Quenching Cast Bullets with Brine

Quenching Cast Bullets with Brine

Brine is used in a number of heat treatments, particularly for steel, so I’m interested to see how it works with my wheel-weight alloy.  For this experiment I’ll be using an 8:1 mixture of water and Sodium Chloride (Table Salt) at room temperature.

Method

As with previous tests, I’ll be casting and quenching five bullets in water to establish a baseline and then five more in the brine for a comparison.  Once again I’ll be using the same equipment and alloy for both sets of bullets which will be cast at the same time to eliminate any other variables.

Finally, each bullet will be tested using the Lee Precision Lead Hardness Test Kit.

Water-Quenched

Beginning with the water-quenched control group measurements were as follows:

Bullet 10.060″14.3BHN
Bullet 20.058″15.4BHN
Bullet 30.058″15.4BHN
Bullet 40.058″15.4BHN
Bullet 50.056″16.6BHN

With an average BHN of 15.42.

Brine-Quenched

Now that we have our baseline set, let’s move on to the brine solution.

Measurements obtained were:

Bullet 10.056″16.6BHN
Bullet 20.056″16.6BHN
Bullet 30.057″16.0BHN
Bullet 40.056″16.6BHN
Bullet 50.056″16.6BHN

This yielded an average of BHN 16.48; a bit harder than the water-quenched control group.

Results

Based on these findings, it appears as though the brine solution is roughly 7% more effective than water at quenching cast bullets.

Summary

Much like antifreeze and alcohol, brine probably isn’t effective enough to justify switching, however again, this is a liquid that may perform better when chilled.

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