OT: Handloading question

Hokay. Be patient, this isn't quick. It can be faster to do it than to describe it.
I haven't made one of these for years but this is my recollection. I start with a regular hardened bearing ball of the desired cavity diameter, and a pair of aluminum blocks around 2" square and 3/4 or 1" thick. If you have a mill or you can turn squares in a lathe you'll be able to finish them later to the size you want.
If you have 1100 aluminum alloy, that's what I'd use. I've always had to use 2024 because that's what I had. 2024 won't forge much unless you semi-anneal it. True annealing of 2024 requires 750 - 800 deg. F for two hours. I've gotten it soft enough in a household oven at 500 deg. F for a few hours. After that treatment you have to work without delay. You have roughly one day before the precipitation hardening starts to catch up with you. If you anneal at 800 F it will harden up to around T3 after three days, just sitting at room temperature.
The other tools required are a big f**king hammer (I use a 3-pound maul but bigger is better), an anvil (I use a piece of railroad track; I've also used a piece of steel plate laid on a concrete floor), and a couple of files: a double-cut flat bastard and a 12" mill file.
Make a dent in the middle of one side of each block to hold the bearing ball. Center the ball between the blocks and prop them with some wood or cardboard in between so the top block is level enough to stay put. Whack with the maul. Whack really hard until the ball starts to sink into both blocks. When the blocks get distorted on the inside faces, put them in a vise and file the faces with the double-cut. Put the ball and the blocks together again and whack some more. Whack, file, whack. When the ball starts to stick into the aluminum, coat the ball with some moly spray or some graphite and any grease you have laying around. Keep whacking, filing, and whacking. If the ball sticks in one side more than the other, file that side some more.
You should reach a point where the ball is almost completely sunk into the aluminum and the ball it sticking when you pull them apart. You may have to put one block between some parallel whatevers and whack lightly with a smaller hammer on the back side to get the ball out. You're getting close. File the inside faces flat and grease the ball; whack, file, whack.
It really doesn't take long. When the ball in sticking into both sides and the sides are about touching, work carefully. Then you're done. If you want to make a mold of it, drill a sprue hole, mill or turn the assembly square, drill for a couple of key pins and make the pins out of drill rod, and you're done.
I clamp the blocks together with a C-clamp to pour lead. I hope you have something better than C-clamps. d8-)
To try this out quickly to see if you like it, use a small bearing ball. 1/4 inch is good to try it out.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
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leaping from short brass to the throat is bad, but a longer push thru the brass case keeps the bullet straight and is much like freebore. Try it, you might like it ;)
Free men own guns - www(dot)geocities(dot)com/CapitolHill/5357/
Reply to
nick hull
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Cornmeal was the item of choice/availability back when.....I suppose one could dry it in a microwave if the cartriges were not going to be used promptly. Jerry
Reply to
Jerry Wass
[snip]
There is a good tip. I tried forcing some 2024 with a hydraulic press and it didn't work so well. I'll try the anneal method.
[snip]
I like this. I put some 10mm bearings on my order list to mcmaster. Should be just right for uncles underhammer muzzleloader.
Yeah, got something better than c-clamps. Held on to a damaged lee mold just for the handles.
I'll give this a try. Thanks,
Wes
Reply to
Wes
Now, whoda'thot bullet molds could be made that way? Good plan, Ed. I wonder, though, in earlier times, where did did they get the correct size ball bearing for a swage?
Bob Swinney, Cousin, 5 generations removed, of Leathernutz Huntress
Hokay. Be patient, this isn't quick. It can be faster to do it than to describe it.
I haven't made one of these for years but this is my recollection. I start with a regular hardened bearing ball of the desired cavity diameter, and a pair of aluminum blocks around 2" square and 3/4 or 1" thick. If you have a mill or you can turn squares in a lathe you'll be able to finish them later to the size you want.
If you have 1100 aluminum alloy, that's what I'd use. I've always had to use 2024 because that's what I had. 2024 won't forge much unless you semi-anneal it. True annealing of 2024 requires 750 - 800 deg. F for two hours. I've gotten it soft enough in a household oven at 500 deg. F for a few hours. After that treatment you have to work without delay. You have roughly one day before the precipitation hardening starts to catch up with you. If you anneal at 800 F it will harden up to around T3 after three days, just sitting at room temperature.
The other tools required are a big f**king hammer (I use a 3-pound maul but bigger is better), an anvil (I use a piece of railroad track; I've also used a piece of steel plate laid on a concrete floor), and a couple of files: a double-cut flat bastard and a 12" mill file.
Make a dent in the middle of one side of each block to hold the bearing ball. Center the ball between the blocks and prop them with some wood or cardboard in between so the top block is level enough to stay put. Whack with the maul. Whack really hard until the ball starts to sink into both blocks. When the blocks get distorted on the inside faces, put them in a vise and file the faces with the double-cut. Put the ball and the blocks together again and whack some more. Whack, file, whack. When the ball starts to stick into the aluminum, coat the ball with some moly spray or some graphite and any grease you have laying around. Keep whacking, filing, and whacking. If the ball sticks in one side more than the other, file that side some more.
You should reach a point where the ball is almost completely sunk into the aluminum and the ball it sticking when you pull them apart. You may have to put one block between some parallel whatevers and whack lightly with a smaller hammer on the back side to get the ball out. You're getting close. File the inside faces flat and grease the ball; whack, file, whack.
It really doesn't take long. When the ball in sticking into both sides and the sides are about touching, work carefully. Then you're done. If you want to make a mold of it, drill a sprue hole, mill or turn the assembly square, drill for a couple of key pins and make the pins out of drill rod, and you're done.
I clamp the blocks together with a C-clamp to pour lead. I hope you have something better than C-clamps. d8-)
To try this out quickly to see if you like it, use a small bearing ball. 1/4 inch is good to try it out.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Robert Swinney
I doubt if they did. I've never heard of anyone else doing it this way. I was just fooling around, maybe 20 years ago, and I gave this a try. I was surprised it worked.
I mentioned to Gunner a few years back that I wanted to try turning some steel masters for conical bullets, to see if that would work. But I never got the time or the incentive. It's worth a try. It definitely would be worth the trouble to get some 1100 aluminum before trying it. 2024 is a b*tch to swage tightly around a bearing ball, as Wes probably is finding out. But it does work.
Now, I don't claim to have invented the idea of squishing a master into softer mold material to make molds. Old-time toolmakers will recognize this as a half-fast version of something that used to be called "hubbing," or sometimes "hobbing" (no relation to the gearmaking/form-generating method by the same name). It was used mostly for making injection molds from simple shapes. You'd make a steel master, harden it, sandwich it between two blocks of P6 mold steel, and then put the sandwich in a big mother hydraulic press. EDM and CNC have killed it off but it once was a very productive way to make multiple cavities. Sometimes they'd case-harden the mold afterwards, and sometimes they'd just leave the P6 as-is.
My gut feeling is that 1100 aluminum would require less intermediate filing than harder grades. In fact, I'm not sure it's necessary to file as many times as I did.
Umm...that must be the Australian branch of the family. d8-)
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
If you have a way to achieve 750 - 800 deg. F you'll do a lot better.
Excuse me if I'm telling you something you know, but here's a shorthand version of annealing aluminum. The common non-heat-treatable types (the ones that begin with 1, 3, or 5) are only work-hardened at most, and can be annealed in seconds at 650 - 700 deg. F. The common heat-treatable types (2, 6, or 7) are solution-treated and precipitation-hardened, and need a different treatment. They, too, work-harden, and the same quick treatment, even with a torch, will remove the work-hardening. But to fully anneal them you also have to remove the precipitation hardening. To do that you have to drive the precipitates back into solution. For 2024, it takes something over 800 deg. F for 2 hours. The other alloys vary in time required.
Once the precipitates are dissolved, the aluminum is fully annealed. But not for long. Age-hardening grades like 2024 start to re-precipitate right away. You can accelerate it by heating to 200 - 250. It will be pretty hard, around T4, after 10 or 12 hours. At room temperature it takes a few days to reach T3, and then it slows down, but it keeps going.
The point for this discussion is that the 500 deg. F I've had to use doesn't do a lot, but it softened the aluminum enough that I was able to finish the job. I'd still prefer 1100 aluminum for the job. The biggest ball I tried with this method, in 2024, was around 0.35" and that was tough.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Dacron pillow stuffing. Available in any craft supply shop.
Its far better than kapok.
It tends to also leave a very thin plastic coating inside the barrel, which is a good thing as it prevents rusting,
Use no more than about 3 grains for most cases.
Its the recommended stuffing, has been for years.
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner
32 H&R Maggy? Id not bother with filler, least of all with Red Dot. As others have said..try another powder. Bullseye or Unique, Clays, or 700x or 800x might work ok. The case isnt all that big.
Ive shot a bazillion rounds of light loads using Red Dot, with no noticible need for fillers, until I start getting into rifle cases, most notibly the 3030 and the '06
And Ive used nearly all Dacron (polyester) pillow stuffing for fillers over the years. Everyone who I know loads squibs up to moderate loads and uses a filler, uses Dacron pillow stuffing. Cream of Wheat for some, in big straightwall cases such as the 45-90 and up.
SR 4756 and other bulky powders were designed for this in rifle cases
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner
Yes, it worked well, but Ive not tried to make a production mould yet. I turned a prototype 6.5x55 155gr Lovern style bullet and pressed it between dead soft aluminum blocks in a 150 ton hydraulic press. Made a perfect impression I was able to cast a few bullets with. Needs a bigger meplat..shrug. Ill be working on a better/cleaner bullet and do the mould pressing for a production mould later this winter when things slow down.
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner
Way too much freebore and you will likely get some yawl before it hits the forcing cone.
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner
As I understand from the various articles there are disadvantages to using a shorter casing.to eliminate the void space.
But how about a full-length casing with a stepped ID, much thicker between the bottom of the slug and the primer?
Could you just make sleeves that press into a standard casing? Or how about a sleeve that goes on the outside of a smaller caliber casing and adapts it to the larger slug?
Obviously you wouldn't want any void space between the the sleeve and the casing.
Reply to
Fred the Red Shirt
That's an interesting thought but I like to keep it simple -- and cheap.
The shorter casings haven't worked out well for accuracy, so I load the full-length Magnums even for light loads. That gun will chamber cartridges of four different designations and of three different lengths: .32 S&W Short, .32 S&W Long, .32 Colt New Police (more or less identical to S&W Long and no longer made, but I have 50 cases), and .32 H&R Magnum.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I've heard that using filler in light loads can lead to a ringed chamber or barrel. I've been using light Red Dot loads in .38 Special for some years with no noticeable inconsistencies. The fire out of a standard primer is enough to properly ignite even loads were the powder is lying lengthwise only a thin layer deep in the cartridge.
I'd recommend using a Lee factory crimp die to properly crimp the case. A weak or no crimp could cause the problems you're having.
Tony
Reply to
Anthony W
Kapok seems to be the filler that gives the fewest problems of any kind. I've also used Red Dot loads in my .38 Spl and I don't fill them, either. It's the .32 Mags that seem to be most sensitive to it.
Thanks, Tony. I have one and use it, although not with these loads.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
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Depends on who you ask. Precision Shooting magazine did an article a year or two back on this. Polyester in some loads caused barrel "ringing" due to some sort of pressure spike. The author wrecked a couple of barrels before he figured out the culprit. He tried a couple of alternatives. I don't recall the details, but I think natural fibers like cotton & kapok were OK. The problem seemed to be with stuff that can melt. It only happened with some loads in some calibers, but why chance it?
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
Just got back into town and spotted this. I load the .32 Magnum, too. Normally I use Unique for lighter loads, haven't had problems with powder position with it. If you need a filler, 1 gr. of Dacron fiber, weighed, is the stuff. This stuff is used for filling pillows and quilts, a package from the fabric store will last several reloaders a lifetime. Weight the stuff, don't just eyeball it. You also want it to take up the whole space, not packed down. If you use too little or pack it down, there's a good chance you could ring the chamber when it suddenly stops at the bullet base. It normally blows out, doesn't melt.
Another way is to load round balls, I have a Lee .313 round ball mold that works great. I cast them from wheelweights, take the little ball bearings and slosh them around in a frosting container with a squirt of Lee's Liquid Alox. After they dry, they get a tumble in another frosting container with a sprinkle of Motor Mica so they aren't messy to handle. 1.5-2 gr. of Bulleye gives a load that's like a cap pistol out of my model 16. I usually load them in .32 S&W Long brass. No filler needed.
Stan
Reply to
stans4
I've tried it, but my experience is that it leaves a grungy, but thin, film on the inside of the cases and sometimes on the face of the cylinder. I see that Gunner's experience is similar but he isn't bothered by it. When I first started to load pistol cartridges I saw similar comments in the articles and maybe the books -- it's been too long for me to remember.
In any case, kapok doesn't produce that problem at all. The trick is finding some. It's not a common pillow filler like it used to be. I use so little of it that an old life vest that I used as a kid lasted me for maybe ten years of loading.
That's something I've always considered. I did try some loads made with 0 buckshot, loaded by someone else, and I was surprised how well they shoot. He pushed the balls down flush with the case mouth. If I shot a lot on short indoor ranges I'd probably experiment with it. As it is, I don't think I'll be shooting enough to do much experimenting.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Well I did some playing with this. I cut 4 pieces of 2011 T3 2" rounds and dimpled them on center with a 5/16" drill. Then I took the first two and put a 1/2" diameter ball bearing between them and pressed them with 21 Tons of force. Did the flatten, force, flatten force thing. The best I could do this way as the mold failing to close by 0.015" over the ball. Some thoughts on just pressing the ball into one half are in my mind but I wanted to know at this point how the un-annealed material reacted.
Then I tried your annealing method using the two remaining pieces. I thought I'd be able to play an oxy torch on the rounds and monitor the temps with a IR scanner. Well that didn't work so well. The first half of my second attempt started to slump :( The other half I didn't heat as far. Evidently the emissivity constant for aluminum is something other than .95 .
Well, I decided to do a pressing anyway. The side I overheated took the ball far enough that it is stuck in there and I had no problems pressing the faces together.
I have some 10mm balls on order that I think will be easier to press in and also will produce a mold for my uncles rifle.
Uncle wants a .395 mold for Christmas, I have one on order atm but I'm going to play this, DIY mold kit to the hilt :) I called him and told him that I'm close to having two mold halves he can finish off on his own and even have a set of handles for them.
Btw, for 2011, annealing is done at 775 F by holding at that temperature for 2 to 3 hours, followed by controlled cooling at a rate of 50 F per hour down to 500 F and then air cooling. I'm not sure I'm going to get that technical.
Wes
Reply to
Wes

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