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Thread: Mixed ingots?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Mixed ingots?

    Today I did a forum search with the key words "Range scrap hardness" and had a great time reading some wonderful old posts which first of all mostly answered the question I was searching and brought up a number of other questions and answers and some other thoughts which brings me here with this question.

    This question is regarding mixing the different quantities and qualities of the alloy I have to best extend it's use. I fully understand that recycled alloy is a witches brew unless analyzed and that the hardness will very dependent upon content of the collected scrap used. Just for ease of discussion I will use the term Clip on wheel weight; COWW, Stick on; SOWW, and Range scrap; RS. With this I am going to assume that SOWW is near pure lead with maybe a small amount of antimony, while COWW is harder with tin, antimony and trace arsenic. Then the RS could be almost anywhere depending on it's composition.

    This is how I have my ingots poured and separated. Now the reason for the question is because of the fact that Wheel Weights are becoming harder and harder to find and come by. I have cast and shot straight COWW alloy and in pistols it has done well of course. So I am looking for advice as to the best way to stretch this COWW alloy out as I have not tried straight RS.

    If this were you how would you proceed to mix these together? What proportions? Equal parts of all three? Mix the wheel weight alloy 50/50 and leave out the range scrap?

    This is what I have on hand now; 31# Range scrap, 18# of SOWW and 70# of COWW. Best I can tell w/o a tester is that the RS appears to be somewhere in-between the two WW's in hardness.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I would save the pure for black powder if you shoot it , and mix the range scrap with wheel weight , I have put away wheel weight stash and am using range scrap mixed with wheel weight bullets that are being recast into what I am currently loading , with dry weather I will add to range scrap stash and continue to cast coat and put away for future .

  3. #3
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    range scrap is dependant on what was shot at the range. If they shoot a lot of commercial cast boolits it will be near 15-16 BHN, it there are a lot of jacketed bullets you are looking near pure 5-7 BHN.

    what are you shooting
    how fast are you shooting it
    are you lubing or PCing?


  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    What are you using it for? Shoot only 45 ACP now and RS works fine, have even used it in 357,40 and 44 for moderate loads. FWIW have checked my RS and Bhn runs 10-12 which is in the optimal range for most handgun loads. My rifle alloy are alloyed to the 14-16 range and it works well as my rifle loads with GC bullets run around 1600 fps. Sizing to correct diameter and a good lube are just as, maybe more, important than exact Bhn.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conditor22 View Post
    range scrap is dependant on what was shot at the range.
    I believe I stated that in the last sentence of the second paragraph. So that is well understood and most likely will never be consistent..

    As also stated the wheel weight lead is getting harder to come by, for one because Illinois had outlawed it's use years ago and I am only minutes away from the Illinois border. While the range scrap should be a more viable source what I have rendered down so far is very dirty and is only yielding about 60/40 lead to scrap.

    Now yesterday I received a new 200gr 45acp mold and was going to heat it up and test cast some using the COWW lead as I know how that worked and weighted out in another 200gr mold I had. After that I may try some straight range scrap and compare. I also believe it's time for a Lee Harness test kit.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    My soft scrap (old pipe, sheet) runs 5-6 bhn, old stock COWW 10-12 bhn, range scrap (50/50 cast/jacketed pistol bullets) about 9-10 bhn.

    If you are not shooting blackpowder, i'd just mix it all together which should you about a 9 - 10 bhn mix, good for pistol and modest rifle loads. Its similar in what I use for pistols and my 45-70 trapdoor.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmark View Post
    My soft scrap (old pipe, sheet) runs 5-6 bhn, old stock COWW 10-12 bhn, range scrap (50/50 cast/jacketed pistol bullets) about 9-10 bhn.

    If you are not shooting blackpowder, i'd just mix it all together which should you about a 9 - 10 bhn mix, good for pistol and modest rifle loads. .
    I believe that is what I am seeing with the three I have. I have been thinking about what FLINTFIRE said about the pure and was thinking maybe I should see if I can swap it with someone that needs it for either range scrap or COWW's, only being new to this I don't know anyone local and don't believe it would be economical to ship.

  8. #8
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    To stretch out your COWW supply- since its drying up faster than range scrap.

    I'd use the range scrap as much as possible, making boolits as soft as I can get away with for what they're going into,
    and only add in the COWWs & other 'goodies' as sparingly as I could.

    For me, I've also lowered velocities, and switched to a high end/premium lube
    to be able to use softer boolits that don't lead the barrel as much also.
    I've found that paper targets and soda pop cans are just as dead when you hit them at 1600 fps as with 2300.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 02-12-2020 at 03:15 PM.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Since all I am casting are 102gr 380auto, 45acp and soon 358 for a 38Spl nothing is high power, high speed. I am hoping as I progress in this to start coating with either PC or Hi-Tek. But for now I am using the 45-45-10 tumble lube.

    I may just have to run a local craigslist add to see if I can find someone willing to swap. I really would hate to waste this clean SOWW mixing it into my other alloy. This stuff really did come out very clean, I was amazed!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    Test the hardness. I assume you have made it into ingots. The simplest test is your fingernail test. There is also the pencil test with different number pencil hardness. Search for it. It has equivalent BHN ratings. Otherwise, get a tester or borrow one from a friend if you can. That’s the only way you will really know what you have and how to mix it for what you want to do with it. Be aware that the next batch you get could be different.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If it was me, I would mix the range scrap with the wheel weights and save the soft lead. Maybe 1/3 wheel weights and 2/3 range scrap and try it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Right now I don't have a tester or the pencils but am looking into a Lee tester.

    I am going out on a limb and assuming that the wheel weight alloy will be much more consistent from batch to batch than the range scrap will ever be due to the nature of the beasts that are shooting it.

    So here is where my thinking lye's, I have 76 45acp bullets now sized and lubed drying that were cast with COWW's and I will load and shoot these and save the results then cast and load some from the range scrap to compare and go from there.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmw1954 View Post
    I have 76 45acp bullets now sized and lubed drying that were cast with COWW's and I will load and shoot these and save the results then cast and load some from the range scrap to compare and go from there.
    -

    I'd set those off to the side for when ya want to gas some up pretty fast.

    Then do the range scrap & a minimum amount of goodies for slow speed target loads that are for mass production.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I'd set those off to the side for when ya want to gas some up pretty fast.

    Then do the range scrap & a minimum amount of goodies for slow speed target loads that are for mass production.
    One reason to shoot these is that this is a new mold and I am anxious to see if this bullet will work in the 2 guns I have. Second the Lee Pot already has/had the COWW in it and will have to cleaned it out to change over.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    Try the pencil test before you buy a lee tester. I find the Lee difficult to use and I am not always confident with my results. I wish I had bought one that has a dial to read. I think someone has come out with a less expensive version. If you are just plinking the hardness should not make too much difference, but if you want repeatability, that’s when knowing what you have makes a big difference.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Greg, I am already familiar with the operation and scale that Lee uses as I use to use one like it when I worked in a foundry years ago. I believe it should be more than accurate for what we are doing. In that foundry I was inspection testing steel for railcar trucks.

    Not expecting to obtain absolutes just ball parks once I start getting more into the variable range scrap.. We all have different goals and expectations when it comes to our reloading. I am just a pistol shooter, no long guns, and am not a competitive Bullseye shooter but more a Defensive shooter. So my expectations are not that of a competitive shooter that is looking for MOA results and certainly not at long ranges. But still consistency and repeatability is important.

    Since I have started shooting and reloading again a few years ago I have realized that there at least with hand guns a rather large or what I perceive as a large variance is needed before I can discern a difference in ammunitions. I cannot physically or optically tell a difference in a powder charge of .3gr when all else is the same. I cannot tell a difference between rounds that are seated substantially different as long as they both cycle the gun. Same with bullet weights.

    Now I am sure there are those that can differentiate slightly different loading but I honestly cannot.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    If you have experience with using this type I am sure it will work for you. There must be a learning curve that I have not reached the apex of. Best of luck.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    This afternoon I emptied the Lee pot most of the way down and then filled it with the range scrap ingots and after it was melted I fluxed with wax and stirred it in well to try and mix in the last of the WW.

    After finally getting up to temp and dropping nice bullets I cast up one pot and they looked terrific. After they cooled to handle I weigh checked and sorted.
    These are dropping about 2.5gr heavier than the coww alloy in the same 200gr Lee mold. These are pretty consistent at 213gr. so I am assuming there is more lead in this alloy than in the COWW's

    Next as I haven't done any alloying as of yet what would be the best way to lighten up the weight of these? 208gr would be nice. Not too concerned about hardness.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Maybe 90% of my handgun needs are met using range scrap. I have diff molds for range scrap, pure lead & clip ww. I blend them as needed when I cast. I think for most applications, guys over think alloy, especially if coating.
    Only way to lighten up the alloy is add tin. I would just be fine with the 213gr. Though your range scrap is more soft lead than what I usually come up with. My 200gr/45 lswc will come up about 205gr with range scrap. If using 200gr data, you would be fine with midrange & under loads.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    I figured this stuff would be soft being as it is coming from an indoor range that is limited to handgun calibers and 22 rimfire. Then from observing the clientele they receive I doubt there is much hard cast shot there. Which brings me back to mixing the WW with the range scrap to try and 1. stretch the WW and 2. harden up and lighten up the range scrap.

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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