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Thread: Great difference between aircooling and water quenched

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Great difference between aircooling and water quenched

    Hi all.
    Yesterday while doing some 9mm boolits, I had the idea of throwing some into the water and measuring its hardness.
    I was surprised that the ones that had cooled in the air had a hardness of 10.5 BHN and the ones that got out of the water had 24 BHN!
    The alloy was half range scrap and half lead pipe. I'm going to melt those boolits since 24 BHN for a 9mm is too much.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Oct 2013
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    you might be able to soften the hardened ones by oven heating and slow cooling so I wouldn't scrap them just yet. pretty sure that would work just don't know the exact temp or time cause ive not been in that situation before.


    but ya antimony allows for pretty good hardness gain from quenching. if you have antimony and tiny bit of arsenic (which can be had from clip on wheel weights or magnum lead shot) you can gain even more hardness. for the heck of it I shot 44 magnum loads made from heat treated magnum shot and a pinch of tin and there pretty much on par with toughness of a full metal jacket.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    iAdami totally understand wanting different hardness levels for different uses. Im a bit curious if there is any sort of ratio for finding the optimum hardness. I've read a little here and there on hardness but not a significant amount. My dad usually does most of the casting as he is retired and has a lot more free time. We've recently started casting for a couple bigger magnums with ok results. The 475 linebaugh and 45-70 BFR. The 475 is doing good under an inch at 60yds. The 45-70 is lucky to touch 1.5in. I was going to try some bullets from my 45-70 sharpes rifle. Just curious if we should be running them at different hardness levels or what you guys think to try.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Air dropped boolits harden quite a bit over the next month or so. Water quenched ones generally soften as they age. Both generally end up at the same eventual end hardness.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Yodogsandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by truckjohn View Post
    Air dropped boolits harden quite a bit over the next month or so. Water quenched ones generally soften as they age. Both generally end up at the same eventual end hardness.
    Age softening will depend on the tin amount. Bullets cast with higher tin contents will soften fairly quickly. sometimes within a year. Cast bullets that are heat treated with low tin amounts take decades to significantly soften to near air cooled hardness.

    One great thing about heat treated cast bullets is that they can easily be heat treated and quenched back to the hardness level you desire.
    A deplorable that votes!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I would shoot the 24 BHN. Jacketed bullets are way harder than that. On one occasion, I tried lube/sizing water dropped 420 gr. .40 cal. and broke the handle on the Lyman 550.
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I preferred to go down the safe path and I melted them
    Maybe later try again, there are some who got better results with glock shooting hard boolits

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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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