A casual observation

S Mac

SW Mo Hillbilly
I know it's been discussed before, and it's not too scientific a test, but today I did a short sample cast of a mould I just bought from my friend's estate. A single cavity 311290 HP. Straight ccww, which is what Bob normally used. A handful that he cast some years back the nose right in front of the upper drive band measure .304, the ones I cast today were .300.
That's some real growth.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
I'd say so.
I don't think I have seen maybe half that, but it was enough to make my day not so fun.
 

Ian

Notorious member
I have a big batch of scrap soft lead (roofing, shower pans, plumber's lead, etc) and every time I add it 50/50 to clippy wheelweights the resulting .30-caliber bullets grow two thousandths in a few months. I don't know what is in that particular batch of soft scrap but it doesn't behave like pure lead.
 

Bret4207

Undesirable member in absentia, Northern NY
There is the possibility, I think it 's likely, that the formula for WW varies wildly. It's not like there's any scientific analysis.
 

S Mac

SW Mo Hillbilly
There is the possibility, I think it 's likely, that the formula for WW varies wildly. It's not like there's any scientific analysis.
I'm sure that's true, plus different casters, just seemed like a bunch.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
I'm sure that's true, plus different casters, just seemed like a bunch.
Because I had truck WW's from the 70's and 80's, I had them analyzed at work in 1995. They were 1.5% tin, 7% antimony and 91% lead with arsenic and copper as traces. Before I retired, I had sorted lot of 2005 US made WW's in my pile at <.5% tin, 2.5% antimony with traces of zinc, copper, cadmium and aluminum. Asian WW's coming into the West Coast were anything that would melt in there casting machines. FWIW
 

Bret4207

Undesirable member in absentia, Northern NY
About the progression I'd figure Ric. I still have a few hundred lbs of older COWW from the 60's to early 2000's. One bucket has a lot more stick ons than all the others and that buckets has some steel ones too. That is the bucket I make the ingots for hammer faces, vise jaws or backing dollys out of.
 

Intheshop

Banned
I'm using up the last of some,straight WW .45's lubed/cast in 1982,before casting some more.

Have been using the exact same lube size die..... will measure some and report back on any growth.

Heck,even got 5g buckets of those old WW's down in the woods. How about that for things moving at a snail's pace?
 

L Ross

Active Member
Growth? Another thing I never used to fret over. Then a buddy borrowed my Magma caster and the 230 gr. RNFP mould and ran off about 50 lbs. of bullets. A year or two later he got around to wanting to lube and size that hoard and he called me up and asked, "What the heck size does that Magma mold cast too?" I said a smidge over .452" and running them through a Star .452" die cleans them up real nice. He told me he could hardly get them through 450 with a .451" dies so he micced the raw ones and they were .456". When I asked what he cast them from he told me straight clip on wheel weights that he had from just before the scourge of zinc started showing up. I have a Colt with .456" throats so I told him I'd take them. Well those have stopped growing in the last 3-4 years, but I just checked some I had lubed and sized at .451" for a FA Model 97 and by golly they are .455" now. I have used a mic to measure fresh cast bullets from that mould and I reconfirmed they drop at just under .453".
Doggoneit.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Looks like his is more of an issue with higher Sb alloys, especially those with large differences in Sb to Sn content.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Looks like his is more of an issue with higher Sb alloys, especially those with large differences in Sb to Sn content.
Agreed. Once you get away from the 3/1 antimony to tin ratio, you get antimony crystal growth as the tin want to migrate to the lead. Larger the diameter of the bullet, the more it appears. IMHO
 

Ian

Notorious member
This is why I like self-aligning rifle bullets. If they grow a little it makes little difference. Sizing and fitting to the last tenth is fine if you're loading for a match this weekend but not so good if stockpiling ammo for the next ten years.

Ric is right, the closer the antimony/tin balance, the more dimensionally-stable the alloy. That should be obvious enough from the mere fact that balanced alloys don't tend to age harden more than a couple of BHN points over time, whereas 4-6 points is common with air-cooled modern straight COWW alloy and more like 11-12 points if water-quenched.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
That is why Ian and I have such diverse opinions. I started casting bullets in November of 2019 for the April thru September 2020 season. They will go through several sub-zero to 85 plus temperature cycles in my shop before April. I will lube and size the bullets three or four days before the match and load them. If traveling across country, just before I pack the 5th wheel they will be loaded. Any bullets cast in 2018 are now practice bullets.
 

Intheshop

Banned
Straight WW, sized 452 in 1982 grew .0005" averaged over 10 bullets measured.

When sized again,they're back to .4522