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Thread: Mixed ingots?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Labor and time is what you have. Get the hardness pencil set. They're cheap, easy to find, and give Very Good Bhn results.

    Lower the pot to near empty. Measure small but equal portions of RS and COWW's (foreshortened to just WW). SOWW's remain SOWW's (save - you know it is near pure and ~6 Bhn). Obtain and add no more than 2% of new Tin (Sn) by weight of the total of RS + WW. Melt and pour into boolits. Air cool some. Water drop some.

    Check the average weight of (say) 10 of both cooled type boolits. Write it down. Check the pencil hardness of this alloy (maybe 11 to 14). Write it down. Call this alloy mixture 49/49/2 percent of RS/WW/Sn. It is correct for the components and a starting point. How do they shoot? What caliber, what powder, how much powder, how deeply embeded are the boolits in the case, COL, did they lead the barrel, was the barrel slugged, were the boolits lubed and sized, to what size, what lube, etc. Write copious notes.

    Do this again mixing a small batch of 45/55/2 of RS/WW/Sn [Wow! That's 102%! Edited to 44/54/2]. Keep Tin that you add to no more than 2% (you can add less tin later when testing other batches). Check weight and hardness. Going up/down? How do they shoot? Write it all down.

    Adjust the next batch to suit. Keep copious NOTES.

    Adjust tin to 1% added and rebatch some of the alloy trials above. Keep the same notes.

    I am guessing your alloys will all probably fall in the 11 to 14 Bhn category due to the mixture of constituents. IMO, your "grab bag" of RS, as a starting point for each batch, is just as likely to be like the former batch than it is to be wildly different.

    Assume the best. If a batch's result is significantly different from previous batches (I would be surprised), try the batch again with a different handful of components. Anomalies can present themselves, but the law of equal distribution is likely to control.

    Good luck. Successful shooting. And let us know if this works for you.
    Last edited by Land Owner; 02-28-2020 at 09:57 AM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  2. #22
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    For the last 4-5 years I've been running roughly 50% COWW and 50% RS with 1% tin added. (Pewter, lino, 60/40 whatever I can find reasonable)

    Now I don't have a tester, I do have a pretty well calibrated thumbnail.

    Soft lead my thumbnail leaves a gouge, COWW leaves a shiny spot with no gouge.
    And my 50/50 mix is between, some gouge but less than pure say 8 to 10. The tin helps a little.

    For the last 3 years I have mostly been using pewter for my tin. Wife brought home 6 lbs for 11$. I quickly melted it down and poured it into muffin tin to make "coins" About a half a dipper's worth. Any time I know I want a little more hardness or shiny one of those coins in my pot does the trick.

    Lead is where you find it, and pewter, well that just takes edumacation and steady looking. It isn't rocket science, but it does make a difference how hard you are pushing it.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

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    You're on the right track.

    The weight on the mold is what their exact alloy will drop them.
    Its pretty normal to have 'your mileage vary'.

    I load for a .45-70 with the RCBS 405.
    I use a softer alloy than they specify in the book and mine come out more like 420 to 425.

    Tin is lighter than lead by volume, the molds fills by volume.
    More Tin, the boolit will be lighter than say-- pure lead.

    Wheel weights vary a bit by alloy also.
    Coming out with a little different weights even with straight wheel weights is pretty normal.
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  4. #24
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Land Owner thank you, great response. GhostHawk and Winger Ed. thank you also what you posted reinforces what I've seen so far.

    After actually casting up a small pot of the 452-200 with the range scrap yesterday they came out very well. Avg. weight difference again between these two alloys in the same mold is about 2.5gr. My plan for now is to shoot these up and compare the results and go from there. If everything works out well and see no significant difference then I may mix 2/1 range scrap to COWW and more tin if I can find it seeing as I believe it will be easier to replenish the range scrap than the COWW.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master


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    RS is a wonderful resource. I have to agree with the poster who said it will work for 90% of our needs...at least in my case. I doubt your .45 will know the difference. If your bullets are running in a narrow weight range, I would not worry about it and, in the end, your groups will tell the tale. Having the "best" bullets is not always necessary. My best pistol bullets will groups 3" at 50 yards, but for shooting at the dueling tree at 10 yards they are not necessary...almost anything will do.

    I like the comment about using a better lube. Making a more expensive alloy is not as good a solution as paying a bit more for good lube.
    Don Verna

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  6. #26
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Don I have no doubt the RS will work as I don't think there is anything I'm loading that is over 900FPS or at least not much over. For now my biggest concern is in just finding a steady supply of any lead.

    So far I have been using the 45-45-10 tumble lube and it's worked well. As I progress I may try some Hi-Tek.

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I expect range lead is going to be the way of the future. It already is for many of us.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    lightman - I suspect there are VAST HORDES of processed lead alloy and stockpiled 100% pure that will surface from time to time as us Old Guys get to the point we no longer cast or shoot. From some of the threads here, like "Do you have a lifteime supply?", more said **** YES than not. Maybe Membership at Castboolits dot gunloads dot com is a small-ish cross section of the Country (CONUS), but it is a significant cross section when it comes to lead and its alloys.

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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Land Owner View Post
    lightman - I suspect there are VAST HORDES of processed lead alloy and stockpiled 100% pure that will surface from time to time as us Old Guys get to the point we no longer cast or shoot. From some of the threads here, like "Do you have a lifteime supply?", more said **** YES than not. Maybe Membership at Castboolits dot gunloads dot com is a small-ish cross section of the Country (CONUS), but it is a significant cross section when it comes to lead and its alloys.

    I like the company I keep here....
    But I suspect most of our heirs will have no idea what it is worth or how to sell it....LOL

    I built a bullet trap so I never have to worry again. If I can salvage half of my bullets every year, I have enough lead to produce 325,000 bullets. I have 25-30,000 bullets now. At 69, I should be set for life. I decided to use 735 lbs of my commercial hardball alloy as ballast for my tractor. I can always use it for bullets if I get low.
    Don Verna

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  10. #30
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Land Owner View Post
    lightman - I suspect there are VAST HORDES of processed lead alloy and stockpiled 100% pure that will surface from time to time as us Old Guys get to the point we no longer cast or shoot. From some of the threads here, like "Do you have a lifteime supply?", more said **** YES than not. Maybe Membership at Castboolits dot gunloads dot com is a small-ish cross section of the Country (CONUS), but it is a significant cross section when it comes to lead and its alloys.

    I like the company I keep here....
    Theres no doubt that you are correct about that. I have a few notes attached to my will suggesting what to do with a few things. My lead stash is on that list.

    I still get lead when its free or cheap even though I'm sure to be at that lifetime supply place. Some of its the thrill of the hunt and some of it is knowing that some caster will have a shot at it someday.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by kmw1954 View Post
    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.
    Unjacketed hand gun boolits are usually very hard. That way they donít get deformed when shipped.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    Unjacketed hand gun boolits are usually very hard. That way they don’t get deformed when shipped.
    Once again other than 22LR I doubt there is much hard cast shot here. Mostly jacketed and plated.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    I have a few notes attached to my will suggesting what to do with a few things.
    Oh boy! We could have a Field Day with that remark!

    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
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    Your problem as I see it is that other than the pure lead, each of your other sources is so variable you really don't know what you have in any given batch. It's kinda like making sausage, you really don't want to know what's in it!

    That said, what I would do is take all of the current batch of range scrap and melt it down then cast it into ingots, The bigger batch of scrap and the more ingots per batch the better. I would then have one of those ingots tested. Likewise I would take all of my currently on hand COWWs and do the same thing. Knowing exactly what was in the ingots I could then add a little pure lead if needed or even purchase some pure tin or known high % tin alloy to sweeten up the mix. Any mixing you do with unknown range scrap and unknown COWW will give you uncertain results. How important is it to you to have a precise alloy? That's the price you pay.

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  15. #35
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    Green Frog I completely agree with your statement.

    It is my understanding that the Lee molds are designed around the Lyman #2 Alloy and that is what they use to come up with their bullet weights. Now from what I am seeing the 102gr mold and the 200gr mold are both dropping heavier than stated which leads me to believe that the COWW alloy I am using has a higher lead content, and the Range scrap alloy is even heavier yet which again leads me to believe it has a higher lead content. Is that correct thinking?

    From what I have read here, from Ingot to Target and from the LASC website that COWW all run within a given range and usually around 97% lead with a hardness of 11/12. Now if this is true then I can live with that or around that because what I have cast and shot has done very well. While the range scrap is even heavier yet I haven't shot any yet because I want to see how this new bullet performs before I load up more only to have them not chamber and cycle in the 2 guns as the SWC bullet did.

    Then if this new RNFP bullet works I can proceed forward and load more and load some test rounds with the straight range scrap. Then if that shoots well I can proceed even further and start to settle on an alloy by adding some lino. I concede that there will be no way to tell what the mix is, but by volume and weight I think I can get a good ballpark. Looking now for a Lee Lead Test kit which should also help.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    I found soft lead to work fine for my 38s and 45s as long as the fit was right but the 9mm needed to be at least a 50/50 mix of stick on ww / pure probably because of case swaggering .
    The good thing about the 50/50 mix is it seams I get good fill out without adding tin - most of the time .
    I would mix the soww and the range scrap together making soft ingot then test a run of 2/1 soft / coww if that works your golden if you Must get harder you could then go 50/50 .
    Your coww will go much further that way but your probably going to need a touch of tin 1 percent of the stick on range scrap will probably do . I'm not very scientific with mixing my alloy for handguns because I don't run them very hot if they fit good they shoot good .

  17. #37
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Land Owner View Post
    Oh boy! We could have a Field Day with that remark!

    Well, um, yeah!

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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  19. #39
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmw1954 View Post
    Green Frog I completely agree with your statement.

    It is my understanding that the Lee molds are designed around the Lyman #2 Alloy and that is what they use to come up with their bullet weights. Now from what I am seeing the 102gr mold and the 200gr mold are both dropping heavier than stated which leads me to believe that the COWW alloy I am using has a higher lead content, and the Range scrap alloy is even heavier yet which again leads me to believe it has a higher lead content. Is that correct thinking?

    From what I have read here, from Ingot to Target and from the LASC website that COWW all run within a given range and usually around 97% lead with a hardness of 11/12. Now if this is true then I can live with that or around that because what I have cast and shot has done very well. While the range scrap is even heavier yet I haven't shot any yet because I want to see how this new bullet performs before I load up more only to have them not chamber and cycle in the 2 guns as the SWC bullet did.

    Then if this new RNFP bullet works I can proceed forward and load more and load some test rounds with the straight range scrap. Then if that shoots well I can proceed even further and start to settle on an alloy by adding some lino. I concede that there will be no way to tell what the mix is, but by volume and weight I think I can get a good ballpark. Looking now for a Lee Lead Test kit which should also help.
    Again, I think too many fret over alloy content. Lyman #2 is sort of the mold industry std. So heavier bullet wt means more lead content. I just don't sweat it, means little to accuracy or my load development. As long as it is hard enough to withstand the pressures I am loading for.
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  20. #40
    Boolit Master kmw1954's Avatar
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    My only thought is to be able to come up with something that I can readily duplicate and do it easily. I am working on getting somemores of that range scrap so that for now I can mix some 50/50 and test hardness. Then seeing as I haven't had much encouragement to my question about swapping the pure for COWW I was thinking of taking that 50/50 and cutting it down with some of that pure. I was hoping to try and get it to around a 9 hardness because by the looks of it after this batch of COWW that I have is gone it will not be replaced. Then it will be a matter of whichever range scrap I can locate.

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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