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Thread: Reclaiming Lead From Wet Sand

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Talking Reclaiming Lead From Wet Sand

    Hello everyone! First post and I'm glad to be here. I've learned so much from searching and viewing posts on this site. I've been shooting .357 into backstops of wet sand to view the expansion and I considered saving the soft lead to recast. I removed as much sand from the surface as I could but I'm wondering how it will act when I melt it? Will the sand sink or float for removal with flux? The last thing I want to do is put it down my barrel. Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    JSnover's Avatar
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    Put all of the cold lead into a cold melting pot, NOT in your boolit casting pot. Turn on the heat, the junk will float when the lead melts. Skim it off, flux, repeat as needed.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    After recovering my spent boolits, I hose off the excess sand and spread them out on the driveway in the sun to dry.

    Winelover

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy pappy4's Avatar
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    I am sure both will work. My 2c Just put them in a cold pot ( like said not the casting pot ) and melt them as usual for ingots.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    yup, stir the **** out of it no pun intended. sometimes a peice or 2 somehow get stuck to the bottom, only to pop up later in the middle of a batch of boolits

  6. #6
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    MediumCore358,
    Welcome to cast boolits.
    I moved your thread to a more appropriate forum.
    Good Luck,
    Jon

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    MediumCore358 Welcome to the forum. You came to the right place to ask question and feel your question has been answered plenty of info in this section to learn about casting.
    Lead bullets Matter

    There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves. - Will Rodgers

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks for all the responses. I'll give it a go when I have enough scrap saved up.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    If there is any question to moiture in scrap always start out with a cold pot and start heat slow. Keep in mind water turns to vapor under 300* lead dosnt melt till 650* or so. by starting cold and slow any moisture will be gone long before molten lead is there. We melter wheel weights today one bucket had moisture one had water sloshing in it. Poured them out best we cold filled cold pot with wet weights and started burner low for 4-5 mins steam was rising opened up to higher setting until molten started showing on edges and turned back down to normall run setting, Molten pot of metal ready for fluxing and no tinsel faries visited.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
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    Agree......always ALWAYS start with a cold pot when re-melting unknown/possibly moisture-containing lead. NEVER drop it in a pot with already molten lead, as you are risking a violent steam explosion and tinsel fairy visit. NOT a pleasant visit!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    MediumCore358 welcome.sounds like another hooked on melting lead lol.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Oklahoma Rebel's Avatar
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    put each scoop off sand and lead on a slightly tilted piece of plywood, preferably with some type of walls on the sides, and spray the sand off with the nozzle on a spread type spray. the sand should wash away, and the lead will stay towards the top. you have to have the tilt right, it doesn't take much, I would guess 7-8 degrees
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I say do like was stated go with low heat for each batch you melt do not add to it once you get it to heat up.After you get it clean and flux put in igots and empty and then start over if you have more to do. DO not add to what is in the part from the start. That is when you will have problems with the water.Sand will come to the top of the the alloy.you do not have to worry about that also stir well and flux well. You will be ok. I use wood fire for my and it heat slow and have no problems.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I made a frame with 1/4" hardware cloth on the bottom. I place the reclaimed bullets into it and rinse with a hose. I let them out in the sun until dry them use a leaf blower on them. I add to my melting pot, flux, and remove any contamination with a small spoon.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I have a friend that uses gutter pipe on a slope over a turkey frier, lead pours out the end , trash stays in...

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Oklahoma Rebel's Avatar
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    that's smart, same as my idea, xcept backwards!
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Welcome Aboard! Like the others have said, start with a cold pot. By the time it melts any moisture should be gone. The sand should float to the top. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pot several times. Flux it several times. You should have a dedicated smelting pot for this and not be using your casting pot. There are several stickies on both smelting and fluxing that you will find helpful. Pay attention to safety. At a minimum you should wear boots, jeans, a long sleeve shirt, leather gloves and safety glasses. Your clothing should be made from natural fiber, not synthetic. Some even wear face shields or respirators. Melt your lead outside or in a well ventilated area. Have fun and be careful!
    Last edited by lightman; 07-03-2017 at 09:26 AM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    I always melt scrap lead in a separate pot. I make a small effort to clean it. Dust it off. Shake it off. I would consider washing it significant overkill. It is going to contain jacked fragments. Metal clips. Wheel weights will have oil and rubber dust. Imedded large grains and small rocks. All kinds of contamenents that water will not remove.

    Upon melting the lead is so dense it will float anything that has not already vaporized. Then flush it repeatedly with sawdust until nothing else can be removed. Depending on how dirty the scrap is, this could take two to four fluxes. Never less than two. Do not use sawdust from plywood. The fumes from the glue are nasty.

    When your melt is clean. Pour your ingots.

    Next, go to http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm and read every article on the site.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    Icing buckets from a donut shop (3.5 gallons) or supermarket bakeries (1.5 gallons) can be obtained for cheap or nothing, put your bullets in and spin. Either with the lid on and roll on the ground, or like a cement mixer by hand. Or a cement mixer if you have enough. Then drop onto some sort of screen to get the bigger stuff off.

    If you're smelting separately from the casting pot (recommended), I wouldn't worry too much about the smaller stuff. It's also embedded into you softer bullets, and probably even some of the jacketed bullet noses. I wouldn't worry too much about washing, but it's personal choice.

    But always get the bullets to dry out or otherwise start the entire batch cold, then apply the heat. When water goes from liquid to gas (steam) it expands close to 1,600 times it's initial mass. That's why lead sprays everywhere when damp lead is dropped into it.

    Out of all of your scrap, dirt and sand, lead is the heaviest. The rest floats to the top. The concept is called specific gravity. Dirt and sand, 2 to 3. Heavy (black) sands, 3 to 5. Copper, 8. Lead, 11.3. It's like the gold mining shows, gold is heavier and the larger pieces drop out in a sluice. Water is 1. Oil, gasoline, freshly cut trees, less than 1.

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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