Continuing the ballistic gelatin tests of the 45-70 Government cartridges. This time an original 1886 Winchester rifle and a Pedersoli 1886/71 lever action rifle are used to fire the 405 grain SP and 300 grain SJHP Remington cartridges in ballistic gelatin blocks. By the Capandball youtube channel.
The melting point of lead is very low. It melts at 327,5 Celsius, and starts to evaporate strongly at 500 Celsius. The gases create lead-oxids with the air. Lead can enter your body if you inhale the gases or the dust of the lead oxids or through the digestive system. Small amount can also enter your body through your skin, but this is only an evanescent quanitity. So I strongly recommend you to keep these simple rules:
Always wear eye protection, a shirt with long sleeves, and gloves.
I strongly recommend you to wear good quality respirators with a filter suitable for the gases of molten lead.
Never take your clothes you use for casting into the house. Never mix them with other clothes.
Always wash your hands and face after casting.
Never eat or drink while casting. (Sorry guys, no beerdrinking either…)
Keep children (and wife) away from the room when your are casting bullets.
Put your melter in a well ventilated room, away from the kitchen. Best to cast bullets outside. Never inhale the gases of the molten lead.
Keep water away from the molten lead. One drop of moisture, sweat or water will make your lead explode in your face.
Cleaning old pipes
If you recycle old water pipes, cut the welded parts, and separate them. Pipes are welded with tin, so these parts are harder. They can be used for breach loading bullets.
Melt the other parts of the pipes outside preferably on open fire.
When the full content is melted, stir it well.
Remove the residue of oxides, dirt and ashes with a metal spoon.
Use a block mold to make one pound blocks for later use.
Melt your clean blocks.
Put a piece of beeswax into the molten alloy, stir it well and ignite the flames. This is called fluxing, a chemical method for cleaning your alloy.
Remove the dirt from the surface of the molten alloy.
Find the good temperature. The more complex and the bigger your bullets are, the more heat they will need to have complete fill.
Use a candle to apply smut on the inside of the cavity. This will help the bullet separate.
Put one corner of the mold into the molten alloy, and wait until the lead does not stick to the metal.
Pour the molten lead into the mold preferably with a cast iron ladle.
Wait until the lead hardens on the spure cutter. Open the spure cutter, open your mold and examine the bullet: if it is not wrinkled and you see sharp edges, you are OK, the temperature is right. It should take 2-3 seconds fro the lead to harden on the spure cutter. If not, put the mold back into the alloy and wait another few minutes.
Drop the bullets on the soft surface of a rag. If you want to make them a bit harder drop them into cool water.
Examine the walls of the mold frequently. Lead drops can stuck to the surface and they will not let your mold block close perfectly.
If you see “frost” on the bullet surface, and it takes too long for the lead to harden on the spure, your mold is overheated. Put it on a cold surface for a few minutes to cool.
Weight each and every bullet you cast. Keep the ones within +/- 0.5 % weight deviation.
On Saturday I took the low recoil offhand shooting cartridges to the range for some testing. Shot the rifle from a sandbag, and it proved quite accurate at 50 m, with managable recoil. At 100 it was poor against my long range cartridges, but at 50 m the bullets hit the same hole. On Sunday we had a 50 m offhand BPCR match that I shot with these BPCR cartridges (34 gr 3Fg Swiss, corn meal filler, cardboard wad, .458″ 405 Grain Lyman bullet, soft Minié lube, no crimp). The first 5 shots went high, but in a tight group. After some sight adjustment I could hit the 10 five times, scoring 95 in the end. I think I’ll keep this load.