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Thread: Coww ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Coww ?

    A friend is going to hook me up with some COWW he's had for some time. I've never worked with them before although I've heard a lot of good about them.

    My question: What do I need to be careful of when melting these down and is there a way to avoid Zink contamination simply by closely monitoring temperature.

    Any other helpful information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Motor

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    bumpo628's Avatar
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    Relying on temperature alone is difficult since a zinc weight on the bottom of the pot could easily melt.

    The best thing to do is to hand sort them with some wire cutters and a magnet.
    Here is a guide: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-Wheel-Weights

    I like to stick a hard drive magnet to the back of my wire cutters. Then you can check for steel or zinc without changing tools. After a while, you'll be able to spot the zincers pretty easily.
    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

  3. #3
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    I too always hand sort with side cutters. I don't worry about the magnet cause the cutters won't bite into the steel ones. Temperature only works if you have a way to accurately maintain temp.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    That sounds like a good friend! Wheel weights are about my favorite alloy and they are getting harder to find.

    I also hand sort all of mine. All I do is look at each weight and make a test cut on the suspicious ones. After a little while the zinc ones get easy to spot. I would not want to rely on temp control to avoid getting zinc in the mix. A small % of zinc won't ruin a batch of lead so if you miss one its not the end of the world. I do strive for zero zinc weights though! I don't worry about the steel weights. They have a very distinctive look and you won't melt one at the temps that we use for casting.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    I started casting several months ago, and got lucky enough to find a consistent and high-volume source of free wheel weights. I've now sorted through probably a couple hundred pounds of them, and so far not one zinc weight has made it into my cast iron pan (where I clean, flux, remove clips, etc. and make clean ingots that I feel good about putting into my Lee bottom-pour pot).

    If the wire cutters bite into the metal easily without much pressure, it's lead. If you drop it on the concrete and get a dull thud without any "clink", it's lead.

    If it says "ZN" on it anywhere, if the wire cutters won't easily mark it, but will mark it a little with a really firm squeeze, or if it sound very metallic when hitting the ground, it's zinc. Throw it out (or better yet, hold onto it with other ones; some people use the ZN ones for other stuff and you can often sell or trade them away).

    If it says "FE" on it anywhere, or if the wire cutters absolutely won't do anything to it, it's steel. Those ones are the easiest to sort out. But honestly even if you miss some it's not going to hurt your alloy. No way will your pot get hot enough to melt steel. It will become very obvious if you have steel ones in the pot when everything else is liquid but you have one stubborn weight that just floats.

    After you have sorted through your first batch or so, you'll be real comfortable identifying them. Most of the time these days when sorting, I don't even have to use the wire cutters, I can just tell by looking. I only check with those if I'm not totally sure what I have for a given weight. The part that was a little confusing to me at first was that some lead COWWs are harder than others. I guess there's no real industry standard for what goes into them, so I assume the harder ones just have a higher percentage of antimony or something like that.

    When you're first starting out, when in doubt, leave it out of the pot. Keep it though. Down the road when you're a little more confident in your ability to identify lead vs zinc, you can revisit that bucket and pull out all the ones that were lead all along but you weren't totally sure about at the time.

    Best of luck!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master ikarus1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpo628 View Post
    Relying on temperature alone is difficult since a zinc weight on the bottom of the pot could easily melt.

    The best thing to do is to hand sort them with some wire cutters and a magnet.
    Here is a guide: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-Wheel-Weights

    I like to stick a hard drive magnet to the back of my wire cutters. Then you can check for steel or zinc without changing tools. After a while, you'll be able to spot the zincers pretty easily.
    Zinc floats....keep temps below 600 and theyll still float and all lead will melt

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    bumpo628. I followed the link and bookmarked it thanks. All of you guys are great. Thanks for the help. It will be nice not having to buy Linotype and I'll be able to use my soft lead for muzzleloader bullets.

    Motor

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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