Bullet Hardening


Well-Known Member
Gentlemen, I'd appreciate the benefit of your experience. A friend of mine commented that lead bullets 'harden' over time when left on the shelf. I'm coming over from the States shortly with a supply of Nosler Partitions to last me a few years and I just wanted to make sure they wouldn't deteriorate in the box. My chemistry/metallurgy knowledge is pretty poor, alas.


Well-Known Member
I personally don't think it does, it's encased in a copper jacket, not open to the elements and I presume being kept in a pretty dry atmosphere. And just think they have used lead in coffins, and they are buried for a bit longer than you will need to worry about .
How did your friend get his info ?

I think it's a bit more shooter story.

Not that the answer will make any difference
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Well-Known Member
Sounds like ******** to me.

Surely for them to harden some sort of change has to take place I.e. physical or chemical. If they are stored somewhere Dry, away from extremes of temperature/chemicals then I would have thought they'd be fine.


Well-Known Member
If they are lead as opposed to a lead bearing alloy, then no, they will not age harden.

Most common metals work harden so you have to anneal them after a certain amount of deformation. One of the properties of lead is that it anneals at room temperature, which is why you can work it without having to soften it by heat.

Aluminium will age harden.



Well-Known Member
I think our friend is getting mixed up with cast bullets, They harden after a couple of weeks of being cast then they get softer over time quite a long time,
some of the cast bullet people I chat to have been doing long term research into this the amount bullets soften over time is 1 point on the Brinnell Hardness scale
which is nothing, Jacketed bullets real don't change, any way the copper jacket is harder than the lead inside,
The only problem with bullets with lead in them is oxidation from getting damp, open a box of Speer 200 gr 8mm I had stored in the garage they had white
powder on them a wipe with a cloth clean them up like new.