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Thread: Lead shot for cast bullets?

  1. #1

    Lead shot for cast bullets?

    Can I melt down lead shot and make good cast bullets with them?
    What would be the approximate ratio of metals?
    Should I use them as an additive to other casting?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master BABore's Avatar
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    Yes you can and how they will work will greatly depend on what your going to use them in and at what velocity.

    Chilled shot has 2% antimony and 0.5% arsenic, mag shot has 5% antimony and 1.25% arsenic. The balance of both being Pb. I add 1% tin after melting, scraping off the graphite scum, and fluxing well. It makes very hard and tough boolits of 28-30 bhn when WD'd or OHT'd. An alloy of 74% chilled shot, 25% mag shot, and 1% tin will allow you to shoot HV with most rifles. It would probably work fine in magnum velocity pistol loads, but there are cheaper alternatives. Myself and several others have found that an alloy that will harden, yet has a low antimony level, will outshoot straight WW's, lino, or mixes made from them.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    That is good news,I was given about 300 pounds of shot shells that were flood salvaged. I now have to find an easy way to remove the shot.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    That'll make a lot of bullets. I have a partial bag of shot I may mix in with ww someday, say 50-50.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    That is good news,I was given about 300 pounds of shot shells that were flood salvaged. I now have to find an easy way to remove the shot.
    Shotgun Sports Magazine has a store that sells a device called a "shell shark." They are inexpensive, and invaluable for dissassembling shotshells.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I had a 45 pound bottle of reclaimed shot. I tried to melt it down with other "mystery" metal to make ingots. The shot would not melt!!?? It was over 1000 degrees,EVERY thing else was melted,but NOT the shot. It was reclaimed from a range that had not been used in some time. I crushed a few pellets to make sure they weren't steel. I finally skimmed it from the melting pot and trashed it. This stuff had laid out in the rain.snow and sun for several years before I got it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master James C. Snodgrass's Avatar
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    Also a utility knife and gloves and patience works.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Your problem was the oxidation and other contaminates coating the pellets. The pellets can be melted but are unable to break through their own shell without some help. I've had the same thing happen. Carefully pouring the shot into a pot of molten clean lead worked fairly well but I had to run it hot and I'd say your lot was probably dirtier than mine. Lots of fluxing, stirring... lead shot can be a lotta work to get clean.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master JIMinPHX's Avatar
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    WW were unavailable when I started casting, so birdshot was my first lead source. I've had great luck with a pound of cheap shot to 6" of lead free solder. It gave me 13bnh air cooled & 23bnh water dropped. It's kind of a rich mixture, but it works great. I've loaded everything from .380 to .45 to .223 to .30-30 with it. If you have any that you don't want, feel free to send it my way.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I suppose you are right about the oxidation, I rolled about 1/2 pound of the shot(AFTER I TRASHED THE REST!) between some heavy cement blocks to break the surface. THESE melted like normal, but there was a ton of dross in the pot. Wish I'd thought about the blocks before I threw away the first batch.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    With the high price of shot it would be a shame to make bullets out of it I would suspect that lots of folks here would gladly trade WW or Ingots for the shot
    A gun is like a parachute: If you need one and don't have one, you won't be needing one again.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    My local vendor has Lawrence brand shot. I use the Mag shot. According to the sales literature, sizes 7, 7.5 and 8 have the most Sb, with no more than 2 percent As. I melt it 20:1 with 50:50 solder -- that's probably more Tin than is needed. The resulting alloy is about 15 BHN.

    http://www.maycoindustries.com/lead_shot.htm

    The Antimony and Arsenic content can vary. Arsenic increases surface tension, so it's probably used to the greatest extent in larger shot sizes.

    EDIT: I'm getting shot for $44/25 lbs. This is a reliable stock compared to lead, which is infinite dollar per pound, because no one is selling it around here; the only thing worse than high prices is no product at any price.
    Last edited by dwtim; 07-07-2008 at 11:05 PM. Reason: additional info

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    Salvage the plastic wads also, most brands will reload fine the second time. If you can't use them, I can. DALE

  14. #14
    Hey gang, newbie here! Learng how to cast and reload. I got my hands on 50# of lead shot. Since its mixed, i cant reload with it, but reading through these posts, it looks like i can melt it down to cast shot or slugs. Is that correct, or is the above frustrations with oxidation more likely?
    Thanks guys.

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    tac,
    why cant you reload it? mixed shot like reclaimed works very well for skeet loads
    monty

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I find lead shot to be way to hard plus brittle so I cut it with pure lead so the pure is about 60%. It both pours and shoots wonderfully.

  17. #17
    Boolit Man
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    This is a timely thread.

    I was at the range last week and had 2 311332s snap at the first little groove while feeding.
    Now I know why. They made from reclaimed shot and heat treated.

    Back into the pot they will go. I will make Lee C309-160-Rs out of them with heat treating. They have a much shorter nose.
    The dog is really just a diversion.

    Rays

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    When you pull down the shotshells, you can save the shot, wads, and primers.
    I just cut around the top edge with a utility knife. That makes it easy to get the shot and wads out.
    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

  19. #19
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range

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    I bought about 500 lbs a few years back. It was reclaimed #6 shot from a circus sideshow. Each pellet is deformed from hitting a backstop. It makes fine cast bullets about exactly like wheelweights. I don't remember the BH number, but I do remember it was a tad less than wheelweight alloy. The shot alloy is just fine for the Lyman 311041 @ 1900 fps.

    I smelted about 100 lbs of 1.5 lb ingots from it, and then I discovered that loaded in shotshells it patterned almost the same as new #6 shot.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Well since I have it on hand and do not see any use for it in the foreseeable future, based upon some of your experiences, what would be a good "pound per pound" ratio to mix standard chilled shot in with pure or almost lead? ( I know most use % when making or describing a blend, but bear with me for what ever reason it just don't compute in my world.)

    I have some 10lbs of pure lead sheeting, with the possibility of over 50 or more, that I am looking at making ingots out of, but know it is going to have to be blended. I figure the shot would be a good addition to it in making it worthwhile.

    I also have some already cast ingots which were poured up from mostly plumbing lead, which I know isn't much more than the straight lead sheet.

    My uses will be mostly targeting boolits for my 357, 41, 44, and 454. All but the 454 will be plain based.

    Any helpful insight will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

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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