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Thread: Air cool vs water cool

  1. #21
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    When I want a harder bullet I water drop, I use a big sponge floating in a 5 gal bucket of water. I drop the bullets onto the sponge, they hiss and cool, then roll off into the bucket. I do not get dents this way. when I first started and just dropped straight into the bucket, then I would get dents.

    When I want a softer bullet, I drop them onto a towel. I start on the left and make a row, then roll them all to the back of the towel and start a new row so I don't drop them onto each other.

  2. #22
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    Air Heads! I water drop everything!

    Except hollowpoints which drop an inch or so onto several layers of old towel. I get zero dings on air cooled and a very few on water dropped.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  3. #23
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    I have air dropped for decades. I think the differences in bullet damage may be due to the height of the drop more than air or water.

    I drop directly onto a folded towel in a pan, height 2-3". Never had an issue with damage from the 'drop' even when bullets land on each other.

    If I want to heat treat I do it as a separate step to make sure it is done at the proper temps and times for the alloy. But, I rarely do that. If I want a harder bullet I use a harder alloy.

  4. #24
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    I water drop sometimes. I use a big ice cream container that holds about a gallon of water. I fold a towel and put it on the bottom of the container, then place a 1 pound ingot in the middle to hold it in place. I've never found a dented boolit.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

  5. #25
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    For most of my general purpose casting I will drop boolits on a folded towel. That has worked out well enough for me over the years. Then came the challenge of shrinking my group sizes from a Savage Sporter 25-20. Cast (air cooled) and j-word bullets were OK, but not good enough to suit me. I changed several procedures such as: water dropping, towel drying these boolits, sizing within 1 hour of casting, sizing to .259" (80 grain boolits from a former group buy) in a honed up .244 sizing die cut to .259", careful selection of alloy plus tin in the pot. All this gave me the tightest groups I had ever seen this rifle create. This boolit has 2 loob grooves and I pack only the bottom groove. When the weather warms enough to justify the time to set it up I will chronograph these loads, hoping to track progress with group size and velocity. Favorite powder for this rifle and boolit is IMR4198 for smallest group size, but with more testing that may change.

  6. #26
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    Years ago I water quenched my bullets and they were harder for months and then the hardness seems/measures just like the air cooled bullets. Seems like there is a period where they measure harder and then return back to normal. Didn't see any advantage just made me skiddish about having water near the molten lead.

  7. #27
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    Air cool everything but high velocity rifle bullets. Those get oven heat treated, for more consistency, than water dropped. If you think about it, not all bullets, drop out of the mold at the same rate. Those that occasionally stick, will not be the same temperature as the ones that don't, when water dropping. This can lead to variance with the BHN.

    I drop all my freshly cast bullets on a silicon gel mat, the size of a cookie sheet. Picked it upon Amazon. It is ribbed, wich provides extra cushion.

    Winelover

  8. #28
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    I prefer to just drop them into a box with an old towel on the bottom. I’ve water dropped them but didn’t see benefits so I quit doing it.

  9. #29
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    [QUOTE=winelover;4832647]Air cool everything but high velocity rifle bullets. Those get oven heat treated, for more consistency, than water dropped. If you think about it, not all bullets, drop out of the mold at the same rate. Those that occasionally stick, will not be the same temperature as the ones that don't, when water dropping. This can lead to variance with the BHN.

    Winelover nailed it with this post for me!
    It's all chicken, even the beak!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by winelover View Post
    Air cool everything but high velocity rifle bullets. Those get oven heat treated, for more consistency, than water dropped. If you think about it, not all bullets, drop out of the mold at the same rate. Those that occasionally stick, will not be the same temperature as the ones that don't, when water dropping. This can lead to variance with the BHN.

    ...SNIP
    I agree with Winelover.
    The other factor he doesn't mention, is the water warms as more boolits are dropped in. Oven heat treating, all the boolits go into the water at the same time, water is the same temp, which makes for uniform hardening.

    Also, I cast inside and I originally set my casting area for air drop on fluffy towel. To setup for water drop isn't really an option, without redesigning the bench area, which I wouldn't want to do...plus the extra hassle of filling a pail with water and then drying the boolits after the session...while those are small things, they are small things I don't have to do.
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  11. #31
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    I'm wondering how dents occur when water dropping. Does the impact of the bullet against the surface of the water dent bullets? Are bullets traveling fast enough through the water to dent them when they hit bottom? No offense intended but "denting bullets when water dropping" sounds illogical to me...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  12. #32
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    Maybe I need a better sense of how big a dent or nick has to be in order affect accuracy or function as opposed to just being aesthetically displeasing.

    A related question is about alloy hardness, its effects on surface defects, and whether that affects accuracy. Harder stands up to rough handling better, no? I've read that commercial casters use hardball alloy just for that reason. I mean, straight out of the mold and onto the towel, my casts of 95-3-2 alloy show perfect surfaces (thank you, Miha!). But that only lasts as long as they don't knock together. They're soon poured together in a pan, counted into and poured into batches, tumbled vigorously at least twice to be coated with HiTek and tossed together on a screen to dry, rebatched for baking and then when sized dropped into another bucket. They take a beating, in other words, and their "complexions", aren't nearly as pretty at the end (save for the "makeup" ;^]).

    The accuracy seems fine for my application, but maybe I'll experiment with hard and soft alloys to see what happens to the surfaces, and maybe find a way to coat with less "trauma" to see if there is any accuracy change.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    Does the impact of the bullet against the surface of the water dent bullets? :
    I don't think so.
    I've always thought they can get a dent from a long drop into the water, and then hitting each other on the bottom.
    Their trip down through the water will slow them down some, but not enough to prevent a ding.

    That's why it helps for them to land on a sponge or something at the surface.
    If the water is deep, a towel on the bottom of the bucket will help too.

    I've done that before with heavier boolits, and after a few dozen, pull the towel up
    with a wire to pour off the boolits, and let it settle back to the bottom on top of them.
    And so on, until I'm done casting.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 02-19-2020 at 02:17 PM.
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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    I'm wondering how dents occur when water dropping. Does the impact of the bullet against the surface of the water dent bullets? Are bullets traveling fast enough through the water to dent them when they hit bottom? No offense intended but "denting bullets when water dropping" sounds illogical to me...
    So I take it you have never water dropped? Lead bullets don't flutter to the bottom like a feather. If the water slows them down, it isn't much. All it takes is one to fall base first onto another bullet.

    If you don't believe a ding in a bullet base is detrimental to accuracy, go ahead and put an equal size ding in your rifles crown.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    I'm wondering how dents occur when water dropping. Does the impact of the bullet against the surface of the water dent bullets? Are bullets traveling fast enough through the water to dent them when they hit bottom? No offense intended but "denting bullets when water dropping" sounds illogical to me...
    they get dents on the square base corner which I really want to avoid, you have a hot soft boolit falling corner first through some air and water then the corner impacts another boolit that is already cooled and hard on the bottom. possibly impacting it corner to corner since a lot of designs are very squared off with the nose base and driving bands all being sharp corners. a soft corner hitting a hardened corner puts all the force in one spot and produces dents easily

  16. #36
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    Yes, a clean, square base is essential to accurate bullets. I just cannot see how a bullet, of "normal" alloy (BHN of 10-12) dropped into water will dent while the same bullet dropped onto a folded towel is unmarred...

    But I'm not condemning a "water boy" and will remain an "air head", and get consistent, ding-free bullets...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  17. #37
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    the bottom of a bucket covered in hardened boolit corners sticking up is not at all comparable to a folded soft towel

  18. #38
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    It's pretty simple. A towel can't damage a bullet. A deep bucket full of hardened, sharp edged bullets does.

  19. #39
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    If PERFECTION (or a close as we can get) in air or water cooled boolits is a concern, then WHY drop them into a pile in the first place? Drop one on a towel. Move it. Drop one in water. Move it. Or other methods (as previously described) that work suitably well. No dings. Work it into your cadence.

    Water around a hot mold into which molten lead is introduced could produce a Bad Day (we can start another "Bad Day" thread - and not hijack this one). No "brain drift" while handling 650+ degree F materials (mold, pot, contents, etc.). Stuff happens. Safety first. Care and attention always - please!

    I air dry.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  20. #40
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    right, I just think its easier to not drop them on the same spot when air cooling cause I have 12 feet of bench to drop boolits on

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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