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Bullet hardness?

2105 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Hillbilly Jim
Does anyone have a method of testing cast bullet hardness without buying an expensive tool.  Just need some way to compare with known bullet hardness
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Put one bullet of your known hardness with a test bullet base to base and squeeze them in a vise then measure with good dial calipers for OAL the shorter bullet is softer.
Jim there is a formula for BHN it's alittle involed but it works. You need too have some pure lead (5 BHN) and what ever lead you want to test. Both must be poured into a homemade mould (separately of course)to make a small puck of sort, about 1" dia. X 1/2" thick. Find yourself a steel ball bearing at least .500 dia. (min.). Place the ball between the soft lead puck and the one to be tested puck. Place both in a vise and tighten the vise to leave an indent on both pucks.
Remove the pucks and with a dial calipers measure their diameters and then use this formula.

5 x(measurement of lead) divided by (measurement of test material) squared x 5 = BHN

Jim in round # this is what you should have;
.453 div by .250 = 1.81 square that # (1.81 x1.81) =3.28 x 5 = 16.4 BHN.

I hope this helps you Jim, by the way it does work for I used it before I bought a LBT tester.

(Edited by BUFFALO BOB at 2:39 pm on Dec. 29, 2001)

(Edited by BUFFALO BOB at 2:42 pm on Dec. 29, 2001)

(Edited by BUFFALO BOB at 3:10 pm on Dec. 29, 2001)
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Thanks Bob,

That's really the first logical way to find hardness I've seen to date (without the use of a tool) giving an actual BHN measurement, rather than a relative number.

Very interesting.

Welcome to the board!

Regards, Ray
 Thats neat, a lot better than just knowing softer or harder. I plan on giving it a try. I'll finally know what BHN my homebrews are!!
Hillbilly  Jim et al
  A very good idea! All I could add is let your unknown s ample age about 30 days after casting your puck.
 You might go to and go down to guest speakers and scroll down to an artice entitled A METHOD OF DETERMINING THE PERCENTAGE OF ANTIMONY IN LINOTYPE-LEAD ALLOYS AND THEIR BHN'S.
 this may help you
Bob thanks for the great info, this sounds workable with my limited knowledge and resources
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