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Thread: What's the difference between 16:1 and 50/50 mix?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    What's the difference between 16:1 and 50/50 mix?

    It's been on my mind for a while now. Ever since I mixed up a 50/50 (coww and pure) mix and added 2% pewter to the total and ended up with a BH of 10.5. If you have followed some my past threads I tried to make 16:1, adding a pound of pewter to 16 lbs of pure lead and ended up with a BH of 7.5. I'm chalking the soft results up to using pewter picture frames in my pewter melt that must have had a lot more lead content in them. I'm going to retry 16:1 using all hallmark food service items and retest the BH to see if it gets me around 11 BH one of these days.

    My question is if 50/50 is 10.5 BH and 16:1 is 11 what is the advantage of one over the other? I would assume I would get almost exactly the same expansion, weight retention, and penatration when firing the same boolits at the exact same velocity and saving a little pewter(tin) to boot?

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Newboy's Avatar
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    Dude, the purpose of the tin (pewter) is to make the mold fill out better, not to make the bullet harder.

    Try other things for that.


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  3. #3
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    Tin used to be used be popluar as a hardener for lead. Hence the popular 20:1, 40:1 ext. Do to being so expensive and hard to scroung, and some experiments is how we learned its rapid deminishing turn and got to the 2% ratio. After 2% thats the economical amount for mold fill and as hardener it has drastic deminishing return so we use antimony now adays. It can and is still used. You can even order it because its still poplular in the black powder croud. The differece between antimony as a hardener and tin as a hardener is well documented.

    As to the OP questions. I would have to break out the alloy calculator to see the real difference. My 50/50 RS and Coww comes out to 10 BHN. The real difference would be antimony. The 16:1 wouldnt have any antimony and wont be brittle. 50/50 pure to coww is a great hunting alloy by some acccounts. Not enough antimony to be brittle addition of 2% pewter would be the economical approach for fill out but but not affect hardness to much. Do what you want, its your lead and tin. I am cheap though.

    I check the BHN of everything before its mixed.

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  4. #4
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    JSnover's Avatar
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    In a binary alloy (two elements) you can't do much besides make your boolits fill out nicely with a little tin or make them expensive and shiny with a lot of tin, or make them extremely hard (read: brittle) by adding more antimony than you need. In a tertiary alloy (three elements), the lead, tin, and antimony form a structure that is both hard and tough and fills the mold well. If I recall correctly it is also more stable over time. A small amount of tin is all I use for paper targets.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Brinell Hardness is a single measure of a substances properties. There are many others that are relevant, but not easily tested in the home environment, such as tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, shear strength, bulk modulus, thermal conductivity, etc.

    50/50 achieves its hardness largely through antimony. Unfortunately, antimony also tends to make the alloy more brittle which gives undesirable terminal effects in a game bullet. If you only goal is punching paper this may not matter as much.

    Tin was used for many years because it made lead harder but did not make it more brittle. In fact, lead/tin binary alloys tend to more malleable then lead alone, so it offered two benefits: harder bullets and better terminal performance in large game.

    Today, the vast majority of lead bullets are fired in recreational shooting. The targets only need be hit: we aren't that concerned with terminal effect. To that end we care only that the bullets are hard enough to perform properly in the barrel, and they cast uniformly enough as not negatively impact accuracy. For this purpose, 50/50 is a fine alloy.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    My use is for deer hunting not paper targets. I'm just wondering between the two in the same boolit pushed at the same if one is going to expand a little wider and or penatrate a little further? I'm guessing both alloys are close to equal when it comes to this.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Found this in the archives. Sounds like 16:1 dose not have a BH of 11 and closer to 8. So maybe my mix I tested at 7.5 wasn't that far off.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-to-1-lead-tin

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    If you can scratch it with a thumbnail, it's a perfect deer hunting alloy... Use with soft lube and gas checks you will never have to clean the bore.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I PC and GC. I ran a good hundred plus using the 7.5 BH alloy in a 44 mag Lyman devastator with a Muzzel velocity of 1675fps. I never had any leading. It shoots sub MOA with this load. Just didn't get a lot of water bottle penetration with it. Caught one in the 3rd 16 oz bottle at about 15 yards from the Muzzel. The 270gr boolit weighed 131gr set and done. I know deer aren't as hard as water. I just need season to open and a test subject. I'm hoping it won't be too destructive at this velocity.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 07-08-2018 at 11:13 PM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I have said this before in your posts, let me again say that you seriously do not need a hollowpoint boolit. Expansion is really not critical, shot placement IS. Look at some of the Montana Bullet Works WFN designs and either try some, or use that design as a guide and hunt up some here on the forum to try.

    You will probably be better served with a boolit that has a wide meplat, and is malleable enough to expand some, yet stay together and weigh much closer to the original weight instead of shedding half it's weight from pieces of the hp breaking off.

    Here are some that I would be quite interested in, if I was looking for a good hunting boolit:

    44 Mag, LBT, 260gr, WFN-GC

    44 Mag, LBT, 240gr, WFN-GC

    44 Mag, LBT, 240gr, OWC-PB

    These are all LBT designs, I am sure you could find some cast softer than the BHN22 that MBW uses for these, or you can get the molds and cast them yourself if you get some samples to try and they work well for you.

    This pic is 3 of the LBT wide meplat designs in 45 caliber, but they are basically the same for 44, to give an idea of the style of boolit I am suggesting..

    Last edited by DougGuy; 07-08-2018 at 11:28 PM.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

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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