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HI guys have started casting my own projectiles from wheel weights and they seem ok to me. My problem is some people claim that the lead is to soft and will lead up your barrel but I have not met anyone who this has actually happened to. Is this a myth?. You will always have some build up of lead in your barrel and you can clean when needed so I can not see a problem.
I also use lee alox as a lubricant. Will appreciate any input

Thanks
 

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Hey V,

Welcome to S&W!

Wheel weights are fine for less than 1,000fps....

Like 44 says, you can add a roll of solder to 20lb of wheel weights if you are trying to achieve "Magnum" velocities...

Later, Mark
 
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Seeing as how you can push pure lead up to 1000 FPS and clip on wheel weights are harder. I would think you could push them at least to 1300 FPS. Pure lead has a BHN of 5. Stick on wheel weights have a BHN of 6. Clip on weights have a BHN of around 14 BHN.
 

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You're finding actual lead wheel weights? 99% of them today are zinc, not lead
 
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Assuming that you can get good wheel weights (no zinc), you should be able to easily get to 1300+ fps with no leading with gas checks and proper sizing. Water quenching at casting, will increase the hardness, increasing the usable velocity. Powder Coating will gain you a bit more safe velocity.

I’ve run quenched, gas checked, powder coated wheel weights in my 45-70 up to 1900 fps, with no signs of leading. Planning on around 1500 fps through my 460 XVR, with same process! memtb
 
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I have been cleaning and making wheel weight ingots for quite a number of years. Periodically, I smelt those wheel weights and cast some 9mm or .45ACP projectiles. There is a bucket of weights in the garage waiting for my next smelting cycle. I flux them with sulpher.

I also use Lee Alox to lubricate them.

So far, no leading problems. I only shoot them subsonic.

Many weights have a pretty good amount of hardness to start with. The small flat adhesive squares are generally pure lead, so use them to soften a hard cast when you need to. As mentioned, you can add tin to increase hardness.
 
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it's more important to size your cast bullets to the correct diameter to lessen leading. I've had more leading with bevel based commercial hard cast bullets than with my own softer home cast. Usually get between 11 to 14 BHN with WWs. Just be careful to not melt any zinc in with your mix. The Cast Boolit forum is a great place for lots of information on casting your own.

John
 

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It's becoming much more common to encounter Zinc wheel weights. They are using them to save money. It's caused the sorting task to become much slower. Just remember they are lighter for their size than the lead ones. They sound different when you tap them or drop them on concrete too.
 

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My family, and most of my shooting friends all cast. I personally have been for over 40 years, leaning much of what I know from my Dad.
The most popular material for many years has been wheel weights, but the ones made from lead, are hard to find these days.

Keep your work area clean, have lots of ventilation, keep you lead temp, down around 700 degrees.
Don't touch your face, smoke, eat or drink while casting, and you will not expose your self to lead.

The secret to not leading a barrel is bullet fitment, and proper lubrication, or powder coating.
Leading does not occur, from the powder flame melting the base of the bullet, it happens when the flame passes around the edges of the bullet, and passes it, as it move down the barrel. This acts as a blow torch effect, down the sides of the bullet. This is where fitment is so important.
This gets worse, as does accuracy, once it begins, and can be dangerous, if enough lead accumulates to restrict the bore, thus increasing pressures.
In order to stop this, the bullet must fit properly, and be soft enough to bump up as the pressure hits it.
More leading occurs, from a bullet that is too hard than one that is too soft.
Measuring the bore size is step one. A 38 / 357 will usually need a .359 - .360 bullet, a post WW2 colt 45 or 45 acp will need a .452 - .454, with most using the .452 size. 44 special / magnum will be around .430 in most guns, i have loaded for. The pattern here, as you can see is .002 or so over bore size.
Before shooting lead in any gun, carefully remove all copper from the barrel. Copper accumulates in bores, and attracts lead quickly.
A seasoned lead free bore does not require frequent cleaning, and the build up of bullet lub from shooting will help prevent leading. I do not over clean by barrels, once they are seasoned.

Finally leading in barrels is time consuming to remove, but easier, if you know a few tips. A Lewis lead remover is a nice tool for this job, and is probably the best.
Another option if you are cheap like I am, is a Copper Chore Girl pad. (this must be copper.. Test it before you use it) Wrap it around a properly fitting bore brush,and clean your barrel.
Soaking the bore with Kroil, or Ed's Red bore cleaner will help loosen the lead, as the oil will get under the lead.

The above is my experience, and what works for me. Sorry for the long post, and happy shooting.
 

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Merrick said:
It's becoming much more common to encounter Zinc wheel weights. They are using them to save money. It's caused the sorting task to become much slower. Just remember they are lighter for their size than the lead ones. They sound different when you tap them or drop them on concrete too.
So true! When I'm smelting down a batch of wheel weights I'm careful to keep the melt well be low 750F and this is why...
Melt temps:
Zinc - 787 F
Lead - 622 F
Tin - 450 F

Even though it is possible to sort out most non lead WWs before melting it pays to be safe. MOST zinc are marked Zn and steel Fe, but not all. Keeping the smelting temperature to around 700 F will allow any missed Zn weights to float in the mix without melting and so not contaminate the mix. A good thermometer is a must! And I always cast my WWs , or any source for that matter, into ingots before using the material to cast bullets. That way I can have a higher casting temperature without fear of Zn contamination.

John
 

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Not to steal the thread, but has anyone had any luck casting Zinc. wish I was clever enough to get zinc to cast.
There will be a good supply of these weights going forward, and I need about 75 to 100 pounds per year.
i have tried to get them to work, and thought I would powder coat them, so far no luck with the casting.
Even a small amount of ZN in the mix messes up casting for me. Sometimes sill usable as pistol bullets but not for rifles where my quality standard is higher.

I got a nice score, on about 500 lbs of pure lead last fall, and had a couple hundred pounds of Lino-type on hand.
Mixing pure lead 3 to 1 with lino makes good bullets for my rifles. A 5 to 1 mix for pistols seems about like wheel weights.
There is a scrap yard down the road a ways that used to sell lead to me, but no longer will. His choice, not the law, or anything like that. He just wants to be a jerk..
I got the 500 lbs last summer right out from under his nose, and am thinking about putting up a sign wanting to buy lead, as my place is up the road from is. You have to go by my place before you get to his, if coming from town.
My buddies and I could use the lead, and i want to poke him in the ribs anyway.. Lots of fun!
 

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BES,
Your comment on casting zinc bullets led me (no pun intended) to Google search it which came up with quite a few hits on the Cast boolit forum. Plus a couple of YouTube videos.
I haven't cast any... yet, but may have to look into it for future use.
Couple things that jumped out was the recommendation to use iron/steel molds, not casting over bore as with lead bullets and factoring in the resulting lighter zinc bullets when reloading.
It appears to have potential.

John
 

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I cast with Lino type, mix a little medical lead and you can go from 22bhn to 20. Hard cast bullets never had an issue. Lube with X lox

Thewelshm
 
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You may want to consider powder coating them. I prefer them better than lubed ones. Put a few hundred in a #5 recycling plastic container add a few tsp of powder coat, put the lid on and shake for about 30 -50 seconds. Dump out into a sieve shake off excess powder place them on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Once cooled I size them. I prefer them because I no longer have to touch bare lead when reloading and they prevent barrel leading.
 
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