Cu-Ni-Sn alloys with Pb additions exhibit high mechanical strength at room temperature coupled with good machinability but experience a significant ductility loss above the melting point of lead. We explore here the influence of minor additions of Al, Mn, Zr, B or P to the copper alloy CuNi9Sn6Pb1 on its tensile properties at 400 degrees C and 10(-2) s(-1). Only boron and phosphorous additions have a clear beneficial effect. Unlike other elements tested, these form intermetallic particles; it is proposed that the improvement results from a combination of capillary pinning and mechanical shielding by these particles of the molten lead inclusions in the alloy. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.