Hardness testers - I want to buy a hardness testers for both ingots and bullets new or used . I am looking for the contact info for the makers of hardness testers . I would appreciate any opinions on these testers . murray222
Hardness testers for ingots and bullets ?
- 4.2K Views
- Last Post 14 December 2009
Also use the search function. It'll pull up several threads.
I use the Lee tester for bullets and ingots. To use the pen shaped optical measuring device you line up the scale on the dimple, this is a bit tough but it works.
This makes the Lee tester a bit more user friendly for me.
look for cabintree easiest to use and good equipment.
This makes the Lee tester a bit more user friendly for me.You need to market that thing. I have a little carpal tunnel syndrome, and holding that blasted thing still long enough to get a reading will drive one to the edge of insanity.
Have a Cabin Tree, and would put it up against any of the others for quality, accuracy, and ease of use. 1Shirt!:coffee
The way I hold the pen glass still is by you take a long treaded carriage bolt and a corner brace shape like a L and a pice of wood also 2 wing nuts. Drill a hole on one end of the wood that you can have the bolt stay in place .you put a wing nut face down then the coner brace the orther wing nut face up and then clip your pen glass to it and you can agjust whatever hight you want. I came up with that since I could not hold it steady myself and now I have no problem with it. make sure that you put the brace in the bottem of the L to the end it has 2 holes.Clip to the top one.
I'm using a saeco at present and it is borrowed, but if I buy it will be a LBT. Saeco will do the job but it is agravating to use for me as I have to use a small pair of needle nose pliers to hold small bullets in place to pierce for testing. Old, Clumsy fingers. Also you have to use a chart with the saeco but it's not hard to remember to conversion. The saeco is out of the question for ingots thought. The LBT is less expensive than the Saeco by about 45 bucks. It is direct reading also. JDC (applejack)
I tried an LBT hardness tester on a bunch of bullets from the same alloy batch and got wildly varying results. But why bother trying to test alloy with unreliable inbstruments when all you have to do is control the antimony content. Alloy of any particular antimony percentage will be exactly the same (known) hardness every time. How much simpler can it get ?
But if you must have a hardness tester, you get a more reliable one by following the method published by the NRA I think. As I recall you cast two big discs in something like coffee can lids, one in pure lead the other much harder like linotype. A ball bearing squeezed between them in a vise will leave impressions of different diameter. The measurements can be used to determine the hardness of any alloy in between by a formula. Damned if I can find it but I know I have it somewhere. I'll let y'all know when I find it. Meantime let's hope somebody on this forum knows about it and can tell us.
The NRA article Dicko refers to is on page 29 of the NRA CAST BULLET HANDBOOK. It works very well, and all you have to buy is a steel ball bearing - preferably somewhere between 5/8” and 1-1/4” diameter. The NRA article suggests taking a 2” pipe cap and turning out the threads to make a mold for casting the samples to be tested - a procedure that requires access to a lathe or a friend who owns a lathe. I cast them in an aluminum muffin tin (which also works great for casting ingots when you're emptying the pot). DO NOT make the mistake of casting ingots in a tin plated steel pot! You can put the lead in there, but you can't get it out. With the NRA method, you don't have to have a pure lead sample to test against; any sample of known hardness will work - you just have to tweak the math a little.
There's also a method where you use a ball bearing, a drill press and a bathroom scale, and with that method you do not need a specimen of known hardness to test against. I'll try to find my notes on that one - but again, it will not work for sampling a bullet. You still need a sample cast in a muffin tin or something similar.
For both methods, you do need a micrometer, but if you cast bullets you need one of those anyway.
OK - I found another source for finding BHN, but again it won't work on a bullet, you need a muffin or something sinilar, with a flat top surface and the top and bottom parrallel, and you can use a ball bearing, drill press, and bathroom scale. Go to
This one will do the calculation for you, but it's from Britain so you have to speak to it in metric. To get kgf, multiply pounds times 0.453592. To get mm multiply inches times 25.4. Enter the numbers in the proper boxes, and it will spit back BHN.
From an earlier post of mine: “I test mine using the home-made hrdness tester :
It has a couple advantages over the others: 1) it's cheap and 2) it uses no springs, so is accurate and never requires calibration. 3) it will handle bullets and ingots. If the handle is not exactly at 90 degrees, the correction factor is simple. There's been alot of discussion as to whether a particular brand tester is accurate or not, and many just use the obtained readings to compare one alloy they have on hand to another. The beauty of this system is that is the reading obtained is a true Brinell hardness test. I checked mine against pure lead and linotype just to verify I was doing it correctly and my readings basically match the published hardness ratings of the respective materials."
I use(d) a 1/4: ball and got accurate results. A known pure lead sample came out to 5.1something. A Lyman 410459 cast from Lyman #2 tested out at 15.2. The 1/4” ball is small enough to test bullets. The only problem is the calculations if the handle is at anything other than 90 degrees, and that's solveable. Plus you can use any size ball and punch it into the
I recently bought a Cabintree tester. It's readings are very accurate as compared to the above method and is a heck of alot easier to use.
- All Categories
- General Polls
- Contact Us w/ Forum Issues
- Welcome to The Cast Bullet Association Forum
- Bullet Casting
Guns and Shooting
- AR Platform
- TC Contenders & Other Single Shot Handguns
- Informal Matches & Other Shooting Events
- Gunsmithing Tips
- Gun Cleaning & Maintenance
- Benchrest Cast Bullet Shooting
- Military Bench Rest Cast Bullet Shooting
- Silhouette Shooting
- Postal Match Cast Bullet Shooting
- Factory Guns
- Black Powder Cartridge
- Hand Guns
- Lever Guns
- Single Shot Rifles
- Bolt Action Rifles
- Military Surplus Rifles
- Plinkers Hollow
- Buy, Sell or Trade
- Other Information & Reference