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Thread: Guide to Hand Sorting Wheel Weights

  1. #41
    Boolit Master RobsTV's Avatar
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    Any issues with using a hardness tester for fool proof testing?
    It would seem to work, but is there any chance that small amounts of zinc would be used in some weights, which wouuld increase hardness a little?

    Most "stick on" wheel weights I just finished testing showed anywhere from less than 6 to 8 BHN. However, all the stick on wheel weights that match the image in the first set of photos, 3rd from the right in stick on lead picture section, measure 11.5 BHN, or around what you would expect for good clip on wheel weights. I had not seen any mention of stick on wheel weights being as good as clip on wheel weights, and it seemed most would simply throw the SOWW aside for soft lead applications. The weights obtained were from a new car dealership, and these 11.5 BHN made up around 20% of the total SOWW received that day.

  2. #42
    Boolit Mold
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    Smile

    I test all of my clip-on wheel weights with a large pair of compound leverage wire cutters. I grab close to the clip, and if it is lead I cut it off both sides of the clip sorting the ends from the clips.I have 4 containers, 1 for non-lead, one for steel that I am confident are steel, one for the lead clips, and the last for weight ends. This way I can melt without skimming clips most of the time, and do the clips in a separate batch when the mews strikes me to do so! My 2 cents worth

  3. #43
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    Dust mask and tough Nitrile mechanic's disposable gloves or dishwashing gloves are also a must. Oh, and a cold beverage of your choice, covered to protect from dust during sorting.

    Gear
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  4. #44
    Boolit Master Jaybird62's Avatar
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    I posted on here recently that I throw the painted stick-on lead weights with my clip-ons. I found a few ingots from the painted lead stickies under my bench today and read my notes that say that their hardness is 9+ BHN. My clip-ons range from 12.5 to 14 in hardness. My non-painted stickies are pretty close to pure Pb, and are in the 5-6 BHN range.

  5. #45
    Boolit Bub Tinbullet's Avatar
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    Smile In a nutshell

    A buddy that I cast bullets for brought me 60 lbs. of wheel weights. So from this thread I gather that lead WW's will cut with tin snips or side cutters, lead goes thud and zinc goes tink. Either may be painted, pure lead should melt before zinc so zinc WW's should float to the top of a melt, and finally some forms of WW's may be harder than others so sorting is needed for that also. Did I miss anything? OH! And its all toxic! I use to change tires at a VW dealer. OMG All of the WW's that I could have had!
    Last edited by Tinbullet; 08-11-2012 at 07:17 PM.

  6. #46
    Boolit Mold
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    I'm going to be melting wheel weights for the 1st time tomorrow. I've already seperated the zinc and steel out and am only using clip on WW. How do I flux this in order to retain the tin? Sine I've never done this before, explain in simple terms. I've gotsome Frankford arsenal flux to use. I'll be using a 20 lb lee pot and will be making ingots.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
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    tmattox,
    I would not use your casting pot for raw WW to make ingots. Leaves a mess out of your pot. I would get an old cast iron pot or some other steel pot to do the bulk melting down over a propane burner and pour into ingots from that. Then use the casting pot for the clean lead. Fluxing is simple and there are lots of things you can use. Once you have the WW melted, skim off the clips and junk. Add fluxing material per instructions if you are using commercial stuff and stir. All the dross will come to the top to be skimmed off.
    Bret

  8. #48
    Boolit Master

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    I agree with smokin7mm. You can go to walmart and pick up a 7 dollar stainless pot and melt all at once. easy to clean and cast from.

  9. #49
    Thanks to everyone, especially Revolver for the great info and pics. I am a newbie too and just got hold of about 200 lbs of WW's. They sorted out to be about 95%+ usable, the remainder being about evenly split between zinc and steel/iron. Most of mine run bigger than the ones in the pics, I think they are probably from semi's and tractors as I got them from the Farmer's Union, and they work on a lot of bigger equipment there. I am especially glad to find out that the stick-on's are a different alloy, I thought so when I was sorting them. I separated them, but what can I use them for? I have about 40 lb's of antimonial lead a friend of mine purchased from a metal distributor. I guess it's just lead and antimony. Could I possibly use some of the stick-on weights with some of this to come up with a suitable alloy for casting boolits for either rifle or pistol? Or lacking that, does anyone know of a use for antimonial lead or have a recipe for using it in a good alloy?

  10. #50
    Boolit Mold
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    real good infromative article

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by LightsOutND View Post
    I have about 40 lb's of antimonial lead a friend of mine purchased from a metal distributor. I guess it's just lead and antimony. Could I possibly use some of the stick-on weights with some of this to come up with a suitable alloy for casting boolits for either rifle or pistol? Or lacking that, does anyone know of a use for antimonial lead or have a recipe for using it in a good alloy?
    All lead is useful in one way or another. If you know the composition, then even more so. A lot of people in this forum mix clip-on and stick-on WWs 50/50 and then add some tin to improve fillout when casting for low velocity pistol calibers. You could also mix the antimonial lead and stick-on WWs 50/50 and add some tin to see how that casts.

    Antimonial lead is usually 5% antimony and the rest lead. Stick-on WWs are nearly pure lead with maybe a little tin mixed in. You can check out the alloy calculator in my signature to mix the components that you have on hand into your desired recipe.
    Ronald Reagan once said that the most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".
    Download my alloy calculator here: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=105952

  12. #52
    Boolit Master Revolver's Avatar
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    My biggest stash of lead a sailboat keel that is 97% lead and 3% antimony. I add pewter to it as Tin, seems to work good so far but still experimenting.

  13. #53
    Boolit Master OnceFired's Avatar
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    Just wanted to say thank you for such a thorough method to identify wheel weights. I used the info here and followed closely, and out of an entire 5 gallon bucket I hand sorted, I only missed a single steel wheel weight. I missed zero on zinc. Great write up - very practical and useful.

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    A couple days ago I sorted 152 pounds of wheel weights. Some were easily identified as lead because they were scratched or gouged. After testing quite a few, I noticed that any weights labeled MC or MICRO were lead. For the rest I had to use the cutter method.

    I'm a little curious about how accurate the cutter method is because a number of weights that looked like a couple of the examples of zinc weights (painted an off-white) were relatively easy to cut. So I tossed them into the pot. The weights that were labeled Zn were barely scratched by the cutter.

    I also have a number of weights labeled AL-MC and AW-MC, or AL or AW alone, that could be grooved fairly easily with the cutters. I would like to make sure that the AL doesn't stand for aluminum.

    Thank you,
    Richard

  15. #55
    Boolit Master SlippShodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RG1911 View Post
    I also have a number of weights labeled AL-MC and AW-MC, or AL or AW alone, that could be grooved fairly easily with the cutters. I would like to make sure that the AL doesn't stand for aluminum.Thank you, Richard
    I recently sorted and smelted 2 5-gallon buckets of weights given to me by a cousin that works for a tire shop. I'll ask him to be certain, but I'm pretty sure those designations are to indicate that the weights are safe to put on aluminum or alloy wheels, rather than content of the weights. They alloyed up just fine; I too got by with only a couple steel weights making it into the smelt, and no zinc.

    mike
    I saw this in a cartoon once. I'm pretty sure I can pull it off...

  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    Hey thanks again for the great thread, as I have been smelting lately it was great to read all that awhile back to start out with. Only a couple bad ones snuck in after sorting, and because I was watching temp, it was no big deal.

    Dan

  17. #57
    Thank you so much for the information.

    Amy

  18. #58
    Boolit Bub
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    Richard,
    The letters you are seeing: AL, MC, AW, P, FN - all of those are the style of weight, it fits a certain style of wheel. Wheel weights are not made of aluminum, though many wheels are. The function of a wheel weight is to add weight to the wheel to balance it properly. Aluminum is lighter and more expensive than steel - therefore not cost effective to use for wheel weights. Most zinc weights are marked with a "ZN" which stands for Zinc. Most steel weights are marked with "FE".

  19. #59
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for making this guide. It will definitely speed sorting up quite a bit.

  20. #60
    Boolit Master
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    if you miss one zinc it will float on top if you slowly heat up the melt if you see all melted exept one or two, pull them out and re check them m probably missed them , easy to do if sorting 3 5 gallon buckets in a day ..
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check