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Thread: Lyman#2

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Lyman#2

    Hi guys, novice caster here, I came into aprox 250 lbs of water lead pipe that I have put into ingots, I have been casting for .44 mag and .357 from wheel weights and then powder coating,it has been working out pretty good. I realize #2 is harder than what i'm using but for my brain i'm using #2 for a starting point. I have tried to read as much as I can about making something a little softer than #2 I start to get confused when reading about different mixes so I was thinking about buying 5 lbs of antimony and 3 lbs of tin if my math is right if I mix 8oz 0f antimony and 8oz of tin per 20lbs of lead which is half of what #2 is would that give me closer to a 10 bnh? I'm trying to get as much mileage from my lead as possible for my needs. thanks in advance for any help.

    Brian..

  2. #2
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    Your wheel weights alone Will to give you a BHN of some place around 12. Adding tin probably isn’t going to change your hardness level depending on what your source of tin is , Pewter, Solder, etc. but adding antimony will increase your hardness level. If you’re just plinking, wheel weights are fine especially if your powder coating. Lyman number two is basically 90% lead, 5% tin, and 5% antimony. Antimony increases hardness tin helps flow out. If you search the forum there’s a lead alloy calculator available that will help you to come up with the right percentages for what you want to do. With all that being said i use wheel weights with a little tin ( between 2 and 5%)to help with the fill out for my pistol rounds. And when tin is not available I’ve used pure clip on wheel weights. I would strongly suggest that you pick up a Lyman Cast Boolets handbook, and read it as a start. There are many other books out there that help to explain alloys for Cast Boolets . But the Lyman is a good place to start .Hope this helps.
    Good luck, have fun, and above all else be safe!
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  3. #3
    Rather than buy antimony & tin.. I'd be trying to figure out just how much of that lead pipe I could blend into my old COWW & still make good quality pistol bullets. Note: I use about one third [almost pure] to 2/3rds COWW clip on wheel weights & add 4 to 8 ozs of Pewter scrap per 20 pound pot of casting alloy.. I hope that helps.. Uncle Mike in Ct

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks Poppy. what i'm trying to do is make something close to the wheel weight mix that I was using. I don't have any more wheel weight lead only the pure lead that I put into ingots. so I was going to buy some antimony and tin from roto metals and try to get close to what the wheel weight hardness was it was working well for me. I will try to find the calculator. after re re reading my post I wasn't very clear. Thanks again for the help.

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
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    uncle Mike I wish I would of had this pure lead when I had the COWW I could of tried to mix more lead into the mix. my source is out of COWW right now I have a new mold coming so i'm chomping at the bit to mix this pure lead into something that will do the same job.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    drz436,

    Here is what I would do if I was you. Buy the Lyman #2 lead from Roto Metals. Then make your own alloy consisting of 30% Lyman #2 and 70% of your pure lead. This will give you a good alloy with equal amounts of antimony and tin (which is good), and a BHN of about 10. Hope that helps.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy

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    My mentor was as old school as you could get and would mix and use Lyman #2 for everything. As he got older he got to selling everything he had including his lead stores.
    Lyman #2 was the gold standard for years. Then I came upon this site and learned that #2 wasn't necessary and was a waste of good alloy. I use a watered down version
    and used the alloy calculator and mixed it with pure to make basically a 95-2.5-2.5, I use this for rifle rounds. For general pistol bullets I use most anything I have on hand.
    For my bullseye rounds I use hardball (92-6-2) it just seems to work.

    You might be able to swap some of that pure for some #2 and then mix accordingly.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks for the help guys, I put a order to roto metals for #2 and I will mix it with my pure lead. I live in a town where we have hundreds of houses with lead water services, they are replacing the water services with poly whenever there is a leak or any capital improvements, my line of work puts me in contact with the city and the contractors doing the work, most of the time they leave the old lead lines in the ground but a lot of time if the ditch is open they will cut the lead and leave it on site as long as it is collected, that's when I help them out. Lol thanks again guys this is the best source of information for casting on the net.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    What is the hardness of Lyman#2 . Seems like it serves the fit and hardness battle.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gobeyond View Post
    What is the hardness of Lyman#2 . Seems like it serves the fit and hardness battle.
    It's got a BHN of 15.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by drz436 View Post
    Hi guys, novice caster here, I came into aprox 250 lbs of water lead pipe that I have put into ingots, I have been casting for .44 mag and .357 from wheel weights and then powder coating,it has been working out pretty good. I realize #2 is harder than what i'm using but for my brain i'm using #2 for a starting point. I have tried to read as much as I can about making something a little softer than #2 I start to get confused when reading about different mixes so I was thinking about buying 5 lbs of antimony and 3 lbs of tin if my math is right if I mix 8oz 0f antimony and 8oz of tin per 20lbs of lead which is half of what #2 is would that give me closer to a 10 bnh? I'm trying to get as much mileage from my lead as possible for my needs. thanks in advance for any help.

    Brian..
    Drz, juzt a FYI. Adding antimony to a lead mixture at a DIY setting is most likely not going to work. 1. A high temp is needed and after it is blended and starts to cool the antimony will start to fall out of the alloy mixture. The only way that works best as I understand it for this need to harden up with antimony is to buy a pre alloyed bar with a high antimony percentage from Roto Metals......like their hardballer bars. Getting antimony to stay into a newly mixed alloy is best done at the foundry. I have taken more than a ton of pure lead roofing jacks over the past seven years and added many, many bars of hardballer to the kettle to easily increase the hardness this way and it is by far the easiest and most successful method IMHO. What you need to figure out is how much lead to add to a single bar of hardballer in order to get the desired hardness you require. Once a bar of hardballer melts in with your lead the antimony will not seperate out. Eazy Peazy.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Another product from Rotometals is "SuperHard" alloy, which is 30% antimony and 70% lead, useful for increasing Sb content in any alloy.

    To make true Lyman #2, use one part by weight of SuperHard to 4.7 parts of lead and 0.3 parts of pure tin.

    Hardball alloy is 6% Sb, 2% Sn and 92% Pb. Mixing it with pure lead, you always end up with a 3:1 ratio of Sb to Sn. For instance, equal parts of hardball and pure lead give you an alloy of 3% Sb and 1% Sn, a good pistol alloy close to straight COWW with added tin. Making Lyman #2 from hardball needs 5 parts hardball, 0.8 parts pure lead and finally 0.2 parts pure tin to change the Sb:Sn ratio.

    I've heard of home casters dissolving pure antimony into pure lead (the way salt dissolves into water without ever reaching the melting point of NaCl), but also that it takes some doing. As MOA suggests, it may be easier to mix in an already Sb rich alloy to bring up the Sb percentage in your final alloy.
    Last edited by kevin c; 05-06-2020 at 03:26 PM.

  13. #13
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    kevin c's suggestion for super hard will get you there faster. Here's my last order with a pound of tin,





  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by LenH View Post
    My mentor was as old school as you could get and would mix and use Lyman #2 for everything. As he got older he got to selling everything he had including his lead stores.
    Lyman #2 was the gold standard for years. Then I came upon this site and learned that #2 wasn't necessary and was a waste of good alloy. I use a watered down version
    and used the alloy calculator and mixed it with pure to make basically a 95-2.5-2.5, I use this for rifle rounds. For general pistol bullets I use most anything I have on hand.
    For my bullseye rounds I use hardball (92-6-2) it just seems to work.

    You might be able to swap some of that pure for some #2 and then mix accordingly.
    Second the recommendation on the 95/2.5/2.5. I used it with a gas checked boolit In my .308 over 10 grains of Unique and it worked great. Think it was about 1350 fps. and the alloy stood up fine. Also use it for 1000 fps. moderate pistol rounds.

    Be on the lookout for linotype and also pewter. Along with pure lead and an alloy calculator you can batch anything you want then. I do 10 or 12 pound batches right in my casting pot because it's safer to make what you need at the time instead of doing a big smelting run.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    After nearly 50 years of casting for myself, friends and family and shooting cast myself in various calibers I have come to a few conclusions;

    1. Tailor your alloy to your requirements. If you are aiming for max velocity in rifles (and a few handgun calibers) then use Linotype. If you are shooting at moderate velocity (@1600 fps) 5-6% Sb and 2% Sn has worked well for me. For low velocity (@ 800-1000 fps) most any alloy works, such as COWW or even range lead. There is no law against using Lino or hard alloys for everything, but prefer to spend the money saved for powder and primers.

    2. Good bullet design, proper sizing and a good lube are essential, and if the bullet design calls for a gas check use it. Better to spend the time and $ to use a gas check than removing leading.

    3. Don't obsess over alloy percentages, if your rifle or pistol doesn't shoot well changing alloy a percent or two won't make it a tack driver. Before starting cast with any gun try it with J bullet ammo of known quality. Use this data as a base line for what you can reasonably expect. A few guns will actually do better with cast, you may get lucky.

    4. Stop worrying and go shoot, the gun will tell you what it likes. Some guns just don't like certain bullet designs or weights. If you can't make it work with your bullet try a different design or weight. At one time there were two Krag sporters in the family, one loved the 311291 but definitely did not love the 311284. The other was the exact opposite.

    Have fun and be safe.

  16. #16
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    Don't obsess over alloy percentages,
    yup when I was young id obsess over alloys and bullet hardness readings. Every bucket of lead had it wrote on it. Now my lead says soft, medium or hard. When I smelt I do a couple hundred lbs of something close to one of those three and spend my time shooting instead of worrying about exact bhn. ill leave the rocket science to the scientists and just have fun shooting.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Okay, I'll be the contrarian here. When my particular source of lead is smelted down into ingots, it goes into a box marked as to what it is; pure, COWW, Lino, etc. When I want to cast bullets for a particular load, I create an alloy that is good for the intended purpose of the bullets. Nothing haphazard about anything I do in reloading.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  18. #18
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSR View Post
    Okay, I'll be the contrarian here. When my particular source of lead is smelted down into ingots, it goes into a box marked as to what it is; pure, COWW, Lino, etc. When I want to cast bullets for a particular load, I create an alloy that is good for the intended purpose of the bullets. Nothing haphazard about anything I do in reloading.

    Don
    My sentiments exactly.
    I learned some 40+ years ago that I can duplicate the Lyman #2 with 5lbs ww to 1lb lino.
    That is exactly how I do the alloy - right in the pot on the fly.
    It has worked perfectly for me.
    I couldn't tell you what the % of what vs. what is.
    All I know is that shoots fine, doesn't lead and creates very nice bullets.
    Collector and shooter of guns with selector switches and threaded barrels. Collector of suppressors, SBR's, AOW's and SBS's. Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by FISH4BUGS View Post
    My sentiments exactly.
    I learned some 40+ years ago that I can duplicate the Lyman #2 with 5lbs ww to 1lb lino.
    That is exactly how I do the alloy - right in the pot on the fly.
    It has worked perfectly for me.
    I couldn't tell you what the % of what vs. what is.
    All I know is that shoots fine, doesn't lead and creates very nice bullets.
    Here is what your alloy consists of: 2.05% Tin, 6.82% antimony, and a trace of arsenic. Works out to basically the same hardness as Lyman #2 using less tin and more antimony.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  20. #20
    Boolit Master trixter's Avatar
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    I started out several (many) years ago when you could get lead wheel weights just for the asking, and we all know how that has changed, so I have for the last couple of years been gathering range lead from my local club. I have been struggling with getting the proper temp to make really nice boolits. So the other day I got a five lb ingot of #2 Lyman from Roto Metals and emptied out my pot and put the #2 in and cast a few. WOW!, what difference, and I didn't have to run my pot at 760° to 780° I ran it at 720° to keep the nozzle hot and to pour cleanly I am wondering how much of the range lead (after getting it as clean I can) can I mix in and still keep the lead easy to pour. Have any of you mixed the two, and what ratio did you like best?
    Thanks for your replies.

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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