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Old February 2, 2010, 04:05 PM   #1
2DaMtns
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Re-using lead and jacketed lead bullets

I hope to own some land in the not-too-distant future and am going to build a range on it with a couple bullet traps on it. If I design them so I can recover the bullets, can the lead ones be melted down, remolded, and re-used, or do they pick up too much in the way of debris and other contaminants to be safe/accurate/effective? If it works for lead bullets, can you melt the lead away from the jacket on jacketed bullets and do the same thing? Seems a person could shoot a whole lot for not a lot of money if s/he set it up like this if it works.
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Old February 2, 2010, 06:08 PM   #2
Nate1778
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Yes

Not only could you save money, but a ton of money. Smelt it all, add some tin, spoon the crap that floats and start casting. Check out "Cast Boolits" web site for more info.
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Old February 2, 2010, 06:13 PM   #3
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+1 to what Nate said. This is such a common practice for commercial ranges that they often can get their berms reworked just for the value of the recovered metals.
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Old February 2, 2010, 06:13 PM   #4
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When you melt them down, the copper and other debris will float to the top. Skim the sludge off, flux, and add tin or altimony to harden the lead. Pour them into ingots for later use.
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Old February 2, 2010, 06:14 PM   #5
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we have re used aprox. 3,000 to 4,000 rds that were fired and caught in a trap.... no different the second time than the first time from wheel weights.
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Old February 2, 2010, 06:35 PM   #6
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My best source of casting lead is under the metal plate targets at the outdoor pistol range when I practice during the summer. When I'm done shooting (usually end of the day and I'm the last one there) I scoop up all the lead I can find -- mine and whatever was already there -- and take it home and melt it down with a little sawdust and old motor oil mixed it.
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Old February 2, 2010, 08:06 PM   #7
2DaMtns
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Does the sawdust and oil help separate the contaminants out or what?
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Old February 2, 2010, 08:07 PM   #8
DiscoRacing
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guess he thought flux was too expensive
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Old February 2, 2010, 08:31 PM   #9
Nate1778
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Yes and no, the crap will float to the top trust me, once you skim it off throw in some candle wax and stir with a wooden stick, the majority of the rest will float to the top. Also start gathering what ever source you can of wheel weights and pure lead. It will become an addiction after a while, don't worry. Seriously check out the cast boolits site, its where casters gather.
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Old February 2, 2010, 08:33 PM   #10
zxcvbob
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Quote:
Does the sawdust and oil help separate the contaminants out or what?
A lot of the lead I get this way is badly oxidized. Cooking at high temperature in a covered pot with a reducing agent converts most of the lead oxide (and tin oxide, and antimony oxide) back into usable metal.

I usually just melt what I can first (with a little bit of flux) and drain it off. Then add more oil and sawdust and cook the heck out of it. Then combine the two batches.
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Old February 3, 2010, 12:56 AM   #11
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We shoot a big block of wood all the time. You can kinda see what the bullet does on impact but more importantly we get our lead back when we get a fresh block and split the old one.
We're really thinking about making a trap for pistols and cast rifle bullets tho. Just losing to much lead.
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