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Thread: Not long enough? Temp too high?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Not long enough? Temp too high?

    Shaken bullets with black bbs in old HF red PC.

    Specifically a lead 240gr swc in 44mag.

    The HF red looks a lot darker than the uncooked PC. Cooked in a convection toaster oven for 20 minutes after the PC seemed to go liquid. 400 temp on the oven setting. No PID, no other thermometer.

    Issue: Bullet smash had the pc crack in a couple places on the sides as the bullet squished down. Top where I was hitting it had marks in it from the hammer. It squashed down, just cracking when the rings before and after the lube groove got squashed down and outwards. When I put gas check on the pc seemed fragile.

    Any help here would be appreciated. Undercooked? Over?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    first thing is to throw the harbor freight powder in the trash and get something that works the first time and every time. the best way to start is to get the sample pack from smoke in the vendor section, he will supply everything you need and powder that is guaranteed to work.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    I’ve never used HF, but have seen that a lot don’t like it. However, some say it works great. Your oven may not have been hot enough, if you didn’t have a thermometer to test it. I bake mine a little longer than a lot of people do. I’ve never had any problems with powder I bought off the internet. When I run out, I will probably buy from Smokes. He seems to have a good reputation here.

  4. #4
    First mistake was PC
    You need Hi-Tek

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Get a oven thermometer. They are fairly cheap in the baking section, and those oven dials are usually way off.
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    Time for a PID I think. Just need to get a probe that sticks deeper into the oven than the one I have on hand does.

    Using the HF powder as I bought it a while ago when people said it was the go to powder. I have been conventionally lubing until now though.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Cheap oven therm works just fine. HF is a poor choice but does work. I think your oven was a bit over 400 & I only bake 15m total time in a preheated oven.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I love how the hitek boys are always slamming powder coat but I do not see the powder coat bashing on hitek , funny how little some people are , some of us use whatever works in a situation instead of coming into a thread offering advice and answering the question posted , some civility or if you can not offer advice stay home . Get a good oven thermometer make sure you follow manufacture s advice and directions for time and temp , If you have cracking or peeling you may also have contamination or poor bonding to the surface , read the threads on powder coating and hitek , determine what you want to do and which suits your circumstances , I use smokes powder as it was on here and it was a call and on its way , so far no leading , no cracking or loss of coating , loading 9 40 44 45 30 35 calibers .

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    HF Red will work, certainly not my choice, as it never worked well for me, but how old is it? Powder does go bad. So starting out with an iffy powder could be the reason it failed. Second you really don't have a clue as to what temperature your oven was really or how long it took it to get there without a reliable means to monitor the temperature, so a double reason it didn't work. It didn't come to proper temp or if it did, it didn't stay at proper temp long enough to cure. You need a good quality thermometer to monitor the oven's air temperature, but that still does not tell you the temperature of the bullets. For that just add some extra time like 10 to 20 minutes for a few hundred bullets or make a thermocouple to put in with the bullets and know exactly when they come to temp. Next a smash test only indicates if the powder bonded and if it is elastic, it tells you nothing about hardness of the coating and hardness is necessary.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    second (or fifth?) the idea of oven thermometer. Mine was way off from what the dial showed

    once the temp reaches 400F I cook for 15. that allows lead to come up to air temp inside the oven. Not sure it's needed but doesn't hurt anything.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Laich View Post
    second (or fifth?) the idea of oven thermometer. Mine was way off from what the dial showed

    once the temp reaches 400F I cook for 15. that allows lead to come up to air temp inside the oven. Not sure it's needed but doesn't hurt anything.
    15 minutes is cutting it pretty close as a lot of powders are now calling for 12 minutes at 400.

    I just had a batch of hollow points I cooked before I made and started using the bullet encased thermocouples and I could tell on the first bullet I sized the coating was soft and not fully cured, but they looked pretty. When those went into the oven I took a guess and added some time once the oven was at 400, but apparently my guess was wrong, so I have got some recooking to do. With the thermocouples that shouldn't ever happen again.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master slide's Avatar
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    O1SVTvert, The AtM (Ausglocks thermocouple Method) is the only true way to tell what is going on with bullets temp wise. They are easy to make. You will need a digital themometer with a thermocouple. Drill a hole in a coated bullet,insert the end of the thermocouple,secure it. I use high heat aluminum tape. Looks ugly but works. This idea comes out of the mind of Ausglock who is the tester for hi-tek. With his permission I posted about in hopes to help people. It seems that oven temp is a big problem because of the cheap thermostats on ovens. This will work equally well with powdercoat. Lay your thermocouple on top of bullets,when your thermocouple reaches whatever temp your powder calls for start a timer. Most of my powders are 10 min. so when my thermocouple reaches 400F I start a countdown timer for 10 mins. Coating is cured . This setup will cost you around $20.00 on amazon.It is not the only way,try different things. who knows what you will discover.
    Boolits !!!!! Does that mean what I think it do? It do!

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J. Spangler View Post
    First mistake was PC
    You need Hi-Tek

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    LOL, first mistake was Hi-Tek!
    You need Smoke’s PC.
    Last edited by igolfat8; 03-20-2020 at 09:51 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I mix HF red with a good quality yellow and end up with a decent orange. I have a toaster oven that holds a nice even 425. I bake them for 20 minutes. Never had any problems with my coating and they survive the smash test nicely. No leading and no PC in the barrels. I was successful on my first try and haven't varied anything since the first batch. Don't mess with success!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimb16 View Post
    I mix HF red with a good quality yellow and end up with a decent orange. I have a toaster oven that holds a nice even 425. I bake them for 20 minutes. Never had any problems with my coating and they survive the smash test nicely. No leading and no PC in the barrels. I was successful on my first try and haven't varied anything since the first batch. Don't mess with success!

    Unless you know both powders have the same base then mixing colors may produce undesirable results. If I want a specific color I just buy that color. for example, Prismatic Powder makes over 6K powders.

    And you are right, once you find a PC process that is successful every time, stick with it. The problem is if at some future date you need or want a new oven or you want to cook more bullets in a single cook being able to measure the temperature of the immediate area or several areas in your oven with a thermocouple takes the guesswork out of the process.

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01SVTvert View Post
    Shaken bullets with black bbs in old HF red PC.

    Specifically a lead 240gr swc in 44mag.

    The HF red looks a lot darker than the uncooked PC. Cooked in a convection toaster oven for 20 minutes after the PC seemed to go liquid. 400 temp on the oven setting. No PID, no other thermometer.

    Issue: Bullet smash had the pc crack in a couple places on the sides as the bullet squished down. Top where I was hitting it had marks in it from the hammer. It squashed down, just cracking when the rings before and after the lube groove got squashed down and outwards. When I put gas check on the pc seemed fragile.

    Any help here would be appreciated. Undercooked? Over?
    I have to set the dial on my over at 450 to get 400. checked with a pid. once up to temp it holds pretty steady. I started out with HF powder, it worked for a while but eventually went in the tank. I now use only use smoke's powders and get great results.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    I used HF red on 9mm, it might not have been as pretty as my powder from Smoke, but it worked. Now I am using it on some 215 semi-wadcutters in a 44 Mag and get a decent amount of leading. Coverage is decent, no bare spots, just thinner areas.

    Started at 11 grains of Unique, still getting some leading at 10 grains, which looks to be a minimum charge in my Lyman book. I should have saved some back for Smokes powder to compare. These boolits were cast maybe 10 years ago, CWW, air cooled, sized to .430" shot from Ruger Redhawk, pass the hammer test, haven't dug any out of the backstop yet. I only "single-coat", in #5 containers, with black plastic BBs. Once the BBs get coated well (the first batch), maybe 30 seconds of swirling, no hard shaking (breaks the brittle #5 containers).

    Maybe I need harder alloy, I didn't think I was pushing them too hard, but maybe. I guess I am not blaming the HF red at this point, it seems to work on 9mm.

    My oven is digital, 400* setting is a little over 400* and 375* is a little under 400*. I cured at close to 400 degrees, gave them at 20 minutes after gloss-over of the powder, as HF directions call for. My powder is at least 2 years old, but just cracked the seal recently.

    This isn't working in my 44 Mag right now, but it might be an alloy issue. Try shooting them and see what happens. I my limited experience all colors are lighter prior to baking...except pics of "clear" I have seen.

    I have some 250 grain Keith style that I used some blue from Smoke that coated "picture-perfect", I need to give them a try here this weekend and see what happens.

    Kind of fun PCing, until it is time to put in the garden and chase canadian thistles in the CRP. Out of bare lead boolets currently. Good luck.
    Take a kid to the range, you'll both be glad you did.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    For what it's worth, my HF red gave me a very dark, splotchy and rough-feeling coat. Oven temp was a PID-controlled 400 degrees for 25 minutes. The HF powder however, was purchased several years ago when I became interested in powder coating and it sat in my barn where temperatures fluctuated between the low-100s to well below freezing during the course of those several years. I have since switched to Smoke's powder, keep it inside my home and the results are much more satisfying.

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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