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Hey guys, I've started to accumulate quite a bit of these strips of almost pure lead from separating them from wheel weight buckets. I've been searching unsuccessfully on a recipe to increase there hardness. Any old topics or easy recipes? I remember reading about adding tin which is bought at home depot in a form of solder? I'm guessing that I have roughly about 30 lbs of it nicely dressed in all of its yucky stickiness. I have been mostly using just ww and occasionally water quenching for a gas check rifle (458 socom). I have no experience with tin or even what it looks like at a store. Thanks.
 

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Alloying lead with tin

Bird--an easy way to obtain a lead-tin alloy is to buy 50-50 bar solder and add it your molten lead. The bars I have are two pounds so a half bar added to 10 lbs pure lead will give you a 20:1 or 5% lead-tin alloy. The solder bars are easily cut with a "limb-lopper" that are commonly used for pruning trees. This 20:1 alloy is what most single shot shooters use--either in Schuetzen shooting or BPCR, although 30:1 and 40:1 are common too. However, these shooting disciplines require plain-based bullets (non-gas check). You will need a harder alloy for gas-check bullets which means adding antimony to the mix. Best way is to obtain some linotype and add it to your W-W. A 50-50 mix is pretty hard, and can possibly be hardened more by heat-treating or quenching.
 

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Part of the problem these days is most solder is now lead free. Not to worry. Find a brand at Lowe's or wherever. Look at the brand name. Get the MSDS on line before you buy. Look at the MSDS to make sure there is no zinc in it. Not common, but it has been made and produces poor wetting (don't know why they'd want that) and mold fill. As little as one part in 10,000 can ruin a batch of bullet alloy. As long as there is no zinc (most lead-free solders), those solders are usually about 95% tin. They'll have some copper or bismuth or selenium or something to help harden them or help them flow. All good. Just use it in place of tin.

Elmer Keith used 20:1 and 16:1 and maybe 10:1 (?) lead:tin mixes in developing the .44 Magnum. They work fine in most instances for handgun bullets. For rifle above about 1600 fps they may be a bit soft. A gas check or paper patch will usually handle that. If not, then you need antimony. I think the theantimonyman.com site has useful information and the metal for sale. You can also get it from non-stick-on wheel weights and from chilled shot.
 

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I cast ALOT of bullets with "hardball" alloy which is 50/50 Pure and Lino. If you want something a little softer (12BHN) the mix it 25% Lino and 75% Pure I use this type of alloy for my 45, 500 and 512 HP's.
 

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Man, like always you guys are great, thanks for the recipes and tips. I think I will just cast these batches for .40 sw and .45 acp.
 

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Ok, now I'm a little confused. Can I just do as Pete saids or do I need Linotype which seems hard to find. Just melt one pound of solder to 10 lbs of pure lead? Formula A lists specifically wheelweight and formula B list linotype which I do not have.
 

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Air cooled bullets for the 45 acp, mix 50/50 wheel weights and pure lead. You want about 2% antimony content for the 45acp. For the 40 S&W at maximum pressure/velocity you will need to add linotype. Try for 2% tin & 6% antimony in your alloy.
Basic Rules for Harding Lead-

For every 1% additional tin, Brinell hardness increases 0.3.
For every 1% additional antimony, Brinell hardness increases 0.9.
For a simple equation,
Brinell = 8.60 + ( 0.29 * Tin ) + ( 0.92 * Antimony )
http://www.rotometals.com/Bullet-Casting-Alloys-s/5.htm You can add only tin, but it gets costly $$$$
 

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First Post from a long time lurker.

I usually don't mix my stick on's with anything. They are really good pure lead, and they are great for muzzleloading bullets, round ball, and for making sinkers and worm hook weights for soft swim baits. Usually if I need an alloy, I might add a bit of lino and tin to wheel weights to make it a tad harder. It takes a lot of alloy to harden soft lead all the way up to Lyman #2.
Ohio Rusty ><>
 

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FYI, I did a chemical analysis of Tape-a-Weight brand wheel weights a few years ago and found they contained 0.4% antimony, 1.5% Sn, 0.03% As, and the balance lead.
 
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