Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Wheel weights for casting round lead balls?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Homer, Alaska
    Posts
    57

    Default Wheel weights for casting round lead balls?

    I have a bag of old wheel weights and was wondering if there is any problem with melting them down to cast round lead balls? Seems I read something/somewhere some time back (on-line so always questioning whether it is correct) that one should not use this lead?

  2. #2
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Central Kenai Peninsula
    Posts
    2,931

    Default

    Most muzzle loaders require pure lead from what I have read.
    Wheel weights have materials in them to harden the lead usually .5% tin and 2% antimony.
    I would use pure lead or as close as I could get. You might be able to seperate the Antimony from the lead if you got your temperature just right. I am far from experienced on lead melting though.
    I bought some pure lead for mine on EBAY and saved the tire weights for fishing sinkers.
    Roust-A-Bout lure company
    Handcrafted fishing lures made right here in Alaska!
    Roust-a-boutlures@hotmail.com

  3. #3
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Pole
    Posts
    802

    Default

    If that's all the lead you got..
    1) You ain't got enough.
    2) You can try heating to over 1100 degrees, holding at temp, then gently pouring from the bottom.
    3) Just pour the balls with lead as is and use for practice, and small game- remembering that they won't obset as much as pure lead.

    Note: You need some obset to "bump up to the grooves" if patch is too small. Think hollow base conical- made that way for fast loading, base obsets to fill out grooves.

    Have fun, and pour outside if you can,

    Chris

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Homer, Alaska
    Posts
    57

    Default

    I have a big bag so would probably have enough but will keep it simple and use them for halibut weights and get pure lead for the muzzleloaders. Thanks for the responses.

  5. #5
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    407

    Default too much tin

    A guy I work with is a big traditional shooter and is really into making his own bullets and such for ML rifles. He says that wheel weights have too much tin and are when used are too hard for most traditional MLs. they would probably be OK for making hard cast sabots, where a plastic sabot casing are used.
    “Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    436

    Default

    Don't forget that the fumes from melting lead is bad for your health. Do it in a well ventilated area preferable outside.

  7. #7
    Member MaxBaglimit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by akgun&ammo View Post
    If that's all the lead you got..
    1) You ain't got enough.
    2) You can try heating to over 1100 degrees, holding at temp, then gently pouring from the bottom.
    3) Just pour the balls with lead as is and use for practice, and small game- remembering that they won't obset as much as pure lead.

    Note: You need some obset to "bump up to the grooves" if patch is too small. Think hollow base conical- made that way for fast loading, base obsets to fill out grooves.

    Have fun, and pour outside if you can,

    Chris
    1100 degrees? Why? 750 degrees will melt wheel weights for casting just fine.

    "You need some obset to "bump up to the grooves" if patch is too small." Then use the right sized patch. Actually there are plenty of folks that use wheel weights for round balls in MLs. You get less expansion on critters, but better penetration. A good place to ask this question is here: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/ . An incredible amout of bullet casting experience there.

  8. #8
    Moderator Snyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Posts
    4,841

    Default

    Clip on WW have antimony and tin and are about twice as hard as pure lead. Stick WW however are pure lead. Get a Bucket 'O' Wheel Weights, separate out and keep the stickons and trade the WW for pure. Or sell em.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

  9. #9
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    North Pole
    Posts
    802

    Default

    1100 degrees is the temp where tin seperates from solution- or can be added to a solution.

  10. #10
    Member MaxBaglimit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by akgun&ammo View Post
    1100 degrees is the temp where tin seperates from solution- or can be added to a solution.
    Tin melts at 465 degrees and clip-on WW at 505. I mix the two all the time and my melt for mixing and casting never needs to exceed 700-800 degrees (to produce good castings).

    http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

    If you don’t flux, some of the harder elements will rise to the top that you can try to skim, but it would be rather unlikely that you could separate all the tin in this manner. Certainly not enough to get the BHN down near pure lead level. Few electric bottom pour pots will get your melt as high as 1100 degrees. Doing so (casting at 1100 degrees) will put you at risk of warping your mold.

  11. #11

    Default

    I use a lot of wheelweights, and that extreme temp just isn't necessary. Been using it for close to 40 years. Treat it like pure lead, and get down to the casting business.

    The Canadian muzzleloaders use it a lot to cast round balls for moose, especially larger cals, since it doesn't expand much at all, and can greatly increase penetration compared to pure lead. I know a fair number here in Alaska that do the same.

    Couple of things to consider- The finished balls will be slightly different diameter than pure lead, and will likely require a change in patch thickness. No big deal, and a non-issue once you find the right patching.

    If you're casting conicals like the LEE REAL or even the TC Maxi that have a larger band to engage the rifling, you're likely to have sincere issues starting the bullet. Bring a hammer to get it past the muzzle. It also won't "bump up" to fill the grooves on firing, so you have to use a lubed wad between powder and bullet, and maybe even a hard card.

  12. #12
    Moderator Snyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Posts
    4,841

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBaglimit View Post
    Tin melts at 465 degrees and clip-on WW at 505. I mix the two all the time and my melt for mixing and casting never needs to exceed 700-800 degrees (to produce good castings).

    http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

    If you don’t flux, some of the harder elements will rise to the top that you can try to skim, but it would be rather unlikely that you could separate all the tin in this manner. Certainly not enough to get the BHN down near pure lead level. Few electric bottom pour pots will get your melt as high as 1100 degrees. Doing so (casting at 1100 degrees) will put you at risk of warping your mold.

    Doesn't lead start to oxidize at something like 836? At over 1000 couldnt we getting oxidation and be getting some bad stuff in the air? I've read mixed statements on this. I don't think lead boils until like 1700+. St our casting temps say 725-800 I think about all the fumes we get are from flux. I take precautions regardless, good ventilation etc. and cast at around 750 most of the time.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

  13. #13
    Member MaxBaglimit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Doesn't lead start to oxidize at something like 836? At over 1000 couldnt we getting oxidation and be getting some bad stuff in the air? I've read mixed statements on this. I don't think lead boils until like 1700+. St our casting temps say 725-800 I think about all the fumes we get are from flux. I take precautions regardless, good ventilation etc. and cast at around 750 most of the time.
    By “oxidation,”do you mean “vaporize.” In bullet casting, oxidation usually refers to alloyed metals in your lead melt “oxidizing” on the surface. A good trick to prevent that is a thin layer of sawdust on top. It quickly turns to carbon, which greatly inhibits surface oxidation. That sawdust ash is also an excellent flux.

    Lead boils at 3164.0 F (1740.0 C) so I don’t think vaporization is an issue. Yes, smelting lead should always be done with good ventilation. There is arsenic (in WW) and other nastys we don’t want to breathe in. I don’t believe Pb itself will be an airborne problem when casting under normal temps.

    http://www.chemicalelements.com/elements/pb.html

  14. #14
    Moderator Snyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Posts
    4,841

    Default

    Ya I meant vaporize, not oxidize. At our typical casting temps I don't think we vaporize lead or ww alloy but at over 1000 things can happen. I think lead begins to vaporize at 17-1800f.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

  15. #15
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Central Kenai Peninsula
    Posts
    2,931

    Default

    My understanding is that if your lead is too hard it could damage the rifling on some muzzloaders.
    I don't know if this is true but I wouldn't risk it with mine.Thats just a personnal preference though.
    Anyone else buy into or hear this theory?
    Pure lead isn't that hard to get or all that expensive. I paid around $1 a pound for mine.
    Roust-A-Bout lure company
    Handcrafted fishing lures made right here in Alaska!
    Roust-a-boutlures@hotmail.com

  16. #16
    Member MaxBaglimit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    88

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    My understanding is that if your lead is too hard it could damage the rifling on some muzzloaders...
    I doubt it, but when shooting a patched round ball, the lead doesn't come in contact with the rifling. If it does, you're doing something wrong.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Chugiak
    Posts
    2,356

    Default

    I have used both lead and wheel weights to make round balls for my muzzleloaders. Both work fine unless you want expansion in your target. Wheel weights will have little if any expansion in game animals. As was said the ball shouldn't touch the barrel if loaded properly. Wheel weight balls wouldn't harm your barrel even if the touched it as it is much softer than the softest steels used in muzzleloaders.

  18. #18
    New member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Hello,

    While pure lead is preferred for critters like deer, folks back in the days of roundball muzzleloading would use hard cast balls for the taking of big or dangerous game.

    I shoot a .50 with balls cast from Linotype and thrown in a rock polisher for a couple hours when I'm not sure of penetration. I also use these for target practice (as well as some cast from wheel weights and range lead).

    Deer still get pure lead balls, though.

    Regards,

    Josh at Smith-Sights

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •