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Thread: Range scrap contaminated with zink bullets WARNING and questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Range scrap contaminated with zink bullets WARNING and questions

    Just wanted to warn you guys that collect range scrap I was going thru a small batch 46 lbs and I found 3 zink bullets, two were copper coated and one was just cast. I tested them using muriatic acid to make sure they were zink.
    Does anyone know if any manufactures are copper coating zink bullets?
    The range where I collect from has been to wet to use a shiftier to gather lead so I have been picking them up by hand off the surface at a rate of about 10 lb and hour.
    Since its so time consuming and back breaking work to do it this way I sure would hate to ruin a batch of lead by melting zink in with it.
    Im just getting started with this whole casting thing and dont have all of the equipment yet.
    What I do have is a Coleman pump up camp stove a 11"x 2.5" cast iron skillet, various utensils for skimming and dipping 2 muffin tins and 3 cast iron cornbread pans/ the ones that look like a ear of corn.

    Im thinking I should get a thermometer so I can keep my temps below the melting point of zink just in case I miss some but which thermometer should I get?
    I was at Cabelas tonight and they had a Lyman dial type for $42.99 . I also seen over near the turkey fryers they had some that maxed out at 750 degrees with prices ranging from $15, $13 and $10 depending on the length of the probe.
    I see on Midways site they have a Lyman digital for like $20.
    Will the turkey ones do ok or should I spend the $ and get something better?
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    Springfield's Avatar
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    Buy the Lyman, the Turkey one will max out and will be worthless. Scrap can exceed 750 without much effort.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I melted quite a while without thermometer, just go slow and low with heat, watch it like a hawk. Don’t just put a pile in and wait, keep stirring and watch the melt. When at slush stage the zinc will not melt just floats. Thermometer helps quite a bit and the turkey ones should work fine. I went with the Lyman from Midway with a larger order to get free shipping. Removes all doubt if you trust what you get.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springfield View Post
    Buy the Lyman, the Turkey one will max out and will be worthless. Scrap can exceed 750 without much effort.
    I thought the melting point of lead was around 621.4F and Zink melted at 787.2F so if Im maxing 750 wont I be likely to melt the zink .
    I got the melting points off Google for what its worth.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    I use the Lyman it also works great when I anneal cases for swaging.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Zinc bullets? I guess nothing is sacred!

    About the most efficient method would be melting everything together with a strictly controlled temperature. And watching them. Sorting them out would be way too labor intensive.

    Zinc weights are bad enough. But bullets!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I use a tel-true thermometer I ordered online with a longer probe it goes up to 1000 . Around 25 bucks spent eases my mind when I'm melting down my unknown alloy + I stick it in my casting pot when casting .

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaterRat View Post
    I thought the melting point of lead was around 621.4F and Zink melted at 787.2F so if Im maxing 750 wont I be likely to melt the zink .
    I got the melting points off Google for what its worth.
    When lead is alloyed the melting point changes. Tin (pewter) makes it melt at a lower temp. Antimony, although it has a higher melting point by itself, when alloyed in lead actually lowers the melting point also.
    So you have a pretty good gap between the melting of range scrap and zinc. (until the zinc is alloyed in)
    As others have said that slushy stuff on top skimmed off so you have a nice smooth surface at the lower temp while heating slowly works pretty well once you get accustomed to melting this stuff. Here is a handy chart of melting points:
    https://www.americanelements.com/meltingpoint.html

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    I’ve been finding these at ranges, too. They’re Russian-made Wolf/Colt ammo. They’re .40S&W, mainly, with possibly some .223 and .308.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I have seen zinc cast bullets for sale on i believe midway and other sites. I have heard of others having this problem.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toallmy View Post
    I use a tel-true thermometer I ordered online with a longer probe it goes up to 1000 . Around 25 bucks spent eases my mind when I'm melting down my unknown alloy + I stick it in my casting pot when casting .
    Correct range and a thermometer is pretty much a commodity item so not a lot to gain by buying a "casting" item for a premium price.

    https://www.amazon.com/Tel-Tru-LT225...2674059&sr=8-9
    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.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPC24 View Post
    I’ve been finding these at ranges, too. They’re Russian-made Wolf/Colt ammo. They’re .40S&W, mainly, with possibly some .223 and .308.
    The ones I have found look to be 9mm but I haven't measured them

  13. #13
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    I just had to share:
    Boolits put the zing in zinc.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I am not sure about the accuracy of some of these lead thermometers . I bought an rcbs because lyman got such bad reviews and i guess it gives me a gauge to go by but as believing its accurate well not so much mine has recorded lead temp at well over 1000 degrees and pot is not supposed to be able to get that hot.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    There seems to be a little bit of over concern in the OP. While zinc in concentration is a bad thing and to be avoided where possible, three bullets in 47 lbs, of scrap is, in my opinion more worry than merited. In this slight amount it probably won't even add points to the BHN. Yes, zinc has a hardening effect on alloys. Zinc has been made out to be the Boogie Man of the smelt and it can be, just not in this minuet amount. JMHO. Gp

  16. #16
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RED BEAR View Post
    I am not sure about the accuracy of some of these lead thermometers . I bought an rcbs because lyman got such bad reviews and i guess it gives me a gauge to go by but as believing its accurate well not so much mine has recorded lead temp at well over 1000 degrees and pot is not supposed to be able to get that hot.
    It can register high if the tip is touching the bottom of the pot. People have mentioned that if melting WW's to skim the zinc ones they have to make sure none get pinned to the bottom of the pot. The molten metal spreads the heat around but the portion of the pot that is being hit by the burner can be hotter. Especially if there is no molten metal to draw the heat away.

    It could of course also be a case of the thermometer being less accurate at its higher ranges. They are simple devices but also mass produced devices. Some are not going to be built as intended shall we say.
    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.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpidaho View Post
    There seems to be a little bit of over concern in the OP. While zinc in concentration is a bad thing and to be avoided where possible, three bullets in 47 lbs, of scrap is, in my opinion more worry than merited. In this slight amount it probably won't even add points to the BHN. Yes, zinc has a hardening effect on alloys. Zinc has been made out to be the Boogie Man of the smelt and it can be, just not in this minuet amount. JMHO. Gp
    This is a good point and I agree that this small % is a non issue. I just wonder how many, if any, were missed. A small % won't hurt although I try for zero. I've seen test results showing that up to 5% will still cast well. Personally I would be uncomfortable with that much.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master






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    I agree. if anything most of the time all it takes is a bit more heat to cast with zinc contamination if its not to bad. Heck ive casted perfect looking bullets our of pure zinc. When I smelt wws I don't walk away from the kettle. I skim off the floaters as I see them but im sure some end up getting melted.
    Quote Originally Posted by gpidaho View Post
    There seems to be a little bit of over concern in the OP. While zinc in concentration is a bad thing and to be avoided where possible, three bullets in 47 lbs, of scrap is, in my opinion more worry than merited. In this slight amount it probably won't even add points to the BHN. Yes, zinc has a hardening effect on alloys. Zinc has been made out to be the Boogie Man of the smelt and it can be, just not in this minuet amount. JMHO. Gp
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I was checking this thread when it came up and was wondering if there was zinc in the range lead I got that day, well my luck held out I got zinc contamination and had to remove it with Sulphur. Fair dinkum if I won a kangaroo it would not jump. There is so much free lead on my range I can get 2x5 gall buckets in 30 mins so another step in the process is ok. Regards Stephen

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