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Old October 30, 2010, 12:16 PM   #76
jaredb03
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I got a question about remelting lead lubed bullets. About a year ago i bought some lead bullets(300) from i think midwayusa, and my 9mm doesn't like them(jam about every 5-7 bullets). They are the only ones i have ever had problems with in my P95. I recently bought all the stuff to start casting bullets. So i was wondering if i can just toss them in the pot and remelt them down? but i wasn't sure if i needed to something to them first to get out the lube in the groove? or will it just burn off in the pot? Thanks, Jared

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Old October 30, 2010, 12:34 PM   #77
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Yep...

Quote:
or will it just burn off in the pot?
Jared B 03--it sure will! There may be a little junk to skim from the surface of the molten lead when all is melted, but this is true of lead from any source that you smelt for bullets.

The dirtier the lead is when you put it into yr smelting pot, the more stuff there is to skim.
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Old October 30, 2010, 11:31 PM   #78
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Quote:
So i was wondering if i can just toss them in the pot and remelt them down? but i wasn't sure if i needed to something to them first to get out the lube in the groove? or will it just burn off in the pot? Thanks, Jared
Bullet lube is great flux, it's mostly some sort of wax.

But be aware, at some point during the melt down of those bullets, there will be a lot of white smoke generated. To stop most of it, just light it with a match or butane lighter. Be sure to stir the molten lead while some of the wax is still on the surface of the melt. That will flux the lead to re-combine the lead oxides with the metallic lead, and remove dirt.
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Old November 3, 2010, 10:24 AM   #79
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I got another noob question. at what point do you know a cast bullet is not good enough to make the cut? Im asking cause i have some that have what look like a little air bubble in them along the side. I can post up some pictures of ones i am questioning if that will help.
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Old November 8, 2010, 12:39 PM   #80
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Don't know what you mean by the bubble, so a picture would help. In general, anything that isn't symmetrical will be unstable and print paper all over the map. That said, some very minor defects are ironed out by sizing or by traveling down the bore, so it depends how severe it is. Because some defects can be internal to a bullet (you usually find those by weighing—a bullet that's too light will often have some dross or other waste from the melt pot in it), the only really sure way to know is with a bullet spinner. This spins the bullet to detect vibration indicating it is out of balance. Harold Vaughn describes how to make one in his book, Rifle Accuracy Facts, but you need machine tools and and air compressor and some electronics know-how to do it.
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Old November 8, 2010, 08:26 PM   #81
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I like to look for sharp edges. Boolits that pass the visual test go to the digital scale. BPCR shooters like an extreme spread of bullet weight in the neighborhood of 1 grain, I can live with 2. Sometimes I divide the boolits into a heavy group and a light group, extremes go back in the pot.
Bullet spinner sounds like more fun, though.
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Old January 6, 2011, 12:25 PM   #82
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How does one "mine" the berm of a shooting range for lead?

Steve
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Old January 7, 2011, 01:00 PM   #83
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Well, in the first place, it's a lot of work. Or it can be. Second. you'll have to get permission to do it. It usually involves digging into the berm, then sifting the dirt through a sieve of some sort. Lots of people use hardware cloth with around a ¼ inch mesh. This allows the dirt to pass through leaving the lead. But this can leave holes in the berm, unless you're real careful to replace/refill the holes.

Third choice is to simply pick lead from the surface or face of the berm. Especially after a rain, a lot is exposed by wash off of dirt.

Then, when melting the recovered bullets to get the lead out, you have to be real sure they're all real dry. Never toss bullets into melted lead. Mangled jacketed bullets can retain small pockets of water, that would convert to steam in an explosion under the surface of the molten lead. It's nicknamed "a visit from the tinsel fairy". Lead will be thrown everywhere, including on bare skin!

Best bet is to start with a cold pot,(or let the lead cool til it freezes), then dump all the bullets in at once. As the whole mass heats up, the water will evaporate safely.
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Old January 7, 2011, 01:16 PM   #84
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Prudent advice, snuffy, avoiding the tinsel fairy is serious stuff when melting mined bullets.
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Old June 3, 2011, 04:00 PM   #85
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Greetings
I have been around hot pots since I was old enough to get close enough to see what dad and his Navy buddy were up to. I will say it is a very good hobby to begin and a whole lot more satisfying than plunking down $20 for a box of 100 somethings that are headed down range.
I also like being independent of the wims of factories who think they know what I must have to shoot accuratly.
Every game critter I have hunted has been with a home brew Cast boolit minus those popped with a caliber.22 & shotgun. No regrets and the critters did not put up any fuss over the matter.
So I highly recommend you each look into it. I highly recommned the CastBoolits site for a further learning curve where every conceivable aspect of casting is a daily review.
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Old July 30, 2011, 07:57 AM   #86
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Just about to start my first smelt.

I've read the relevant parts of this thread a dozen times now because. . .

. . .I'm terrified.

Well, not so much terrified, I just want to keep reminding myself of what needs to be done. I think I've got it.

Over the past few months, I've been taking my sweet time accumulating "stuff" to get started with some ingots. I have a couple hundred pounds of wheel weights I got from the local recycling/junk yard for $0.85 a pound and the other gear. Bought the Bayou Classic burner recommended in the OP and my brother-in-law, who is completely jazzed about this project, is providing the propane tanks. He will be a beneficiary of this project, to be sure!

I can hardly wait to see the pool of shiny lead in the pot!

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Old July 30, 2011, 08:24 AM   #87
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Safety Glasses!
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Old July 30, 2011, 08:41 AM   #88
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Go for it.....very carefully. Go over the safety stuff one more time. I'll see dahermit's safety glasses and raise you a heavy long sleeve shirt, heavy gloves, apron, jeans, boots and a hat. Remember to ensure that your scrap is dry as well.
I've only been casting about a year or so and I still get excited about the silver stream. I'll have a hundred or so cast by this time tomorrow, may even smelt a bit when I get done. Been way too hot to do much outside around here, today will be day 29 of triple digits.
Have fun, safely! Let us know how it went.
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Old July 30, 2011, 08:42 AM   #89
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And long sleeves and long pants and shoes that cover your toes.
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Old July 30, 2011, 08:54 AM   #90
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You guys beat me to the post, but at the risk of redundancy, I'll leave it in with some comments on how to dress.

Full face safety shield is better than glasses, but glasses at a minimum. Leather welder's apron. Leather welder's gloves. I believe Harbor Freight has that stuff. Cheap Chinese versions are just fine for this. Leather boots worn with your pants cuffs over the boot so lead can't fall down into the boot and stay there burning you while you try to get it off. Shoes are usually too short to remain under the cuff reliably, but if your pants are long enough, that's your call.

Wear absolutely no flammable polyester clothing. Shirts should be long-sleeved. If you can get your shirt sleeves over the glove cuffs, that's best for the same reason as the pants cuffs going over the boots. I can't get mine to fit, so I put rubber bands over the glove cuffs to close them off originally, and later replaced those with Velcro for convenience.

Keep liquids away from the operation. No drinking beer while casting, despite the temptation. There is hazard from the possibility of making steam in the melt, but there is also likely to be at least a little beer contamination by airborne lead oxide particles.

There now: just relax, don't worry and enjoy the melting metal.

The scrap yards were giving garages $0.25/lb for wheel weights last time I asked, but then metals prices keep climbing. Nonetheless, I would check with the local tire shops and see what they want for it before the scrap guy adds a layer of profit.
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Old July 30, 2011, 09:20 AM   #91
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Tire shops here in NY are now required to control their lead. New wheel weights are made of steel. The two local guys who used to give me the scrap wheel weights are no longer allowed to.
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Old July 30, 2011, 09:48 AM   #92
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Thanks for the tips on the clothing. I may defer until I have a long-sleeved shirt. I'm going to have to hunt around for the full face shield I have stashed around here somewhere. All else should be good.

The tire shops around here simply aren't giving them up any more. The big chains simply laugh at you and claim that they are no longer allowed to give them to anyone other than a certified recycling center. The little guys reuse them and won't sell them for any amount. I might as well go buy 'em new, assuming they are still available.

The wheel weights I managed to scrounge up are very dirty but dry. My only issue is sorting out the zinc stuff. Most of the WW are the massively huge truck weights. I was ecstatic to get those things! I'm expecting a much more consistent alloy out of those.

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Old July 30, 2011, 10:53 AM   #93
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I like the face shield idea, Unclenick. Could do double duty when using my high performance string trimmer as well. Long sleeves are important, a little splatter is hard to avoid and 3rd degree burns take awhile to heal. A flannel work shirt from Goodwill could work, I don't wear a nice shirt around molten lead.
I work for a car dealer so I get a little lead but another employee sometimes beats me to them. More and more Fe, thankfully very little Zn so far. Local tire stores aren't much help. May just give up and buy some scrap. Looks like it could be a good investment.
At least you have good weather for it, Wag.
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Old July 30, 2011, 03:17 PM   #94
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The weather is good but it's threatening rain this afternoon. I did my first batch and it wore me out so two good reasons to knock off for the rest of the day. Not to mention, I need another tank of gas, too, so three good reasons!

I'll start a new thread with some observations.

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Old September 1, 2011, 09:15 PM   #95
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My company has its own indoor pistol range. I would like to start collecting the spent bullets and use them as smelting fodder. Has anyone else used spent lead to cast and if so, are there any nuances I need to know about? Also, there are quite a few copper fragments mixed in with the lead from jacketed rounds. Will this rise to the top when smelting or can it mess up the lead? Thanks for any info.
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Old September 1, 2011, 09:19 PM   #96
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Range lead is a great source of "bullet recycling".All the junk will float to the top when smelted. However, sort prior to smelting. FMJ's will need to be split open before going into the pot. A good whack with a hammer on a concrete floor is usually enough to tear the jacket open for the core lead to flow out after melting.
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Old September 1, 2011, 10:59 PM   #97
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Quote:
My company has its own indoor pistol range. I would like to start collecting the spent bullets and use them as smelting fodder. Has anyone else used spent lead to cast and if so, are there any nuances I need to know about? Also, there are quite a few copper fragments mixed in with the lead from jacketed rounds. Will this rise to the top when smelting or can it mess up the lead? Thanks for any info.
Didn't read the whole thread did you? Look for post #40 on the second page. That would be me reclaiming a bunch of lead from an indoor range.

Makes boolits that look like these;

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Old November 11, 2011, 09:13 PM   #98
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Cast bullets

Hey everybody. I'm new to reloading and found this article very informative. I started casting just last week 11-7-11. I started out with a dutch oven on my grill side burner. After a lot of smoke and just barely enough heat to melt lead, I promptly gave up. I ordered a pot from e-bay and melted my big old slab of lead down and began casting 9mm .356 from my Lee mould, 124 grain-Tumble Lube and then cast a few .452 255 grain from my other Lee mould. I haven't reloaded any rounds yet, 'cause I'm now savin' up for primers and powder. I've cleaned all my brass .45 LC 83 pieces, 63 pieces of .45ACP and 405 pieces of 9mm. I did this with my Lee case length guage and chucked it into my 1/2" drill, used an old pencil and some Brasso (I've still got some left from when I was in the USMC.) and a rag. I sure took a long time to clean each piece by hand. Can't afford a tumbler. I had to sell my 12 guage shot gun so I could buy a press, a couple of moulds and dies. I'm a partiallly disabled Vietnam vet with no job. I spend most of my time wanting to reload those cast bullets I made. I'm starting to get the hang of casting bullets now and I really love it. I didn't know what to do with the dutch oven I tried to use at first, but after reading this post I know I'll use it on my Coleman stove to smelt wheel weights whenever I get some. I guess I'll have to put cast iron muffin pans on the grocery list and try to sneak them in on the wifey. I was wondering what to use for ingot moulds, so now I know. Thanks to all you guys for posting usefull information. Nothin' like being totally informed before you start something new. And happy Veteran's Day to all you other vets out there.
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Old April 3, 2013, 07:52 AM   #99
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a lot of good info here... I've been collecting molds for over 10 years, along with inheriting my FIL's set up I think I have everything I need including 1000 lbs of ingots in coffee cans I helped him tote around several times...

most of this lead is a combination of wheel weights, lino type, & reclaimed bullets... I have several 5 lb rolls of solder I can alloy with, as well as a bunch of pure lead water pipe...

so short of reading every post, maybe I missed one, do you guys test for hardness, or water quench to harden ???

since this spring will be my 1st time pouring, is there a caliber / bullet style that's easier to learn on ??? I have several ball molds that I could use for a ball load for my 444 Marlin shot loads ( I think like .375" ) if those would be easy... molds range from single cavity 45's to 6 cavity 22 caliber...

was thinking about getting together with another buddy ( another newbie ) to casting & each doing our own bullets & sharing the pot... to slow things down a bit, allowing enough time between mold pours... does this make sense, or would that complicate things too much, or empty the pot too fast ??? ( I think the pot is an RCBS bottom pour ) don't know if they made more than one size or not ???

anyway... getting ready to take the plunge

BTW... I do have a local "old timer" for a mentor... his advice... plan on burning yourself, & be pleasantly surprised if you don't
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Old April 3, 2013, 09:16 PM   #100
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Get this, or one like it.

Get this, too (or equivalent), but modify it by adding some Velcro on the cuffs so you can tighten their fit. Nothing worse that getting molten lead on your skin except getting it down inside a cuff so that it can't fall free free from your skin as the steam is generated.

Get this, too, or its equivalent, and wear glasses under it.

The Lee hardness tester is inexpensive. I don't find my readings terribly accurate (mine tend to be about 3-5 BHN high), so I treat them as relative.

The RCBS is a 20 lb pot. I have one I got almost 30 years ago. Works great.

Quenching by dropping from the mold is a common practice. Some find it harder to make it consistent than others. Just float a sponge on a bucket of water and drop the bullets onto the sponge. It turns and lets them fall into the water rather than splashing it, which could get onto your mold, into the melt, etc. Give them a couple of weeks to reach peak hardness.

If you want really hard heat treated bullets, then its easier to use an oven to control the temperature and get it just right.

Start with your .45 bullets. The mold will reach temperature faster and maintain it more easily because of all the heat the large bullets hold. It lets you work more slowly while you get used to the process. The .22's will be the hardest to work with.
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