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Thread: Reclaimed Range Lead or Wheel Weights?

  1. #1
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    garandsrus's Avatar
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    Reclaimed Range Lead or Wheel Weights?

    Which one would you prefer for casting new bullets and why?

    The range lead is from an indoor range with a rubber backstop. The process of reclaiming them removes most of the rubber. What's left will smoke a little and float to the top of the smelter where it can be skimmed off. The bullet mix is cast/swagged, jacketed, with a good amount of .22 thrown in.

    My thought is that I would want to use old bullets to make new bullets!

    Thanks,
    John

  2. #2
    Moderator Emeritus robertbank's Avatar
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    Well I have been told lead in jacketed boolits is almost if not pure lead. I pick up quite a bit of jacketed boolits at our range (Outdoors), and keep it separate because I load the old .41LC and the hollow base boolits prefer very soft alloy ie close to pure lead.

    For my pistol & revolvers I use wheelweights and have in the past mixed the two with good results.

    For rifle I am adding a little tin to the mix to harden the alloy. With the exception of the .41LC I water quench my boolits to harden them up more. Not sure it is necessary but it works for me.

    I would think you would be advised to add a little tine to your mixture to harden the alloy up a bit. For .45acp I am not sure it would make much difference.

    Stay Safe
    Jacketed bullets - what a relic, a throwback to the twentieth century. Real men shoot cast.

  3. #3
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    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    Garandsrus,

    I would prefer the range lead, at least the stuff I mine from time to time. It can be sequestered by sieving into .22RF lead (mostly) and larger bullets. I then sort the .45 hardball out and put the rest (which includes commercial HP, SP etc., jacketed bullets) into a miscellaneous/lino/wheelweight category. The .22 lead I use for BP cartridges, the hardball is for BP/smokeless pistol/mild rifle loads, and the rest I use for pushing the limits with GC rifle bullets. Generally, enough of the cast pistol bullets were of linotype back when they were fired so there is plenty of alloying elements to take care of the added softer lead from the soft/hollow point jacketed bullets.

    With wheel weights, you get pretty much one alloy. Perfectly OK as it goes, of course.

    I don't know whether I'd trade the dredging job I have to do on getting the dirt out of the molten metal for the reek of smouldering rubber that you might have to put up with, but the small extra effort needed either way doesn't bother me as the metal itself is basically gratis.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Most of my plinking pistol bullets are cast from 49.5 % WW and 49.5 % range lead with 1% tin added .

    I do not push these over 1100 fps .
    With a good lube I almost never get any leading if bullets are sized to the throat properly .

    I got 200+ lb of range lead last week for free , I just had to help clean the trap .

    Johnch
    Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
    And I carry a SIG

  5. #5
    I'm A Honcho!

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    I say BOTH, the range lead is cheaper than WW generally, and in my experience so far if you mix the two 50-50 they still get just as hard when dropped from the mold directly into cold water. So get some of both, and mix them when smelting.

    Bill
    Both ends WHAT a player

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    I do the same. I save all my range scrap till i get at least a 100 lbs and mix it 5050 with wws and add a little tin. Range scrap can vary alot and mixing it with ww 5050 brings alot more consistancy to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnch
    Most of my plinking pistol bullets are cast from 49.5 % WW and 49.5 % range lead with 1% tin added .

    I do not push these over 1100 fps .
    With a good lube I almost never get any leading if bullets are sized to the throat properly .

    I got 200+ lb of range lead last week for free , I just had to help clean the trap .

    Johnch
    sixgun junky

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    garandsrus, like the handle. My old range had a small pistol setup. And a lot of shooters. Well the majority of us used the hard cast store bought bullets. When they had hi-power matches they shut down the pistol range for safety reasons. I used to go there during the matches and rake and shovel up all them bullets. Had a screen to sift out the dirt so a full 5 gallon bucket was a load. I keep that range scrap separate as its mostly hard cast. And add 1-2 one pound ingot to 20 wheel weights. Still have one 5 gallon bucket to melt down.
    The guys used to laugh at me but actually the laugh was on them. They paid for them bullets and I got to pick them up for free. In fact one of my buddies at a club meeting said when they have to mine the backstop call frank. That got a lotta laughs, but i get the lead.
    Frank

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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