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Thread: Range scrap recovery,, methods?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    contender1's Avatar
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    Range scrap recovery,, methods?

    I'm curious how those of y'all recover bullets from the berms at gun ranges. I have a range with a mix of red clay & sandstone for berms. I was curious what works for folks.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy

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    1/4" hardware cloth on a 2x2 wood frame with drawer handles is what I use. 1 or 2 shovels of dirt then shake back and forth to remove dirt. the clay and rock at your range will be a bit of an issue but should still be doable.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    the more sturdy you can make the sifting frame the better. I have not done any mining since leaving Florida but found that doing it after a rain was better, no dust and once you know what to look for wet lead in dirt is easy to spot the heavy concentration areas. I have a couple welded stainless sifting trays that work equally well for shaking out polishing media. MSC direct has stainless wire mesh.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    1/4" hardware cloth on a 2x4 frame worked well for me and is easy and cheap to make.

    I was lucky; the berms I mined from were all sand faced so what was dumped on the screen sifted itself, leaving just the slugs, a bit of gravel from the range surface and little else. Clay or rocky soil makes for more work and a bucket with more waste material in it that takes washing or hand picking to remove before melting, or more trash skimming and more time and propane if left in the "ore" that you heat because of its insulating effect.

    If done regularly and in volume, the industrious and mechanically handy have made mechanized rotary sifters.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy

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    If the clay is almost pure, wet, it will be gobs of goo. dry it will be like rocks. What i did was load up material from areas that seem to have good concentrations in 5 gal. buckets and take home. with a hose, squirt water in the bucket and squish the clay up with your hands until it turns into a slurry. the bullets sink to the bottom. I did this with shot too.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    The screen & 2x4 frame is the way to go.
    You might want two of them. Sift with 1/4" the first time, then again with something finer to catch all the .22s.

    I ya want to get fancy, look at what the dinosaur chasers and archeology folks use that looks like a cradle
    to hold their screen and shake it without them having to stand there and hold it.

    I don't wash mine before the melt.
    I put it all in a empty pot, heat, skim, pour. Then the next batch goes into a empty pot again.
    FAIR WARNING:
    As often as not, I offer sarcasm rather than advice.

    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.

  7. #7
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    IF your doing it on site I'd build a simple tripod to hang it from, it will get heavy quickly

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I've used a 2'x2' frame using 1/4" hardware mesh over a wheelbarrow and it worked fine last time.
    NRA Endowment member, TSRA Life member, Distinguished Rifleman, Viet Nam Vet

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    Thinking of another project! Can mice get thru that 1/4" hardware cloth?

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcajeel View Post
    Thinking of another project! Can mice get thru that 1/4" hardware cloth?
    They can get through some pretty tiny holes, but I doubt they could smash their heads in two dimensions to get that small.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    The 2x4 frames work good, add a set of drawer handles to each end, and a piece of furring strip overtop of edges of screen, (saves on cuts and scrapes on my hands and arms, also strengthens the screen to make it last longer.)

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks all.
    Looks like the 1/4" hardware cloth will be my main material. No problem in getting any of that. I use it in my work.


    As for mice going through it. Generally,, no,, but I also advise that if you want it to be secure,, liquid, expanding foam, steel wool, then the hardware cloth to keep the buggers out.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    The best I have found is to be there after a heavy rain. Use a leaf rake and rake the bullets down into a pile. Then shovel and shake in 1/4 hardware cloth. pick out big rocks and debris.

    This works best after the clay has had a bitnof opportunity to dry. Otherwise it gums up.

    I have about 800lbs of range scrap to melt down accumulated over 4 or 5 collection trips.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I do not attempt to dig and sift. That is way too much work to get scrap out of a clay bank. I have gotten 200lbs in as little as 20 minutes when the bullets were lying on top of the hard packed clay berm.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Luckily we have a lot of steel targets and plate racks at my range that do the job for me. I just bring a shovel for the pile of lead and jackets that accumulate beneath the plate racks.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BK7saum View Post
    I do not attempt to dig and sift. That is way too much work to get scrap out of a clay bank. I have gotten 200lbs in as little as 20 minutes when the bullets were lying on top of the hard packed clay berm.
    My range also. Just go to the pistole range and pick up lead up off the ground. I could probably pick up 400 to 500 lbs easy before I even needed to dig any

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jniedbalski View Post
    My range also. Just go to the pistole range and pick up lead up off the ground. I could probably pick up 400 to 500 lbs easy before I even needed to dig any
    Same thing here! I have not messed with range lead since the beginning of my casting carreer but back then I just picked it up off of the backstop. I could fill a 5 gallon bucket in an hour or less. I always thought it was cool to find nearly perfect jacketed 45's with no blemishes except for rifling marks.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    I use an 1/8th inch screen, but I am collecting from a cement floor of an indoor range. It’s always dry and basically only lead. I screen now because I find that the very fine lead can be almost impossible to melt without it all ending up in the droth. Plus it takes more propane.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy

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    Like BK7 said, theres no way you can sift wet or dry clay very efficiently. either pick up from the top of the ground or use water to make the clay into thin watery clay and pour that liquid through the 1/4" screen

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    Same thing here! I have not messed with range lead since the beginning of my casting carreer but back then I just picked it up off of the backstop. I could fill a 5 gallon bucket in an hour or less. I always thought it was cool to find nearly perfect jacketed 45's with no blemishes except for rifling marks.
    I run the shot 45's through a sizer die and reloaded them. They shoot pretty darn good

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