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Zinc contamination

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Clyde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2011
Messages
391
Bullet casters what does zinc contamination look like on a bullet ? I bought 2 separate batches of .577 minie balls the first batch shot well . The second batch when I opened looked different dark splotches all over the bullets . They shot horrible I grabbed the last box of the first batch and shot some as a control they shot fine both miked out same on my caliper . It was almost like the second batch was to hard to expand into the rifling . Now that hunting is down to its last month I’m gearing up for my civil war carbines so I’m trying to figure out which way to go thanks for any help .
 

Billy-by-gosh

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Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
77
Not sure about the zinc, but Hard bullets usually have some tin in them which is NOT good for Minies. The cheapest and best hardness tester is your thumbnail!
If your nail can dent or scratch the surface of the lead, it is usually soft enough to work; if not, melt it down for cartridge reloading.
 

Mofish

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Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
179
Some of the wheel weights a guy can find are not lead anymore, and I can imagine someone inadvertently getting one or two of them accidently mixed up with a batch of lead in a pot.
 

Mofish

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Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
179
Never seen a difference in finish with tin in a mixture. I used a lot of tin, mixed in with modern ammo over the years, but never saw any visible evidence of the mix. I don't know anything about zinc mixed in...
 

Billy-by-gosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
77
This is the bullets in question what are the dark splotches tin zinc etc ?
The picture is not in perfect focus, but from what shows there could be a couple of possible anomalies.
1. The dark spots could be spatters of lead oxide caused if the castings were somehow splashed with some corrosive substance; or, possibly there are foreign contaminants in the alloy. To have conclusive proof you would have to spend good money to have a lab analyze the sample (not very cost effective though).
2. It appears that the casting is a bit malformed...I was wondering if you weighed the bullets to see if their weights were consistent. Also, you could mike the bullets to see if they are all the diameter needed; undersized hollow-base minies don't expand into the rifling well.

You might consider finding a different supplier or take up casting them yourself. Either way, check the hardness of the lead to verify suitability for minies.

Wishing you all the best of luck in this!
 

Clyde

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2011
Messages
391
They miked out at .577 which was the same size as the control sample . The only difference was those splotches and the fact they shot like buck shot.
 
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