Lead hardness testers

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Bill in Oregon
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Lead hardness testers

#1 Post by Bill in Oregon » Wed May 15, 2019 12:50 pm

Except for a small batch of 20:1 alloy and some pure lead wire I have purchased over the years, I have been content to cast boolits using a little of everything and a lot of range scrap mostly casting handgun slugs for 25-yard work. I'd like to step up my game and be better informed about the general hardness of the bullets I cast and shoot, so I am looking at lead hardness testers.
The cheapest appears to be a set of art pencils of varying hardness -- if the pencil scrapes up a small shaving of lead, the pencil is harder than the lead. Lots about this at castboolits.com.
I'd prefer something more sophisticated and less fiddly. The interesting Lee tester is next up at just over $60, followed by the old workhorse LBT at $100, the Cabine Tree at $125 and the Saeco at $189.
Leaning toward the LBT but saw a good Youtube on how read the Lee properly.
Who has used these or has thoughts? JimT, I know you have Veral's tester by your recent posts.

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JimT
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#2 Post by JimT » Wed May 15, 2019 2:46 pm

Yes, I have the LBT. I am not sure how old it is but it is simple, strong and will last .. I can attest to that. I think I have had it since the 1980's, but it could have been in the 90's.

Marvin S
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#3 Post by Marvin S » Wed May 15, 2019 3:39 pm

I use the LEE tester and it seems to work fine but I have nothing to compare it with other than a portable Rockwell tester that works in the same manner except it just does C scale.

Chuck 100 yd
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#4 Post by Chuck 100 yd » Wed May 15, 2019 4:18 pm

I have a Saeco hardness tester. I mostly use it to compare batches of alloy of unknown mix. It works well but no way to check accuracy or calibration.

765x53
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#5 Post by 765x53 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:19 pm

I use an automatic center punch to give me a clue about the relative hardness of my scrap lead. Not that it matters, I melt and cast everything.

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Re: Lead hardness testers

#6 Post by Ray Newman » Wed May 15, 2019 8:12 pm

My LBT is probably 30 years old by now. Always works and easy to use.
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#7 Post by Sixgun » Wed May 15, 2019 8:48 pm

Saeco......very accurate from pure lead to the hardest of alloys----6
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#8 Post by Griff » Wed May 15, 2019 9:01 pm

JimT wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 2:46 pm
Yes, I have the LBT. I am not sure how old it is but it is simple, strong and will last .. I can attest to that. I think I have had it since the 1980's, but it could have been in the 90's.
Likewise, simple and works... what's not to like?
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6pt-sika
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#9 Post by 6pt-sika » Wed May 15, 2019 9:28 pm

I used to use a friends Saeco and liked it quite well . But he left us a few years ago and his heirs did who knows what with it .
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Shasta
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Re: Lead hardness testers

#10 Post by Shasta » Thu May 16, 2019 5:29 pm

When it comes to precision measuring instruments, don't cheap out. You get what you pay for. I really like my Saeco. It's a very old one made of steel. The one drawback to it is that it will only test bullets, not scrap lead pieces or ingots. For those I have a Cabine Tree hardness tester. For me, the Saeco is easiest to use.

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Re: Lead hardness testers

#11 Post by mikld » Fri May 17, 2019 9:56 am

I have a Lee tester, but had quite a bit of hassle with the microscope. I have a magnifying visor and dial calipers, so I just measured the dimple with my calipers. It's not difficult to "frame" the dimple with the calipers and the visor enlarges enough to get good measurements. There are many ways to mount the microscope (I used a 45 ACP taper crimp die to hold the 'scope and mounted it in my single stage press) but I prefer to just measure the dimple with my calipers. Works for me...
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