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Casting Lead Bullets for .40 S&W

This is a discussion on Casting Lead Bullets for .40 S&W within the The Ammo Can forums, part of the Armory Talk category; As can be seen here I have between 150 and 200 pounds of wheel weights that I've had since the early '90's.... These are from ...

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Old 07-06-2009, 09:47 PM   #1
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Question Casting Lead Bullets for .40 S&W

As can be seen here I have between 150 and 200 pounds of wheel weights that I've had since the early '90's.... These are from my mispent youth working in gas stations as a pump jockey.... I saved them and put they in a 10 gallon car wash wax container I saved...






Well my questions are oh Guru's of Casting, Oh Denizen's of the Dillon....
  1. Do I need to clean them before melting them down or can I just melt them as is and scoop off everything as dross including oil?
  2. Is there a down and dirty test for zinc weights? I've seen it stated that if you keep your pot at 650 degrees the zinc will float and then you must snatch it off before it contaminates your batch but can I catch them before I put them in???
  3. What is the best low cost pot to use??? I was thinking about 5 pound capacity would be nice...
  4. Since these are post '80 wheel weights do I need to add antimony or tin since according to most sources I found the clip on weights are already around 3 or 4% antimony content...
  5. Lastly for the .40 S&W should I heat treat the bullets and what is your preferred method???
Thanks....
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:53 PM   #2
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Fred will be around to answer your questions. I have one 40 cal mould that I have yet to use, but do cast 9mm out of a lee 6 cav and a lee 10lb pot. I use a turkey fryer and a cast iron pot from harbor freight along with a lyman thermometer. Some people squeeze the wheelweights with a pair of pliers and judging by the hardness will toss the zinc ones. I find it easier and less time consuming to spend the money on a thermometer. I throw the wheel weights in dirty and scrape off the dros.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:11 PM   #3
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Be careful and do this outside, the lead vapors will turn you into a democrat.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tard View Post
Be careful and do this outside, the lead vapors will turn you into a democrat.
I thought that was only lead based paint chips?????
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:19 AM   #5
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You have to eat the chips, but just smell the fumes and POOF you are in the tank for Obama!
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:01 AM   #6
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You can smelt them as is. I use a 20# open top elec. pot or 3qt dutch oven on propane burner, 5# pot is really quitee small. You do NOT want to smelt in a bottom pour casting pot IMO. Yes you are right, keeping the melt below 700deg allows the zn wts to float. I sort all mine first though, try to get as many out as possible. It takes only one zn wt. to mess up a 20# of alloy. You can use a pair of heavy wire cutter to "bite" each ww, the zn ones won't cut at all. After awhile you get where you can spot them.
Clip on ww are fine as is for most pistol loads to 1200fps or so. You can water quench to harden them a bit more, but add'l. heat treating is not necessary IMO. A good bullet lube & proper size will be work fine in most barrels. Get the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, lots of good stuff on bullet casting. The LASC site also has a ton of info. Cast bullet reference on lead alloy's, min / max pressure, lube, shrinkage,
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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Oven Temper

XDs are very hard on the bullet nose while chambering. Doing an oven temper may be of advantage. To find the correct temp for your alloy get your hands on a toaster oven. Mark it "NOT FOR FOOD" you will need a shallow pan or plate marked the same. To start place a few bullets on the tray and start at about 400 and every few minutes look at the bullets. You are watching for the bullets to slump. Slump is the point where the lead just starts to melt. Every few minutes look and turn the temp up a bit. The second you see slump back off about 25 degrees. This is your Tempering point for your batch of lead bullets. Get a 5 gallon bucket. Cover the bottom with two inch soft foam like used in a pillow. This will prevent dents in the soft bullets when you dump them in the water and they hit bottom. Now fill the bucket with water. Stand up your bullets on the tray about one inch apart. Heat for 30 minutes at your set temp. With a heat glove remove tray and dump bullets into water bucket all at once trying not to let them hit together to hard before they are in the water. Allow to sit 10 minutes. Remove and dry. You now have some very high BHN cast bullets. Also check out the Cast Bullet Association. Best of luck to you and a new part of shooting.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:06 AM   #8
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For testing the weights to see if they are Zn I rub them on a piece of concrete next to my smelter. Just apply a bit of pressure and run them down a couple of inches. The lead weights will show wear on the surface that you rub, and leave a mark on the concrete the Zn will not. Any that get by this test will float when I put them in my pot.
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