Casting Roundballs?

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tallpine

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This is my first post but I have been lurking here for quite some time. Many thanks to the people on this forum who freely share there knowledge,you have defiantly flattened the learning curve for me and I truly appreciate it.
I just recently built a .62 cal smooth bore, worked up loads for both ball and shot and I am very happy with this gun, on my worst day it will shoot 2 to 3 1/2 groups at 50 yds consistently. This is with round balls purchased from TOTW, The balls I cast from wheel weights will not group at all, I'm lucky to even keep them on the paper. Both balls mic the same and they both weigh the same and actually look better than the ones I bought from Track. At the end of a very frustrating day I loaded 3 Track balls and shot a nice 2 1/2 inch group just like it always does. Anyone ever run into anything like this?, Just doesen't make sense. Thanks Dan
 

Black Hand

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Can you give more details about your casting process? It might help discern where there might be issues (if there are any)...
 

tallpine

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Well This was my first venture into casting. I'm using a two ball Lee mold, pot and ladle. Balls look perfect, I was really surprised at how easy it was.
 

Black Hand

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Do you have casting voids? They are sometimes seen as a small hole in the sprue that might be bigger inside.
 

rushlake1

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Did you mic the poured round balls?

Did you weigh them individually?

Good chance you're getting an internal void unseen.

There is a big difference there somewhere.

Keep at it till you sort it out.
 

Lonegun1894

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In addition to what the other guys said, wheel weights will make harder RBs than what pure lead would. WW is also a little bit lighter than pure, and just to make things more frustrating, your WW will cast slightly smaller RBs than the same mould will cast with pure. Lots of variables, and they all make a difference.
 

rdstrain49

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Just to eliminate a possible mold problem, cast only one hole at a time then the other hole. Keep the ball separated and try a group or two with each.

Also, I know they say load with the spru up. To keep the spru perfectly aligned is difficult for me. To reduce the effect the slightly misaligned spru might have I tumble my cast ball in stainless media overnight. The spru is not gone but is very much reduced. My groups tightened up a bit using this method.
 

curator

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Wheel weight alloy actually casts slightly larger than pure lead as it shrinks less when it cools and solidifies. The OP's results are consistent with how most "smoothies" shoot different sized balls. Sometimes a slightly smaller ball is more accurate, sometimes less. In my smooth-bores, hard WW balls shoot better patched while pure lead balls from the same mould will often shoot fine without a patch despite being slightly smaller. I suspect the pure lead obturates some upon ignition, making the difference. Balls cast from a Lee mould rarely have a raised sprue, but internal voids are a real possibility with beginning casters.
 

Billnpatti

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As others have pointed out, wheel weights are a different alloy than pure lead. As such, it has both a different density and a different thermal expansion coefficient. The different density will cause a ball cast from wheel weights to be of a different weight than ones cast from pure lead. Whether it be heavier or lighter, I don't know, but it will not weigh the same as a ball cast from pure lead. Also, having different thermal expansion coefficients, balls cast from lead will be of a different size than those cast from wheel weights. Again, whether they be larger or smaller, I cannot say but they will be different. Curator says they will be larger but Lonegun1894 says smaller. I don't know. What I do know is that balls cast from any alloy will differ from those cast from pure lead and will usually be harder. I am puzzled by how you found the balls cast from wheel weights to be the same sized and same weight. I won't say that you are wrong but, based on what I have posted here, the fact that the balls measured the same size and the same weight is a bit puzzling.

The difference in performance between the two balls that you are finding is most likely due to casting voids, however, their differing weight, size and hardness will, as well, have a great influence on how they perform.
 

Loyalist Dave

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The difference in performance between the two balls that you are finding is most likely due to casting voids, however, their differing weight, size and hardness will, as well, have a great influence on how they perform.
Indeed. They shouldn't be the same weight AND the same diameter, given that one group is wheel weight alloy. So it is possible that the balls you cast are in a mold that should give you smaller ball than the factory ones which you bought from Track..., but because they shrink less, they end up pretty close to the factory ball that you ordered.

STILL, they should weigh less, AND with a void, the difference should be greater between the weight.

I expect that you have a void, and since that would be inconsistent, in both weight and the size of the internal void, it might be making your cast ball wobble in flight like a joke-baseball used by clowns at the circus. Which would explain the bad groups. I should think that if there were no void, although the alloy ball would fly faster as they are lighter, you'd get some sort of group, though not where you'd wish..., probably higher than you wished.

The other option, which might be just slight enough to avoid observation, would be that the mold is bad..., it does happen sometimes, and you're not getting a true sphere, and this would account for the lighter alloy weighing the same as all lead, and for the diameter to seem close enough to be called the same. So not round = out of balance = doesn't fly straight.


LD
 

Rifleman1776

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Missing from this discussion is the fact that 'wheel weights' are no longer a consistent material manufacturer to manufacturer. You really do not know what you have with modern ww.
But, the other advice about unseen voids, etc. is worth heeding.
 

curator

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One thing I really like about the good folks on this forum is their generosity with advice. Sometimes the OPs do not give enough information to narrow down a problem, and sometimes our well meaning members advise incorrectly. Instead of guessing about how much different lead alloys shrink after casting, (if you don't have actual experience) why not do a quick google-search before replying? Also, the OP did not say what size TOW ball he was using successfully, .600 or 610. TOW offers both. Lee 2-cavity round ball moulds only come in .600 (or .575) to fit a .62 caliber gun. Since our OP here is both new to the forum and new to smooth bores and casting, we all want him to have a great experience and rely on our sagacious advice in the future.
 

tallpine

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Thanks guys for the replies,I guess the main thing I learned from this venture is wheel weights are a crap shoot if you are looking for repeatable accuracy. After locating an accurate mic I found out that most of the balls I had cast were as much as .005 to .006 under size. A few were close to 600 so I shot them and they all grouped fair but not great. I then cast some balls from known pure lead,they were very consistent and grouped tight.I think I will stick with pure lead, Thanks to all who replied to my post, greatly appreciated, Dan
 
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