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Thread: Casting with reclaimed shot.

  1. #1

    Casting with reclaimed shot.

    I have access to lot of it. Anyone have luck or info on it as a base metal?

  2. #2
    Boolit Man EMR's Avatar
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    When I first started casting, I picked up reclaimed shot and cast 452-230 without any additives. It weighed, measured accurately and shot well enough. Only problem was the alloy was a bit brittle.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    Would love to get my hands on reclaimed shot to cut with range scraps 50/50. A 1-2% percent addition of tin to that would be close to COWW. Would have to play with proportions but its what i was looking at to recreate something close to COWW lead.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Much shot has a high arsenic content and helps the boolits harden faster

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grmps View Post
    Much shot has a high arsenic content and helps the boolits harden faster
    I can see where this might lead to some confusion so perhaps you might also read this quote from the LASC site. It is the antimony content that controls how fast an alloy will harden. Shot only has between 2.5 and 6% antimony at the max.

    Arsenic (As) Melting point, 1,503o F. Arsenic is a catalyst to heat treating Pb/Sb alloys and only a trace is required (ľ to Ĺ of 1%), adding more than this will do nothing to further harden the alloy. Arsenic in itself does little to harden the alloy; its value is as a catalyst in heat treating (or quenching from the mould) lead/antimony alloys. Arsenic is of coarse very toxic but at the percentage in and temperature of bullet alloys the risk is nearly non-existent. However, the bullet caster should never attempt to alloy elemental arsenic into his alloy (if he could even get it). [9]At the temperatures required arsenic sublimes, that is, it transforms directly from the solid to a gaseous state, emitting highly toxic smoke. Leave this to the experts. In addition to arsenic subliming other forms of extremely toxic gases, such arsine are formed and this should be left to the professionals. Wheel weights, chilled shot and magnum shot are excellent sources of arsenical alloys for the bullet caster to enrich his alloy for quenching or heat treating. [10]Arsenic in combination with antimony, improves the strength. In the as cast condition arsenic raises the hardness about 1 or 2 BHN. Arsenic’s true value is in heat treating lead/antimony alloys. With a trace of arsenic a much higher BHN can be achieved while using a much smaller percentage of very brittle antimony.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Reclaimed shot is going for $25. But that is after cleaning and graphiting. I have heard that it is not easy to melt but have never tried doing so. Dusty is correct about the antimony content. It will vary as it is an expensive component. “Magnum” or “hard” shot will have 6%.

    For casting, you will need to add tin. Most commercial cast bullets have 6% antimony and 2% tin
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have tried to melt shot with little luck. Is there a trick to getting it melted?

  8. #8
    Boolit Man EMR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbstenberg View Post
    I have tried to melt shot with little luck. Is there a trick to getting it melted?
    I smelted my 50lbs of shot in my Lee Drip O Matic with it cranked to 8/10. The dros easily skimmed from the top.

    I have to be honest when I say I didnít initially do a whole lot of research before I started casting. I really donít recommend smelting that much junk out of a bottom pour! That combined with Marvelux made for some serious clogging before I switched to sawdust.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    I have been adding 5 lbs to my pot when smelting range scrap mostly to use it up since I have a few hundred lbs of shot that is to large for the loads I make.
    I start out with just the shot in my melting pot I have found that if I don't do this it takes forever for the shot to lose its form, if I put it in first and when it gets to temp I mash it with a large spoon and separate the lead from the rest of the junk. I can pretty easily scrape off the dross then and add my range lead to be melted.
    "Yes or no will almost always suffice as the answer"

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I use it to make my alloy of choice, roughly 2/2/96 but it heat-treated is hard enough without being brittle. Yes it's a pain to melt, I put my plain lead in the bottom, pour the shot on top and crank the burner up. Lots of sawdust and stirring to break the oxide shell on all those little pellets! I get it pretty clean before adding my tin. Makes great bullets, just don't get bogged down getting an exact alloy, make a batch and see how it works before making a slew of it. Most reclaim comes from trap ranges and trap shooters like hard shot, so in general it's pretty hi in antimony, not much tin. My first try with straight reclaim was a pain, needed a good bit of tin to cast well. Then was way harder than I wanted, so I cut it 50:50 with plain lead, YMMW.
    ďYou donít practice until you get it right. You practice until you canít get it wrong.Ē Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  11. #11
    Boolit Master JMax's Avatar
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    I use a 50/50 with lead and add half pound of solder for my alloy. Some loads in my 06 are at 1900 ft/sec with no leading

  12. #12
    Thanks for the info guys. I already have it smelted and also have range scrap to mix with it. Should make good pistol bullets.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMax View Post
    I use a 50/50 with lead and add half pound of solder for my alloy. Some loads in my 06 are at 1900 ft/sec with no leading
    Size/weight of the 50/50 batch before adding tin??
    R.D.M.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master JMax's Avatar
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    When my 20# pot gets below half I mix in 50/50 shot to pure lead with half # of 60/40 solder then fill the pot with my sprues, let it come to temp, flux, remove dross and start casting. While the pot comes back to temp my mold is sitting on a hot plate at 400F. First cast are usually perfect. I am up to my buns with solder so running a bit tin rich is not a waste to me.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I mix shot with pure to get my favorite alloy. Hard chilled shot I have found to be too hard and brittle for my liking but mixing it at 60% pure and 40% shot (plus some extra tin) has made a dandy alloy for both my handguns and rifles (both hunting and target).

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold MuthaFunk's Avatar
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    I use around 60/40 hard shot with pure lead and ~1/2 lb pewter (tin) water dropped for my 63,000 psi V460 revolver loads. They’re about BHN 24 on my lee tester. Mold is just a Lee 300 gr gas check. My bore is perfectly shiney after 50 rounds and great accuracy at 15 yds.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master rsrocket1's Avatar
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    I do it as my primary source of casting. At $25/25# bag, it is about as cheap as I can get lead and I also shoot skeet/trap so once source serves both purposes.

    After letting the reclaimed shot melt, you have to scoop out a couple tablespoons full of graphite but the lead pours fine and does complete fillout at 700F for me.

    The bullets seem pretty hard and shoot fine tumble lubed with 45/45/10 or my new standard of PC. I shoot 9/38/40/45 and .308/7.62x54R anywhere from 700 fps to nearly 2400 fps (gas checked 30 cal lubed with bees wax/Vaseline)






  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by kbstenberg View Post
    I have tried to melt shot with little luck. Is there a trick to getting it melted?
    I've got three tools for it. One is a piece of roughly 5/8 x 1/4" iron bar stock that I made a wooden handle for that is my general stir/scrape stick. The second is a large metal serving spoon. The bar stirs and breaks the graphite coating off the shot toward the bottom of the pot, using the weight of the shot on top to help tear it up. The stuff higher up gets squished against the side of the smelting pot with the spoon.
    Tool #3 is another serving spoon with a 90-degree bend in the handle for skimming off the graphite skins.

    It's a good ingredient. Unless you know the source specifically, you can probably assume an average of 3-5% antimony. Hardness testing will narrow it down if you need it narrowed down. A 3% tin addition gets you to an arsenic-heavy version on the hard side of WW + 2%

    I separate out my range scrap by type, and have found good reason to interpret the jacketed as roughly 30-1 lead/tin. A 50/50 mix of that with shot would get you roughly 96.4pb/2sb/1.6sn/0.75As - something on the soft side of WW + tin at 11BHN
    WWJMBD?

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I bought roughy 1000# of reclaimed shot. There is a lot of waste because of the coating and a little more work. But it worked great for casting pretty bullets that come out at about 12 bnh when water dropped . little softer when air dropped but haven't checked the hardness yet. Been using for all my pistol needs 25acp - 44mag with good results. Wish I could get some more.
    Last edited by RED BEAR; 03-11-2018 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Bad spelling

  20. #20
    Boolit Master rsrocket1's Avatar
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    Check around for trap/skeet/sporting clay ranges and see if they sell reclaimed shot or call around for shotgun clubs to see if they sell the stuff. There are companies that go to ranges and do all the scooping and process all the shot for the range and their fee is a percentage of the "dig". It's a win-win situation for both the range and the servicing company. As casters, we also win for a regularly available source of lead for casting.

    Sure it can be cheaper to ask around for free lead or score on a medical building demolition where you can get hundreds of pounds of sheet lead for free or you can dig at a range and deal with the dirt and dust, but at about $1/#, reclaimed shot is pretty good stuff, especially if you are using the same stuff for your shotgun shooting target loads.

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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