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Thread: First range lead smelt

  1. #1
    Moderator

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    First range lead smelt

    Iíve never given picking up range lead to much thought off my range in any quantity. But for giggles I spent an hour the other day picking up spent bullets. I wound up with 21.5 pounds of range scrap. I smelted it down today while I had a few minutes and was able to recover a little over 13# or about 60-61% yield vs scrap weight. I was pretty happy with that. I skimmed off all the junk and fluxed twice and was rewarded with beautiful loaf bricks that had a nice ring to them when clanged together. Iíll have to spend a little more time out there next go round

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    A good start. I dig them out of the berms and it doesn't matter how much I sieve and wash them I get an awful lot of crud when I melt them! Lots of stinky smoke. (Over the last 5 days I've melted 464 kilos - 1020 lbs. - that's clean weight, there would have been at least 30 kilos of dirt and stones that came out of it!!).

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I get range lead from my brother. The club he is a member of in the OKC area is in a river bottom and the surrounding soil is a sandy soil. They have to dress the berms
    about 3 times a year. After a rain the lead is on top of the berms and all you need is a shovel and a screen to shake out the sand. He usually brings me about 300 pounds
    twice a year. That is about all he can get in the trunk of his car, 6 to 8 plastic coffee cans. By the time I skim off the jackets and dirt and other debris I will get about 170#
    of what I treat as pure lead, it has a little antimony but very little. It test out about 8 to 9 BNH.

    In turn I cast bullets and lube & size them for him. It is a pretty good trade in my book.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Range scrap usually makes good bullets. I'm a little surprised that you lost 40% to junk. I expect range scrap will eventually be the casters best source of lead.

  6. #6
    Boolit Bub
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    SE Missouri
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    What does everyone do with all the leftover jackets?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    There have been mixed reports of members selling them as scrap copper. It seems like some places will buy them while others won't. Its worth a try.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    PA
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    I clean out my clubs 25 and 50 ft range each twice a year i get about a 20 gal drum of bullets each time. I shovel the dirt up put it thru a screen i made dirt goes into wagon, lead goes into drum.It takes most of the winter to melt it down with the wheel weights my nephew gets me from the scrap yard.After i melt bullets I run a magnet over what floats on top it goes in the scrap steel bin the rest goes in my number 2 scrap bin,to be cashed in for summer projects.
    Last edited by dpoe001; 06-09-2018 at 04:59 PM. Reason: Add to

  9. #9
    Boolit Master dikman's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're well organised! I've just gotten permission to dig out the berms on a pistol club next to our range and it sounds like it hasn't been cleaned for a long time . It's apparently going to be turned over with a 'dozer soon, so I'm eagerly waiting for one of the members to arrange a suitable time. In the meantime I'm going to have to scrounge up every bucket I can find!!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajacoop View Post
    What does everyone do with all the leftover jackets?
    At my local scrap yard, a coffee can of jackets goes for anywhere from $5.00 to $7.00 depending on the price per pound at the time. Range scrap pays off twice for me.

    Wayne
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - or else it gives you a bad rash.
    Venison is free-range, organic, non-GMO and gluten-free

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    Jul 2017
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    I use a lot of range scraps due to it being free. Sadly i was told i couldn't mine the berm due to EPA regs. Plus side is i mined about 400 lbs of processed lead (not counting the 300 lbs i got last year) before i was caught. I pulled "it is better is to ask for forgiveness than permission" kind of thing. I am trying to weasel my way into some of the local indoor ranges to see if i can part them of some of their lead. Makes good bullets. My RS bullets comes out about 8 BHN. When cut 50/50 with COWW comes out to about 10 BHN air cooled. Definitely heat treat able. Got a test bullet now sitting to see what water quenched BHN of RS is. I love the stuff. PLuss scrapping the jackets get me a propane tank refill and some Gatorade for my efforts.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

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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