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Using copper instead of lead
 Moderated by: wheezengeezer, fryboy, Charley
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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2009 05:02 PM
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Draciron
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People around here are already hitting the tire shops and range lead which was cheap and easy to find 2 yrs ago has disapeered from gun show booths.  Copper on the other hand is all over the place. Tear apart that old radio that's been sitting there collecting dust for the last 6 years. That CD player that broke last year, or ancient VCR, etc. Lots of good sources of dirty copper all over the place.

Copper allows for higher FPS and cleaner loads.  Copper if your not buying it is cheaper than lead to cast. No lubes or gas checks needed. Thus also simpler to cast.

I think that the Obama admin using the EPA will increasingly make lead harder and more expensive to find in the near future.

For these reasons I'd like to cast copper bullets instead of lead. Optimally copper jacketed but as another post here asks there does not seem to be any kind of dies or pre-cast shells on the market for that.  Solid copper may be the only kind easily cast in the near future.

So my questions are.
Anybody cast with copper before? What differences would there be?
Impurities and alloys? Any ideas there?  Most easily obtained copper will be the varnished variety. I'd assume the varnish would separate easily in a casting furnace and be flux.

Might be a pipe dream but I've been scrapping household appliances for a few extra bucks and as something to do with me hands (thus cutting down on me smoking) and have discovered rich sources of copper #2 in every day electronics that are frequently thrown away today.  Currently I just sell it at the scrap yard but casting it would make more sense.  I can post some copper extraction tips on things like motor windings if folks are interested. Until you get the hang of it they can be rather time consuming to extract but a the right tools/technique and you can extract most motor windings in minutes. A single vacume motor contains enough copper to make a dozen bullets.  Can be extracted in less than 10 minutes most of it spent getting at the motor, though a sledge would be messier and faster LOL.  





 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2009 06:00 PM
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Charley
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Melting point of copper is almost 2000 F. You will need one kickass furnace.

Besides, stating that someone needs an intracranial copper injection just doesn't have the same pinache as lead.



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 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2009 06:40 PM
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runfiverun
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you will need to invent a mold material that will withstand the temp of molten copper.
i'd look at casting rods and buy a lathe to turn them out on.



 Posted: Tue Aug 4th, 2009 09:26 PM
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Draciron
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Ouch casting rods would be a might expensive. You'd have to do this on a pretty large scale to make the machinery costs and such to be cost effective.

Sounds like for a furnace I'd need something more akin to what they use to cast Samarai swords. Clay, charcoal, sand and some basic tools is all they need to cast some of the hardest steel in the world. Not especially practical in a suburbian back yard though.



 Posted: Sun Aug 9th, 2009 05:15 PM
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joesig
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Casting may be difficult but swaging is a possibility and offers many more bullet shapes.



 Posted: Mon Aug 10th, 2009 10:51 AM
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Draciron
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Found this about swagging that makes it sound rather practical.
http://www.corbins.com/intro.htm

http://rceco.com/MN.asp?pg=RBSBook

So the tools are a simple press, not the lathes and such I conjured up when first mentioned. Apparently scrap tubing and such can be used, which is reasonable. Purchasing new copper would be rather expensive.

Thanks Joesig swagging opens up a huge number of possibilities. Sounds like something I'd eventually want to progress too anyway.



 Posted: Mon Aug 10th, 2009 02:36 PM
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miestro_jerry
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To cast copper you need a mold made from Ductile Iron, most likely a smithy forge or a small foundry furnace. The safety equipment can be expensive and with molten copper, burns can be extremely serious.  Most likley you will need to machine the castings to make the bullets balanced.

To make pure copper bullets by swaging, you need a hydro swage, it is pricey.

I do casting and foundry work for my own uses and it is involved.

Jerry

 



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