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Thread: I had a 3 gallon bucket of wheel weights given to me.

  1. #1
    Previously Banned Member - Majik
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    I had a 3 gallon bucket of wheel weights given to me.

    I've sorted out the obvious iron, zinc, Aluminum, but there's a lot of questionable types almost 100 lbs, that I hope you folks can help me with? I'mi using a pair of Lee 6 cavity aluminum molds. Both are rn, both intended for tumble lube. I have a Lee 1000 progressive that i've yet to set up, and no other loaders. 30 years ago, I loaded a few hundred rds on a Dillion 550 and 40 years ago, I loaded 100,000 rds of ..45 ACP, all my cast bullets from H and G steel 4-cavity molds, , on a Star progressive. I've loaded at least 20,000 rds of assorted calibers, mostly .45, on single station presses, but all long ago. 15 years ago, I cast a few pure tin bullets with Lee 6 cavity mold, cause I was experimenting with very lw bullets. Total of maybe 200 bullets. I"ve always used a propane fired plumber's furnace, b but now have a turkey cooker and propane, as of yet not set up. I've used a lyman and lee electric pot, 40 years ago, but found them to be far too small/slow.. I've never used the tumble lube. I've always used either a lyman or Star sizer luber and tamarack 50/50 alox/beeswax lube. One mold is 358" 150 gr intended for use in .38, the other is 124 gr .356 for 9mm. I intend to use the 150 at 850 fps, in a govt model 9mm and the 124 gr in a Siz P938, at about 800 fps in that 3" barrel. I've got the lee lube. Bullseye is the powder I've got. Will the 358 stand sizing down to 356 and not lose the lube grooves?

    Many of the wheel weights are marked "P", which I assume means PB, for lead. some are marked FE, Al, Zc, which I assume means iron, aluminum and zinc. Some are marked 'micro", which I GUESS is a maker's mark? Some are marked MC, but are mostly an odd shape, square cross section (end view) I hope those are lead, cause I've got about 50 lbs of them. I once ruined a LOT of good lyman $2 casting alloy by mixing in some "wiped" lead joints, so I know that you CAN ruin all of your alloy. Lead's hard to come by around here, so I dont want that to happen. Can somebody guide me as to what to not melt in with the lead? In particular, is "MC" ok? it looks like lead, but most of them are not dark in color. I'm aware that it could be just lack of oxidation. Is there some sort of test that can be done? do some show a crystalline grain stucture when broken, react to battery acid, etc? thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    There several stickies that gives some details on sorting wheel weights. Personally I use a pair of dykes to nip each weight so I'm certain there are no zinc in my batch. I also sort out the stick on weights that are nearly pure and save for alloying.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-Wheel-Weights

  3. #3
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    thanks, that was some help, at least. Also, guys, since i'm using bullseye, tumble lube and sub 900 fps, will the wheelweights need additional tin or antimony to not keyhole or leave fouling in the rifling? which is better, or do I need both and in what combo %? thanks.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Tin does three things. First and most notably it increases the castability of the alloy. Often WWs don't have enough tin to get good bullet fillout. Second tin adds some hardness to the alloy. Third, it helps the antimony to mix with the lead and stay mixed. Antimony will separate out but tin binds them together and makes the alloy more malleable. Antimony is brittle. So a bullet with sb and no ns is hard but brittle.

    Often you can get WW alloy to work with little to no tin if the use is plinking and lower velocities. So, try WWs and see how they cast and add an if needed for fillout.

    Neither will have much affect on tumbling. What affects tumbling is bullet design,velocity, and rifling twist rate.

    Leading is controlled by a combination of factors. The gun can cause easing if it's not made properly. The correct size of bullet for your gun, matching the hardness and toughness of the alloy for your application, and lube used all makes a difference. Pressure of the round makes a big difference too.

    38 special, if the gun is right, ww alloy will be fine. Can't speak to the 9 mm as I've never loaded it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Slug your bore, most "9mm" aren't;they're .357

    Micros are lead. Maybe sort and melt the odd ones separately and keep temps low like under 750, get a thermometer if you don't have one. Don't flux with paraffin because it catches fire and melts zinc if it's present. How do l know that? Ugh

  6. #6
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    I fluxed with Beeswax, but one melt had a lot of the rainbow coloring on the surface. I've seen a BIT of that before, years ago, with stuff that cast ok for .45 ACP, but this was a LOT and this alloy is VERY hard indeed. I've never seen anything like it and I used to add tin to WW, years ago, when I found some old beer cooler coils in a scrap yard. I dont see how casting is worth the trouble if you have to add tin and antimony. That stuff is SUPER expensive. I think that when i cast in quantity I'll leave the alloy as is for the 125 gr lrn and add some soft lead for the 150 gr bullets. not sure, tho,

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazoo View Post
    There several stickies that gives some details on sorting wheel weights. Personally I use a pair of dykes to nip each weight so I'm certain there are no zinc in my batch. I also sort out the stick on weights that are nearly pure and save for alloying.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-Wheel-Weights
    Use the Dikes (sidecutters) just to be sure, if you can't cut into it, don't put it in the melt...yah, you might get a blister or 2 and your hand will ache, but your lead will be zinc free!
    Take a kid to the range, you'll both be glad you did.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    How the bullet fits the throat and barrel is the most important thing. If you have a hard alloy and it's under throat and groove dimension, you'll lead the barrel especially with a fast burning powder like Bullseye. Cut your clip-on wheel weight, called COWW's, with an equal amount of pure lead, Pb, to get a more ductile alloy to obturate with the Bullseye powder. If it doesn't give you good sharp detail on your bullets as you cast, add 1% tin.

    It's better to be at or 1-2 thousandths over throat/groove dimension on a bullet pulled from a loaded round.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Tin in the Lead, Tin, Antimony alloy is associated with reducing the size of the grains as the alloy solidifies improving the ability of the alloy to fill fine small detail. Tin will increase hardness only by a few points and after a given percentage will not continue to increase hardness. Good rule of thumb is 2% Tin is ample for handgun alloys. In this tri-metal alloy, the metals go into true solution and will not separate in the liquid state and are stable in the solid state.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy Cast_outlaw's Avatar
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    A faster method of testing for lead or zinc is scraping they against some screeted concreat zinc and steel will skate across and lead will be very grabby, or a edge of a pice of thin steel as it will cut into the lead and again the zinc and steel ww will glide across. Another way again is dropping them on concrete as zinc and iron make ringing sound and lead sorta has more of a thud. The rainbow you saw means it was most likely pure lead Or almost pure and nothing is wrong with it That’s normal. And definitely slug your bore on the gun and size to suite 1 to 2 thousandth over. And lee liquid alox works good as lube with those boolits or at least it do with me
    Last edited by Cast_outlaw; 05-29-2020 at 09:06 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    They do make a nice alloy. I just made a pot of 2 parts ww to one part pure plus a little pewter and I got lovely boolits. Going to use it for 9mm and moderate .357 loads.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Was shooting today with a buddy and his Dad. Told them to keep an eye open for lead. His Dad gave me 50 pounds of wheel weight ingots that he had been saving thinking he might try casting. Also had a tin container of Blue Dot with the price on it. $1.80

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    you will get the sorting down

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I just scored about 300 pounds of ingots and I think the majority of it is wheel weights. Put a wtb add in CL. Old guy told me they came from his brother's estate. Got well over 500 pounds in the garage now. Also have enough tin, pewter and linotype to make all of it into useful alloy. That's enough to make over 23,000 150 gr. boolits.

    It may just be a lifetime supply......

    Update: Sorted through all of it by dropping the ingots on the concrete. The ones that had a ring I figure are WW. The dead soft ones were silent. Got a heaping 5 gallon bucket of "ringers" and about 80 pounds of pure. Re smelted about 60 lbs. of the pure into Lyman 1 pound molds. Very nice clean ingots.
    Last edited by Cosmic_Charlie; 06-07-2020 at 07:30 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Like Bazoo posted, look at the stickies about sorting wheelweights. Also check out BNE's stickies on the XFR analysis that he posted.

    Everyone has a method of sorting weights that suits them. I've sorted so many that I can usually tell by picking one up. I use a pair of dykes for the questionable ones.

    The letters on weights mostly are the manufacturer and the type of wheel that it can be used on. Except for "FE" which means iron and "Z or ZN" which means Zinc.

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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