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Thread: Chamber Casting

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Default Chamber Casting

    A question.

    I know you can use Sulfur to make chamber castings. There is also a commercially produced low-melt alloy that goes by the name Cerro-Safe.

    I've used the Cerro-safe chamber casting alloy. It is a low-melt metal that looks similar to solder, you pour it into a plugged chamber and when it cools you have an accurate casting of the chamber.

    I plugged the chamber with a piece of paper towel wrapped up and stuffed down into the bore so that I got a casting of the throat as well as the chamber. It didn't take long to melt, but I did not like the fact that I had to use a frying pan to melt the metal... I hate wasting a dish for something I am going to do maybe half a dozen times, ever.

    I have not used sulfur for chamber casting. Yet. Has anyone done this before?

    Is it the same melting process for any kind of sulfur, or are there specific sulfur compounds to use? I'm not really concerned with the mess it will make because I'm doing all of this in my garage.

    I have a large bag of lawn-grade sulfur that is intended for pest control. I wish to use this if possible instead of buying more cerrosafe. It is a more dusty kind of sulfur, not the pellets or granules that I had in my chemistry set so many years ago. I remember the pellet sulfur was melted with low heat on an oil burner with my desktop chemistry set, and it was fun to drop the melted sulfur into water to make little yellow balls. I don't remember what else I did with it except try to make gun powder. Kids and their chemistry sets!

    I'm curious to hear other people's experiences with sulfur casting. I didn't find much doing a search for "chamber casting sulfur"... I thought there would be more documentation about it. I'm going to poke around some reloading forums to see if I can find more.
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    Gunco Regular Gunter's Avatar
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    Indian Admin Winn R's Avatar
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    Jerry -- I don't know a thing about the chamber forms but I also mixed the charcoal with saltpeter and added a touch of sulfur.

    The components came from the local drug store. Never got a bang though -- only a sizzle.

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Here it is - just heat & pour. A little bit more complicated actually. Just a little.

    I cut up a soup can and use some vise grips to hold it.

    Obviously, I used all the protective gear I could - eye protection, respirator, gloves, and adequate ventilation on this chilly evening to ensure I didn't poison myself with Sulfur-Dioxide-whatever.

    Clean the chamber, follow with a patch soaked in WD40 and leave the patches in the bore just in front of where the bullet tip would be.

    Secure the barrel in the vise breech-end up, using those handy rubber vise jaws that 7.62x39 recommended!

    Get fire extinguisher handy, just in case the sulfur catches on fire. Sulfur dust is probably more volatile than the pellets, but I felt adventurous. (stupid is as stupid does, right?!?!?)

    Heat the sulfur ***SLOWLY*** with a MAPP torch. Propane would work too, probably better. My MAPP torch was handy. When it started to bubble black bubbles, I knew it was too hot!!!

    When the entire amount of sulfur was melted into a caramel consistency, I easily poured it into the chamber. Melting took perhaps 5 minutes at the most. I gently passed the cup through the flame (on its lowest setting) so that it would not get too hot too quickly.

    I ran a cleaning rod down a few times to clear any bubbles that formed, and refilled the chamber. I repeated this until it slightly overflowed and then I let it cool about 1/2 hour.

    The garage has taken over an hour to vent the fumes, and it still stinks!!! Next time, I melt outside.

    The result. The discoloration is due to the over-heating I mentioned. A nicer color could be had, but this works perfectly. You can see the rifling, so I know exactly how the throat looks on this "G" barrel I used. Yes, that's the patch still melted into the sulfur.


    Offhand, it appears that the chamber is definitely larger than the published cartridge specs in my reloading manuals. If I am measuring correctly, it is approximately:

    .002-.004" at the neck
    .005-.006" larger at the shoulder
    .001" - .002" larger at the base.

    Now I know how much bigger the chamber needs to be for my 9x39 project.


    Last edited by hcpookie; 02-18-2009 at 11:47 PM.
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    Gunco Regular Gunter's Avatar
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    You can check you chamber against Clymer's reamer here:

    http://www.clymertool.com/cgi-bin/reamer.cgi

    You will have to pick the reamer as they don't link to each reamer.

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    Gunco Regular Gunter's Avatar
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    Lets dip up an old thread....

    I needed to do some chamber casting for the 44??? project, so I bought some Cerrosafe and did a few chambers with it. While looking for info on using the stuff I ran across this thread with some good stuff on the Cerrosafe.

    BPCR

    I'll see how much it grows in 200 hrs.

    One thing that I ran into is the bottom of the casting would be solid while closer to the top it would change into a sandy/grainy look. When after the all important 1 hour wait, I meausred the casts and ran into some strange results. On the 7.62x39 chamber I came up with the same numbers that HC did on his. However, the top of the casting (open end of chamber) seemed to be way too small for the other measurements. Taking a caliper to the end of the barrel, it measured .448. The casting measured .441. If you measure a case it measures .442 which would result in a clearence of .006. That measurement is more in line with the .006 at the shoulder.

    On another casting the top measured .457 while a caliper showed .463 on the barrel. Another .006 clearence over the listed size of the cartridge. Edit: This was on a 44 magnum barrel. After rereading, I thought that it might be taken as a 7.62x39.

    I woulder if the sandy/grainy looking part of the cast expands at the same rate as the rest of the casting?

    Also, I'm about 90% sure that I found Cerrosafe listed as another product that is about 1/2 the price. I requested the MSDS to see if in fact it is.
    Last edited by Gunter; 02-19-2009 at 11:21 AM.
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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Did you have a wet towel blocking the barrel? Sounds like you may have had bubbles in the end, which may cause inaccuracies. Oil or water could cause this. May need to degrease and try again. You would think the casting would be closer to the real thing.

    Can you melt some sulfur and try a sulfur casting? I know it is stinky but it would be a good way to get a 2nd casting for comparison.

    Any more I use sulfur for casting since it is cheaper and IMO easier. Just more stinky.
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    Gunco Maniac sjohnson's Avatar
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    Be careful. That rotten egg smell is SO2, sulfur dioxide. A POWERFUL heart stimulant.

    There exist some underground mines where a miner's heart literally exploded itself from the over-stimulation from highly concentrated sulfur dioxide.
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    Gunco Regular Gunter's Avatar
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    No, HC just a patch. I did heat the barrel slightly as per the Brownell instructions, which did keep the Cerrosafe in a molten state for a few minutes after pouring.

    So what did you decide on clearence for the 9x39?
    "Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in."

    "Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets."

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  10. #10
    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Well if there was no moisture I'm not sure. Try it again and watch to see if it bubbles up any... I can't imagine it doing that so I'm really not sure what to say unless the bubbles were there BEFORE pouring?

    *sjohnson you're absolutely correct - I will say for the record I was wearing gloves, goggles, and a respirator when doing it. I didn't want sulfur-anything in my lungs, nor on my bare skin!
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