Trial No. 2 with powder coat

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Bill in Oregon
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Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Bill in Oregon »

Did some more reading over at Castboolits.com and concluded that I was largely wasting my time with black powder coat from Harbor Freight. So I ordered some in from a guy in their vendor forum named Smokes whose stuff is highly recommended. I like green. So today I gave it a try on a small batch of the Lee tumble lube bullet for the .41 Magnum, which weighs about 214 grains with my range scrap alloy. Just dropped them in a disposable Rubbermaid polypro bowl with a pinch of the powder and gave them a good shake -- no acetone or airsoft BBs or any of that stuff. Popped them into my cheap Walmart toaster oven for 20 minutes at 400 and they came out great.
Put up 10 rounds to test with 9.5 grains of Longshot.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Bearskinner »

After powder coating for a couple years now, I find by using different colors with similar looking bullets, it’s easy to “color code” by weight and/or power.
It is also very nice to handle clean, painted bullets. No lube no dirty lead, etc, and clean hands when loading. Your bullets look great, and I like green as well
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TedH
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by TedH »

Looks great Bill. I too learned the hard way with the Harbor Freight black.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Pitchy »

Cool beans Bill 8)
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Grizz »

yeah, i like the idea. do you have a link to an article or a how-to to do it?
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Rimfire McNutjob »

What's the advantage of powder coating ... other than some cool color coding for testing. Does the powder coating suffice to replace normal tumble lube?
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by TedH »

Rimfire McNutjob wrote: Mon Dec 05, 2022 5:23 pm What's the advantage of powder coating ... other than some cool color coding for testing. Does the powder coating suffice to replace normal tumble lube?
Yes, the powder coat replaces the lube. Other advantages are less smoke, and a squeaky clean bore when you're done shooting. You can push hard lead projectiles to impressive velocities with no lead fouling.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Ysabel Kid »

Bill in Oregon wrote: Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:01 am I like green.
How very sustainable of you! ;)
Bill in Oregon wrote: Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:01 am Did some more reading over at Castboolits.com and concluded that I was largely wasting my time with black powder coat from Harbor Freight.
So, what's the issue with the Harbor Freight powder coating?
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by TedH »

The Harbor Freight powder is just poor quality for this application. It works ok if you use an electro static spray gun applicator, but not so much with the shake and bake method of application.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Griff »

Ysabel Kid wrote: Mon Dec 05, 2022 8:51 pm
Bill in Oregon wrote: Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:01 am I like green.
How very sustainable of you! ;)
Bill in Oregon wrote: Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:01 amDid some more reading over at Castboolits.com and concluded that I was largely wasting my time with black powder coat from Harbor Freight.
So, what's the issue with the Harbor Freight powder coating?
I've never been satisfied with the coverage. It seems that it takes multiple coatings to get adequate coverage. No less than three applications. I've never used the black, just yellow & red.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by CowboyTutt »

James at Bengal Bullets uses the electrostatic method to powder coat his bullets so no tumbling is necessary. -Tutt
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Rockrat »

I usually turn the timer on my oven for 30 min. Gives the boolits time to heat up to baking temp. matter of fact, I did some 245gr rnfp for my 44, this evening.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by CowboyTutt »

Gentleman, I have a question and as I don't cast bullets, please excuse my ignorance. I was just wondering at what temp do you bake this coating at and for how long, and how does that affect bullet hardness? Lets say you harden your bullets to BHN of 20-22, then you coat them and bake them at 30 minutes at 350 degrees then air cool them. At least with spring steel this will soften the steel some (I say this because I was going to get a sword powder coated at said temps for said time, but the sword maker strongly discouraged me from doing so with 9260 spring steel as it would ruin the temper). If you water or oil quench that is how you harden steel. So I'm just wondering how this baking process will affect the hardness of the bullet, and how do you maybe modify your alloy used or casting procedure to allow for the baking? -Tutt
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Griff »

I cast my bullets at around 15 to 18 Bhn and don't water quench or anything, just let them air cool, and use 'em up. I've both powder-coated pistol & rifle bullets, even some that I then gas-checked. The nice thing about powder-coating is you don't need an really hard cast bullet to keep from leading.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by CowboyTutt »

Griff, I'm waiting to hear back from someone who powder coats and casts my bullets. Once I hear back from him, with his permission, I will post his reply. -Tutt
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Gobblerforge »

Tutt. 350 to 400 degrees should not take the hardness out of steel In fact, at these temps you are almost getting to the tempering range. As for the lead, I had the same question in my head but don't have an answer.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Bearskinner »

I have found I can use a softer lead, air drop, and when I powder coat, I water drop. Size and gas check if a GC bullet.
The coating is extremely hard, and I have not leaded a barrel at any speeds. I also do the wet powder method, as I live in a high humidity area, with wet colder seasons. Simple one coat, full coverage.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Griff »

Tutt, one thing to keep in mind is that adding powder coat adds to their diameter. My mold drops @ .4535, powder coating them would make them fatter, making harder would then simply means they'll be that much harder to squeeze thru the bore. m So those don't get powder coated. My Lyman 316 mold drops .310 slugs, but since it's a gas check, they are getting PC'd and sized back to .309, any harder than 18Bhn, and I'd need an extension handle on the lubri/sizer! :D
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Grizz »

Griff wrote: Tue Dec 06, 2022 11:20 pm Tutt, one thing to keep in mind is that adding powder coat adds to their diameter. My mold drops @ .4535, powder coating them would make them fatter, making harder would then simply means they'll be that much harder to squeeze thru the bore. m So those don't get powder coated. My Lyman 316 mold drops .310 slugs, but since it's a gas check, they are getting PC'd and sized back to .309, any harder than 18Bhn, and I'd need an extension handle on the lubri/sizer! :D
Griff, i buy the cast bullets that i hunt with. i am thinking of my redhawk which has small chambers and i was planning to ream them to pass my 405gr bullets? so if i cast my own i'd need to size the bullets so when coated they are the same diameter as the store bought ones i'm using. . . is this correct? i suppose i should ream the forcing cone too i guess.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by earlmck »

CowboyTutt wrote: Tue Dec 06, 2022 12:53 am Gentleman, I have a question and as I don't cast bullets, please excuse my ignorance. I was just wondering at what temp do you bake this coating at and for how long, and how does that affect bullet hardness? Lets say you harden your bullets to BHN of 20-22, then you coat them and bake them at 30 minutes at 350 degrees then air cool them. So I'm just wondering how this baking process will affect the hardness of the bullet, and how do you maybe modify your alloy used or casting procedure to allow for the baking? -Tutt
I'm pretty sure that heating the cast bullets to temp (I set my oven for 450 which gives maybe about 435) in the powder coating process would remove any hardening you had achieved by water dropping or oven/water tempering. So as Griff indicated, the hardness will come from the alloy and the powder coat will keep 'em from leading.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by CowboyTutt »

From James Tow at Bengal Bullets or TII Armory:
Baking is necessary after application of the PC. I run oven temperature at 400 degrees and cook the bullets for a 20 minute duration once it reaches temp. Depending on customer preference, I either allow them to air cool or quench them at the end of the cook. Bullet hardness should be approximately 20 BHN with my alloy when heat treated and 12 BHN when not.
Griff and everyone, he did say that powder coated bullets are much more forgiving in bullet hardness. -Tutt
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Rockrat »

I bake my powder coated boolits at 400 degrees. If I water quench them when casting, powder coating will negate the heat treating, but you can take the coated boolits right from the oven and quench in cold water to re heat treat them. You get your powder coating and hardness too.

I have taken powder coated bullets and sized/lubed them as normal. I then tested them in a 35 Whelen and found out that although the powder coated bullets shot very well, it seemed those that also had been lubed, shot a smaller group. Going to have to run some more tests on this theory when it warms up around April. Might have been a fluke.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by CowboyTutt »

RockRat, I agree with you and my new friend James at Bengal or TTII Armory (that's pronounced TT two by the way) also seems to think that there are differences in hardness depending on how the powder coated bullets are quenched after baking them according to a Lee Bullet Hardness tester which is not necessarily the most exacting tool. I would also tell you that James told me he uses 50% Lyman #2 alloy and 50% pure lead, for an end result very similar to wheel weights. Hope that helps. To the rest of you, the quenching process after baking does seem to make a difference in hardness if not leading. Regards, -Tutt
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by piller »

Gobblerforge wrote: Tue Dec 06, 2022 6:59 am Tutt. 350 to 400 degrees should not take the hardness out of steel In fact, at these temps you are almost getting to the tempering range. As for the lead, I had the same question in my head but don't have an answer.
I don't know about lead alloys, but 400 degrees with 440C steel for an hour after the quench is necessary to prevent cracking and brittleness of the blade. 1085 carbon steel soaked in molten lead for 24 hours after the quench gives performance which has made it into Ripley's Believe it or not. Heat treatments are not the same for the different steel alloys. Lead alloys probably have unique needs for the different alloys.
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Re: Trial No. 2 with powder coat

Post by Rockrat »

C.T.---the alloy I mainly use for pistol and rifle to about 1800fps is Wheelweights and Isotope alloy (96-3-1) in a 50/50 ratio. Any faster and its more of a cross of WW's and #2 with a little copper added (0.2%)
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