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Old March 21, 2011, 07:24 AM   #1
salmonfood
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100lb of WW = X lb of usable lead

What percentage of usable lead do yall usually recover from various sources, of course wheel weights being the most common.
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Old March 21, 2011, 10:37 AM   #2
dahermit
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Look closely at a selection of wheel weights. You will notice that the size of the wheel weights varies. However, the size of the steel clip on the wheel weight does not. Therefore, there is no way to accurately estimate how much of a selection of weights is going to yield. Nevertheless, you could take a representative sample, weigh it, smelt down the weights and weigh the lead recovered and do the math. If the rest of your supply of WW's have the same general distribution of large, medium, and small weights, you should be able to figure it out.
However, worrying about such trivial matters is the past time of anal-retentives.
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Old March 21, 2011, 10:49 AM   #3
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On a rough, I figure about 70% yield after smelting. 100# raw = 70# ingot. I count on loosing 30% to clips, iron, zinc, and other junk in the bucket. It's not accurate--but it's a safe average. Keep in mind where you are though. A lot of guys are seeing more and more zinc and iron in their buckets. I get very few still--for now.
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Old March 21, 2011, 11:24 AM   #4
salmonfood
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Thanks. 70 percent sounds about right to me too. I am trying to decide whether to start buying pre made ingots at $1.15/pound or buy WW at $0.25/pound
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Old March 22, 2011, 12:56 AM   #5
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If you can find wheelweights for .25 per pound, and they are not all Fe or Zn, buy them. Soon, you won't be able to find any for less than $1/lb in raw form. I can get you onto sorted, raw weights for $1/lb shipped. That is next best to the smelted and ingotized ones. You can often get the weights in ingot form for close to $1/lb shipped, but not always.

If you buy off of auction sites, be careful. Many sellers there are simply unloading Zn contaminated lead, trying to pass it off as clean. Check feedback on sellers if available.
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Old March 22, 2011, 06:53 AM   #6
salmonfood
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Thanks for the tip about the auction sites. I always check feed back and I won't buy from someone unless I feel confident. I now have a local person wanting to sell range lead for .60/lb.

Any thoughts on that?
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Old March 22, 2011, 09:11 AM   #7
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Here's a small amount of range lead I salvaged from my private gun clubs indoor range.



Depending on what they've been shooting there, the lead tends to be pretty soft. It also is starved for tin. Meaning you have to have a source for tin to sweeten it. Most of that falls into that category, but since it was free for the hauling, smelting and processing was all volunteered. Having to buy tin is a small expense. We spent plenty on propane to smelt with, probably around $150.00 worth. But we netted a ton of lead!

Here I'm loaded up, headed home to the casting area.



If that range lead is already ingotized, then jump on it! If it's just like the following pic, then realize there will be some expense involved in processing it.

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Old May 21, 2011, 03:48 PM   #8
dikko
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I live in South Africa, but I assume wheelweights are the same everywhere. Yours clip on to the wheel rims like ours, don't they ?

I'm a commercial caster, and have measured everything. Several years ago I weighed about a ton of wheelweights before melting. I got, as near as dammit, 75 pounds of alloy from 100 pounds of wheelweights. It was not a single melt (obviously), it was melted in several batches, and the interesting thing was the consistency. Never varied outside two or three pounds over or under 75 per 100.
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Old May 21, 2011, 04:47 PM   #9
shootniron
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In my casting, ww's yield about 70% alloy.

If your ww's will yield 70%, you are much better off buying raw for .25 than paying 1.15 for rendered.
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Old May 22, 2011, 02:47 AM   #10
dikko
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I have just noticed the advice from snuffy to add tin. Don't. Cast bullets don't need tin. It does very little for hardness, tin is for castability ie free flow properties, but alloy with 4 or 5% antimony casts well without tin. Antimony is the hardening agent for lead alloy. Wheelweights traditionally had 4%. These days, in my part of the world, they don't contain more than 3%, often less. You need at least 4% for adequate hardness for moderate velocities like 38Spl and 45ACP, a bit more for higher velocities. 6% is good up to 1300FPS. Fired bullets scrounged from the range might be a bit softer than ideal, depending who cast them, but they will have at least 3% antimony in them. So, if you add 2% antimony you'll be OK. The worst scenario is that, if your raw material is antimony rich to start with, you get very hard bullets, which should be no problem. There is a simple way of analysing antimony content, but its a lengthy expanation, so I won't bother unless somebody wants to know.
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Old May 22, 2011, 12:21 PM   #11
snuffy
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Quote:
I have just noticed the advice from snuffy to add tin. Don't. Cast bullets don't need tin. It does very little for hardness, tin is for castability ie free flow properties, but alloy with 4 or 5% antimony casts well without tin. Antimony is the hardening agent for lead alloy. Wheelweights traditionally had 4%.
Wrong! Tin is necessary to alloy antimony with lead. Just antimony and lead without tin leaves crystals of antimony surrounded by soft lead. The boolit feels hard, but will lead horribly. Tin also toughens boolits, by the act of allowing the antimony to become a true alloy, instead of crystals of antimony separated by pure lead. If you want 6% antimony boolits, you MUST have 2% tin to allow the antimony to mix with the lead.

Wheelweights are always short on tin content. They average ½% tin. Adding 1.5 % tin will assure you have enough for strength and good sharp fill-out.

Dikko, welcome to the casting forum.
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