I NEED HELP WITH POWDER COATING

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mashburn posted this 12 March 2020

Hello To All Of You Accomplished Powder Coaters,

I decided a while back that I was going to start powder coating my cast projectiles. I gathered up all of the necessary equipment and bought a new toaster oven and traded it to my wife for her old oven and was ready to get started. My knowledge of powder coating is limited. Okay here are the results, I couldn't get any powder to stick to the bullets at all. I would like to know how much powder to put in the butter bowl for how many bullets and how many plastic BB'S. I swished and swished this way and that way and even put it all in a somewhat smaller container and set it down in my vibratory case cleaner, still no powder on the bullets. The bullets that I was trying to coat were .17 caliber pills and if you have every cast .17 cal bullets you will roll them and around in your fingers a lot  looking for small defects before you accept or reject them. I thought they may have a lot of gooey finger prints on them so I got out some new bullets and washed them in lacquer clean and let them dry and then went through all of the processes again. NO BETTER LUCK.

The first mix of powder, bb's and bullets seemed to have too much static electricity. The bullets, powder and bb's would lump up into big lumps and wouldn't agitate. The later mixture that I tried lumped up but near as bad as the beginning attempt. I dug through all of the old posts on the forum this evening and found some interesting info: guess what. One contributor said that Harbor Freight flat black pain would not adhere unless you used some kind of static gun.  Since I was just getting started and not wanting to spend any more money than necessary on paint, until I learned what I was doing, guess what I bought. That's right-Harbor Freight Flat Black.

Before I order new paint I would like to know what kind of paint works best and I would appreciate all of the helpful info that you experienced powder coaters can give me. Guess what I learned how to make Harbor Freight flat black stick but it goes on too thick. Take a bullet in your tweezers and dip it into lacquer thinner and give it a good shaking to sling all of the lacquer thinner off. Sift a little paint powder on a smooth flat surface and lay the bullet down and roll it through the powder. I used my finger and would mash the angled point down to make it go down to the paint. It puts a coating on immediately but it is a way too thick. Kind of resembles a minature wooly worm.

Thanks,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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4and1 posted this 12 March 2020

Then only powder I have used, I bought from Smoke on the castboolits forum. I have never had a problem with the powder sticking. I lube my bullets with RCBS case lube (water soluble) and check and size, then I just wash them in Dawn dish liquid. When they dry, I dump them in and shake. And my plastic container isn't one of those #5 things. I would change powder. If you want another source, Eastwood has good powder.

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BigMan54 posted this 12 March 2020

Second on the Eastwood. Have had very good luck with Smoke's powder too. Smallest bullets I've PC'd have been .32Cal-75gr RN for .32ACP. 

Maybe you should try some larger bullets to start. I use Zip-Lock #5 containers. They are about 5"x5"x1 1/2" high. I cover the bottom with a full layer of 6mm black airsoft bb's, add a half teaspoon of powder and about 50-100 bullets depending on size. then shake in a round about fashion for 30-60 seconds. Set the container down and tap the top with my knuckles. Peel off the cover and pick out the bullets with my fingers. I wear Nitrile #7 gloves, pick up a bullet and drop it about from a half inch high in the shaker container to remove excess powder and set it base down in the oven tray. A Convection Toaster Oven. I can do 300-500 bullets this way before I add more powder. And I have a separate container for each color.   

My bullets are clean as I water drop into a clean bucket and lay the bullets out on a clean towel to dry. Then into a clean 1 gal bucket for sorting/inspection. Then into a clean container. After PC they go back into that same clean container. I wash containers before use with soap & hot water and keep covered when not in use.

Clean dry bullets are the only way to go.

I size after PC, just the way I've done it since I started  2+yrs.ago. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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mashburn posted this 12 March 2020

Hello 4and1,

Thanks for your response and helpful information.

Thanks again,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 12 March 2020

Hello BigMan54,

Thanks for your response and much needed helpful information.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Boschloper posted this 13 March 2020

Try preheating your bullets. I put mine in the toaster oven and heat them to 120 to 130 Fahrenheit. Then I put them in a #5 food storage container with the powder and shake. I dump them out on a 1/4" mesh screen, pick them up with tweezers and put them on the oven tray. I use Eastmans red powder. I don't use plastic BB's. Got the preheat idea from YouTube. 

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mashburn posted this 13 March 2020

Hello Boschloper,

Thanks for the reply and information. I'll give that a try sooner or later. Where I live you can't go out and buy the BB's, like everything else you have to order and pay ridiculious shipping charges.That is one problem of living in a slimly populated area but we have our freedom.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Boschloper posted this 13 March 2020

Not a plug but we have Amazon prime and can get some Eastwood powder with free shipping. If you think OK is slimy populated, try NH. 

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mashburn posted this 13 March 2020

Hello again Boschioper,

Thanks again for reply and information. My wife has amazon prime, which I forget she has because I hardly ever order from Amazon. I meant to say thinly populated, I don't know how the expression I used came out of my keyboard. Southeastern Oklahoma is mountainous and with very few people but the population is increasing. We may get annexed by Texas if the Texas week enders keep buying property and moving in. 

I haven't tried heating the bullets like you suggested but I will tomorrow. I used the bullet-powder and bb suggested amounts mentioned by BigMan54 and had a little better luck but not success. My bullets look like speckled giunea fowl. ( I know I misspelled that word) I think the Harbor freight powder is the main culprit. How hard are you supposed the shuffle the components around in the container? I've got to drive to Ft. Smith, Arkansas within the next few days and if so I will pick up some better powder and if I don't I will order some.

Anyone out there who has any information to add, please do. I've reloaded-built rifles and shot and hunted for about 56 years but this is something that I have never attempted and will appreciate any and all help from anyone.

Masshburn

David a. Cogburn

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Boschloper posted this 13 March 2020

Mashburn:

I just noticed that your thinly which became slimly then became slimy in my post.  Never intended to make a negative comment on Oklahoma.  My dad was born there, and fled to the land of milk and honey (California) during the dust bowl / depression.

I shake my container of bullets and powder about as hard as you could shake them with no lid on the container and not have them come out, only don't try it without the lid, you will have powder everywhere.  I shake until the bullets are well covered.  I don't time  it, just stop when they look right.

Boschloper.

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mashburn posted this 14 March 2020

Hello again Boschloper,

Guess what? I have powder coated bullets baking out in the shop. I tried your idea about preheating the bullets. It worked, even with the Harbor Freight powder that isn't supposed to work. It wasn't a 100% perfect job but for my beginning attempt they appear that they are going to turn out quite well. I ordered some good Eastwood paint and black BB's from 
Amazon today and am anxious to see what I can do with good paint and not have to preheat. When you are almost 76 years old, putting the bullets in the pan, with tweezers, back in the toaster oven is like playing the old kids game called Operation. I'm proud of myself and didn't knock any over while I was doing the process.

Thanks a tremendous lot for your help,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Boschloper posted this 14 March 2020

Glad to hear you are having some success. 

Wayne

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mashburn posted this 14 March 2020

Hello Wayne,

No offense taken. I just thought that you had misread my slimly as slimy and was just giving me consolation. My Parents were some who didn't go to California during the depression and somehow managed to survive here. I'm glad they did or I probably wouldn't be living in what I consider to be the best place to live in the world, especially since the Oklahoma State Government has been taken under Republican control. That's something that I never expected to see just a few years ago. I left and lived in Texas during the early 70's but as soon as I got a chance I came back to my home.

Thanks again for your help and I anxious for my good paint and bb's to arrive .I'm headed to the shop right now to check on my baking bullets. 

 

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 14 March 2020

Hello 4and1,

I thought you might like to know that I whipped the powder coating. A member told me that if I pre-heated the bullets to 130-140 degrees that the Harbor Freight paint would adhere to the bullets and he was right. He also said that by doing that, you didn't need bb's. I ordered some good Eastwood paint and some black bb's, I should now be able to do even a better job. However, I am completely satisfied with the results of my first attempt. I like your idea of lubing the bullets with RCBS water soluble case lube for a sizing lube and I will do that also.

Thanks again,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 16 March 2020

Hello to all,

I have now mastered powder coating that is until some new problems arise. I coated some more bullets today and have a lot more waiting. I am going to hold off until my Eastwood paint and black bb's arrive before I do anymore. The harbor freight flat black requires too much aggrevation to get it to adhere. The bullets that I coated came out real well. One thing I learned is, it tests a 75 year olds hand steadiness when you are setting little .17 cal. bullets down on their base in the oven without turning them over and the ones for gas checks really give a test.

Here are a couple of things that I want to test in the future and may be helpful to people who powder coat and those that are thinking about getting started. I had a thread on a while back dealing with military surplus wheel weights that I had purchased. They were extra hard, they had a hardness of 17-18. I found that the bullets that I cast from these would let the powder adhere much faster and better. Another thing is when I was first starting with not much idea of what I was doing, I tried washing in lacquer thinner and it seemed to help. Now that I am having some success and have a better understanding of the process, I want to experiment with the lacquer thinner wash.  A friend of mine and I do color case hardening and every time we case harden we take a scrap  piece of steel and try something a little different from our standard process. We have learned a lot over the years..

Again I want to thank all of you people who shared information with me, it was all very helpful.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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BigMan54 posted this 21 March 2020

Mashburn,

I'm glad things have worked out for you. I learned all I know about PC'ing from things I read and questions asked and answered on this website. If I had the ability to Post pictures of my journey I would have. But I'm becoming a bit of a luddite.

I gave up on Harbor Freight powder very quickly. As soon as  Smoke's & Eastwood powders arrived I washed out the container, dried it and store my Eastwood Squirrel Gray in it. 

As for setting bullets on their bases to be baked, I am Very Glad that I'm not PC'ing anything smaller then 7mm.

My hands are not as steady as they once were.

 

 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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mashburn posted this 21 March 2020

Hell again BigMan54,

I got my Eastwood powder in the mail yesterday. I haven't used it yet, but will be doing so in the next few days. I was able to get the Harbor Freight flat black to work but it was a pain in the neck to do it. I won't use it again. I just came out of the shop a little while ago. I was gas checking and sizing some powder coated .312 115 grain bullets to load for some of my 32-20's. The new member, Spindrift, from Norway said that he gas checked before he powder coated. He must coat by some method other than shake and bake or I would think the checks would come off during that process. I want to get loads worked up for a couple of rifles and a handgun to shoot in the ground hog match coming up. The .17 Mashburn is the next bunch of bullets to be coated. Thanks again for your help.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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cfp4570 posted this 21 March 2020

Mashburn, keep us informed on your .17 caliber project. I for one would sure like to hear how it goes. I've only owned one .17 caliber rifle, a CZ 452 in .17 mach 2, but it sure was a hoot to shoot. Squirrel hunting with it was almost like cheating. I plan on doing a .17 hornet barrel for my H&R one of these days. As to coating bullets, the only thing I've used is the Hi-Tek polymer coating. I have had good results with it, but I have no idea how it compares to powder coating.

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mashburn posted this 22 March 2020

cfp4570,

Thanks for your response and interest in my 17 project. I plan on keeping the readers aware of my accomplishments and failures. I started to do this project last year but was dubious as to the success that I would achieve. I started studying about powder coating and I will see if it works and I believe it will. I built my rifle. It is a .17 Mashburn and has about the same powder capacity as a .17 Mach IV. I'll be getting started with firing some rounds within the next two weeks.

Thanks, Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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BigMan54 posted this 22 March 2020

Mashburn,

I seat gascheckd before I "shake & bake". I have used Hornady crimp on gas checks only so far. I seat the gas checks using the gas check seating accessory for My Lyman Lube-Sizer. Give the gaschecked bullets a spritz of brakecleaner on a paper towel about 15 minutes before PC'ing.

I've done 2 batches of 40 #311291, and 50 each of #358156, #429244 & #452490. And 1 batch of 30 #287405. 

Not a single gas check came off. I've only shot the #311291 in Rifle so far. Got 2 1/2" groups from my Handi-Rifle in .30-30 with open sights from the bench. Eyes and shooting ability are not what they used to be. 

The Revolver gaschecked bullets all shot great at 50ft. That's what the indoor range limit is. I even broke down one round of each loading to see if the PC process would cause the GC's to come off. It didn't.

Guess it will be a Loong time before I can get out to the Rifle Range to test those 7mm PC'd & GC'd bullets in my 7x57.

Glad it working out for you. 

I think using that Eastwood powder will really open up your eyes when mixed with Black Bb's.

 

Side note. When I first started PC'ing, it was with HF red. It Really stunk. Then the Eastwood Squirrel Gray arrived, My Wonderful Wife brought me GREEN airsoft BB's. So rather then wait for the Black BB's to arrive from Amazon, I tried PC'ing with green. It worked ! Beautiful smooth gray bullets. About the 8 or 9th batch of 44RF, it stopped working. 

Switched to Black BB's, been using the same 4 plastic boxes with a full layer of Black BB's in the bottom for more the 2yrs. One each for Eastwood Squirrel Gray, Smokes Flame Red, J.D. Green and Ford Light Blue. Done about 3,500 of the gray and at least 1,500 of each of the others.  Still using the same boxes with the same Black BB's inside.  

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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mashburn posted this 26 March 2020

Hello BigMan,

Thanks for your reply,

I keep learning every day as I do more powder coating and I have been coating every day for over a week. I keep learning and every time I think that I have it mastered I run into a new problem to solve. It's one in the morning and I've got a oven full of bullets ready to get out and that is where I'm headed to the shop now. Thanks for all of the correspondence and information.

Thanks again,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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