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Thread: water quenching question?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    water quenching question?

    if i was to pour some 45-70 bullets cast from range lead at a known hardness of 9-10 and then water quench them what could i expect the hardness to rise to in your experience and opinion?Thx

  2. #2
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    That really depends on the actual antimony content. If BHN is truly 9-10 you probably have around 3% antimony, give or take. Water dropping, you could expect somewhere around BHN 16-18, after a couple weeks aging. Again, it depends on the Sb %.

    http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chap...Metallurgy.htm
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    https://patents.google.com/patent/US5464487

    Oven heat treated , water cooled , hardness at bottom of page.

    Mold to water is different. Imo.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    It seems that the lead alloy must have some antimony incorporated in order for the cold water quench to work to harden up the alloy. An unknown lead like range scrap might not have enough antimony. I cast with 20:1 lead:tin alloy at BHN 9-10. If you had collected my range scrap you would have no antimony, so you might need to add some but you would probably end up with a BHN higher than 10.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenjoytj View Post
    It seems that the lead alloy must have some antimony incorporated in order for the cold water quench to work to harden up the alloy. An unknown lead like range scrap might not have enough antimony. I cast with 20:1 lead:tin alloy at BHN 9-10. If you had collected my range scrap you would have no antimony, so you might need to add some but you would probably end up with a BHN higher than 10.
    Technically also a "grain refiner" is needed. Arsenic was and is a common one that is present in hard shot (not chilled shot). But others have experimented with Sulfur and other things.

    http://www.lasc.us/WiljenArsenic.htm

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  6. #6
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Knowing the actual alloy composition, what the water temperature is, and the time delay from sprue puddle freeze until the boolit touches the water ...are the three main factors in getting an accurate answer to your question.
    But, just off the top of my head, you could probably expect a 12 BHN boolit.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Since range scrap can be anything, a ball park for me would be 14-16bhn after quenching. YMMV depending on the mix of range scrap.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    Arsenic has to be present to water harden. Taken out of one of my old loading manuals. Also, bullets do not harden right a way but take a little time. One individual I read claimed he liked to store his hardened bullets in the freezer as it kept them from softening which they will do over time. Also they will anneal if reheated. I sued to make soft points out of WW alloy by placing the bases in a pan of water and heating the noses. They worked very well on deer.

    DEP

  9. #9
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    I get a pretty constant 12 BHN water dropping range scrap I do add 5lbs of lead shot to every 25 lbs of range scrap when I process it.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    As is not required for hardening.
    Whatever!

  11. #11
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    I've successfully water quench hardened Lyman #2, certified alloy from Rotometals. It got quite hard actually, I seem to remember 25ish BHN. Maybe Arsenic provides even more of an effect, but it is not required to harden bullet alloy.


    As to the original question, I'd throw out a guess of 18 bhn.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    I've used/shot range scrap since 1990 & make batches of alloy #100 at a time. 99%+ of the time my range scrap (outdoor range) will be 8/9bhn and water dropped 12/13bhn.

    The only time I ever got high #'s then that was when I did a batch of nothing but cast bullets (no 22lr bullets/no jacketed). The cast bullets were either home cast or commercial cast & that #100 pot of alloy came out 14/15bhn. I wanted a harder alloy for rifle bullets, it me a long time to burn thru that #100 batch.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master MGySgt's Avatar
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    Arsenic is naturually found in lead. Unless the process takes out the Arsenic in the foundery (like for PURE lead) there will be traces of Arsenic in it, like WW. From my reading of the Lyman manuals Linotype will not water harden as there is no Arsenic in it. That is why you can take 50/50 WW and Lineotype and heat treat it harder than you can heat treat pure lineotype. I know as I have tried it. I stopped wasting my lineotype and just heat treated WW with 1% tin added for castability.

    Over the years I have Heat Treated a bunch of boolits. They will normally reach max hardness in about 12 - 14 days and start loosing that hardness in about 12 months (tested), however I never had any that I Heat Treated last that long except for the ones I saved to test on a monthly bases.

    Oh and by the way - heat treating WW properly will yeld about 23-24 BRN.

    How do you heat treat properly - find the slumping point of your boolits in SHMBO's oven and back down about 10 degrees. Cook your boolits at that temp for 1 hour, then immediatly quench in very cold water.

    Water Dropping from the mold will produce a BRN in the mid to high teen's.

    I have tested both, but did not keep my notes as the water dropped didn't get them as hard and each batch of water dropping from the mold came up with different BRN's. Also there was a difference in the same batch by 3-4 BRN due to the water temp rising as the casting session went on. I don't remember the total's.

    These were 430gr GC from a custom Mountain Mold that I used in 45/70 and 45/90. After shooting Elk with both heat treated and non heat treated I found I did not have to heat treat - the Elk didn't notice the difference and I did not heat up the kitchen heat treating.
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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