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Old 11-05-2011, 09:36 PM
thelaststand thelaststand is offline
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Survivalists prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In order to be prepared for the worst case while considering guns and ammo I think that lead bullets are not getting enough attention. After all your FMJ and JHP ammo has been spent you will have to turn to lead to continue to make bullets. Itís possible to make gunpowder and primers or stockpile more gunpowder and primers then you need (in a safe place). I shoot 9mm cast bullets out of my Ruger SR9 without any problems. Lead bullets require less gunpowder, can be made from tire weights or lead that you can find in a backstop at a shooting range. You can shoot lead bullets out of any rifle, but at a slower velocity. Shooting lead from a gas piston rifle is more problematic, but out of a bolt action it is not a problem.

If you own land you can secure a renewable lead resource by building a large backstop with dirt and shoot targets that are in front of the backstop. Let your friends come and shoot at your range as long as they agree to shoot at the backstop.

Rather than stockpiling expensive manufactured ammo, buy casting equipment, reloading equipment and learn how to use them and stockpile gunpowder and primers (in a safe location away from the house). Try extracting lead from your backstop after a while and go through the process to melt it down into lead ingots and then into bullets and load them and test them. After you figure out the process rather than continuing to extract the lead, allow it to accumulate. The benefit to time ratio for me when taking lead from the backstop and turning it into ammo is very small compared to my income to time ratio, so I donít spend a lot of time doing it; I purchase my lead bullets already made and lubed or I fire manufactured bullets; however, each bullet fired at the backstop is another 115-147 grains of lead that can be extracted and later restored into a bullet and loaded. So every bullet that you fire at your range is a bullet you are saving for later if you need it.

I can get primers for $0.02 per round and the gunpowder is $0.01 for 9mm so the total cost for a box of 50 of my own product would be $1.50 if I recycle the lead and brass.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:21 AM
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I vote for doing both (factory & reloading) and I'll add the need for skill in non-firearm weapons for defense & hunting .....
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:42 AM
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I cast my own. It's very satisfying to shoot your own reloads, but even more so when the reloads contain your bullets as well. I cast .45, .44, .40 and .357. I would recommend if anyone is considering casting, you better start squirreling away lead now, because you are behind the power curve. Lead was once pretty easy to get a hold of, and for cheap or free. Now, it's much tougher to get your hands on. Tire shops are for the most part using steel and/or zinc wheel weights now. So the easy source of lead has just about dried up.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:49 AM
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Yep, I agree. I've been saving up lead for years. Got about 150 lbs of linotype, about 150lbs of wheel weights and well over 300 lbs of range scrap. I've done some casting in the past but it is just so time consuming to melt, cast, chill, size and lube cast bullets it wasn't really feasible to do. Now that metal has skyrocketed it is becoming practical again.

With the prices of moulds and gas checks doubling in the last 10 years maybe now is the time to stock up on all the needed supplies before the price doubles again.

Rick
Old 11-06-2011, 07:56 AM
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I've had pretty good luck with Lee molds, and they are pretty cheap. Yeah, I would stock up now. I have almost 1 ton of lead alloy. Most is wheel weight alloy (great for most pistol bullets) and a few hundred pounds of pure. I only use the pure to mix 50/50 with wheel weights for .45 ACP bullets. If you muzzle-load, you'll want some pure for that, because wheel weight bullets are too hard for pushing down a barrel with a ramrod.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelaststand View Post
Survivalists prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In order to be prepared for the worst case while considering guns and ammo I think that lead bullets are not getting enough attention. After all your FMJ and JHP ammo has been spent you will have to turn to lead to continue to make bullets. Itís possible to make gunpowder and primers or stockpile more gunpowder and primers then you need (in a safe place). I shoot 9mm cast bullets out of my Ruger SR9 without any problems. Lead bullets require less gunpowder, can be made from tire weights or lead that you can find in a backstop at a shooting range. You can shoot lead bullets out of any rifle, but at a slower velocity. Shooting lead from a gas piston rifle is more problematic, but out of a bolt action it is not a problem.

If you own land you can secure a renewable lead resource by building a large backstop with dirt and shoot targets that are in front of the backstop. Let your friends come and shoot at your range as long as they agree to shoot at the backstop.

Rather than stockpiling expensive manufactured ammo, buy casting equipment, reloading equipment and learn how to use them and stockpile gunpowder and primers (in a safe location away from the house). Try extracting lead from your backstop after a while and go through the process to melt it down into lead ingots and then into bullets and load them and test them. After you figure out the process rather than continuing to extract the lead, allow it to accumulate. The benefit to time ratio for me when taking lead from the backstop and turning it into ammo is very small compared to my income to time ratio, so I donít spend a lot of time doing it; I purchase my lead bullets already made and lubed or I fire manufactured bullets; however, each bullet fired at the backstop is another 115-147 grains of lead that can be extracted and later restored into a bullet and loaded. So every bullet that you fire at your range is a bullet you are saving for later if you need it.

I can get primers for $0.02 per round and the gunpowder is $0.01 for 9mm so the total cost for a box of 50 of my own product would be $1.50 if I recycle the lead and brass.
Could not have said it better.
Old 11-06-2011, 08:32 AM
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Lee does make good pistol bullet moulds but Lyman by far has the best selection of rifle bullet moulds. They have a great 180gr semi-pointed 30 cal bullet that works great in a M-1, and another 200 grain roundnose for 03s. For these I use 50/50 wheelweights and linotype for extra hardness.

Rick
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:52 AM
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Lots of good info there thelaststand,I shoot most of my cast bullet for the most part in the backyard range with the exception of my hunting bullets and recover a good portion of them for melting down and making new bullets but there are a few things I'd like to expound upon.

First I'm all for anyone learning to cast and shoot there own lead bullets it is a science into itself but once you know the basics it's not that hard to do,and like anything else you can get into it cheap and produce great bullets or your can go full bore and spend as much as you pocket book and desires allow. If you don't want to cast your own,buy commercial although you will be limited in some instances as to how far you can push that bullet velocity wise.

The biggest problem nowadays is obtain a reliable source of lead,Linotype metal once used in the printing industry is somewhat hard to find in any quantity anymore and Lead Wheel Weight are being banned or phased out and replaced by Zinc/Lead or steel weight in many parts of the country. Zinc is a bad metal to get mixed in with your lead alloy and should be avoided and sorted out of you batch of WW's before turning them into ingots. Zinc is a hard but lighter metal and when WW's that contain Zinc are dropped on a hard surface they make a sound similar to a piece of steel rather than a thud like lead,WW's with Zinc also as mentioned are very hard and not easily cut or surface scratched with a pair of cutter pliers whereas the Lead based weights cut and scratch very easily.

Lead also melts at a lower temperature than Zinc,Lead melts at roughly 621 degrees while Zinc melts at roughly 787 degrees,so when your smelting down you Lead based alloy use a Lead thermometer and keep your temps down to about 630/650 degrees and the Zinc weights you may have missed will not melt into your Lead and contaminate it and you can skim them off just like the steel clips on the WW's and all the other impurities.

Lead in many forms is still readily available it just takes some work sometimes to get it or find it. I get the majority of my WW's for local tire shops or trade scrap metal at the local recyclers for Lead pipe,roof flashing,lead shielding, etc. Lead is Lead you can mix the various alloys later as long as you have the base lead alloy to begin with. It's also a good idea if you cast your own bullets to spread the word around that your interested in lead,you never know who just might know were there is a good source of free lead. I've gotten hundreds of lbs. of all kinds of lead alloys free just for the asking,that's free bullets. You would be amazed at all the places lead is still used and is hiding in plain sight.

There are a lot of misconceptions about shooting lead or cast lead alloy bullets in handguns and rifles. Leading is a complex issue and can have one cause or a combination of several. Velocity although important to the function of a cast hunting or SD bullet it not always the cause of leading in fact cast lead alloy bullets in both plain base or gas check versions can be shot as the same velocity as there jacketed bullet counter parts in many rifles and handguns or when necessary can be shot at much slower velocity than a jacketed bullet with less powder,greater accuracy and cost,this is especially handy in rifles if you find yourself limited to one particular rifle.

For instance take two of the caliber I reload and cast bullets for the 30-30 and 54r. In the 30-30 I can load a 170 gr. or lighter cast bullet to 22 rf velocity or lower if necessary or I can take that same bullet which is designed to take a gas check apply that gas check and shoot that same cast lead bullet at the same velocity as a factory 170 gr. 30-30 rd. I can also vary the BHN or hardness of the lead to affect whether the bullet expands on the intended target or punches right through. I can do the exact same thing in my 54r I can load it with 5 grs. of about any fast burning pistol powder and a pure lead or cast bullet in the 80 to 120 gr. range and it makes very little noise and kills small game just as dead as any 22 rf. at 50 yds. you can cover 5 shot groups with a quarter,or I can load it up with the proper cast bullet and take big game just as easily.

As mentioned cast bullets can be shot at much faster velocity than most people imagine,but in most cases it not really that necessary and many will find especially in many military style rifles that slightly lower velocities shoot much more accurately but that goes a well with about any modern rifle. People shoot cast bullet in everything for plinker loads all the way up to 1000 yds. benchrest matches and get the same results as with any jacketed bullet Velocity is good thing,but people can get overly abscessed with it. Jacketed bullets are designed for many purposes and require a certain amount of velocity to preform be it expand,fragment or hold together entirely for full penetration.

You can cast your own bullet using the same mold for that particular gun to do all the somethings just by varying the alloy. Cast bullets also kill differently the meplay or flat nose portion of the bullet is want causes the damage along with the impact velocity but a much slower moving FN bullet especially the larger the caliber can cause as much or more damage than a jacketed handgun or rifle bullet moving at that same velocity because that velocity may not be enough to cause the jacketed bullet to preform as intended.

As far as shooting cast lead bullet out of gas operated rifle my SKS rifle eat them like candy,I only shoot the 170 gr. RN bullet at 2000 fps. but that's due to the limitation of the type powder I use and not the cast bullet I can push it much faster but there is no need to do so as it only takes 14.5 grs of powder to reach that velocity and shoot MOA at 100 yds. in my two SKS rifles. Similar results can be obtained in AK's,M1 Garand,M14 style rifles as well as AR's and other semi-auto rifles,it just take a little more knowledge and experimentation than your run of the mill bolt gun to get a load that cycles the action,shoots accurately and doesn't lead the gas system. With all the knowledge out there on the subject most of the work has already been done to give you an idea where to start.

On the subject of powder and primers,modern smokeless powder and primer are perfectly safe as long as you store them in a cool dry place in there original containers away for a heat source and not in a tightly enclosed area or container. Here is a pretty good article on the subject along with some first hand experience from a firefighter http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech...h_notes.htm/60

To make a long story short if your a reloader and preparing for unknown circumstances you owe it to yourself and your future ammo needs regardless of use to look into cast bullet for your firearms either commercial cast or casting yourself if for no other reason than your ammo is much cheaper to produce.

A couple links

http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm

http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/index.htm

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

http://www.castpics.net/

http://lbtmoulds.com/books.shtml
Old 11-06-2011, 10:56 AM
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if you dont mind forking over some $$$ you can get swageing dies that will allow you to make jacketed bullets corbin makes one die that will allow you to take your 22lr cases and make them into the bullet jackets for your ar

those dies can be used in a rock chucker press any larger bullets need a special press but you can get the stuff to make jacketed bullets for the price of another rifle
Old 11-06-2011, 11:23 AM
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I don't plan on using lead projectiles as a renewable resource, although it would be okay to have a few molds and a small lead melter.

What I use lead for is to make certain projectiles and loads for special purposes; mostly for low power loads for hunting small game. I have some in .308 that are a 110 grain hard cast lead bullet and handgun powder behind dacron pillow stuffing. It is subsonic and accurate, but won't work a semi-auto, which is okay because I have several bolt guns too.

That kind of thing - the kind of ammo that isn't sold (usually).

Otherwise, a wiser use of my current time is to buy good manufactured ammo because I am better off working at my profession making good money and spending that money paying someone else to mass produce the ammo I would use most of the time than I am spending my time making it.

After SHTF things would probably change, but then I have reloading equipment, primers, gunpowder and projectiles by the thousands. For hunting I doubt I would ever use up all my ammo. The only way I could use it all up would be in a self-defense situation where I was under siege - which is unlikely, and in which case I am not going to want to sit down and be molding lead bullets while under attack, and they wouldn't be all that good for that purpose anyway.

You can also make your own jacketed bullets if you want to get into that. The equipment and materials are out there, but again, for most people, it makes more sense to just buy the jacketed projectiles you want to reload than make them from scratch - unless you have something special to make.
Old 11-06-2011, 07:55 PM
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One of my half-jokes over the years has been that as long as I need bullets, there will never be a car in town that has balanced tires.
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Old 11-07-2011, 11:55 AM
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Lee molds are cheap enough you can buy a few, stash them away for rainy day. Also a Lee pot and ladle, but the Lyman bottompour ladle is better, and you want a larger steel or cast-iron pot for melting. Gloves, HD like for welding, maybe some tongs. HD metal spoon for removing the junk and metal clips from wheelweights.

Very easy to get good results and using Lee Liquid Alox, and Lee push-through sizer (if need to size), you're in good shape.

Bullet casting opens up a whole new world of handloading. www.castboolits.com for all sorts of info.
Old 11-08-2011, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
I don't plan on using lead projectiles as a renewable resource, although it would be okay to have a few molds and a small lead melter.

Otherwise, a wiser use of my current time is to buy good manufactured ammo because I am better off working at my profession making good money and spending that money paying someone else to mass produce the ammo I would use most of the time than I am spending my time making it.
That might be true, but I'd say that learning a new skill AFTER the SHTF is not going to be easy, whether it be casting or home canning. Better to learn those skills now and be ready rather than hoping you can make it work later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
After SHTF things would probably change, but then I have reloading equipment, primers, gunpowder and projectiles by the thousands. For hunting I doubt I would ever use up all my ammo. The only way I could use it all up would be in a self-defense situation where I was under siege.
You're right that YOU might never consume all the ammunition you've stored, but that's assuming YOU are the only one using it. After the SHTF you're likely to team up with other like-minded people where you might be the one supplying ammunition. Maybe you'll be bartering it for toilet paper or some other necessity that you've forgetten to stock.

Another consideration is what will your profession be after the SHTF, things have calmed down, and people are rebuilding? Having a valuable skill like being an experienced reloader (with equipment) makes you a more valuable commodity!

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Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
You can also make your own jacketed bullets if you want to get into that. The equipment and materials are out there, but again, for most people, it makes more sense to just buy the jacketed projectiles you want to reload than make them from scratch - unless you have something special to make.
I both cast lead bullets and swage jacketed ones. I can tell you first hand that I cast far, far more lead bullets than I swage jacketed ones. I consider swaging a step above casting. I think you'll need to past through a casting phase first before you can graduate to swaging.

Another reason I moved up to swaging is that I live in a state where lead bullets are starting to be restricted. They haven't been banned yet, but being able to make my own is one way around commercial prohibitions.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:04 PM
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Some more reading for bullets caster or just cast bullet shooter alike.
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/pa...ll_charges.htm
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:47 PM
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Zinc weighs 2/3 as much as lead. That means, a 150 grain bullet cast of lead will weigh 100 grains if cast of Zamak pot metal or other relatively pure zinc. You can get some serious velocity with this kind of slug, and a semiwadcutter bullet made this way will put out some serious shock at close range out of, say, a .357 Magnum. It does not carry as well as lead, for obvious reasons.

Handloader magazine ran an article on this back in the 1980s, so I tried it. It makes good defence ammunition, though taking a handload shooting into a courtroom is a dangerous course of action in these dying days of the Republic....
Old 11-10-2011, 08:32 AM
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Zinc weighs 2/3 as much as lead. That means, a 150 grain bullet cast of lead will weigh 100 grains if cast of Zamak pot metal or other relatively pure zinc. You can get some serious velocity with this kind of slug, and a semiwadcutter bullet made this way will put out some serious shock at close range out of, say, a .357 Magnum. It does not carry as well as lead, for obvious reasons.
All true, but be very careful when melting it; zinc oxide, the gas it gives off, is very toxic and will make you very sick with just a whiff. Have very good ventilation and even then be very careful. Do not weld galvanized metals - they give off zinc oxide. DAMHIK.

But a zinc alloy projectile is useful for some things.
Old 11-10-2011, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
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Some more reading for bullets caster or just cast bullet shooter alike.
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/pa...ll_charges.htm
Thanks for the link; this here is gold:

Quote:
Hereís a trick I write about often...to get soft nose and hard body cast bullets, cast them hard and hot, frosty bullets are better no matter what the experts say... drop them from the mold into water to temper....then place your bullets standing in water to their shoulder just above the top crimp groove, so the nose is exposed....take a butane torch and run it over the noses sticking out of the water...this detempers just the noses, so you in effect have a soft nose-hard body, cast bullet. It takes a little practice...but as soon as you see the bullet noses change color at all, pull the flame...or the nose will slump over...it doesnít take much flame time, especially on small caliber bullets. Cast bullets made this way will resist fouling but will expand in any size animal....from rabbits on up.
Old 11-12-2011, 01:19 PM
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Thanks for the link; this here is gold:
Annealing a metal may or may not make it much softer - it may make it more "workable" and 'remove' some heat treatments. But hard metals are hard metals and soft are soft. There are limits in metallurgy. You can only make a hard alloy so soft and you can't make a soft alloy very hard. You can heat treat a hard alloy to make it hard, even brittle, but if the right alloy components are not there then it won't get hard no matter how much you heat treat it.

I learned that the hard way once when I got some steel (I had asked for a heat treatable steel - a specific alloy) and I machined it and so on - making a gear puller. To my dismay, even after heat treating it, the darn thing bent. Spark tested it and came to find that someone had thrown some low carbon low strength mild steel into the wrong bin with the high carbon steel. I should have tested it before hand. A lot of time wasted.
Old 11-13-2011, 07:10 PM
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All true, but be very careful when melting it; zinc oxide, the gas it gives off, is very toxic and will make you very sick with just a whiff. Have very good ventilation and even then be very careful. Do not weld galvanized metals - they give off zinc oxide. DAMHIK.

But a zinc alloy projectile is useful for some things.
Heretic, I grew up in the West Texas oil patch, and most of the things associated with smoke, oil, welding fumes or even just plain old airborne sand would make you sick from the airborne traces of 'em. I was casting lead with a ladle and a pot of lead before I was a teenager (lead soldiers, cast over a pot of burning charcoal.... talk about primitive) and fluxing with crayon pieces. Us West Texas chilluns were always a bit paranoid about ventilation....

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
Annealing a metal may or may not make it much softer - it may make it more "workable" and 'remove' some heat treatments. But hard metals are hard metals and soft are soft. There are limits in metallurgy. You can only make a hard alloy so soft and you can't make a soft alloy very hard. You can heat treat a hard alloy to make it hard, even brittle, but if the right alloy components are not there then it won't get hard no matter how much you heat treat it.

I learned that the hard way once when I got some steel (I had asked for a heat treatable steel - a specific alloy) and I machined it and so on - making a gear puller. To my dismay, even after heat treating it, the darn thing bent. Spark tested it and came to find that someone had thrown some low carbon low strength mild steel into the wrong bin with the high carbon steel. I should have tested it before hand. A lot of time wasted.
One other thing you could have done. Case hardened it then ran it up to temp and quenched. It's amazing how much more rigid you can get 1018 when you skin it to about 1045 or so and then heat treat....
Old 11-13-2011, 08:10 PM
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Thanks for the link; this here is gold:
Basically what Paco is doing is making a form of a partition cast bullet,there are two way to do that one is Paco ways where he take the heat treated or water quenched bullet and soften the nose by reheating it and allow it to air cool on it own which brings it back to the original BHN before heat treating while leaving the main body of the bullet at it original hardness the dividing line is basically where the water level is.

The other way is to use pure lead or a lead/Tin alloy slug dropped into the closed mold and allow the melts heat to melt and form the nose of the bullet usually down to where the bearing surface begins to touch the rifling once its cooled in the mold without opening it pour the remainder of the bullet with your harder alloy,dip the mold block back in the melt and allow the two alloys to fuse together and what you end up with is basically a lead partition bullet.

Lead is totally differ than steel,lead work soften and can be made harder by heat treating without making it brittle,wheel weights are excellent for water quenching or heat treating to add hardness you can basically double the alloy hardness water quenching or heat treating.

If you going to size a bullet and you plan on heat treating it you need to size and gas check it before oven heat treating other wise the sizing process is going to be harder on you and your equipment as well as causing the driving bands that you wanted hard to begin with to work soften defeating the entire purpose.

Heat Treating of Lead and Lead Alloys
http://www.lasc.us/HeatTreat.htm

Most bullet caster avoid Zinc like the plague,Zinc contaminates lead alloy and causes all sorts of casting problems. Zinc melts at 787.15 įF lead melts at 621.43 įF Using a lead thermometer in your smelting pot and keeping you temps just a little above the lead melting point will cause the Zinc weights to float to the top and they can be easily skimmed off with the steel clips and other impurities before your final fluxing and pouring your ingots or casting if your using a ladle.
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