‘Sn’ . . . The Lead pot Sweetener . . . Make your stash easy to use!

CharlieBrassStuffer | April 11th, 2018

24 pounds of 60/40 solder ingots arrive today…

I caught a sweet deal on tin/lead solder ingots last week and today they arrived…big long heavy ingots that have to be re-ingotized so that they are easy to add to the lead pot to sweeten up low Sn (tin) lead. COWW, (Clip On Wheel Weights), are typically .5% Sn, and by adding tin to increase that percentage…generally less than 2% maximum…you can get your lead to fill out those moulds perfectly. Or, say you want to make a pot full of 20~40:1 for hollow points; you need to be able to accurately add the right amount of tin to that soft lead to make it stronger yet malleable and keep it soft enough to open fully and retain all their weight on impact.

First step…set up the melt pot…

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Turn all those big ingots into liquid again…re-clean it with a healthy amount of sawdust, and be sure to scrape that pot’s bottom and sides so that your new, smaller ingots are as pure as you can make them. The cleaner you make your bullet metals in the ingot melt, the easier it will be to manage in the pour pot…clean lead in the pour pot means no more foreign matter in the spout of a bottom pour pot. You can actually get the ole Lee ‘Drip-O-Matic’ to behave.

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Make those ingots vary in size…

Notice that I have filled these two muffin pans to different heights (more on that later), the larger muffins will be used later in the pour pot to make ‘sweetener-slugs’ out of 405g., 255g., and 200g. moulds, these little slugs are handy to add small amounts of tin to small batches where you don’t intend to pour a full 20 pound pot in one casting session.

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For instance, a 405g. slug of 60/40 tin/lead has only 60% tin in it…when you use solder like this you don’t care about the lead content of the slug, just the amount of tin in it. So how much tin is in a 405g. sweetener slug? *Divide the 405g. slug by 437.5g./oz. to determine what it weighs in ounces. There are 437.5g.’s in an ounce. 405g./437.5g.=.925 oz. *Remember that the slug is only 60% tin, that weight is what matters to us. So, .925 oz. X .6 = .555 oz. of tin. Roughly 1/2 ounce of pure tin in that sweetener slug.

The 255g. slug has .35 oz. of tin, and the 200g. slug has .27 oz. of tin. The three different weight slugs represent 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 ounces respectively. Depending on your needs you can add any amount of tin to a lead pot you desire. Simple huh?

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For larger batches of lead…

Remember I said to pour the ingots at various levels? They will weigh out differently for adding tin to 20 lb. pots of lead, and if you blend your lead at the ingot pot you may be working with 40 lbs. or more depending on your ingot pot size…that’s where these various size ingots come in handy.

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The small muffins weighed out at .6 oz./Sn through 2.16 oz./Sn. I weigh them, do the math conversion and stamp them with a 1/4″ letter/number stamp kit for future quick selection. There is always the need for just 1/2 of one of the small ingots because what you needed exactly was not in the tin stash. That’s not a problem because you can cut them in half using a cheap pair of 15″ bolt cutters or even a cold chisel.

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I suppose that I spent three hours this morning changing those bulky ingots into useful little ingots, but I consider that time well spent. When I am ready for a casting session I will be able to make up any mix my needs require…it is very satisfying to custom mix your bullet metal and get perfect results, especially those Hollow Points.

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The Reloading Press
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The Reloading Press

Great post boss, If ever I get tin LOL I will follow this post when smelting it. I’m going to be reduced to buying my supply from now on. It is too hard to come by around here nowadays. Thanks for the information.
Nathan

JCM45
Member
JCM45

Thanks for the link to this one too, Charlie. Very useful.

LeverAction Gypsy
Member
LeverAction Gypsy

Another great post Charlie – You really should consider a video series for those new to casting…or maybe even a book!