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Thread: W/W lead vs range pickup vs pure lead- what’s best for PC?

  1. #1

    W/W lead vs range pickup vs pure lead- what’s best for PC?

    I’ve got a question for the pc experts here. What’s the best lead to use for pc pistol boolits? W/W’s-range pickup or pure lead? Does it matter? I’ve been mixing about half and half ww and range pickup for my .45 and .30 cal [more ww than range] boolit casting but I’ve only pc’ed my .45s. My take on pc is that as it protects the bore from leading so it doesn’t matter [which is why I do it]. But it must make a difference with the detonation of your powder charge and then what happens to the boolit inside the bbl. Softer lead is going to seal things better than hard but is a soft boolit going to deform and negatively effect your accuracy. Will a soft lead affect the powder coating? There’s alot of coating information out there but I haven’t seen much on the best or worst lead to use. If I missed a previous thread on this please direct and thanks.
    Last edited by Baltimoreed; 03-03-2019 at 11:53 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    It doesn't matter. PC coats it all. It will conform to whatever shape the boolit takes on in the barrel.
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    It won't make a nickel's worth of difference.....unless it matters to your gun (what it shows to shoot best).
    Pistol is usually far more forgiving than rifle, but at the end of the day "fit is king" and no coating of any type will fix a sloppy fit. YMMV, but that's how it has always turned out for me.
    An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "Inside me two wolves fight," he told the boy.
    "One is evil - he is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, lies, false pride, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, generosity, truth and faith. The same fight is inside you - and every other person, too."
    The grandson thought for a minute and asked,"Which wolf will win?"
    The old Cherokee replied, "The one you feed."

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have found that heat treated (oven baked) wheel weight lead provides the best accuracy in my .45 ACP. However, most of my shooting is done with .38 Spl. 130 grain powder coated bullets using soft lead...wheel weights are getting hard to find, and baking the powder coating negates any hardening via heat treat. So, I am not going to worry about the hardness anymore, just going to use the soft lead that I have, powder coat it and shoot it mostly in .38 Spl. light target (steel bowling pins and steel plates at 50 feet), loads.
    Range salvage lead may also be pretty soft considering that there will likely be a lot of swaged wadcutters in it along with the soft lead cores from jacketed bullets. But, at this point where lead supplies are drying-up, any lead can be adapted for making cast bullets of some use or another.

  5. #5
    Thinking that the next time that I fire up my lead pot I’ll cast out whats in it now, [pick up and ww] and put some pure lead in it and cast that into my .45 boolits, pc’em and see what happens. I’ll even set up my chronograph to compare them. I need to ck the speed of my krag ammo anyway.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Are you intending to cast .45 ACPs or .45 LCs from straight Pb? I see two issues: 1) Your straight Pb is going to need a bit of tin...maybe 2%...to obtain best fill-out. 2) You'll probably get some nose deformation in a .45 auto with straight PB. One the other hand, using properly sized boolits, alloy hardness won't make a lot of difference in a revolver.

    FWIW, I've been using 3 parts range scrap, 1 part COWW, plus a bit of tin for all my handgun loads (under 1100 fps) for a couple years now without any leading or noticeable loss of accuracy.

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    I use lead hard enough to insure it doesn't strip in the rifling. Other than that there is no real difference as PC protects the bore from leading.
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

    The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    For handgun, I shoot mostly range scrap, or range scrap mixed 4-1 with clip ww if running higher pressures. I water drop the PC out of the oven.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    "baking the powder coating negates any hardening via heat treat" dahermit

    Knowing one planned to powdercoat boolets, wouldn't it be effective to quench after the bake? Obviously, quenching after casting will be negated by the baking process.
    Micah 6:8
    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

    "I don't have hobbies - I'm developing a robust post-apocalyptic skill set"
    I may be discharged and retired but I'm sure I did not renounce the oath that I solemnly swore!

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Yanda View Post
    "baking the powder coating negates any hardening via heat treat" dahermit

    Knowing one planned to powdercoat boolets, wouldn't it be effective to quench after the bake? Obviously, quenching after casting will be negated by the baking process.
    This was going to be my question. Is water quenching pc boolits straight out of the oven effective ? Is the ovens 200°C sufficient temp to harden the alloy ?

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Use what you can get for nothing or pay the least for.
    If you do a properly cured and thick enough PC then the bullet is running on the hard polymer jacket, which is sealing & protecting the inner core as a jacket does. With handguns I have found no difference in PC pure lead or harder alloy.
    In full power rifle bullets accuracy does seem to be improved with a harder bullet. However, PC alone does not correct the inherent flaw of a non-concentric (lopsided) cast bullet.

  12. #12
    I can vouch for range scrap. I have lots of WW and Lino on hand, but also got a good line on range scrap a while back and found out it works just fine with pistol and PC. Been sticking to it since it's more readily available to me. Sticking with it until it runs out before dipping back into my WW, etc. Last weekend I fired about 200rds thru a clean walther 45, another 200 thru a clean walther 9mm and wiped them both out with Rem Oil on cotton and not a speck of leading in either. Also christened a new P365 with a couple hundred of the same and not a single spec of lead. And I'm not exaggerating this....I literally mean not a speck..at least none that I could see while holding the barrels up to light

    In the past, with traditional lube, I had to cast much harder. Seems I can now sling just about anything I want down the barrels with PC.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatch View Post
    This was going to be my question. Is water quenching pc boolits straight out of the oven effective ? Is the ovens 200°C sufficient temp to harden the alloy ?
    It hardens the surface a bit, like 3-4bhn, my own testing on my Cabintree. So it isn't the same as quenching out of the mold.
    I shoot 600-800rds before cleaning & have never seen any leading in 9mm & 40 minor & 45acp at any vel.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
    It hardens the surface a bit, like 3-4bhn, my own testing on my Cabintree. So it isn't the same as quenching out of the mold.
    I shoot 600-800rds before cleaning & have never seen any leading in 9mm & 40 minor & 45acp at any vel.
    Worthwhile. I think I would water drop them from the oven whether it works or not.

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub Iron369's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatch View Post
    This was going to be my question. Is water quenching pc boolits straight out of the oven effective ? Is the ovens 200°C sufficient temp to harden the alloy ?
    I have found that the actual lead is still softer after pc’ing. With the same batch of melted ww’s. I wish I could remember the numbers I got with my Lee hardness tester, but since it was just for my general knowledge, I didn’t write it down. I can only assume it’s because water quenching is more effective at 700 degrees than at 400 degrees. Again, it’s only what I have observed with my limited experience.

  16. #16
    Well then what would be the best for the hardest boolit, quench after casting and air cool after pc or air cool after casting and quench after pc’ing? Sounds like the first option would be better. Has anybody got scientific and measured this phenomenon?

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltimoreed View Post
    Well then what would be the best for the hardest boolit, quench after casting and air cool after pc or air cool after casting and quench after pc’ing? Sounds like the first option would be better. Has anybody got scientific and measured this phenomenon?
    With my limited knowledge of metallurgy, the heat of powdercoating will negate any additional hardness gained from quenching straight from the mold.

    It's similar to hardening and tempering steel. The hardening is done at a much higher heat, but you can ruin the hardness if you don't temper it correctly.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    If it was me I'd break it down into 3 groups, range/pure/ww. Most of my shooting (90%+) has been with nothing more than range scrap since 1990. I try to make my batches of range lead #100 at a time and it typically is in the 8bhn/9bhn range.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    The larger batches tend to be more consistent batch to batch compared to smaller batches like #20/#30 at a time. I've never had to add any tin for fillout. Once in a while I'd run across a mold that cast smaller in diameter bullets then I'd like and used to sell them. With the use of pc that has become a non-issue.

    I'd use/save the ww & pure lead to make alloys for hp/hb bullets or harder bullets for high velocity rifle bullets.

    Pc'd range lead is extremely diverse in it's uses & gives nothing but excellent results with loads in the +/- 25,000psi range. I've showed these pictures before, they're not hand/cherry picked by any means. Nothing more then the test targets used on that day to test loads. I don't have any new targets lately simple because when I find a what I consider "a good load" I stick with it especially when the powder being tested is a common powder that I stock in #8 jugs.

    Upper left, right @ 2000fps 10-shot group @100yds moa water dropped after pc
    [IMG][/IMG]

    6-shot groups @ 50ft using 38spl loads in a 686
    [IMG][/IMG]

    10-shot group @ 50ft 45acp/h&g #68 clone nm 1911
    [IMG][/IMG]

    10-shot group @ 50ft 9mm/25,000psi/1100fps/9mm/nm 1911
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Take your pick 13 targets/loads that do 1 1/2" 6-shot groups @ 25yds plinking loads in a 629 44mag
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Dirt clod killers/blammo ammo in a 308w 10-shot groups @ 50yds
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Myself I'm very impressed with the quality of bullets that can be made with nothing more than free range lead and a coat of pc.

  19. #19
    Forest, You’ve got some very nice groups sir. Good shooting. Thanks for posting.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltimoreed View Post
    Forest, You’ve got some very nice groups sir. Good shooting. Thanks for posting.
    Thank you for that.
    The pc'd soft alloyed range scrap is simply the star of the show/extremely easy to use to make accurate reloads.
    The 1911's are both nothing more than box stock springfield range officers, the 44mag/629 is nothing more than a beater truck gun I bought used 15? years ago that actually rolled around in the toolbox in the back of the truck for over a year (forgot it was there), the 308w 50yd groups were from one of those ebco kits with the bbl/wrench/go & no-go gauges.

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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