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Thread: Mystery metal

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Mystery metal

    In my wanderings, at the local scrap yard, I found some type of decorative metal. Because of the decorative figures, it sorta looks like the top edge of a round flower pot. It was in the lead pile so I scarfed it up with whatever else I got that day. I doubt it is lead.....when dropped on the concrete it has a dull "thud" similar to lead, but it is much harder and sorta brittle. I can bend the longer piece but it takes some effort. The photo of the reverse side has a red arrow near the bottom which is pointing at what appears to be a tab that was soldered? on. I would like to discover it is tin, but with my luck its probably just pot metal.......any help is appreciated.

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    Last edited by Ural Driver; 05-21-2020 at 10:30 PM.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Might be pewter. If I had it, I'd apply some heat and see what happens.
    You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    The fine detail would suggest pewter. Try the muriatic acid test. Or melt a couple pounds of lead and add a one ounce piece of it. You would then have roughly a 30/1 alloy that should cast nice boolits if it is free from zinc.
    Last edited by Cosmic_Charlie; 05-22-2020 at 05:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Pewter usually is ductile, not brittle. You might have a white metal zinc alloy, in which case it has relatively low melting point (zamak alloys of zinc, aluminum, copper and magnesium, commonly used for die casting, melt around 700* F, whereas pewter melts at or below tin's melting point around 450* F, and both will melt in a propane torch).

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I would try the muriatic acid. If it bubbles up, it's got zinc in it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Looks like pot metal to me, but try the acid test mentioned above to find out.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Did the acid test.........no bubbles, just left a slightly darker color to that area.....see area circled in blue.
    Ref the observation about the detail......yeah, it looks fairly well done.....second photo.

    So, if I am understanding this, it still might not be tin?

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    If you have a thermometer, melt some in a clean container. Pewter melts at 338–446 F.
    Make some thin ingots. Bend them while listening for the "scream". If it cries it's probably tin. Do you have any known tin to make even one similar flat ingot to compare to?

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I will try the melt test, unfortunately I have no known tin at this time.....I will try and locate some asap.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    So how many pounds of this "stuff" do you have? If sufficient quantity, it would be worth having an x-ray test done on it. The yard where you bought it should have a gun. Mine shoot everything I buy at no charge because I generally buy a lot. Check with them.

    BNE on here used to do gun shoots for members but I heard he is currently on hiatus from that. Check with him to see if he is back at it soon. Your metal stuff is not going anywhere soon!

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ok, we have some progress. Just to see what would happen, I stuck a few pieces in an iron casting pot and hit it with a propane torch. I was trying to hold my laser thermometer at the same time but I think it began dripping at about 450 degrees......by 500 it was liquid. I sawdust fluxed the crap out of it and it got really pretty and shiny. I heated up some molds and did a test pour......it came out shiny and cooled with a very fine surface texture.
    I had some ingots that I had done early on where I had used a bunch of old nasty, broken rolls of solder that I had gotten at the scrap yard. Not knowing any better at the time, I had mixed it bout 50/50 with plumbers lead.....they came out a lot smoother looking than anything I had done to that point........these ingots have an even smoother texture than those.
    I do believe this is pure tin.....all 10ish pounds of it.

    Here they are in front of an ingot marked "High Solder", one of those I did early on.

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    Last edited by Ural Driver; 05-24-2020 at 05:46 PM.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The only thing you don't know is what other minor additions it might have. At least you know it doesn't have zinc.
    Wayne the Shrink

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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