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Basic
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Posted: 3/26/2013 11:08:22 AM EST
I am trying something a little different with my cast bullets. Powder Coating!

I've been making and shooting cast bullets for some time. The only real problem I've had with them is that they are leading the barrels in my 9mm's. They also smoke much more than jacketed or plated bullets, which isn't very good for shooting at the indoor range.

So, yesturday I got a cheap powder coat setup at Harbor Freight ($58.00) and started to powder coat a few.

The powder coating works as the lube, so no more messy/smoky lubes are needed. The bullets actually shoot faster than either jacketed or lubed bullets with the same powder weights, so they are actually more slippery.

There is NO leading and there is very little smoke, just about how jacketed shoot. People have also reported better groups than lubed bullets, so there is a potential for better accuracy.

I've read that some people are pushing these bullets up to 2900 fps. with a plain base, no checks or anything.

Here's a large thread over at Cast Boolits all about it: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?171403-Powder-Coating-Boolits

And here are a few I powder coated yesturday


DSC01243 by Colorado CJ, on Flickr

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:13:25 AM EST
Looks cool too!

I must find out more.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:23:39 AM EST
Interesting. I will check out your link.
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:36:04 AM EST
What exactly is the material used to powdercoat? There are some state laws specifically prohibiting flourocarbon coatings...

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:40:23 AM EST
It is a powdered epoxy/polymer heat set product.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:42:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By Sixgunner45:
It is a powdered epoxy/polymer heat set product.

Is this like moly-coated? Surely it has to leave some residue on your barrel that must be cleaned?
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:44:52 AM EST
Oh... and...

Tutorial, please?
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:54:10 AM EST
It is regular Powder Coat, the same stuff used for bumpers, outdoor furniture, etc..

The linked forum post has all the information needed.

There is nothing left in the barrel when shot. People have stated that their barrel is actually cleaner after 200 rounds than it was before they shot them. Just gun powder residue left.

This is NOT Moly, so no need to worry about trying to get moly out of barrels

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 11:55:26 AM EST
Oh, and you could use every color of the rainbow. I picked up the flat black and yellow right now. Harbor Freight also has red, white and some other color in stock.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:17:12 PM EST
Any thoughts on gas system fouling?

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:31:57 PM EST
There is no fouling to speak of. MUCH less than lead anyway, which I shoot out of my 300 BLK all the time. Reports have been that the barrels are extremely clean after hundreds of rounds, just a little powder residue, no copper fouling either, so it is actually cleaner than shooting jacketed bullets.

This is with speeds remaining below 3000 fps for right now. Someone tried it with .224 cast bullets in an AR and are reporting a little fouling in the barrel. They were loading for over 3000 f.p.s. though.

It will work GREAT in a 300 BLK.





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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:32:33 PM EST
Ok, this is officially the coolest arfcom post I've seen in some time...

Does the coating add any thickness? Can you size them afterwards?

TIA,

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:38:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By Aggie_Gunner:
Ok, this is officially the coolest arfcom post I've seen in some time...

Does the coating add any thickness? Can you size them afterwards?

TIA,

- AG


The coating adds a slight amount of thickness. The cool thing is, you resize the bullets AFTER you powdercoat, not before. The powder coating remains intact, just gets a little shiny.

Recovered powder coated bullets show that the powder coating is still intact in the rifled areas. It is TOUGH stuff, but very slippery.

I'll see if I can add a few photos from the other forum.


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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:42:09 PM EST
Here is a picture of a smushed powder coated bullet (using the black powder coat from harbor freight). The powder coating remains intact with no flaking.



Here's a photo of a few recovered bullets. Notice the rifling grooves. Powdercoat remains intact.


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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:44:45 PM EST
Wow... it has been too long since I was over at castboolits. Thanks! Off to order powder coating machine!

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:48:06 PM EST
It does work great but is a bit time consuming for my tastes. I also had a hard time getting good coverage on the base of the boolits.

My Christmas themed 300 blk boolits that ken73 coated for me to try out.


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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:53:38 PM EST
Looks cool.

How much time and money do you have invested in say, 100 rounds?

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:58:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/26/2013 1:04:14 PM EST by CBR900]
Originally Posted By Sixgunner45:
It is regular Powder Coat, the same stuff used for bumpers, outdoor furniture, etc..

The linked forum post has all the information needed.

There is nothing left in the barrel when shot. People have stated that their barrel is actually cleaner after 200 rounds than it was before they shot them. Just gun powder residue left.

This is NOT Moly, so no need to worry about trying to get moly out of barrels


"coated" lead cast bullets are NOT new technology - they've been around for 20 years - but people in the gun community are VERY slow to catch on (there is a maddening amount of herp-derp / mis-information about "TMJ'd" or electroplated bullets out there - like the excellent Speer Gold Dot ELECTROPLATED bullet).

Steel Challenge winner B.J. Norris used to shoot only coated bullets (polymer/moly coating) out of his Glock 34 back when he was just a teenager.

I think this was the brand he used to use back then: http://www.precisionbullets.com/

After he started winning and switched to Open division, he got sponsoship & all his ammo was paid for so there was no longer a need to use inexpensive coated bullets.


Personally, I have concerns about the toxicity of the smoke produced when these are fired. OTOH, all gunsmoke generally contains lead fumes IF moddern lead styphnate primers are used. So its not as if any of it is healthy.


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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 12:59:25 PM EST
The powder coat machine was $59.00. HF powder coat is $4.99 a pound, so far it looks like I can powder coat around 2000 bullets per pound.

Right now I am using a VERY small toaster oven. I am making about 80 bullets every 20 minutes. MOST of that time is waiting on the powder to cook. If I had a larger oven, I could easily see 200-300 bullets powder coated every 20 minutes.


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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 1:14:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/26/2013 1:14:34 PM EST by Jimmy22]
i doubt that it is more slippery. You are making it a larger diameter bullet and its fitting tighter in the bore, making the gasses push harder against the bullet. The PC is probably also acting like a gasket of sorts. Thats the reason for higher MV.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 1:19:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By Jimmy22:
i doubt that it is more slippery. You are making it a larger diameter bullet and its fitting tighter in the bore, making the gasses push harder against the bullet. The PC is probably also acting like a gasket of sorts. Thats the reason for higher MV.


You size these bullets "After" powder coating, so they are the same exact size as the normal lead bullets being shot. People are seeing higher velocities with these powder coated bullets than with the cast/lubed bullets of the exact same size.

So, that means that these bullets are definitely more "slippery" than cast/lubed bullets.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 1:40:35 PM EST
I am a commercial powder coater.

How are you supporting the boolits to ground them for spraying and baking.

I have LOTS of excess waste surplus powder out of the filters in my spray booth
that would be suitable for this use.
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 1:46:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By us-kiwi:
I am a commercial powder coater.

How are you supporting the boolits to ground them for spraying and baking.

I have LOTS of excess waste surplus powder out of the filters in my spray booth
that would be suitable for this use.


I am using "non stick" aluminum foil. I simply wrap my tray in the foil, then set the bullets on it base down. The bullets are then all grounded at the same time through the foil.

Replace the foil after every tray is baked.


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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 1:46:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By Sixgunner45:
The powder coat machine was $59.00. HF powder coat is $4.99 a pound, so far it looks like I can powder coat around 2000 bullets per pound.

Right now I am using a VERY small toaster oven. I am making about 80 bullets every 20 minutes. MOST of that time is waiting on the powder to cook. If I had a larger oven, I could easily see 200-300 bullets powder coated every 20 minutes.



For me, I don't think the time would be worth it in the end. The only lead I shoot is .45

I also like to shoot a lot at a time, so the most amount that I can crank out safely in the quickest amount of time wins.
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 2:08:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By Sixgunner45:
Originally Posted By Jimmy22:
i doubt that it is more slippery. You are making it a larger diameter bullet and its fitting tighter in the bore, making the gasses push harder against the bullet. The PC is probably also acting like a gasket of sorts. Thats the reason for higher MV.


You size these bullets "After" powder coating, so they are the same exact size as the normal lead bullets being shot. People are seeing higher velocities with these powder coated bullets than with the cast/lubed bullets of the exact same size.

So, that means that these bullets are definitely more "slippery" than cast/lubed bullets.


I saw about 50 FPS higher average velocity and tighter groups from a given powder charge from a known accurate load in my 300 blk. And that's not something I read on the internet or formulated a guess about, it's actual results as measured over a chronograph.

I was also able to increase the charge and maintain accuracy over regular lubed cast lead bullets.


Wait...what?
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 2:34:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By Sixgunner45:
Originally Posted By Jimmy22:
i doubt that it is more slippery. You are making it a larger diameter bullet and its fitting tighter in the bore, making the gasses push harder against the bullet. The PC is probably also acting like a gasket of sorts. Thats the reason for higher MV.


You size these bullets "After" powder coating, so they are the same exact size as the normal lead bullets being shot. People are seeing higher velocities with these powder coated bullets than with the cast/lubed bullets of the exact same size.

So, that means that these bullets are definitely more "slippery" than cast/lubed bullets.


Actually the opposite is probably true. If the bullet were more "slippery" less pressure would develop, therefore less velocity would result. That's like moly coating jacketed bullets, there's less friction so more powder is required to acheive the same velocity. Even at the same diameter the powder coat must increase friction thereby causing more pressure to develop driving the bullets faster.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 3:29:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/26/2013 3:38:47 PM EST by Trollslayer]
I am finding it hard to believe the coating does not leave a film in the barrel (it's impossible).

We have very lead solvents and scrubbers to remove lead, wax lubes and copper alloys. What will we use to remove this organic coating - an epoxy fouling/coating on the inside of your barrel? Carbon fouling is the most difficult fouling to remove. Why would I want to "epoxy bed" my barrel?

I could be wrong about the above. Got any data?

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 4:02:18 PM EST
Damn. I'm gonna try this just for fun. I powder coat small parts all the time and have little bottles of scrap powder I need to use up.

It has to be leaving some trace of residue, it's just a matter of how much.
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 4:23:37 PM EST
I would think that a solvent such as acetone or paint thinner would dissolve any deposits. Thanks for letting us know that this works! I have been having problems with my .45 and lee liquid alox, if i don't clean the mouth after loading it will gum up my chamber after 40 rounds and then cause out of battery condition on my 1911.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 4:33:25 PM EST
Cured epoxy resin is notorious in its solvent resistance. It is not easily removed IF it is well adhered.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 5:01:10 PM EST
This is pretty cool, I am curious as well about any sort of buildup & if so the process to remove it.
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 5:08:00 PM EST
The commercial black colored bullets were coated by a chemical made by the Sandstrom company. At first it was a chemical called 27A, then it was replaced by a 9 something chemical.

I never did figure out a good way to coat boolits in bulk. My best guess is that something like a cement mixer is used and somehow heat is applied to it to kind of bake the Sandstrom on.

Good thread, OP!

How smelly is the powder coating? Does it generate even more fumes when you bake it on?

How do you coat the boolit bottoms?

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 5:23:33 PM EST
Just to try to dispell an old wives tale about cast boolits and the waxey lubes that normally fill the grooves. I have loaded up and shot boolits that I sized but did not lube. These unlubed boolits still smoked. Everybody thinks it is the waxy lube that causes the smoke. My guess is that it has something to do with the pressure being less in the barrel/chamber versus jacketed bullets.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 5:28:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By knight_dive:
Originally Posted By Sixgunner45:
Originally Posted By Jimmy22:
i doubt that it is more slippery. You are making it a larger diameter bullet and its fitting tighter in the bore, making the gasses push harder against the bullet. The PC is probably also acting like a gasket of sorts. Thats the reason for higher MV.


You size these bullets "After" powder coating, so they are the same exact size as the normal lead bullets being shot. People are seeing higher velocities with these powder coated bullets than with the cast/lubed bullets of the exact same size.

So, that means that these bullets are definitely more "slippery" than cast/lubed bullets.


Actually the opposite is probably true. If the bullet were more "slippery" less pressure would develop, therefore less velocity would result. That's like moly coating jacketed bullets, there's less friction so more powder is required to acheive the same velocity. Even at the same diameter the powder coat must increase friction thereby causing more pressure to develop driving the bullets faster.
With all due respect, there's something wrong with your logic, sir.
For the boolit to go faster, it needs to accelerate more in the barrel.
Increasing the friction would only slow the boolit down.

Sort of like rolling your car down a hill where the force of gravity is constant.
It will roll slower with the brakes on, and roll faster on steel wheels- less rolling resistance.

Unless you are suggesting that the static friction is higher, thereby keeping the boolit
in the chamber a little longer, like a tight crimp, to allow the pressure to build more,
before it slides into the bore.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 5:37:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Cured epoxy resin is notorious in its solvent resistance. It is not easily removed IF it is well adhered.

This.

I know of no solvents that will remove cured epoxy, polyester or hybrid powder coat.
And it takes about 700 deg. f to burn it off. Its really tuff stuff.

Biggest problem I find with powder is it needs a really clean surface to bond to, as unlike
wet paint, it contains no solvents to clean the surface it is coating.
Not a problem for a freshly cast boolit, as long as it hasn't been handled with bare fingers.

This topic has got my attention.
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 5:55:31 PM EST
Yeah, it would be great to push a .223/AR15 cast boolit past 2,000 fps without any really bad adverse effects.

Wait...what?
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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 6:26:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By us-kiwi:

Originally Posted By knight_dive:
Originally Posted By Sixgunner45:
Originally Posted By Jimmy22:
i doubt that it is more slippery. You are making it a larger diameter bullet and its fitting tighter in the bore, making the gasses push harder against the bullet. The PC is probably also acting like a gasket of sorts. Thats the reason for higher MV.


You size these bullets "After" powder coating, so they are the same exact size as the normal lead bullets being shot. People are seeing higher velocities with these powder coated bullets than with the cast/lubed bullets of the exact same size.

So, that means that these bullets are definitely more "slippery" than cast/lubed bullets.


Actually the opposite is probably true. If the bullet were more "slippery" less pressure would develop, therefore less velocity would result. That's like moly coating jacketed bullets, there's less friction so more powder is required to acheive the same velocity. Even at the same diameter the powder coat must increase friction thereby causing more pressure to develop driving the bullets faster.
With all due respect, there's something wrong with your logic, sir.
For the boolit to go faster, it needs to accelerate more in the barrel.
Increasing the friction would only slow the boolit down.

Sort of like rolling your car down a hill where the force of gravity is constant.
It will roll slower with the brakes on, and roll faster on steel wheels- less rolling resistance.

Unless you are suggesting that the static friction is higher, thereby keeping the boolit
in the chamber a little longer, like a tight crimp, to allow the pressure to build more,
before it slides into the bore.



I mean something along the lines of the last part of your comment. If the friction is reduced, the expanding gases just slide the bullet on out of the barrel without having time to develop any real pressure as if you were using undersize bullets. You need pressure to generate velocity. The same thing happens when you moly coat bullets. The coating reduces the friction so you need to add more powder or use faster burning powders to generate the pressure required to obtain the same velocity. At some point the pressure reaches a great enough value where it can truly drive the bullet through the bore. The higher that pressure is the greater the velocity, the lower the pressure (i.e. a "slippery" bullet) the lower the velocity. Its not quite as simple or as linear as that, but that's the general idea.

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Link Posted: 3/26/2013 8:14:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By Libilaw:
I would think that a solvent such as acetone or paint thinner would dissolve any deposits. Thanks for letting us know that this works! I have been having problems with my .45 and lee liquid alox, if i don't clean the mouth after loading it will gum up my chamber after 40 rounds and then cause out of battery condition on my 1911.


Your problem is easily cured.

Lay an old towel on an old cookie sheet or any other hard solid surface (not wood). Pour a little mineral spirits in the center of the towel. Add about 50 or so loaded rounds to the center of the towel. Bring the corners of each end of the towel together in each hand forming a hammock with the boolits in the middle of the towel. Now alternately raise and lower your hands gently rolling the booilts across the wet spot in the towel and it will clean all the lube off of them. 10 to 15 times back and forth should be enough. Pour them out on a dry towel to dry and you should be GTG.


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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 5:01:00 AM EST
Originally Posted By KarlRichter:
The commercial black colored bullets were coated by a chemical made by the Sandstrom company. At first it was a chemical called 27A, then it was replaced by a 9 something chemical.

I never did figure out a good way to coat boolits in bulk. My best guess is that something like a cement mixer is used and somehow heat is applied to it to kind of bake the Sandstrom on.

Good thread, OP!

How smelly is the powder coating? Does it generate even more fumes when you bake it on?

How do you coat the boolit bottoms?


Excellent info - i was not aware that was what they use.


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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 7:34:30 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/27/2013 7:42:47 AM EST by ricklaut]
Originally Posted By us-kiwi:

Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
Cured epoxy resin is notorious in its solvent resistance. It is not easily removed IF it is well adhered.

This.

I know of no solvents that will remove cured epoxy, polyester or hybrid powder coat.
And it takes about 700 deg. f to burn it off. Its really tuff stuff.

Biggest problem I find with powder is it needs a really clean surface to bond to, as unlike
wet paint, it contains no solvents to clean the surface it is coating.
Not a problem for a freshly cast boolit, as long as it hasn't been handled with bare fingers.

This topic has got my attention.


I powder coat my cast boolits too (also learned from the thread over at Cast Boolits). Last night, I tried boolits that had previously been lubed with Alox. I washed them in mineral spirits (well agitated in a container). I dried them in a "towel hammock" and they seem to have coated fine. To check for adhesion, here's one (a 9mm) that I smacked hard on the nose twice and once on the side.



I was impressed with the adhesion based on this, and based on the other photos I've seen of shot boolits. All of the ones I've powder coated so far have been handled with bare fingers. With better handling (latex gloves?) do you think the flaking I'm seeing here wouldn't happen?

I can attest to having a cleaner barrel, compared to the same boolit (lubed) and same powder charge (Unique). I tested in my Glock 21 (.45 ACP) and was amazed at how clean it was. There was a little something stuck just ahead of the chamber, but I don't believe it was lead. It brushed right out.

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 7:39:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 3/27/2013 7:44:18 AM EST by ricklaut]
Originally Posted By KarlRichter:
The commercial black colored bullets were coated by a chemical made by the Sandstrom company. At first it was a chemical called 27A, then it was replaced by a 9 something chemical.

I never did figure out a good way to coat boolits in bulk. My best guess is that something like a cement mixer is used and somehow heat is applied to it to kind of bake the Sandstrom on.

Good thread, OP!

How smelly is the powder coating? Does it generate even more fumes when you bake it on?

How do you coat the boolit bottoms?


When shot, I didn't notice any smell (but less smoke than alox lubing the same boolit). Others report a slight smell. When baking... yes - lots of smell / fumes. I'm running my toaster oven outside... the warning label on the powder says not to breathe the fumes and recommends a mask. I set up so I'm upwind of the oven.

Like the OP, I'm not coating the base of the boolits (they're sitting on non-stick foil), but tried it during initial testing. In my testing, I focused on covering all of the bearing surfaces and the bottom, by drilling holes that the nose would fit into in an inverted cookie pan. It worked OK - they weren't as pretty, and I am satisfied now with ensuring the sides are coated. It's definitely easier getting set up with just non-stick foil, for me.

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 7:47:37 AM EST

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 8:41:50 AM EST
This looks really cool and it's something I would like to try out. My only concern is, what is the effect it might have on the barrel? Is this stuff abrasive at all?

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 7:43:22 PM EST
yea...I have been watching this as well. Other than the risk of getting burned from molten lead the lube process is one that I truly despise. I pan lube and yea I think it sucks. I did try the Lee liquid horseshit but it sucked even worse, epecially if I am shooting into a headwind I cant stand the stuff. I could go on but wont.

The powdercoating is very interesting to say the least. Keep working on it guys, I may have to try this myself.

You know, a gold or silver color wouldnt be bad either, for color, I just think blue should be off limits for obvious reasons...think 'sim' round gone wrong...that would be my only meaningful addition to this thread at this point...

carry on!

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 8:57:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By Captain_Howdy:
You know, a gold or silver color wouldnt be bad either, for color, I just think blue should be off limits for obvious reasons...think 'sim' round gone wrong...that would be my only meaningful addition to this thread at this point...
carry on!


I have to agree that blue would be a bad idea as well.

(And unethical - can you imagine losing a blue round at the range and having someone who doesn't know any better pick it up?)
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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 9:08:25 PM EST
This is a great thread. I have a HF powder coating machine that I have not used in a few years. I will have to give this a try.

Thanks!
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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 9:12:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By CRNUMBER:
This looks really cool and it's something I would like to try out. My only concern is, what is the effect it might have on the barrel? Is this stuff abrasive at all?


I'm relying heavily on what people smarter than me are saying... there isn't any concern with wear on the barrel. From my observations, I can't imagine how it could be abrasive (it's maleable, and clearly softer than steel). It's essentially a plastic covering, strong enough to keep the lead contained.

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 9:13:37 PM EST
Originally Posted By DyNo541:
Originally Posted By Captain_Howdy:
You know, a gold or silver color wouldnt be bad either, for color, I just think blue should be off limits for obvious reasons...think 'sim' round gone wrong...that would be my only meaningful addition to this thread at this point...
carry on!


I have to agree that blue would be a bad idea as well.

(And unethical - can you imagine losing a blue round at the range and having someone who doesn't know any better pick it up?)


That's a great point - I hadn't thought of confusion with sim rounds. I wasn't thinking of blue, but I'd bet someone will.

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 9:37:59 PM EST
Ok, I am very interested in this. Maybe not so much for pistol bullets, for for my 300 Blackout and cast bullets in my milsurps this sounds like a great idea.

I'm thinking the best way to coat them would be to set the bullets upside down on the tray, either in a hole for pointed nose or directly on the nose for flat ones.
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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 9:38:43 PM EST
My new 9mm mold came in today, so I cast some up and powder coated/loaded about 100. I'll get more powder coated and loaded tomorrow, then head out to the range to see how they work in my new SW MP9.

I'll try to take a couple photos of the bullets/loaded ammo tomorrow.

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Link Posted: 3/27/2013 10:33:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/27/2013 10:35:00 PM EST by GlutealCleft]
Originally Posted By Trollslayer:
What will we use to remove this organic coating - an epoxy fouling/coating on the inside of your barrel?


DMSO.

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