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Andrew Quigley
06-18-2008, 10:19 PM
Howdy ya'll

I've been casting for several years now and have had good luck using reclaimed lead from our Cowboy range. But I've gotten a lot of lead from a local range that has full jacketed bullets.
Heard they would pop open when you melt them back down. Anybody had any personal experience with these?

beagle
06-18-2008, 10:44 PM
I've melted down a bunch of range scrap which contained jacketed stuff and I've never had one go. Not saying that it won't happen but it hasn't happened to me./beagle

docone31
06-18-2008, 10:47 PM
I never had an issue with them. I melted them with the bunch of reclaims and they came out empty.
I did melt hot. The jackets floated and got scooped out. The guilded jackets floated also
I saved that melt to mix with wheel weights. They were too soft for me as is.
I had thought I had the grail with range lead. I did not really like it. Every time I would go shooting, I always brought back a bunch. The range closed at 2:00pm on week days. They let me stay late and pick through the berm. Too much work for too little result. I have stuck with wheel weight since then.

Down South
06-18-2008, 11:15 PM
I've melted down a few buckets of range scrap. I get a small pop every now and then from a FMJ that hasn't been cracked. I just put the lid on my dutch oven till it all has been melted.

monadnock#5
06-19-2008, 07:43 AM
I came across a fmj that hadn't popped while sifting through the chaff from melting down range lead. I crushed it in a vise. It emptied out nicely the second time through the pot.

Phineas Bluster
06-19-2008, 08:57 AM
If you are using reclaimed jacketed bullets, be certain they are dry before adding them to a pot containing molten lead. About 35 years ago, I had just added a fistfull of jacketed range scrap to a pot when there was a loud pop. I was struck dead center in the chest by a jacket. It raised quite a welt. Evidently, moisture had found a way between the core and the jacket and when added to the pot of hot metal, converted to steam, blowing the jacket off the core and out of the pot. It was a freak occurrence, however, since that time I only start jacketed range scrap in a cold pot.

docone31
06-19-2008, 09:04 AM
That is my trick with all my smelting. I start with a cold pot. I cannot tell you how many times I have had pops! with all kinds of scrap.
Lead can really fly!!!! It doesn't take much moisture.
The other organics however do act as a collection medium on the top and seems to help gather dross.
Wheel weights are a lot simpler, even with the zinc suprises.

corvette8n
06-19-2008, 09:51 AM
I hit them with a heavy hammer until I see a split

Bent Ramrod
06-19-2008, 10:05 AM
The partially melted .45 hardball will often squirt a thin stream of molten lead to a range of several feet if the base is pointed up and out of the pot as it is melting. Those little droplets are still plenty hot at the end of their flight. I've never had a jacketed bullet pop, but the allover plated ones definitely swell and deform. I crimp the undamaged ones in wire-cutter pliers until some lead is exposed before I melt them.

I sequester the jacketed range lead from the rest and use it as-is for hollow-point and black-powder cartridge boolits.

Andrew Quigley
06-19-2008, 10:08 AM
I really didn't mean make a real "pop" noise. Was just wanting to make sure they would open and the lead come out. I always were long sleeve demin shirt, welding gloves and safety glasses when I do a big smelt down.
Had good luck with all the reclaimed lead I've used before. But like I said it came from a SASS type range and that's mainly what I shoot. Usually grab what I can each trip to the range and throw them in a 5 gallon bucket. But everybody at our Cowboy range seems to have hit on the idea and it's harder to get lead there so I've started getting it from the public range.
Got a couple of 5 gallon buckets full ready and I just used the last of my igots. Thanks for the help.

docone31
06-19-2008, 10:25 AM
I knew what you meant. Somehow this thread got onto water in lead, some of it by me.
I have run into "sealed" bullets in a melt. Some of them never drained. I just tossed them. Some split quite easily. It depended on what they hit downrange. Most released their treasure and floated.
Lead is getting harder and harder to come by easily. That is for sure. I am not looking forward to the day when we have to cut open the sealed recovered before melting. It can take long enough to just ingot.

Tom Herman
06-19-2008, 10:38 AM
I scrounge range lead as well... Before any of it goes in the pot, it is first dried out in an oven, or started cold.
The bullets that are fully jacketed are tenderized with a 4 pound rock hammer. That usually siffices to break or score the jacket.
I haven't had any squirt me, nor do I care to have that happen.
Use deliberate care, and you should be fine.
When in doubt, don't do it.

Happy Shootin'! -Tom




Howdy ya'll

I've been casting for several years now and have had good luck using reclaimed lead from our Cowboy range. But I've gotten a lot of lead from a local range that has full jacketed bullets.
Heard they would pop open when you melt them back down. Anybody had any personal experience with these?

Tumtatty
06-19-2008, 11:03 AM
BTW...
How does Range Lead compare to WW? Is it pure lead? Do I need to do a mix with WW and tin?

Thanks!

Jon K
06-19-2008, 11:11 AM
Tumtatty,

It's like rolling the dice, cause you don't know what the next guy is shooting, or where it came from. All you can do is test hardness after smelting & add whatever to make your alloy.

Jon

cbrick
06-19-2008, 11:24 AM
BTW... How does Range Lead compare to WW? Is it pure lead? Do I need to do a mix with WW and tin? Thanks!

Here is a cut & Paste from this article. Cast Bullet Alloy. ([URL="http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletAlloy.htm) Should give you an idea what you'll encounter.

22 lead is mostly lead, virtually no antimony, and usually about 1-2% tin. Jacketed bullet alloy composition ranges anywhere from pure lead to 5% Sb. As a very general statement, many handgun jacketed bullets have pure lead cores (almost all Noslers, almost all FMJs, and most std. velocity jacketed handgun bullets). Some have hardened cores (e.g. the Sierra 300 grain .44 Mag bullets is 5% Sb). If the range has centerfire rifle bullets, then they are commonly 3% or 5% Sb. So the bottom line is that jacketed bullets can contribute almost any hardness to bullet metal. I have read reports of shotgun slugs being from near pure lead to approximately 2-3% antimony.

Rick

billyb
06-19-2008, 11:51 AM
Howdy ya'll

I've been casting for several years now and have had good luck using reclaimed lead from our Cowboy range. But I've gotten a lot of lead from a local range that has full jacketed bullets.
Heard they would pop open when you melt them back down. Anybody had any personal experience with these?

picked up a lot of range lead. i seperated the cast and swaged from the jacked stuf and smelted seperate from the jacked. most of the cast bullets were comerical,hard cast. i mixed with ww.worked for me.smelted all the jackedsifted out the jackets,after they cooled run a magnet over them to remove the steel and sold the coper jackets to the scrap yard,bought primers,powderwhat ever i needed sold most of the soft lead to a comerical caster, bought supplies with the money. i mostly paid for my reloading gear and supplies doing this. now i pick up the cast at the range after a rain not hard to pick up 10-15 lbs in a short time. Bill

Andrew Quigley
06-19-2008, 03:14 PM
Yeah I can pickup 10-15lbs in short order. Mostly pickup on the 25yrd range where the pistols are shot. Easier to get out of the way!! some of the folks that shoot at this range aren't up to speed with safety. Best be moving if they stop on the one your picking up at. This is a nice range but on management land with no range officers.
Sure is good pickins for lead though.

Rick N Bama
06-19-2008, 05:01 PM
Yeah I can pickup 10-15lbs in short order. Mostly pickup on the 25yrd range where the pistols are shot. Easier to get out of the way!! some of the folks that shoot at this range aren't up to speed with safety. Best be moving if they stop on the one your picking up at. This is a nice range but on management land with no range officers.
Sure is good pickins for lead though.

Hey AQ, where do you shoot? I shoot on Swan Creek WMA in Limestone County & glean the 25 yard berm myself for lead. On most trips I'll manage to come home with a 34oz coffee can full of scraps. The last time I smelted it down, the ingots measured ~15BHN after aging for a month or so. I have 5 cans waiting now to be worked up, hopefully I'll get the time soon to do just that. FWIW, I've never had a problem with popping jackets but I do cover the pot with a lid while it's melting down just in case one wants to blow out.

Rick

RP
06-19-2008, 05:35 PM
wow lots of people getting range lead now days. I have a range now one picks lead up at and it is use alot mostly goverment . They do training and CC classes my main worry is during training or maybe the classes I was told that if they dont get their rounds of in the time allowed instructor makes them toss the load rounds at the targets which inturn ends up on the berms. Now to me that dont sound very smart but I have found 6 live rounds in my lead the 7 one I did not find but it let me know it was there. I reclaim alot of lead at a time anywhere from 6 to 18 buckets at a time. I dont wash it just look it over and start smelting.
Which I do without a lid 5 gal bucket at a time. When one is melted I flux with transmission fluid which heats the jackets up and any lead left in them fmj or not is released but i stir with a shovel so iam not as close as most people. After removing the jackets I leave the other trash mostly dirt as a buffer and add another bucket repeating until I have around 300lbs of lead. Cast into ingots until iam down to around 100lbs and start over adding more boolits. I have found that with the dirt as a buffer and stiring with long handled tools its not a big problem. But a live round will make a mess also when i add more boolits I let it sit for awhile to burn off any water when the steam stops i stir the mix to heat all the jackets up. I know its not the safest way to do it but thats the way i do it .

Andrew Quigley
06-19-2008, 09:50 PM
So Rick n Bama your the one getting all the brass and lead at Swan Creek!! LOL!! Been stopping by there twice a day for bout 8yrs. With the price of brass going threw the roof at the scrap yard there is a ton of folks picking it up. Not leaving much for us reloaders.
Just started gethering lead down there so I ain't hurtin your gather much I don't think. If ya see a guy down there round 4pm wearing a cowboy hat it should be me.

Rick N Bama
06-20-2008, 03:37 PM
So Rick n Bama your the one getting all the brass and lead at Swan Creek!! LOL!! Been stopping by there twice a day for bout 8yrs. With the price of brass going threw the roof at the scrap yard there is a ton of folks picking it up. Not leaving much for us reloaders.
Just started gethering lead down there so I ain't hurtin your gather much I don't think. If ya see a guy down there round 4pm wearing a cowboy hat it should be me.


I find very little brass there myself for my use. Heck I once had a young lady of about 8 years digging under the bench I was shooting from trying to pick up my spent brass. I had a few words with her Daddy about that! To avoid the range idots I simply do not go there on the weekends anymore. I think there'll be enough lead there for both of us for many years to come.

Rick

EMC45
06-21-2008, 07:24 AM
You guys got me thinking about some "range mining"

testhop
06-21-2008, 08:40 AM
here is the i help clean the burms i use a leaf rake to round up the messy spent bullits the
best time is like BILLY B saysafter a good hard rain at my range we have rifle and pistol ranges so it is easer to sort the pickup and being retired i can get to the range on week days and if i can hit a day that grounds keeper i s going to mow the grass so much the better try the leaf rake i think you will like it