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Thread: HiTek coating can be scratched off

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Smile HiTek coating can be scratched off

    Hi there, I am Frank from germany
    I have been casting bullets for my muzzle loaders for a while and now got my hands on a lot of mixed lead from our bullet trap. So I decided to cast my own .45ACP bullets. The casting worked pretty well (not perfect), but the alloy is pretty soft (thats why I wanted to try it with a "slow" bullet like the 45ACP), it is mostly lead since most of the shooters use FMJ bullets.
    I want to avoid greased bullets, so I ended up with getting some HiTek Coating powder to try it out. It is not super common in germany, this is why I ended up here.

    I did my first 2 batches at 4lbs each and I don't think it really worked out that well. The bullets look good, the coating is thin and eavenly. They sucessfully passed the aceton rubbing test and the smash test without chipping off. But I can scratch the coating off with my fingernail. It takes some effort, but i can scratch it down to the lead.

    Before continuing to coat more bullets, I want to check back if this is normal or if it might be caused by my soft alloy. Here is what I did:

    Casted the bullets, dropped them into cold water to cool them off (230grs TC, Lee mold, the come out at 236grs).
    Mixed 20gram powder (zombie green) with 100ml acetone,shaked it up with a bullet in the bottle and let it sit for 1h
    added 4lbs of bullets in a bucked, shaked up the bottle again and poured 4ml into the bucket and shaked it untill the sound changed after about 15-20sec.
    dropped them onto a mesh and let them dry 15-20 min
    put the mesh into the oven for 10min (next batch 14 min) at 200C (392F) with the oven fan running.
    Let them cool off and repeat the coating two more times.

    I have no expirience with the coating and the hitec stuff is not super common in germany, so I just wanted to check back if I am heading to the right direction or if I am totally off and might be doing something completely wrong or if the alloy just doesn't work for it.
    I already did some bullets with powder coating using a powder coating gun, and that stuff was impossible to scratch off, but it was way thicker. Thats why I wanted to check back.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Well, 2 things. Make sure they are dry from water. Apply a thin coat, cook and repeat. Make sure they are really dry before cooking (they will get bubbles in the coating if cooked too soon). It sounds to me like they didn't really cure, maybe first coat? My green Hitek 9mm are more 'green' than yours. Also, acetone absorbs water. I'd let them dry for a day or so in WARM climate. Grey one is PCd, Green is Hitek. Click image for larger version. 

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    Whatever!

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    I dropped my second batch on the mesh after cooling them in water and let them sit over night and then put them in the sun for 45min before coating with the same result. I could pretty easily scratch off the first very thin coat.
    Is your green one also the Zombiegreen?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Welcome to the forum!

    I only tried red hi tech coating so far. My first coat appears about the same as what’s shown in your photo. Maybe even thicker. The batch I successfully applied three coats to had a richer color like popper shows. I gave up on the coating. It’s sensitive to the amount of liquid to the surface area of your bullets to be coated ratio. In my limited experience. Plus I didn’t care for multiple coat and cook cycles to get a decent looking end result.

    I’ve since purchased a traditional lubricator/sizer and I’m happy with it. Previously I used Lee Liquid Alox exclusively. It performs well and I still use it for sizes I haven’t purchased dies for the lubrasizer yet. It’s super easy to use. But it’s waxy all over the bullet and attracts dust and lint. Which is why I upgraded to the lubrasizer. I first tried a soft lube in it, and was again even more unhappy with sticky feeling boolits. The exposed nose was cleaner, but handling them while lubricating and sizing spread some sticky around. I switched to a lube that requires heat to be applied and I’m now totally happy with the appearance and feel of the bullets. I haven’t tested the lube for rifle boolits yet though.

    Like you, I have plenty of soft lead, and am working towards using less tin and solder to see where the threshold is becoming problematic in a semi-automatic firearm. I’m subscribing to your thread here, to watch what others say. IF you have access to Lee Liquid Alox, without paying additional expensive shipping costs due to it containing some solvent, I recommend trying some.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I’ll add that I don’t think the coating being able to be scratched has anything to do with the alloy. But I didn’t try it on soft alloy boolits.

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    My though was, if the coating is to thin, the surface isn`t hard enough and I can scratch through the coating and scratch the soft lead with my fingernail.

    I will also try out the Liquid Alox, that stuff is easy to get here and relatively cheap. Getting the Hi Tek was a bit complicated since shipping is 4 times the price of the material. So I got it shipped to my US adress and brought it over myself. I read a lot of good stuff about it, so I wanted to give it a try since it seems to be super easy to use and I already have an oven in my shop.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Have you tried letting the bullets air cool instead of water drop? Do you handle the bullets with nitrile gloves after casting? Contamination has been my biggest problem getting coatings to stick. I handle the bullets within 30 minutes of them being cast.

    Fella from just north of you had problems with getting Hi-Tek to stick. Found his alloy was contaminated so he did an acid soak that solved his problem.

    That members name is Petander from Finland.

    The last page of the Sticky-simple Hitek coating has a discussion about coating flaking off.
    Last edited by jsizemore; 06-11-2024 at 01:11 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsizemore View Post
    Have you tried letting the bullets air cool instead of water drop? Do you handle the bullets with nitrile gloves after casting? Contamination has been my biggest problem getting coatings to stick. I handle the bullets within 30 minutes of them being cast.

    Fella from just north of you had problems with getting Hi-Tek to stick. Found his alloy was contaminated so he did an acid soak that solved his problem.

    That members name is Petander from Finland.

    The last page of the Sticky-simple Hitek coating has a discussion about coating flaking off.
    I did not try Air cooling, the rapid cooling of the water hardens the alloy. I did not measure it yet, but thats what the book says But I have a Lee measurement tool, I will check it.

    Contamination could be an issue. I really don't know whats in my alloy. I Melted it down from whatever was in our sand bullettrap, fluxed it, scooped off the slag and made bars out of it. Then I melted down the bars again, fluxed it again (wax) and did the same. There was barely any slag on it.

    Mine isn't flaking of or chipping off, but I can scratch it off. I think I found a solution for it. I think my layers are too thin. I have applied 3 layers with 4ml @ 2kgs/4lbs according to the manual. I have now watched alot of videos about the coating and they all seem to use way more coating, so I just gave it a try and used more and it seems to be way better now.

    I Will check out the acid soak and also give it a try to see if it improves it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub YoungGun88's Avatar
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    I was advised by Mr. Hitek himself to allow coating to fully dry/flash off(using a pre-warm step or simply wait enough time between coating and baking).
    As acetone absorbs water, even out of the atmosphere, you need to allow it to fully flash off, and no residual water to be present, otherwise it will cause the blistering effect and hinder the coating properly bonding. FULLY DRIED, not tacky, before baking.
    The first coat is the most crucial. Less is more with coating, too thick and it won't properly dry.

    I've included his responses to my PMs with him just a few days ago, including the responses to my inquiry about coating before or after applying gas checks:

    Quote Originally Posted by HI-TEK

    Hi Dan
    wax lubes can be difficult to remove. I would try some with the boiling water method, and then soak & rinse with mineral turpentine, then rinse with Acetone and dry..
    Hopefully you can clean alloy enough to coat it. Just try a few first to see how it works out. Please advise how you go with it.
    Joe
    Quote Originally Posted by HI-TEK
    Hello Dan
    the secrets are, use thin coat especially with first coat, dry well, and if required with warmed air at 40-50C for half hour or so, (especially in cold damp and humid conditions), then bake. Once first coat is baked and passes tests, only then coat a second time. Repeat process. Please remember, the two coats usually end up about 1.5 thou, and is enough to separate alloy from bore. Using thick coats causes many problems, and product looks bad afterward. Thick coats are generally not needed. You can coat many first, as much product you need, and leave to dry. It does not need immediate baking and can be baked quite some time after coating.
    Warm air drying simply speeds up production rates and ensures good results each time.
    You will be doing this in your sleep and process becomes an automatic method.
    Quote Originally Posted by HI-TEK

    commercial guys cast non stop until all trays are full and ready for coating. Some run a week and others run 2-3 days, then coat and bake all day until all is coated and baked with first coat. Next day they coat with second coat. Some cast and coat as soon as alloy is cool enough. Problems arise with storage and coating, if alloy is contaminated with reactive metals that cause a powdery oxidation on the surface of casts. With gas checks, you can apply it after coating, and some apply it before coating. The benefits I see is that the coating helps to reflect heat, so if cast is gas checked, you get better heat reflections and reduce metal to metal contact, if you coat assembled gas checked casts.
    Quote Originally Posted by HI-TEK
    OK just to clarify HiTek is a bonded self lubricating, bonded dry film barrier that prevents metal to metal contact.
    Coating after gas checks, helps to separate all metals from the bore. Further, coating covering gas checks and alloy improves heat reflecting/transferring of burning powder and minimizes heat from friction. Expansion during firing, only gets coated metals to make contact with the bore. It may be unnecessary to coat gas checks and only coat casts, then gas check afterwards. Your research with and without coating gas checks will tell you which is better for your applications.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    The advice from the folks that know say it's better to apply multiple thin coats than one or two thick coats.

    You can get additional hardness by water dropping IF you have antimony in your alloy. If your unsure of your alloy's content than it's probably not worth water quenching and take the chance of contamination. It can't hurt to try air cooling.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    With the next batch, I will dry my casted bullets in the ofen at 80C ~170F for 45min and then let them cool off again before applying the first coat. I prefer using less coats and less paint, just to keep the effort low. It would be great if that works out and I get a good result with 2-3 thin layers.
    I have a Hardness of 10-14BHN, I will do more accurate testing today. So there should be some antimony in it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungGun88 View Post
    I was advised by Mr. Hitek himself to allow coating to fully dry/flash off(using a pre-warm step or simply wait enough time between coating and baking).
    Thank you for sharing!

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    WD from the mold to increase hardness is lost when cooking. Cook for 1/2 hr, then WD (last coat) to get hardness. Coating will turn darker but still good, just don't go over temp. I want WD hardness so I just PC anymore. Did get a PB 30 cal to 2150 fps with hitek & no leading -was a lot of trouble and not worth the time.
    Whatever!

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    I did some more testing. I am at 10.4 BHN which should be good for 13288 PSI. My load has 17900 C.U.P. which converts to 9234 PSI, so the alloy should be fine. I did not test it without dropping them in water.

    I shot some of the coated bullets yesterday, seems to be working fine, but I only tried aroudn 15 bullets. I had some slight feeding issues in my 1911, I will need to seat them a little bit deeper.

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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