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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking of trying my hand at heat treating some of my cast bullets for experimentation purposes, and maybe for hunting if all goes well. I'm curious what lead alloy works best for heat treating. Best would be defined as: good hardness without becoming brittle, like linotype in the non-heat treated form. I'm looking for hard bullets 18-20BHN so I can avoid the gas checks if possible. I've read some on this matter, but am interested in what your experience has been.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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From what I have read, it helps to have a little arsenic in the mix. This can be supplied with shot, which usually has some. I am going from memory here and don't recall exactly what I read in Veral's book, or the proportions.

If you don't get an answer, I'd suggest sending a PM to Marshall and he certainly could help you out.
 

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kciH
WheelWeights with about 1% tin added heat treat to a hardness of about lino or a bit better. If you keep the tin to about the same proportions as the antimony in a given alloy it helps with the brittleness. I do mine after sizin' thru a LEE push thru sizer die, but before lubin'. I cook em' at 450F for 45 minutes and quench by pouring ice water inta the pan with the bullets. Then I lube em' thru a RCBS lubrisizer with a die a thousandth bigger than the one I used before heat treatin'. Bullets this hard do not expand in my limited experience. But they do penetrate well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
DoubleJK,
That is exactly what I'm after. I don't want any expansion, and I don't need the hardness of Linotype, it can actually be detrimental to good obturation with handgun pressure loads. I looking at handgun projectiles only. I'll start my testing with the .45 LC in a 300-335 grain LBT style bullets. I'm also interested in seeing what they'll do in .38 and .41 calibers. I'm going to do the basic wet newspaper testing to see if the bullets break up or shed weight in addition to the penetration properties. I realize this is not the most scientific means, but it does offer a relativley consistent medium from which to judge the penetration of one bullet/load combo against another. It is my understanding, as you stated, that sizing is to be done before heat treating in order to avoid work softening which occurs with lead alloys. I have been using Lyman Orange Magic lube to good effect for some time now. Do you have any pros/cons to this lube? I like to use one lube for all my cast bullets that are used at handgun velocities, and this one seems to provide less smoke than some of the popular ones, which is a benefit when shooting the .45ACP. What do you use? Results?

From what I gather, antimony is the element that assists in heat treating, along with arsenic, and the tin is for castability and hardness. Is this correct? Is there a danger in using the arsenic? I was always told, not necessarily by people in the know on this matter, to keep away from Magnum Chilled shot for specific reason that it did contain arsenic. I'm not sure how to approach making the alloy, as I want to base it on pure lead, or for the consistency, a pre-mixed alloy such as those available from some suppliers. I know $1/lb is alot for bullet metal but it would be used to determine what I want and 20lb is more than enough to do what I want to do. It is also my understanding that a fluxing technique is required to integrate raw antimony into a lead or lead/tin alloy in order to make it work. I usually water quench my WW alloy bullets and this seems to make them plenty hard. Would this be advised to do with the bullets that are to be heat treated, or is the quenching after the actual heat treatment the only one needed/reccomended?
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Hi, hciK:
A buddy's got my books, so here goes from memory. You've basically got it right. High antimony, over 6%, isn't needed if you're heat treating, but some arsenic is, well under 1%. At that level the antimony fumes are more dangerous than the arsenic fumes. Heat treating wheelweights + 2% tin gets you very close to what you want.

Orange Magic is OK. It's not as smoky as the lubes on the commercial bullets I used in the 1911A1 before I started casting my own.

If you want alloys and advise from the real expert, call Mr. Bill Ferguson, http://www.theantimonyman.com/ You'll have a big phone bill, but it will be worth it.

Bye
Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been looking at his website for a few weeks,pondering whether or not I should upgrade my WW processing setup. I try to melt them in as large of quantity as I can so the metal is as uniform as possible, and I can flux it before I cast. Besides, those little 1lb ingots stack nice and don't cool a 20lb pot down too much when you put them in.
 

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kicH
The Lyman Orange Magic is good lube I use it alot. Obturation is very dependant on alloy hardness versus pressure generated, you'll just have to see how hard Ya can go and still fill er up. Ya can size to the largest possible fer your combo of bullet and gun but ifin' its still small hard is gonna give Ya problems. You will get leading with to hard of a bullet that don't fill yer throats and lets gas get by. In my limited testin' as long as tin = antimony in the alloy its pretty ductile versus brittle. Never added any shot to my alloy of W.W. and Tin but it heat treats good anyways. God Luck with Yer project and let us know what happens!!:)
 
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