Melting wheel weights for bullet casting - all you need to know
bl*cksmithden said: EDIT - Dec 20th...ok..I fixed the videos :) I decided to do a thread on melting down scrap wheel weights for those who haven't done it before. First, get yourself some wheel weights. You might find out that these days, it's a little easier said than done. It seems to me that they're getting a little hard to come by. More and more of the manufacturers are sending out their cars with zinc, iron, and even plastic wheel weights. Sooner or later, they're going to become a thing of the past like linotype. To the best of my knowledge, wheel weights are the last of the commonly available bullet casting lead sources unless you want to pay top dollar for a commercially mixed alloy. If you've been thinking of getting into bullet casting, you might want to do it sooner than later. A few of the big tire chains have directives from their head offices not to sell used wheel weights to private individuals. Rather, they must only be given to "licensed recyclers". No doubt some health and safety "person" in an office somewhere found out that they were made of evil lead. Then, they decided to flex the "moron muscle" between their ears to make their mark on history. Saving the world, one wheel weight at a time :rolleyes: A few tips for getting them. First, you'll need to talk to the service manager or owner of the garage. He/she is the person who will have the final say on who gets them. Second, when asked (and you will be asked) what you're using them for, don't tell them you're making bullets ! You don't know who you're talking to and they might be an anti. Tell them you're making downrigger balls, weights for your race car, you're re-doing the keel on a sailboat, you're making up fishing sinkers, or whatever. Just not that you're making bullets. Third, in passing conversation, don't be afraid to tell them that it's better that you get them rather than the scrap dealers. After all, they're sending them to China as scrap metal (which is true). Who doesn't hate the fact that everything is coming from China these days ? They might feel like they're getting a little satisfaction by selling them to a local guy rather than shipping them to some Chinese factory. You can probably expect to pay for them these days. $25.00/pail seems to be around the going rate. I bought one pail for $25.00, another I got for free from 3 trips over 2 months to a garage I know. The other two, I had to pay a scrap car dealer $0.25 / lb for. That's a little steep since your average full 5 gallon pail weighs in around 160 lbs. I didn't mind it so much this time since I could see that they had been sorting them and nearly every weight was made of lead. If you're buying from a scrap metal dealer, you're going to get a mix of the same stuff you'll be getting from a garage. If you buy from a scrap car dealer, you will possilbly be getting a little bit more lead in the mix since the cars they're dealing with are older. I wish you luck in your hunting. Now that you have your wheel weights, you have to process them into something you'd want to put into a melting pot and cast bullets with. This means you'll have to get rid of all the garbage that the guys tossed in the pails at the garage, the steel clips imbedded in the lead weights, as well as all the zinc, iron, and plastic weights. One other thing is, most of the flat "stick on" weights are softer lead which the black powder guys want. They're great for muzzle loaders, but not so much for higher speed rifle bullets. Here's a pic of my half full buckets of weights. The lightest was 86 lbs and the heaviest was 97 lbs. My back just doesn't like slugging full pails of weights around anymore. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3570.jpg?t=1273470685 The first thing to take into consideration is the weather. You will be doing this outside, and there has to be an absolute ZERO chance of rain. Water, even a tiny bit, combined with molten lead will not make for a good day. Lots more on that later. Ok. Let's get started. Spread your weights out on your garage floor. Pick out all the garbage, old valve stems, screws, nuts, bolts, and other trash. Separate out your flat stick on weights and set them aside. You'll melt them down at the end. By sorting first, you will be doing a few good things. First, and most important, you'll be able to see if somebody at the garage put any liquids (like their old coffee) in the pail. When you're dumping weights into an already hot melting pot that still has some molten lead in it WILL...not might....it WILL result in the infamous steam explosion. I'll address that more a little later on. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3577.jpg?t=1273470766 http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3598.jpg?t=1273475938 Second, by removing as much of the paper, old valve stems, tire stickers, etc, you'll be severly cutting down on the amount of smoke that will be rolling out of your melting pot. If you leave all this stuff in and just dump in your weights, it won't hurt anything but the smoke is brutal. Also, it may catch fire from time to time. You'll already have enough toxic smoke and fumes coming out of there with the plastic coating on the weights, and the stuff you miss. Third, it'll give you a chance to look at the weights. Once you know what to look for, you'll be able to scan for and toss a lot of the iron, zinc and plastic weights. The process I use will catch all of these during the melting process, but, why waste your time and propane heating up a bunch of scrap if you can catch it before hand. Lead weights are sometimes marked with the letters Pb. Zinc weights are sometimes marked Zn. Iron are sometimes marked with Fe. Not all weights have marks though, so it's only one of your tools to get rid of the garbage stuff. Here's a few pictures of some of the weights you'll run into. The video following it is "the drop test". Larger iron and zinc weights will ring with a higher pitch than lead when dropped on a concrete floor. One other thing. With larger weights, if you can bend them with your hands, they're lead. Zinc and iron are a lot stonger. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3575.jpg?t=1273470839 http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3601.jpg?t=1273470929 Here's a video of "the drop test". N0pG-t4WjH0 Now that you have a few buckets of "clean" and dry weights, you can get started with the melting. Stuff you'll need is as follows. Personal protective equipment: 1. I highly recommend a full face shield, but I guess safety glasses are better than nothing. 2. A hat you won't mind ruining. 3. Heavy gloves 4. Old clothes that will completely cover you, and they should be made from natural fibers. No synthetic stuff for this job. I wear flame resistant coveralls since I have access to them. 5. Work boots. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3580.jpg?t=1273471181 Melting equipment: 1. A large metal pot. I used the bottom half of an old steel tank, but I've used a metal 5 gallon bucket before. It's up to you so long as it's made of steel. This will go faster if you have a piece of sheet metal to cover it with. 2. A heat source. I use an outdoor 60,000BTU propane cooking burner. I've also used a tiger torch in the past. 3. Enough propane to do the job. This melt used exactly one 20lb cylinder, but I had another on hand just in case. 4. A metal straining spoon. This is to pull out the metal clips, non-lead weights, and other garbage while leaving the lead in the pot. This should be a fairly heavy one as well. You'll be stiring very dense and heavy lead, not soup. 5. A wind break to keep your heat going to the bottom of the pot if there's a breeze on the day you do it. 6. Something to pour your lead into to form your ingots. I use muffin trays. On this particular melt, I used one that's made for rectangular mini-loafs. 7. A cookie sheet to set your muffin tray in. You'll see why later. 8. Something clean to dump your new ingots onto. I used plywood on this melt, but I've used cardboard in the past. 9. A pail that will hold some water and a cup to pour the water with. Your standard coffee cup is fine for this. 10. Something to use as a dipper to get your lead from the pot to the ingot tray. I use a stainless steel camping cup. 11. A metal can for you to dump the hot clips into. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3578.jpg?t=1273471304 http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3581.jpg?t=1273471347 http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3569.jpg?t=1273471398 http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3584.jpg?t=1273471496 Ok. You're ready to melt some lead !!!! Put about 1/4 of a pail of wheel weights into your pot. Light the burner and set it to maximum. Put your wind break in place and cover the pot. The first batch will take a fair bit longer to melt since there's a lot of air spaces between the pot and your weights. Leaving some molten lead in the pot on following batches will speed things up. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3585.jpg?t=1273471565 Stand away from the pot while it's heating. The melting plastic on the weights, any debris you missed, and the fumes from the metal is downright toxic. If you start to feel light headed, STOP. Shut off the burner and wait for a day when there's a decent breeze. You can just assume that you're going to die if you pass out and dump a pot of molten lead on yourself. I can't stress the safety factor enough here. This little venture will require your full and undivided attention. Molten lead is very unforgiving and will burn any part of your body very badly in less than a second !!! http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3583.jpg?t=1273471626 Ok....the heats been on for a while...your pot is smoking away and smells like a burning plastic and rubber dump just inside the gates of hell. If this is the case, you've done everything right so far. Every few minutes, peek into the pot to see if there's any molten lead forming between the weights. It will look like liquid chrome. Once you start to see this, get your gloves and face mask on and grab your spoon. Try to stir up the mix a bit. Drag some of that liquid lead up onto the weights that haven't melted yet. By doing so, you'll be keeping the contents of the pot at a more even temperature. What you're trying to avoid is having liquid lead in the bottom of the pot getting way above it's melting temperature. This may cause any zinc weights that are down there to melt into the mix. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3594.jpg?t=1273471736 Zinc is to a bullet caster what garlic is to a vampire. Lead that's contaminated with very little zinc will not fill out in a mould. Your bullets will be left with bubbles and voids, and there's nothing you can do to fix it. The only remedy is to dump the pot, and start over with a fresh batch of lead. Keep heating and stirring the mix until it looks almost like a slushy paste. This means it's almost time to start removing the clips and other junk from the mix. If you pick up a scoop of clips and there's a bunch of lead still in the spoon, it's not quite ready yet. The picture below shows it when it's at the slushy/pasty stage. A few more minutes of heating after this stage and it'll be ready. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3602.jpg?t=1273471905 Keep heating and stirring until you can pick up a batch of clips in the spoon, and only a tiny bit of lead is is coming out with them. At this temperature, the lead will stay in the pot, but the zinc weights will not have melted. Scoop out everything as quickly as you can before the temperature climbs high enough to melt the zinc weights. Dump the clips and other junk into your metal can. You have lots of time to do this safely, so don't rush too much. Just don't leave the heat on and take a 2 or 3 minute break in the middle. Your spoon full of junk should look like whats in this pail. Sorry, I should have got a pic of it sitting on the spoon. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3612.jpg When you have all the clips and other junk out, your clean lead will look like this. At this point, you can add some flux to clean it up a bit more if you want to. Personally, I do all of my fluxing in my casting pot. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3617.jpg?t=1273472137 Take your dipper/stainless steel cup, or whatever you're using and dip it in the pot. Take only about half a cup at a time. It's lead, not coffee so it's going to be heavy. Take it over and slowly pour it into your ingot tray. If you don't completely fill a cavity, don't worry about it. Just get more lead, top it up, and move onto the next one until the tray is full. Don't overflow the cavities. This will make the ingots want to stick in the pan. Make sure you leave about 2 inches of molten lead in the bottom of your pot to help transfer heat when you add more weights. More on that later. Remember that pail of water and coffee cup I was talking about ? Take about half a cup at a time and SLOWLY pour it into the cookie sheet that your ingot tray is sitting in. There's no danger of splattering lead because you're not actually pouring the water into the lead.....just into the pan that the ingot tray is sitting in. There will be steam and bubbling, but it won't be violent. Continue to add water to the cookie sheet until all of the cavities have some water under them and then leave it. By doing this, you can get away with using just one muffin pan. You won't have to wait for the ingots to cool before you dump them, and they'll be much easier to handle. Now, back to the melting pot we go. The totally safe way to add more weights to your pot is to remove ALL of the molten lead, and let things cool down.....dump in some weights and start heating again. A faster way to get things melting is to leave 2 or 3 inches of molten lead in the pot (with the burner on high). This is probably the most dangerous moment in the entire operation due to the risk of the infamous steam explosion. A steam explosion occurs when water, or another liquid turns to vapour instantly rather than boiling off slowly like it does on your stove. Pouring just about anything that is liquid at room temperature into a pot of molten lead will cause an explosion to occur. The problem is 2 fold. The steam itself is more than hot enough to burn you and it may have considerable force behind it. That's the good part. That REALLY bad part is, when the liquid violently turns to vapour, it blows molten lead all over the place too. This will at the very best burn you. In a worst case, you'll be dead, and your entire yard will be on fire....I KID YOU NOT !!!! I am usually the last guy to beat on the safety drum because I've been messing with this kind of thing all my life. I will however take EVERY precaution necessary to keep from being the victim of a steam/lead explosion. If you're thinking of just dumping a bucket of weights into a pot of molten lead....and there's a chance there might be a cup of water in the bottom of the pail....well, let's just make it simple and assume you're going to die. Ok. Enough of the warnings and on with the show. Here's a VERY minor example of what will happen. DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF !!! Like I said...I've been messing with this stuff all my life and have a really good understanding of what I'm doing. Listen to what happens when I dump the weights in on top of the water that's dancing on top of the molten lead. ac17VOXAsGo Yes, I know that I look like a complete dork jumping back from the pot. Oh well. The idea was to show you how quickly it happens. You can really hear the lead hitting the steel sheet when the weights go in. Keep something in mind as well. Lead doesn't stick to steel really well. You could see the splatter that stuck to the sheet metal. Imagine how much lead actually came flying up, hit it, and fell back into the pot.....and that was with about 1/8th of a cup of water, which had already half evaporated by the time I put in the weights. Could you imagine if there was 2 or 3 cups of liquid in the bottom of your pail and the bottom 4 or 5 inches of weights were all damp ? Most of the lead in that pot would have been in the trees above me. Ok. That's enough about steam explosions. As you're dumping in your DRY wheel weights, do it slowly. As with any liquid, the lead can splash up and cover you. Just to it slowly and everything will be fine. At this point, I want to address one more safety issue. Don't get more than 8 or so inches of lead in your pot. First, if you get more than that, it starts to get really heavy. You don't want to crush whatever your pot is sitting on. Second, there are limitations on how much heat you can deliver into your pot. If you try filling it right to the top, you're going to be there all day trying to melt it. Third, and most importantly...... just in case the fumes get to you.....you get distracted....or whatever. Imagine you accidently jammed your hand into the lead while dipping out a cup. Do you want to have enough lead in there that it'll come up past your glove and fill it, or........ would you rather (hopefully) clue into what's going on and rip your hand out quickly ? With a little luck, you can rip the glove off in a big hurry and save yourself. With a little luck, you might come out with only stinging fingers or a minor burn. If you fill your glove with lead, they probably won't try to save your hand at the hospital. Please, try and keep your lead level low. Now, while your second batch of weights is melting, go back over to your ingot tray. It will have cooled enough to handle (with gloves on) by now. Flip it over onto the wood. With a little luck, all of your bricks will have come out. If you get one or more that stick, carefully pick up the tray and drop it face down, perfectly flat. If you drop it on it's edge, it's going to bend. Remember, they're made for muffins, not lead bricks. Don't try smacking the bottom of the cavities with a hammer or other hard object. The aluminum in the pan is pretty thin and you'll likely punch a hole in it. Now you've got a cavity that you can't use. Just work around your stuck ingot. Hopefully with a few heating and cooling cycles, it'll come out. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3596.jpg?t=1273476031 http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3588.jpg?t=1273476078 Ok. That's about it. Just keep repeating those steps until all of your weights have been processed. Once you've done the last batch, get the last of the lead out of your pot by scooping, dumping it, or however you chose. Put in your stick on weights, melt them down and pour them into ingots. Make sure you mark them so that you know which ones are wheel weight lead, and which ones are pure lead. The statistics from this melt: We started off with 705 lbs of weights, and junk in the pails. Out of that, we pulled 34 lbs of stick on weights After all melting was done, we finished up with 482 lbs of harder wheel weight lead and 28 lbs of softer stick on weight lead. Total weight of finished lead was 510 lbs. Total number of ingots was 130 1/2 of hard lead and 7 1/4 of softer lead. I burned EXACTLY one 20 lbs cylinder of propane We started setting up the pot at 9:30am and finished putting the last of the stuff in my truck at 5:25pm. In that time we didn't shut off the burner once. We had 2 full 5 gallon pails of clips, zinc and iron weights, etc. http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3621.jpg?t=1273476185 I need to thank my buddy and my apprentice mechanic, Tanner http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3571.jpg?t=1273475456 http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3615.jpg?t=1273475538 for providing the place to do the melt, for his help, and for lunch. I also have to thank all the guys from canadiangunnutz.com for all of the information they’ve provided over the years. In closing, all the usual hygiene rules apply. Don't eat, drink, or smoke while you're doing this. Take a few minutes to wash your hands really well before you take a lunch break. Do not do this on your freshly paved driveway, beside your new car, or anything else you can't get lead on. There WILL be some spilled lead. It's pretty much unavoidable. If you accidently get some liquid in the pot, there WILL be lead EVERYWHERE. Keep your kids away while you're doing this. The fumes and smoke are toxic. Kids these days have enough issues without us adding to them. If you do get lead splashed on you, your hat, you gloves, or whatever, toss them. You don't want to be tracking the stuff into your home. One more thing. For GODS sake, don't try to use the muffin tray, spoon or cookie sheet for cooking again. If you're only going to do one big melt, toss them out when you're done. I don't want to discourage anyone from melting their own lead. If you are aware of the risks and take steps to avoid them it can be perfectly safe. Hopefully I've made everyone reading this aware, but I haven't scared anyone off. Well, that's about all there is to it gang. Happy melting, casting and shooting. Disclaimer: I assume NO responsiblilty for your personal safety or the safety of your property. If you decide to melt your own lead, you do so at your own risk. Common sense is your best bet for safety. Please use it.....................Blacksmithden If you want to cut and paste this article, all I ask is that you keep it intact. Other than that, please feel free. Anything that helps my fellow shooters is a good thing. Cheers !!! THE END !!!! http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb93/blacksmithden/IMGP3623.jpg?t=1273476254
rtr*cer13 said: Great thorough thread. I vote to sticky it!
*asyrider604 said: Melting wheel weights for bullet casting - all you need to know WOW!!! You can say that again. Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge.
*jayofcanada said: Awesome. Thanks!
*ndy said: Good work! You're using almost exactly the same equipment as I do. Here's a much shorter version of my own setup from a few years back with some discussion: http://www.canadiangunnutz.com/forum/showthread.php?t=83230 I no longer bother with an extensive cleaning and culling, I just remove the obvious junk (paper, bolts, valve stems, etc.) from the raw wheelweights, and skim the rest. I have found that is you're attentive, and skim as soon as the lead WW has gone from slush to liquid, the zinc WW can be removed intact. I don't throw them away - I melt them into ingots (they take a lot longer to melt than lead) and will either sell them later, or try them as bullets.
P*te04 said: Great Job! Thanks for your time and effort. Very good "sticky" material along with Andys' thread.
CV32 said: More and more of the manufacturers are sending out their cars with zinc, iron, and even plastic wheel weights. Sooner or later, they're going to become a thing of the past ... Yup. Great post!
v*ttes said: X2. Great info and pics! Thanks for taking the time Great thorough thread. I vote to sticky it!
ph*shroy said: Excellent description shows what to do and what not to do, very thorough. This should be a sticky.
bjh*ll said: I don,t make my own bullets but that was a very informative post Excellent
M*dChucker said: holy crap thats awesome !!!... I dont think I could do this... the time it takes appears to equal about 40 beers... Id be far too hung over the next day to get anything else done ! :)
s*per7 said: Great post! I liked the way you describe and demonstrate the dangers of the vapor explosion. I've seen it once while melting lead for scuba weights and it was very scary.
z*ke said: Great post and I'm sure some will learn from it.
s*hara said: Fantastic posting! Pretty much mirrors my own set up. I use an army mess tin to make larger kidney shaped ingots, or a LEE ingot mold to make nice rectangular ones. People definitely can't underestimate the power of the steam explosion. Even a thin film of wetness on a clip dropped in a pot can spltter lead painfully everywhere. And it sticks to skin like a Cocker Spanial to your leg. .
44B*re said: Really well done--valuable for any newbies and a good refresher for the old hands.
Tw*Tone said: Nicely described Sir! I especially liked that you were able to describe the entire process from start to finish clearly and without confusion without once having to resort to using the word 'smelting' (which is something else entirely, no matter how much some insist otherwise)! It would seem to me that in addition to describing how to go about melting up a big bunch of wheel weights safely and efficiently you've also proven that pressing the word 'smelting' into service to describe the melting process just ain't necessary... Well done!
m*c100 said: Definetly Stick! Thanks Blacksmithden
D*c M said: Epic post! Sticky for SURE. -M
br*wning, nb said: Thanks for that. I think I will now give this a try.
br*wning, nb said: Is there any chance you will make a play by play for making projectiles now.
s*skcop said: Absolutely the best info on this I have seen. Good job. Kudos to you!! Sticky??
bl*cksmithden said: Wow !!! I'd be honoured if this was turned into a sticky for sure. Thanks for all the pats on the back guys. I just want everybody to have the skills at their disposal if they decide they want to get into bullet casting. The first step is getting the raw lead together to get you started. Without lead, you can have the best equipment in the world and you'll still be nowhere. Is there any chance you will make a play by play for making projectiles now. I guess that would be the next step. It would require a lot more photos to show all of the "this is too hot, this is too cold" aspects, but I dont' see why I couldn't do it. It'll have to be a few days before I could get started on it though. Believe it or not, with all of the writing, editing, uploading and linking, I spent about 9 hours getting the post all together. What the heck...if it helps to get you guys shooting more for less money, great !!! :D Ok. Give me a few days, and I'll get started on it. Thanks again guys. All of you have been a great help to my learning curve over the years. Glad to return the favour.
J*hn Y Cannuck said: Nicely done! I work with smaller quantities myself, and a Coleman propane stove suffices nicely for that. An old stainless steel pot in all I use for the melt, and make the small Lee ingots. The procedure other than that is exactly the same. For the uninitiated, the steam explosion in the video, is much more violent when viewed in person. Particularly if you wind up wearing hot lead. It sticks to your hide instantly, and continues to burn until it cools. Protective clothing is NOT overkill.
bl*cksmithden said: Nicely done! I work with smaller quantities myself, and a Coleman propane stove suffices nicely for that. An old stainless steel pot in all I use for the melt, and make the small Lee ingots. The procedure other than that is exactly the same. For the uninitiated, the steam explosion in the video, is much more violent when viewed in person. Particularly if you wind up wearing hot lead. It sticks to your hide instantly, and continues to burn until it cools. Protective clothing is NOT overkill. Yes, that it is. In the video, I didn't use very much water and the camera was just my crappy old Pentax. When you're there pouring in the weights and a few cups of water go in......MAN.....it is downright scary. When I did my first melt, that was exactly what happened to me. I had just started dumping in the weights, and the Rice Crispies guys came for a visit with their megaphone. SNAP, CRACKLE and POP about a million times. I could feel the lead hitting the side of the bucket about 20 times a second. It probably lasted about 8 seconds, but it feels like a lifetime. Thank goodness I had the nerve to stand there and keep the bucket in place between me and the lead. If I'd dropped it an ran, I would have been pasted pretty badly. When it was all over, I had lead sprayed 15 to 20 feet in both directions that were 90 degrees to where I was standing. The bucket saved me big time. As the lead was flying out of the pot, the round sides of the bucket deflected it out to the sides. I played around with small quantities of water after that just to see what the heck was happening as this wonderful phenominon (sp) occured. On a very tiny scale like the little demo I did in the video, it's not so bad. On a large scale, it's not something I want to live over again :redface: A full cup of water and 10 lbs of weights going in all at once would easially put that sheet metal cover I had on the pot into the neighbours yard. I bought a brand new round ball mould for making 000 buckshot today, so I'll get started on the up and coming "How To Cast Bullets" thread by showing how to smoke it. Like I said before guys...it's going to take me a little while to get all the pics and writing done. I'd like to do a really good job for you, so be patient with me :D BSD.
t*otall said: I see it is now Sticky'ed, so congrats on that. And one more "thanks for a job well done!"
vv*king said: Hey Blacksmithden, 1st time I did it, I figured washing off all the grunge first would make less smoke. After seeing your STICKY I thank her highness and the powers that be for my procrastination between wash and melt. Got off lucky. Could you edumacate me a bit before my first casting attempt?
m*keystew said: now i need to hunt me down some lead! When is part two coming out? casting bullets from wheelweight ingots??
K*tana said: Great post BSD. I'm looking forward to see the bullet mold as well... :cheers:
h*nter64 said: Only thing that I would change Blacksmithden is to convert the burner over to NG. If you are doing it outside than most likely you will have your gas meter fairly close, a hose and different orifice size(drilled out), a couple of fittings and you will never run out of a heat source again and at less than 1/4 of the cost to run than propane. This is of course if you plan on melting large amounts of lead. Never thought about doing a how to make a bullet from lead video, right now I am just about done my automatic heat controller for a cheap Lee 10 lb pot. I thought about adding an adjustable timer so that when you get into a rhythm a light will come on telling you to pour the next set of bullets. With a within 10 deg. F regulated lead temperature and an exact time when to pour and dump the bullets, you could really automate the process.
s*skcop said: Sticky!! Great job. Now I won't lose track of this one.
vv*king said: I have; coleman stove. ww ingots. cast iron pot. lyman dipper. mold&handles. lee allox tumble lube. curiousity. am I good to go?.
z*ke said: A ladle to pour the lead. A soup spoon with hole's to skim off the steel clip's. Get'em both at the Dollar store
vv*king said: A ladle to pour the lead. A soup spoon with hole's to skim off the steel clip's. Get'em both at the Dollar store Thanks Zuke, As a greenhorn to both e-comms and this forum, I was trying to encourage blacksmithden to continue this sticky into basic casting lore. Would be a big help to those of us wanting to dive in. In my case I want to know if I can cast good boolits without a thermometer or additional kit, and if so , how to proceed. Just blew my whole wad on a webley mk1 45 acp antique, am very eager to let her speak, but, no spare cash for niceties. I have ww alloy and pure lead to work with.
z*ke said: I started with a Coleman stove and a thick aluminum pot so you should be o.k as you are. I use straight WW for everything,45-70 and 45 WinMag are my mainstay's. I paper patch the 45-70 and use a LEE Tumble lube design and then actually use Tumble lube on it.
p*lon said: Thanks for sharing Blacksmithden.:) Just wondering if you have ever come across a paperback written by Veral Smith entitled "Jacketed Performance With Cast Bullets"? It compliments your article very well. A tonne of info in those pages. I have forgotten where I picked it up but think it came from Dillon Prec. a long time ago.
gr*jim said: Very informative thank you.
d*nor said: I'm traing to obtain pure lead or ad least anything softer than WW.Is there a safe,good way of removing excess tin from mix?I hope i can save tin for later in case i need it for #2 alloy. I read i Cast Bullet Handbook that simply raising temperature will cause tin to float to the top in a form of grey ,uniform film on top of lead.Is that right?Have anyone tried this?
ykk*d said: It ain't the tin that makes the alloy hard. It is the antimony. The tin just allows the antimony and lead to alloy or mix together thoroughly, and cast well. If you can float the tin out - don't know, but it may be possible - you still have the antimony, just it won't behave as nicely.
22t*45 said: Thanks for the write up.. I have been casting wheelweight bullets for my 45/70 bolt action mauser for over 10 years. I just could not bring myself to pay the cost of jacketed 500 grain bullets. I get excellent performance, I shoot the Lee 500 gr round nosed bullets at about 1800 fps. Yes it kicks like a mule. I have shot one moose with it and it literally picked it out of its tracks. I see no need for jacketed bullets in this velocity.. Nowadays I moly coat them and the inside of the barrel, before I put lube on them. I get less leading. It takes a bit of time to cast, but it is rewarding when you shoot something with bullets you made, or you shoot a good group with bullets you made, I got about 80 lbs of good clean lead weights about 12 years ago, and I shoot that rifle for less than 3 dollars a box.. good clean fun.
*ntil the Angels Fall said: I have been thinking about getting into casting for a while now to make 12g slugs...this was EXREMELY helpful. Much thanks for all the time and hardwork you put into this. UTAF
bl*cksmithden said: Sorry guys. I haven't looked at this thread in a while. I also haven't had time to do any bullet casting at all. Once I get caught up with a few backed up projects here at the house, I'll do a proper write-up on how to make your own bullets. Ok...I've got to get back to work now. :)
C*nuck44 said: I'm traing to obtain pure lead or ad least anything softer than WW.Is there a safe,good way of removing excess tin from mix?I hope i can save tin for later in case i need it for #2 alloy. I read i Cast Bullet Handbook that simply raising temperature will cause tin to float to the top in a form of grey ,uniform film on top of lead.Is that right?Have anyone tried this? You don't want to be taking tin out of your alloy. It aids somewhat in the hardening process but more importantyly it aids in mold fill out. Once you flux your alloy the tin will be thoruoughly mixed into the alloy. The amount of tin or rather tin oxide that floats to the top will be negligible. Take Care Bo
N*rthman999 said: Great stuff! I'm just itching to get into casting lead bullets myself.
Tb*lt said: I can't wait to get started as well. I currently have 1 5 gallon pail of wheel weights sorted and ready to go. I'll hopefully be picking up more soon, after all mandatory winter tires in Quebec so that means alot of changes just before winter :D:D
mg34 said: i have melted many pounds of wheelweights and have come across the stickons. i have melted them and they look like decent material to make bullets. has anyone else used them for bullet making? pm me if you have an answer. thanks ron c.
C*nuck44 said: i have melted many pounds of wheelweights and have come across the stickons. i have melted them and they look like decent material to make bullets. has anyone else used them for bullet making? pm me if you have an answer. thanks ron c. The stick ons are usually pure lead. I mix them in with WW alloy in moderation and they have no effect on performance for handgun bullets. Take Care Bob
*nky said: thanks for sharing your knowledge and time to produce this education piece, i ve been melting wheel weights for over 40 years and still doing it
n*da said: i've been reloading & casting for 40 yrs + , this art is first class bar none many thanks from all that scrounge & those that soon will be.
P-J said: http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n27/Ignerence/S6308579.jpg I did my first melt today after I made a pot and some ingot molds (2"x1'x1/8"channel) man alive, that was allot of work! I had to call the tinsel fairy to visit me just to see what it was like once. I ran away like a little girl. Overall I did 57 2.5 lb ingots from one 5 gal pail stuffed with weights. Pulled probably 30-40 Iron weights, and 20 or so Zinc ones. :) now to get a small pot and a mold! Thanks for the info, helped me a ton!
rdl212 said: My first melt is in the works for tonight -actually a tutorial from a fellow at the gun club. A great way to learn I would think.