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Casting copper?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Atomic Punk, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Atomic Punk

    Atomic Punk

    Mar 11, 2008
    i know it melts a little over three times hotter than lead, and its harder. but its still a soft metal.

    so what changes might be needed or what might you have to do to try and cast solid copper bullets instead of lead?

    i imagine you dont want to use alluminum molds so you would have to use steel or cast iron. and for the same size cavities used in lead the copper bullets would weigh less.
  2. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    Right now scrap copper prices are $3.12 a pound... lead WW are basically free, as is range lead.

    If you did manage to cast solid copper bullets would a powder charge create enough pressure to upset the copper into the barrel grooves or would you just experience tremendous blow-by?

    I don't know... there are enough engineers on here who will know the answer.

    Other than doing it for the novelty factor I don't see any benefit in going through the effort.


  3. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    If I were going to cast copper bullets I would be trying to figure out how to do it in an inert atmosphere (no significant oxidation)

    Most bullets are made by pressing a disc of Copper.
  4. crew

    crew Member CLM

    Apr 24, 2006
    South-East Michigan
    Copper has a specific gravity of 8.69 compared to lead at 11.35. The same size bullet won't weigh the same. Pure copper is very difficult to cast. It does oxidize very fast.

  5. You want copper, move over here to California where you can only hunt with solid copper bullets...

    They say it protects the condors....I've lived here for 28 years and never seen a california condor.
  6. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    THe best way to do solid copper is a CNC screw machine. Casting would require quite a kiln for melting the copper then getting it in & out of a mold would take some doing.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  7. mogollon


    Nov 20, 2002
    I also believe that smelting copper often releases toxic gasses, such as cyanide?
  8. crew

    crew Member CLM

    Apr 24, 2006
    South-East Michigan
    Melting pure copper doesn't release cyanide gas. Smelting copper ore can.

  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    Fred is right you are not going to cast copper with hobby equipment.

    Ref all the Lone Ranger silver bullet threads. A silver bullet is difficult enough at a lower melting point.
  10. MakeMineA10mm

    MakeMineA10mm * * * * Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Feb 13, 1999
    Central Illinois
    The only alternative to a lead-based cast boolit I'm aware of is Zinc. Back in the early 70s there was a lot of experimenting with cast Zinc HP boolits, because people were trying to duplicate the lightweight Super-Vel loads with cast bullets. As I recall, the zinc was difficult to cast with, required lots more heat, and was harder to break off the sprue. Also, it cross contaminates with Lead, so it's very difficult to use one melting pot for both Zinc and lead casting, as minute amounts of either contaminate the other to point of ruining them for casting...

    For solid copper, let Barnes do all of the work, and just buy theirs.
  11. Atomic Punk

    Atomic Punk

    Mar 11, 2008
    thanks for all the info. i did not expect it would be easy, and i was mostly just curiouse on the how. i doubt i would be making an attempt at it.
  12. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006

    Isn't that kinda the point.
  13. wavetrain75

    wavetrain75 Useless Member

    Jan 31, 2008
    David Icke says that the man eating 6 fingered giants that will be released on the earth in the end times can only be killed with a solid copper bullet.

    Just asking.
  14. I'd buy some copper bar and find a machine shop with a small lathe or swiss turning machine and have bullets turned. It's soft so you can cut it fast. No fumes, no screwed up molds, no high temperatures. Should be able to rip them out in less than 15 seconds each with the right tooling.

    Have some fun, enroll in a machine shop program at your local community college. Use their machines and tools plus learn something about metal-working.

    All the Best,
    D. White
  15. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO

    While a very good suggestion for those of us with logical, well, semi-logical minds at least, making bullets on a college campus may prove to be a bit more than problematical. It seems that some organizations in our society have no sense of humor or common sense what-so-ever.

  16. Atomic Punk

    Atomic Punk

    Mar 11, 2008
    i had thought about machinging them out on a lath as well. of ocurse i dont have a lath, for that matter i dotn have any casting equipment of any kind either.
    but as has been pointed out. making bullets on a lath would likely be easier, and i actually have experience using machining tools.
  17. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    Yes, but if he was making new age religious amulets who the **** are they to ask him why they all have to be exactly 0.401" in diameter?
  18. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

    Jun 14, 2005
    You might actually break even turning pure copper bullets for a .50 BMG.
  19. 6ft bar of 3/8 inch diameter 110 grade pure copper is $34.20. Should get 100 to 110 bullets out of it if machined to standard 38 caliber 158 grain SWC dimensions. Bullets (sorry, "Deliver me unto Allah amulets") should weigh about 124.5 grains at these dimensions. I'd probably go for a 0.358 +/- 0.0005 inch tolerance.

    I could probably get these done for $1.00 each with shipping on the bar + machine time.

    This is NOT a price GUARANTEE. Just an estimate. I'd have to get it quoted.

    All the Best,
    D. White
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010