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wheel weights
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I got 1 1/2 buckets of wheel weight from my job. What is this I have read about zinc wheel weights and how will I know if there are any in there? For a decent 357 rd out of a short barreled revolver will I need to alloy with anything to increase the brinnel hardness or are they just right as is to provide expansion in bore without leading? I am gonna shoot(no pun intended) for 1100-1200fps from my reloads. I am not gonna gas check them. Cory
Posts: 48 | Registered: 09 March 2003Reply With Quote
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I personally have never worried about zinc contamination from WW metal. I may have had some in the past, but it never affected my bullets in the least. If zinc does present itself, most of the time you can adjust the heat to get it removed. If it is bad enough, which I have never had with WW's, I would disgard that lead and dispose of it properly. If you know of WW's that you are positive contains zinc, DON't use them.

For what you say you require in velocity, if you water drop your bullets, they will be plenty hard to prevent leading, using plain based bullets.

I would go ahead, melt down the WW's and start casting. Fluxing often. You should be OK. [Big Grin]
Posts: 135 | Location: San Antonio, Tx | Registered: 18 February 2003Reply With Quote
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Several things to consider: As the previous poster said, ignore Zn contamination since the odds of its being present are very low. Second, depending on the smoothness of your bbl., the dimensions of the cylinder throats v. bbl. v. CB, you may or may not need heat-treatment. Third, water-dropping does work, but the mold & CB's must be very (and uniformly) hot; i.e., CB's must be frosted in appearance. Moreover, as soon as you size heat-treated CB's, which you are likely to do with water-dropped ones, you work soften the CB to a depth of .001" to .002". A better, but more time consuming method is to heat-treat in an ordinary oven @ ~450 - ~470deg. for perhaps 50 mins., then water-quench. With this approach, you size first and lube last (using a slightly larger die). The oven procedure is described in various CB books/manuals: Lyman's CB Handbook, NRA's Cast Bullets (1978), RCBS' CB Manual #1, V. Smith's Jacketed Performance Wi. CB's. It's a good idea to have one or more of these on hand since they offer excellent advice/tips for a variety of calibers, powders, etc. Hope this helps, ...Maven
Posts: 480 | Location: N.Y. | Registered: 09 January 2003Reply With Quote
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A shop owner today(sporting goods) told me with lead bullets without a gas check at even slightly hot handgun velocities I wasn't gonna experience any leading unless I shot a heck of alot at a time. He was talking about 800-900 rds at a time. Now remember he was talking about my application(Ruger blackhawk 4 5/8 barrel). He said the short barrel of a pistol was not as big an issue as the longer barrel of a rifle cause the travel time to exit was naturally shorter. I may shoot 200 rds a weekend. Then he said all I have to do if I reached that point was shoot several jacketed bullets through the barrel to clean it. He went to gunsmithing school when he was younger and he used to reload alot so I would think he would know something. He told me not to worry about leading for what I would be doing. Heres a point I want to ask. 2 guys here have told me to heat treat the bullets from wheel weights to make them effective for my application of a 1200 fps average. True I do not know under a microscope how smooth my bore is but I also have found out that too hard a bullet and it will not ballon to seal thus causing gas blow by and leading. Wheel weight hardness should I have learned be the right hardness as is to let the bullet ballon to seal the gases behind it.
Posts: 48 | Registered: 09 March 2003Reply With Quote
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I never water quench a pistol bullet, and shoot full power .44 mags with no leading using straight wheel weights. I don't find quenching necessary until I start pushing rifle loads to over 1800fps generally.
Hardened bullets are detrimental for pistol loads. Shoot them air cooled, with the proper bore fit and half way decent lube, and you will have no problems. Even a rather crummy lube will work at pistol velocities.
Posts: 922 | Location: Somers, Montana | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
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Cmcalpin2002. Waksupi is right on target here. Like him, I've shot .44 mag plain based cast bullets well past 1200 FPS with no leading using just wheel weight metal. I have no idea what my old S&W Model 28 (wish I still had it.)four inch was putting out, but I was shooting a 160 gr. cast lead SWC plain based bullet with loads that were supposed to give 1550 FPS from an 8 3/8" barrel. I'd have to guess maybe 1375 to 1400 FPS. metal was wheel weights and no leading.
I noticed that you mentioned someting about not using gas checks. If the bullet you are using was designed to use gas checks, then shooting them without the checks will most likely give you leading. Then, you should use the checks.
Paul B.
Posts: 2814 | Location: Tucson AZ USA | Registered: 11 May 2001Reply With Quote
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It depends on the gun.

None of the magnum revolvers that have passed through my hands (ruger, dan wesson, S&W) would shoot cleanly or accurately with plain base bullets, and yes, I tried them soft, hard, and everything in between. Hard bullets were the lesser evil but would still create difficult-to-remove leading at the forcing cone. All of these revolvers would shoot decently with hard gas-checked bullets.

But some guns do shoot well with plain base bullets and even soft plain base bullets, as evidenced by some of the replies to your question.

I have yet to experience the problem of a bullet being too hard. Perhaps undersized bullets work better if they are soft, but if the bullet is sized to throat diameter then it does not need to expand to seal.

When in doubt, try it both ways.
Posts: 10 | Location: Pocatello, Idaho | Registered: 24 January 2003Reply With Quote
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If you see a wheelweight floating in the molten alloy that doesn't seem to want to melt its zinc, get it out of there. If you crank up the melt temp to gain the mass of that one wheelweight it will contaminate the whole batch. Zinc doesn't work like your bullet casting alloy. It doesn't have the same casting properties. You'll get better results without it. I have seen a few of these buggers in my smelting pot over the years but never melted one. They're easy to spot and easy to scoop out. Actually the're not too common. I don't shoot cast bullets at a high enough velocity to cause heavy leading. When I do get lead buildup at the forcing cone, the Outers Foul Out unit takes all the work out of removing it. What a neat invention.

Posts: 130 | Location: Davenport, IA | Registered: 20 March 2003Reply With Quote
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