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Thread: A way to tell Bullet weight by hardness

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    bayjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    South Central Colorado

    A way to tell Bullet weight by hardness

    I have a RCBS 40 caliber 170 grain mold.
    It should throw a 170 grain bullet with #2 alloy. My bullets weigh 178 grains, I also water drop
    I pencil tested the lead ingots and they are around 12 BHN
    Is there a way to tell by how heavy your bullets drop to approximately how hard they are?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Yes there is! Cast a good boolit from pure lead, then one with your favourite alloy and weigh the boolit. Divide the weight of alloy over pure to get a % difference.

    If pure lead is taken as 100%, adding tin and antimony will make it lighter. 96% will be 92-4-4 and 92% will be 82-2-16.

    Knowing this ratio, you can at any time duplicate an alloy that works in your rifle or pistol.
    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  3. #3
    Moderator Emeritus
    garandsrus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Warren, MI
    It’s not that easy.

    Here is a good article: http://www.castpics.net/subsite2/Cla...omposition.pdf

  4. #4
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Dec 2018
    Poke around here http://www.lasc.us/

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    NE Kansas
    "Is there a way to tell by how heavy your bullets drop to approximately how hard they are?"
    You are presenting two different questions here. Let's look at this first. Antimony is about three times as hard as tin when in an alloy, yet weigh about the same. So that is not likely to be workable.

    "A way to tell Bullet weight by hardness"
    Sort of a backward method when just using the scales will tell you the bullet weight without all the monkey motion.

  6. #6
    Moderator Emeritus

    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
    The answer is no.
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    sutherpride59's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
    Living in Georgia but from Texas
    If you have 100% control over your alloy make up then you could in theory but in real life theory falls apart. Buy the cheap lee tester and be happy with having a much better idea rather than doing math and hurting your head with all the complications.
    I have danced with the devil, luckily she was stupid and didn’t hire a lawyer!

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Alaska, the last frontier
    Take a clip-on wheel weight boolit, bhn around 10. The same bullet heat treated would be the same weight but around bhn 22.

    Some alloys age harden, some age soften without either changing their weight.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    I must be missing something...but I would not care if a bullet weighs a bit more or less than the mold is designed to drop.


    Anyway, of you must, you need to know the composition of the alloy used to spec. the mold and the composition of your alloy. Hardness is not a factor in establishing density but a result of how much tin and antimony is in the mix. Although Sb and Sn are close in atomic weight and about 60% of the mass of Pb, they affect hardness differently.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

    mdi's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    So. Orygun
    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    The answer is no.
    I believe Jon is correct. I read the question as "can you determine the bullet weight by how hard it, the alloy, is?".
    Last edited by mdi; 08-23-2019 at 11:29 AM.
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  11. #11
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

    waksupi's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Somers, Montana, a quaint little drinking village,with a severe hunting and fishing problem.
    I suspect the OP was expecting the mold to drop the exact weight it is specified for. They don't, or are very rare if they do.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    I drop my loaded boolits into the weapon and tell them to hit the bullseye. If I don't hit the X ring, I know the boolit was hard headed.
    Common sense Gun Safety . . .

    Is taught at the Range!

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