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Thread: Mysterious mix...

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Mysterious mix...

    Howdy all! My first time back in a long while due to work schedules and severe lack of time.... and boy do I have an oddball question for the group. I have done a search both on google and here but the results are a bit lacking. I'm not sure if it's my choice of search terms or what.

    I have a pile of "lead" from the local scrap yard- most of which is in the form of weights for diving and such. I had just finished melting down about 57 pounds of range lead and casting small ingots in stainless condiment cups and I decided to do the same with the weights. They melted almost instantly in the cast iron skillet! Not thinking much of it I started pouring it into the cups. 10+ minutes later the molten metal had not solidified. I immediately figured I had a mix that was not optimal... lovely. Somebody had turned in homemade dive weights that weren't exactly lead. I ducked into the house and grabbed an aluminum foil pan and proceeded to pour the metal into it. Same exact results. The metal took forever to solidify. After almost 15 or so minutes I checked on it and it had hardened on top but there was still a large quantity of liquid under the surface.

    My question is this- what the heck is it? Is it a high concentration of tin? From what I've been able to piece together tin lowers the melting point but will increase the hardness. This makes some sense as I could almost comfortably touch and hold my fingers to the side of the foil pan after 15 minutes, the aluminum dissipating a large portion of the heat.

    What do I do with this horrid mix, without being able to pinpoint exactly what it is? I have been casting for 9mm and .45 ACP for a while now with both WW and scrap (pipe, sheeting/roofing, etc) and have not worried to much about the hardness due to powder coat. No leading after several thousand rounds. I've read that with too much tin one ends up with a solder type mix and it's near impossible to remove from barrels and such. I'm worry about trying to use even a small amount of this unidentifiable mix in fear of permanently damaging my guns.

    Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Forgotten corner Ab.
    Diving weights can be anything. First I would send a sample to the fella (can't remember his handle) on this site for testing. Then using the lead calculator decide what direction to go. You got WW and pure your set..

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    Have you hit it with a hardness tester? It could be anything but since it melted quickly that narrows the playing feild.

    Sent from my SM-G925T using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    May have Cerrosafe in it, as it melts at a low temperature, and also Cadmium which is very poisonous, anyway I wouldn’t be eating finger likin fried chicken any time soon.

  5. #5
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Rcmaveric- I have not used a hardness tester. I was so startled by it that I ended up being in a hurry to get it out of the cast iron frying pan. I just turned the turkey fryer burner on and the pan that had been sitting on it for less than 3 minutes was hot enough to start melting the large ingot of this stuff like it was a scoop of ice cream that I'd just tossed on it. It was amazingly fast! And it also hardened/cooled with a wonderful shine. It does seem to be noticeably harder than the range as well as pure lead sheeting that I had picked up- at least with my super scientific method of seeing how deep of a dent my screwdriver would make on all test subjects. lol

    I have a Lee hardness tester that I'll use on the sample this evening.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    out of here, wandering somewhere in the SW.
    Harness will not tell you much of anything.........other than hardness. No big whoop! There are many combos of many metals that can equal 15! Or whatever hardness you find. A hardness test is most useful for testing KNOWN % alloy mixes.

    Real test you shoud SEROUSLY look into is an xray gun analysis. Use the guy on here. He does it for a pound of lead last time I saw it.

    You could have ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in there. A couple years ago I bought ~400# of an alloy with 51% Bi that melts at 145F. Used to hold turbine blades and other stuff a local aerospace company machines. No Cd!!!!! But it is 22+ hardness. I can cast items in rubber molds!

    PLEASE........get is analyzed B4 ever start using it to make boolits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Once you know the exact % contents, you can use the FREE alloy calculator on here to make up your alloy mixes.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    PM BNE and make arrangement to have your lead XRF'D (annualized)

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I agree, have a sample tested. Dive weights can be about anything. The factory weights that I have seen had a hardness consistent with wheel weights. I did not melt them as they are more valuable as weights than they are to me as bullet alloy. Home made weights can be whatever the maker had on hand. The low melting temp makes me think cerrosafe but the slow hardening is a mystery.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master pete501's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    There are several low melt alloys containing Bismuth. Cerrosafe is commonly used for chamber casting. Cerrosafe contains no Cd hence the name "safe". You will never know unless you have a sample tested.

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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
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