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Thread: Quench casting Lyman 356637 hollow point bullet

  1. #1

    Quench casting Lyman 356637 hollow point bullet

    Greetings!

    When it gets a bit warmer and after my hands heal (carpal tunnel surgery), I am looking at doing some serious casting which will include the Lyman 356637 hollow point bullet. This will be my first venture casting hollow points, and I understand that in order to create really good hollow point bullets, I have to keep the pin hot!

    I have two avenues that I can follow, either:
    a) quench casting and running the bullets through the Lubri-sizer, or
    b) drop to a cloth and allow to air cool, then powder coat and run the bullets through the Lee sizer.

    My question is, what can I expect from a hollow point that has been quench cast. Would the hollow point bullet:
    a) act like a round nosed bullet with no expansion,
    b) exhibit some degree of expansion, or
    c) fragment if it hits bone or a hard surface?

    These bullets would be cast from mostly straight wheel weights.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Quenching will make them a little bit harder.
    If ya want more expansion, air cool them.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I have not tried it yet, but have seen a good discussion regarding water dropping, then powder coating, and the bake cycle reduces the effectiveness of the initial quench. The suggestion was to quench right after coming out of the oven, to save any possible benefit of that hardness treatment.

    I only have 2 HP molds, both Lee when they still made such things. There is no conceivable way to keep the pin hot other than speed casting. Polished pins help with boolits falling free. MalPaso suggests using a mold heater (hot plate, tin can cut to cover the mold as it heats) and pole holes in the top as a place to store the pins while you are heating the mold. I believe I have even seen a picture of someone doing this.

    It's too bad Lee discontinued HP molds, they charged the same price for the SC HP molds as they charged for the DC molds. The last HP Lee mold I purchased was 12.98, the price listed on the box. This was 1985, and the shop owner said the mold sat on the shelf for over 10 years. 12.98 was the price in the mid 1970s. There was a member here that would convert your DC Lee mold, or modify a new one and charge the same price plus the price of the new mold. He retired. Why not, he earned it like all folks who worked in his field.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master StuBach's Avatar
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    Quench casting Lyman 356637 hollow point bullet

    I air cool all my HPs and results are always good. When you water quench you can also end up with extra particulate sticking to bullet (if you have hard water or dusty environment) which can lead to Pc not holding as well in my experience. If you have a small bucket put a cotton cloth on the bottom and drape another one across the top creating a ramp for the bullets to drop on and fall to the bottom to reduce deformation.

    I have a couple of those old Lyman HP/HB molds and I found they worked just fine by heating the mold on top of my old Saeco pot for a few with the mold on itís side and the pin in place. Once you get into a rhythm the iron pin will stay warmer than the aluminum pins I assume Lee used in theirs. Best advise, cast fast and donít stop to analyze results too much otherwise that SC mold and pin will cool.

    As for expansion, from my results the water quenching causes the metal to become harder and more brittle where you want a HP to be mailable so it transfers the kinetic energy fully to the target as opposed to fragmenting and going all over. My dad prefers to hunt bowling pins and he can attest to the 7% tin/93% Pb 200gr bullets I air cool for him throwing pins right off the table where heavier harder bullets struggle cause they glance off or fragment. Just my families experience though.
    Last edited by StuBach; 01-14-2021 at 03:24 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    You are wasting time water dropping then baking PC imo. If you want expansion, you dont want a brittle alloy or a bullet too hard.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    It will also depend on your alloy, if it is pure/very soft it won't harden much if any. If your alloy is wheel weights then it will harden when water dropped. Also with water quenching usually full hardness isn't reached for awhile after quenching.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by LRRifleman View Post
    Greetings!

    I have two avenues that I can follow, either:
    a) quench casting and running the bullets through the Lubri-sizer, or
    b) drop to a cloth and allow to air cool, then powder coat and run the bullets through the Lee sizer.

    My question is, what can I expect from a hollow point that has been quench cast. Would the hollow point bullet:
    a) act like a round nosed bullet with no expansion,
    b) exhibit some degree of expansion, or
    c) fragment if it hits bone or a hard surface.
    I need to clarify, I am NOT considering powder coating bullets that have been quench cooled! At the moment, I am trying to decide if I will quench cool then run through the lubri-sizer, OR air cool THEN powder coat! I realize that the baking stage of powder coating will make quench cooled bullets MORE BRITTLE!

    My question is: will a quench cooled hollow point bullet expand OR will it act like a FMJ, or will it shatter when it hits bone or a hard surface?

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRRifleman View Post
    I need to clarify, I am NOT considering powder coating bullets that have been quench cooled! At the moment, I am trying to decide if I will quench cool then run through the lubri-sizer, OR air cool THEN powder coat! I realize that the baking stage of powder coating will make quench cooled bullets MORE BRITTLE!

    My question is: will a quench cooled hollow point bullet expand OR will it act like a FMJ, or will it shatter when it hits bone or a hard surface?
    What alloy are you using, as stated if using pure soft lead water dropping won't matter, but if using lino type it will.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    FWIW, I never water drop any of my cast bullets. First, if I need harder bullets I alloy for hardness (which seems to me to be a more consistent, reliable method of achieving a specific hardness), second, I don't like the mess of getting my bullets out of a bucket of water (I don't have a sink in my shop), and IMO it's just an extra step that's unnecessary (I picked up a freshly cast bullet once, never again so not worried about burns from hot bullets)...

    Regarding a HP cast bullet, look at why a bullet expands. There is a "velocity threshold" for all HP bullets so your handgun bullets must reach a certain velocity depending on how hard the bullet alloy is (harder, water quenched bullets need a higher velocity). Also the bullet material determines whether a bullet expands or fragments, the alloy composition. Some alloys, while having a specific BHN. will be more mailable than other alloys with a similar BHN. I haven't done much experimenting with hollow point cast bullets as I rely on bullet shape for performance, but I would use an alloy with pure lead and tin (no antimony or arsenic).

    This all may be a bunch of Hoooie, but jes my experience and thinking...
    Last edited by mdi; 01-18-2021 at 01:34 PM.
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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