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Making a "HARDER" lead-head jig, drop shot sinker etc

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   Has anyone ever added tin to their lead or used straight tin to our jig heads? I know tin is harder than lead, though PURE tin, when cold, will crumble like sand. I'm certain a lead - tin alloy would not crumble and would be a harder head. 

   The other potential upsides would be making larger jog heads that are lighter. I know weight matters when punching through weed mats down south, but fishing the Susquehanna River up here a larger, lighter head would be great for a number of reasons....1) the larger the head, the less often it will get snagged 2) larger head/larger bait = larger bass in most cases 3) most of the water we target bass in up here is between 2-6 feet, any jigs over 1/4 ounce seem to fall too fast and snag far too  often

   I figured I'd see if anyone else has ever played with alloys, and what their results were. I know tungsten is going to be far harder than anything we can pour at home, but when you might go through a couple dozen jigs in one outing, you're certainly NOT using tungsten! I've been fishing the river for nearly 40 years and rarely lose any jigs, but my son & his friends & most of my friends are constantly snagged - snapping off - tying on another one.

  Let me know what everyone's opinions, thoughts, ideas and advice are on this thought. I figure there has to have been people who've done this before me which is why I'm asking. I've actually been adding tin to make a 60/40 ratio tin/lead when pouring larger heads, which to me is anything from 1/4 ounce and up to 1/2 ounce. The only molds I have that create anything above 1/2 ounce are among the 1st molds I ever bought when I was 12 or 13 for weights when we'd frequently fish for Catfish or with bait. I can't honestly remember the last time I fished with "real" bait as it's been at least 15-20 years as even when I walk trout streams in February, I'm throwing streamers or miniscule spinners/spoons.

  Thanks! Kirk

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Want harder lead, 70-30 mix of lead and antimony. I poured a Midwest finesse jig with that ratio and tried to pull the wire keeper out or loosen it up, the keeper bent and never came loose. The issue is it is too hard and in some molds it doesn't work well. So I use 3% to 5% antimonial lead now and that works well. I use to have wheel weight lead and I'd melt it down and pour 1/2lb ingots and then pour pur soft lead into 1lb ingots so I wouldn't mix them up. It also made it easier to keep the same ratio of hard to soft but now I just go with the 3% to 5% antimonial lead and it is hard enough without being too hard.

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I've used pure tin on various jigs one ounce and up and it works great.

But it is $20 per pound. So I prefer to use scrap pewter. Most pewter is 96% tin and cast just as easily as pure tin.

Often you can find some pewter at a thrift store or garage sale for a decent price.

I don't know where you get the idea that PURE tin will crumble. It casts just fine for me and is not the least bit crumbly or like sand.

It is also ~30% lighter than lead.

I buy pure tin at Rotometals.

I make my lead harder by using superhard from Rotometals. It is a 70/30 Lead/Antimony alloy.

Since the Antimony is already alloyed with the lead it is much easier to use. Pure Antimony melts at over 1,000*f but superhard melts at normal lead temps.

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10 hours ago, Munkin said:

Can I just mix say a lb of bismuth with 10lbs of soft to make it harder?



If you already have the Bismuth then that should work.

The problem with Bismuth is it expands slightly as it cools so you will need to use drop out and unmolding might give you some issues depending on the mold used.

If you have a choice I would use Tin or Antimony instead as they're easier to work with.

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I cast more bullets than lures and have a lot of experience. If you can get your hands on an alloy with even a small percentage of antimony then you can get significant hardness just by water dropping. I cast almost everything from an alloy that is 96% lead, 2% tin and 2% antimony. Just dropping it from the mold into a bucket of water will cause the hardness to double.

I have some bullet designs that perform very poorly when allowed to air cool but the groups tighten up considerably when water quenched. Clip on wheel weights do very well when water dropped, if you can still find any.

Be extremely careful to keep water out of your molten lead or you will get a most unpleasant visit from the tinsel fairy!

Edited by Elkins45
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