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Thread: Testing hardness with pencils

  1. #221
    Boolit Buddy 6622729's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    All of the above. It depends on the information you are looking for. If you are trying to alloy a pot of metal you might test the components you are puting in the pot. You might test the alloy right after casting. You might test at the time of shooting to diagnose an issue with a load.

    Quote Originally Posted by adam_mac84 View Post
    I have read *most* of the pages here... but didn't see anyone commenting on when they test their alloys. Immediately after ingot/casting? After age hardening? 1 week? 2 weeks?

  2. #222
    Boolit Mold Dumasron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Southern Calif.
    Don't overlook the fact that alloys closer to pure lead will make heavier bullets from the same mould. My BACO snover mould (40 cal) Makes a 405gr bullet using 25:1 alloy and a 390gr bullet using Lyman #2 alloy.

  3. #223
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    I also hated my Lee hardness test until... I got some scrap wood and made this simple holder. Quick and dirty BUT it really helps

  4. #224
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Inverness, Florida
    I've tried using this pencil test and got some interesting results. I tested some ingots I cast from clip on wheel weights and some I cast from the stick on type. I expected to get readings similar to others with the tape weights being softer but this was not so. Both tested at 14 to 15 BHN. I tried various angles and pressures and always it was the HB pencil that made the scratch/cut. I also tested boolits I cast with each, both bare and powder coated with the same results. Is it me?

  5. #225
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Northern MN
    I just tried this. Used a sanding block to make a nice square tip on an HB pencil. Tried it on the base of some boolits that should be 11-12 bhn. Holding the pencil at about a 40 deg. angle I could feel it plow into the lead. Then I tried it on some boolits I made too hard with lino and it skimmed right across the base.

    For my puposes a 2B and an HB would tell me enough.
    Last edited by Cosmic_Charlie; 03-28-2018 at 01:22 PM.

  6. #226
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    WOW! This thread has LEGS! fro 2010 to 2018! very interesting and valuable information, which gives us weekend casting Ninjas an idea of what we are shooting in our guns. Thank you, MOLLY, and several others who have cleared up couple of cloudy points. I bet those pencils will not be the sawbuck they once were, tho.

  7. #227

  8. #228
    Quote Originally Posted by Dumasron View Post
    Don't overlook the fact that alloys closer to pure lead will make heavier bullets from the same mould. My BACO snover mould (40 cal) Makes a 405gr bullet using 25:1 alloy and a 390gr bullet using Lyman #2 alloy.
    Aha! A perfect spot for this inquiry: What can be deduced as to an alloy's composition and its BHN if your two data points are your bullets advertised #2 alloy weight, and then the actual weight with your own mix? As a test of my pencil scratching prowess I found some bars that I thought were 14 BHN, close to Lyman #2. In actuality my bullets weighed heavier, about 105% of #2. Other than the obvious fact that my alloy has more Pb as a percentage than a #2 mix, is there an equation or good rule of thumb to analyze one's own mix from those two points of data?

  9. #229
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Just wanted to say thanks to all who contributed. Now I can have an idea of hardness without extra equipment

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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