Zinc Bullets

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  • Last Post 17 December 2015
Lee Wiggins posted this 23 November 2015

    The last batch of clip on wheel weights I got had lots of zinc ww in with the lead. I separated them out and ingotized the lead ww. There was such a pile if zinc that I melted them down also (in a separate pot) and pored the zinc into ingots. I might find a use for the zinc some day.  Later I got the idea of casting bullets of zinc. It is much harder than any lead alloy, has a higher melting temp. also, much like jacketed bullets. I,m thinking I might be able to push these to full power loads in 308.   Thinking about this I reasoned that the zinc night stick to an iron mold ( think of hot dipped galvanized nails) so I better not use my iron Lyman 311284 mold. I'll try an aluminum mold. Just in case this project turns smelly I chose a mold that I made, and for which I still have the cherry so I can always make another one. I melted the zinc in that other pot ( A heavy gauge stamped steel pot) and heated the mold in the flames around the edge of the pot. Now zinc does not seem to get as fluid as our lead alloys . I tried pouring the zinc into the spew from a spoon , it would not go thru the hole , tried several more times still no go. raised the pot and mold temp. still no go. I think I need a little pressure so I switched to the Lyman “walnut” ladle. That filled the cavity but it took about 30 sec. for the spew to cool. I cut the spew and opened the mold . There was a pretty bullet still in one of the mold halves but it would not drop out. I ended up removing the mold half with the bullet stuck in it and held it in a vice. Using a hammer and punch on the base of the bullet I managed to move the base of the bullet out of the cavity far enough to grab it with a needle nose pliars. The bullet broke in half leaving the nose in the cavity. Ok , this is not looking good. I'll heat the mold half with a torch and melt it out. I put the mold handle screw in the mold half and held it with needle nose pliars by the screw. When the zinc melted I hit the pliars on a steel bench block close to the pliars hinge pin with the mold cavity facing down . Most if the zinc parted company but not all of it. Heating and banging heating and banging caused the zinc to spread in the cavity from one end to the other and on to the face and top of the mold block . It also formed a new alloy ( well new to bullet casting at least). The allow is not new at all , another name for this Zinc / aluminum alloy is pot metal. The pot metal was parting company with the mold half on each heat bang cycle making the cavity larger and uglier. Face it , this mold is now junk. I had turned off the lead pot and tipped the pot 45 deg. from level because the sides of the pot are a cylinder and I reasoned that it might be hard to get the cooled zinc to fall out. Half of the bottom and 1/3 of one side of the pot is filled with now solid zinc, it should fall right out. Nope , I had to slam the pot upside down about 10 times on that steel bench block to get that chunk of zinc to let go of the pot . After it did come out I could see several spots where I had started to galvanize the steel pot. The largest spot was the size of a dime. Well there is still zinc in the pot and it has got to go. I filled the pot with muratic acid (hydrochloric) and it immediately started to bubble , I immediately started to choke and cough. I carried the pot outside to prevent conflict with the better half (somehow I escaped this lapse of judgment). After 45 min., the bubbling stopped and all the zinc was gone. I saved the pot. I have no idea why the zinc stuck to only 1 of the mold blocks and not both , or why I did not manage to galvanize the spew cutter or the Lyman “walnut” ladle . So I have learned that  maybe zinc could be used to “solder” aluminum. I can make pot metal from alum bullet molds and zinc wheel weights. If you don't learn something , you are not paying attention.So if you want to try this , 1 Melt your zinc in an old tin can. 2 Be sure your mold is made out of soapstone or ceramic but not metal. 3 Let me know what 3 should be. Lee Wiggins             

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 23 November 2015

i bot some zinc bullets for my 222 back in 1956 .... took me several years to search for a use for them .... in fact, i still have a few ...

how about zinc gas checks ??

ken

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RicinYakima posted this 23 November 2015

Lee, what a wonderful adventure in practical chemistry! Yep, zinc wants to form strong bonds with: iron, lead, tin, antimony, aluminum, copper and calcium. It is the most reactive of the group 12 metals and a strong reducing agent (it stops oxidation as in galvanizing) but for casters it sticks to everything and makes all your castings rounded. No matter what others say, you can not remove it from your lead alloy once it is in there with anything you have in your home shop. Your #3 is ceramic which is what they use in wheel weight manufacturing. Ric

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 23 November 2015

you can purchase machinable ceramics now so if someone really really needed a hobby a ceramic mold would be decently attainable . do zinc bullets need grooves ??

ken

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Lee Wiggins posted this 23 November 2015

Ricin, Always wished that i had been able to take a chemistry class.

Ken, Why don,t you shoot some of those 22 cal zinc pills you have and let us know if they can be treated like jacketed bullets. If they can maybe this crazy idea has some merit and the ceramic mold thing can be looked into. I don,t know if they need grooves or lube for that matter. are there grooves in those zinc 22 cals you have?

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M3 Mitch posted this 23 November 2015

I vaguely recall a system that cast a zinc washer onto the base of a cast (or maybe swaged?) bullet. Old 50's or 60's stuff, even before my time.

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rjmeyer314 posted this 24 November 2015

I tried the zinc washer swaged bullet trick maybe 20 years ago. It didn't shoot worth a darn in my Dan Wesson. I gave up on it.

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bandmiller2 posted this 24 November 2015

There are die casting zinc alloys available that would probably be a lot easier to work with, I can't remember the name right now. Who knows what a mixture you were dealing with. Wheel weights be they lead or zinc are made from the cheapest crap they can buy. Frank C.

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corerf posted this 24 November 2015

If you have a cannon zinc ball is what I see that many use.

Just a thought.

2 inch mortar?

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Lee Wiggins posted this 24 November 2015

On the zinc Washer thing. They are a Jim Harvy invention. Google Harvy Prot-X-Bore Zinc-Base Bullets. After I read more about the subject I think I had a bad idea. The part about your bore develops a zinc coating which makes it more accurate and protects it from rust, Well I don't think I want to test that claim in a good quality match grade barrel. If a zinc washer on the base of a swaged lead bullet will do that ,a cast zinc bullet will also. Lee Wiggins

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Ed Harris posted this 24 November 2015

Dilution is the Solution to Pollution.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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billglaze posted this 24 November 2015

Back in the mid-fifties, (1950's, that is) I was casting bullets for several calibers.  I had access to a great deal of zinc alloy, (Zamac) at work, and, in the ignorance of youth, decided to cast some bullets for my .220 Swift.  This was before I even knew about dedicated casting melting pots, (not sure there were even such things for handloaders)so I used a Lyman dipper.  I soon found out that the stuff was hard to get to fill a mould, hard to get sharp castings, and that a 50 gr. bullet weighed, (as I recall) about 39 gr. The important point, was that I couldn't get any semblance of accuracy.  As far as sizing, they were very tough on my Lyman 45 sizer.  Which I still have/use.  I probably didn't carry my experimentation far enough, but I knew very little about the arcane witchcraft and voodoo required. Recently, I accidentally had some zinc contamination; didn't realize it until I weighed samples of my casting session, and my 311299 bullets which normally weighed in near 200 gr, were weighing a fairly uniform 188 gr.  That figured it out; and the (again) hard sizing, and the BHN of 30+ for un-heat treated bullets.  But, in this case, they shot comparably to the pure ww's I normally use.  Bear in mind, no world's records, but nothing disastrous.  And never, in any of my casting sessions, did I have the extreme difficulties you suffered.  In fact, I still have and use the very same Lyman Moulds from my early days.  Just lucky, I guess.  I could have had the problems you've had.  Easily. Bill

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. My fate is not entirely in Gods hands, if I have a weapon in mine.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 24 November 2015

lee ... fwiw i worked the zinc 22's up to full loads in my 222. groups were about 3 moa, from a rifle that shot under 1 moa with hornady sx .

$3.00 wasted . i am still looking for a use for them .

ken

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 25 November 2015

bandmiller2 wrote: There are die casting zinc alloys available that would probably be a lot easier to work with, I can't remember the name right now. Who knows what a mixture you were dealing with. Wheel weights be they lead or zinc are made from the cheapest crap they can buy. Frank C. Zmac

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bandmiller2 posted this 25 November 2015

Yea Zamac/Zmac was what I was thinking of. Probably it would have to be injected under pressure for complete fill out. Frank C.

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Lee Wiggins posted this 25 November 2015

Ken, Did you get a zinc coated bore as described in the articles about Harvy Port-X-Bore Zinc-Base Bullets ? Lee Wiggins

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 25 November 2015

mr lee ... i didn't check for a zinc coated bore ....and i always used 4xxx steel wool to clean the barrel ... plus i shot mj intermittently with it ... anyway the rifle kept it's -1 moa for another 30000 rounds ... hmmm ... maybe it was the zinc ??? just kidding ??

ken

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Lee Wiggins posted this 25 November 2015

Ken, Thanks for the response. Lee

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xs11jack posted this 26 November 2015

cast bullets with a zinc washer on the back end were used in the civil war. I have one that was picked up on a battlefield in Virginia. they were called cleaner bullets and were used to get the black powder fouling out of the barrel. So they have been around a long time. Ole Jack

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Brodie posted this 27 November 2015

Ken Campbell Iowa wrote: lee ... fwiw i worked the zinc 22's up to full loads in my 222. groups were about 3 moa, from a rifle that shot under 1 moa with hornady sx .

$3.00 wasted . i am still looking for a use for them .

kenYou could always put them in some HCL and make a lot of hydrogen gas.  Or melt them into a lump and use it for a weight.

Seriously, the only use I can see for Zinc in casting is as fishing weights, and then because of their lower density they would not be as good as lead or iron.  And yes I have used iron sash weights fishing Rock Cod in excess of a 1000 ft. Brodie

B.E.Brickey

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