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Thread: pay attention while smelting

  1. #81
    Boolit Master
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    Aug 2010
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    LONG ISLAND NY
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    I shoot in an indoor range that has a steel backstop that is angled upward where the bullets slide up, rattle around and slide down into a bunch of long cans. Being as new to casting boolits as one could be leaves me with a bunch of questions. As im looking at the piles of range scrap with all the small pieces of jackets and such, I find a lot of clumps of lead that crumbel in your hand. I guess that is dust from .22 rounds. Is it a good idea to melt these lead clumps or just the larger pieces of lead that I hand pick out. There is no paper or other debris in the scrap, The range is 80 ft and most of the people shoot at 50 ft. This is a fun hobby that lets me shoot a lot more but im just starting the learning process. Thanks Tom

  2. #82
    Boolit Master jmsj's Avatar
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    mongo,
    Welcome to the site.
    The "clumps" could be lead from any of the bullets. I would melt it all, all that dust will turn back into useable lead.
    Be careful of the dust, use a dust mask. Inhaleing the dust is a good way to increase the lead in your body. Good luck,jmsj

  3. #83
    Boolit Buddy DeadHandRed's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
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    Well that was a good read. thanks to you all for your mistakes and the time you took to share them. us noobs should be made to read this thread and take a pop quiz on registering for this forum.

  4. #84
    Boolit Master


    mold maker's Avatar
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    Yesterday morning in about 3 hr, two buckets of range scrap, magically turned into 188 ingots, and a bucket of #2 brass scrap. Today I'm gonna allow the magic of fire to do it all again.
    I've waited all Summer, for it to get cool enough, to sit at the pot. Next will be the 10 gal of C/on WWs, 253 lbs lead pipe, 66 lbs of stick on WWs, and some xRay lead.
    This is more fun than going to Disney.
    A week ago it was 92, but this morning it's 46, and I can wear smelting gear.

  5. #85
    Boolit Master
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    Aug 2009
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    Houston, Is this Texas?
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    Hummmm Old range lead is good stuff..but messy...full of 'thangs',,, be carefurlll..

    Start slow...start small... go up on temp slowly and you be fine..

    Think about wut BAD can happen...prepare for all that... and DISNEY ain't got nuttin on US!!

    Nose Dive

  6. #86
    Boolit Man Trapaddict's Avatar
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    I use a 6 quart cast iron dutch oven with lid to do most of my dirty work of reducing huge piles of wheelweights down to muffin tin sized 1.5-2 lb cakes. I always keep the lid on to keep as much heat in the pot as possible at first to get everything melting nicely. I also always crack the lid open away from me to allow the smoke from any rubber tire valve stems to ignite and burn off. It's a practice I'm glad I employ. I do a pretty good once over to remove foreign objects from the melt. lug nuts, etc. Last year I had just stirred the pot and replaced the lid. I turned and was no more than 4-5 feet from the pot when what sounded like a firecracker went off behind me. I spun around in time to see the cast iron lid on its way back to the ground from a couple feet above the pot. Molten lead was in a 3 foot circle around the pot and turkey fryer. The culprit was found to be a battery. I found both halves of the battery. One stil in the pot and one on the driveway. It was one of those thin ones about the size of a nickel. Had it gone off 10 seconds sooner, I would have gotten a face full of hot lead. I now put all of the wheelweights in by hand and have all of the foreign matter removed prior to melting.

    Jeff
    A woman has the last word in any argument.
    Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

  7. #87
    Boolit Master LET-CA's Avatar
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    See my tongue in cheek posting below about my experience using my RCBS pot to cook dinner. . .

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=7016



    Quote Originally Posted by slowhand47 View Post
    Hey y-all Nothing I could add to the technical side of this, my cast lead experience now totals about 25(ea.) .311x185gr. - but I got one about dropping new material into a hot pot.
    Imagine Bubba and two of his friends are preparing for Thanksgiving and they have a pot of lard almost boiling over a fire in the yard. Since the bird needs to be done by 4o'clock and someone read (part of) the directions- it had to go in soon. Well "Bubba" went for the bird and came back; one frozen bird in the hand. With some forethought a (very good) friend suggests using a boat paddle to introduce the Bird to the pot. Due to the slippery nature of the beast he kinda jumped into the pot from a short distance above- kinda like he wanted to get in there. Well ... he came out much faster than going in (Bubba and friends were moving out smartly too!)... one could have though he was flying away to enjoy His day somewhere else. But he only got about 10 foot in a shower of hot oil that misted the area and convinced Bubba and friends to go to KFC for chicken.
    I have changed the names to protect the ignorant, and do not admit to anything but a desire to learn more about Boolits and this forum has been a most excellent source. Thanks to the members and Moderators.

  8. #88
    Boolit Master
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    tinsel fairy

    We are so use to ice floating in water we think solids float in liquids. Solid metals are more dense than molten ones. If you drop solid metal peices into molten metal, they sink and tiny amounts of water turn into larger volumes of steam. A similer effect, calcining, can occur due to DRY mineral carbonates, bicarbonates, hydrates etc. Just heat up slowly.

  9. #89
    Boolit Master
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    any time you....want to see the tinsle fairy...ad a fresh water quenched bullet back into the pot ...boooooom! every time!

    showed a friend through a hole in a cover plate so we would not get covered!

  10. #90
    Boolit Master
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    Glad your ok!

  11. #91
    Boolit Master
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    my worst experience with the tinsel fairy was filling a metal 1 pint dot 3 brake fluid can ,that was empty to make an ingot , guess a little was still in there ,that stuff lit off at 700 degrees cause 3/4 of it blew out the top, blew out like a volcano , got a little burned but covered everything including me in my little wooden 6x10 shop .. now i do it outside in home made clean channel iron molds ... that was @ 20 years ago learned real fast to be cautious

  12. #92
    Boolit Master R.M.'s Avatar
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    I've had a few visits, nothing too bad though.
    I had a live .22 get into some range lead. I've had old lead pipe, that say in the shed for a couple of years, spit straight up.
    You just have to assume there's moisture on anything we put in the pot. How do you know that there wasn't a cold coffee dumped into the wheel weight bucket at the shop? Assumptions are bad.
    R.M.

    The tree of liberty must be watered periodically with the blood of tyrants and patriots alike..........Thomas Jefferson

  13. #93
    Boolit Master
    Suo Gan's Avatar
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    If you preheat all your lead before you add it to the pot you will not have to deal with steam. I have never had a problem and I never will because I render in the winter and blast all the moisture away with a weed burner. I can be so cock sure of this because I take the precautions necessary and they are simple and do not require hardly any more time output. Like I said a steam explosion WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME and it is not because I am lucky or smarter than you it is because I take the time to do the job right and not CUT CORNERS. If you can't do that then you really don't need to be melting lead.

    Rendering ,like doing anything even brushing your teeth takes a measure of common sense. You don't pick blackberries by riding your motorcycle through a patch at 60 mph because you are bound to get hurt. If you are adding lead willy nilly you will get hurt and you only have yourself to blame.

    It is irritating to me to constantly read about the tinsel fairy, it should be called the stupid fairy!!
    Lotta people die in bed: Dangerous place to be!

  14. #94
    Boolit Bub
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    I've been casting bullets on and off for over 35 years in limited amounts, I've never seen the tinsel fairy and now have no desire to have a visit. I would have to consider myself just dumb and lucky. I live in a relatively dry climate and have never had the misfortune of mixing water and molten lead. But, thanks to this post, I now consider myself well educated about the proclivities of the tinsel fairy. Thank you everyone for your posts.

  15. #95
    Boolit Master


    GT27's Avatar
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    Reminds me of the days back (so long ago) in welding class "77",when someone would be pounding on a bead and a piece of slag would go flying off down a boot or a shirt,you never saw a curtain fly back, and shoes, or shirt go flying across the room so fast!!!! Always reminded me of being chased by yellow jackets!!!,now on a serious note -"Safety First",and carry on!
    You can't buy common sense,and stupidity can't be fixed!

  16. #96
    Boolit Mold
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    Dec 2011
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    mountians of ny
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    hi new to site.
    just getting started collecting ww. but have not smelted yet.
    have learned much from reading this thread .plan on preheating or not adding to pot on my first time smelting which won't be till spring anyways.
    bought some ingots from possum that i plan on using to cast 44 boolits this winter for my first time.thanks for all the info.i have read on here .

  17. #97
    Boolit Master
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    Australia
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    this was good threat, as some one mentiond, keep an eye out for live ammo. I picked up a live 40 cal misfire in range scrap two weeks ago, since only police and security personel are allowed this cal , I know who to bag.

  18. #98
    A great primer for those of us who are new - thanks for sharing the pain so the rest can learn!

  19. #99
    Boolit Bub
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    Feb 2012
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    Strasburg,Va.
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    Yep,I had the tinsel fairy make a mild appearance one day.I was aware of the moisture thing but until I saw how little it took I was shocked.Normally I leave my casting stuff in the garage and it seems dry,but one day I put the ladle in to stir up some lead and up in the air it shot.Think from now on I`ll just sit it on top and let it heat up as the pot does.

  20. #100
    Boolit Master


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    There are only two kinds of casters, Those who have, and those who haven't YET met the fairy

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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