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Thread: Making bismuth shot

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    2

    Making bismuth shot

    Hi Iím going to Start dripping bismuth. I like to start with #4s or #5s. I have read bigger shot is harder to drip. I do have tin I read 5% tin would be good. With a 1 inch ramp fabric softener 1/4 away. I have a PID controller to control the heat. I have a greenhouse that I keep at 70f itís well ventilated I have read outside temp does affect it

    Does does that sound right. What temp do you drip bismuth at and what size drip nozzles do you use .035? Any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master



    missionary5155's Avatar
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    Good afternoon Boiler and welcome aboard !
    I tried to drip some years ago plain old lead so I cannot be of much help but there are some here who will help you along.
    Mike in LLama Land
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Male Guanaco out in dry lakebed at 10,800 feet south of Arequipa.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
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    dripping shot is an art, all you can do is try and if it dont work change things until it does. read the thread on making your own shot maker started by ghosthawk, several ways of doing shot are discussed. good luck and let us know what you discover.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    May 2014
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    Find Littletonshotmaker on another forum. He doesn't lurk here any more due to disagreements with the owners. He has helped several people set up to drip bismuth.
    QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Apr 2017
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    Minnesota
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    The guy from Littleton shot maker is very helpful. The instructions on his website, plus some calls to him had me making good bismuth shot in no time. Since switching to bismuth shot from steel shot, my shell per bird ratio has gone way down, and so do not use nearly as many shells as I used to. My first attempt resulted in great looking #7.5 shot. After some tweaking, I got it to drop majority #4's and #5's. Using McMaster-Carr screens, I filtered out anything bigger than about #3 (which were often odd looking globs), then using another screen, let anything smaller than about #5 fall through. I ended up with about 15 pounds of great looking shot, and haven't made any since.

    Apart from what you can learn from Littletons shot maker, just know that making bismuth shot is hardly different than making lead shot. It melts at a lower temp, but otherwise drops just like lead. Temp is one thing, but I found a key factor was maintaining the metal level in the pan. I forget, I want to say 1/2" above the drippers was ideal. I ended up going to 3 drippers, as the pan could not melt even pre-heated ingots fast enough to keep up with 7. If I were to really go for production, I would set up a feeder furnace, which would be a Lee bottom pour pot, to feed liquid metal to the pan.

    There are multiple coolants you can use, I used straight RV antifreeze purchased from the parts store. You can tweak the mixture with water, instructions on his website, but the stuff right from the bottle had my shot perfectly round with no dimples or imperfections for the most part. You can also buy your welders chalk there.

    The alloy I used was 94% pure bismuth with 6% pure tin, alloyed together first and poured into 1 pound ingots. I would not use large ingots for this unless you have a feeder pot. The best way to buy bismuth is in 50 pound ingots. You have to shop around to find the best buy. Looking at my email, it looks like I used Bolton metals. A quick search shows they have a 50 pound ingot for $280, which is even cheaper than when I bought them 2-3 years ago. Tin is always hard to find cheap, especially lead free stuff. I stumbled on 10 pounds of pure lead bars, confirmed by testing to be 99% pure, for something like $6 a pound of fleabay. Even if you don't score on tin, you are looking at less than $6 per pound for bismuth shot!

    Times have never been better to say goodbye to steel shot. I haven't missed it a bit.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 12-11-2019 at 07:37 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    OKC, OK
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    Use RV water system antifreeze as your coolant. Fabric softener is a pain to rinse off shot. The ramp needs to within a 1/4 inch without touching the coolant or catch container. Have a way to catch overflow coolant to reuse. Hope this helps. Tried to attach a video.
    Last edited by shootinfox2; 12-11-2019 at 07:33 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Wow thanks for all the info this is what i have managed so far. It"s not perfectly round yet but i am working on it. The photo on the left i think is #3s the photo on the right i think is #5s i just have to keep at it.

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    Thanks for all your help so far it was a big help.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Looking good when I make mine I have a 1/16" thick x 7" wide and 1 1/2" that I place on the ramp use small clamp to hold in place I spray this with graphite dry lube. then set 3/4" above coolant level. I only use 4% pewter it makes very good shot this way my ingots are 2# cupcake that I place top center I also preheat my ingots on hotplate to 300deg. also the rear of my shot maker is 1" lower than the front from being level. Just some ideas maybe they will help

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



    skeettx's Avatar
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    Looks like you are making GREAT progress
    Mike
    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    You are right there. All of a sudden that machine will start pouring great shot like rain. Then just keep it in that zone until the coolant gets warm.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    OKC, OK
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    Looking good. I run mine through a #7 sieve to control size. Anything larger than #7.5 goes back to the melting pot. That shot will shoot just fine, but I shoot cowboy and skeet/ trap with limits on shot size, so I screen it.

  12. #12
    I am happy for your succes!!! Looks very good.
    I am also happy to help any one make shot!!

    But I am not on this forum often !!
    so see website, view instructions , "CALL" or email me directly for quickest response......
    Alan at Littleton Shot Maker......thanks

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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