I have an 1895G that I would like to begin casting my own bullets for. Over the years I have obtained a good amount of pure lead, as well as car wheel weights. It is my understanding that the wheel weights are an alloy and are harder than pure lead.
For hunting thinner skinned animals (whitetail and black bear), am I able to produce a good alloy from my pure lead and wheel weights? Is one already ideal, or should I mix them to adjust the hardness of the bullet? If I need other metals to add, what (and how much) should I be using for a good starting point?
Any info you can provide would be great.
I have found that the best accuracy and performance accrues from soft bullets. With softer bullets, no leading occurs and consistent performance is more apt to occur.
DO NOT MIX YOUR VARIOUS LEAD SOURCES until, and if, you wish to alloy them at time of casting. In other words, only in small lots inside the casting pot.
I get the best results with pure lead and enough tin to permit the molten lead to fill out in the mold. This usually ends up being about 30/1 lead/tin. Even when using wheel weights in the mix, there is often not enough tin to allow the molds to fill out and I end up having to add some.
All this is to say, you will need a source of tin in addition to your pure lead. I purchase certified 50/50 bar solder in one pound rods. It is then very easy to figure the ratio of tin to lead since each bar has a half pound of tin in it. So, 14.5 pounds of pure lead and one 50/50 rod gives me a 30/1 alloy. This usually works.
I have come to think of tin as a substance that makes the lead more 'runny'. If I'm having trouble with molds filling out, I just dip a 50/50 rod into the pot to "lubricate" things and the mold always start to fill out.
There are many sources for certified 50/50 bar solder on the web and people often offer it for sale on ebay.
I have never found any reason to use "hard" lead in a gun. I have never added antimony to an alloy. Frankly, the mass of 45-70 bullets insures penetration regardless of the "hardness" of the alloy.
Use soft lead with only enough tin to make the molds work.
The black powder sillywet shooters shoot 20 or 30 to 1, lead/tin, or at lease the ones I've heard about or talked with.
However, Bruce the maker of my current .462/465gr gas check mold recommends 50/50 WW & lead, cold water quenched right from the mold.
He also recommended H335 which I am finding is giving me the best groups of all the powders I have tested.
Bruce also says to let them, the boolits, set before shooting at least two weeks.
He said he has tested bullets with less set time then that, and the hardness tester said they were OK, but he went on to say that shooting those boolits told a different story. He says a month set time is still better, but the minumum is 2 weeks
If you are hunting with a boolit that has a proper sized meplat - large/wide - little if any expansion is needed or desired.
I took a large cow elk with my 45/70 on Aug. 1st of this year (2011), the 465gr slug starting out a touch under 1700fps, and the results were awesome.
Same thing with a 355gr boolit into a deer last Fall, Awesome!
Presently using the heavier boolit because of desiring better groups and finding that many experienced casters/shooters feel the 45/70 shoots better with cast slugs of 420gr or larger.
Get a properly designed boolit mold, then shoot whatever alloy shoots well in your rifle and don't worry about expansion. You won't need any.
Keep em coming!
Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
Thanks for the info guys, MO can always be counted on for quick help.