Mixing lead alloy with pure?

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I got a pretty good score of 70 pounds of lead shot. I figure that'll last for a time.

But, I've also got over 50 pounds of lead alloy. I don't know the Brinell score, but I can LIGHTLY score it with my thumb nail.

Would it really be detrimental to throw say, 5 or 10 pounds, of alloy into the mix of the lead shot when I melt it? These will be for round ball, not bullets, so it'll still need to be soft.
 

satwel

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If the round balls are intended for a rifle, adding alloy to the pure lead could be a problem since the balls will be oversized and not as soft. You should be able to see the weave of the patch imprinted on the ball after it's loaded into the muzzle of a rifle. I maintain two supplies of lead, one is pure and one is wheel weights and/or recovered range lead. I cast balls for my smoothbores with the lead alloy since a harder, oversized ball doesn't matter. I keep the pure lead for rifle and minie balls. As an experiment, I once cast a few minie balls for my Civil War rifles from the alloyed lead. They were so oversized, I couldn't start them into the bore.
 
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Birddog1911, where are you located? I’d gladly trade soft roofing lead for shot. I’ll bet you aren’t to far from someone who would trade unless you are really in the boondocks.
 

hanshi

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I generally do what satwel described. While soft lead is best for rifles alloyed lead will work better than most think. Patch thickness may need adjusting although I used the same patches as always. I preferred alloy for smoothbore balls and had well over 100 lbs of WW and range lead. Ball will cast a little larger for sure but not by very much especially with the smaller calibers of rifles. My .600" smoothbore mold barely got to .605" or .606" and smaller balls would be much less than that in rifles. The ones I fired in rifles performed just fine. Still I had plenty of soft lead at that time and generally used that in rifles while WW+ alloys were used for the smoothbore.
 

User_Dan

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I too keep pure separate from alloy/range pickup. Pure for minies and alloy for round ball.
 
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I routinely cast .690 round balls out of Laser Cast pistol bullets for a gun I no longer own and shoot them in a 12 gauge barrel. I generally put a card and a wad under them, a patch around them and a wad above them. With a 12" barrel and no sights, not even a bead, I can hit a soda can at twenty yards pretty reliably. Might be able to stretch that out to thirty yards with less accuracy. A thirty grain 3f charge really thumps your shoulder.

Back in the day, hard cast round balls were all the rage for dangerous game in Africa. Not sure who was braver/crazier, the "Great White Hunter" or the Black kid who got "volunteered" to carry a second gun. Had I been that kid, I'd have maybe thrown the gun to the white dude and run for the hills, as I would know that I didn't have to outrun the elephant or cape buffalo, I'd only have to out-run an old white guy, something I could have done easily when I was in my teens. ;)

In any case, as was pointed out already, the balls will not be of uniform size to the pure lead ones and the weight will be different as well. For me with my twenty-yard soda cans, it would make no measurable difference, but if you are trying to ring a gong at a hundred yards, you're gonna see a difference.
 
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Lead shot is $3 a pound now. Hard backstop scrap is about $1.60. I would not use either for ML balls. Both will be hard and cast oversized. That makes loading a problem. You may break a rod or stick the ball in the bore on loading. Use pure. It will work better in every way. Powder is also expensive. Why waste it on balls that are substandard?
 

Idaho Ron

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Although I'll never have need of one, what is the hardness tester instrument like? Could you educate us about it? Thanks!

This is mine. It's a cabine tree tester. People talk about pure lead being 5 bhn. With my tester I can differentiate between a hard 5 and a soft 5. It is very easy to use and I can test big chunks and blocks down to bullets.
 

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Idaho Ron

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I got a pretty good score of 70 pounds of lead shot. I figure that'll last for a time.

But, I've also got over 50 pounds of lead alloy. I don't know the Brinell score, but I can LIGHTLY score it with my thumb nail.

Would it really be detrimental to throw say, 5 or 10 pounds, of alloy into the mix of the lead shot when I melt it? These will be for round ball, not bullets, so it'll still need to be soft.

Lead shot IS an alloy. It varies in degrees of hardness. The very softest is dang hard. Most is over 12 BHN.
Mixing these two types of lead will not achieve anything that is repeatable.
I'm with the others. Try to trade the lead shot it is valuable.
The other alloy you have. You say you can scratch it. That is a very poor way to test it.
You are better off dropping it on concrete. If it thuds it's soft ish. If ot rings its hard.
 

ZUG

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Visit a trap or skeet range and sell the shot then take that money and buy pure lead.
 
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