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Thread: Cleaning range scrap with baking powder/soda

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Nov 2016
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    Cleaning range scrap with baking powder/soda

    I read somewhere recently that some of you clean range scrap bullets by soaking in a solution of water and baking powder or baking soda. I have a bucket full of the that, besides dirt, have a scale of lead oxide or some other clinging debris that I'd like to get rid of prior to smelting. Can anyone enlighten me and the masses?

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    I can't see any reason to add water to lead unless you're looking for a relationship with the tinsel fairy. I bring home range scrap, toss it into the kettle put the lid on and let 'er melt. All the dirt and rocks float to the top. I scoop the crud off with a large spoon, flux and repeat.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Using baking soda is a new trick for me. I guess if the range scrap was coated in enough clay it would be useful but as a rule I stay away from water. I have washed really nasty wheel weights before smelting. Its safe enough as long as you don't dump a damp piece of lead into molten lead.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    I sift all my range scrap in an 18x30" x 1/4" screen, do a quick inspection nipping any bullet that isn't hollow base or hollow point, removing any obvious debris then into the pot with a weighted lid and let - er - go

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    I wash all my bullets to get the dirt removed, most of it anyhow. I clean a bucketful by soaking it in water, josteling from bucket to bucket a few time with a little soap, and let it drain and dry for a couple months before smelting. Some scale remains and I'd like a way to minimize this.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Airman Basic's Avatar
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    Just wondering, but why do all this when everything comes out in the smelting?

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy redhawk0's Avatar
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    I agree....just melt it down and skim the garbage off the top....its been working for me.

    redhawk

    The only stupid question...is the unasked one.


    Not all who wander....are lost.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    It depends on your range. Mine is heavy clay, even after sifting I am left with tons of clay and bullets encased in clay, like half the volume of a bucket is still clay. And this is from a bone dry range, I donít even bother mining.if the berm has any moisture in it.
    I tried smelting down the clay mix once, couldnít get enough heat to melt much of the lead, the clay is a great insulator.
    Maybe with a bigger burner it would work better.
    But I still hand sort out rocks and clay pigeon parts even after washing.
    My bullet to crud ratio is fairly low compared to many reports I read here. I wish I had a cleaner source, but I am happy to get what I can.
    I have neighbors and the mix contains lots of stinky/smoky clay pigeon pieces, so I donít want to smelt those either.
    Hand sorting sucks, and takes most of the time I spend mining and smelting.

    I plan on getting a sturdy propane burner soon and might try washing and smelting at the range, and see if I can skip the hand sorting.



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  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
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    I often will save mined lead mixed with dirt until I've got several bucket fulls and then chuck in a concrete mixer with water and carefully tip out the soupy mix and top up a few times until it gets fairly clean then put the rest in large plastic bins somewhere out the way to dry for a week or so and then in smelting pot, still have to separate and skim of a fair bit of sand and crud but for me it gets rid of a lot of muck that insulates the lead from melting down if it was still in there,

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I like to fill the 5gal bucket with water let it soak 2 days then

    dump scrap in the drive way hit it with the hose knocks most dirt off and light weight junk drys quick too in the sun
    Use thin roof flashing to scoop it back up when dry

  11. #11
    Boolit Master



    skeettx's Avatar
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    I melt it all with no treatment
    I skim off the jackets and crud
    Cast one pound ingots of the lead alloy
    I sell the jackets and crud UNSORTED to the local salvage yard
    That pays for the propane
    Done
    Mike
    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Cleaning range scrap with baking powder/soda

    Quote Originally Posted by turtlezx View Post
    I like to fill the 5gal bucket with water let it soak 2 days then
    That is the beauty of the baking soda, it makes the clay dissolve almost instantly.
    For me that is nice, as sometimes I do not have much time.
    I have only used it one session and I am hooked.

    My plan next time is to fill the bucket part way with water and baking soda then dump a partial bucket of clay mix in, possibly stirring while I do it.
    No matter what I do, I am only filling buckets part way, 80-100lb buckets just beat up my back too much last time.
    And it dissolves into a nicely mixed slurry, easy to pour out and rinse the rest off.



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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    As far as water, I normally try to keep water away from anything to be melted, but in this case I figure the scrap has been getting rained on and sitting in foot deep mud/clay for months or years.
    There was a month or more this year you couldnít even walk on the berm to set targets without sinking past your ankles.
    One more soaking isnít anything it hasnít gone through already.
    I still let it dry back out and of course start with a cold pot for smelting.


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  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I wash my range scrap as well. I realize that it will come out when its smelting but it really eliminates a lot of dirt before even goes into my pot. Just load it up wet and start that way and you wont have any tinsel fairy issues.
    I dont see the point of baking soda even for clay soil as both are very alkaline I believe so neither dissolves the other any better then regular water.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by marek313 View Post
    I dont see the point of baking soda even for clay soil as both are very alkaline I believe so neither dissolves the other any better then regular water.
    I really donít know. I just read the trick here a few months ago when I built my first real range sifter so I tried it.
    It seemed to work well.
    Maybe next time I will try a control with just water.



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  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy Ateam's Avatar
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    I have always considered water that I used to wash lead to be highly contaminated with lead oxide. As far as I know lead oxide (the white powder) is water soluble, and is far more dangerous than the metallic form. Any water you use to wash lead should be disposed of somehow, away from places your kids play, you grow vegetables, you walk often, etc. Maybe I am just paranoid...

  17. #17
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Lyme Away will remove lead oxide, not sure what that chemical does to the lead oxide in terms of does it change it so it is less toxic when water is dumped or simply remove the lead oxide from the lead and leave it suspended in the water.

    Won't wax act as a reductant and force the lead oxide back into the molten lead? I'm thinking Salvation Army and garage sale candles might solve the issue if that re-binding to the lead is what they trigger. If I understand it correctly wax does forces tin back into the melt, just don't know about lead oxide. Come on you chemical engineers!
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

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