1911Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen BHN on water quenching wheel weight bullets but have never seen a BHN on water quenching Lyman #2. Anyone have a number? Will it be higher than wheel weights that have been water quenched? Thanks in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
I am only guessing but I say around the same. My WW bullets are testing around 14 and Lyman #2 is supposed to be around 15. What are you planning to shoot the bullets in that you need them to be so hard?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rusty,

I'm planning some mid to upper range 454 Casull loads and some heavier 44 Mag loads. I've done quenched wheel weights and they are plenty hard but I am hoping Lyman #2 quenched will be have a higher BHN. In all my searching I'm not finding any information on quenching #2 which makes me think it may not be worth my trouble and I should just buy some Lyno. Or buy a BHN tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I've seen BHN on water quenching wheel weight bullets but have never seen a BHN on water quenching Lyman #2. Anyone have a number? Will it be higher than wheel weights that have been water quenched? Thanks in advance.
Arsenic has to be present to make bullets harden when water quenched, .25% is enough to make them harden. Just add a few ounces of shot the next time you cast. It works with wheel weights it would be interesting to see what happens with #2.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
12,388 Posts
Most of us with the kit to test hardness are stunned that water quenching lead bullets is generally useless with the lead we use. Probably due to what Lee Forsberg said. In most metal alloy processing, quenching is done at much much higher temperatures than we use (and the medium is constantly agitated to prevent soft spots due to vaporization at the surface), and it is generaly done not to harden the alloy but to normalize the structure inside.

Get yourself a tester and work on it yourself. Unless you develop your own procedure to do it right, you may gain nothing at all except to hear the pleasant 'Kush' when the bullets hit the water.
 
G

·
I think a little tin and antimony will go further to harden. I have considered some lino with wheel weights to increase hardness. The trouble is that electric pots don't seem to get hot enough fast enough to keep the elements liquefied. Antimony requires some heat to melt. Quenching helps cool the lead to allow quicker production. There must be some element transference to change the properties of the lead alloy. Water by itself provides nothing. Hydrogen and oxygen are not hardeners. Try it, let us know if there is a difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
731 Posts
Tin adds little to the hardness of lead alloys, but it does improve fluidity of the molten alloy and improves casting qualities. Antimony is the principal hardening agent used, and is present in wheelweights (usually 96% lead, 3% antimony, 0.25% tin, traces of arsenic). Both antimony and arsenic are heavy metals, and both are extremely toxic.

Neither antimony nor arsenic will fully "melt" at the usual temperatures used for bullet casting. These metals combine with lead as a mechanical mixture having a "matrixed" structure upon returning to the solidus. Resulting alloys will shrink less than lead, or Lyman #2, and bullets cast in the same molds will have lighter weights (the more alloying metal, the lighter the weight and less shrinkage after casting).

I have tried heat-quenching, and tested the results with bullets cast of the same batch of metal in the same molds. I found no measurable differences.

However, bullet alloys containing lead-antimony-tin-arsenic (like wheelweights, linotype, etc) will harden significantly with age. I tested one batch over a period of five years, having an initial BHN of 18. At one year these tested at BHN 19. At two years these tested at BHN 20. At three years there was no change. At four years these tested at BHN 21. At five years there was no change.

So, in my experience, heat-quenching provided no measurable improvement (certainly not worth the additional efforts involved). But age-hardening provides a modest, but measurable inprovement.

By the way, I have used cast bullets in several rifles calibers (including .30-06, .30-30, .30/40 Krag, .45-70, and .375 H&H Magnum) for which bullet hardness is far more critical than for handgun applications.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
12,388 Posts
Good overview, Lobo. Your notes reflect my casting experience as well.



I've seen the Lobo web site. Nice leather. Not cheap stuff, but fully molded and stitched. Good tutorial notes, too. You have some posts in the Holster sticky, don't you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
If you are casting for the 45 ACP, (or any other low pressure cartridge) anything harder than WW is a waste of alloy, and most likely will not improve performance. Bullet sizing, and a good lube, goes alot further towards preventing lead fouling and giving good accuracy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,908 Posts
There are better places to ask about boolits for scientific detail.

My own observation - which coincides with the literature - is that wheel weights for many years were a pretty consistent alloy - in recent years (recent being maybe as much as 20-30 years) the alloy has varied more than it once did and so at least the extreme spread of quenched wheel weights has been pretty large.

For consistent results I like the toaster oven for consistent at least across the lot heat treatment. I suspect but don't know that gas checks help more than a harder (than quenched wheel weights) alloy - not sure which is cost effective - I've found good quenched wheel weights on a typically fairly heavy and solid bullet to work at magnum pistol pressures - issues of cylinder throat barrel diameter and especially pinch under the screws through the frame outweigh alloy issues for me.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top