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Thread: Vibratory coating

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy burch's Avatar
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    Vibratory coating

    I picked up an extra Lyman vibrator and was wondering what the process for coating bullets was. Do I use the airsoft bbs or is that not necessary. Im going to dedicate this tumbler to PC only. Any advice from you folks that use a tumbler would be most helpful.
    Thanks in advance
    Burch
    buzzard`s gotta eat, same as the worms
    Josey Wales

  2. #2
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    mine worked fine without any BB's.

    put in 500-1000 boolits, toss 2 teaspoons PC on top and let it go for 10-15 min

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    Attached is a photo of my modified tumbler. The reason for the modification was I, like others have found using a straight vibrator tumbler had too much vibration. By tightening down on the support all-thread rods I can adjust the vibration. The #5 recycle code paint bucket gives me more surface area. I do 6 pounds of bullets at a time and it can run while I do other things, like getting the next preheated batch ready. The lid for the bucket keeps down any powder dust. I can preheat to a higher temp (150 degrees or slightly mort) and drop the bullets into the running tumbler for a complete single coat coverage, without worrying about high humidity. If you are interested I will be happy to answer any questions.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy burch's Avatar
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    This tumbler I bought is a Lyman but the bucket on it is like half the size of my 1200. I just wanted something to use for PC without sacrificing my good one. It’ll probably hold 75 - 100 at a time.
    buzzard`s gotta eat, same as the worms
    Josey Wales

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy burch's Avatar
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    Do you use bb’s
    buzzard`s gotta eat, same as the worms
    Josey Wales

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    Yes, I use black Crossman BB's.

    My first try with a vibrator tumbler was with my big Dillon 2000; it worked but way too aggressive. When first experimenting with tumblers in 2012 I found by pressing down on the bowl I could reduce the vibration.

    The bucket idea originally wasn't intended to increase capacity, which it did. The clean painter's 5 gallon bucket was what I had on hand and was used to adjust the tumbler's vibration level. I have two of these an old Midway, in the photo, and a same size Lyman. My support rods give me the vibration adjustment I wanted, giving me a continuous rotation of powder, bullets & BB's on the flat bottom inside the bucket without aggressively banging the bullets together. For a tool guy like myself the conversion was pretty simple and both tumblers have now coated I would estimate some 50K of bullets.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy burch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonheart View Post
    Yes, I use black Crossman BB's.

    My first try with a vibrator tumbler was with my big Dillon 2000; it worked but way too aggressive. When first experimenting with tumblers in 2012 I found by pressing down on the bowl I could reduce the vibration.

    The bucket idea originally wasn't intended to increase capacity, which it did. The clean painter's 5 gallon bucket was what I had on hand and was used to adjust the tumbler's vibration level. I have two of these an old Midway, in the photo, and a same size Lyman. My support rods give me the vibration adjustment I wanted, giving me a continuous rotation of powder, bullets & BB's on the flat bottom inside the bucket without aggressively banging the bullets together. For a tool guy like myself the conversion was pretty simple and both tumblers have now coated I would estimate some 50K of bullets.
    The small tumbler I have may just work out without being to violent. If it don’t I’ll use your idea with the rods. I’ve ordered my powder and I’ll get some black airsoft bb’s. If you think of anything else I’m all ears.
    buzzard`s gotta eat, same as the worms
    Josey Wales

  8. #8
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    you can put the boolits and PC in #5 containers or zipper bags (the zipper bags won't last for more than 1 or 2 uses) I didn't use BB's but they surely won't hurt

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've started experimenting with Poly Pellets instead of BBs when I shake and bake. They're made from the same #5 plastic that you look for in your containers, and they're much cheaper than the BBs. A 2 pound bag is only a couple dollars and would surely fill out your tumbler easily.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Plastic bags not holding up in a tumbler is proof positive of what I am saying about straight tumblers being too aggressive. Of course I only had 4 tumblers to try when I first started, so I base my statement on that.

    As far as coating, start with a quality powder that will tumble coat. All powders will spray, but not all will tumble coat. Make sure your bullets are completely clean. I air cool out of the mold and store in a clean sealed container until I coat. If you are not getting a solid single coat coverage, it is probably due to high humidity, so work in an air conditioned area or preheat the bullets. To cook, I stand my bullets so the base will be flat. My oven racks are covered with roof flashing for a flat surface. Silicone baking mats is the best surface to cook on, it keeps the coating from sticking and they are reusable for years. I keep a glass Taylor Oven Guide thermometer in side the glass oven door to constantly monitor the temperature. The Taylor is cheap and accurate. Most powders cure at 400 degrees in 10 minutes, but that is the temp of the bullet substrate, not the air temp, so allow more time to be assured the alloy is at 400. Once cooked & cooled size to your needs. That is pretty much the basics.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by asmith80 View Post
    I've started experimenting with Poly Pellets instead of BBs when I shake and bake. They're made from the same #5 plastic that you look for in your containers, and they're much cheaper than the BBs. A 2 pound bag is only a couple dollars and would surely fill out your tumbler easily.
    Good to know, but I suspect they are not heavy like the BB's? The weight seems to make a difference and the reason for the black one's.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonheart View Post
    Good to know, but I suspect they are not heavy like the BB's? The weight seems to make a difference and the reason for the black one's.
    They are lighter than BBs, but I've only tried them with shake n' bake and that method hasn't seemed to require a heavier buffer like I assume vibratory tumbling does. I can get things bouncing around in the container pretty good by hand, but they may not do that in a tumbler

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    You are correct, in my modified tumblers the mass rotates with the bullets constantly turning in the powder due to the vibration. The Black BB's do not bounce around, but also rotate adding a gentle impact and cushion to the bullets as well as increasing the area and movement to develop the necessary static charge. After tumbling, my coating on my bullets looks very different than the typical coating from hand shaking it in a cool whip container. My coating is more even with a much harder bond and not as fragile when touched.

    After tumble coating I dump all into a large #5 plastic dishpan purchased at a $ store. I give the pan a shake to expose the bullets, then retrieve them with self locking tweezers and set them base down on silicone mats. The grid from stainless baker's cooling racks separates and holds the bullets in place until transported and set in the oven.
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    Last edited by Dragonheart; 09-13-2019 at 10:30 AM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy burch's Avatar
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    I’m gettin a butt load of info here. ��
    buzzard`s gotta eat, same as the worms
    Josey Wales

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by burch View Post
    I’m gettin a butt load of info here. ��
    Seven years and at least 50K+ of coated bullets was the mother of a lot of innovation.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonheart View Post
    Seven years and at least 50K+ of coated bullets was the mother of a lot of innovation.
    Where'd you find that stainless steel grid? I've tried using a grid fabricated from hardware mesh but boolits stuck to galvanized wires.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    I use a harbor freight vibratory, 150 boolits , 1000 air soft BB, a pinch of smokes clear.
    Use downward hand pressure on lid to dampen vibration, vibrate for 1 to 1 1/2 min (depends on humidity)

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kraschenbirn View Post
    Where'd you find that stainless steel grid? I've tried using a grid fabricated from hardware mesh but boolits stuck to galvanized wires.

    Bill
    Amazon has many to choose from , but you need to pay attention to the grid size and sheet size. Just search: "Baker Cooling rack". Houseware stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond where you can take in some of your cast and check the grid for size for fit in the store. When i use my 30" oven I use half sheet size which holds hundreds of bullet. Racks run more or less in the $10 range. I got in a nice heavy rack from Amazon for 30 caliber a few weeks ago it was a "Hiware Cooling Rack for Baking - 11.8" x 16.5" - Stainless Steel Wire Cookie Rack Fits Half Sheet Pan, Oven Safe for Cooking, Roasting, Grilling". it will hold over 1200 bullets.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by WardT View Post
    I use a harbor freight vibratory, 150 boolits , 1000 air soft BB, a pinch of smokes clear.
    Use downward hand pressure on lid to dampen vibration, vibrate for 1 to 1 1/2 min (depends on humidity)
    That will work and was the way I found controled vibration works better.

    I don't know about the HF, but my Midway & Lyman tumblers had a 1/4"-20 threaded rod holding the bowl, so it was a simple thing to unscrew the rod, remove the bowl and secure the bucket with a short screw of the same thread size. Since my bucket is supported I can let it tumble for one minute or thirty with no effort. The capacity is also increased to about 400 bullets.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    when if first did it I used plastic bbs. Tried cast buckshot and it worked better. Tried it with nothing but bullets and it worked as good as any of them. Be patient and give them at least 15 minutes and don't be chincy with the powder and you will get great results.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

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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