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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. How do you know the difference between wheelweights with zinc and those without?
2. How can you get rid of the zinc? I've read something about the lead melting sooner than the zinc but the temp difference not being much. Does that mean you need a thermometer to keep it in the right spot?
3.What is best to flux the mix in the pot?
4. If I waterquench straight wheelweights can I expect any expansion at 1600-1700fps without annealing the bullet nose? Do I even need to waterquench at that velocity anyway? I have a Ranch Dog mould that drops three plainbase and three for a gas check.
I am SURE I am going to ask many more quesions as I learn to enjoy this new "habit" and I thank you now for all the help I am sure to get.
Goat
 

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I don't rate as an expert on casting, but zinc wheel weights I've seen appear to be "brighter" than the lead ones, and noticeably weigh less when holding them in your hand. I can't find wheel weights are here so I've been ordering my casting alloy from Rotometals.com.

A solid, large flat meplat cast bullet probably won't expand much. Usually, cast bullets kill by overpenetrating causing two holes for blood to leak out of while copper jacketed bullets rely on expansion inside the animal's body to disrupt the vital organs. At 16-1700fps, you might not need to anneal if your gun doesn't have a leaded barrel when shooting cast bullets. You could use hollow pointed cast bullets to kind of blend the effects of jacketed and flat meplat by getting more internal damage and possibly still getting over penetration. Shoot a few water quenched and a few air dried cast bullets to see which ones perform the best in your gun using your loads.

rimrock
 

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1. How do you know the difference between wheelweights with zinc and those without?
Zinc wheel weights when dropped on a concrete floor have a definite ring to them where as lead will just have a clunk sound. Most wheel weights with the clip attached outside the body are zinc, looks like they are riveted on and a lot of zinc weights will have Zn stamped on them, but not always. A pair of wire cutters will cut into lead easily but zinc is hard as a rock.

2. How can you get rid of the zinc? I've read something about the lead melting sooner than the zinc but the temp difference not being much. Does that mean you need a thermometer to keep it in the right spot?
Lead melts at 327 degrees and zinc at 419 degrees. I use a large cast iron pot and a turkey fryer to smelt my weights, As soon as the lead starts to puddle I adjust the heat to maintain that condition. As long as the melted lead temperature is held below 700 degrees all the zinc weights will float to the top along with the clips and I just skim them off. Surprisingly I found a few stick on wheel weights that floated up also.

3.What is best to flux the mix in the pot?
Only fluxing I do when smelting is to stir with a wooden stick. The ash of the wood stick will act as a flux. I stir a lot to keep the mix from separating until I'm read to pour into ingots.

4. If I waterquench straight wheelweights can I expect any expansion at 1600-1700fps without annealing the bullet nose? Do I even need to waterquench at that velocity anyway? I have a Ranch Dog mould that drops three plainbase and three for a gas check.
Water dropped bullets will have a hardness of 19-20 BHN and I doubt you'll get any expansion at those speeds. I have RD's 35 caliber and 45 caliber molds and I cast them as air cooled which gives me a 12-13 BHN with a little tin added to the mix. Of course mine are gas checked as he didn't offer the plain base setup until after I had bought mine. I run the 35 caliber at 1900 fps plus in the 357 max (rifle) and the 45 caliber just above 1700 fps (rifle) and have not seen any expansion unless bone is hit. So to answer your question directly, at 1600-1700 fps water dropping is not necessary. If you are going to push them to the max like RD does then you may want to water drop them as RD's load tables are using water quenched bullets because he runs everything at max.


The real trick to shooting lead cast bullets for accuracy and no bore leading, as I'm sure you already know, is bullet to bore size. Make sure you're .002 or more over bore diameter. My 35 caliber bullets are sized at .3585 because that is the largest size sizer Lee offers. Ditto for the 45 caliber which is .454. I need to order some of RD's sizer's especially cut for his bullets because they are a little larger. With your mold and the plain base option you have I would try shooting as dropped from the mold first and I suspect you'll discover sizing those bullets is not necessary. I have a Lee plain base 158 grain mold that drops at .360 and I shoot these at that size and they work great. I've run these up to almost 1600 fps with no leading of the barrel at all. Didn't mean to get long winded here but hope this helps........
 

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Gohon beat me to the first three questions... Second his input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rooterpig, gonna start out with 38/55 and 32/20.
Goat
 

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I load the 432365 and 432300 ranch dogs out of 444 marlin. 265 grain at 2300 fps and 300 at 2100 fps, water quenched ww. I get zero leading, great accuracy, outstanding damage to game, and 100 percent no expansion.
 

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Gohon is correct that lead melts at 327 and zinc at 419 but that is C. Converted lead,pb, melts at 621* F, Zinc , Zn ,melts at 787* F and Tin , Sn , melts at 449 * F . This is why he is telling you to keep your melting process at 700* and that is F
 

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Keep your lead pot @ 700F and the zinc will float and not melt.

I use paraffin wax for flux and a stainless spoon to stir. Once I stir, I hold the paraffin to the spoon and melt a little into the pot - not much. Once it flames I stir again and then when the fire subsides I scoop off the dross.

Sawdust is good too, but I have paraffin so that's what I use.

Non toxic and available. :)
 
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