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  #1  
Old 12-16-2003, 10:07 AM
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Pure Zinc Bullets...Has anyone tried this?


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Gentlemen,

I have a large quantity of pure zinc, and I remember reading an old post indicating that somebody had cast zinc bullets and had good results. I would really appreciate any (empirically proven) advice on trying this before I, a: sell the zinc, or b: totally bugger up my casting gear...(sorry, Englander). Establishing a dedicated furnace is not out of the question. What about sizing? Temperature? Lube requirements? Accuracy potential? Velocity potential? Barrel cleaning?

Cordially,

Smith

Last edited by Smith; 12-16-2003 at 01:32 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-16-2003, 10:46 AM
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Smith, there was an article in one of the Handloader's Digests a few years back.

Let me give you what I recall.

1. If you melt zinc in your pot, forget about casting lead in it - ever - unless you can sandblast it clean.

2. Zinc bullets will be WAY too hard for conventional sizers.

3. They will be of course lighter than a lead alloay bullet from the same mould, so adjust load data accordingly.

4. I don't believe that you will need any lube at typical handgun velocities.

5. Firing zinc bullets through a barrel with lead deposits will clean out every last bit of lead fouling in it. This alone might make it worth having a few zinc bullets loaded up as 'barrel cleaners.'

Sounds like a neat experiment, but unless I had another pot, I don't believe I'd mess with it. Let me know if you want the # of the book this article appeared in.
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  #3  
Old 12-16-2003, 01:29 PM
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Many thanks, MikeG...

I would love to acquire that information. Relative to your comments, here's what I know:

1. I have a new lyman pot, or a cast iron pot / gas stove setup that I could dedicate for this purpose. No problem.

2. Perhaps a Lee push-through sizer on a strong press would offer a more robust sizing system with better leverage. Did that publication recommend sizing at all? It seems that firing zinc bullets as cast, as hard as they are and oversize by a couple of thousandths, may generate unpleasant pressures. I have "mohs' hardness" data for metallic zinc, but I haven't converted it to BHN yet.

3. My literature indicates that the weight will be approximately 63% of pure lead. I have no data regarding rates of shrinkage upon cooling.

4. Lube issues will probably manifest themselves upon firing. I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

5. If and when I get satisfactory results, I would be happy to send some bullets (.309, .358, .430, .452, or .459) for bore scrubbers, in exchange for the information. It certainly sounds more fun (and faster) than conventional lead removal techniques.

According to the Merck Index, the melting temperature of zinc is 419.5 degrees Centrigrade, or about 788 F. Actual casting temperature, technique and fluxing requirements will require some experimentation.

Thanks again, and I'll post the results as they evolve. Any other input would be greatly appreciated.

Cordially,

Smith
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  #4  
Old 12-16-2003, 02:20 PM
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First one I picked up - got lucky

"Handloader's Digest", Twelfth Edition, pp128-132.

I don't have convenient access to a scanner or photocopier or I'd copy the article and send it out.

Not sure about pure zinc, but article says lube is unnecessary with Zamak (a particular alloy, possibly also known as Kirksite).

Flux with salicylic acid (ie asprin) or substance known as D-flux.

Article emphasizes that sizing will be nearly impossible, although bullets that are even 0.001" undersize should work OK, and better undersized than oversized.

Remove jacket fouling prior to shooting.

Run the alloy about 50 degrees F hotter than you do with lead. Sprue holes may need to be enlarged 25 to 50%.

Don't let sprue completely harden or you can't cut it.

Don't roll crimp.

Hope that helps.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2003, 10:00 AM
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Much Obliged, MikeG...

I hope everyone had a happy Rama-Hanu-Kwanz-Mas, and shared the joy. "Shared joy is twice the joy; shared sorrow is half the sorrow." -Swedish Proverb.

I do have a couple of .45 cal. rifle molds that throw a .457 as cast diameter. I prefer to shoot a sized bullet of .459 or .460, so these molds are entirely inadequate for throwing lead. These will be the starting point. I don't mind altering them.

I suppose the reference to roll crimping refers to the crystal structure of the zinc. It could fracture along that plane when stressed by a strong crimp. Perhaps different cooling rates may may change the frangibility of the bullet, as that variable affects the development and coarseness of the crystal structure.

I'll do some research on Kirksite / Zamak and determine if alloying is required.

Does anybody know anything about D-flux?

Again, Thanks.

Cordially,

Smith
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  #6  
Old 02-19-2010, 04:05 PM
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I know this thread is about 7 years old, but i was wondering if anyone ever did work this out???
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  #7  
Old 02-19-2010, 05:21 PM
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I had a friend that had an old mold that molded
lead bullets with zinc washers. The washers rode
on the rifling. The reason was to be able to shoot
lead pistol bullets at higher velocities. for a lot of
reasons it never really caught on.

Zeke
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  #8  
Old 02-20-2010, 03:14 AM
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Zinc

Some years ago Dillon marketed zinc bullets through their "Blue Press". I bought 500 of them. They worked OK but are best for outdoor shooting. Zinc bullets are way harder than lead. I used them at an indoor range once and found that since they do not deform when they hit a steel backstop, they tend to ricochet. Not good. I didn't have any whizzing by me but did find a few that had stopped on their way back in my direction. In any case, they weren't where they should have been.
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Last edited by Pete D.; 02-20-2010 at 03:18 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-07-2010, 07:28 PM
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I'm planning on doing some casting this summer with bismuth and tin. I've also been thinking of bismuth and zinc. Bismuth is, of course, frangible, and quite soft like lead. I have been looking at a bismuth/tin alloy that is 58% bismuth and 42% tin. It has a melting temperature of about 280 degrees F., and as it is used as a solder, it should make some pretty bullets. It reportedly has a BHN of 22, but I'll have to test that.

I'm attracted to bismuth/zinc, because of the hardness of zinc, and because it seems to hold up even after hitting steel. Bismuth is supposed to shatter radically when it hits a hard surface, and though that may lead to a varmint type bullet for me, I would like something that can take on bone. I know zinc and bismuth will alloy well, and, commercially, an application with major growth potential is the use of zinc-bismuth alloys to achieve thinner and more uniform galvanization. For some reason, that makes me think that a bismuth/zinc bullet will cast better than a pure zinc bullet...also, bismuth expands as it solidifies, which would counter the shrinking of zinc.

I'll keep you posted if you like on my experiments this summer, but I thought you might be interested in this.

Take care,
J
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  #10  
Old 03-07-2010, 07:37 PM
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I'm planning on doing some casting this summer with bismuth and tin. I've also been thinking of bismuth and zinc. Bismuth is, of course, frangible, and quite soft like lead. I have been looking at a bismuth/tin alloy that is 58% bismuth and 42% tin. It has a melting temperature of about 280 degrees F., and as it is used as a solder, it should make some pretty bullets. It reportedly has a BHN of 22, but I'll have to test that.

I'm attracted to bismuth/zinc, because of the hardness of zinc, and because it seems to hold up even after hitting steel. Bismuth is supposed to shatter radically when it hits a hard surface, and though that may lead to a varmint type bullet for me, I would like something that can take on bone. I know zinc and bismuth will alloy well, and, commercially, an application with major growth potential is the use of zinc-bismuth alloys to achieve thinner and more uniform galvanization. For some reason, that makes me think that a bismuth/zinc bullet will cast better than a pure zinc bullet...also, bismuth expands as it solidifies, which would counter the shrinking of zinc.

I'll keep you posted if you like on my experiments this summer, but I thought you might be interested in this.

Take care,
J
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  #11  
Old 03-12-2010, 07:26 PM
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Just found this thread
There is a good article about zinc ALLOY bullets in the August 1948 American Rifleman,by CL Capek.
If there is any interest,I can scan it to here.
Frank
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  #12  
Old 03-15-2010, 08:20 AM
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I'd love to see that article. Thanks!
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  #13  
Old 08-07-2010, 12:30 AM
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Tagged for interest (and I'd like to see that article too, please)
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  #14  
Old 08-21-2010, 06:06 PM
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Zamak bullets were written up in Handloader magazine sometime back in the early 1980s. I have cast some of these in the old Hensley and Gibbs 200 grain .45 SWC mold, and they gave good service. They came out about 122 grains according to my memory, but I'll check my logbook and see when I get back to the shop tonight.

The lead bullet with the zinc washer was the old Harvey Jugular. It was a real advance back in the 1950s/60s when it came out. These were put on like a gas check, and then Dave Corbin cane out with a swaging die that worked to meke 'em too.
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  #15  
Old 08-27-2010, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Need_Medecine View Post
I'm planning on doing some casting this summer with bismuth and tin. I've also been thinking of bismuth and zinc. Bismuth is, of course, frangible, and quite soft like lead. I have been looking at a bismuth/tin alloy that is 58% bismuth and 42% tin. It has a melting temperature of about 280 degrees F., and as it is used as a solder, it should make some pretty bullets. It reportedly has a BHN of 22, but I'll have to test that.

I'm attracted to bismuth/zinc, because of the hardness of zinc, and because it seems to hold up even after hitting steel. Bismuth is supposed to shatter radically when it hits a hard surface, and though that may lead to a varmint type bullet for me, I would like something that can take on bone. I know zinc and bismuth will alloy well, and, commercially, an application with major growth potential is the use of zinc-bismuth alloys to achieve thinner and more uniform galvanization. For some reason, that makes me think that a bismuth/zinc bullet will cast better than a pure zinc bullet...also, bismuth expands as it solidifies, which would counter the shrinking of zinc.

I'll keep you posted if you like on my experiments this summer, but I thought you might be interested in this.

Take care,
J
How is your casting experiment going? Since the EPA seems hellbent on outlawing lead rounds, I'd be interested in hearing about any alternatives people are finding.
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  #16  
Old 08-27-2010, 05:15 PM
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There are a ton of tips in this thread: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=89931

Seems like it's doable. I don't think i'll mess with it until my lead stash gets shot up.
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  #17  
Old 08-28-2010, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightoddity View Post
How is your casting experiment going? Since the EPA seems hellbent on outlawing lead rounds, I'd be interested in hearing about any alternatives people are finding.

Well, work has pretty much made me a slave (80 hour weeks). Not what I planned for the summer. I have changed my approach though, Bismuth, Zinc, and about 3% tin. I read that tin helps the zinc. I'll have to pull that article and put it up here. The zinc weighs less, but it helps make the Bismuth harder. There still have to be some embrittlement problems with the Bismuth, but I'm hoping the hardness helps.

I'll see if I get a chance to step away from the wage slavery.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I've been toying with the idea of pouring the above mixture into the hollow point of some Barnes TSX bullets. It would be a lot like the North Fork Bonded, but lead-free. See the attached link for comparison. http://www.realguns.com/Commentary/comar171.htm

Oh, and I've been toying with the idea of lubing them too...

Last edited by Need_Medecine; 08-28-2010 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Extra comment.
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  #18  
Old 10-05-2010, 01:14 PM
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I thought anyone casting with Zinc would like this:

http://www.markusfarkus.com/reference/zinc.htm
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