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Bullet casting metal ?

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  • Bullet casting metal ?

    Anyone know what the composition of bullet casting metal is? Or maybe a reloaders BBS?
    To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison

  • #2
    Tire balancing weights are in high demand for bullet casting. Lead and antimony are the components used for bullet casting. The antimony (or tin) makes the bullet harder.
    Lynn S.


    • #3
      lynotype(sp)& tire weights


      • #4
        Usually 10% linotype to 90% lead will do.

        It is all according to the caliber and the bullet speed that dictates how much antimony is needed.

        Slow 38's need little to no linotype and fast 40 cal bullets need more. Rifle and hot pistol loads need antimony and a gas check.

        I shot 40 cal SW lead high antimony (linotype) for years in IPSC with no problem.


        Edited to add:
        Unlesw you plan to shoot an awfull lot it's cheaper and easier to buy cast bullets at a gun show. The test I used was to push my thumb nail into the bullet. The farther into the bullet your nail goes the softer it is.

        [This message has been edited by meho (edited 08-19-2005).]


        • #5
          The alloy that a bullet mould casts is refered to as a #2 alloy. It has lead, antimony and tin in it and is a specific hardness. If you cast a bullet and it is a percentage light then you need more lead in the pot. If the cast bullet is too heavy then you need more antimony added. Linotype is high in antimony.Bullets used in muzzle loaders should be pure lead. Tin helps the moulds to cast smooth good looking bullets.
          The moulds should be smoked with a match flame before using.They should look like they are covered with soot.If a person wanted to use a bullet for silhouette shooting (steel targets)he would cast a lighter bullet for more strength. As a rule wheel weights are high in antimony already.
          The lead mix is fluxed with a small piece of bees wax and stired in. The grey matter on top of the hot lead is tin and should not be skimmed off.It should be fluxed and stired in. Moulds must be hot before satisfactory bullet will be produced. So cast 10 or 12 then they will start coming out OK. Then just put the unsatisfactory ones back in the pot. Hope this answers your question.


          • #6
            Lyman publishs the "Cast Bullet handbook" that I found explains things at an easy level. It does depend on what you want the bullets for. The wheel weights &lynotype mentioned are excellant for specific purposes. The Sharps I still haul out occasionally liked fairly soft bullets.


            • #7
              Almost forgot to say there are two types of bullets used. Soft lead swaged from lead wire which are used in most handgun bullets and hard cast which I refered to earlier
              which are cast in moulds. I use hardcast in my .44 magnum.


              • #8
                Thanks for the responces. Can lead and tin be used alone without antimony? If so what percentage would by good?
                To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison


                • #9
                  The new style tire weights that are being sold now have no lead because of EPA restrictions.
                  Living By the Square and On the Level


                  • #10
                    G.A. Ewen,

                    Most informative casting forum I've found online is:


                    mark holycross


                    • #11
                      My RCBS Cast Bullet Manual says that "it is a waste to go beyond about 4% tin." More does not increase bullet hardness. Gerry


                      • #12
                        ........Lead and tin only can be used for bullets. Most people reloading (who cast their own) for the late 19th century BP cartidge rifles and pistols use this mix.

                        If not pure lead, mixes seem to be predominately 'by 10's'. Ie: 30-1, 20-1, 10-1. Thats lead-tin. Tin WILL harden lead to a degree. In the old days a 16-1 or 10-1 mix was considered hard. The problem is the very high cost of tin, compared to the rest.

                        Antimony is much more effective in hardening lead. However tin has an effect like detergent in water, making the melt more fluid and thereby allowing better, more sharply cast bullets to be made. Also a pure lead-antimony alloy casts poorly, plus antimony seperates into crystals as the melt cools allowing pure lead to be in contact with the bore. Only about 2% needs to be added to benefit a lead/antimony mix.

                        There is no one best alloy for all applications. Wheel weights by themselves probably account for 90% of all cast bullets fired and does a good job. They may also be heat treated from thier normal 11-12bhn up to about 38bhn. Bullets may also be dropped directly from the blocks into water and will be useably hardened. That is, assuming a hard bullet is desired.

                        BTW, it seems that 'some' arsenic be present for successfully hardening to the highest levels. If in doubt a spoonfull of chilled shot can be added to the pot to assure it's presence.

                        You can go to and then follow to the new domain. I can't cut and paste it here, as the computer at work blocks darn near everything, and we all know how evil and violent guns and bullets are.


                        [This message has been edited by Buckshot (edited 08-20-2005).]

                        [This message has been edited by Buckshot (edited 08-20-2005).]
                        Son of the silver stream ..... Bullet caster.


                        • #13

                          The cost of the Tin will not be a problem for me. I lucked out at a junk store on a recent trip. 16 lbs of pure tin for $10.00

                          Thanks for all the info.
                          To invent, you need a good imagination - and a pile of junk. Thomas A. Edison


                          • #14
                            <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jesse168:
                            The new style tire weights that are being sold now have no lead because of EPA restrictions.</font>
                            What are the new tire weights made from?

                            When was that requirement implemented? I ask because I still see some new ones that appear to be the same old lead as before. I guess they were already in the 'pipeline'.
                            Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


                            • #15
                              I did comercial bullet casting for 12 years and it has been a hobby for 22 years.
                              Comercial "Magnum" alloy is 92% lead,6% antimony,2% tin.It is usually bought by the
                              truck load to insure consist mixture.
                              Wheelweieghts are excellent source but only have 1/2% tin, increasing tin to 2% will make real nice bullets.
                              the bullet base must deform to make a gas seal so higher pressure rounds need to be harder than lower pressure rounds.
                              My favorite mixture is 50/50 lead/linotype,that was the mixture I was using before I stopped selling bullets because it is easily repeatable.
                              Actually,what ever you have acess to is the best because you can make good quality bullets cheap,commercial bullets can't compare to a good hand cast bullet,I know, been there done that.
                              95/5 soldewr is a good sourcefor tin and antimony.
                              email me for more info.