Bullet Casting for Beginners, Part 5: Powder coating

    Welcome to part 5 in the LYMAN and TFB series on casting bullets. This is the final post in this series and it would not have been possible without our relationship with Lyman. If you are interested in taking up bullet casting (or reloading) please consider Lyman for your equipment–they have been amazingly helpful in this process as a resource.

    You can find Part 1, the intro at https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/08/22/bullet-casting-for-beginners/, Part 2, Processing the Lead at https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/08/31/bullet-casting-for-beginners-part-2-leads-dead-baby-leads-dead/, Part 3, Casting the Bullets at https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/09/04/bullet-casting-for-beginners-part-3-its-alive/ , and Part 4, Sizing and Lubing at https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/09/11/bullet-casting-for-beginners-part-4-sizing-and-lubing/  At the end of Part 1, I list all of the equipment you should need to get started–it is repeated at the end here as well.


    Welcome to part five.

    While doing some research for this series I ran across a great YouTube channel going over every aspect of bullet casting. I do not know FortuneCookie45LC, nor have spoken to him, but recommend his informative videos. Check him out here.


    Last week we went over lubing and resizing. Lubing can be a bit messy, but another option is available. An awful lot (if not the majority) of people now powder coat their cast bullets. It is very simple. It does take a bit of more time than regular lubing, but the end result is, I think, a better end result.

    Powder coating is basically taking a polymer-based powder and applying to the bullet, then through baking will create a very dense coating. In the industrial world, a small electric charge is applied to the object to be coated. Through a small amount of static electricity, we will create just enough of a charge to get a bond between the bullet and the powder

    Let us look at what we will need:

    EQUIPMENT

    Cast bullets: You should already have plenty of these. If not go out there and pour some lead!

    Powder Coating: For the beginner, this is cheap and easy to find. I ran to Harbor Freight and grabbed a jar of it for six dollars. There are certainly other options for better powder coating, and even some companies make a powder coatings specifically for coating bullets.  I chose “yellow” for safety.

    A sixteen-ounce jar will coat dozens (probably hundreds) of bullets

    Airsoft BB’s: Trust me on this one. Luckily I have a few thousand left over from my last force-on-force-class.

    Small Tupperware: Grab a small one from the kitchen. Don’t tell the wife, it is okay, you have my permission! ;-).

    Toaster oven: Head to the local second-hand store, I got one for ten bucks.

    Heavy tweezers or needle nose pliers: You do not want to touch them after they are initially coating as you will pull off the powder. You REALLY do not want to touch them after the baking, because getting the hot goo on your fingers will be…..rather uncomfortable (and require a trip to the ER).

    Getting started

    We put some airsoft BB’s into the Tupperware and a couple tablespoons of the powder. Add some of our beautiful pediatric pews in and shake them for a minute or two. The airsoft bb’s will help create a small static charge, just enough to get the powder to adhere to the bullet

    The ingredients ready to go.  Yes, it looks like Cheesy Poofs in this lighting.  No, it is not edible.

    One minute of shaking

    After a minute of shaking you will see a minor coating of powder. I was able to get a heavier coat of powder with some more shaking.  No matter what you do, don’t lick the excess cheese flavoring.

    A reader had commented earlier that dropping a freshly cast bullet into water anneals it and causes difficulty in powder coating. These bullets are for killing invading commie paper targets, so a thin coating is fine (for me).  In the future, I will avoid annealing to get a more even and thicker coating.

    Baking

    Fire up that little toaster oven. The powder comes with directions to the heating temperature. I believe there are different temperatures for different brands (but not sure). Place some parchment paper on the tray of the oven, as when the powder melts it becomes a sticky goo, until cooling. Place our pews on the tray with a tool. Touching will remove powder we want to keep that a minimum.

    You can see I was not able to get a thorough covering. Probably from my annealing of the cast bullets

    Coated and non-coated for comparison. The unevenness thins out as the powder is baked.

    Last step

    The final pre-pew step is to run them through a sizer die. No different than when we lubed (except for this time I put the correct part on the press. Amazingly simple (when you do it correctly).  If you have not read our series on reloading, this would be a perfect time to jump in and load those pews into cases so you can put them to use.

    Sizing was effortless and quick when using all of the parts.

    Conclusion

    Powder coating is pretty easy. Although my adolescent pews are not the prettiest, they are fine. Fine for 10-20 yard plinking. Although the coating did not show the best results, this was a lot of fun to do.

    I believe the unevenness was from the annealing. I want to hear what you guys think. It could easily be from the powder brand I chose. What say you?

    FINI

    This concludes this series (for now). A big high five to you the reader for showing interest and taking part in the comments. A huge thanks to Lyman. They are supporters of TFB, and we all are thankful for them.


    Items used in this series.  At the very minimum, you need these things.

    You may also want these items for safety:

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    Mike R

    Mike spent his entire adult life riding an ambulance throughout the Southwest US. He found humor in long in-depth philosophical conversations with crack heads and other urban street survivalists.

    His highest point was being invited to instruct for some “special” medics in the military. A 30 year gun enthusiast, he started down the path of reloading to keep up with his desperate need of more ammo. Reloading is like medicine, you never stop learning.

    He can generally be found at the local range picking the brains of the old timer, looking for brass, and banging away at gongs. He reloads everything from .32 to .45, .223 to 7 rem mag.


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