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Thread: Cast ZINC bullets for magnum and rifle loads

  1. #21
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    I am curious about the "slipperiness" of Zinc. I wonder if powder coating them would get them to slide through the barrel quicker. If so, that could aid in accuracy. Another question: Since Zinc is so much harder than lead, I would imagine that running them .002" or so over size in not necessary...may even be dangerous. How close to the bore size do you run your bullet?
    Have you noticed any effects on the barrel (negative or positive) from using these bullets?
    I wonder how hard it would be to swage zinc.
    I wonder if I could use zinc bullets in a 22lr?
    I may have to start experimenting.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    @davidh0302...Looks like you are putting the ZING in Zinc.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmacgyver0 View Post
    Does seem a shame to waste all those zinc weights. Who makes the brass dies? I have only use Lee Dies and a couple Lyman.
    What can I say?
    I'm cheap!
    I believe it was brass molds not dies.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master


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    Yeah, my concern would be cutting the sprues. Zinc is so much harder, how hard to you have to whack the sprue cutter? I would think it would lead to breakage.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    so what does a load look like for a 308 110g zoolit cast from a 180gr mould? and what sort of velocity are you getting with the same load? and what does a fired zoolit look like upon impact? are they expanding at all?? mushrooming? whats the chrono say?
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  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Traffer View Post
    I am curious about the "slipperiness" of Zinc. I wonder if powder coating them would get them to slide through the barrel quicker. If so, that could aid in accuracy. Another question: Since Zinc is so much harder than lead, I would imagine that running them .002" or so over size in not necessary...may even be dangerous. How close to the bore size do you run your bullet?
    Have you noticed any effects on the barrel (negative or positive) from using these bullets?
    I wonder how hard it would be to swage zinc.
    I wonder if I could use zinc bullets in a 22lr?
    I may have to start experimenting.
    I tried powder coating the zinc bullets just for fun, but zinc doesn't lend its self as good to powder coating as lead does. Powder wouldn't stick an bullets came out horrible after baking. The powder coating on the zinc bullets would have been needless anyway I think.
    I haven't experienced any fouling, no "zincing" so far. I don't think solid zinc bullets will wearcout a barrel, as zinc is still way softer than copper or brass .
    Very low recoil because of the low bullet mass of course.
    I size my. 44 Mag bullets at. 430; my .308 Win at. 309; my 223s will be sized at 224.
    It takes some effort to size bullets especially those without lube grooves.


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  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Markopolo View Post
    so what does a load look like for a 308 110g zoolit cast from a 180gr mould? and what sort of velocity are you getting with the same load? and what does a fired zoolit look like upon impact? are they expanding at all?? mushrooming? whats the chrono say?
    I load my 110gr zinc 308Win with 45gr of N140. Should push it to about 900 m/s = 2700 ft/s.
    I'll attach photos of the 308 HP bullet after firing at gelatine block.
    You can see the hollow point didn't its work. It does not form a mushroom it seems, to hard for that. It splintert and the solid part went through (at least penetrated more than 30 cm = 11 inches)

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  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick L View Post
    Yeah, my concern would be cutting the sprues. Zinc is so much harder, how hard to you have to whack the sprue cutter? I would think it would lead to breakage.
    I normally work with three molds when casting those zinc bullets. That's enough time for the zinc to solidify and still easy enough to cut the sprues. If you wait until the zinc is completely cold it gets really hard to cut it, it's possible but you need to wack it real good. You definitely need at least brass for the mold and thick steel sprue plates, as MP-Molds makes them. They hold up fine.

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  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by elmacgyver0 View Post
    Does seem a shame to waste all those zinc weights. Who makes the brass dies? I have only use Lee Dies and a couple Lyman.
    What can I say?
    I'm cheap!
    I got my brass molds from MP-Molds. There are group buys in here regularly.

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  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Traffer View Post
    @davidh0302...Looks like you are putting the ZING in Zinc.
    @Traffer thanks a lot!
    Casting is just such a cool hobby, with slot of room for experimenting. It's always fun to have someone to talk about that geekery.

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  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Hogtamer View Post
    I worked hard on slugs for shotgun. Used Zamak 3 (4% aluminum), had a mold made, pressure tested the loads and killed pigs!
    I did it to reduce weight and increase velocity to reduce recoil from big slugs. At .731" not worried about expansion. There's a long thread (some of it wandering!) in the shotgun section if you want to do a search.
    Attachment 259308
    I was thinking about casting some zinc slugs, as I have a brass two cavity Lyman stile mold from MP-Molds.

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  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    davidh0302 : In regards to your question in post 15; some of us understand specific gravity and density, but the rest of us just think of lead as being heavier than zinc and a lot heavier than aluminum. Thank you for posting; I have access to wheel weights from a scrap dealer. There are more and more zinc and iron weights and less lead/antimony/tin weights available as time passes it seems. I asked the owner of the scrap yard if I could dig thru the mixed wheel weights and buy the lead alloy weights that I could find. He didn't realize that some were zinc; I tried to explain that the lead alloy weights were no longer being used, but I'm not sure he believed me. I have some iron moulds which I think I will try with zinc. Are the zinc bullets subject to shrinking to a diameter smaller than a lead alloy bullet cast from the same mould?
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  13. #33
    Boolit Master



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    It looks like the hp zoolits explode rather than mushroom. Maybe not the best for hunting, but interesting for personal defense.

  14. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    It looks like the hp zoolits explode rather than mushroom. Maybe not the best for hunting, but interesting for personal defense.
    That "explosion" of the frontal part of the bullet musst be credited to the hollow point. It's possible to change the way the bullet tip by changing the form (depth and width) of the hollow point. A solid bullet without any kind hollow point will most certainly pierc through like a laser beam.

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  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by wmitty View Post
    davidh0302 : In regards to your question in post 15; some of us understand specific gravity and density, but the rest of us just think of lead as being heavier than zinc and a lot heavier than aluminum. Thank you for posting; I have access to wheel weights from a scrap dealer. There are more and more zinc and iron weights and less lead/antimony/tin weights available as time passes it seems. I asked the owner of the scrap yard if I could dig thru the mixed wheel weights and buy the lead alloy weights that I could find. He didn't realize that some were zinc; I tried to explain that the lead alloy weights were no longer being used, but I'm not sure he believed me. I have some iron moulds which I think I will try with zinc. Are the zinc bullets subject to shrinking to a diameter smaller than a lead alloy bullet cast from the same mould?
    Technically speaking the expansion coefficient of zinc an lead are pretty close. Lead 28,9x10^-6/K and zinc 30,2x10^-6/ K.
    I size them as I size my lead bullets. I've cast lead and zinc bullets from the same mold and I was not able to measure any significant difference in diameter. I size them as I size my lead bullets for the same caliber.
    The one thing I would not advise is casting slick sided zinc bullets, I mean bullets without driving bands or lube grooves, not because I think it's could be dangerousto shoot them, but because you'll rip your press off your reloading bench trying to size those bastards. It can be done and I did it but it's a hell of an effort. I think traditional lube groov designs work best for cast zinc bullets.

    Thanks a lot for your honest interest in this geeky topic guys!

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  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    Very interesting subject and looking forward to more. Regards Stephen

  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the very informative post , I think quite a few members are interested in casting zinc boollits .
    I'm surprised that the brass molds work , but that's good to know .
    Can you share a little more about your casting with zinc , casting temperature .
    Another concern - is will the casting furnace hold up ?

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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    This is really interesting.

    How consistent are the bullet weights? Do you have more or less trouble with voids and imperfections in the bullets?

    What kind of accuracy do you get with your rifle bullets?

  19. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by toallmy View Post
    Thanks for the very informative post , I think quite a few members are interested in casting zinc boollits .
    I'm surprised that the brass molds work , but that's good to know .
    Can you share a little more about your casting with zinc , casting temperature .
    Another concern - is will the casting furnace hold up ?

    The pot its self is made of 3mm stainless steel, although it won't hold up forever, it does corrode and it will fail, that's why I designed my furnace to be easily disassembled to change the melting pot, of wich I have second one in storage.
    I actually havent measured the temperature of the zinc in the pot jet, as the molten zinc seems to flow better then lead does.

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  20. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    This is really interesting.

    How consistent are the bullet weights? Do you have more or less trouble with voids and imperfections in the bullets?

    What kind of accuracy do you get with your rifle bullets?
    As zinc seems to flow better than lead, less surface tension I guess, the bullets come out very evenly. Their weights are all between 105.5 gr to 107.0 gr for the hollow points, and that's including the lubrication for sizing, so very consistent in my my book.
    I'm perfectly satisfied with the precision for hunting purposes. I was able to shoot a less than 2 inch group (five shots) at 100 meters with my Steyr Tactical Elite (basically a heavy barrel Steyr Scout) and a Burris scout scope from a tree stand with a "rest" that left a lot to be desired (basically a narrow wooden board).

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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