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Thread: Wheel Weight Composition

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Wheel Weight Composition

    I have noted that lead prices, on the commodities market, have declined from $1.80 per pound to about $0.40. Now may be the time to buy some casting material.

    Can anybody give the approximate percentages of of lead, tin and antimoney in linotype and wheel weights? Think I am going to begin searching for about 2,000 pounds while the prices are low!

    Thanks,

    Jerry

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Widely varying. The analyses have changed over the years. Thirty years ago the analyses I saw had a lot more Tin in them, then the price of Tin went up, so the makers added more Antimony. Then the price of Antimony went up.

    Here's one on-line article:
    http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletAlloy.htm

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thank you -

    That is the exact info I need.

    Jerry

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    The larger batch you can melt, the more homogenous your ingots will be, regardless of alloy variations found throughout your entire supply or raw material.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Old WWs were about 1% to 2% tin and 9% antimony newer ones have about 1/2% tin. Where the seperation between old and new came was about the 1980s but varied with maker. Best bet is to mix them all together like JohnH said and add a little tin for good fillout..

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I guess my post wasn't very clear - Lead has decreased from about $1.80 per pound to $0.40 per pound.

    There is a company, American Tin & Solder, that quoted me a price of $2.12 per pound for a tin/antimony/lead alloy of 5/9/86. This was about a year ago. This quote was delivered in "babbits". I have never seen a "babbit", but the picture looks like an ingot.

    Now that lead had decreased so much in price I thought I might ask for another quote - If I can get 2000 pounds of the "babbits" delivered for $2,000 or less - I think I am going to place an order.

    I guess it is Obama fear. I am 62. When I retire in three years my main hobby will be going to the range several times a week - I will need a lot of bullets - I figured with the 2000 pounds of alloy plus the 200 - 300 pounds of wheel weights I already have, should last me the rest of my shooting days.

    They show many alloys on their,ATS, website. The ones that interested me the most were 10/12/78, 5/9/86 and 2.5/7.5/90.

    Would appreciate any thoughts the forum members have. It appears the 2.5/7.5/90 is as close as I can get to current wheel weights.

    Thanks,

    Jerry

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Unless you plan to alloy them with pure lead, all of those alloys have way more antimony than it makes sense to use. Some people use high antimony to try to get hard bullets without heat treating; it works to some extent but for any given hardness, raising antimony gives you lower toughness and ductility than if you heat treated a low antimony alloy.

    If you are prepared to heat treat, or if you are not but are only loading for mid-range pistol, the most efficient alloys in terms of a combination of ductility, toughness and heat treatment response have a maximum of 4% antimony - probably somewhat less than that. In my experiments so far the most efficient alloy I have found consists of 75% clip-on WW, 25% stick-on WW (but with the dead soft stick-ons culled first). Unfortunately I don't have the chemical analysis of that alloy yet.

    You can get the basics of all this here:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=40767

    At that time I had only tied down the best mix to "somewhere in the vicinity of 4% antimony". I've found it much more precisely since, but I don't yet know the analysis of what I found. However I can tell you what it consists of, and that is straight WW with stick-ons included.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Lyman #2 allo is 5/5/90 and is 15 BHN. the 2.5/7.5/90 sounds very like commercial hardball will yeild circa 18-19 BHN. So the question becomes what kind of shooting do you intend to do? For 38 Special, 44 Special, 45 Colt this is as hard and perhaps harder than you would want and at low velocities (700 fps) may cause leading. You could cut it 1 to 1with lead and do fine. For rifle boolits at 1800-2000 fps it would be just about right as is.

    I shoot a lot of what I call GOK metal (God Only Knows) It is a blend of whatever shows up in my scounging, and includes everything from soft lead to WW to linotype. Hardness of my batches runs between 10 and 18 BHN. While it may sound sacreligious, I don't worry too much with it. I just keep adding whatever ingots I made in the last smelting to the pot and cast away. I use World Famous Felix Lube and simply don't have problems with leading unless a rough throat is encountered in a revolver. I have a Taurus Tracker in 45 ACP that is particularly leading prone.
    Two buddies and I are running my boolits through 4 357 Ruger Blackhawks, a 44 Special Freedom Arms, a 357 Taurus Gaucho, a 45 ACP Taurus Tracker, a K-38, a Contender with 357 and 44 Mag barrels, 2 30-30 rifles, a 7.62x54R, a 25-06 a 250 Savage and a 7mm-08. The Tracker is the only one of those guns in which leading is a problem. Rough doesn't describe the throat of the forcing cone; but since it is the gun I shoot least I just scrub it out when the accuracy goes from OK to miserable and leave it at that.

    My one shootin' buddy has prolly shot as much "store bought" cast as I've shot of cast I made myself. He exclaims to no end of how clean my cast is. He says my lube is too soft but if soft makes it not lead he don't mind. My point is this: that the lube has at least as much influence on boolit performance in respect to leading as the alloy itself.

    I'd suggest price shopping the 2.5/7.5/90 alloy and see what other foundries are offering that or a similar alloy for. It is certainly as hard as you would likely need and softening it is as simple as cutting 1 to 1 with plain lead. That would mean you have at most 3 metals at hand which would cover any shooting chore you would want. Not a bad place to be at all.

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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