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Thread: casting with wheel weights

  1. #1

    casting with wheel weights

    So I am going to do some bullet casting and I am wondering what needs to be added to wheel weights to make them better for bullets. I will be using it in my .45acp, .454 Casull and a .500 S&W. I am pretty sure that for the .45 ACP it would be fine as is due to the low velocity but the larger faster stuff might need to be a little harder. I would consider some rifle calibers as well once I figure it all out with the slower pistols.
    My name is Phil and I have been screwing stuff up since 1978

    Proud founder of the official ADD/ADHD thread.

  2. #2
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    Re: casting with wheel weights

    Tin is what you need sorry don't know how much, your better off using Linotype it expands when it cools BUT also is getting harder to find

  3. #3

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    Modern wheel weghts (the ones that stay shiney) are really not good for high quality or high pressure/high velocity bullets. They are ok for 750-850 FPS plinking loads. Have too much zinc and calcium in them - you can tell if the bullets you make turn powdery white after a few months.

    Old wheel weights (the ones that just turn dark like real lead over time) work fine for reasonable loads - need to add some tin (you can get either tin for casting or figure how much is in plumbers lead) and make them around 25-1 or so wheel weight to tin.

    If you want to make bullets for top notch accuracy or high velocity/high pressure loads (like full house gas checked loads for your 454 and 500 S&W) you should puchase some known quality and hardness lead, find some linotype (not going to happen any more unless you get crazy lucky) or find some old lead pipe, flashing etc. check it for hardness and add tin from there.

    IF you do try the modern wheel weights - you need to flux the heck out of it to get as much of the trash, calcium, etc. out of it and it will still give you wrinkled and round edged bullets much of the time. Like I said - fine for plinking at low velocity but...

  4. #4

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    Oh and stay away from stick on wheel weights - not much lead in them!

  5. #5

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    Great info, thanks. Kind of funny how things work. I did a bunch of work in a hospital a few years back and we had to tear down an old X-ray room. Behind the sheet rock was a solid 1/8" sheet of lead around all the walls and ceiling. We just threw it out. It was tons of the stuff and I never thought about it at the time.
    My name is Phil and I have been screwing stuff up since 1978

    Proud founder of the official ADD/ADHD thread.

  6. #6

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    And everything over the .45 ACP will use gas checks.
    My name is Phil and I have been screwing stuff up since 1978

    Proud founder of the official ADD/ADHD thread.

  7. #7

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    I had a student job at the Vet School when I was in college. We moved into a new lab that had been used for xray/radioactive research and there were a bunch of pure lead (you can dent/scratch pure lead with a thumbnail) bricks in the corner. I was already in to muzzle loading and casting for my pistols so I took home about 300 pounds!

    Getting VERY hard to find pure lead now (which you need for things like minie balls). Had to buy some recently and it hurt. At $1.10 a pound, 58 cal minie balls get expensive pretty quick!

  8. #8

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    The stick on WW's should be pure lead.

    What you need to do is look at each WW. If you see a stamping with Zn on it it is a zinc one. Sort it out and never use it in your lead. There are also steel WW's that need to be sorted out. The steel ones should be marked Fe. One thing you need to do is make sure the temp never goes over 650*. Zn melts at around 780* so they should float on top like the clips. This is very important, Zn will ruin your lead.

    One other way to check for the Zn is to use a pair of side cutters. The Zn will be very hard and should not crush or cut. Dropping them on a concrete floor is another way to check them. Regular WW's wil have a thud sound. Zn will ring.

    Get a casting thermometer. Run your melt at 650* and everything will be OK.

    Go over to the " Cast Boolits " forum and find out more. Everything you ever wanted to know about lead bullets over there.

  9. #9

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    .

    Wheels weights are perhaps the most used source of bullet casting metal.

    Adding some tin up to 2% to 4% total will help the casting properties.




    I use virgin certified material straight from the foundries myself for all my bullets.

    Beyond 1600 fps velocity, gas checks can help.

    Cast and custom swaged bullets have enough variables to keep you entertained for quite a while.

    .


  10. #10

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    Quote Originally Posted by tomme boy
    The stick on WW's should be pure lead.

    What you need to do is look at each WW. If you see a stamping with Zn on it it is a zinc one. Sort it out and never use it in your lead. There are also steel WW's that need to be sorted out. The steel ones should be marked Fe. One thing you need to do is make sure the temp never goes over 650*. Zn melts at around 780* so they should float on top like the clips. This is very important, Zn will ruin your lead.

    .
    Must vary by market - can't get stick on wheel weights I find to melt at reasonable temps!

  11. #11
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    Re: casting with wheel weights

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric in NC


    .
    Must vary by market - can't get stick on wheel weights I find to melt at reasonable temps!
    [/quote]


    I agree. I scraped them off with the clips.
    LOVIN LIFE!

  12. #12

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    You guys are throwing away good lead. Do a little more checking if you don't believe it.

  13. #13

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    .

    Once upon a time...

    There was a fellow who determined that his cheapest source of good metal was buying unlubed commercially-cast bullets, melting them, and then casting that alloy metal in his desired molds.

    .

  14. #14

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    From what I understand the weights are either lead, zinc or steel, no weights that are zinc mixed with lead. Now the question is, where do you get the "tin" to add to the lead to make it correct. I have some pure lead here. It is a roll of lead that would be used in between stained glass. I only have about 50 pounds of it though.
    My name is Phil and I have been screwing stuff up since 1978

    Proud founder of the official ADD/ADHD thread.

  15. #15

    Re: casting with wheel weights

    Plumbers lead (bar solder) is know lead/tin mix (different forumulas but always stamped). Or you can buy pure tin bars from Midway (or other sources do a search).

    As far as weights being pure lead or pure zinc etc. - not my experience at all but apparently others know better than me. NEVER found a wheel weight that was even CLOSE to pure lead (A pure lead bullet or weight will dent/deform when you drop it from waist height, you can easily dent it with a thumb nail, etc.).

    But again, others know better I am sure.

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