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Thread: How to find linotype or other hardeners?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    How to find linotype or other hardeners?

    I have a reliable source of range lead (thanks Captain - see forum vendors for very reasonable pricing and outstanding service). My casts in all my molds are a bit heavy, so I need to add some tin/antimony. I know about Rotometals, but the super hard ingots feel expensive for a "value focused" caster like myself. Some might sterotypically say that is the Scotch-Irish in me, and I would not be able to disagree.

    With powder coating and being picky about load data, I am not experiencing any leading, but I would like to be able to dial in the weight to be able to push the velocity a bit more. I don't have a chrono, so I am very dependent on published data. Ultimate goal is to ensure that my loads are making IDPA power factors in the event I go from local to regional level matches.

    What are the best ways to find tin/antimony "mixers" that I can use to reduce the weight per bullet?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahak View Post
    I have a reliable source of range lead (thanks Captain - see forum vendors for very reasonable pricing and outstanding service). My casts in all my molds are a bit heavy, so I need to add some tin/antimony. I know about Rotometals, but the super hard ingots feel expensive for a "value focused" caster like myself. Some might sterotypically say that is the Scotch-Irish in me, and I would not be able to disagree.

    With powder coating and being picky about load data, I am not experiencing any leading, but I would like to be able to dial in the weight to be able to push the velocity a bit more. I don't have a chrono, so I am very dependent on published data. Ultimate goal is to ensure that my loads are making IDPA power factors in the event I go from local to regional level matches.

    What are the best ways to find tin/antimony "mixers" that I can use to reduce the weight per bullet?

    Thanks!
    Instead of guessing, beg, borrow, buy, a coronagraph. Published loads are just a starting point. I have found With, in each powder, the loads will vary, FPS, in the powder charge with lot numbers. Put a gas check on you bullet for more speed. Find some putter at good will or other junk stores ?

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahak View Post
    What are the best ways to find tin/antimony "mixers" that I can use to reduce the weight per bullet?!
    Scrounging Pewter at thrift stores and garage sales is good. Hard ingots often pop up on S&S.
    Or 95/5 solder if you know any Plumbers.
    When a roll gets low and dirty from rolling around in the truck, sometimes they'll give 'em to ya, or sell 'em cheap.
    Old school wheel weights are good too if you can find them.
    Check out local scrap yards if they're allowed to sell to the public. They usually charge 150% of what they paid for it.
    For example: If they buy Lead for $1. a pound, you can usually buy it from the yard for $1.50.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Up to about 1980, linotype print shops were around. When they closed, some just walked away. I was able to buy some unwanted linotype alloy, at a great price, back then.

    Tin may be depleated or almost non- existent in the type?

    These days, may be near impossible to find. Good luck.
    Pure lead contains no arsenic. Its been removed by law.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Find someone that wants to trade hard for soft. I have probably 800-1000lbs of linotype. You usually won't do 1 for 1 on that route but it also does not take a lot to harden up soft lead.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I agree with Winger Ed, Pewter from second hand stores is probably the easiest, least expensive way.

    Or you can keep an eye open here for some Lino for sale. Patience is the key.
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  7. #7
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    Dahawk
    Where are you located, ?
    Anywhere near Amarillo, Texas??
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    As a long time action pistol competitor, I have to agree that you can’t really get around testing your loads over a chronograph.

    Exactly matching a tested load in a publication (very hard to do), likely won’t give you the exact same numbers because your gun and the conditions you’re shooting under are different. Also, every chrono I’ve ever used, including the fancy Doppler versions, give different numbers on the same load through the same gun, even on the same shot!

    What you really need from your IDPA load, in order of highest to lowest importance, is:
    1) reliability (every round must absolutely function in the gun used);
    2) reasonable accuracy (the max value scoring areas on IDPA and USPSA targets are generous: if you can always shoot inside an 8” pie plate at 25 yards, you’re good to go);
    3) meeting power factor (a common rule of thumb is 20 consecutive shots should all be over the minimum threshold for the bullet weight used, or that the average of ten shots should be 4-5% over the minimum velocity). This prematch test needs a chrono.

    Also, the same hardness can be achieved by different mixes of lead, antimony and tin, which means different weights. Better to use a consistent alloy so your bullets are reliably the same weight for calculating PF. To get a desired PF with a bullet of given weight, most competitors adjust velocity by altering the powder charge rather than fiddle with bullet weight (unless a really big change like altering felt recoil or sight tracking is the goal, and then the change is to a different mold casting a different weight bullet (147 gr to 124 gr), not a different alloy).

    TL;DR

    Velocity testing your competition loads with a chrono is essential and makes velocity adjustments for meeting PF easier that fiddling with your casting alloy.

    Edited for diarrhea of the mouth, unsuccessfully.
    Last edited by kevin c; 12-04-2022 at 03:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Power factor calculations are weighted towards bullet weight. Taking weight out to make PF is counter productive.
    ”We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, yet they are still lying.” –Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

    My Straight Shooters thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...raight-shooter

    The Pewter Pictures and Hallmarks thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-and-hallmarks

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Why do you feel that you need to make your bullets match the weight of the mold? I could care less that my bullets are 5, 10, or 20 grains heavier than the designated mold weight. Adjust your loads accordingly. You will spend money on valuable components and there is no gain unless you need a harder bullet for a specific reason. If you need a harder buller, go for it, but if you goal is just to make a .40 caliber 200 grain WFN actually weigh 200.0 grains, that IMO is just a waste of time, energy and resources.

    So, the question is, Why?

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    not to try and rain on your parade. but I'm in the same camp as bk7saum. I'm pretty much never concerned about exact weight with my cast bullets. im more concerned with having consistent weight and good mold fill out and working loads up with the least expense possible. and you said your powder coating the the chance of having leading problems is minimized.

    a few years ago I did a little experiment when I got a new 4 cavity mp 454640 mold. I only have one one gun chambered in 45 colt so nothing else to compare to. I set the mold up with a different hollow point pin in each cavity. bullet weights were from 275 grains for the solid to 255 grains for the largest hollow point. lubesized at .454 with carnauba red. I loaded them all with the same 20 grains of 4227 and winchester lg pistol primers.
    the point of impact were all just about the same. granted I dont shoot sitting at a bench with gun in a vise. I shoot standing up.
    but the same amount of powder with all the different weight bullets was no problem at all.
    Last edited by farmbif; 12-04-2022 at 11:37 AM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    As noted,, to add a metal you seek at a reasonable price mostly excludes the harder to find linotype. So the pewter route is the least expensive way to add hardness to a too soft lead mix.

    And I was going to add a lengthy post about IDPA & even USPSA power factor. But kevin c addressed it quite well. buy or find a friend with a chrono & KNOW what your ammo is doing.

    I once saw the chrono board that posted the number of people who'd claimed one PF,, yet failed chrono, and by how much. There was a major competitor who'd claimed "major" yet was .001 too low, putting them in the "minor" PF class. THAT HURT them a lot.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I also agree with BK7saum and farmbif about bullet hardness: if properly coated and loaded, even a soft alloy shouldn’t lead your pistol barrel, and as far as terminal ballistics, all that matters is that you have a bullet diameter hole in the cardboard, so no worries on expansion.

    I’ve read a lot of folks here use wheel weights 1:1 with soft lead plus a bit of tin for fill out. That’s about 1 1/2% antimony and 1-2% tin. Sized to fit your bore, there is minimal to no leading with traditional lubes and none at all with powder coat or HiTek.

    So, with a little added tin (pewter) for castability, you might be able to use the range lead as is (though the scrap’s content may vary from batch to batch).

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    I'm a novice, but a novice that can occasionally listen. Thanks for all the input so far! I am not leading now, so why mess with a good thing? Getting a chrono and then making sure the math works around the bullet makes more sense then trying to adjust the bullet for the sake of the math.

    For a caster, the manuals are a starting point, I need to embrace that reality and put on my big-boy pants, right after getting the tools necessary.

    Thanks again for all the help, I'm sure I'll be back with more novice-level questions.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Be sure to add your general location to your profile. There might be a member close by willing to chrono your loads!

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    As another action pistol shooter, let me tell you this is the least of your worries. Dry fire and make piles of ammo. Practice and practice some more. Ammo will not make you into a shooter, but it will keep you out of the leader board if it isn't 100% reliable. Nobody cares about what your bullet weighs.

  17. #17
    Best place I've found is to visit scrap metal yards and ask for "hard lead". They can test the lead with a hand held device to determine its composition. They usually charge less for hard lead, as they have a premium price for 100% pure lead. If the scrap metal yard allows, ask them if you can browse their lead supply, and do a ring test by hitting 2 pieces of lead together. Hard lead will ring, soft lead will result in a dull thud. When you've located some hard lead, ask the attendant to test it to determine the metal composition. I've came across a 55 gallon drum about 25% full of type metal and linotype, that the scrap yard got from a printing house. I've also come across a 55 gallon drum full of solder bars, many of them unused, that came from a radiator repair shop. You never know what you may come across in a scrap metal yard. One guy also told me me that he had quite a few bags of shot, but couldn't locate them when I was at the yard, so couldn't pick them up. I've also found about 2 dozen 100% soft lead bricks (27 lbs. each) at an estate sale, picked them up for $2.00 each. The guy was a plumber and even used one of the lead bricks as a door stop. The family just wanted them gone so they could clean up the houses and sell it. Even helped me carry them to my car!!!

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    Last edited by 30calshooter; 12-14-2022 at 12:48 PM. Reason: added pictures

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Garage sales are your friend for scrap lino & solder for casting. You can also trade for lino. I have a large supply of pure lead & have traded 20-30# here & there for linotype. I have a friend with about 100# sitting in his shop I need to talk to him about. he isnt casting anymore.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Let your friends know you are looking, sometimes they come across some great finds.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Try eBay. It might sound obvious but just ask somebody where it came from. Sometimes you can be sure. Or Rotometals- not so thrifti.

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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