Author Topic: Doing some casting and powder coating  (Read 1953 times)

Offline res45

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Doing some casting and powder coating
« on: December 31, 2017, 08:52:38 AM »
Well it's either been dark when I get home from work or the weather sucks when I'm off, so I've been casting a few bullets some new some old and doing some powder coating for when I can get out and do some shooting. Here are some of what I've been doing.

NOE 359 / 155 gr. clone of the Lyman /Ray Thompson 358156 HP I'm going to use the Carolina Blue for 357 Mag. loads and the Yellow Green for 38+P loads.


NOE 452 / 220 gr. Cup Points the mold also cast HP's as well as FN bullets, I did these in OD Green and Yellow Green for the Hi Point carbine.


Accurate 215 gr. .314" FN bullet I had cut for my deep throated 91/30 I coated these with Smokes Clear Gloss PC.


Lee 185 gr. RN for my Mosin and SKS rifles. L to R Smokes Clear Gloss, Eastwood Med. Green. Smokes Carolina Blue and Eastwood Maroon Red,both my Mosin and SKS rifles love these.


NOE 9mm 124 gr. TC coated with Smokes Yellow Green and Clear Gloss for the CANIK TP9SA



Offline armymars

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 05:52:40 PM »
WOW!

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 01:58:08 AM »
Very good results in both casting and coating!  What process do you use for the powder coating?  How many can you coat in a batch?

I've handloaded for over 30 years but never got into casting.  I've never found a cheap source of lead (just started looking in the last few years and seems not as common as before).  But I shoot mostly cast lead for handguns so it is very tempting.  Powder coating makes it even more attractive for cleaner barrels, less smoke, etc.

Thanks for the great photos of your project.

Offline res45

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 03:57:32 AM »
Quote
What process do you use for the powder coating?  How many can you coat in a batch?

I use  the shake an bake method, I do my coating usually outside in my building but sometimes I have to do it in the house if the humidity is too high an bake/cure on the back porch, I like the humidity to be around 40% or lower as it helps create static when the air is dry.

I start off with a container like this one as I've found it works the best for me. They are just recycled #5 plastic containers and lids that we get takeout in from the Chinese restaurant but just about any #5 bow with a lid will do.


I fill the container about 1" deep with these plastic beads you can get at any Walmart or craft store cheap. You can wash them off and reuse again an again if you want to switch colors or just buy enough to have several setups with different colors.


I put about a 1/2 TBSP of powder in with the beads and shake it up for about 30 seconds to get everything mixed well, you may need to add more powder but I only add about half as much 1/4 TBSP as too much can make the powder clump on the bullets, you just want a fine coat. As you can see the powder is already clinging to the plastic bowl by the static generated.


Then I add my bullets usually about 50 to 75 at a time depending on size and weight and hold the container like this in my hand an swirl everything around for about a minute sometimes less, there is no real correct way to do this you just swirling everything around.


After shaking I open the contain and inspect the coating an if I happy with it I use a pair of large tweezers to remove each bullet and stand it up base first on non-stick aluminum foil dull side up, some use silicone baking mats or parchment paper, I just prefer the foil.  Bullets are then place in my used convection toaster oven which is verified via oven thermometer at 400 degrees for 20 min.  While those bullets are  curing I get the next batch ready to go in the over as I have two baking trays and can get around 150 bullets on each tray so in general your only limited by the size of the oven or how many you can get on a tray at one time.  I can easily do around 300 to 400 an hour once I get the first batch going.

After the bullets have cooled they are ready to be sized and gas checked as needed.


Another point I should mention is that if you cast lead bullets and you use water quenching to add hardness to the lead alloy the powder coating process will anneal the lead and affect the final bullet hardness even if you water quench them a second time after coating.  It basically goes like this.

1. If you air cool your bullets when cast then PC them an allow them to air cool again the second time there is no change in the as cast BHN of the bullet.

2. If you air cool your bullets when cast then PC them and quench them right out of the toaster oven they will gain a hardness of about 75% over the as cast BHN.

3. If you quench your bullets out of the mold to begin with then PC them and allow them to air cool they will soften around 50% from the original first quenching BHN.

4. If you quench your bullets out of the mold to begin with then PC them and quench them right out of the toaster over a second time you only loose around 15% hardness from the first quenching.

I either follow steps 1 or 2. I either just cast my bullets from an alloy of the hardness I want to begin with and  air cool them when cast an after powder coating I let them air cool again or I cast them from an alloy that responds to water quenching ie wheel weights powder coat them and quench them right out of the toaster oven which give me and increased  hardness of around 75% which is fine for my needs.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 04:07:50 AM by res45 »

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 08:13:26 AM »
Fantastic write up.  I've only tinkered with some tumble lube casting for handguns.  I tried the cheapo harbor freight powder coat, but did not follow your process.  Next free weekend I might try this again.

Offline archer

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 11:52:14 AM »
great write up, thanks.
i've been buying sample packs of coated bullets to determine how well they work. i'm impressed, time to put in an order for a box of 500.

where do you get your powders from?

Offline res45

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 04:23:01 PM »
Fantastic write up.  I've only tinkered with some tumble lube casting for handguns.  I tried the cheapo harbor freight powder coat, but did not follow your process.  Next free weekend I might try this again.

I started out with the HF Red years ago it's the ONLY color that will shake an bake worth anything an sometime it even doesn't work well, stay away for the white entirely.  If you handle your bullet much without wearing gloves it a good idea to wash them in some acetone or 100% fingernail polish remover same thing an let the dry well.  Powder coat especially when you generating your own static via. the shake and bake method like a clean oil free bullet.

Also of note the HR powders are epoxy base instead of polymer based like the better quality powder coats so it's a bit harder to work with.  The Red, Yellow and Black will all spray on very well using an ES gun but thats an added expense.   

Offline res45

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2018, 04:30:59 PM »
great write up, thanks.
i've been buying sample packs of coated bullets to determine how well they work. i'm impressed, time to put in an order for a box of 500.

where do you get your powders from?

I get mine from a couple places one from Smoke over on the Cast Boolit Forum http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?241259-Hi-quality-Powder-for-DT-or-Spraying-bullets  The colors I like and that do well for me that he sells are the Yellow Green, Carolina Blue, Signal Blue and the Clear Gloss.

I also buy powders from http://www.eastwood.com/hotcoat-powder-coating/powders.html  The colors that work well from there that I have used are Med. Green, Maroon an Lime Green.  I tend to stay away for Yellow or light colors of Orange as they don't coat as well because the pigment tends to separate from the base material and not coat as well.  In general your dark to med. dark colors will do best.

If your not into colors just get some clear gloss it easy to shake and bake with and it covers very well with not much effort and it migrates well and fills in small voids.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 08:59:30 PM »
Res45, this is the clearest, simplest and best illustrated process I have seen.  I've tried to follow the PC threads on CastBoolits but they are hundreds of pages long and riddled with disputes about each step.  Thank you!!

Offline res45

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 08:22:10 AM »
Res45, this is the clearest, simplest and best illustrated process I have seen.  I've tried to follow the PC threads on CastBoolits, but they are hundreds of pages long and riddled with disputes about each step.  Thank you!!

Thanks for all the compliments.  That's a long thread over in the Coatings and Alternatives section of the forum, but there is lots of good knowledge to be had and with that many posts there are bound to be disputes on how to do things.  Not all but some individuals like to feel like their way of doing things is the right way sometime they work and sometimes not, it's really not an exact process as there are so many variables that can effect the end result.

I just outlined the process that works for me and I hope it will for those that try it as well and I will be more than happy to answer any questions or troubleshoot problems if coating bullets is something you want to try.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 10:30:53 PM »
Thanks for all the compliments.  That's a long thread over in the Coatings and Alternatives section of the forum, but there is lots of good knowledge to be had and with that many posts there are bound to be disputes on how to do things.  Not all but some individuals like to feel like their way of doing things is the right way sometime they work and sometimes not, it's really not an exact process as there are so many variables that can effect the end result.

I just outlined the process that works for me and I hope it will for those that try it as well and I will be more than happy to answer any questions or troubleshoot problems if coating bullets is something you want to try.

Yes, it is a good baseline to start with to get initial success in a straightforward manner.  From there one could experiment.  I really appreciate the detail on which brand and which colors work well with your process.

Is it at all worthwhile to buy non-lubed cast bullets and powder coat oneself?  Or does PC only make sense if you cast your own?  The cost of already PCed bullets seems to be about in the middle of the costs for lubed cast and plated bullets.  So it would seem there is very little margin to save by just PC yourself, whereas if you already cast and save a ton then PC is a nice way to finish them off without lube?

Offline res45

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 03:13:36 AM »
Quote
Is it at all worthwhile to buy non-lubed cast bullets and powder coat oneself?  Or does PC only make sense if you cast your own?  The cost of already PCed bullets seems to be about in the middle of the costs for lubed cast and plated bullets.  So it would seem there is very little margin to save by just PC yourself, whereas if you already cast and save a ton then PC is a nice way to finish them off without lube?

Lots of things to look at here.  First I've been casting off an on for around 35 years, pretty steady the last ten or so, never had to pay for any lead other than a couple buck for a bucket of wheel weights or a big roll of sheet lead but most was free for the asking so there was really no expense for me other than cost of equipment and molds.  Free lead is still around, the rural area tire shops and shooting ranges that will sell you range lead are about your best bet or you can always buy wheel weights or range scrap ingots or other assorted metal off Ebay or Cast Boolit Forums swap an sell much cheaper than form online sources.  So it's a bit of work at times to get good casting metal but it's my hobby, so I don't mind the time. 

The majority of my molds are Lee, they pretty much pay for themselves after casting a couple hundred bullets, I have 14 Lee molds all two cavity some old some new an they still cast really nice bullets.   My custom molds from NOE, Accurate etc. cost a bit more but after you cast a couple thousand bullets compared to buying a couple thousand the mold basically pays for itself, plus if you have lead you can make all the bullets you want.  I like the independence of being able to make all my own bullets in the configuration I want that best suit my gun and needs be it hunting, plinking etc.

I think the main thing these days is being able to find free or good affordable casting lead if you can do that every thing else is a moot point, a Lee pot, a couple molds, push through sizer dies and some PC  an old toaster oven an your in business.  One reason I don't buy commercial cast bullets more so in the old days is because most commercial caster offered a one size fits all product same wax lube that smoked, same hard alloy regardless of caliber, and bullet all sized to one diameter with no options for different throat or bore diameters, that just doesn't really work in lots of cases and it probably why you read about so many people that try cast lead bullet having poor accuracy and leading issues,  if the bullet doesn't fit to begin with or want bump up to fill the bore you're going to be frustrated.

Coated bullets are really nothing new they have been pretty popular in Europe since the mid 90s, the Hi-Tek coating which is what most US commercial casters are using these day was imported in from Australia by Bayou Bullets which I think is still owned by Jerry Miculeks brother Donnie.  Federal Nyclad and Black Bullets Inter. both used or use a Nylon or polymer coating way before Hi-Tek or PC ever became popular here in the US.   Powder coating for me add a few benefits over the way I would normally lube bullets, the PC isn't affected by extreme heat or cold,  so storing them in less that idea conditions makes it easier to just coat and put aways for later use and you don't have to worry about lead oxidation or the wax lube melting an you hands and dies stay clean.

In most cases coating offer individual the ability to shoot cast lead bullets in there Glocks or help eliminate leading issues or if casting their own bullets using a slightly softer alloy.  I never really had any leading issues so that wasn't a problem I had to deal with and I like to use the colors as a quick reference for specific loads in the same rifle or handgun.

As to the cost Missouri Bullets offers several options on all their bullets.  Let's take the  250 piece box of the #4 Whitetail 165 gr. flat nose plain base bullet for the 30-30 Marlin Lever Gun.

Unsized/Unlubed $27.00 if you don't cast you can size and lube these in whatever way you like.

Lubed and sized plain cast lead $29.00

Hi-Tek coated $31.00

Offline scoob

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 09:26:34 AM »
Excellent info.  This is the kick in the pants I needed to get me back into casting!  Thanks for sharing!

Offline DDJ

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 10:52:55 AM »
Nice write up just quick follow up question.

I noted that you resized after you PCed.  Does this not scrape off the PC?

I have been using the Lee resizing dies and see marks regularly where the lead was resized.  I would expect that you would loose any extra thickness that the PC processed left on the bullet as you resized it.  Dies the PC baking process cause the casting to shrink?  If so is that a side effect of the heat treating/quenching process you indicated?

Offline res45

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Re: Doing some casting and powder coating
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2018, 07:12:44 PM »
The powder coat curing process will not shrink the dia. of your as cast bullet, however it will anneal you lead if you quench them from the mold after casting which I explained in one of my previous post.
Quote
Does this not scrape off the PC?
All the bullets that you see in my above post were sized after coating.  I use Lee push through sizers, NOE push through sizer body with interchangeable sizing bushing as well as a RCBS Lube A Matic and none have removed or damaged the powder coating.  Applied properly the coating is only around .002" thick and it's very slick.  The final dia. of my bullets after sizing is the same regardless of if I PC, Alox tumble lube or run them through the Lube sizer and use traditional lube.