range lead? - Shooters Forum
» Advanced

Go Back   Shooters Forum > Handloading > Bullet Casting
Register FAQ Members List Donate Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read



Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-11-2013, 04:18 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 906
range lead?


Registered Users do not see the above ad.


With the increasing cost of reloading supplies I am going to start casting for a couple pistols. I have no real source of lead. So I was thinking about collecting fired bullets from the range to melt down. These would only be used for low velocity plinking bullets with my handguns. Is there any danger in using an unknown mixture of lead? I figure the copper and lead would just separate.I believe copper has a higher melting point than lead. Anyway any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-11-2013, 04:36 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 10,049
Also mine for lead at the range where i shoot. I've thrown it into the pot and haven't had any problems so far. Many of the jacketed bullets have swedged lead cores that seem pretty soft so usually mix with lead wheelweights to harden somewhat.
__________________
Still Learnin' as I go!

NRA Endowment Member
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:59 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Northcentral Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,668
Zapzoo,

I have mined range lead for years with no problems. Jacketed bullets have lead cores and the lead melts out and the copper jacket can be easily skipped off the melt. I put in old wheelweight, a dash of tin and drop my cast bullets into a bucket of water right out of the moulds. I lube with alox and get no leading. Hope this helps.

I use a five gallon bucket, an old window screen, a shovel and heavy gloves to screen the lead from the backstop sand.

Webley

Last edited by Webley; 02-12-2013 at 06:02 AM.
Reply With Quote
 
  #4  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:56 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 137
Range lead is an excellent source for bullet casting.

My only suggestion is to melt it once to remove the jackets, sand, grit, and other impurities, put it into ingots or whatever shape, and then use a clean pot with clean lead to cast bullets.

The first step is called smelting (although some will argue if that term is technically correct). A couple of pinches of sawdust added to the melted lead will act as a fluxing material which will help the impurities separate from the lead, as long as you keep stirring it. Then it can be skimmed off the top with all of the other unwanted materials, leaving you with good, clean lead.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-12-2013, 11:35 AM
taco650's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Midwest Georgia
Posts: 319
Just don't try to mine for the lead when others are at the range LOL!

I've done the same thing and it works fine, just more hassle to pick out the jackets. Even copper plated bullets can be melted because when the lead gets hot enough, it breaks through the coating.

Last edited by taco650; 02-12-2013 at 11:38 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:42 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16
After having a few plated bullets squirt a stream of molten lead out of the pot I have been giving them a whack with the hammer to crack them before smelting.
Lead wheelweights are being slowly phased out so one of my primary sources of lead is range scrap. I also mix in some wheelweight lead to toughen it up a bit.
When sorting your material be sure to keep the cast bullets seperate from the jacketed where possible. Often the cast will be plenty hard for most needs with out having to add and additional dose of antimony and will just need a spot of tin. The jacketed stuff will need a bit of something to harden it up. Keep in mind that magnum birdshot has a pretty good antimony content and chilled has a bit as well.
Luck with your venture.
G
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-12-2013, 04:40 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: SW Colorado
Posts: 3
FYI
Don't forget to save the copper, it is worth $2.50 a pound and that is a conservative guess.
Scrap copper pays for gas and propane.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-14-2013, 11:33 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Adams County Idaho
Posts: 439
If it is sandy where you shoot, use 1/4 Inch hardware cloth on a wooden frame with veryshort legs and shovel everything into it and aggitate it to get the sand out. if you are someplace like Idaho use 3/8 or 1/2 inch hardware cloth instead.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-10-2013, 04:34 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 42
The nearest shooting range is far away so I'm planning to build a bullet trap and range on my own property. Any advice on that would be cool. I was hoping I could recycle my lead without anything more than recasting. From what I read here, it seems like I'll have to buy hard cast bullets and blend them with any FMJs we shoot to make my cast bullets hard enough. I've never cast bullets before, but I have cast sinkers for fishing. I'm sure I've got a lot to learn, but I'm looking forward to some fun projects. I'm planning to cast in my basement, inside a fume hood that I'll make from an old washing machine shell or maybe a refrigerator. Any advice on that would be cool, too.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-11-2013, 07:52 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 16
Quote:
After having a few plated bullets squirt a stream of molten lead out of the pot I have been giving them a whack with the hammer to crack them before smelting.
Very good advise
Quote:
I'm planning to cast in my basement, inside a fume hood that I'll make from an old washing machine shell or maybe a refrigerator. Any advice on that would be cool, too.
Casting is one thing, melting old range lead or WW is another thing. Try it outside once and see if you want to deal with it inside, Most folks will say NO WAY.
Smoke, dirt, fluxing, and who knows what in the mix. On a small scale like in a casting pot you may be OK, but in short order you will screw up your pot.
Render outside** cast inside with some common sense.
Make absolutely sure that no water as in none, not even one drop gets into the molten lead. A drop or two on top of the melt will steam off. But if one drop as in a little water trapped inside a jacketed bullet gets in or under the molten lead--you will have a steam explosion like you do not want to experience. Not even once.
Do not melt your lead in Aluminum pots, they will let go and ruin what could have been a nice day.
You really need to get educated a little on melting and rendering lead along with casting and fluxing.
Why don't you visit cast bullets .com They are a great bunch of guys and can help you greatly. It's not rocket science but there are some do,s and don't do,s you should no. No slam, just rying to help.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-11-2013, 03:15 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by gray wolf View Post
Casting is one thing, melting old range lead or WW is another thing. Try it outside once and see if you want to deal with it inside, Most folks will say NO WAY.
Smoke, dirt, fluxing, and who knows what in the mix. On a small scale like in a casting pot you may be OK, but in short order you will screw up your pot.
Render outside** cast inside with some common sense.
Make absolutely sure that no water as in none, not even one drop gets into the molten lead. A drop or two on top of the melt will steam off. But if one drop as in a little water trapped inside a jacketed bullet gets in or under the molten lead--you will have a steam explosion like you do not want to experience. Not even once.
I had already planned to melt outdoors to make ingots. I worked in the oil industry and I'm well aware of the dangers of BLEVE. That's what you're talking about. Burning crude oil makes a layer of hot tar above the water that distills out of it as it burns. The heat and pressure from the tar floating above superheats the water. When the tar layer gets thin enough and the water temp gets high enough, Kaboom! and flaming tar everywhere. Best advice I can give is stay away from burning refineries.

Quote:
Do not melt your lead in Aluminum pots, they will let go and ruin what could have been a nice day.
I have an 8 quart cast iron pot with a lid and I've been thinking about how to use a wood fire to process the range lead. I've got plenty of wood and not a lot of money for propane.

Quote:
You really need to get educated a little on melting and rendering lead along with casting and fluxing.
Why don't you visit cast bullets .com They are a great bunch of guys and can help you greatly. It's not rocket science but there are some do,s and don't do,s you should no. No slam, just rying to help.
I didn't take anything you said as a slam, but I kinda thought I was getting educated by reading this forum. Isn't there a great bunch of guys that can help me greatly here? Don't worry, I'm checking out that site, but I hope this site isn't just a social club.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-11-2013, 04:59 PM
taco650's Avatar
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Midwest Georgia
Posts: 319
Check out this site for "loads" more info on bullet casting: Cast Boolits
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-11-2013, 06:43 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by taco650 View Post
Check out this site for "loads" more info on bullet casting: Cast Boolits
Thanks. That came up when I searched for castbullets.com which didn't exist. castbullet.com gave me a bunch of articles by a guy who melts wheel weights in a small pot over a campfire and casts directly from there. Then he reloads outdoors on a stump or on a block of firewood in a tent. And he uses a powder dipper that he melted to expand the capacity. He doesn't believe in weighing every charge.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-13-2013, 02:13 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Texas,
Posts: 239
Might be a little behind the times on this one since it has been a month or so since the last post. But figured I would throw in my experience anyway.

As for smelting down the range lead, as mentioned be sure to smack any FMJ or plated bullets with a hammer to render them less damaging, those little streams of lead can sometimes get out of the pot with little notice until your leg or foot figures out what is happening. By then your looking for a water hose. The lid on the pot is a great way of keeping this to a minimum even if the bullets have been smacked.

The other comment about the moisture inside the collected bullets is also a "must be prevented" item. When adding in the reclaimed cores it only takes one to ruin and afternoon, and then several days, or possibly longer, of thinking about it afterwords. When your adding in your lead or especially jacketed bullets it is wise to preheat them in a small pan on a separate stove, or hotplate, for a while before dumping them into the big batch. If you pick up a small SS pan from one of the discount stores, you can even set this atop of your melted lead to use to preheat prior to dumping. This will help to reduce the moisture content, if not remove it, by evaporating most or all of the moisture out of the jackets or from inside the curled up lead. Thing is, when you recover bullets from shooting ranges, you usually don't know how long they were there, and moisture can and will seep into them and remain until it has a way or means to dissipate.

You could also set the out in the sun on a sheet of plywood for a couple of days ahead of time as well. Just something that will allow the moisture to get out of them or at least be reduce to a minimal content. When the lead goes from a steam release, it isn't something that is thought of as pleasant. When rendering lead out of recovered lead or jacketed bullets, a face shield, leather boots or shoes, and a leather shop apron are almost a must for safety. This includes ball caps we all like to wear. While rendering down lead it is MUCH better to use something like an all cotton welders cap. These type items can be picked up at Goodwill or Salvation Army type stores or Harbor Freight for the apron and welder type caps. Do not wear anything that is nylon or polyester based, if you DO have an incident the 5-700 degree lead will only melt it right to you for your added pleasure.

Now for collecting and reusing your own bullets in a compact and somewhat user friendly way. I have found that filling up a 5 gallon bucket with fine grained sand, and laid on it side using the top as the target area, works excellent as a bullet trap for most handguns up to the 41 magnum and bigger. It will work for them bigger ones as well but you simply have to move it out to 50 or 75yds verses 25 for the lower powered ones. With loads staying up to around 1000fps and in calibers up to my 45 Colt I usually recover everything I can effectively keep inside the lid or target area. It will also stop most jacketed rifle loads up to around 30-06 150gr loads as long as the closest range is 75yds or further. I usually shoot them at 100 or 200yds just to be on the safe side.

I normally use either the self adhesive type targets or just staple or thumb tack a regular target right to the top. When done shooting, I set the bucket on it's side up on the tailgate of the truck, and using some 3/16" hardware cloth stretched across a wooden 2x2 frame I slowly sift the sand out of the bucket onto the screen and allow the fall through to gather in a plastic tub about the size of a # 3 galvanized one. The galvanized will work just as effectively, but I already had the plastic one for dipping the dog in.

Once you sift the sand, bag up your bullets, and or fragments in a sandwich bag and label it with the alloy, or bullets shot, so you can keep softer lead separated from the harder stuff. If it's all the same, it still goes in the bag for later when I get ready to pour up some more. Any sand or dirt that is still stuck to or rolled up inside the lead will come right to the top to be skimmed off when they are remelted. You can use duct tape to repair the holes in the lid, or side of the buckets, and then simply refill them and they are ready for the next time out. When filling or refilling, I have found it best to shovel in 3-4 inches at a time, then grab the handle and raise it up a couple of inches and drop it to help pack the sand in. If the sand is really dry, I will wait till it is fully filled and pour in about half a 16oz bottle of water. This usually gives it enough moisture to help pack really well, but not enough to effectively mess up any of my bullets when I reclaim them later on. The taped up holes in the lid will prevent it from evaporating for upwards of a couple of weeks.

Hope this helps, and be careful. Nothing ruins your day quicker than to get all fired up to have some fun, only to have to stop due to something that, can and/or could have easily been prevented, and could possibly last weeks, or worse a lifetime.

Have fun, be safe.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-13-2013, 06:28 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 42
Thank you for that 5 gallon bucket trick, 41Mag. I've been thinking about how to do that and I was thinking I would need a 55 gallon plastic barrel. I never thought about shooting through the lid and then patching it up with ductape. I swear, that stuff keeps the world from flying apart.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-16-2013, 02:20 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2
Typically, if I have the time, I separate the jacketed from the non jacketed bullets. If you shoot muzzleloaders or black powder cartridges, the lead from jacketed bullets is often soft enough to use. It's not going to be 5 bhn but it will be much softer than wheel weights. I use the non jacketed lead for plinking or mixed with ww's for hunting. I usually melt down about 65 lbs at a time and mark the ingots with the date and what source the lead came from. This way I can have a good amount of the same composition. As noted before, adding range scrap to the melt without drying for a couple days is a big no no. Been there, done that. No thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05-16-2013, 04:54 PM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 42
The 5 gallon bucket didn't stop 158 gr. 38 Special round nose. I made a larger bucket out of a 12 gallon barrel and put a 3" hardwood disk at the back with 14" of packed damp sand at the front. It's heavy, but not even the .45 Auto SWC made it to the hardwood.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05-19-2013, 02:47 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Texas,
Posts: 239
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cesure View Post
The 5 gallon bucket didn't stop 158 gr. 38 Special round nose. I made a larger bucket out of a 12 gallon barrel and put a 3" hardwood disk at the back with 14" of packed damp sand at the front. It's heavy, but not even the .45 Auto SWC made it to the hardwood.
Well I wouldn't have thought that. The sand I'm using might be pretty fine compared to what you used, my friend has had issues with that as well and switched to a smaller grained sand and it has worked since.

The stuff I use when dry is almost like talc, but when just damp enough to clump in your hand it will stop almost anything I shoot at 50yds, but some of the heavier loads at 25 will make it through. Most of my 45 ACP loads only hit about 4-5" deep at 25, and some of the 45 Colt loads will make it down into the 8-10" range.

Well that's just a part of it I guess playing with what you have on hand to see how it works. The bottom line is finding something that DOES work even if it's a big pile of sand or dirt you have to dig them out of. At least you get them back to have do overs.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 05-19-2013, 06:22 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Michigan
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by 41 Mag View Post
Well I wouldn't have thought that. The sand I'm using might be pretty fine compared to what you used, my friend has had issues with that as well and switched to a smaller grained sand and it has worked since.

The stuff I use when dry is almost like talc, but when just damp enough to clump in your hand it will stop almost anything I shoot at 50yds, but some of the heavier loads at 25 will make it through. Most of my 45 ACP loads only hit about 4-5" deep at 25, and some of the 45 Colt loads will make it down into the 8-10" range.

Well that's just a part of it I guess playing with what you have on hand to see how it works. The bottom line is finding something that DOES work even if it's a big pile of sand or dirt you have to dig them out of. At least you get them back to have do overs.
The sand I'm using is not super fine. It's like granulated sugar. I wouldn't drive a vehicle over it when it's dry. I was shooting mostly at 10 yards to simulate home defense ranges. The 45 ACP makes it to about 12", right about where the deepest 38 Special LRNs are.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 05-21-2013, 01:45 AM
Beartooth Regular
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Texas,
Posts: 239
Quote:
The sand I'm using is not super fine. It's like granulated sugar. I wouldn't drive a vehicle over it when it's dry.
You wouldn't like driving around on our farm...LOL I grew up learning the ways of the sand hauling hay, and what not up there. Then I got into surf fishing where you might have powder or larger course granular type sand, either of which can easily bury you up to the axles or deeper depending on just how ignorant you felt like being.

We fished Padre Island National Seashore on occasion and a couple of other beaches in between when we had our 1/2 ton 4x4 truck, it was nothing to run 35 or more miles down the soft sand, set up to fish for the weekend. Since we upgraded to the 1 ton 4x4 we have only been down once and it was in the company of plenty of others who could easily pull that tank out. I have to say the pucker factor was MUCH higher in the looser stuff.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Link to comment towards EPA on petition banning lead ammo quietman General Discussion 4 08-29-2010 08:13 AM
No-holdover range of Hornady 325-grain FTXs Naphtali Big-Bore Lever Guns 22 07-29-2010 04:40 PM
Range Finder Spillard Sporting Optics, Binoculars, Spotting Scopes, Rangefinders 5 07-27-2010 12:01 PM
Wider Lead Ban in Condor Range alyeska338 General Discussion 19 12-14-2007 11:40 AM
Here it comes................. Contender General Discussion 5 02-12-2004 06:38 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:37 PM.

< Contact Us - Shooters Forum - Archive - Privacy Statement >

 
 

All Content & Design Copyright © 1999-2002 Beartooth Bullets, All Rights Reserved
Privacy Statement | Contact Webmaster
Website Design & Development By Exbabylon Internet Solutions
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1