Can I use Babbitt metal for bullet casting?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Ardent Listener, Jun 11, 2006.


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  1. Ardent Listener

    Ardent Listener Monkey+++

    I came across some grade 7 heavy pressure babbitt metal from Canada. It is 9.3 -10% tin, 14.0-16.0% antimony, and the rest lead.

    I was wondering how it would work for bullet casting? Can anyone help me on this one? This is what the almost four pound bars look like.
    babbit_harriscake_photo.
     
  2. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yes, Babbitt can be used, but I don't have any recipes as I have never used it. I was taught casting from a guy that used it because he had a continuous source for it, train axels. Sorry, can't be more help than that.
     
  3. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Bearing or Babbitt alloys are used primarily by the automotive and related industries for rod, cam and crankshaft bearings. There are now hundreds of different compositions of such bearings, but most of these are slight variations of twelve major categories. Chart IV details these twelve major categories. Some of them would make fine bullet alloys, like number nine and others would be terrible, number three for example. Unfortunately, there is no practical method of determining exactly which of these alloys a scrap supply consists of - only by direct chemical analysis. But if you have found a Babbitt alloy that makes good bullets, and they shoot well, there is no reason not to use it for bullets.
    Pouring. Heat the iron bearing shell with a torch until it’s 200-300 degrees (water will quickly evaporate at this
    temperature but not sputter, and cardboard dams and collars won’t char). If the shell is too cold, the babbitt will cool
    too fast to flow properly resulting in wrinkles and voids. If the shell or babbitt is too hot, blow-holes will result or the
    metal will cool too slowly allowing the heavier metals to settle out, changing the hardness of the bearing (or giving
    inconsistent hardness). Heat the shaft too, but keep it even or it could warp.
    Just before pouring, stir the molten babbitt to mix up the metal then skim off the “dross” (dirt and/or oxidized metal)
    that’s floating on the surface of the molten metal. Ideally, your ladle should be big enough to pour the bearing in one
    filling, but if you need two, be sure to work fast.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~potomac008/Lead Alloys.htm

    http://www.jedc.org/wood/Spring_2000.pdf
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2015
  4. Ardent Listener

    Ardent Listener Monkey+++

    Thanks guys.
     
  5. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    I've used #2 babbitt, but I cut it with lead. A four pound ingot of yours would be, roughly, 75% lead. To look at it another way, 4 pounds = 64 oz, so you have 6.4 oz tin, 10 oz of antimony and 48 oz of lead in a four pound bar. Adding one pound of pure lead would result in a 6.4 oz, 10 oz, (48 + 16 =) 64 oz mix, or 6.4 / 80 = 8% tin, 10/80= 12.5% antimony, roughly. Adding two pounds would leave a 6.4 oz, 10 oz, 80 oz lead mix, about (6.4/ 96) 6.67 %, (10/96) 10.4%. Still hard, but definitely shootable.
     
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