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Thread: Casting pistol boolits from shotgun pellets?

  1. #1

    Casting pistol boolits from shotgun pellets?

    A friend of mine recently gave me approximately 250#s of various size shotgun pellets. I have always used wheel weights that I get for free from another friend and I feel like the bullets I cast come out really nice. Can I use these shotgun pellets to cast my bullets from, and if I can are there any special tips when using this type of lead. I cast 45 colt, .38/.357, 45 acp, and 9mm. My pot and all my molds are made by Lee and I have been very happy with their products. I used to tumble lube them all with liquid alox, but I have recently gone to powder coating them. To me it is so much nicer not to have the bullet lube on my fingers and getting in my dies, plus I don't have to wait a day waiting on lube to dry. This site has become my favorite forum to visit because of the wealth of good information here. The people on this site are nice and really helpful and I am very appreciative of all I learn here. I read Geargnashers tips and explanations this morning on casting and mold temps. I reaped a lot of knowledge from that thread.
    I don't load shotgun shells but may learn that in the future because a MEC 600 was in that pile, along with 2 Lee Single stage presses and 6 totes of shotgun hulls and wads. I cannot list all the stuff she gave me, it would be way to long, but it was a ton. Thanks for any advice ya'll can provide me on casting boolits from my windfall. Lee

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Central Virginia
    The short answer is yes, shot can be used to cast bullets.

    However, if we're talking about new shot in the bag, it's far more valuable as shot in that form. In addition to the value, it has a graphite coating that isn't a huge problem but will create a lot of dross when you melt it. The antimony in the shot will make the resulting alloy harder than pure lead but you will likely need to adjust the alloy to get the hardness where it needs to be.

    I would suggest swapping the shot (or a portion of it) for ingots of a known alloy. You'll probably come out ahead in that deal.

    If you want to get into shotshell reloading, save some (or all ! ) of that shot for that use.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    Yes you can use shot to cast bullets with. Shotgun slugs will be pure while shot is really high in arsenic and antimony. I recommend saving it in its orginal form. That way if you get into reloading shot gun you have it. Use it to harden up some lead if you need to like range scraps could use a little bit to turn it into wheel weight lead.

    That's a very generous friend by the way. MEC presses aren't cheap and neither is lead.

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  4. #4
    None of the shot is in the original cloth bags. It is in a bunch of 2 liter Coke bottles so i have no idea of the origin of it. i have a big coffee can of what looks to be 00 buckshot. Since I didn't know the origin of the shot I thought it might be better served going downrange as a pistol boolit. I estimate that I have 300#'s of wheel weights that I can melt down and mix in some of the shot as i am doing that. Would any of you have a percentage of wheel weights to shot as I melt them into nuggets. I melt using a cast iron pan on a fish fryer so I can work to remove impurities before I pour them into a texas size muffin tin. I am not a scientific caster, but just a regular guy making boolits. The only thing I have ever added to my lead is some solder. Thank you again for taking the time to help me. Lee

  5. #5
    I laughed when I saw that my rank is just a boolit mold.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Central Virginia
    If it is clean, new shot that's all the same size - it's still more valuable as shot than it is as a source of lead; even if it's not in the original bags.

    If it's reclaimed shot it's is still a good source of lead. As Rcmavric pointed out, shot has antimony and arsenic in it to harden the shot. This can be useful when you need to harden an alloy.

    It is possible the original bags fell apart and the previous owner re-packaged the shot in better containers. I would pour some out onto a shallow pan (cookie sheet) and see if it's clean and all the same size.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy jessdigs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    The people's republic of Commifornia, in Somerset
    I have always wondered about this too, as I don't own a shotgun yet but was gifted lots of shot pellets. I bought a Pacific press to load with when I get one, but I considered using the shot to make bullets. Research on the subject told me to keep the shot and just use the ton of lead I have.
    I need to buy a shotgun.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I'll second the idea that shot, either new or reclaimed, is more valuable than scrap. But it may not be valuable enough to mess with selling, packing and shipping it. That depends on how much free time you have.

    Shot is usually harder than is necessary for pistol bullets and may be better utilized as an additive to another alloy. I would be tempted to save any of that shot that looks to be the same size and smelt the rest into ingots. Then you could sluff off an ingot or two into every pot of your favorite alloy. If you want to be more exact you could have those ingots tested.

    This was a nice gift no matter how you choose to use it. The sky is the limit as far as options go. Powder coating also makes whatever alloy you choose more flexible.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    If the shot is round and graphite coated, keep it. Even mixed 7 1/2 to 9 sizes will bring 1.50 per $ and cost more to replace. As stated it is a good source of arsenic and antimony but it has NO tin. If the shot is not really all that round but clean it could be homage shot, in that case it is probably wheel weight lead. Several shot makers around here put their shot in drink bottles. Check the sticky on alloy calculator, it has a table of common lead allow sources and comp, including shot.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Years ago, when you could buy Lead out of the scrap yard for 25 cents a pound, I grabbed about 300 pounds of shot.

    I'll alloy a hand full of it into the pot of range scrap and so-so pure Lead for water dropped pistol boolits.
    It's saved me a bunch on buying alloyed ingots or using up my wheel weight stash so quickly.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Old age and treachery will always overcome youth, and skill.

    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit chat. This ain't no retirement home.
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

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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