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Casting bullets from "Dug out of Dirt" bullets
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Our local shooting range got EPAd awhile back with the bottom biding contractor going bankrupt after starting the cleanup. This left a large pile of expended bullets and lead bullets ready for the picking. And did we ever! However, I know very little about cleaning the lead bullets before melting them down for casting. And, to be honest I really don't know squat about the rest of the parts that follow, i.e. lubing, etc. These bullets will be used in sabots for my .50 caliber American Knight Muzzleloader. I would like to try 250 grain bullets. All help appreciated. Thanks, Mike
 
Posts: 846 | Location: USA | Registered: 22 May 2002Reply With Quote
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4 Tails - Just melt them down and enjoy. But a few words of caution:

Make DAMN sure you don't accidentally dump something like an unfired .22 rimfire round in the mix. Scooping up a big load of stuff from a rifle range may have bagged you some strange and dangerous things.

Make DAMN sure everything is DRY. Mangled up bullets and things like hollow base wadcutters COULD have a drop or two of water in them. If you have to, put them in a large flat pan and "toast" in the oven at 250-300 degrees for a bit to be sure things are dry.

Beware anything that looks "funny," even oily, greasy looking bullets. You have no idea where some of this stuff has been or what it's been into.

Clean it up as much as you can without going to a lot of trouble. A good techinque for this might be to dump about a cupful of your reclaimed bullets into a 2 lb coffee can and then shake like hell for a minute or so. This should knock loose the majority of the crap.

As you go along and start melting the stuff all sorts of crud will rise to the surface. Flux this by quickly stirring a candle or marble size chunk of parrafin around the brew, then toss a match onto the surface. It should ignite immediatey.

By the way, this will smoke like the ovens of hell until it is ignited. Best do your melting outside unless you want to risk a good asswhuppin from the Mrs. [Eek!]

Obviously be careful. Keep kids and pets the hell away. Molten lead is SERIOUS STUFF...but fun! Good luck. Hope some of this helps. [Smile]

OH, I forgot to mention, melting down JACKETED BULLETS is something of a pain in the ass. The lead just really doesn't like to come out of the jacket cup, requiring you to pick EVERY ONE OF THEM up and POURING the lead out. You'll see what I mean. The best thing is just spent cast bullets.

Most likely your finish product is going to be VERY SOFT alloy.

[ 07-22-2002, 08:17: Message edited by: Pecos45 ]
 
Posts: 19677 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
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lots of good points pecos.a couple of my friends and i cleaned out an indoor range agout 12yrs ago.the bullets were in a sand trap we are still usein range lead.you are prolly right about the stuff being soft too. will be soft an heavy prolly.last yr i got some lead from the local newspaper print shop. it was pure linotype light an hard harley said.also in a huge long ingot sure aint gonna fit in my production pot. got enough lead to last a long time if i can just figure out a way to cut it up.suppose i should get some wheel weights an do the recipe for good bullet lead . i saw that somewhere. anyone have the recipe id appreciate it thax.

a 357 mag can be your best friend.
 
Posts: 3850 | Registered: 21 July 2002Reply With Quote
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Tasco, You can cut lead fairly well with a hack saw. [Smile]
 
Posts: 19677 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
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Mike the Pecos has you about lined out right. Only thing I'd tune is the flux. You've got some dirty stuff there- calls for 'industrial' strength action [not really- just sounds good]. What you need is a figorious flux-- raw spuds and pine pitch. Impale around a square inch of raw potato on an old fork or similar and stick it in the melt. It'll bubble good if that alloy is hot enough and that's what you want. Hold it down on the bottom and slowly stir- especially along the pot sides. This bubbling lifts clud like nobody's business. Skim- and then drop a wad of pine pitch [rosin if you've got it] on and stir again. This smokes like the dickens and will cause a DE-vorce should it happen indoors. It's the best final cleaning flux I've ever used. How much to use depends on the melt size of course-- for my 35 lb ww alloying pots I use around the size of a marble- normal sized ones. This pitch can be found on pine trees oozing out- just sap dried some. Rosin is the refined form.
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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Aladin? Raw Potatoe? I'm sure you've done it or you wouldn't recommend it...but that sure sounds risky to me considering the water content of potatoe. [Eek!]
 
Posts: 19677 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Pecos45:
Aladin? Raw Potatoe? I'm sure you've done it or you wouldn't recommend it...but that sure sounds risky to me considering the water content of potatoe. [Eek!]

Exactly what I thought too Pecos. I tried it and think it has alot of merit. I dunno if the bubbling action reduces any tin/antimony content, I suspected such but doubt it. You can effectively flux indoors with spud flux and only have the smell of McDonald's cooking.

I usually do not flux my cleaned ww alloy. I cover my melted alloy with generic cat litter keeping the air off the melt. Appears stirring this covering also does a decent flux. You can add back right into that covering too.
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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Aladin - This raises two more questions in my mind.

1. Can you eat the potato after it is used in the flux. I figure it SHOULD be cooked by then.

2. Are you talking about cat litter right out of the sack or after the cats have used it?

Curious minds want to know. [Big Grin]

Tight groups!!
 
Posts: 19677 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 23 May 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Pecos45:
Aladin - This raises two more questions in my mind.

1. Can you eat the potato after it is used in the flux. I figure it SHOULD be cooked by then.

NOT UNLESS YOUR SUPERMAN!

2. Are you talking about cat litter right out of the sack or after the cats have used it?

ACTUALLY MY FAVORITE IS THE STUFF WITH THE CATS IN IT.

Curious minds want to know. [Big Grin]

Tight groups!!

I SHOOT SOME OF THOSE-- BUT USUALLY THEIR LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE'S. DO HAVE MY DAYS THOUGH....
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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personaly id be scared to death to put veggies into a lead pot. im guessing way to much liquid content.
 
Posts: 3850 | Registered: 21 July 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by tasco 74:
personaly id be scared to death to put veggies into a lead pot. im guessing way to much liquid content.

Well I've cooked alot of spuds already with hot lead with no problems. Understand the reservations-- but other than bubble good, it's just like McDonalds....

Extremely hot alloy [>800 degrees] will spit some alloy in a minor way-- but we'll all got our eye protection on anyways. I flux with spud flux just after the melt goes liquid-- and as needed. Often you don't need to flux clean ww alloy if it's been done well. In the end- it's a way to flux indoors sans Marvel-flux which isn't much, or w/o a major doe-mestic DIS-pute.
 
Posts: 1529 | Location: Central Wisconsin | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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Look out for the zinc. If you see any 22 bullets that are white, pick them out before you melt it down. Zinc does the opposite of what tin does to lead; it raises the surface tension so that your mould won't fill out so well. I have found nobody who recommends trying to get zinc out of lead in a home casting setup. I have so far been scared off from trying after finding out what chemically sort of similar calcium does. Calcium forms a lead-insoluble bimetallic compound with antimony (Ca3Sb2) that reacts with moisture in the air to form stibine gas. Your dross from zinc-containing lead could be very bad for you. Stibine is very toxic. 100 ppm in air kills mice (no time specified. For comparison, hydrogen cyanide kills half of the rats, mice, and dogs in 5 minutes at 544 ppm (5 minute LC50 = 544 ppm).

H. C.

H. C.
 
Posts: 3691 | Location: West Virginia | Registered: 23 May 2001Reply With Quote
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Ok Guys I usually just lurk and add to my knowledge and laugh my ass off at times but here I will add a comment or two to an old thread. Don't use a saw on the lino, get a piece of rail from a railroad scrap yard and hold the lino pig by one end and whack the other end over the rail while it is standing on its base and the lino will break off over the rail. As for the cat litter for flux the stuff is about the best flux I ever used but leave it floating on the melt for several min. before stirring of the moisture in it will explode lead every where. I always used clean litter I don't know if cat turds would make it better or not. Hammerhead
 
Posts: 60 | Location: texas | Registered: 27 July 2002Reply With Quote
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Thanks to everyone who has replied. There's alot of good info given and I'll heed all of the warnings. Still haven't figured if you leave the peel on one side of the potato or not? And I'm guessing it would be wise to wipe the potato with a paper towel or something to dry excess moisture or let the potato set out for a little while. Thanks again, Mike
 
Posts: 846 | Location: USA | Registered: 22 May 2002Reply With Quote
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