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Discussion Starter #1
new to casting and looking for a source of lead.a local scrap yard has 1/8" sheets of what he calls pure lead. he says he molds muzzle loader balls out of it.what wood i have to add to this to get a good alloy for 357, 44mag, 45acp.he also has lead that he says is alloyed with zinc, but he has never used it. would this be any good. all help is appreciated.
 

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joshlm,
what type of velocity levels do you want to use with your cast bullets? That question is the most important one in relation to what you will, or won't, need to add to the soft lead to make it perform the way you want it to. I could go into a full lead alloy discertation here, but if you have a velocity level in mind, it will greatly simplify the answer. The best alloy blend for your .45 may not be the best for your .357 and .44.

You will get lots of help here, there are a lot of guys with many years of bullet casting experience.
 

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Hi, joshlm:
Welcome to the board.

#1 rule about lead bullet alloys. DO NOT let zinc anywhere near your bullet alloys or casting equipment. Several bad things will happen. The bullets won't fill out properly and it will take a difficult clean-up to get rid of it. The Lyman Cast Bullet handbook has more about zinc and I'll get back to you on it.

Just a guess as there's more experienced casters here than me, but half pure lead and half weightweights should be fine for .45 ACP and for .38 Specials if you're shooting them in the .357. You might need more wheelweight metal for the magnums. I'm using straight wheelweights for the .45 ACP and .357 and wish I could find some pure lead for the flintlock.

Bye
Jack
 

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The pure lead is going to be too soft. However if it is cheap enough get some. You can mix with it tire weights or tin to harden it up a little. Avoid the zinc. You can make it work. But is far more trouble than its worth. I had some tire weights I believe had some zinc in them. I did make some bullets with it but had to cast very hot. And even then with probably 25 percent junkers that had to be recast. Your best bet will be to make rounds at the tire shops. Most will give you or sell used tire weighs cheap. I shoot straight tire weights in the 357 and 44 mag. Good luck on your adventures. You are fixing to have some fun.
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks guys for all the help. i will call around and try to get the wheel weights.i am not looking for high vilocity, just good plinking rounds. if i end up getting the pure lead where is a good place to get the tin.I have bought some cast bullets from midway and wasn't real happy with the quality,and the shipping gets expensive.

thanks again
 

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If you're just looking for plinking rounds, you may want to use the soft lead with a little bit of tin. If you slug your barrel and cyinder throats to determine the proper fit, and size your bullets accordingly, you may be able to go up to 1000fps or a little more with the soft lead. There is a lot of info here on fitting your cast bullets to your gun that will be of a great help and save you some cleaning time and possible frustration.

Good luck.
 

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Hi, joshlm:
The easiest to find source of tin is 95/5 solder. It's 95% tin and 5% antimony. Look close because there are other 95/5 solders that have 5% something else. Tin is expensive, either as solder or as pure tin. You might get lucky and find some scrap tin or pewter.

I'm not sure how much tin you's need with pure lead for plinking bullets, but 20:1 would be a good guess. That's 5%, more or less and a hardness of BHN 10, which is as hard as air dropped wheelweights.

A heaped 5 gallon pail of wheelweights weights about 180 pounds and will melt down to about 120 pounds of clean metal. Those clips weight up. Prices for a pail range from free to $20, but they are recycling them in some areas.

If you can get a 50/50 mix of pure lead and wheelweights it will be much cheaper than a 20:1 lead-tin alloy. You may have to add 1-2% tin to get a good fill out. I find it's necessary for bullets with square corners, but not everybody does. You'll have enough trouble with your first session without fighting with a balky alloy, so I'd start with 2% tin in a lead-wheelweight blend or with straight wheelweights. You can cut back on the tin after you get into the rhythm and see how it goes.

Hot lead is dangerous. There's an old thread on safety in General that ran before this casting forum was created. I'll try to find it and bump it to the top.

I was thinking that zinc also made the bullets brittle, but magnesium causes that problem. In any case, avoid zinc. Avoid battery lead too. Low maintenance batteries have little useable lead in them and enough calcium and strontium to kill you, if they are not handled properly.

Bye
Jack
 

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Zinc raises the surface tension in the alloy, which makes the bullets not fill out right. It may have other faults as well.

Tin lowers the surface tension, so bullets fill out better at lower temperatures.

You need either the Lyman or RCBS cast bullet book.

Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks for the help mike and jack it was excellent information,i am going to my local store today so i will see if they have a manual. I have posted a couple questions on another forum in the past but didn't get a anwser so it is nice to see that this board is willing to help a newbie.
 

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I have been using straight wheelweights exclusively for all my casting[45 acp, 45 colt, 38spl, 44spl] as I have a source for an unlimited supply. I have recently started casting for a 375 Winchester, adding just a bit of tin to the wheelweights and am getting great results. I also have cast some for a 454 Casull and heat treated them in the oven and they do just fine also. Pure lead would be too soft for anything but muzzleloader fodder.
 

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joshlm said:
new to casting and looking for a source of lead.a local scrap yard has 1/8" sheets of what he calls pure lead. he says he molds muzzle loader balls out of it.what wood i have to add to this to get a good alloy for 357, 44mag, 45acp.he also has lead that he says is alloyed with zinc, but he has never used it. would this be any good. all help is appreciated.
Two recipes for #2 alloy


1.9 lbs of wheelweights plus 1 pound of 50/50 bar solder.

and in your case:
2. 4 lbs of linotype
1 lb of 50/50 bar solder
and5 lbs of pure lead.
 
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