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Thread: Thickness of Harbor Freight - Red coating

  1. #1

    Thickness of Harbor Freight - Red coating

    I've been using Harbor Freight Red via ASBB method. My coats seem OK, but on close inspection you can see through it a little bit. I measure the diameter after coating and dang if I can tell any increase.

    Does it make sense for the coating to be less than a mil?

    I don't size before coating. So I take a bare bullet and reserve it from the rest. Then I powder coat, and then measure a powder coated bullet against a bare bullet. Maybe I just stink at taking measurements because I can take the same, unsized bullet and measure it several times and get diameters that vary a few thousandths. I figure this is just slightly out-of-round. But when there is 3 mil variation within the same bullet, it is kinda tough to pick out an increase of 1 mil.

    I guess it doesn't matter much since I get fair performance at the range, I just wonder if other people notice that HF-Red is thinner than other powders when using the ASBB method.

  2. #2
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    if you are not getting complete coverage on the bullet (IE bare/thin spots) its real hard to measure coverage thickness

    When applied properly (IE full coverage) typically you will get a thicker coat with HF powder over what I sell . Theirs is epoxy based and a much larger grain size
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master rsrocket1's Avatar
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    With a nice smooth unsized coat of HF red, I've measured about 1 mils thickness or 0.002" increase in diameter of the bullet.

    In terms of uneven coats, I've deliberately tried powder coating on a high humidity day to get "poor coverage" with HF red. This was coated on hot humid day after a rainstorm.



    After pushing it through the Lee 401 sizer, the polymer flowed to an even coating. I would assume the same thing would happen as the bullet goes down your barrel at 1000 fps pushed by 2-3,000 pounds of force (20-30k psi)



    So a single uniform coat, even if it looks speckled like this, will protect the bullet and work fine.
    Last edited by rsrocket1; 02-07-2019 at 09:44 AM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have not noticed it being thinner than others when tumbled. If anything, I believe it's a thicker coat, just not as smooth, probably due to being a larger particle size.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I live in the Gulf Coast I have tried HF powder. I also found I couldn't get a uniform coating and without bare spots unless I did a double coat. So why double my time & effort just top save a couple of bucks on powder. A pound of quality powder will coat thousands of bullets and maybe for some fooling with HF is worth it, but not for me.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    l just started PCing boolits a coupla months ago. HF RED is the paint l started with and the one l am currently using. AFTER cleanliness-humidity effects paint coverage more than anything.. That's why l always size my boolits AFTER l coat them.. lts also best to size your coated boolits pretty SOON after they are coated.. PC epoxy coatings take app 30 days to fully cure.. l am a RETIRED lndustrial painter, member of IUPAT, lnternational Union of Painters and Allied Trades... Think of PCing a boxcar for Trailer Train

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Epoxy PC is different than epoxy PAINT! Paint hardener creates low temp heat to force the crosslink which does take much longer to cure. PC uses external heat.
    Whatever!

  8. #8
    HF red is the powder I started with and I’m glad I tried it. I use smokes powder now, but wouldn’t have considered trying powder coat at all if it weren’t for the availability of the cheap powder and bb’s. I figured a free toaster oven and $20 worth of stuff wasn’t so much to loose, but it actually worked! I got my 9mm to stop leading, by bumping up the diameter just enough with HF red.

    Smokes powder does work easier. Not worth the trouble to try and get full coverage with HF in my opinion.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    l am enjoying this PCing!! No more smoking up the range with Bens Red.. Less lead exposure too. No barrel leading.. Accuracy is virtually the SAME.. So far l have only used HF RED... l will say in the strongest language allowed.. Coat AND size your boolits as soon after coating as possible!!! Tried sizing some 44s l had cast/coated a couple months ago with my Lee sizer die and Rock Chucker press.. Virtually lmpossible to push them thru... No problem sizing boolits from SAME batch coated/cast the same DAY

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I mix the HF red 50/50 with Smoke's powder- the combination gives great coverage and interesting colors. I size after PC but give then a spritz of Hornady one-shot to help with the sizing thru the lee dies.
    Loren

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockshooter View Post
    I mix the HF red 50/50 with Smoke's powder- the combination gives great coverage and interesting colors. I size after PC but give then a spritz of Hornady one-shot to help with the sizing thru the lee dies.
    Loren
    You do realize the powders can have different bases, like polyester, polyurethane, epoxy, etc. The results of mixing can be a coating that does not have the properties of either powder and not in a good way. Back when I first started PC, now 7 years, I had a little powder left over from two different colors, so I said why not mix? Well the why not I found was the resulting powder after full cure looked great, but could be scrapped off my bullets. I had lost the hardness so essential for the polymer jacket and a total waste of my efforts and expense.

    Since then I have conferred with a lot of professionals in the PC industry, including a physicist and chemist I have learned a lot more than I knew back then. I admit I use the mixed powder from my over-spray to coat things like storage cans, yard tools, etc. but I would never mix powders for my bullets or anything critical because I am not a polymer chemist. With literately thousands of colors of powder available I can get any color I want and know it is not going to have problems. Just my advice, but it is your hobby and your gun barrels so whatever you are comfortable with.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I think as long as you get good results, with no leading, that’s the ultimate goal your fine. The measuring, of a coating is a bit difficult. If we use a caliper, not the best tool, but it’s faster and cheaper. When we use a micrometer, a good one that measures out further you will get better picture. Mark a boolit some way, after casting, and cooling. Measure in same place,doesn’t mater where, or if its out of shape. As long as you do it the same you should see an increase in size. Mine measure 1-2 mil larger with HF red.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockshooter View Post
    I mix the HF red 50/50 with Smoke's powder- the combination gives great coverage and interesting colors. I size after PC.
    Loren
    I do the same. Mixing a good PC with HF red gives some interesting results.

  14. #14
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ID:	237076Over the last two days Iíve cast about 600 200gr .45s swc boolits, pcíed them with HF red and sized them to .451. Iíve used the HF in the past but started having issues with it not sticking so I started all over again from scratch using the shake and bake method. They did better and looked redder before baking. Itís a thin coat but I cant cut it with my fingernail and no flaking so it might be ok. Would like them to be redder but Iím not doing a second coat. I air cooled the boolits after they were cast but quenched them in water when they came out of my convection oven. Is there a secret to get one coat good coverage with HF red doing a shake and bake? Not interested in spraying.

    Hereís what they look like, not pretty but as long as they donít lead up my bbls Iím happy.
    Last edited by Baltimoreed; 03-01-2019 at 11:32 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Does warming bullets to 120 degrees or so improve the sticking of HF red?

  16. #16
    I think the pre-warm helps. It seems that it can be overdone though. It appears that if the PC sticks too thick the coating gets globby and uneven.

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