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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been testing factory ammo and digging bullets out of assorted media for about 30 years, and since I'm a cheap so-and-so, I often kept the recovered slugs for comparison. As a result, I currently have forty or fifty pounds of fired slugs in buckets, jars, boxes, drawers, they're all over the place. Since most of them came from hollowpoint ammo, I suspect the cores are made from some fairly soft alloys, and would be perfect for re-casting into new boolits for my rifles, with a little tin added. Some of them shed their jackets on impact, and of course those would simply be tossed into the lead pot without any further ado.



The other side of the issue is all those other bullets..........the cup-and-core designs, the Silvertips with aluminum-alloy jackets, the bonded-core bullets, that stuff. I'm inclined to just melt a bunch of my regular alloy, toss a handful of the recovered slugs, and hope the lead melts out, leaving the jackets to float to the top and be skimmed off.

Anyone do this? I don't want to contaminate my alloy with something not conducive to my +-12 BHN mix, is there anything to watch out for? Skip the Silvertips? Avoid the Gold Dots? I could recover a pretty fair amount of lead if this works.

 

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sure thing, man...I've been mining the backstop for years. I do put 'em all in a cold pot/kettle and let 'em come up to temp, with a cover on it...cause the outdoorsy types get water in under the jacket. Yours probably don't have that problem. Everything averages out to about 1-25 or 1-30 tin/lead and makes fine mild load stuff.
 

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I'm just a reader/listener when it comes to casting, so just wondering. Not sure about the aluminum stuff, or other strange alloys they put in the latest, greatest magic bullets, but after you recover the lead less the dregs, cant you pour the ingots and use a pressure tester to determine the BHN, then calculate the alloy needed to bring it up if necessary?

Just asking for the education :)

JD
 

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They will work just fine. You can either place them in a pot with other alloy or melt them straight from an empty pot. The lead melts out of the jackets and you skim them off the surface same as melting any other scrap. Some folks have reported success in selling the empty jackets to their scrap yar as #2 copper,but none of the yards around here will touch them. But with the price for copper these days, it is worth asking.

My experience with range scrap is that jacketed cores are not pure lead or even close to it. The indoor range scrap that I've been using for many years is very close to WW (12-14 BHN).
 

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I suspect that in at least some cases, the last poster is right on as to "J" bullet alloy.

For example, maybe an extreme one, but having sectioned such things as Speer Grand Slams, the rear most portion of the core is clearly different then the forward or expanding portion. Much harder!

Then Mr surveyor's comment seems very good considering you do have some lbs. of the range lead.

Melt it all down and test the ingots for hardness, unless of course your like this Ol'Coot and have never invested in a hardness tester.

I am pretty good with the ring test. :biggrin::biggrin: Throw a hunk of lead down on the concrete floor, if it rings it's hard, if it just goes thunk, it's soft. :biggrin::biggrin:

How is that for high tech?

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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It is a method that has worked for untold millions of casters for decades. Wide availability of hardness testers is a very recent phenomenon.
 

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The few jacketed that I had I smacked with a hammer to make sure the lead had a way out...
It is soft lead btw - but mix it in with wheel weights and you're good to go.
 

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I toss the range lead into the pot with my wheelweights. I don't shoot for money, and nothing comes out detrimental to ringing dingers or dropping game. I do have a hardness tester which now sells for $189 which, for me, has been a total waste of shooting funds and hasn't been out of the box in "a lot" of years. The best tester is game. The rest is "more data"...

Jeff
 

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Wow, I use my bhn tester all the time!!! and I will test alloy for anyone who wants to send it to me.



Doc
 

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Good going Doc!

Do you use a set of tuning forks to check the pitch of the "ring" when you throw the hunks of alloy onto the floor?

Your way ahead of me as I just listen for the "thunk" (soft lead) or the "ring" (hard lead).

I suppose I should try to fine tune :hmmmm: my method a touch!

:flute: :alberteinstein: :proud: :dontknow: :sleep:

Seriously, that is a fine offer Doc!!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've got one of the Lee Hardness testers, I guess it's a pain in the keister to use but it's a little more scientific than the Thunk Test......by a little bit, anyway. It's simple enough to use, you file a flat on your bullet, press the steel tip of a spring-loaded, calibrated gizmo into the lead, and hold it there for 30 seconds, then measure the diameter of the resulting dimple. It takes some getting used to. It's also $60 or so, not cheap for what it is. But it beats guessing.

 

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There is quite a lengthy thread at castboolits about testing lead hardness with pencils. I bought a set of 12 or so of the artist/drafting pencils in varying hardness. They provide some interesting results with some baseline information to start with. They won't tell you the difference in 12 and 12.5BHN but will show the difference in a 15 and a 19BHN handily.

How's that for cheap PJ?
 

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Good going Doc!

Do you use a set of tuning forks to check the pitch of the "ring" when you throw the hunks of alloy onto the floor?

Your way ahead of me as I just listen for the "thunk" (soft lead) or the "ring" (hard lead).

I suppose I should try to fine tune :hmmmm: my method a touch!

:flute: :alberteinstein: :proud: :dontknow: :sleep:

Seriously, that is a fine offer Doc!!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
Its the OCD in me that makes me wonder and have to buy stupid things like a hardness tester... :ahhhhh:
I make up different alloys when working with a new mold for a new caliber and find out what hardness that one likes for the load I will be using... Yes, its a pain in the rear to do but it works out in the end when I find just the right hardness and velocity.....

and about the offer to test.... I didnt say I would send the lead back to them... :flute:


Doc
 

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I toss the range lead into the pot with my wheelweights. I don't shoot for money, and nothing comes out detrimental to ringing dingers or dropping game. I do have a hardness tester which now sells for $189 which, for me, has been a total waste of shooting funds and hasn't been out of the box in "a lot" of years. The best tester is game. The rest is "more data"...

Jeff
I use the pencil test as described on CastBoolits - works great and is cheep. Sell that thang and get a set of pencils.
 

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Good going Doc!

Do you use a set of tuning forks to check the pitch of the "ring" when you throw the hunks of alloy onto the floor?

Your way ahead of me as I just listen for the "thunk" (soft lead) or the "ring" (hard lead).

I suppose I should try to fine tune :hmmmm: my method a touch!

:flute: :alberteinstein: :proud: :dontknow: :sleep:

Seriously, that is a fine offer Doc!!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
Dang - I never thought about that... you're right as rain - it DOES ring when harder leads hits the concrete.
I had some range lead muffins get mixed up with some WW muffins - I'll use that to sort 'em :)
 

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If the pictures come out readable... Here is the reason I play with hardness of alloy for what I will be shooting the boolits through..

Lee BHN chart
Extended BHN Chart.jpg

Pressure for a 45acp is in the 17,000's

45acpPSI.jpg
Where the 9mm is in the 31,000's

9mmPSI.jpg

If you can see on the BHN chart, the pressure for the 45acp corresponds to around 12 to 13bhn where as the 9mm corresponds to 21 or 22bhn

I know from testing my alloy that air cooled will achieve 13bhn after a few months and water quenched will be around 21 after a couple months..... Hence, I can air cool 45acp boolits and water quench 9mm boolits....

I think too much!


Doc
 

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"....... I didn't say I would send the lead back to them :flute:"

Shame on ya Doc, and just as I was beginning to think you were one of the last of the nice guys.

Now I find that in fact your go'in to attempt to scam/skim/assume ownership of all that free lead your offer is going to bring to your door.

165gr here, 190gr there, some .44s at 255gr and likely some made for a .444 pushing 300gr.

Why if we don't watch ya and somehow nip this in the bud your likely to soon have glommed onto enough pilfered lead from unsuspecting forum members to cast up a .45 cal boolit of 450gr or maybe two.


Maybe we need a sticky to clue folks into your big scam. :ahhhhh:

:biggrin: :biggrin: Crusty Deary Ol'Coot :biggrin: :biggrin:
 

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OK, Doc, nice charts. And you use these to determine what bhn to create for a particular cartridge every time? I got to agree with your statement, "you think too much". BTW, I watched TOMBSTONE again last night, and Val Kilmer does "the best" job at Doc of all the various Wyatt Earp flicks I've seen over the years. Just how I picture you, so, I am trying to be tactful with my post. LOL!

Granted, I am not casting for business. It's my personal pleasure and share with my friends. I use basically pure wheelweights, maybe some range lead, maybe some lino, maybe some tin. It comes out of the mold around bhn 14 on my Saeco tester. I water drop and use "as needed". Some may be used in a few days, others not for years. They run from light 38Spl loads to heavy 356W loads. I do have some straight lino, but so far I have only used this unscientific mix. The 356's run 200gr and plow through 14" green Aspen trees, taking the back half of the tree off. The 38Spl's bounce pop cans all over the gravel pit. The 32WSPL has killed deer, antelope and elk running 183gr @ 2230fps. The chart says this doesn't work. What am I missing? Or am I not thinking enough to make it all fit the chart? Maybe we are just at opposite ends of graph of "what is necessary to make cast bullets work". I do appreciate highly the work you do and your posts of events and insights. There is room for all of us.

Jeff
 

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Cdoc, :rofl::rofl::rofl: you uncovered my scam to pilfer lead from the unsuspecting folks here on the forum..... :ahhhhh: Lets just keep it quiet and I will share the wealth!


Jeff, you thought I was kidding when I said I think too much!!! Im disabled and have OCD so that means a lot of time sitting around thinking crap up that doesnt need to be.... But it works for me... and I have yet to have any leading in any of my rifles or handguns. :tee:


Doc
 

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Me, either; no leading, that is.

maybe that's part of it. I'm not OCD and I don't get a lot of time in my gun room. Hope that changes before too long, the time factor, not the OCD. I have kids with that and as young adults, they drive me nuts sometimes. LOL! Keep on keepin' on, Doc!!

Jeff
 
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