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Old September 30, 2012, 11:57 AM   #1
floydster
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Re-claimed shot

Anyone use re-cliamed shot for casting bullets? Pro's---Con's?

Thanks for any info.

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Old September 30, 2012, 01:50 PM   #2
GP100man
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Shots kinda an expensive proposition for casting alloy as it`s more pricey than ingots & it`ll likely need some tin/lino added as it`s not likely to be magnum chilled .

But pushed into a corner as it looks as if we casters are lookin at any source is gonna be a good source !!!

I`d certainly clean it up in a seperate smelting pot & don`t be suprised at the temp ya gotta get it to melt it as the coating on it acts like an insulator & don`t add cold wet shot to a melt !!!
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Old September 30, 2012, 02:52 PM   #3
floydster
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GP, yup, WW are a thing of the past here, have to turn to other sources, can get the shot for .71 a lb., but it's really dirty
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Old September 30, 2012, 04:00 PM   #4
Gerry
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Considering the commodity price for lead right now is around $1.30 USD, I'd say you're getting an excellent deal floydster. In my area, some people are paying .45 cents a pound for mixed wheel weights. I'm lucky and still have about a dozen tire shops that sell them to me for $40 per 5 gallon bucket. I'm stocking up while I can, and hope to finish what I think is a life time supply within the next two or three years.

As far as the dirt, just heat the heck out of it since you don't have to worry about zinc anyway, but keep it well fluxed. That dirt, sand, and other crap will float to the top where you can skim it off. Consider throwing in a few handfuls of sawdust with the shot, and scrap the sides and bottom of your pot well once it's all melted. Then add some candle wax, and let it ignite (use caution). The reducing atmosphere of the burning wax will return the oxidated metal back into your melt while the sawdust should be converted to a grey light powder containing any impurities. And it makes it super easy to skim off.

Shot makes a good all purpose alloy as is, and it contains a lot of arsenic (more than wheel weights) which makes it harder especially when water quenched. It contains enough tin to ensure proper fill out too, since the machines that make shot employ molds with small channels and proper fill out is important. Even slowly air cooled, your shot will likely have a BHN of 13.

Last edited by Gerry; September 30, 2012 at 04:26 PM.
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Old September 30, 2012, 05:40 PM   #5
FrankenMauser
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Current price through the guy I buy reclaimed shot from is $1 / lb.
....washed, cleaned, screened, and re-graphited.

I get about 15 steel pellets, one or two shot-sized pebbles, and a couple pieces of other metals (bismuth, tungsten, etc) in each 15 lb jug.

But... it's cheap and effective.

I have cast a few bullets with a couple lbs of it, and I occasionally use it for slight tweaking of other alloys; but I prefer to keep the shot in its original form, for shot shell loads.


When considering smelting reclaimed shot for bullet alloy, keep one thing in mind about quality:
Many shotgun ranges see 90% bottom-shelf, super-cheap, disposable economy loads (a la Walmart Bulk Pack). That means the shot is going to be the cheapest thing the company could get their hands on. So, the tin and antimony content is extremely low.
Magnum shot isn't too bad for tweaking bullet alloys, since it's near WW alloy and about BHN 12. But, most reclaimed shot that I've dealt with and spoken to people about has come in around BHN 9-10.
Unless you're getting shot from a range that primarily sees quality loads fired, don't count on getting good shot; and don't count on seeing more than about 1% antimony or 0.5% tin.


It can also be a bit of a pain to get all of the pellets to melt down for a smelt. Sometimes, the graphite coating hardens (possibly around some factory coating) and creates a protective "shell" around the lead. I have had a few of them pop and splatter, and I usually have to 'crush' the shell on about a couple dozen per pound.

I think it requires more effort than it's worth.
If I was in a position where reclaimed shot was my best source of lead.... I'd find some one else that wanted to trade other alloys (raw or ingots) for the shot.
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Last edited by FrankenMauser; September 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM.
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Old October 1, 2012, 09:56 AM   #6
dahermit
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Quote:
It can also be a bit of a pain to get all of the pellets to melt down for a smelt. Sometimes, the graphite coating hardens (possibly around some factory coating) and creates a protective "shell" around the lead. I have had a few of them pop and splatter, and I usually have to 'crush' the shell on about a couple dozen per pound.
Years ago, I had this happen also. I could not figure out why the shot would not melt. Discovered that the "crust" would not melt, but the lead alloy inside was melted...I had to crush the pellets with my ladle against the side of the pot to get the lead to pool in the bottom of the pot. Pain in the butt.
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