Any tips on mining berms for lead? - Shooters Forum
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  #1  
Old 01-06-2017, 12:31 PM
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Any tips on mining berms for lead?


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My current "range" is a heavily used borrow pit on BLM land. Often I have the place to myself and I've thought that since i make "deposits" at this "bank" I ought to be making "withdrawls" as well.
I'm a bit concerned about possible ricochets from cobbling up bullet trap as I'm no Engineer.
Is there any good, safe way to take spent bullets out of a earthen berm for recasting?
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2017, 12:50 PM
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Make a box with quarter inch hardware cloth for a bottom. Put it on legs about a foot high and start shoveling and sifting. Be sure to flux very well. You don't want a grain of sand in a bullet!
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2017, 03:43 PM
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Flux that stuff a couple of times. What I do with range scrap is run it through a sifter as jbelk said then wash it down with a hose. DRY IT WELL then melt it in a pot running sawdust through at least twice then wax. Take your time getting it clean from the dirt and use a different pot for melting the scrap into ingots than the one you use for pouring bullets
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  #4  
Old 01-06-2017, 04:13 PM
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Jbelk pegged mine! Screwed a box together from scrap 2x6s with 1/4" hardware cloth on the bottom. Where I'm at the ground is gumbo (heavy clay) have to work it through the mesh, but catches everything worth saving.
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  #5  
Old 01-06-2017, 05:52 PM
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As said. i just take two plastic buckets and fill both at about 25 pounds, then carry to the car. Clean/sift them at home. Fast withdrawal!!!
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  #6  
Old 01-07-2017, 11:31 AM
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In the desert sometimes after a good rain the bullets will be "stuck" partway up the berm while the dust and small stuff either blew away or washed down towards the bottom.

Even better if the berm faces south, it will dry out quicker. Get a coffee can or other stout container and start to collect/sort as you see fit.
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Old 01-07-2017, 05:25 PM
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If it is as heavily used as you say, there will be buckets on top to be pick up before shifting.


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  #8  
Old 01-07-2017, 08:16 PM
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Combat Diver is right, IME.
A heavily used backstop will have lots of bullets on the surface to be picked up, and every range shooting session churns up more. Take a bucket or 2 with you and start picking, you'll be surprised how much you can pick up- and some of it can be interesting.
This is stupidly obvious, but still worth thinking about: make DARN sure someone knows you are down at the backstop! One oblivious fool shooting without checking what's at the end of the range could really ruin your day.
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2017, 05:40 AM
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I would prefer not to mine bullets from any berm due to the unknown amount of foreign matter that could be mixed in with the lead and the ranges that I shoot at will not allow me to do so. I would much rather find a tire shop willing to sell me used wheel weights assuming there are still some tire shops willing to do so. My next course of action would be to buy bullet material from a metals dealer or even buy wheel weights off eBay. Just my dos centavos and YMMV.
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Last edited by Marshal Kane; 01-08-2017 at 10:46 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-08-2017, 10:39 AM
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If you decide to dynamite the berm, pay for the local blasting permits required in your area. Getting "caught" will make lead get real expensive.

Also, most locations have a 800 number to "call before you blast". They will come out and mark important stuff that might not be visible above ground.
Would be a bad shame to find out there was septic tank under that "gold mine" of lead.

Cheezywan
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  #11  
Old 01-08-2017, 10:57 AM
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Funny how you remember things-- I used to dig bullets out of the sand bank at the County Road Camp range when I was about five years old. The biggest bullets were the deepest in the bank and I got in trouble for digging a deep cave on the trail of bigger bullets.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBelk View Post
Funny how you remember things-- I used to dig bullets out of the sand bank at the County Road Camp range when I was about five years old. The biggest bullets were the deepest in the bank and I got in trouble for digging a deep cave on the trail of bigger bullets.
I had not considered this until now. Really might be a good idea to call that 800 number before digging at all. "Safety First"!!!
Or, at least get somebody else to dig for you. Just in case!

Cheezywan
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  #13  
Old 01-10-2017, 12:30 PM
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First up, don't get hung up in the mud! Harvesting the backstops is well worth the effort. I sort cast bullets from the jacket bullets. I'd rather render them separately. As suggested, flux until you get the junk out. The last batch from undifferentiated scrap of all sorts came out harder then Lyman#2. Wheel weights around here have all but disappeared. Roto Metals may become my Mecca. Hunt you up a dutch oven and turkey fryer heat source. Welcome to the world of another shooting addiction. Be careful.
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2017, 12:57 PM
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Depending on how the range is constructed, if the bullets.hit the berm on the bouce, then the place to look for bullets is on the ground behind the berm.
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  #15  
Old 01-13-2017, 02:44 AM
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Like stated about after a rain you will find the bullets on the surface. Years ago use to go to the old sand pits where they use to shoot alot and go after it rains and use to get alot of lead that way.
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  #16  
Old 01-13-2017, 07:12 AM
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Y'all would love picking low cotton! Picking up bullets off the ground one by one is not my idea of a fun afternoon!

There was a guy in Colorado that shot Cowboy Action that had a sifter box on legs about two feet long. He claimed ten pounds to the shovel full on police ranges.
He had a shot maker and sold shot at Sporting Clay events that was fresh made on the tailgate of his pick-up while you watched. His sifter was open on one end to pour bullets out. He sold jackets as scrap but his grandson would hit them with a hammer first to flatten them. Neat old guy that I hadn't thought of in years.
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:53 AM
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I've reclaimed hundreds of pounds of lead. Build a sifting screen as others have said. If you are getting the scrap out of an outdoor range make sure to sort out any shotgun slugs and Minne balls. They have hollow bases that hold moisture tenaciously. Some pistol wadcutters have hollow bases. If you throw them into your melt trapped moisture will instantly turn to steam and explode molten lead out all over the place. Dig any dirt out of them and let them dry before melting them. I used to use an old farriers forge to melt the lead in a small iron pot. Flux, skim, stir, flux, skim, and pour the lead into Lyman and Lee ingot molds. Always wear leather gloves, a heavy sleeved coat, and safety glasses or you will regret not doing so. If you are mining a club range they'll appreciate a share of the lead.
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  #18  
Old 02-03-2017, 05:45 PM
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Visit utube for info on this subject. The posters here have covered the subject well. Utubers have said that a shovel and screener is many many times better than picking up individual bullets.

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