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Thread: Ruined batch of lead ( I think)

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ruined batch of lead ( I think)

    Was smelting wheel weights I had gotten at my local shop. Poured in a batch of clip on weights. Usually I just sort out the stick on from the clip on and stir often, and remove anything that doesn't melt. I don't let my temp get high. Anyway I was working on it and got an important call that I thought would take 5 minutes but it took 20. Till I got back to my smelting, the clips and weights that had not melted were coated with a thick oatmeal like substance. Uh-oh. Thought it might be lead that had not melted right so I tried stirring vigorously. It only made it worse. So I scooped it out along with the clips, and tried to skim the top. Then the top turned gold, Then a dark purple. That did it, I dumped the whole mess into my scrap bucket. Fortunately it was only 25-30 lbs, but still irritated me. But I still think I did the right thing in dumping it. My guess is that it got too hot and melted some zinc into the mix.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    That stinks !! Not sure how much zinc if would take to damage the batch. Most casting lead does have some zinc. I have not had a chance to cast with much wheel weights. Every time I ask they tell me no or already have someone getting them. Better chance of getting range lead and or by lead if I see it.

    Need to make jigs ??

    If you go through it and don't need it, I maybe can use it. Up to you but I need to make jigs and weights for long lines.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Oatmeal is one thing. Gold, shades of blue to purple only happened for me with very pure lead. Ussually pure lead that got a bit warmer than needed.

    I think you panicked too quick.

    Leave the oatmeal in the scrap bucket but see how much of that other you can salvage.

    Bring it up to a low temp and see how it casts.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
    Gold, shades of blue to purple only happened for me with very pure lead. Ussually pure lead that got a bit warmer than needed.

    I think you panicked too quick.
    Agree with GhostHawk, those two colors are indicative of nearly pure lead.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
    Oatmeal is one thing. Gold, shades of blue to purple only happened for me with very pure lead. Ussually pure lead that got a bit warmer than needed.

    I think you panicked too quick.

    Leave the oatmeal in the scrap bucket but see how much of that other you can salvage.

    Bring it up to a low temp and see how it casts.



    I wouldn't think that likely if he started with COWW.

    I would get it really hot and see if the zinc will separate from the lead.......saw a thread somewhere here on casting zinc bullets, it's run very hot.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I dont think you ruined it. Back when I casted with straight clip on weights, at that time I also kept the melt clean on the surface, I would see yellows, golds, purple colors on the surface. Ya the temps were near max.

    As for the oats on top of the melt, I cant help you there. Ive smelted dirty lead with paint, tar, copper attached and havent seen anything looking like oats.

    Try Pulling some out of the scrap bin and see how hard it is. If its acceptable cast a few boolits and see what ya got. 25lbs makes almost 1,200 boolits at 150 grains.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by 472x1B/A View Post
    ^^^^ This!! There is no way I would ever dump 25 - 30 pounds of 'accident' lead. What I would do is dilute this down and keep on casting. I have many times added .5-.7 % of Zn to my casting lead to harden the mix up. Zn is a whole lot cheaper than tin.
    Cant blame a guy for trying?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    That oatmeal dross is very likely antimony. I run into it when using linotype to make Lyman#2. You should melt it back in.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



    MUSTANG's Avatar
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    You can stir sulfur into your contaminated alloy to remove zinc. Do so out doors and have a long handled stiring device. Put in a 1/4 teaspoon stir from arms length; sulfur fumes are potentially toxic and can make your nauseous if breathed in. Do a 1/4 teaspoon at a time until the zinc is extracted. This will also cause the alloy to be "Stronger" (no necessarily harder). Several threads on this site for treating lead alloys with sulfur.
    Mustang

    "In the beginning... the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." - Mark Twain.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    When I make ingots from sheet lead from the scrap yard and the surface color is a bluish purple, I donít even have to guess ... itís pure Pb only
    Regards
    John

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Even though I'm not hurting for lead I wouldn't scrap it. I would melt it, flux it, skim it, stir it, flux it, skim it ect several times. Then probably make ingots and slowly blend it in with something else. But I do understand the diminishing return thing. I reached a point once when prepping 1000 pieces of mixed 223 range brass and having mixed problems that I dumped it in the scrap bucket! I mean, enough is enough!!!

    A member here did some experiments with zinc contamination. It seems like he reported that up to 5% would not hurt. Going by memory here so it could have been .5%.

    This is the very reason that I hand sort my weights. I strive to have zero zinc in my alloy. I know, the horse is already out of the barn!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    dondiego's Avatar
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    I got the "oatmeal" once and I didn't know what it was but I added a few known ingots of soft lead to the batch, fluxed it well, and it finally went away and I made some bullets that were good with it. Read up on zinc and figured that was what it was. The zinc wheel weights were just starting to show up in numbers back then.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Take a look at this link. Jump down to [6]
    http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletAlloy.htm

  14. #14
    I wouldn't throw it away. Purchase a pound of "powdered garden sulfur ", remelt the lead, and stir a small amount in. If the melt contains zinc, it will immediately clump up, and could flare up like match heads. Keep stirring in small amounts, until this stops happening, and you should be OK.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks guys! It is encouraging to see that maybe it's not so bad after all!

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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