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 Removing bullet lube off cast lead 
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Location: 1.5 hour N of seattle, sedro woolley
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Anybody done this? I have several 10's of k's of cast bullets that I lubed and now would rather powdercoat.

I would imagine a few good cycles of hosings/shakings in batches with brake clean or some other solvent should do the trick?

My main concern with this would be leaving some kind of minute residue that would promote or cause powder degradation with long term storage of the ammo loaded with said bullets.

Second would be ill effects on adhesion of the powdercoat.

Any advice?

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Sat Feb 27, 2021 2:57 pm
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I've done exactly that before by boiling the bullets in water. On the stove. When she wasn't home.

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Leave it cleaner than you found it.


Sat Feb 27, 2021 3:08 pm
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MadPick wrote:
When she wasn't home.



Sound wisdom


Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:37 pm
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Ahhhhhh. A no chemical solution, I like it. Boiling removes the lube completely? Any issues with the powder coating afterwards?

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Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:21 pm
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It seemed to work well for me. I mean, I'm no expert powder coater, and I was using the Harbor Freight cheap shit, so I'm not gonna claim that it was a pro-level job, but I didn't notice any issues due to lube residue.

Try a handful, let us know how it works for you.

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Leave it cleaner than you found it.


Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:28 pm
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Will do. Thanks for the tip!

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Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:30 pm
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Sorry but I gotta disagree, as someone who's done a lot of powder coating and had a lot of lubed lead bullets when I switched, you won't get the wax off well enough for good adhesion without using some sort of solvent. Maybe if you rinsed them in lacquer thinner or acetone after boiling, that might be adequate. Normally I'd say don't bother and it's better to just cast them again, but with that many bullets, maybe it's worth the effort. Best of luck, one way or another it's going to require a lot of effort.


Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:47 pm
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So you removed the wax from the lubed bullets you had and then encountered issues with the powder coat adhesion? Or assuming that it would go down that way?

I've done some reading on castboolits about people using xylene with good results. Madpick was satisfied with his boiling the wax off. I'm thinking I'll boil a batch, then after they dry doing a soak in xylene to remove the remaining residue, if any.

Really doesn't sound like all that much work in decent batches. Some are bullets I've cast, and some are bullets that I do not have molds for. So the time to melt and re-cast is FAR more effort and time than a cleaning.

Yondering- if you've removed wax, please share your process and results.

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Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:35 am
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harleyjasondavidson wrote:
So you removed the wax from the lubed bullets you had and then encountered issues with the powder coat adhesion? Or assuming that it would go down that way?


Yes. I found that it took quite a bit of work (several rinses in solvent) to adequately clean all the lube off. If you still have a thin wax residue on the bullets, don't expect the powder coat to stick well enough. Even just performing the final rinse in laquer thinner that already was contaminated with lube was enough to impair the powder coating's performance.

Good luck.


Mon Mar 01, 2021 6:40 pm
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Madpick's idea of boiling the bullets worked well. I boiled a couple thousand and let the pot cool. Quite a lot of hard was on top!

The bullets still had a very light film of wax after drying. I put about a half quart of xylene in a pot with the bullets and stirred/tumbled them by hand for about a minute. Poured off the dirty xylene and poured in a fresh half quart, gave them another one minute agitation by hand and dumped on a towel to dry.

No wax residue to be felt now. The bullets are shiny and appear good to go.

Really not much work at all, maybe an hour of labor and only an $8 expense for a quart of xylene to do 2000 bullets. Takes a couple of days to complete the process with the overnight dryings.

I did some research on the use of xylene and there's a "wet" method of using powdercoat with xylene to liquify and apply to metal with a brush or sprayer just like any normal paint. So, the xylene residue (if any) left on the bullets gets combined with the powder during baking and cooked out. Result is supposedly the same as doing a normal powdercoat on a bullet.

I did a very small test batch of a dozen bullets in the toaster oven today. Didn't get as heavy a layer of powder as I'd like to see due to so few bullets in the bowl to create that static charge but they baked evenly, and looked good. I smashed all 12 flat with a hammer and no peeling,chipping,or flaking whatsoever. Problem solved I think!

I will be powder coating the masses when the fresh pound of Eastwood powder shows in the mail. Updates to come if there's any changes or unforseens but if not, the above process is simple, fast, and cheap.

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Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:08 pm
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Sweet. Thanks for testing and reporting back!

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Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:24 pm
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harleyjasondavidson wrote:
I did some research on the use of xylene and there's a "wet" method of using powdercoat with xylene to liquify and apply to metal with a brush or sprayer just like any normal paint. So, the xylene residue (if any) left on the bullets gets combined with the powder during baking and cooked out. Result is supposedly the same as doing a normal powdercoat on a bullet.


That's the old method some of us used to use before we figured out shake and bake. You can tumble the bullets in it or spray it on; either way it requires a lot more time for drying and the coating isn't always as good.
You don't need a real thick coating to work for pistol bullets; if there are some minor barely covered areas you'll probably find that they work just as well and still shoot accurately. (The real test is accuracy, not just whether it leads the barrel or not.)

Like I said above, the boiling does work if you rinse the bullets several times in solvent afterward. Sounds like you got the same results I did with that; it's not worth it for most people trying to recover a few hundered bullets but with as many bullets as you have it probably makes sense. If you don't rinse in solvent, that waxy residue will mess with the powder coating; you might get coverage but it won't stick and the results are evident on target and in the air (lead dust that you inhale), as well as visible on the recovered bullets.


Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:39 pm
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