Thursday, March 6, 2014

How to make Lyman #2 Alloy

Proper bullet hardness is critical to ensuring success with your cast bullets.  Shooting bullets that are too soft or too hard will eventually leave you with a mess in your barrel. They can also affect power and accuracy. Not fun.

There are a number of different ways to regulate bullet hardness, but one of the best ways is to use a consistent alloy.  One of the most popular alloys for those who need a bullet harder than wheel weights provide is Lyman Alloy #2.

Lyman Alloy #2 is an alloy of 90% lead, 5% tin, and 5% antimony. It can be purchased in bar form from a number of places (like Rotometals), but that gets a bit expensive. So here are two recipes for mixing up 10 pounds of Lyman #2 equivalent on a budget:

Recipe 1:
  • 9 lbs of wheel weight lead (clip-ons, not the stick-on ones)
  • 1 lb of 50/50 lead/tin bar solder.*
Recipe 2:
  • 4 lbs of linotype
  • 1 lb of 50/50 lead/tin bar solder.
  • 5 lbs pure lead (here's where you can use those stick-ons)
Either recipe will give you a #2 alloy equivalent with a hardness (BHN ~16) sufficient for most rifles.

So what's your favorite recipe?

* I buy mine on ebay. No, really. Watch carefully and you can occasionally get mangled bars for below melt value.

Source: Lyman Casting FAQ.

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