Lee PrecisionWidenersMidSouth Shooters SupplyInline Fabrication
Titan ReloadingRepackboxADvertise hereRotoMetals2

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: Whatís the best way to clean recovered range lead?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    131

    Whatís the best way to clean recovered range lead?

    Hello all!
    Iím new to casting (havenít even casted a boolit yet, but I have made my first muffin pan ingots!). So go easy on me please 🤓

    Anyway, I have recently gained access to a range, shooting into a dirt berm. I can get several hundred pounds pretty quick, but it has some dirt on it. I washed the first batch with water hose, took quite a while and messy. Then had to let it dry. Iím looking for the best way to clean it up before melting-or should I clean it at all? Any advice would be appreciated. Obviously when you melt it you have to skim off the dross and flux it.
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    England,Ar
    Posts
    6,002
    Spreading it out in the driveway and hosing it off is probably about the easiest way. You can melt it with it being wet if you fill the pot up before applying any heat. Just don't add lead to a pot that already has molten lead in it. Also, anything thats in the lead will float to the top, including any dirt or gravel.

    Oh yeah, Congratulations on finding a good source of lead!

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    In the beautiful timber of the PNW
    Posts
    100
    Do your berm mining in the summer when there is less mudd. Let it bake in a black bucket in the sun to further dry it, then scoop into screens and shake off the dirt. Then smelt it.

    A little dirt dont hurt, just scoop it off the top with the jackets

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Posts
    1,982
    I shake to settle the heavy stuff and rake the trash off, then maybe wash & let it dry a few days.

    After that, I start feeding the pot, melting, skimming, fluxing, and making ingots.
    I do it outside, later on at night when everyone has their doors & windows closed
    because it will smoke and stink something fierce.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master fredj338's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    kalif.
    Posts
    6,008
    Most of the time I don't bother cleaning anything. My buddy berm mines for me & he washes it & dries it on a tarp in the sun for a day.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
    NRA Cert. Inst. Met. Reloading & Basic Pistol

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


    Bookworm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Central Oklahoma, on a dirt road.
    Posts
    1,066
    I have rendered outdoor range scrap both ways:

    I used to just dump it in the pot dirty, and skim/flux/skim until clean. A whole pile of work, a whole pile of junk in the pot.

    Now, I just wash it with water, in a bin. I can get about 90% of the junk off that way. I wash it a few days prior to rendering, spread it out to dry. I've never had a problem, and it's MUCH easier to render clean.
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
    Man, ain't it the truth....

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    131
    Thank you folks!
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    1,377
    I screen mine first dry and then wet. Best to screen at the range if possible. It’s best to let it dry in the sun. Saves a lot of propane. The small fines mixed with sand aren’t worth the propane and time to mess with IMO. Flux with sawdust or equivalent and remove the copper jackets long with any other junk. Pour into ingots.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    1,641
    I dont wash. All the dirt and crap will float so why waste the time. It doesnt really save any time to wash.

    When I was washing it, i didnt wait for it to dry. Fill the stock pot and light the flame. Using a lid really helps lock the heat in and spead it up.

    Drain the pot to the last inch and refill

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    North West Ohio
    Posts
    524
    i put mine on a heavy screen leave it for the rain to wash it off.works great if you have the time to wait.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    1,264
    Others may think differently, but I'd treat range scrap from an outdoor berm, washed or not, dried or not, to be potentially water contaminated, and would only process it starting from an empty pot. Not adding such scrap to molten metal reduces the chances of a visit from the tinsel fairy.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    1,377
    I’ve found that when wet, especially with a lot of fines that usually contain sand and gravel, it takes a lot more time and propane to render it down. Of course start with a cold pot if your scrap is wet. Never add anything, even with the least amount of moisture on it, to a hot pot.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


    georgerkahn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    South of the (Canada) border
    Posts
    1,638
    Years back I was faced with similar challenge, working with a buddy where he did the digging, and I did the cleaning. I bought some 1/4" square hardware cloth and got two five-gallon sheet-rock mud buckets. I cut the tops, leaving only about four inches of sides off each bucket, and then rolled the hardware cloth about the pair (bottoms out) to make a drum. At each center was drilled a hole to accommodate a wood push broom handle to be its axle. The challenge was affixing the hardware cloth to the bucket ends, but I used three-inch strips cut from remaining bucket; 1/4"-20 nuts and bolts through -- to hold it together. On one end -- was the easy assembly ) I was able to run the bolts from outside in, with no difficulty; BUT, putting the other side together was a challenge. We ended up snipping out maybe a four to five inch circle of the hardware cloth close to (left) end, to accommodate getting my hand in to fasten that end together. A larger, pre-curved piece of hardware cloth was then put on, from inside, using pig rings, to hold it in place. Using the handles from an old BobCat brand gasoline push mower -- this worked quite dandy. The "trick" we learned, however, was to put quite small amounts in at a time -- the stuff is (duh!) quite heavy, and the recovered lead often would stick together in clumps. However, simply pushing-pulling back and forth in a galvanized tub with maybe six inches of water was sufficient to get the great majority off. THEN, it would be dumped/spread and "finished" on driveway with generous garden hose spraying. Finally -- we didn't wait for it to be 100% dry -- the COLD lead was placed in a pot above a single-burner propane stove with a fairly low flame. Important note is a wind-shield was necessarily added -- a few feet of aluminum flashing standing on its edge -- to keep heat up and thwart wind. But -- the bottom line -- albeit it was by no means quick -- we did, that summer, reclaim many, many hundred pounds of great alloy. As it melted, we skimmed off anything and everything that floated to top. The only "flux" we used was wax -- canning, old candle pieces and ends, or whatever we had at the time... The thus recovered "alloy" was poured into muffin tin ingots -- and, after each getting one-half -- in my case, at least, produced many thousands of H&G 50 .38 S&W Special mid-range bullets used in Bullseye shooting...
    BEST!
    geo

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    SE Kentucky
    Posts
    649
    The range I mined had sand backstops so didn't have mud/dirt issues and sifting in 1/4 inch hardware cloth while mining removed most of the sand. Rattling around in the buckets meant most of the remaining sand filtered to the bottom of the bucket. Would dump the scrap back through the hardware cloth before smelting so there wasn't much left with the scrap. Did pick out any obvious trash as the berms also caught a lot of wads and broken clay birds as the range was also used one afternoon a week when we shot sporting clays.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Dead center of Alabama
    Posts
    943
    Tazlaw, welcome to the addiction, you will like this site a lot. There is LOTS of knowledge here and some friendly people ready to help-there are no dumb questions so feel free to ask. Congrats on a spot to mine lead, you cannot have enough on hand.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Emeritus
    Preacher Jim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    5,199
    Taz friend of mine cleans lot of range lead. uses a cement mixer and hard ware cloth screen to filter after running

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    4,093
    I like the idea of using a cement mixer, but only if the rotating action will knock off the dirt and then the contents can be sifted. Having to use water adds a muddy mess to deal with, and a drying process.

    I built a bullet trap last year and it is filled with sand so I am not expecting to need to deal with mud. Time will tell.

    Cannot overstress what others have said. Moisture is very dangerous if it gets into the melt. Use a full face shield when smelting. Have a bucket of water at hand if you get lead on you.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    1,377
    You can by sives at in the masonry department at stores like Home Depot etc. They are normally available with different size screens. Also anything organic like wads or pieces of target, I leave in. It turns into carbon and works like flux.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    1,298
    Cement tub about 1/3rd full and hit it with the pressure washer. Dump out the dirty water and repeat as needed. I cut open one or two of the heavy 6mil contractor trash bags which are black and dump the freshly washed lead and lead alloys from mining the berm. In the summer will stick my hardware cloth strainer on top of the heat pump with a black bag that has some holes. and dry the goodies that way. Only takes about an hour or so. Once dry, stick it in a plastic pail and put it in the garage. Frank

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub flagman1776's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Exeter, RI 02822
    Posts
    38
    Your lead can have moisture if you are starting cold but if you have a trace of moisture on something when you add it... you can get a steam explosion. I was a scuba diver once and we were casing diving weights. We had a steam explosion which blasted 5 pounds of molten lead onto the textured ceiling of my buddies' parents condo. Lucky we weren't killed. Washing is a great idea but dry it then let it sit in a dry place for a few days. It's not worth your life or your eye sight.
    NRA Life Member
    member South County Rod & Gun Club

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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