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  1. #1
    Plinker
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    Do Old Cast Bullets Get Brittle?

    Does anyone know if Cast bullets get Brittle as they get Old(15+ years old)? Went to the Range today & shot some Old .45acp Reloads I inherited from a 97-yrs old Uncle that recently passed. The loads were probably at least 15 years old & Not "Hot." One of the Cast Bullets broke off, even with the end of the Case (While in the magazine) leaving part of the bullet still in the case & part in the bore. I stopped shooting those rounds at that point & that part of the bullet in the bore was easily removed. Don't know if I should just chuck the rest of the batch (aprox 200 rounds). Pretty sure the Cast bullet recipe was Lead & Antimony.
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

  2. #2
    Grandmaster Leadeye's Avatar
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    I've cast and shot cast for 40 years, never have had one break like that. Antimony will pick up hardness in lead alloys and I've increased that even further by dropping in cold water, but I've never had them break.
    Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom.

    Marvin the Martian

  3. #3
    To my knowledge, lead (and cast bullets composed primarily of lead) do not get brittle over time. I would guess that wjatever else is in the mix is creating the brittleness... and I'd bet they were that brittle the day they were cast.

    IANAL, this is just my initial impression, i have no chemistry degrees on which I base this opinion... but I did stay at a Holliday Inn one time.
    "Stay classy, San Diego"

  4. #4
    Been casting for nearly as long as Leadeye, and have never seen a bullet break.
    Have shot some I know were 10-12 years old, and couldn't tell any difference at all.
    Sounds like there was WAY too much Antimony in the alloy.
    I'd pull the bullets and reuse the brass.

    Here's a link to people smarter than me that talks about alloys
    Cast bullet alloys, characteristics of CB alloys, maintenance of CB alloys

  5. #5
    Grandmaster oldpink's Avatar
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    I'm not a caster, but I'll have to agree that the bullets as dropped were brittle from the very beginning, possibly as a result of an alloy problem, or possibly as a result of some other problem with the casting process, be it temperature, voids in the mold, impurities, or some other fault.
    My dad has some ancient .32 Rimfire ammo with pure lead bullets, and none of it has broken, even though this particular ammo is well beyond 50 years old.

  6. #6
    Master Thor's Avatar
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    This could have been an issue with a single casting where some impurity got into the mix and created a single bullet with a weak sedentary line.

    Of course this is all conjecture from 20k'.
    Thor himself has spoken, mere mortals must make it so. - bradmedic04

  7. #7
    Lead Caster / Powder Coater straight-shooter's Avatar
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    I would speculate that some zinc got in to the mix.
    A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.

  8. #8
    Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by straight-shooter View Post
    I would speculate that some zinc got in to the mix.
    This is exactly where I was going to go. In order to get zinc to melt with lead you have already gotten the lead too hot to be of any use for shooting. The lead basically crystalizes.

  9. #9
    Grandmaster
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    It was not age, it was a problem in the alloy. Protected from the environment, the decay into lead oxide is far longer than we will live to tell.
    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.

  10. #10
    Grandmaster Leadeye's Avatar
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    I've got some high antimony alloy I use, so hard it rings when you drop it. Tried hitting it with a hammer, no cracking.

    Where's the Kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering Kaboom.

    Marvin the Martian

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