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Thread: Large batch for base line casting.

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Near Hobble Creek Canyon, Utah

    Large batch for base line casting.

    I've got about 600 lbs of pure lead sheeting from a hospital x-ray room smelted down into 1 lb ingots. I've also got 30 lbs of the Rotometals pure tin nuggets. I know I need some antimony to harden it to where I want it and am thinking of ordering 30 lbs of antimony ingots, also from Rotometals. Then i'm thinking of a mass smelting where I bring it all to about 12 BHN (95% lead, 3% Ant and 2% Tin) for general purpose handgun. Then if I need harder for magnum handgun or rifles, I can brew up a 20 lb batch and bring it to about 15 BHN/Lyman #2 or 16 BHN/Hardball by dropping in a bit more Antimony.

    How's my train of thought and goals?


  2. #2

    ShooterAZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Sounds about right to me. I use 1/3/96 derived from isotope cores, and it works great for handgun. For rifles, I will add half a bar of linotype (from Rotometals) in a 20 pound pot of the same alloy. I don't think I would blend all of it once though, as I also shoot a lot of muzzle-loaders. I'd want to keep some pure on hand.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Mid atlantic area
    Maybe melt it all into 1lb ingots. Figure out your formulas, and just combine them in your casting pot. It seems like less work, and you have more flexibility in case you want to change your formula, and you will want to change it before you go through over 600lbs. Just my idea. Everybody has different ways for different reasons.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    It sounds like a solid plan.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    The reports are that antimony is hard to melt into the lead with out meagher equipment. Thats why roto metals has the super hard. Not impossible though. Also keep in mind it only takes a few miligrams of antimony through ingestion or inhalation to get sick with vomiting and profuse sweating. It isnt like lead that goes in and out and no harmful affects aslong as you dont get to toxic levels. Once antimony is in the body you are sick till its out. Antimony is more easily obsorbed by the body. Handle with care and caution. Antimony was used as a poison and to treat parasites till the 19th century.

    Not trying to scare you out of doing. Just trying to inform you of the potential hazzards. As long as you handle with care and caution. Use gloves and well ventilation you will be fine.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    The plus to blending large batch of alloy is it lasts for many bullets all the same. You didn't state the size of your smelting pot but here bigger is better to a point. a 250 lb pot puts you at 3 pots of alloy. I did large batches like this. I cast in 3 lb ingots. Several little things 2 consider. the larger batch once alloyed cant be brought back if you want pure lead for something. Each igot needs ided as to alloy and pot number in the batch. This allows the same number of ingots from each pot to be used lowering the difference between pots. A set of letter number stamps does great here. My ingots were stamped 96 2 2 P# so I knew what alloy and pot they came from when casting. I simply taped the stamps together and gave them a solid hit with a heavy hammer while waiting for the next pot to heat up. A good solid rack or cart for the ingots is a plus. Depending on your equipment you might consider going to 2-3 lb ingots a lot less pouring and stamping than 1 lb ingots, also less pieces to carry when casting. But it is a good way to go if you know what you need and want.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    I haven't done this myself, since I have a good supply of SuperHard from Rotometals, but if you really want to mix pure antimony into lead, post #13 in this thread, by Youngtimer, describes what he did.

    I do large batches of ~#200 at a time (propane tank pot), mixing Pb, Sb and Sn from alloys of known content, so I can confidently and repeatedly make up the same alloy each time (my action pistol habit goes through a lot of boolits). But it's worth noting that most of my stock is unalloyed. As mentioned above, keeping your options open is helped by keeping the various component metals unmixed (what if you decide some day that front stuffers are what you want to shoot, and need that pure soft lead as is rather than harder alloy?)
    Last edited by kevin c; 11-03-2018 at 03:49 AM. Reason: Spelling edit

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    North West Ohio
    This pretty much how I do my alloys being most of my casing is for handgun.I mix my base alloy of 2.5% sn and 2.5%sb in a lage batch 300 to 350lbs.i use the alloy calculator to go from there up or down in hardness.I have been getting all my lead tested.This way I know at all times what I have for alloy.I can mix at the pot or make a new batch of anything I want from there.The testing of my lead also saves me money.If there is 1% of tin or antimony in my scrap lead and I mix 300lbs at a time I know I don't have to add what ever % is already there.When I use to guess I know I have used plenty of tin and antimony I didn't need to.I figured my base alloy from what I use the most of.
    this way I have plenty alloy I use all the time. I like the balanced alloy best just my thing tho.I keep my pure lead in a stash and try not to use it for alloying.other than mixing tin alloys for BPCR. This is what works for me YMMV

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    I would also not choose antimony alone & go with Lino, Mono or super-hard to alloy with your lead.
    NRA Cert. Inst. Met. Reloading & Basic Pistol

  10. #10
    Boolit Master el34's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    N Texas
    When I was alloying for handgun I chose a final result of 12.5 BHN based on Fresnell's (sp?) articles. I'd melt any and all lead from any source (pure, COWW, SOWW, range, whatever), then make a couple of small ingots 1/2 in thick. They'd quickly cool down while the pot was still melted and I'd measure the BHN of my test ingots, then enter it and the weight of the mystery melt into an Excel calculator I wrote to tell me how much antimony source and tin source to mix in. It was always accurate within 0.5 BHN.

    As fredj338 noted I used Superhard, monotype, or linotype for the antimony source. Here are BHN #s for them-

    Superhard - 35 BHN
    Monotype - 30 BHN (with 10% tin also)
    Linotype -22 BHN (with 4% tin also)
    Linotype spacers -20 BHN, same tin

    For every 10lb of pure lead (BHN 5), here's how much of those antimony sources you'd need to get 12 BHN alloy-

    2.9lb Superhard
    3.9lb Monotype, and the tin in it will automatically result in 2.8% tin in the alloy (usual recommendation is 1%-2%)
    7.0lb Linotype, and the tin in it will automatically result in 1.6% tin in the alloy.
    8.7lb Linotype that is mostly spacers. It'll result in 1.9% tin.

    I hope this helps!
    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." --H. L. Menchen

  11. #11
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Michigan Lansing Area
    I would go with the large batch of at least a 100 pounds or more. But I approach from the opposite direction.

    Keep some of your soft lead out. As mentioned muzzle loaders and...
    Make your large batch as hard as your hardest bullet needs to be. Cut the hard with plain for softer bullet applications. See what I mean by opposite direction?
    I favor equal parts antimony and tin because the two alloy with each other and are stronger/tougher as equal partners than the sum of the two alloys.

    My reason is it is easy to figure out the cut percentages. If you have Lyman #2 at 5/5/90 it is sufficient to use in high powered loads, cut 50/50 with plain it is 2.5/2.5/95 Still an excellent performing alloy. Cut 2 Pb to 1 Lyman #2 and you have 1.6% tin and antimony. Which is about like the popular 50/50 mix of COWW's and plain plus some tin used in many pistol rounds.

    Don't have to be as rich as Lyman #2 one can make 3/3/94 which is good rifle alloy that can have some plain added for pistol. If you held onto some of your 30% antimony super hard from Rotometals you could kick that 3/3/94 up toward 2/6/92 also know as Hardball alloy which is good for more powerful loads.

    For me being able to use either COWW ingots or plain lead ingots to reduce Lyman #2 (richest alloy I use) works better for me than trying to take an alloy and figure out how much of what to add to it to make it the alloy I need. COWW's and plain lead are "known" alloy so as an ingredient to dilute with they work well. The examples above used plain lead since that is what you mentioned having in bulk. COWW's can be added and will reduce the tin % but since they have ~ 3% antimony adding COWW's won't drop the antimony below 3% and drops it less than plain.

    Bottom line hold some "ingredients" out so you have ability to make something different if needed.

    Download the alloy calculator from the sticky in this forum if you haven't already. Makes the alloy making easier.
    Last edited by RogerDat; 11-06-2018 at 04:37 PM.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page I do trade a bit from time to time.

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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
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