Author Topic: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project  (Read 3635 times)

nielsenammo

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Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« on: September 09, 2016, 07:47:11 AM »
Travis contacted me yesterday about experimenting with lead free alloys to make slugs.  The idea is get ahead of the curve with the possible new laws that may come our way in regards to either air rifles being reclassified as firearms or no longer being exempt from the lead laws.

There are a couple of alloy choices, none of which are a cheap solution.  The two materials of interest are tin and bismuth.  Tin could be used by it's self but is very expensive, like 10 times that of lead.  Bismuth would need tin to be added or it will be too brittle.  Both are low enough melting temps to work in my current casting machines.

As of today we are still planning our strategy so we can take a good scientific approach to our methodology.  We don't know if these slugs will even shoot well in a different alloy but there are several advantages to them if they do besides the lead laws.

One advantage is some rifles need long bullets to match the guns design which makes them very heavy, such as the Texan.  If the bullet of the same design weighs 30% less you can take a 400 grain slug (for example), use this new alloy and it only weighs say 280 grains.  That same gun may not be able to shoot a 280 grain pure lead bullet because the length of the bullet does not match the gun's design and therefore will not be accurate at longer ranges.

We have to see if the alloy affects accuracy and by how much.  An alternative to lead may be needed and the Guild will be the place to discuss possibilities.  Travis and I plan to make this a joint venture between and Guild and Nielsen Specialty Ammo and share our findings.  Please chime in with suggestions and any input, this is a group project.

Stay tuned for progress...


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Alan

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2016, 10:45:45 AM »
It should go without saying, that one of the major issues you all are going to face, is choosing the right alloy. Powder burners do fine in most cases with copper/zinc alloys, but those alloys won't do in say a 392 Benjamin with a brass barrel. And making them soft enough to obturate in an airgun will also be a challenge.

Yes, tin is expensive compared to lead, but so is bismuth. And bismuth is brittle, even when mixed with tin, antimony, and other similar metals. And when it does splinter, its crystalline nature leaves very sharp edges which act like sandpaper.

But there is another aspect to this, besides being ahead of the game. And that is, when will these proposed laws take effect? I suspect once the NSSF, the NRA, and all of us pelleteers complain, perhaps the regulations will be delayed? At least long enough to develop an alternative.
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steveoh

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2016, 01:23:05 PM »
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wilsonj1018

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2016, 01:59:58 PM »
i think this is kinda like lead fishing sinkers in cali... people mail order them all the time in the hundreds of pounds.....
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oldpro

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2016, 02:17:49 PM »
 The idea is to have ammo that is both heavy enough to make FPE and also be lead free and not cost 10x more to make. I know we have the right guy for the job and full support of The Guild! We will be testing soon and post all results good and bad. Maybe we should call it  The Guild Round or something catchy! Or Cal Ammo etc.
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steveoh

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2016, 03:51:53 PM »
Exciting stuff.

My wife is always asking me, are you shooting lead pellets? And I say yeah, but we shoot at the trap only (small white lie)...

I will be very interested in lead free:

.177
.22
.25
.457
.575

Maybe the .30 or .308 longer range air gun I'm dreaming of, that rhymes with Plex or Morp.  ::)


The idea is to have ammo that is both heavy enough to make FPE and also be lead free and not cost 10x more to make. I know we have the right guy for the job and full support of The Guild! We will be testing soon and post all results good and bad. Maybe we should call it  The Guild Round or something catchy! Or Cal Ammo etc.
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nielsenammo

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2016, 04:15:01 PM »
I have not ordered any materials yet, waiting to see if anyone pops in with any known source besides Rotometals.  I think the tin/bismuth will or pure tin are the only options that will work - that I know of.  I know of someone who did pure tin and he said he got funky results but I don't the specifics.

Rather we need this right now or not is not really the point, more data for airgunners to use in the future and is a good community project to do here on the Guild.  One thing you have to give Travis kudos for is he always staying at the forefront.
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steveoh

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2016, 04:29:25 PM »
Pretty interesting stuff:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismuth

The density difference between lead (density 11.32 g·cm−3) and bismuth (density 9.78 g·cm−3) is small enough that for many ballistics and weighting applications, bismuth can substitute for lead. For example, it can replace lead as a dense material in fishing sinkers. It has been used as a replacement for lead in shot, bullets and less-lethal riot gun ammunition. The Netherlands, Denmark, England, Wales, the US, and many other countries now prohibit the use of lead shot for the hunting of wetland birds, as many birds are prone to lead poisoning owing to mistaken ingestion of lead (instead of small stones and grit) to aid digestion, or even prohibit the use of lead for all hunting, such as in the Netherlands. Bismuth-tin alloy shot is one alternative that provides similar ballistic performance to lead. (Another less expensive but also more poorly performing alternative is "steel" shot, which is actually soft iron.) Bismuth's lack of malleability does, however, make it unsuitable for use in expanding hunting bullets.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 04:32:12 PM by steveoh »
  • Benicia, California
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wilsonj1018

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2016, 05:37:15 PM »
are the dynamic tin pellets still around? if so they would likely be hard to beat... or possibly just look into importing them.
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oneshot61

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 10:11:20 AM »
I have shot .357 96 grain fp made from bismuth/tin from my ace. Sent to me by Ron Goodhall for testing. I put 4 under a nickle @50 yards and that's rested on a duffle bag. I think if in an area that prohibits lead, accuracy wise it will do the job. Just need some testing in ballistic gel to get an idea of impact performance. I would think you could shoot a better bc bullet in your weight class with it?

nielsenammo

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2016, 10:33:15 AM »
That's good to know.  Nice to see how a bullet with a similar alloy does at range.  It is not hard to make an airgun slug accurate to 50 yards.  I have many designs that shoot great at that range but at 100 yards are terrible so I don't sell them.  Hoping someone would chime in with a 100 yard experience as well.

I have not ordered the alloy yet just to see if anyone has input that change what I buy.  It is nice to know that at least at 50 yards we show promise.
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oneshot61

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2016, 11:14:32 AM »
I totally agree with the 100 yard testing.  I'll run some at 100 when I get home off of the road this coming weekend and post results. I only have a 3x9 on it right now but have another scope coming, hopefully it will be in.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 11:16:58 AM by oneshot61 »

Monkeydad1969

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2016, 08:33:48 PM »
Call JSB...dumb gnome! LMAO!  ;)
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oneshot61

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2016, 07:29:07 PM »
I had a chance finally to shoot at 100 yards with the lead free 96 grain from higharchunter. Please understand, I am shooting with only my range bag for a rest and I have a bit of a shake in my hands this morning. Some mornings are better some worse. To much coffee and no breakfast.  :-[  My barrel is a 1-22 twist and I am shooting these at 890-920 over 6 shots. A shooter with better hands and a better rest could make these shots touch, I have no doubt. My gun is accurate, and these bullets are accurate... me, I'm just ok. I shot six shots, three at a lower mil dot three at higher but they look the same.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 07:35:23 PM by oneshot61 »

nielsenammo

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Re: Lead Free Slug - A Guild Project
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2016, 08:20:14 AM »
Curious what distance and what bullet you are shooting and if you know what speed it is.  I have the non lead alloy here at the shop but we need to find a slug for the 1:26 barrel I can cast.  I sent some slugs to Travis for him to shoot and see how they do.  So far have none of the slugs we have tried have worked in the 1:26 barrel which is our first step.
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