How I coat my bullets


#1

I know lots of people like to shoot coated lead bullets, I started coating my own bullets a few years ago an once I got my process figured out I can coat an cure a couple hundred bullets and hour on a lazy weekend afternoon.

This is how I do it.

Tools:

Convention toaster oven for curing your bullets.

I prefer the convection oven because it heats more evenly. You can pick one up at a resale store on the cheap or just buy a new one for around $30 to $40 depending on what you like. ONLY use the oven for curing powder coated bullets or heat treating bullets from that point on NEVER use it to cook food in afterwards. If the oven is not digital and controlled by an internal PID get yourself an oven baking thermometer (WallyWorld for $7) to set your temperature dial as close as possible, most toaster ovens heat much hotter than the dial indicates. Set your oven to keep a constant temperature at around 400 degrees, if the temp runs +/- 25 degrees it wants hurt anything you just don’t want it to get to high or to cool.

Plastic container for tumbling bullets in.

You will need one or more #5 plastic containers and lids depending on if you want to do more than one color, screw on types are the best but snap on lid types like I use work fine to. I use these two types of #5 container I recycle from home along with multi color plastic pony beads I get at WallyWorld for $1.50 per pack, they are large enough that they want get stuck in my big 45 ACP HP’s. The combination has worked well for me to generate lots of static electricity to attract the powder to the bullets. One thing of note is that LOW HUMIDITY is your friend as it will make generating static electricity easy, I like it to be 40% or lower. At times, I’ve had to coat my bullets in the house and take them out to my reloading shed to cure.

#5 container from local restaurants.

Great Value Yogurt container.


Pony Beads.

In the small container I place enough beads to fill the bottom about 1" deep, in the larger container I add enough to fill it between 1" an 2" but no more than that. I add about 1/2 TSP of powder to the container with the beads and shake it up for about 30 sec. notice how it already starts to stick to the beads and sides of the container. I always start out with 1/2 TSP if you need to add more powder to get the desired coat only add another 1/4 TSP to the mix as too much powders will clump on the bullets and you will have to tap it off before placing them on the baking tray. It’s easy to add a little more powder to get a fine coating than having too much to start with.

Lee .312" 185 gr. RN Smokes Carolina Blue & Aluminum checks

Next I add the bullets. Make sure they are clean of any dirt, oil or lube or any contaminates that might be on your hands as the powder will not stick. You can wash your bullets in 100% Acetone and wear nitrile groves when handling bullets if you think they are or might get contaminated during the handling process. I generally add around 50 to 75 bullets to the container depending on caliber and weight close the lid and shake in all directions for around 30 seconds. I used black air soft BB’s that I had with the clear powder coat, and they work great with clear, not so much with some other colors I’ve used but the pony beads will work with all colors.

After about 30 seconds of shaking I tap the lid to knock any powder off the inside and look at my bullets to see how they are coated. If they pass my inspection they should look like this or the ones in the white clear coat above.


Next I take my baking sheet and line it with a piece of Reynolds Non-Stick aluminum foil, non-stick side up, there are cheaper brands of that type foil but I think the Reynolds works best and I get around 7 to 10 uses out of a sheet before I toss it, other like silicone baking mats but powder residue tends to build up over time on those, so I just use the foil. I take a pair of long tweezers and place all my bullets base first onto the foil, it takes some time to do it this way but I can easily have the next tray of bullets ready to cure by the time the first batch is done. Many just dump the bullets into a screen tray, shake off the excess powder and dump them on the foil and bake, but I like the results I get standing them up individually and the powder flow and migrates evenly with no lumps or flat spots. Then I pop them in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 min. Then I size and gas check as needed.

Powders I like to use.

Smokes Yellow / Green, Super Durable Clear or Carolina or Signal Blue are all excellent powders to coat with. Smoke will sell you a pound of powder divided into 3 1/3rd lb. of any of his colors if you like but these are the colors I like and that have worked for me the best with no fuss.

VS - Hi quality Powder for DT or Spraying bullets

Eastwood powders I like.

Hotcoat Powder Coat Lime Green

Hotcoat Powder Coat Ford LIght Blue

Hotcoat Powder Coat Maroon

Hotcoat Powder Coat Medium Green

A few notes on cast bullet air cooled or quenched from the mold and how the curing process will anneal the cast lead bullets using an alloy that responds to water quenching or heat treating. Your results may vary depending on the original alloy used and the as cast BHN and at the time the bullets BHN is tested.

  1. If you air cool your bullets when cast then PC them an allow them to air cool again the second time there is no change in the as cast BHN of the bullet.

  2. If you air cool your bullets when cast then PC them and quench them right out of the toaster oven they will gain a hardness of about 75% over the as cast BHN.

  3. If you quench your bullets out of the mold to begin with then PC them and allow them to air cool they will soften around 50% from the original first quenching BHN.

  4. If you quench your bullets out of the mold to begin with then PC them and quench them right out of the toaster oven a second time you only loose around 15% hardness from the first quenching.

Some good videos


#2

Thanks for the detailed instructions. I’ve always wanted to try this!


#3

Thanks. I want to try this as well.


#4

Super Awesome Thread :+1:


#5

Wow. Well done.
Haven’t watched the videos yet but you put a lot of work and info in that post.
And peaked my interest as well. I gotta look inno this.


#6

Very cool!! Thanks for posting this. Do you cast your own bullets, too?


#7

Yes, I’ve been casting off an on for about 30 years, since the kids are grown it’s been pretty steady the past 10 years. I have around 13 Lee molds, 2 old Lyman/Ideal molds, 3 different custom molds from NOE and 1 Arsenal and 1 Accurate Mold.

I usually buy myself a new custom mold or two every year as a gift to myself to replace some of my older Lee molds. I have no issues with the Lee molds as they have cast many a good bullet for me and will buy them again.


#8

A few other ones I’ve done lately.

NOE clone of the Lyman 358156

NOE 124 gr. TC for the 9mm

Some of the Lee .312" 185 gr. RN I did in Copper coat, it’s a pain to get to stick to the bullets well, lots of extra shaking required.