Right. The quenching has no effect on copper and brass, other than it
makes no difference and if you quench you can handle the material
immediately. I suspect the same is true of lead alloys. ie they do
age harden whether one quenches them or not.
Gunner, have you ever not quenched a few bullets and checked the
hardness after a couple of days.
They'll also quench harden if the alloy contains a little antimony. Then
they age soften.
Check out this fairly good writeup:
I have a friend who is an antique weapons expert -- probably as well versed
on things over 75 years old than all but a small handful of people in the
world. His opinions, which I'd respect more than any web referece, is that
lead can be (surface) hardened by quenching.
On Sat, 6 Mar 2010 05:58:15 -0800 (PST), " email@example.com"
Ayup. and the Brinell seldom goes up past 1-3 points.
Ive cast somewhere around .5 million bullets in my lifetime....shrug. I
know something about the subject. Even wrote an article or two over the
And brass cartridge cases really do need to be quenched when
conditioning the necks. Been there, done that many many thousand times.
On Sat, 6 Mar 2010 08:44:36 +0100, "Steve Lusardi"
Take your basic batch of wheel weight lead..which Brinnels about
9-10..and as you cast each one, dump it into a 5 gal bucket of water.
Measure them again in 3 days for hardness. You will find that they
hardened up to about 21-23 Brinnel and will stay that way for at least 4
Dont believe me?
I cast nearly all my rifle bullets over a 5 gallon bucket of water. I
average Brinell of 21 with basic wheelweights after a couple days and if
I use a Lead/Antimony alloy...I can get up to nearly 35 Brinell.
They will heat treat to 2.5-3.5x the hardness of the unheat treated
On Sat, 06 Mar 2010 01:43:49 -0800, the infamous Gunner Asch
With the exception of the brief touch on obduration, the benefits of
quenching bullets weren't really covered in either article.
Why do you want harder bullets, Gunner? Penetration? Proper
obduration for the best velocity/performance on its flight? Or what?
Don't softer bullets fragment and/or widen better to stop the perps
The blind are not good trailblazers.
-- federal judge Frank Easterbrook
Harder bullets will go faster without leading the barrel. But, there is a
balance needed. Too hard and too slow and it won't obdurate and fill the
bore and you get gas leakage and gas cutting.and it might disintegrate on
impact or overpenetrate, To soft and it leads the barrel, The rifling will
not grip the soft lead like a striped screw.
Obduration is one key ingrediant. Velocity is another. Both articles
touch on both. Reread them again.
One needs harder bullets so when fired at higher speeds, such as in any
rifle, they dont leave significant amounts of lead on the barrel walls.
If the bullet was sized to the proper diameter..which depends on the
weapon and type..self loader/bolt action/single shot vrs revolver with
properly formed and sized forcing cone...obduration is not a big issue.
Few people will pick lead alloy bullets to shoot perps with. Jacketed
dead soft lead cores do an admirable job of expansion, with the jacket
controlling the amount of expansion. Giveing maximum results to an
opponents body. Cast bullets in most cases simply whistle right on
through. A decent SWC with nice sharp shoulders, or full wad cutters
are the exceptions.
Pure lead starts to leave significant amounts of lead on the barrel
walls at 700 FPS -/+
(one notes that few black powder rifles actually have an exposed
ball..its protected by the wad during its flight down the barrel)
Wheel weight alloys, can be fired up to about 1300 FPS +/-
Heat treated they can be fired up to about 2200 FPS -/+
Lead/Antimony alloys can be fired up to about 2200 FPS +/-.....but they
are hard to get ahold of since Linotype printing presses have largely
This of course assumes proper gas checks, base wads etc etc.
Which nonferrous metals? Aluminum is not silver which is not brass/
copper which is not lead or its alloys. And none of those is
platinum, iridium, tungsten, cobalt or nickel. They all have their
Grain growth in brass has nothing to do with quenching, which is what
you're doing with brass annealing. The water just keeps things from
going too far, as you say. And solution hardening aluminum alloys are
hardened by heating, they'd age-harden eventually, but it just speeds
things up. No quenching involved. Without knowing what metal(s) he's
talking about, it's hard to say.
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