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Thread: Anyone harvest reclaimed shot?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub 55BoysATR's Avatar
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    Anyone harvest reclaimed shot?

    I've been scratching around my scrap and hardware pile to put together a gizmo to separate shot from dirt. The shotfall impact area at my club is ripe with pellets. I plan on building a sifting box like the ones I used in processing burnt up crime scenes. Anyone have any recommendations or tricks before I start?

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy

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    I would think even a modest set up can fill a 5 gal pail in no time in a saturated area that has not been disturbed. Good luck picking up that 5 gal pail. Roto Metals online sells reclaimed screened as 8 and 9 shot mixed. ( flattened from its trip down the bore) for not much less than un-deformed new shot. 5 gal pail's worth of mixed shot could last a loooong time. And save you a few hundred bucks.
    “You should tell someone what you know. There should be a history, so that men can learn from it.

    He smiled. “Men do not learn from history. Each generation believes itself brighter than the last, each believes it can survive the mistakes of the older ones. Each discovers each old thing and they throw up their hands and say ‘See! Look what I have found! Look upon what I know!’ And each believes it is something new.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Just a reminder that you will be dealing with lead oxide so breathing protection is a must. Other hygiene protection as well.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Shovel into buckets, wash with a garden hose, spread on a tarp to dry, use a garden leaf blower for the remaining dust(respirator) package.

  5. #5
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    It has always amazed me that no one in my area harvests shot from the local trap or skeet range. I use a colander made for washing rice to classify the larger pieces of rocks and clay birds, put it in 5 gal buckets and give it a soak. Then I use a plastic pan made for panning gold to quickly sort out the lead from the rest of the debris, spread it on a tarp to dry out and I am done. If I had the extra money, I'm sure a sluice box would be much faster, but I'm retired, and labor is free.

  6. #6
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    Yes,,, watch Gold Rush on the History Channel that will show you how to clean it up. I know that if you run the stuff in a cement mixer for a couple of hours it comes out round again. Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    While attending Arizona State University in Tempe, I worked a whole summer (very hot) recovering shot from a club near the Salt River. We got buckets and buckets of it. Of course, that was in the mid-60s and EPA would have shut us down in a minute today. GF

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    I recovered shot from a trap range where I shot in New Mexico. It was a pain to remove the rocks which were about the same size as the shot. That’s a problem specific to the geology of the area, though, and not every area will have the problem. Grass was not a naturally occurring object in the area. After sorting it out I put a little graphite on it and mixed it up in a can. I was only using it for cowboy action loads so roundness wasn’t important.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've got about 180# of reclaimed shot that was never cleaned in any way.
    It's been sifted clear of rocks and larger debris,,just dirt remains.

    I made a square box frame about 12" sq and used plain aluminum window screen to cover one side. I attached it with staples first, then covered the screen on the edges of the wood frame with thin pieces of wood with nails thru it to better secure the screen and not allow shot to leak thru any gaps in the screen to wood fit.

    I just pour some of the lead shot onto the screen and hose the stuff down. The dirt and most anything else not wanted blows thu the screen leaving the shot still in the box.
    I dump the shot out of the box frame into a bucket and continue with another scoop of the dirty stuff into the frame.

    I can't put too much shot into the frame at a time or the weight will likely rip the screen out.
    So far I've been lucky not to have that happen.
    The process goes fairly quick as it doesn't take too long to wash whats in there clean then dump it out.

    Once I get a good amt into the 'clean bucket' I spread that out on a heavy plastic tarp on the driveway to dry. I place a few layers of newspaper on the tarp first, that soaks up the water from the wet shot very quickly.
    The newspaper can then be pulled up and disposed of and the shot left to completely dry which only takes another 20mins to hr depending on the weather.

    At $20/25lbs,,it was a good deal in a trade.
    I work cheap for lead shot! In reality it's not that hard at all when the rough debris has already been removed.

    Also, some time during the process,,doesn't really matter when,,drag a decent magnet through the stuff.
    That'll pull Steel Shot Pellets out of the mix.
    You will likely find some no matter where the shot comes from as Steel Factory loads are more and more common.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Too much antimony in it to be worthwhile for casting IMHO To re-use in shot shells you'd have to sort it by size.
    Cognitive Dissident

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I’ve reused pulled bullets, but never un-deformed (jacketed) bullets out of the berm, figuring possible bore damage from unremovable grit and maybe loss of accuracy outweighed the savings and hassle.

    I’d guess it depends on application, but wouldn’t patterns opening up with reclaimed shot be an issue?

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master uscra112's Avatar
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    The shot cups would protect the bore
    Cognitive Dissident

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin c View Post
    I’d guess it depends on application, but wouldn’t patterns opening up with reclaimed shot be an issue?
    Not enough to make any difference at 30 yards. I have used hundreds of pounds of recycled shot. I can see no difference when shooting clay targets with it. Now if I was completing at the top of the game then maybe I would notice a difference, but so far I can't tell. And FYI it's not like every single pellet is deformed. A small percentage is deformed from going thru a choke or ? but most of the shot is round.

    Also if the shot is processed by someone who knows what they are doing, it gets tumbled in a Cement Mixer for a few hours and that tends to bang teh stuff back spherical.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
    Not enough to make any difference at 30 yards. I have used hundreds of pounds of recycled shot. I can see no difference when shooting clay targets with it. Now if I was completing at the top of the game then maybe I would notice a difference, but so far I can't tell. And FYI it's not like every single pellet is deformed. A small percentage is deformed from going thru a choke or ? but most of the shot is round.

    Also if the shot is processed by someone who knows what they are doing, it gets tumbled in a Cement Mixer for a few hours and that tends to bang teh stuff back spherical.

    Randy
    I remember back in the 60's when you had to pay extra for SQUARE lead shot. It supposedly opened up faster for Quail and Woodcock.

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    Years ago I saw a commercial set up for reclaiming shot. It was mounted on a 18 wheeler flat bed trailer. Had hand controls for the one operator to walk along side the trailer and steer the rig with a steering set up attached to the tractor steering wheel. The operator drove the rig across the impact area, the rig picked up the shot, some grass and dirt, which went through a screening system much like a grain combine or a rock crusher screening set up, then into a 55 gallon drum hooked up o back of the flat bed. Company came out of Arkansas as best I remember. This was in the early 1990's.

    I used to harvest shot from the skeet range at Ft Hood, it had washed into piles and accumulated in small gullies. Just shovel some into a bucket that I could still carry, took it to the house and washed it in an oil drain pan. Melted some into ingots, shot some through a muzzle loading shotgun. Still have a few gallons, and the ingots left.
    rayyb43

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Every range I ever saw that reclaimed shot had an outside company do it. They have a big machine made for the job. If you are in these clubs, then it turns out to be worth it, often being 2/3rd the price. Unfortunately for outsiders, they sell reclaimed shot for so much more, I don't see any reason to bother with it. The last time I tried to get in on it, Lawrence shot was $55 a bag, and reclaimed shot at the local club was $46, so I don't know why anyone would buy the reclaimed.

    In the future I really hope ranges do a better job at this. Recycling shot is a much better way to go about things. I see no reason ranges can not be set up with the intention of recovering lead. Shooting ranges do not have to look like a golf course. Reclaimed shot should be fine for busting clays. I have more faith in used lead shot than new steel shot. Shot size should be little concern since almost everyone shoots #8 or #7.5. Maybe the skeet shooters get picky about having #8's mixed in their #9's, I don't know. Yes, there can be grit in reclaimed shot, but it shouldn't be that much. Again, I'd trust gritty lead shot down my barrel before new steel shot.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Faret's Avatar
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    Anybody ever tried a shopvac with the filter removed to pick up the lead and blow out the dust?

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    Too much antimony in it to be worthwhile for casting IMHO To re-use in shot shells you'd have to sort it by size.
    I got curious about the antimony level of it. Most recovered shot will 8 1/2 or 9 so 3%; that does not sound like too much.

    Shot Size Antimonial Level
    No. 4 to 6 3 to 4%
    No. 7 to 8 5 to 6%
    No. 8˝ to 9 for skeet shooting 3%

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    I got curious about the antimony level of it. Most recovered shot will 8 1/2 or 9 so 3%; that does not sound like too much.

    Shot Size Antimonial Level
    No. 4 to 6 3 to 4%
    No. 7 to 8 5 to 6%
    No. 8˝ to 9 for skeet shooting 3%
    It might be too much for muzzle loading bullets.

  20. #20
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faret View Post
    Anybody ever tried a shopvac with the filter removed to pick up the lead and blow out the dust?
    You kind of need a Generator to power it cuz most Trap or Skeet fields don't have electric sockets near the places where the shot lands.
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

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