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Old 05-11-2018, 02:37 PM
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Question re: FYI powder coated self cast bullets Question re: FYI powder coated self cast bullets Question re: FYI powder coated self cast bullets Question re: FYI powder coated self cast bullets Question re: FYI powder coated self cast bullets  
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Default Question re: FYI powder coated self cast bullets

I will admit it upfront, I am insanely frugal! Without embellishment, I can make a Scotsman cringe. I enjoy casting and using my own bullets.

I am giving serious thought to poly coating my own bullets ... the process appears to be straight forward and easy. My question is, should the cast bullet be sized before or after powder coating? The little bit that I have found concerning sizing suggests sizing after powder coating, but logic steps in and screams that to size afterwards defeats the process,since you will scrape off the poly coating.

Opinions please? First hand experience is appreciated.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:27 PM
Forrest r Forrest r is offline
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Don't know about logic but:

If sizing the bullets after coating them scraps the coating off then why doesn't shooting them (another form of sizing) scrap the coating off???

It depends when I size them. I don't like to size my cast bullets more than 3/1000th's smaller at any time. Coating adds 2/1000th's to the diameter of a bullet.
so for example:
I want some 30cal bullets for the 308w and I typically size them to .310". 1 mold casts a .311" bullet and the coating adds 2/1000th's to the diameter of that bullet. The end result is a .313" bullet. I will size them after I cast/coat them. Another mold casts a .313" bullet. The coating adds another 2/1000th's to the bullet. The cast coated bullet is .315" after casting/coating them. I will size the .313" bullets down to .310", then coat the bullet and re-size them to .310" again.

Sizing down more then 3/1000th's at 1 time tends to be hard on the bullet bases/gas checks/etc. Anything under pressure tends to go to the least point of resistance.

The only time I've ever seen the coating scrap off a coated bullet is when the cases weren't properly expanded/flared.

I on the cheap side myself. Coated bullets are easy/cheap to do. The firearms stay clean longer and use less solvents/patches/brushes to clean. Coating bullets also take alloys out of play. Free range scrap is a beautiful thing when it's turned into piles of bullets that can be used from lite 38spl target loads to 30,000+psi magnum loads to 30,000psi rifle loads.

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Old 05-11-2018, 07:00 PM
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I powder coat my cast bullets and size after the coating processes. If done properly the coating shouldn't come off during sizing. Basically it just compresses the coating, the bearing surface will just be shiny afterwards.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:19 PM
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One of the checks to see if the coating is good is to put it in a vice. If the bullet flakes the coat is bad.

I routinely size afterward. Shaving doesn't happen. The coat doesn't come off
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:05 AM
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I've been coating pistol bullets for around 2 years and just recently rifle bullets. This is going to be a long post on how I do things but there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Tools:

Convention toaster oven for curing your bullets.

I prefer the convection oven because it heats more evenly. You can pick one up at a resale store on the cheap or just buy a new one for around $30 to $40 depending on what you like. ONLY use the oven for curing powder coated bullets or heat treating bullets from that point on NEVER use it to cook food in afterwards. If the oven is not digital and controlled by an internal PID get yourself an oven baking thermometer (WallyWorld for $7) to set your temperature dial as close as possible, most toaster ovens heat much hotter than the dial indicates. Set your oven to keep a constant temperature at around 400 degrees, if the temp runs +/- 25 degrees it wants hurt anything you just don't want it to get to high or too cool.


Plastic container for tumbling bullets in.


You will need a one or more #5 plastic containers and lids depending on if you want to do more than one color, screw on types are the best but snap on lid types like I use work fine to. I use these two types of #5 container I recycle from home along with multi color plastic pony beads I get at WallyWorld for $1.50 per pack, they are large enough that they want get stuck in my big 45 ACP HP's. The combination has worked well for me to generate lots of static electricity to attract the powder to the bullets. One thing of note is that LOW HUMIDITY is your friend as it will make generating static electricity easy, I like it to be 40% or lower. At times I've had to coat in the house and take them out to my reloading shed to cure.

#5 container from local restaurants.


Great Value Yogurt container.


Pony Beads.



In the small container I place enough beads to fill the bottom about 1" deep, in the larger container I add enough to fill it between 1" an 2" but no more than that. I add about 1/2 TSP of powder to the container with the beads and shake it up for about 30 sec. notice how it already starts to stick to the beads and sides of the container. I always start out with 1/2 TSP if you need to add more powder to get the desired coat only add another 1/4 TSP to the mix as too much powders will clump on the bullets and you will have to tap it off before placing them on the baking tray. It's easy to add a little more powder to get a fine coating than having too much to start with.


Next I add the bullets. Make sure they are clean of any dirt, oil or lube or any contaminates that might be on your hands as the powder will not stick. I like to wash mine in 100% Acetone if needed and I wear nitrile groves when handling bullets I plan on coating. I generally add around 50 to 75 bullets to the container depending on caliber and weight, close the lid and shake in all directions for around 30 seconds. I used black air soft BB's that I had with the clear powder coat and they work great with clear, not so much with some other colors I've used but the pony beads will work with all colors. Other like to just use the Air Soft BB's or nothing at all but just powder and bullets.


After about 30 seconds of shaking I tap the lid to knock any powder off the inside and look at my bullets to see how they are coated. If they pass my inspection they should look like this or the ones in the white clear coat above.


Next I take my baking sheet and line it with a piece of Reynolds Non-Stick aluminum foil, non-stick side up, there are cheaper brands of that type foil but I think the Reynolds works best and I get around 7 to 10 uses out of a sheet before I toss it, other like silicone baking mats but powder residue tends to build up over time on those so I just use the foil. I take a pair of long tweezers and place all my bullets base first onto the foil, it takes some time to do it this way but I can easily have the next tray of bullets ready to cure by the time the first batch is done. Many just dump the bullets into a screen trays,shake off the excess powder and dump them on the foil and bake, but I like the results I get standing them up individually and the powder flow and migrates evenly with no lumps or flat spots. Then I pop them in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 min. then I size and gas check as needed.

Smokes Yellow/Green & Carolina Blue


OD Green I get local.


Smokes Super Durable Clear


Same Lee 185 gr. RN bullet coated in Smokes Clear, Eastwood Med Green,Smokes Carolina Blue and Eastwood Maroon Red.


Powders I like to use.

Smokes Yellow / Green, Super Durable Clear or Carolina or Signal Blue are all excellent powders to coat with. Smoke will sell you a pound of powder divided into 3 1/3rd lb. of any of his colors if you like but these are the colors I like and that have worked for me the best with no fuss.

VS - Hi quality Powder for DT or Spraying bullets

Eastwood powders I like.

Hotcoat Powder Coat Lime Green

Hotcoat Powder Coat Ford LIght Blue

Hotcoat Powder Coat Maroon

Hotcoat Powder Coat Medium Green


A few notes on cast bullet air cooled or quenched from the mold and how the curing process will anneal the cast lead bullets using an alloy that responds to water quenching or heat treating.

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 oven a second time you only loose around 15% hardness from the first quenching.

Last edited by reloader7.62; 05-12-2018 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:38 AM
Forrest r Forrest r is offline
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reloader7.62

I like the use of the plastic beads instead of the airsoft plastic bb's.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:56 AM
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PC'd bullets can easily be manipulated. I made a bump die to bump/swage the lee 230gr blackout bullet. The lee 230gr blackout has a long nose and a boattail base.

I pc'd the bullets and bumped them to shorten the nose. Changed the base to a gas check base. And re-sized them to taper down (.310") at the base/gc to .308" where the arrow points.


Coated (PC'd) bullets shot out of a 308w. I was testing alloy looking for an alloy that would bend/expand instead of shatter.


The only time the pc coating comes off is when the bullet hit something solid/hard. That 2300fps (bottom right) bullet was the the final test for a alloy that would bend/expand instead of breaking/shattering. That bullet was the swaged lee 230gr bullet pictured above with a 50,000+psi load pushing it.

More recovered bullets shot from pistols/revolvers with loads from anything from mild to wild.
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest r View Post
reloader7.62

I like the use of the plastic beads instead of the airsoft plastic bb's.
The beads can be recycled as well, they are pretty cheap but if you have a limited supply just rinse them off,dry and uses them with a different color powder.

Forrest, nice work on the HV rifle bullet. What ally are you using and what range and accuracy are you getting with that bullet. I have a Mosin 91/30 and a Sav. 99 in 300 Sav. I want to try and push the HV envelope with. 2K seem to be easily doable but I want to get up around 22 to 2300 fps. if I can keep it accurate.

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Old 05-12-2018, 12:41 PM
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Great posts guys. I have the oven the PC etc. Going to try the 429 303 spire point bullet and a 429 348 flying trashcan... Been meaning to do it before this
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:48 PM
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I've only PCed about 1,000 bullets. I have had none "flake" during sizing after coating. I use the same methods I do my plain/lubed cast bullets, sizing, and load data...

For answers to just about any question about coating, sizing, loading and shooting coated bullets look here; Coatings and Alternatives
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:32 PM
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Size before or after powder coating. Kind of depends on the final size you want and how thick of a PC coat you put on the bullet.

For soft lead plinking loads, I've forgone the sizing process all together. I have some older revolvers with large throats that do just fine with out sizing at all also.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:44 AM
Forrest r Forrest r is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reloader7.62 View Post
The beads can be recycled as well, they are pretty cheap but if you have a limited supply just rinse them off,dry and uses them with a different color powder.

Forrest, nice work on the HV rifle bullet. What ally are you using and what range and accuracy are you getting with that bullet. I have a Mosin 91/30 and a Sav. 99 in 300 Sav. I want to try and push the HV envelope with. 2K seem to be easily doable but I want to get up around 22 to 2300 fps. if I can keep it accurate.
For standard 1600/1900fps rifle loads I use coated range scrap. When stepping up to hv/cast/pc'd bullets in high powered rifles a alloy that is "elastic" is best. I use a 15bhn alloy 4 parts range scrap (+/-8bhn) to 1 part mono-type. What happens is the nose of the bullet starts in the rifling and the base/lower body of the bullet is still in the ball throat/leade. This puts torque/twists the bullet body. This leads to the next paragraph.

Bullet design is huge. Most old bullet designs have what's known as a "wiper groove" in front of the front drive band/before the bullets nose. When the nose of the bullet twists this becomes a weak link. Bore riding nosed bullets tend to strip out with high pressure/high velocity loads. Bullets with a long nose end up having what's known as nose slump when pushed hard/high pressure. The nose actually slumps to 1 side ruining accuracy. This bullet is designed for extreme accuracy with the taper matching the chamber's throat. Push it hard (2000+fps) and the nose slumps destroying accuracy.


I started doing initial tests last winter and used the lee 160-312 tl bullet.


Typical 10-shot groups @ 100yds with mixed brass and the only bullet sorting was visual defects (voids/bad bullet bases) and home made gas checks.


A good example of the affects of the bullets nose/slump. I have a cramer #43mold that casts a bullet like the lyman 311316 sp bullet. 1 cavity casts a sp bullet and the other cavity casts a flat nosed hp bullet. Every load I've tested the flat nosed hp has outshot the sp bullet. Typical groups/10-shots @ 100yds.


The cramer #43 bullets


Something to keep in mind:

I'm using a custom 30" bbl (more velocity) that has a 1 in 14 twist (less spin/torque/nose slump).

Strong bullet design with a short or flat nose that isn't a bore rider. And you'll find that 2200fps/2300fps and +/- 1 1/2 moa are very doable. Getting under 1 1/2moa takes a lot of attention to detail.

Good luck & sorry for the thread drift
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Old 05-13-2018, 02:47 PM
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Forrest r, thanks for the great reply. All my rifles are old war horses mostly like my Russian M44 & M91/30 which have basically 1:10 twist bores but they didn't see much action so the rifling is strong and the leads in excellent shape. My SKS rifles are all about the same as well. I don't really expect to get real HV out of any of rifles although they all shoot the Lee .312" 160 gr. TL bullet pretty close to MOA accuracy closely followed by the Lee .312" 185 gr. RN bullet.

The two rifles that might show some promise is my old Sav. 170 30-30 pump gun which has a 1:12 twist groove bore. I don't think I will have to much of a problem matching factory J bullet velocity with the Lee or RD 170 gr. FN molds I have. I have a Sav. 99 as well in 300 Sav. I will have to get out the stick and find out the twist of the bore but I think it's 1:12 as well. It shoot the Lee .312" 160 gr. bullet in nickle size groups as well sized to .311" but I haven't tried to push it yet.

As far as casting alloy I have pure lead, Wheel weights, Lino and Mono type as well as some range scrap and a good bit of tin. I also have access to some babbitt chips that have around 3% copper that I might try mixing in to toughen up my bullets. I need to do a bit of study on that.

Bullets that I can cast for rifles are the Lee .312" 160 & 185 gr. RN bullets, Lee 150 & 170 gr. .310" FN and a Arsenal clone of the original RD 170 gr. FN with traditional lube grooves as well as an Accurate 215 gr. FN bullet I had cut to fit the throat on my 91/30.



Not sure where I will end up with all this but I have to give it a try just to see what I can do. After all it's a hobby and I enjoy a challenge.

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Old 05-14-2018, 04:47 PM
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Size after. IMO, anything you do that may contaminate the surface may cause the PC to not stick. I size after. Proper PC will not size/scrape off.
I was slow to PC or HT coatings, too old school, but best thing to happen to lead bullets IMO.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:59 AM
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The only issue I ran into with coated bullets is when I pushed them over 2700fps in a 308w.

Picture of the clean 308 bbl/throat & leade area






The black streaks came out with boretech eliminator

Never had the issue until I started pushing the pc'd bullets over 2700fps. Everything under 2700 in rifles/pistols/revolvers always cleaned up with 1 wet patch & 1 dry patch, no brushing needed.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeet 028 View Post
Great posts guys. I have the oven the PC etc. Going to try the 429 303 spire point bullet and a 429 348 flying trashcan... Been meaning to do it before this
Those are 2 good bullets. I sold the 429303 to help fund a custom mold. Did a lot of plinking with that 429303.
A couple of plinking loads for the 44mag


Used to have a 429348 mold, another great bullet. Now I use a cramer 200gr version of that bullet. The cramer mold is a nose pour which ='s excellent bullet bases. Another clays/44mag case plinking load


Just got done casting these 245gr wc's for the 44cal's and need to pc them.


Enjoy your 44cal bullets. Those designs are extremely accurate and are impressive when pushed hard.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:00 AM
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Size after. Like someone told me when I was getting started PCing, "the coating is tough as woodpecker lips."
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