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Old 04-10-2008, 09:55 PM   #1
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Ok, this one may have been done before...

This has been an idle curiosity of mine for a little while now and, should I ever get into hand loading, it would be kind of fun to brew up a batch of silver bullets in pretty nickel-plated casings. So, does anybody here know the weight difference between a given volume of silver and a given volume of lead? Also, how malleable is silver in comparison to something like wheel weight alloy? Here's what I'm driving at: Say, for instance, that you were to cast sterling silver .45acp rounds in a Lyman "Devastator" mold...How would those rounds differ(other than price) from similar lead rounds? Also, does anyone have any knowledge on other non-lead metals that could be used in cast bullets like nickel, copper, or gold? Again, curious about the weight differences and malleability. I can see where a gold bullet in a shiny brass casing might have a certain appeal in a cartridge board or to the die-hard James Bond fan. Anyway, anything you guys can come up with is much appreciated.
 
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Old 04-10-2008, 10:14 PM   #2
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Alright, I did manage to get some info on silver bullets. Seems pure silver is too hard, too light, and melts at a high enough temp to be really screw up your molds. Seems to be there are some folks out there who have used 6% silver solder to cast bullets and those come out looking close enough to pass for silver. I guess they'd also be 6% better at killing werewolves. I am still curious about silver and other non-lead metal or alloy bullets so, information is still greatly appreciated.

**Can't seem to find any info on how bullets cast of 6% silver solder perform.
 
Old 04-10-2008, 10:16 PM   #3
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I don't know about weights but be very careful about what metals you cast bullets from if you ever actually do it. For instance, solid brass bullets can and have been made but are unlawful for handgun calibers. They are specifically banned by BATFE policy as armour piercing ammo. I believe that solid copper bullets are currently manufactured (Federal, I think). I would think you could make some educated guesses with the help of a periodic table from any chemistry book. Elements heavier than lead would weigh more for a specific volume bringing the characteristics of heavier bullets while lighter elements would be lighter and act like lighter lead bullets.
 
 
Old 04-10-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply, Cutter. Definite thanks for the heads up on brass bullets, as well. I'm a little nervous about even casting brass dummy bullets for a cartridge board, now. See, I also think it would be kind of fun to create a cartridge board with various odd-alloy bullets.

Anywho, I guess I could have been a little more specific in my original post. I was hoping for a ratio or some way to accurately compute the weight of various metals or alloys vs. lead. Also, the performance aspect of my query is based more on the metal or alloy's malleability which, I believe would be a primary factor in bullet expansion vs. fragmentation. I'm hoping someone on here has either cast bullets from odd metals or, has been curious themselves and maybe has some pointers for someone looking to give it a shot.
 
Old 04-10-2008, 11:07 PM   #5
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You might research further. True dummy rounds that are incapable of hurling the projectile down the barrel might not fall under the rules. As far as the weights, malleability, and ballistic characteristics, you don't need a reloader; you need a metallurgical engineer or maybe a chemist.
 
Old 04-11-2008, 06:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heliophobic1 View Post
Thanks for the reply, Cutter. Definite thanks for the heads up on brass bullets, as well. I'm a little nervous about even casting brass dummy bullets for a cartridge board, now. See, I also think it would be kind of fun to create a cartridge board with various odd-alloy bullets.

Anywho, I guess I could have been a little more specific in my original post. I was hoping for a ratio or some way to accurately compute the weight of various metals or alloys vs. lead. Also, the performance aspect of my query is based more on the metal or alloy's malleability which, I believe would be a primary factor in bullet expansion vs. fragmentation. I'm hoping someone on here has either cast bullets from odd metals or, has been curious themselves and maybe has some pointers for someone looking to give it a shot.
Brass, copper, and the others IMO have WAY too high a melting point to Cast. IIRC the Copper bullets Barnes makes are either swaged to possibly even machined from bar stock (They also make a 100% copper handgun line as well). There's one of the bullet companies that uses silver in their mix, Garand might remember the name, since they're popular with the CAS crowd, although expensive. If you were serious about making true "Silver" bullets, or even high concentration alloys, you'd probably have to cast them one at a time using a "Lost Wax" method. Easily done, but time consuming for each bullet...LOL notice the Movies with the werewolves make it look SO easy???
As far as Malleability, Silver is harder than Lead, Gold is about the same as Lead (And iirc similar melting points, plus they're only one or two off from each other atomic weight-wise on the Table). If you want to experiment with the silver I would spend the money to get a Hardness tester, it's only about $100.00 or so, and this way you know for sure. As far as melting goes depending on what kind of meltingsetup you have, i would weigh everything out ahead of time, and start with that 6% mix. Equal amounts of the lead and silver at a high enough temp to get the silver melted first, then keep adding and mixing, lowering the temp. I dont know if it'll work or not, i dont know what it woudl take for the silver and lead to Alloy or of the silver would harden and float out if the temp dropped too much.
 
Old 04-11-2008, 11:32 AM   #7
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Thanks Kpd. Here is what I do know, so far. Pure silver melts in the 1700 degree range. Alloyed silver, like that found in old coins, melts at around 1600. Lead melts closer to 400 so, I think that trying to add lead to molten silver will result in lead vapor. The 6% solder mix melts at around 450 and may not be an alloy but, more of an add mixture of lead and silver dust. It is quite shiny and I'm not sure how it would look after being cast but, in a roll, it looks a lot like silver. If silver is out I imagine nickel is, as well...and copper. Unless, of course, I investment cast each bullet, as you suggested. Problem there is the initial investment in tools and material would be prohibitively high to do only a few rounds so, that one's out. Pure gold has a melting point of nearly 2000 degrees and, alloyed gold found in jewelry is most commonly alloyed with copper, silver, and palladium in white gold. Melting point generally remains pretty high. I guess I'll focus on silver/lead composites or, if available, some type of lead/gold composite. For gold bullets I can actually imagine something like a gold wash being done on each round to give it a gold finish but, I have no idea if a similar technique would work with silver. Actually, with copper jacketed bullets it may be possible to electroplate them with gold. If anybody has more information or even just ideas/suggestions feel free. Help get the old creative juices flowing.
 
Old 04-11-2008, 03:58 PM   #8
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Didnt know the MP of Gold, I had just assumed that it was close to Lead's because of the physical similarities of the metals. i Know that gold sublimates when heated too much (i'd heard that the beams and ceilings of old-west mints were saturated with the gaseous gold) , i didnt know if Lead would do the same if you heated it enough to accept the silver..
 
Old 04-11-2008, 09:31 PM   #9
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If you go to this site and click on any element, it'll tell you about all you need to know about it.

http://www.chemicalelements.com/show/name.html

DC
 
Old 04-11-2008, 10:10 PM   #10
 
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I'm sorta dumb on this one but I've used Barnes solid copper bullets in my handloaods to kill more than one Elk at considerable distance. They work just great. Silver? Respectfully. Hi Ho and away.---OS
 
Old 04-12-2008, 12:03 AM   #11
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I think solid copper bullets are either turned or swaged...not cast. Silver is more for the decorative interest and to say: "Look! I got a box of silver bullets. Wanna see?"
 
Old 04-12-2008, 08:37 AM   #12
 
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I wanna see, right now. Come to think of it it should be easy to silver plate lead bullets and who would know the difference.
 
Old 04-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #13
 
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Laser Cast bullets alloy silver in with the lead.
 
Old 04-13-2008, 11:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum88C View Post
Laser Cast bullets alloy silver in with the lead.

THAT's the one.
 
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