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Thread: Correct lead mix?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Correct lead mix?

    I'm in a pistol league and typically shoot several thousand swc and hbwc loads each year. I'm beginning to look into casting and was wondering how I would determine the proper lead mix? Are there reference manuals available that show bullet size, speed of projectile etc and derive a mix from that information?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Read this:

    http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

    Yes, the whole thing. A couple times.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Yes, the whole thing. A couple times. LOL Yep

  4. #4
    Team up with one of your league buddies that is into casting. Easier to see it done first hand. Then when you find some free or near free sources of lead. We can help you mix your own alloys. uncle mike

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    2sn3sb is my goto alloy for mild revolver loads.

    Sent fra min SM-G930F via Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Welcome to our board. You will find us to be a happy and helpful group. We all have a little alchemist spirit to us (turning lead into gold on the competition range). I don't shoot pistols competitively but hunt and occasionally compete with cast lead in rifles. My one-size-fits-all alloy for my purposes is about 2/3 pure to 1/3 hard, chilled shotgun pellets. My guess is you would want just pure plus tin. The hard part is finding and identifying pure lead at metal recyclers unless you buy it commercially (Rotometals).

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    You shoot in a pistol league, check with the range or ranges you shoot at. They my let you mine the berms for boolits. If not they may do it themselves to use or sell. Some have companies come in and do the berms. They may get part of what gets cleaned up to sell.
    This will make a good source of alloy that worked well once, so should again.
    Leo

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for all the information. I definitely have to read that article a few times. Our range does offer lead to members after clean up day but I was a little hesitant, not knowing what was in the mix. I'll keep looking into the various mixes while I look for the proper moulds, furnace etc.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    Most pistol bullets used I target work are not very hard lead. Jacketed are pretty much pure lead cores. Store bought swaged lead bullets are pretty much pure.
    If you get much jacketed rifle bullets, target versions hove pure cores. Some hunting have some antimony to harden them.
    If you get mostly cast lead bullets, either store bought or home cast they will have a few % of tin and a bit more antimony.
    A mix of these will work ok.
    If you are casting for max velocity in magnum revolvers then a bit harder mix may be needed.
    The mix I used for low to mid range loads in my 357 is about a 10 BHN. I have some mixed COWW and Linotype for higher velocity revolver and the revolver cartridge lever actions.
    For my larger bottle neck rifle cases I mix a bit more Linotype to reach the 2000 FPS speeds.
    I have also found with a boolit sized to be .001 or .002 over throat diameter and a good lube you can run the alloy a bit softer without getting leading or accuracy issues.
    Leo

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyE View Post
    Thanks for all the information. I definitely have to read that article a few times. Our range does offer lead to members after clean up day but I was a little hesitant, not knowing what was in the mix. I'll keep looking into the various mixes while I look for the proper moulds, furnace etc.
    AndyE, when I do a SWAG of lead alloy composition from a range or berm I use the following rule of thumb; swaged bullets and cores in jacketed bullets are pretty close to pure lead as are any muzzle loader projectiles I normally recover. Cast bullets tend to be somewhat harder with nearly all having a % or two of tin and maybe twice that in antimony. This isn’t foolproof, but is a pretty accurate starting point.

    Welcome to the madness!
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    If you are shooting 38sp, low vel target loads, you can get by with pure lead, add 1% tin for better casting, good to go. Its more about proper fit & you really don't want a hard alloy in a low pressure rig.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
    NRA Cert. Inst. Met. Reloading & Basic Pistol

  12. #12
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    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Welcome to the addiction.

    For what you're shooting- since swaged, more or less pure Lead works.
    Ya might not want to over think and try to split hairs with all the alloy, Bhn stuff.

    For the 8-900 fps pistol ammo, I don't add any more expensive, hard to get 'goodies' to the pot after I get a good mold fill out with it.
    Granted-- It's a rather primitive approach,,,
    but it has been working for me since the 80's and lets me spend more time casting, and less time head scratching..
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 04-03-2020 at 05:06 PM.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


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  13. #13
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    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    1/30 or even 1/40 is very suitable for 38 Special Wadcutter loads. The last 10-15 years or so I have been using 1/3/96 in my handguns, which is derived from Isotope cores. It's very clean and casts well. As was mentioned, soft lead is perfectly fine as long as the boolits are properly sized.

  14. #14
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyE View Post
    Thanks for all the information. I definitely have to read that article a few times. Our range does offer lead to members after clean up day but I was a little hesitant, not knowing what was in the mix. I'll keep looking into the various mixes while I look for the proper moulds, furnace etc.
    Andy,
    Welcome to the forum.

    Range Lead will get you started...it worked in pistols at least once already, it'll work again.
    There is a lot to learn about casting and loading cast boolits, but it's a hobby you can start out casting a few with Range Lead and reading as you go. Look for the Lyman cast bullet handbook 4th Edition, it's kind of the Bible of this hobby.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    As mentioned above, range lead will get you up and running for alloy. Next thing would be a simple setup to smelt and flux the gunk out of the mix, and pour up clean ingots to use for your bullets.

    When I started a few years ago I jumped right into the fire head first. My reason was to feed my then new 454 with hunting loads. With the help from several folks here I managed to pull it off without much if any issues. The writings of Fryxell helped as well, but for the most part keeping good records of alloy temps while casting was the deal for me. It became pretty easy to get and keep my alloy to about 700 using a lead thermometer. This helped me keep the mold hot a d with a decent cadence kept my bullets within a very tight weight.

    It's a hoot and there are plenty here to help with just about anything you might get into.

    Good luck

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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