When casting lead balls, do you drop them in water to cool......

Discussion in 'Flintlock Rifles' started by Sidney Smith, May 7, 2019.

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  1. May 7, 2019 #1

    Sidney Smith

    Sidney Smith

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    Or let them air cool?

    I've always just let the lead air cool on an old towel. Not sure I'd want to rapidly cool lead by dropping into water but have never heard of anyone having issues by doing it. So, do you drop them in water or let them air cool and why?
     
  2. May 7, 2019 #2

    QuinnTheEskimo

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    I drop them on a towel. I don’t have, or need a reason, that’s just what I do.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  3. May 8, 2019 #3

    mushka

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    Many guys that cast bullets will drop them into a bucket of water to cool rapidly. They claim that it hardens the bullets. That is what I've heard. Never tried it myself and I cast a lot of bullets.
     
  4. May 8, 2019 #4

    BrownBear

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    Same here. No fuss no muss, and no drying afterward. Water quenching alloy bullets does in fact harden them a little (at least for a few months). But there's no gain at all in water quenching pure lead balls. Nothing happens other than the quick temp drop and a watery mess to clean up.
     
  5. May 8, 2019 #5

    tenngun

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    I have a damp towel to drop them on
     
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  6. May 8, 2019 #6

    Griz44Mag

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    No need to water drop pure lead.
    I never had any need to water drop high pressure "modern" bullets either, and I cast some with a BH of over 24.
    The hardness will slowly increase as the cast balls get older - IF they are an alloy containing antimony.
    As mentioned above, a water dropped alloy will be hardened from the rapid cooling, however, age will see the hardness lessen.
    For what we do, pure lead, does not gain anything by being water dropped, except getting wet....
    I drop mine on a stack of shop towels from as close to the cloth as I can get them. They are still very soft when they come out of the mold (especially the big ones like 75 cal), and dropping from even a few inches can knock them out of round.
     
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  7. May 8, 2019 #7

    Juice Jaws

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    I just drop them on a dry thick towel.
     
  8. May 8, 2019 #8

    bubba.50

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    I too use a thick folded towel. Droppin’ them in water will slightly harden them according to BPCR cartridge shooters of my acquaintence.
     
  9. May 8, 2019 #9

    smoothshooter

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    So do I.
     
  10. May 8, 2019 #10

    Einsiedler

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    Another dry towel advocate here.
     
  11. May 8, 2019 #11

    Pukka Bundook

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    Drop on a blanket, don't want to harden soft lead at all.
    If we want harder, we can change the alloy, and still drop on a dry cloth.

    Best,
    R.
     
  12. May 8, 2019 #12

    Rifleman1776

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    Old towel here.
     
  13. May 8, 2019 #13

    Kansas Jake

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    I'm the odd man out here, I drop mine onto an old wadded up t shirt. :D I have never thought about dropping them into water to cool/harden them. I also keep water away from where I am casting. I don't want an explosive accident with water around hot lead. I can see where having a bucket of water for hard cast bullets can be used, but I am just a nervous nelly around hot lead.
     
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  14. May 8, 2019 #14

    Loyalist Dave

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    YES
    but only when I'm in a hurry, and want them cooled very fast so I can trim them up and get the flash and extra sprue back into the lead for more casting. When I have a good amount of lead, and time, I just let them cool on a wooden board. I think they are a teeny tiny bit harder, but I don't think it matters to the targets or the deer.

    LD
     
  15. May 8, 2019 #15

    45man

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    Does nothing to pure lead but I water drop revolver bullets. It does no harm to pure lead balls if you want to speed up cooling so go ahead and do it. It is just convenience for you.
     
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  16. May 8, 2019 #16

    BruceHH

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    Drop mine on an old towel also.
     
  17. May 9, 2019 #17

    Griz44Mag

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    When I cast, I have time, take time, to enjoy the hobby.
    Getting everything wet and allowing drying time seems an added step that I don't understand. But - to each their own, the point of casting in the first place is the sport and the hobby, so enjoy - no matter how you roll it..
     
  18. May 9, 2019 #18

    Stony Broke

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    Years ago I tried dropping modern bullets into water and couldn't find any real advantage. Doing round balls I never have as they should be soft lead anyway.
     
  19. May 9, 2019 #19

    45man

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    With tin and antimony my revolver bullets get hard depending on the WW ingots. I get 18 to 22 BHN that my revolvers like best.
    Pure lead will not harden and I pour out the water from the bucket and pour the balls into an old towel to roll dry and spread on the basement carpet.
    Now pure will turn white with oxide if you store them for a long time so once in a box, I spray with Barricade and they stay nice and shiny forever. How I hate to see white balls full of oxide. Maxi balls last in good shape too. Lube before shooting.
    Now my real ones died at my age so would Ballistol soaking help?
     
  20. May 9, 2019 #20

    Griz44Mag

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    For those I want to stay showpiece shiny I drop them in my tumbler with walnut litter and a capful of nufinish/mineral spirits mix. Quick and very effective.
    Same treatment I use
     

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