all older wheel weights, but I have never used wheel weights. I have two or three new Black Powder Cartridge shoots that want me to cast cheap bullets for them. If I were to cast bullets for them, so long as the lead consistency was the same, would it work.? I could keep them supplied with the same stuff for quite some time. Would you add anything to the mix?.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master maxreloader's Avatar
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    I associate blackpowder with super-soft or pure lead. The only guy I know that uses blackpowder shoots roof flashing lead and does not add anything to it. He shoots all old muskets and flintlocks etc. Newer rifles I am sure can handle more than the old ones but I dont know. I am sure a member here does!
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  3. #3
    Boolit Bub PhantomRider64's Avatar
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    I would test the hardness. You may be able to pay a junk yard to scan it if they do that sort of thing. BP is ok with soft or firmer lead as long as it is not for a muzzle loader.

    I would want to be able to tell folks what their lead is if making bullets for them.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    For 50 $ you can get a lead hardness tester that is easily 'ballpark', then go from there.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    For 50 $ you can get a lead hardness tester that is easily 'ballpark', then go from there.
    Get the pencils for $10 and test hardness. It is very easy and will be accurate enough. You can read about how to use the pencils to test hardness elsewhere on this site.

  6. #6
    What do you consider acceptable hardness ?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    I like 10 or so for non magnum pistol, up to 12 for magnums, depending on the pressure and fps. For rifle I like something around Lyman #2 15/16, with or without a gas check depending on psi/fps, and in limited situations, a little higher depending on special application.

    That's just my preference.

    Melting range scrap I usually end up with something in the 10-12 range, though closer to 10 usually, depending what all was being shot there. Its nice to find musket and pistol ball leftovers when someone was using a spinner all day and not collecting the spalled lead collecting at its base. From there I can cast as is or sweeten with tin a tad and add a little bhn and mold fill out, or mix in some lino and harden up more, as needed.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I mix 10-12 for just about everything. I have a Cabine tester for hardness. Artist pencils will give you a ballpark guestimate. Do a search for the reference chart on here.

    BP guys use soft lead (5) usually...........NOT 10-12.

    You definitely need to determine the hardness!!!!!!!!!

    Bangerjim

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    One of the reasons for the pure or soft lead in muzzle loaders is ease of loading. A bullet that engraves the rifling cast from harder lead is also much harder to load. Even tight patched round balls cast hard can be a bear to start and push down.

    In the BPCR guns harder lead dosnt always seal the bore like it should.

    In cap and ball revolvers the shearing of a wheel weight ball can cause issues with the rammer on the pistol.

    Get the lead tested and see what it is. This way you have an idea what your working with.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by bangerjim View Post
    BP guys use soft lead (5) usually...........NOT 10-12.

    I never said otherwise! I cast my own pure lead musket balls and various pistol balls, as well as alloyed up pistol / rifle for non-front stuffing guns.

    My comment about finding piles of straight lead from spinners was depicting the range of materials that you can find from melting range scrap. If your range scrap has mostly revolver balls in it.. it's going to be softer than without straight lead being in the pile.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I think your mystery lead thats possibly older wheel weights will be too hard for your black powder shooters. Anything that you add to it will only make it harder. You need something softer. Sheet lead, stick on wheel weights, lead pipe, ect.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Remember guys.. He's doing black powder cartridge!

    He's not ramming a ball down a barrel or a cylinder, he's loading a brass cartridge....

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    If it's BPCR as Soundguy said they will want 20-1 or 16-1 most likely. And they want it absolutely the same if they are competing. I know Mike Venturino only uses pure ingredients in his BCPR boolits. If they want to compete they will need the same consistency.
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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