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Thread: Problem alloy..."slushy".

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Problem alloy..."slushy".

    My brother gave me a 100 lbs. or so scrap lead. Some clip on wheel weights, some undetermined. When casting bullets using my Lee magnum melter (I dip), a thick "blanket" of metal comes to the surface. I appears much like Anitmony, but when I hit it with a propane torch it does not want to melt like Anitmony has for me in the past. After awhile it adhears to my RCBS ladle and turns all the colors of the rainbow...Gold, Purple, and Blue. It does not flux back into the melt with my usual mixture of powdered charcoal and parafin. I end up scraping it off the top of the melt. It is not likely zinc inasmuch as the bullets are still filled out. No mater how hot I run the pot, the bullets remain shiny instead of acquiring a frosted apearance. What have I got and what can I do about it?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Oklahoma Rebel's Avatar
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    did you light your flux on fire? I was doing the copper sulfide thing last night and had the same problem, no matter how much I stirred. finally after adding enough pine shaving and wax, it ignited, and when the flames cleared, like magic!, all that was left was some brownish- grey powder.
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  3. #3
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    if you think there may be zinc.......................... a drop of muriatic acid on the chunk of **** will be the best way to see. it will foam and fizz like crazy if it has zinc in it,

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I always light it on fire.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by triggerhappy243 View Post
    if you think there may be zinc.......................... a drop of muriatic acid on the chunk of **** will be the best way to see. it will foam and fizz like crazy if it has zinc in it,
    The bullets are filling out without a problem...I do not think the problem is zinc inasmuch as people report that bullets will not fill out if the alloy has been contaminated with zinc.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Foaming is an indication of zinc contamination. If you keep getting this layer coming up, please just try the acid test. I have cast with zinc contaminated lead, you can get good bullets, but the foaming never goes away.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by triggerhappy243 View Post
    Foaming is an indication of zinc contamination. If you keep getting this layer coming up, please just try the acid test. I have cast with zinc contaminated lead, you can get good bullets, but the foaming never goes away.
    Where did I say "foaming"? I said "slushy"...just like I have experainced in vertially every melt I have experainced...only more of it.

  8. #8
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    Does it look like watery oatmeal?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    triggerhappy243's Avatar
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    Just trying to figure out what you have. Without pictures of the surface, we can only guess what it is.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by triggerhappy243 View Post
    Does it look like watery oatmeal?
    No, it just looks like Antimony slush like normal, only it does not go back into solution with fluxing and the flame of a propane torch does not melt it as Antimony will. Nevertheless I will get some Muratic Acid from Walmart at the first opportunity and test with it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Oklahoma Rebel's Avatar
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    I wonder if it is some other metal we aren't used to seeing? you could send a sample of the slush to bne, he only charges one pound of lead, pretty good deal if you ask me! and he's usually pretty quick with an analysis
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    Basically, ditto here.
    I don't collect WWs any more as the last batch had some odd weights that started melting at 350 degrees F and made a slush on top of the melt. At 700 degrees F with three fluxings all was fine. I made it into ingots and melted some for casting. After cooling bullets were large for that mold. They should have been .357 - .359 but measured .364.
    I kept the ingots, figuring I'll use them for something but they are in a closed lid bucket labeled as Not for Bullets.

    The odd part is they cut with side cutters. Not as easily as pure lead, but not like zinc at all.

  13. #13
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    you got pure lead.
    the stuff on top is oxides. [you can oxide an entire pot of pure lead away]
    the purple and gold swirls, shiny no matter the heat, and no frosting is a dead giveaway.
    turn the heat down.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  14. #14
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I'm with Run5, only time I see those colors is with pure and temp is a smidge too high.

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    While I am no expert in alloys the only time I have seen what you described by colors and top layer is/ has been with pure lead
    As said above lower melt temp
    I carry a Nuke50 because cleaning up the mess is Silly !!

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Addendum: I have tested the alloy using Muriatic Acid (via eye dropper) as a test for Zinc as was suggested by a poster in this thread. No foaming, no bubbling...no reaction at all.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    What have I got and what can I do about it?
    Start by posting the temperature of the melt ... using a thermometer.
    Pure lead melts at 620F. Melt with multiple colors indicates over heated pure lead
    Next - what flux are you using and how many times do you flux the melt?
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Start by posting the temperature of the melt ... using a thermometer.
    Pure lead melts at 620F. Melt with multiple colors indicates over heated pure lead
    I have never owned one of those "thermometer" things. Not about to buy one inasmuch as I will shoot up that amount of lead in about two months, and have never used one despite casting since 1964 or so. I do not anticipate need one in the future. The alloy I am having trouble with came from clip-on wheel weights...not pure lead.

    Next - what flux are you using and how many times do you flux the melt?
    I use powdered charcoal and parifin (sometimes Beeswax instead of parifin), to flux my alloys. I light the mixture when it smokes. I flux once before I start casting, after the alloy has melted. I cast with two (yes, Two), six cavity Lee molds...one cools while the other is being filled, so the Lee Magnum Melter empties pretty fast. During the casting session, I refil the pot once and flux again. When I get to the bottom of that pot full, I quit casting but refil the pot and let cool when it melts. The bullets are 125 grain 2R round nose that I use everyday (72 rounds a day), seven days a week, to shoot my backyard steel bowling pin set-up. So, I shoot a whole lot and cast a whole lot. This is the first time (since the early sixties) that I have gotten such a heavy slush on the top of the melt.
    I suspect zinc despite the fact that there is no reaction (dripped on with an eye dropper, left at least 20 minuts) to the Muratic Acid at all.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Probably NOT Zn. Save it and add to soft later, it MAY go back into the alloy. Sb locks up with a lot of different 'additives' in WW, some you can't separate easily.
    Whatever!

  20. #20
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    The stick on wheel weights that I encountered were almost pure lead. Not like clip on WW at all.

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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