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Author Topic: Anyone Bake their Bullets?  (Read 3800 times)

DeSax

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Anyone Bake their Bullets?
« on: October 14, 2012, 10:53:06 am »
Does anyone still do this.  22 years ago I baked a number of lead bullet mold handgun pours for 4 hours a 400 degrees.  Supposedly this will allow an alignment of the lead molecules, the slower the better so I am told, then dumped in cold water. This is all done to produce a "Hard" lead bullet, with or without Tin.  Problem is I did this, but I never got around to doing any hardness testing for 9mm and 45 ACP, so I honestly don't know what I got for the effort.  Last question, anyone like loading with the Hodgon #6 and Titegroup.   Thanks and stay safe.
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    seanp

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    Re: Anyone Bake their Bullets?
    « Reply #1 on: October 14, 2012, 11:57:21 am »
    Does anyone still do this.  22 years ago I baked a number of lead bullet mold handgun pours for 4 hours a 400 degrees.  Supposedly this will allow an alignment of the lead molecules, the slower the better so I am told, then dumped in cold water. This is all done to produce a "Hard" lead bullet, with or without Tin.  Problem is I did this, but I never got around to doing any hardness testing for 9mm and 45 ACP, so I honestly don't know what I got for the effort.  Last question, anyone like loading with the Hodgon #6 and Titegroup.   Thanks and stay safe.

    I'm skeptical of this.  What I know of non-ferrous materials in general suggests that attempts to heat treat or age harden materials like lead and aluminum is highly dependant on the particular alloy, and that the actual alloy composition plays a greater role in the hardness or strength of the product than the heat treating will.

    It seems to me that using a hard cast alloy, like linotype or wheel weight which contains antimony and arsenic, will give you a greater benefit of hardness than attempting to harden an inappropriate alloy.
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    Evil Jim

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    Re: Anyone Bake their Bullets?
    « Reply #2 on: October 14, 2012, 01:07:48 pm »
    I know of guys who quench their self cast, into water while still damn hot out of the melting pot.
    http://www.lasc.us/heattreat.htm
    This may help


    Jim
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    xsquidgator

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    Re: Anyone Bake their Bullets?
    « Reply #3 on: October 14, 2012, 01:36:04 pm »
    I know of guys who quench their self cast, into water while still damn hot out of the melting pot.
    http://www.lasc.us/heattreat.htm
    This may help


    Jim

    I do this, and have found that if water-quenching a lead alloy, it will harden up.
    From my experiments using a Lee hardness tester, my air-cooled wheelweight alloy bullets run about BHN 10.  If I water-quench them, they're still BHN 10 right then, but let them sit for a week and they get up to about BHN 19.  The effect (from what I read over at castboolits.com) only applies to a thin skin around the outside of the bullet, but it's enough to help reduce leading.
    The hardening effect gradually fades over time, how much I don't know but on the order of months or years.

    I also found that water-quenching pure lead bullets doesn't do anything to harden them, either right away or after a week.  I've forgotten the exact metallurgical terms, but basically water quenching an alloy causes the various alloy constituents to block grain boundaries in the material, making it harder for the grains to slip past one another and thus hardening the material.  This effect does not occur in pure lead though, you have to have other constituents in the mix besides lead molecules for it to work.

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    Re: Anyone Bake their Bullets?
    « Reply #4 on: October 14, 2012, 02:23:03 pm »
    I know a few guys that do.  But the have a dedicated oven in the garage for it.  As noted already, it's HIGHLY dependent on the exact alloy used.  I prefer the water quench method myself.  If you get your alloy right they end up being hard enough on the outside not to lead, but soft enough on the inside not to shatter on impact with a heavy bone.  With pistol bullets, at pistol velocities sizing is much more critical that hardness.  With rifle bullets at the higher velocities, the game changes substantially.
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    Splodge Of Doom

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    Re: Anyone Bake their Bullets?
    « Reply #5 on: October 14, 2012, 03:08:28 pm »
    Lead anneals at room temperature, so any hardening effect due to heat treatment will be temporary.

    only1asterisk

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    Re: Anyone Bake their Bullets?
    « Reply #6 on: October 20, 2012, 09:23:13 pm »
    Lead anneals at room temperature, so any hardening effect due to heat treatment will be temporary.

    It will slowly decrease in hardness over a few decades.

    reloader7.62

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    Re: Anyone Bake their Bullets?
    « Reply #7 on: October 21, 2012, 11:58:52 am »
    Lead based alloy work soften as apposed to brass or steel that work hardens.  WW alloy bullets are the ideal alloy for most cast bullet applications.  It works well for cutting pure lead,it can be cast and used as is,water quenched for shot term hardness or heat treated for long term hardness.   I only water quench cast bullets that I don't intend to resize since resizing remove much of the outer shell hardness and bullets usually plain base that I plan on shooting at full magnum velocities over a relatively short time period. 

    For bullets than need to be harder for long term storage or reloads or specific applications as in my semi-auto rifles I heat treat those bullets.  My heat treated bullets are sized and gas checked if applicable prior to heat treating since basically sizing them after heat treating will work soften the outer shell and driving bands.

    WW alloy contain in general the proper amount of lead,antimony and arsenic for proper water wrenching or heat treating and not making a bullet brittle by time and temp,where lino and other high antimony alloy tend to be more brittle and don't make as good a hunting or hard target bullet like for steel silhouette as water quenched or heat treated WW bullets do.

    WW alloy that is quenched tends to run between 15 to 20 BHN and can vary depending on bullet temp and time it takes to drops from the mold they also age soften much quicker.  Heat treating same bullet using time and temp give you a more consistent BHN as well as slower age softening over many many years.

     

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