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Thread: Bulk (in a pile) baking methods?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Bulk (in a pile) baking methods?

    For those who bulk bake, what is your favorite method?

    Powder type?
    Temp?
    Time?
    Hot dump, warm dump, water dump?

    I recently tried baking a 4-5 boolit deep pile coated with HF Red at 275F for 20 minutes on a mesh tray. I allowed them to cool, as baked, to the point I could easily handle them with bare hands, before knocking them out of the basket and breaking them up. I got my best looking boolits to date that broke apart easily, but I am afraid they are under baked as I can scratch the coating off with a finger nail. Surprisingly, they do smash pretty well. The last thing I want is powder baked on my bores, so I was planning on rebaking them at hotter and hotter temps until they hardened up, yet dont stick to each other too badly. I know HF powder is the bottom of the barrel, and I'm willing to try any reasonably priced powder recommended, but I refuse to stand up bulk pistol plinking boolits one by one batch after batch in a toaster oven.
    To Thomas Jefferson: It's America! We can have our plows AND our guns!

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  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    I rebaked my boolits this morning at 350, 375, and 400, then hot dumped with no sticking problems. Maybe the double bake made a difference? Not quite sure what caused all my problems when I last tried over a year ago which resulted in big gooey blobs of boolits that left bare spots when broken up. Perhaps I was just using too much powder...
    To Thomas Jefferson: It's America! We can have our plows AND our guns!

    http://lindsayfarmonsilvercreek.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    I started PC in 2012 and learned from professional powder coaters (not bullets) and the representatives of the companies that make the powder. I also had lot of input and many questions answered by a PhD professor of polymer physics. In my time spent doing PC and having coated tens of thousands of bullets I have found ways to increase my output yet maintain the very best looking and performing PC bullets. To me a bullet sent downrange that is not the most accurate I can make is a waste of my time, effort and money.
    However, I am afraid I cannot help you, as I know of no way to consistently properly cure a pile of bullets and maintain the performance and quality. As you have found the coating is not properly cured and is damaged when the bullets are seperated, not to mention the bases of your bullets are not flat and the coating is not uniform.
    I am still old school, but my bullets are accurate and I have no concerns about leading. For me this is a hobby that I enjoy, if my time spent were more precious elsewhere I would simply forget the PC go back to buying bullets from Berry. I applaud your efforts to improve the process, but I would suggest abandoning your quest and just go back to what works.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    started by picking them one by one and standing them up (gotta be a quicker way--life is too short)

    Now PC and dump them on a homemade tray made out of a pizza screen https://www.walmart.com/ip/Wilton-Ba...Inch/134251036

    custom made to fit my oven and screen has big openings

    I can coat about 40-50 bullets at a time and will dump the batch in a colander to seperate the ASBBs and excess powder

    then dump bullets on tray. Can do this 2 times for my size trays (8x8")

    carefully shake tray to keep bullets from sitting on top of one another--nice one layer of bullets is what I'm going for

    into oven: 10 at 400F

    pull tray out and dump on metal cake pan (high walls keeps bullets from dropping on floor)

    give them 30 seconds to minute to cool and shake pan to break sticking bullets apart. Get most of them apart this way

    after cooled go through sizer.

    the small bare spots where they were stuck together don't seem to cause any leading
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    I read in the beginning - 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Why would I change that or experiment? 275 degrees, that's WAY too low, why even try that???

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    I read 15min at 400. Sixshot says anymore than 10 min and you are wasting electricity.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    I coat in a tumbler put them in a media separator to get out the excess powder and dump them on a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or non stick aluminum foil. the foil last longer but the parchement paper is a bit better at them not sticking. take the sheet out of the oven after 15 minutes and right away while there still hot a knock the pan against the oven a few times to break them apart. might get a couple out of 10 lb batch that still stick together but like others never seen the small spots on the where theys stuck together effect a thing. Ive got no time or patients for stacking bullet nicely on there bases on a pan. did it once and bumped them and knocked them all over. Got """"""" and threw them in the oven and never looked back. to me standing up bullets and being so anal you need them perfect is about like using a dipper pot because you think your getting better bullets or weighting every powder charge when loading pistol ammo on a single stage press vs cranking them out on a progressive.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  8. #8
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    I did much the same... First couple dozen bakes I used forceps and stood the bullets on there bases and baked... it was a PIA, but as I was coating 10-20 a bake, (Just learning) I was OK... then I started rifle bullets and well, they don't stand like 300g 454's do.

    I will still go to the trouble of standing them if they are short and fat, but 90% of the time, a single layer on a non stick foil tray is just fine.

    As for what works, sorry cant really help any more then to say you need to find a good powder and experiment with time and temp then test for adhesion to find a combo that provides minimal sticking and minimal hickies on the bullets.

    Something I do think helps is water quenching after the bake. I many times find all the bullets are off the pan in the bottom of the bucket. YES, toss the Tray and foil and all into a 3/4 full 6 Gal pail.

    Less time and lower temp WILL make things stick less, BUT, BUT, BUT YO MUST be sure its ENOUGH that the powder coat properly adheres. the powder has requirements and you can get some funky barrel build ups that could be dangerous so be aware, its not simply shorten time and lower temp and you are in...

    CW
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master rsrocket1's Avatar
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    I've found the best way to stand individual bullets on the tray is to load them into plastic bullet containers (the kind that commercial ammo comes in). You can pick up the bullets using a nitrile glove and drop them nose first into each tray slot much faster and easier than standing them up next to each other on the tray. Fill up 3-4 trays on a cookie sheet, put the lined baking sheet on top and flip them all over. 200 bullets sitting in neat rows with adequate spacing between them to get uniform heat. I use 2 toaster ovens and can fill one in about 10 minutes which gives me enough time to shake and fill the next and alternate between ovens.

    This lets me do 1000 bullets in about 2 hours.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Some OP is using factory ammo trays to align for cooking (easy to stand up). You can bake in a pile, low temp that gets the PC to liquefy and harden but not cure. Then use the tray to align and cook for real. If you are real good you can bounce the pile/tray and get them to become loose without much damage. You also can re-tumble and the powder will first stick to the uncoated area, then cook again for real.
    Whatever!

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    I didnt like results from baking bunch of them all over the place. I still stand my bullets up on non stick foil. Yes its a pain and yes it takes a long time but thats the only way I found to make quality PCed bullets. I found a way to do it in front of my tv so you dont notice how time spent but its still a lot of work. I get great results though with single consistent coat. None of my guns ever leaded and I started and learned on 9mm which is hard to deal with. Thanx to PC i had no problems other then accuracy but thats all in load development and powder selection.

    Not planning on changing my PC procedure unless I get the same results. Just cast over 1500 of Lee 356-125-2R that will be PCed next few days.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
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    All of these where baked on foil or screen, just dumped in but attempting to make single layer. (Smaller batches)















    Small voids sure, but overall good coverage.

    CW
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelguns 1961 View Post
    I read 15min at 400. Sixshot says anymore than 10 min and you are wasting electricity.
    It all depends on the PC. I have some (chrome) the requires 20 min @ 400 AFTER the PC starts melting/flowing.

    IF they pass the smash test and don't lead the barrel - that is the ultimate test.

    For Bulk (in a pile) baking method

    #1 variable is the powder [ not just manufacturer but manufacturer AND specific color and gloss].

    There are several powders this will work with (that blue Elvis was using is his favorite powder), BUT so many won't work.

    Go through the powders you have and start with a small pile of each color (make sure you shake off ALL the excess powder) and see which work best and go from there.

    There is a good chance that none of the powders you have will work.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    I also just dump then on a tray and try to limit the tray to a single layer that is not too tightly packed. I can put two trays in my oven at once and then if I need to do more I can do them while I am sizing the first batch.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    All great advice. I use only smokes powder. That is what I started with and it has always worked good so why change. That being said, I have found that signal blue, signal red, and jet black work the best of the colors that I have. I have signal white and it didn’t seem to cover like the others, so I mix it with the blue for light blue, and the red for light red, pink. My bullets look alot like cwlongshots.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    White and yellow have a hard time coating. Just because a PC coats well doesn't mean it won't stick like sin to other boolits. I haven't determined what makes some PC stick to the boolits but not to each other

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    The manufacturer of the powder has a cure schedule for each and every powder they manufacture and that is what you should follow, but for most powders it is 400 degrees for 10 minutes. BUT, the catch is the substrate (THE BULLETS) must be at and held at 400 degrees (or the designated temperature) for the full time. When the oven temperature (Air Temperature) gets to 400 degrees does not mean the temperature of the bullets have reached 400 degrees. This is the reason most add to the cure time, unless they have an accurate method to measure the temperature of the substrate.

    I would like to dispel the myth the the smash test is positive proof that the powder has reached full cure because the smash test does NOT. The smash test does not indicate the hardness of the powder and that the powder has reached full cure. Try the scrape test first, its quicker and easier.

  18. #18
    CWLongshot what powder do you use? Boolits look great!

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